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once, and ventured it at one throw. But if he be to continue in the world, and would have the advantage of reputation while he is in it, let him make use of truth and sincerity in all his words and actions, for nothing but this will hold out to the end. All other arts may fail, but truth and integrity will carry a man through, and bear him out to the last.
Every principle that is a motive to good actions ought to be encouraged, since men are of so different a make, that the same principle does not work equally upon all minds. What some men are prompted to by conscience, duty, or religion, which are only different names for the same thing, others are prompted to by honour.
The sense of honour is of so fine and delicate a nature, that it is only to be met with in minds which are naturally noble, or in such as have been cultivated by great examples, or a refined education. This essay therefore is chiefly designed for those, who, by means of any of these advantages, are, or ought to be, actuated by this glorious principle.
But as nothing is more pernicious than a principle of action, when it is misunderstood, I shall consider honour with respect to three sorts of men. First of all, with regard to those who have a right notion of it. Secondly, with regard to those who have a mistaken notion of it. And, thirdly, with regard to those who treat as chimerical and turn it into ridicule.
In the first place, true honour, though it be a different principle from religion, is that which produces the same effects. The lines of action, though drawn from different parts, terminate in the same point. Religion embraces virtue, as it is enjoined by the laws of God; honour, as it is graceful and ornamental to human nature. The religious man fears, the man of honour scorns, to do an ill action. The latter considers vice as something that is beneath him, the other, as something that is offensive to the Divine Being. The one, as what is unbecoming; the other, as what is forbidden. Thus Seneca speaks in the natural and genuine language of a man of honour, when he declares, that were there no God to see or punish vice, he would not commit it, because it is of so mean, so base, and so vile a nature.
I shall conclude this head with the description of honour in the speech of young Juba :
Honour 's a sacred tie, the law of kings,
САто. In the second place we are to consider those who have mistaken notions of honour. And these are such as establish any thing to themselves for a point of honour, which is contrary either to the laws of God or of their country ; who think it more honourable to revenge, than to forgive an injury; who make no scruple of telling a lie, but would put any man to death that accuses them of it ; who are more careful to guard their reputation by their courage than by their virtue. True fortitude is, indeed, so becoming in human nature that he who wants it scarce deserves the name of a man : but we find several who so much abuse this notion that they place the whole idea of honour in a kind of brutal courage; by which means we have had many among us who have called themselves men of honour, that would have been a disgrace to a gibbet. In a word, the man who sacrifices any duty of a reasonable creature to a prevailing mode or fashion, who looks upon any thing as honourable that is displeasing to his Maker, or destructive to society, who thinks himself obliged by this principle to the practice of some virtues and not of others, is by no means to be reckoned among true men of honour.
Timogenes was a lively instance of one actuated by false honour. Timogenes would smile at a man's jest who ridiculed his Maker, and at the same time run a man through the body that spoke ill of his friend. Timogenes would have scorned to have betrayed a secret that was entrusted with him, though the fate of his country depended upon the discovery of it. Timogenes took away the life of a young fellow in a duel for having spoken ill of Belinda, a lady whom he himself had seduced in her youth, and betrayed into want and ignominy. To close his character, Timogenes, after having ruined several poor tradesmen's families who had trusted him, sold his estate to satisfy his creditors ; but, like a man of honour, disposed of all the money he could make of it in the paying off his play debts, or, to speak in his own language, his debts of honour. In the third place, we are to consider those persons
who treat this principle as chimerical, and turn it into ridicule. Men who are professedly of no honour are of a more profligate and abandoned nature than even those who are actuated by false notions of it, as there is more hope of a heretic than of an atheist. Those sons of infamy consider honour with old Syphax, in the play before mentioned, as a fine imaginary notion that leads astray young inexperienced men, and draws them into real mischiefs, while they are engaged in the pursuit of a shadow. These are generally persons who, in Shakspere's phrase, “ are worn and hackneyed in the ways of men;" whose imaginations are grown callous, and have lost all those delicate sentiments which are natural to minds that are innocent and undepraved. Such old battered miscreants ridicule every thing as romantic that comes in competition with their present interest, and treat those persons as visionaries who dare stand up in a corrupt age for what has not its immediate reward joined to it. The talents, interest, or experience of such men make them very often useful in all parties, and at all times. But whatever wealth and dignities they may arrive at they ought to consider that every one stands as a blot in the annals of his country who arrives at the temple of honour by any other way than through that of virtue.
ON GOOD HUMOUR.
Good Humour may be defined a habit of being pleased ; a constant and perpetual softness of manners, easiness of approach, and suavity of disposition ; like that which every man perceives in himself when the first transports of new felicity have subsided, and his thoughts are only kept in motion by a slow succession of soft impulses. Good humour is a state between gaiety and unconcern; the act or emanation of a mind at leisure to regard the gratification of another.
It is imagined by many, that whenever they aspire to please, they are required to be merry, and to show the gladness of their souls by Alights and pleasantry, and bursts of laughter. But though these men may be for a time heard with applause and admiration, they seldom delight us long. We enjoy them a little, and then retire to easiness and good humour, as the eye gazes awhile on eminences glittering with the sun, but soon turns aching away to verdure and to flowers.
Gaiety is to good humour as animal perfumes to vegetable fragrance; the one overpowers weak spirits, and the other recreates and revives them. Gaiety seldom fails to give some pain ; the hearers either strain their faculties to accompany its towerings, or are left behind in envy and despair. Good humour boasts no faculties which every one does not believe in his power, and pleases principally by not offending.
It is well known, that the most certain way to give any man pleasure is, to persuade him that you receive pleasure from him, to encourage him to freedom and confidence, and to avoid any such appearance of superiority as may overbear and depress him. We see many that, by this art only, spend their days in the midst of caresses, invitations, and civilities; and without any extraordinary qualities or attainments are the universal favourites of both sexes, and certainly find a friend in every place. The darlings of the world will, indeed, be generally found such as excite neither jealousy nor fear; and are not considered as candidates for any eminent degree of reputation, but content themselves with common accomplishments, and endeavour rather to solicit kindness, than to raise esteem. Therefore in assemblies and places of resort it seldom fails to happen, that though at the entrance of some particular person every face brightens with gladness, and every hand is extended in salutation, yet if you pursue him beyond the first exchange of civilities, you will find him of very small importance, and only welcome to the company as one by whom all conceive themselves admired, and with whom any one is at liberty to amuse himself when he can find no other auditor or companion; as one with whoin all are at ease, who will hear a jest without criticism, and a narrative without contradiction; who laughs with every wit, and yields to every disputer.
There are many whose vanity always inclines them to associate with those, from whom they have no reason to fear mortification; and there are times in which the wise and the knowing are willing to receive praise without the labour of deserving it, in which the most elevated mind is willing to descend, and the most active to be at rest. All, therefore, are at some hour or another fond of companions whom they can entertain upon easy terms, and who will relieve them from solitude, without condemning them to vigilance and caution. We are most inclined to love when we have nothing to fear; and he that encourages us to please ourselves, will not be long without preference in our affection to those whose learning holds us at the distance of pupils, or whose wit calls all attention from us, and leaves us without importance and without regard.
It is remarked by Prince Henry, when he sees Falstaff lying on the ground, " that he could have better spared a better man.” He was well acquainted with the vices and follies of him whom he lamented; but while his conviction compelled him to do justice to superior qualities, his tenderness still broke out at the remembrance of Falstaff, of the cheerful companion, the loud buffoon, with whom he had passed his time in all the luxury of idleness, who had gladdened him with unenvied merriment, and whom he could at once enjoy and despise.
You may perhaps think this account of those who are distinguished for their good humour not very consistent with the praises which I have bestowed upon it. But surely nothing can more evidently show the value of this quality, than that it recommends those who are destitute of all other excellencies, and procures regard to the trifling, friendship to the worthless, and affection to the dull.
Good humour is indeed generally degraded by the characters in which it is found; for being considered as