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ple, were lost, and he supposed he had been robbed of them. “ I wish that they may fit the robber,” said the philosopher.- Plutarch, on reading the Poets.
Music, its Use.
Two great men, Euripides and Plutarch,* differ widely on the propriety of introducing music at a feast.
“ If at any time,” says the philosopher, “ 'tis over a glass of wine that music should be allowed, then chiefly Apollo and Bacchus harmonize ; and Euripides shall not persuade me that music should be applied to melancholy and grief, for there sober reason should, like a physician, take care of the diseased mind.” But let us hear the poet
Queen of every moving measure,
Imitater from the Medea of Euripides,
by Dr. Joseph Wa ton.
* See his Symposiacs..
When men of this common but unfortunate description complain that the world gives their works a very bad reception, they gain, and indeed are entitled to, very little compassion. Such persons remind one of many a silly fellow, who thinks himself a wag, and makes very heavy complaints if you do not laugh at his good things, as he calls them.
A false idea of compassion has given rise to this incorrect phrase, when applied to persons whose conduct is blameable by neglecting the common cautions, decencies, and duties of their stations. A man who contracts a debt which he is very slow in discharging, yet continues to lead the same expensive mode of life, is far from being thoughtless, but is ever thinking how he shall defer the evil day of payment, and how he shall contrive to continue the same pleasures at the expense of others. He who lives beyond his income is a most selfish man, and heeds not the ills he brings on others; anil yet it is well known, hat self-lore is very thoughtful about itself.
This ingenious fabulist is not enough known, but by very young persons ; whilst bis wit and good sense entitle him to the praises of every literary man. His “ Hare and many Friends,' his “Monkies at Southwark Fair,” and the “ Court of Death," are fine specimens of the pathetic, the humorous, and the sublime. The word “fables," in the minds of the unthinking many, is a deprecialing term, though the most poble lessons of ancient instruction, in morals and religion, assumed the form of fables and tales.
Whether Active or Contemplative Life
is the Better.
This idle question was much agitated among the ancients, implying their incompatibility with each other. Yet surely, lie who leads a contemplative life, with any other view than to improve his sources of action, is a truly idle man, and as useless to the public as the miser, who hoards up money without any wish of its entering into circulation. The mere student, who spends his time in bis library, may be learned, as the other may be a rich man; but they will be both useless to the world at large. A shrewd rustic, who had often
called on M. Huet, Bishop of Avranches, in France, on very pressing business, was always repulsed by tlie Bishop's servant, by saying, “ his master could not see him, for he was busy in his library.” I wish,' said the countryman, that the King would send us a Bishop that had finished his studies.'
Plutarcb" says very facetiously of these industrious persons, that they laugh at the doctrine of certain philosophers, who assert that nothing can be made of nothing, and of that which has no existence ; for with them, usury is engendered. of that, which neither is, nor ever was.
“ Use before use, and still more use you'll find."
The same Subject, and Hints to Young Persons, He proceeds in the above essay to inveigh against running in debt,” in a strain of great moral sublimity. “The goddess Diana, in the city of Ephesus, gives such debtors as fly into her temple freedom and protection against their creditors ; but the sanctuary of parsimony and moderation in expenses, into which no usurer can enter, to pluck from thence and carry away any debtor
* Plutarch's Morals,
prisoner, is always open to the wise, and affords them a long and large space of joyful and honourable purpose."-Ibid.
Our great poet argues on this subject with all the gravity and force of an ancient stoic
O reason not the need : our basest beggars
Jests and Jest Books.
What Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian,* considered as a valuable part of oratory, many dull men treat as frivolous, as if a good joke could subsist without good sense at the bottom of it. A modern professor has written a book on jesting, called the Merry Philosopher, and in his introduction, among the other benefits of his book, he hopes it will be a caution to his brother professors in their lectures, not to vitiate the taste of their audience. Public professors in our universities, says the Merry Philosopher, often disgrace themselves by wretched jests, with a view to divert their hearers, and to relieve the severity of the profound truths they are proposing, by interlarded jests. The intention was kind.---Thoughts on Jesting,
# See their Lectures on Rhetoric,