Neither her outside Form so fair, nor
In Procreation common to all kinds,
(Tho higher of the genial Bed by far,
And with mysterious Reverence I deem)
So much delights me, as those graceful Acts,
Those thousand Decencies that daily flow
From all her Words and Actions, mixt with Love
And sweet Compliance, which declare unfeign’d
Union of Mind, or in us both one Soul;
Harmony to behold in—wedded Pair!
Adams Speech, at parting with the Angel, has in it a Deference and Gratitude agreeable to an inferior Nature, and at the same time a certain Dignity and Greatness suitable to the Father of Mankind in his State of Innocence.
* * * * *
No. 346. Monday, April 7, 1712. Steele.
Consuetudinem benignitatis largitioni
Munerum longe antepono. Haec est
Gravium hominum atque Magnorum; Illa quasi assentatorum populi,
multitudinis levitatem voluptate quasi titillantium.
When we consider the Offices of humane Life, there is, methinks, something in what we ordinarily call Generosity, which when carefully examined, seems to flow rather from a loose and unguarded Temper, than an honest and liberal Mind. For this reason it is absolutely necessary that all Liberality should have for its Basis and Support Frugality. By this means the beneficent Spirit works in a Man from the Convictions of Reason, not from the Impulses of Passion. The generous Man, in the ordinary acceptation, without respect to the Demands of his own Family, will soon find, upon the Foot of his Account, that he has sacrificed to Fools, Knaves, Flatterers, or the deservedly Unhappy, all the Opportunities of affording any future Assistance where it ought to be. Let him therefore reflect, that if to bestow be in it self laudable, should not a Man take care to secure Ability to do things praiseworthy as long as he lives? Or could there be a more cruel Piece of Raillery upon a Man who should have reduc’d his Fortune below the Capacity of acting according to his natural Temper, than to say of him, That Gentleman was generous? My beloved Author therefore has, in the Sentence on the Top of my Paper, turned his Eye with a certain Satiety from beholding the Addresses to the People by Largesses and publick Entertainments, which he asserts to be in general vicious, and are always to be regulated according to the Circumstances of Time and a Man’s own Fortune. A constant Benignity in Commerce with the rest of the World, which ought to run through all a Man’s Actions, has Effects more useful to those whom you oblige, and less ostentatious in your self. He turns his Recommendation of this Virtue in commercial Life: and according to him a Citizen who is frank in his Kindnesses, and abhors Severity in his Demands; he who in buying, selling, lending, doing acts of good Neighbourhood,