Truman. And this you say is your way of Wit?
Mal. Ay, altogether, this and Mimickry.
I’m a very good Mimick; I
can act Punchinello, Scaramoucho, Harlequin, Prince
Prettyman, or anything. I can act the rumbling of a
Val. The rumbling of a Wheelbarrow!
Mal. Ay, the rumbling of a Wheelbarrow,
so I say. Nay, more than
that, I can act a Sow and Pigs, Sausages a broiling, a
Shoulder of Mutton a roasting: I can act a Fly in a
Trum. That indeed must be the effect of very curious Observation.
Mal. No, hang it, I never make it my Business
to observe anything,
that is Mechanick.]
* * * * *
No. 355. Thursday, April 17, 1712. Addison.
Non ego mordaci distrinxi carmine [quenquam.
I have been very often tempted to write Invectives upon those who have detracted from my Works, or spoken in derogation of my Person; but I look upon it as a particular Happiness, that I have always hindred my Resentments from proceeding to this extremity. I once had gone thro half a Satyr, but found so many Motions of Humanity rising in me towards the Persons whom I had severely treated, that I threw it into the Fire without ever finishing it. I have been angry enough to make several little Epigrams and Lampoons; and after having admired them a Day or two, have likewise committed them to the Flames. These I look upon as so many Sacrifices to Humanity, and have receiv’d much greater Satisfaction from the suppressing such Performances, than I could have done from any Reputation they might have procur’d me, or from any Mortification they might have given my Enemies, in case I had made them publick. If a Man has any Talent in Writing, it shews a good Mind to forbear answering Calumnies and Reproaches in the same Spirit of Bitterness with which they are offered: But when a Man has been at some Pains in making suitable Returns to an Enemy, and has the Instruments of Revenge in his Hands, to let drop his Wrath, and stifle his Resentments, seems to have something in it Great and Heroical. There is a particular Merit in such a way of forgiving an Enemy; and the more violent and unprovoke’d the Offence has been, the greater still is the Merit of him who thus forgives it.
I never met with a Consideration that is more finely spun, and what has better pleased me, than one in Epictetus , which places an Enemy in a new Light, and gives us a View of him altogether different from that in which we are used to regard him. The Sense of it is as follows: Does a Man reproach thee for being Proud or Ill-natured, Envious or Conceited, Ignorant or Detracting? Consider with thy self whether his Reproaches are true; if they are not,