As the Poet has shewn a great Penetration in this Diversity of Female Characters, he has avoided the Fault which Juvenal and Monsieur Boileau are guilty of, the former in his sixth, and the other in his last Satyr, where they have endeavoured to expose the Sex in general, without doing Justice to the valuable Part of it. Such levelling Satyrs are of no Use to the World, and for this Reason I have often wondered how the French Author above-mentioned, who was a Man of exquisite Judgment, and a Lover of Virtue, could think human Nature a proper Subject for Satyr in another of his celebrated Pieces, which is called The Satyr upon Man. What Vice or Frailty can a Discourse correct, which censures the whole Species alike, and endeavours to shew by some Superficial Strokes of Wit, that Brutes are the more excellent Creatures of the two? A Satyr should expose nothing but what is corrigible, and make a due Discrimination between those who are, and those who are not the proper Objects of it.
[Footnote 1: Of the poems of Simonides, contemporary of AEschylus, only fragments remain. He died about 467 B.C.]
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No. 210. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 1711. John Hughes.
Nescio quomodo inhaeret in mentibus quasi
seculorum quoddam augurium
futurorum; idque in maximis ingeniis altissimisque animis et existit
maxime et apparet facillime.
Cic. Tusc. Quaest.
To the SPECTATOR.
I am fully persuaded that one of the best Springs of generous and worthy Actions, is the having generous and worthy Thoughts of our selves. Whoever has a mean Opinion of the Dignity of his Nature, will act in no higher a Rank than he has allotted himself in his own Estimation. If he considers his Being as circumscribed by the uncertain Term of a few Years, his Designs will be contracted into the same narrow Span he imagines is to bound his Existence. How can he exalt his Thoughts to any thing great and noble, who only believes that, after a short Turn on the Stage of this World, he is to sink into Oblivion, and to lose his Consciousness for ever?
For this Reason I am of Opinion, that so useful and elevated a Contemplation as that of the Souls Immortality cannot be resumed too often. There is not a more improving Exercise to the human Mind, than to be frequently reviewing its own great Privileges and Endowments; nor a more effectual Means to awaken in us an Ambition raised above low Objects and little Pursuits, than to value our selves as Heirs of Eternity.
It is a very great Satisfaction to consider the best and wisest of Mankind in all Nations and Ages, asserting, as with one Voice, this their Birthright, and to find it ratify’d by an express Revelation. At the same time if we turn our Thoughts inward