**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


No. 143 [Good Temper — from The Spectator]
by [?]

Since we cannot promise ourselves constant Health, let us endeavour at such a Temper as may be our best Support in the Decay of it. Uranius has arrived at that Composure of Soul, and wrought himself up to such a Neglect of every thing with which the Generality of Mankind is enchanted, that nothing but acute Pains can give him Disturbance, and against those too he will tell his intimate Friends he has a Secret which gives him present Ease: Uranius is so thoroughly perswaded of another Life, and endeavours so sincerely to secure an Interest in it, that he looks upon Pain but as a quickening of his Pace to an Home, where he shall be better provided for than in his present Apartment. Instead of the melancholy Views which others are apt to give themselves, he will tell you that he has forgot he is Mortal, nor will he think of himself as such. He thinks at the Time of his Birth he entered into an Eternal Being; and the short Article of Death he will not allow an Interruption of Life, since that Moment is not of half the Duration as is his ordinary Sleep. Thus is his Being one uniform and consistent Series of chearful Diversions and moderate Cares, without Fear or Hope of Futurity. Health to him is more than Pleasure to another Man, and Sickness less affecting to him than Indisposition is to others.

I must confess, if one does not regard Life after this manner, none but Ideots can pass it away with any tolerable Patience. Take a Fine Lady who is of a Delicate Frame, and you may observe from the Hour she rises a certain Weariness of all that passes about her. I know more than one who is much too nice to be quite alive. They are sick of such strange frightful People that they meet; one is so awkward, and another so disagreeable, that it looks like a Penance to breathe the same Air with them. You see this is so very true, that a great Part of Ceremony and Good-breeding among Ladies turns upon their Uneasiness; and I’ll undertake, if the How-d’ye Servants of our Women were to make a Weekly Bill of Sickness, as the Parish Clerks do of Mortality, you would not find in an Account of seven Days, one in Thirty that was not downright Sick or indisposed, or but a very little better than she was, and so forth.

It is certain that to enjoy Life and Health as a constant Feast, we should not think Pleasure necessary, but, if possible, to arrive at an Equality of Mind. It is as mean to be overjoyed upon Occasions of Good-Fortune, as to be dejected in Circumstances of Distress. Laughter in one Condition is as unmanly as Weeping in the other. We should not form our Minds to expect Transport on every Occasion, but know how to make it Enjoyment to be out of Pain. Ambition, Envy, vagrant Desire, or impertinent Mirth will take up our Minds, without we can possess our selves in that Sobriety of Heart which is above all Pleasures, and can be felt much better than described. But the ready Way, I believe, to the right Enjoyment of Life, is by a Prospect towards another to have but a very mean Opinion of it. A great Author of our Time has set this in an excellent Light, when with a Philosophick Pity of Human Life, he spoke of it in his Theory of the Earth, [2] in the following manner.

For what is this Life but a Circulation of little mean Actions? We lie down and rise again, dress and undress, feed and wax hungry, work or play, and are weary, and then we lie down again, and the Circle returns. We spend the Day in Trifles, and when the Night comes we throw our selves into the Bed of Folly, amongst Dreams and broken Thoughts, and wild Imaginations. Our Reason lies asleep by us, and we are for the Time as arrant Brutes as those that sleep in the Stalls or in the Field. Are not the Capacities of Man higher than these? And ought not his Ambition and Expectations to be greater? Let us be Adventurers for another World: ‘Tis at least a fair and noble Chance; and there is nothing in this worth our Thoughts or our Passions. If we should be disappointed, we are still no worse than the rest of our Fellow-Mortals; and if we succeed in our Expectations, we are Eternally Happy.

[Footnote 1: sit]

[Footnote 2: Ed. Amsterdam, 1699, p. 241.]