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darkness, to discover new paths of navigation, and disclose new secrets of the deep; it is the Adventurer alone on whom every eye is fixed with admiration, and whose praise is repeated by every voice.
But it must be confessed that this is only the praise of prejudice and of custom reason as yet sees nothing either to commend or imitate: a more severe scrutiny must be made before she can admit courage to belong to virtue, or entitle its possessor to the palm of honour.
If new worlds are sought merely to gratify avarice or ambition, for the treasures that ripen in the distant mine, or the homage of nations whom new arts of destruction may subdue; or if the precipice is descended merely for a pecuniary consideration; the Adventurer is, in the estimation of reason, as worthless and contemptible as a robber who defies a gibbet for the hire of a strumpet, or the fool who lays out his whole property on a lottery ticket. Reason considers the motive, the means, and the end; and honours courage only when it is employed to effect the purpose of virtue. Whoever exposes life for the good of others, and desires no superadded reward but fame, is pronounced a hero by the voice of reason; and to withhold the praise that he merits would be an attempt equally injurious and impossible. How much then is it to be regretted, that several ages have elapsed since all who had the will had also the power thus to secure at once the shout of the multitude and the eulogy of the philosopher! The last who enjoyed this privilege were the heroes that the history of certain dark ages distinguishes by the name of Knight Errant; beings who improved the opportunities of glory that were peculiar to they own times, in which giants were to be encountered, dragons destroyed, enchantments dissolved, and captive princesses set at liberty.
These heroes, however numerous, or wherever they dwelt, had nothing more to do than, as soon as Aurora with her dewy fingers unlocked the rosy portals of the East, to mount the steed, grasp the lance, and ride forth attended by a faithful squire: a giant or a dragon immediately appeared; or a castle was perceived with a moat, a bridge, and a horn: the horn is sounded, a dwarf first appears, and then an enchanter; a combat ensues, and the enchanter is defeated: the knight enters the castle, reads a talisman, dissolves the enchantment, receives the thanks of the princesses and encomium of the knights; then is conducted by the principal lady to the court of her father; is there the object of universal admiration, refuses a kingdom, and sets out again to acquire new glory by a series of new ad
But if the world has now no employment for the Knight Errant, the Adventurer may still do good for fame. Such is the hope with which he quits the quiet of indolence and the safety of obscurity; for such ambition he has exchanged content, and such is his claim as a candidate for praise. It may, indeed, be objected, that he has no right to the reward; because, if it be admitted that he does good for fame, it cannot be pretended that it is at the risk of life but honour has been always allowed to be of greater value than life. If, therefore, the Adventurer risks honour, he risks more than the Knight. The ignominy which falls on a disappointed candidate for public praise would by those very knights have been deemed worse than death; and who is more truly a candidate for public praise than an author? But as the Knights were without fear of death, the Adventurer is without fear of disgrace or disappointment: he confides, like them, in the temper of his weapon and the justice of his cause; he
knows he has not far to go before he will meet with some fortress that has been raised by sophistry for the asylum of error, some enchanter who lies in wait to ensnare innocence, or some dragon breathing out his poison in defence of infidelity; he has also the power of enchantment, which he will exercise in his turn; he will sometimes crowd the scene with ideal beings, sometimes recall the past, and sometimes anticipate the future; sometimes he will transport those who put themselves under his influence to regions which no traveller has yet visited, and will sometimes confine them with invisible bands till the charm is dissolved by a word, which will be placed the last in a paper which he shall give them.
Nor does he fear that this boast should draw upon him the imputation of arrogance or of vanity; for the Knight, when he challenged an army, was not thought either arrogant or vain; and yet as every challenge is a boast, and implies a consciousness of superiority, the ostentation is certainly in proportion to the force that is defied; but this force is also the measure of danger, and danger is the measure of honour. It must also be remarked, that there is great difference between a boast of what we shall do and of what we have done. A boast when we enter the lists, is a defiance of danger; it claims attention and it raises expectation; but a boast when we return is only an exultation in safety, and a demand of praise that is thought to be due is always paid. Let it be remembered, therefore, that if the Adventurer raises expectation, he proportionably increases his danger; and that he asks nothing which the public shall desire to withhold.
No. 2. SATURDAY, NOV. 11, 1752.
Palma negata macrum, donata reducit opimum. HOR,
THE multitudes that support life by corporal labour, and eat their bread in the sweat of their brow, commonly regard inactivity as idleness; and have no conception that weariness can be contracted in an elbow chair by now and then peeping into a book, and musing the rest of the day: the sedentary and studious, therefore, raise their envy or contempt, as they appear either to possess the conveniences of life by the mere bounty of fortune, or to suffer the want of them by refusing to work.
It is, however, certain, that to think is to labour; and that as the body is affected by the exercise of the mind, the fatigue of the study is not less than that of the field or the manufactory.
But the labour of the mind, though it is equally wearisome with that of the body, is not attended with the same advantages. Exercise gives health, vigour, and cheerfulness, sound sleep, and a keen appetite: the effects of sedentary thoughtfulness are diseases that imbitter and shorten life, interrupted rest, tasteless meals, perpetual languor, and causeless anxiety.
No natural inability to perform manual operations has been observed to proceed from disinclination; the reluctance, if it cannot be removed, may be surmounted; and the artificer then proceeds in his work with as much dexterity and exactness as if no extraordinary effort had been made to begin it: but with respect to the productions of ima
gination and wit, a mere determination of the will is not sufficient; there must be a disposition of the mind which no human being can procure, or the work will have the appearance of a forced plant, in the production of which the industry of art has been substituted for the vigour of nature.
Nor does the disposition always ensure success, though the want of it never fails to render application ineffectual; for the writer, who sits down in the morning fired with his subject and teeming with ideas, often finds at night, that what delighted his imagination offends his judgment, and that he has lost the day by indulging a pleasing dream, in which he joined together a multitude of splendid images without perceiving their incongruity.
Thus the wit is condemned to pass his hours, those hours which return no more, in attempting that which he cannot effect, or in collecting materials which he afterwards discovers to be unfit for use but the mechanic and the husbandman know, that the work which they perform will always bear the same proportion to the time in which they are employed and the diligence which they exert.
Neither is the reward of intellectual equally certain with that of corporal labour; the artificer, for the manufacture which he finishes in a day, receives a certain sum; but the wit frequently gains no advantage from a performance at which he has toiled many months, either because the town is not disposed to judge of his merit, or because he has not suited the popular taste.
It has been often observed, that not the value of a man's income, but the proportion which it bears to his expenses, justly denominates him rich or poor; and that it is not so much the manner in which he lives, as the habit of life he has contracted, which renders him happy or wretched. For