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but not being a match for three, though superior to any of them singly, he had recourse to a stratagem for dividing them. He betook himself to flight; rightly supposing, that they would follow him at unequal distances, as their strength, after so much loss of blood, would permit. Having fled a considerable way from the spot where they fought, he looked back, and saw the Curiatii pursuing at a considerable distance from one another, and one of them very near him. He turned with all his fury upon the foremost; and, while the Alban army were crying out to his brothers to succour him, Horatius, having presently despatched his first enemy, rushed forward to a second victory. The Romans encourage their champion by such acclamations, as generally proceed from unexpected success. He, on the other hand, hastens to put an end to the second combat, and slew another before the third, who was not far off, could come up to his assistance. There now remained only one combatant on each side. The Roman, who had still received no hurt, fired with gaining a double victory, advances with great confidence to his third combat. His antagonist, on the other hand, being weakened by the loss of blood, and spent with running so far, could scarce drag his legs after him, and being already dispirited by the death of his brothers, presents his breast to the victor, for it could not be called a contest. Two, (says the exulting Roman) two have I sacrificed to the manes of my brothers-the third I will offer up to my country, that henceforth Rome may give laws to Alba." Upon which he transfixed him with his sword, and stripped him of his armour. The Romans received Horatius, the victor, into their camp, with an exultation, great as their former fear. After this each army buried their respective dead, but with very different sentiments; the one reflecting on the sovereignty they had acquired, and the other on their subjection to slavery, to the power of the Romans.
This combat became still more remarkable: Horatius. returning to Rome, with the arms and spoils of his enemy, met his sister, who was to have been married to one of the Curiatii. Seeing her brother dressed in her lover's coat of armour, which she herself had wrought, she could not contain her grief- -She shed a flocd of tears, she tore her hair, and in the transport of her sorrow, uttered the most violent imprecations against her brother. Horatius, warm with his victory, and enraged at the grief which his sister
expressed, with such ungeasonable passion, in the midst of the public joy, in the heat of his anger, drove a poignard to her heart.- "Begone to thy lover," says he," and carry him that degenerate passion which makes thee prefer a dead enemy to the glory of thy country." Every body detested an action so cruel and inhuman. The murderer was immediately seized and dragged before the Duumviri, the proper judges of such crimes. Horatius was condemned to lose his life; and the very day of his triumph had been the day of his punishment, if he had not, by the advice of Tullus Hostilius, appealed from that judgment to the assembly of the people. He appeared there with the same courage and resolution that he had shown in the combat with the Curiatii.—The people thought so great a service might justly excuse them, if for once they moderated the rigour of the law; and accordingly, he was acquitted, rather through admiration of his courage, than for the justice of
XIV. On the Power of Custom.
THERE is not a common saying which has a better turn of sense in it, than what we often hear in the mouths of the vulgar, that custom is second nature. It is, indeed, able to form the man anew, and give him inclinations ́and capacities altogether different from those he was born with. A person who is addicted to play or gaming, though he took but little delight in it at first, by degrees contracts so strong an inclination towards it, and gives himself up so entirely to it, that it seems the only end of his being. The love of a retired or busy life will grow upon a man insensibly, as he is conversant in the one or the other, till he is utterly unqualified for relishing that to which he has been for some time disused. Nay, a man may smoke, or drink, or take snuff, till he is unable to pass away his time without it; not to mention how our delight in any particular study, art or science, rises and improves, in proportion to the application which we bestow upon it. Thus, what was at first an exercise, becomes at length an entertainment. Our employments are changed into diversions. The mind grows fond of those actions it is accustomed to, and is drawn with reluctancy from those paths in which it has been used to walk.
If we consider, attentively, this property of human nature, it must instruct us in very fine moralities. In the first place, I would have no man discouraged with that kind
of life, or series of action, in which the choice of others, or his own necessities may have engaged him. It may, perhaps be very disagreeable to him at first; but use and application will certainly render it not only less painful, but pleasing and satisfactory.
In the second place, I would recommend to every one the admirable precept which Pythagoras is said to have given to his disciples, and which that philosopher must have drawn from the observation I have enlarged upon; "Pitch upon that course of life which is the most excellent, and custom will render it the most delightful." Men, whose circumstances will permit them to choose their own way of life, are inexcusable if they do not pursue that which their judgment tells them is the most laudable. The voice of reason is more to be regarded than the bent of any present inclination, since, by the rule above mentioned, inclination will, at length, come over to reason, though we can never force reason to comply with inclination.
In the third place, this observation may teach the most sensual and irreligious man, to overlook those hardships and difficulties, which are apt to discourage him from the prosecution of a virtuous life. "The gods," says Hesiod," have placed labour before virtue; the way to her is at first rough and difficult, but grows more smooth and easy the farther you advance in it." The man who proceeds in it with steadiness and resolution, will in a little time find, that "her ways are ways of pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace."
To enforce this consideration, we may further observe, that the practice of religion will not only be attended with that pleasure which naturally accompanies those actions to which we are habituated; but with those supernumerary joys of heart, that rise from the consciousness of such a pleasure, from the satisfaction of acting up to the dictates of reason, and from the prospect of a happy immortality.
In the fourth place, we may learn from this observation, which we have made on the mind of man, to take particular care, when we are once settled in a regular course of life, how we too frequently indulge ourselves in any of the most innocent diversions and entertainments; since the mind may insensibly fall off from the relish of virtuous actions, and, by degrees, exchange that pleasure which it takes in the performance of its duty, for delights of a much more inferior and unprofitable nature.
The last use which I shall make of this remarkable property in human nature, of being delighted with those actions to which it is accustomed, is, to show how absolutely neces sary it is for us to gain habits of virtue in this life, if we would enjoy the pleasures of the next.-The state of bliss we call heaven, will not be capable of affecting those minds which are not thus qualified for it; we must in this world gain a relish of truth and virtue, if we would be able to taste that knowledge and perfection, which are to make us happy in the next. The seeds of those spiritual joys and raptures, which are to rise up and flourish in the soul to all eternity, must be planted in it during this its present state of probation. In short, heaven is not to be looked upon only as the reward, but as the natural effect of a religious life.
PEDANTRY, in the common sense of the word, means an absurd ostentation of learning, and stiffness of phraseology, proceeding from a misguided knowledge of books and a total ignorance of men.
But I have often thought, that we might extend its signification a good deal farther; and, in general, apply it to that failing, which disposes a person to obtrude upon others, subjects of conversation relating to his own business, studies, or amusements.
In this sense of the phrase, we should find pedants in every character and condition of life. Instead of a black coat and a plain shirt, we should often see pedantry appear in an embroidered suit and Brussels lace; instead of being bedaubed with snuff, we should find it breathing perfumes; and, in place of a bookworm, crawling through the gloomy cloisters of a university, we should mark it in the state of a gilded butterfly, buzzing through the gay region of the drawing-room.
Robert Daisy, Esq. is a pedant of this last kind.—When he tells you that his ruffles cost twenty guineas a pair; that his buttons were the first of the kind, made by one of the most eminent artists in Birmingham; that his buckles were procured by means of a friend at Paris, and are the exact pattern of those worn by the Compte d'Artois; that the loop of his hat was of his own contrivance, and has set the fashion to half a dozen of the finest fellows in town: When he descants on all these particulars, with that smile of selfcomplacency which sits forever on his cheek, he is as much
a pedant as his quondam tutor, who recites verses from Pindar, tells stories out of Herodotus, and talks for an hour on the energy of the Greek particles.
But Mr. Daisy is struck dumb by the approach of his brother, Sir Thomas, whose pedantry goes a pitch higher, and pours out all the intelligence of France and Italy, whence the young baronet is just returned, after a tour of fifteen months over all the kingdoms of the continent. Talk of music, he cuts you short with the history of the first singer at Naples; of painting, he runs you down with a description of the gallery at Florence; of architecture, he overwhelms you with the dimensions of St. Peter's or the great church at Antwerp; or, if you leave the province of art altogether, and introduce the name of a river or hill, he instantly deluges you with the Rhine, or makes you dizzy with the height of Ætna or Mont Blanc.
Miss will have no difficulty of owning her great aunt to be a pedant, when she talks all the time of dinner, on the composition of the pudding, or the seasoning of the mincepies; or enters into a disquisition on the figure of the damask table-cloth, with a word or two on the thrift of making one's own linen; but the young lady will be surprised when I inform her, that her own history of last Thursday's assembly, with the episode of Lady D's feather, and the digression to the qualities of Mr. Frizzle, the hair-dresser, was also a piece of downright pedantry.
Mrs. Caudle is guilty of the same weakness, when she recounts the numberless witticisms of her daughter Emmy, describes the droll figure her little Bill made yesterday at trying on his first pair of breeches; and informs us, that Bobby has got seven teeth, and is just cutting an eighth, though he will be but nine months old next Wednesday, at six o'clock in the evening. Nor is her pedantry less disgusting, when she proceeds to enumerate the virtues and good qualities of her husband: though this last species is so uncommon, that it may, perhaps, be admitted into conversation for the sake of novelty.
There is pedantry in every disquisition, however masterly it may be, that stops the general conversation of the company. When Silius delivers that sort of lecture he is apt to get into, though it is supported by the most extensive information and the clearest discernment, it is still pedantry ; and, while I admire the talents of Silius, I cannot help beLast night, after ing uneasy at his exhibition of them.