Images de page
PDF
ePub

3. With regard to the sexes, I have observed that in the company of men, it is very apt to run backwards, and in that of the fair sex to stand still, though in honour to the latter, I bave sometimes observed it to run with greater swiftness forwards, than is usual with regard to the other sex.

4. In our present depraved times, I bave observed, that whenever the longest hand of my watch makes seven turns round its circumference of three hundred and sixty degrees, the person who sets it in motion may be reckoned in a very advanced age; and he who attains bis sixth philosophical year may be called an old man.

5. I have indeed a list of some persons, who at the natural age' of twenty or thirty years have, according to my watch, died in a good old age, but such examples are very rare.

6. With the help of my watch, I have been enabled to write the whole life and history of my late neighbour Dick Nightcap in these few words. Richard Nightcap, born anno 1697, died anno 1727, aged 0 year.

7. Harry Spadille, a gamester of sixty years natural age, is according to my watch fourteen days and six hours old. he made a halt in life, and let one of his grand-children grow seven months older than himself.

At that age

8. Nick Miser, an old usurer, died according to my watch some years before he was born. The many acts of injustice which he had been guilty of produced such an effect, as I cannot better describe than by employing the algebraic term and character minus by the help of which I can say he lived -5 years + 3 mouths + 10 days + 4 bour, and so much in his account of philosophical life, he was worse than nothing at his death.

In fact they may be accounted long and good livers, to whom we can with justice apply the epitaph which a Roman Consul in the time of the emperor Trajan caused to be placed on his tomb,

Hic jacet Similis
Cujus ætas multorum annorum fuit,
Ipse septem duntaxat annos vixit.

Here lies Similis
Who was many ycars old
But lived only seven years.

To form a just and profitable application of these reflections, let a young and healthy person, advanced to the years of discretion, make a supposition of the time he may reasonably think he has to live. If the life of man be reckoned at a medium thirty years; let us for

[blocks in formation]

argument's sake suppose twelve years, of these twelve we must abate at least four, for the necessary time of sleeping, dressing and the like. Two

years we may reckon for eating and drinking; and that person must be very assiduous indeed who does not spend two more in pleasure and diversions. We have then four left for the rational and beneficial occupations of a philosophical life. No small part of it is probably spent in indifference and indolence; and he must be a very exact observer of his duty, who has not some of it to balance against time spent in irrational and unwarrantable actions. So that on the whole we have hardly more than two in twelve.

ESSAY 104.

THE INTELLECTUAL THERMOMETER,

(German Spy.)

This little thermometer may very properly be called the touch-stone of sound reason, a metal which in these latter times we find very much debased, and without the help of such a touch-stone not easily valued. But the author has dignified it with the significant naine of the Intellectual Thermometer, or weather-glass of the understanding, which is the meaning of the Arabic characters inlaid in the niche over the tube ; and his reason evidently was, because it displays the different degrees of the heat or cold of the understanding with the utmost accuracy. The characters denoting these degrees, each subdivided into four quarters, stood in the following order:

INTELLECTUAL THERMOMETER.

Phrensy

Extravagance

Fire

Sprightliness

SOUND JUDGMENT

Seriousness

Phlegm

Heaviness

Dullness Whenever I read an author of a judicious, clear, and unaffected genius, I always observe that the spirits in my tube remain fixed to the center or sound judgment. . When this sound and natural judgment is brightened with a lively imagination, my thermometer has risen to

« PrécédentContinuer »