Saturday, 3 December 2011

He that would be long an old Man

From Wikipedia

He that would be long an old Man, must begin early to be one: It is too late to resign a thing after a Man is robbed of it; therefore it is necessary that before the Arrival of Age we bid adieu to the Pursuits of Youth, otherwise sensual Habits will live in our Imagination when our Limbs cannot be subservient to them. The poor Fellow who lost his Arm last Siege will tell you, he feels the Fingers that are buried in Flanders ake [ache] every every cold Morning at Chelsea.

The Applause of a good Actor is due to him at whatever scene of the Play he makes his Exit. It is thus in the Life of a Man of Sense, a short Life is sufficient to manifest himself a Man of Honour and Virtue; when he ceases to be such he has lived too long; and while he is such, it is of no Consequence to him how long he shall be so, provided he is so to his life's End.

The Spectator - Saturday August 25th 1711


Sam Vega said...

Is this Addison, or Steele? I've got an Everyman edition of some of their Spectator writings, and they are very fond of these rolling cadences.

I always think the sound is better than the sense. If one was always acting out a social part, "manifesting" one's virtues, then they would have more to offer us. They never quite go so far as to say that real virtue is different from honour, however.

rogerh said...

I find some pleasure in being old, old people are companionable and not struck with the vanities and shynesses of youth. We know each other's infirmities and worries and can speak frankly one to another.

Old Socrates is alleged to have said something like "To be born with testicles is to be shackled to the village idiot", but in his age he seemed quite glad of the peace of mind that accompanied their withering, maybe he just wore them out.

A K Haart said...

SV - I'm quoting from a 1724 edition and the essays are anonymous. The pages are very clean - I don't think it has been read much!

You are right - the sound is usually better than the sense, but there are a few interesting insights in there too.

rogerh - I'm comfortable with age too - it certainly has its advantages while you are reasonably fit.