Imágenes de páginas
PDF

surgeons in Paris, was desperately in love with sonally known to this lady, have nothing but this lady. Her quality placed her above any to rejoice in the honour you had of being reapplication to her on the account of his pas-lated to so great merit; but we, who have lost sion : but as a woman always has some regard her conversation, cannot so easily resign our to the person whom she believes to be her real own happwess by reflection upon hers. admirer, she now took it in her head (upon ad

"I am, Sir, vice of her physicians to loose some of her! Your affectionate kinsman, blood) to send for Monsieur Festeau on that * and most obedient, humble servant, occasion. I happened to be there at that

PAUL REGNAUD.' time, and my near relation gave me the pri. vilege to be present. As soon as her arm was

There hardly can be a greater instance of stripped bare, and he began to press it in order an heroic mind than the unprejudiced manto raise the vein. his colour changed. and ner in which this lady weighed this misiortune. observed him seized with a sudden tremor. The regard of life could not make her overwhich made me take the liberty to speak of it look the contrition of the unhappy man, whose to my cousin with some apprehension. She more than ordinary concern for her was all his smiled. and said, she knew M. Festeau had no guilt. It would certainly be of a singular use inclination to do her injury. He seemed to to human society to have an exact account of recover himself. and. smiling also proceeded this lady's ordinary conduct which was crownin bis work. Immediately after the operation. ed by so uncommon magnanimity. Such he cried out, that he was the most unfortunate greatness was not to be acquired in the last of all men, for that he had opened an artery article ; nor is it to be doubted but it was a instead of a vein. It is as impossible to ex. constant practice of all that is praise-worthy. press the artist's distraction as the patient's which made her capable of beholding death, composure. I will not dwell on little circum- not as the dissolution, but consummation of stances, but go on to inform you, that within her life.

T. three day's time it was thought necessary to take off her arm. She was so far from using Festeau as it would be natural for one of a

5 No. 369.] Saturday, May 3, 1712. lower spirit to treat him, that she would not Segnius irritant animos demieta per aures, let him be absent from any consultation about

Quam quia sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus her present condition, and, after having been

Hor. Ars Poet. v. 180. about a quarter of an hour alone, she bid the What we hear moves less than what we fee. surgeous, of whom poor Festeau was one, go

Roscommon. on in their work. I know not how to give you the terms of art, but there appeared such

Milton, after having represented in vision symptoms after the amputation of her arm,

the history of mankind to the first great period that it was visible she could not live four and

of nature, despatches the remaining part of it twenty hours. Her behaviour was so magua

in narration. He has devised a very handsome nimous throughout the whole affair, that I was

reason for the angel's proceeding with Adam

after this manner; though doubtless the true particularly curious in taking notice of what past as her fate approached nearer and nearer,

reason was the difficulty wbich the poet would and took notes of what she said to all about

have found to have shadowed out so mixed

and complicated a story in visible objects. I her, particularly word for word what she spoke

could wish, however, that the author nad done to M. Festeau, which was as follows:

it, whatever pains it might have cost him. To “Sir, you give me inexpressible sorrow for

give my opinion freely, I think that the exthe anguish with which I see you overwhelmed. I am removed to all intents and purposes from

hibiting part of the history of mankind in the interests of human life, therefore I am to

vision, and part in nariative, is as if an bisbegin to think like one wholly unconcerned in

tory-painter should put in colours one half of it. (do pot consider you as one by whose er

bis subject, and write down the remaining ror I have lost my life ; no, you are my bene-1!

part of it. If Milton's poem flags any where, factor, as you have hastened my entrance in

it is in this narration, where in some places the

cauthor has been so attentive to his divinity that to a happy immortality. This is my sense of

'The has neglected his poetry. The narration. this accident: but the world in which you

however, rises very happily on severy occalive may have thoughts ot' it to your disadvantage: I have therefore taken care to provide

sions, where the subject is capable of poetical for you in my will, and have placed you

ornaments, as particularly in the confusion above what you have to fear from their ill.

which he describes among the builders of

Babel, and in his short sketch of the plagues nature." While this excellent woman spoke these

of Egypt. The storm of hail and fire, with words, Festeau looked as if he received a

the darkness that overspread the land for three

"days, are described with great strength. The condemnation to die, instead of a pension for his life. Madame de Villacerfe lived till eight

beautiful passage which follows is raised upon of the clock the next night; and though she

"Inoble hints in Scripture : must have laboured under the most exquisite

Thus with ten wounds torments, she possessed her mind with so won The river drag n tam'd, at length submits derful a patience, that one may rather say she

To let his sojourners depart; and oft

Humbles his stubborn heart; but still, as ice, ceased to breathe, than she died at that hour.

More harden'd after than : till in his rage You, who had not the happiness to be per Pursuing whom he late dismiss'd, the sea

Swallows him with bis host; but then lets man conducted it through many doubts and fears, As on dry land between two crystal walls,

sorrows and disquietudes, in a state of tranAw'd by the rod of Moses so to stand

quillity and satisfaction. Milion's fable, which Divided

had so many other qualifications to recommend The river dragon is an allusion to the cro-it, was deficient in this particular. It is here codile, which inhabits the Nile, froin whence therefore that the poet has shown a most er. Egypt derives her plenty. This allusion is quisite judgment, as well as the finest inven. taken from that sublime passage in Ezekiel: tion, by finding out a method to supply this (Thus saith the Lord God. Behold I am against natural defect in his subject. Accordingly be thee. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great dragon leaves the adversary of mankind, in the last that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath view which he gives of him, under the low. said, My river is mine own, and I have made est state of mortification and disappointment. it for myself.' Milton has given us another

other We see him chewing ashes, grovelling in the very noble and poetical image in the same dust, and loaden with supernumerary pains descption, which is copied almost word for and torments. On the contrary, our two first word out of the history of Moses :

parents are comforted by dreams and visions,

cheered with promises of salvation, and in a • All night he will pursue, but his approach

manner raised to a greater happiness than that Darkness defends between till morning watch:

which they had forfeited. In short, Satan is Then through the fiery pillar and the cloud

represented miserable in the height of his God looking forth will trouble all his host, And craze their chariot wheels: when by command triumphs, and Adam triumphant in the height Moses once more his potent rod extends

of misery. Over the sea : the sea his rod obcys:

Milton's poem ends very nobly. The last On their enubattled ranks the waves return And overwhelm their war

speeches of Adarn and the archangel are full

of moral and instructive sentiments. The As the principal design of this episode was sleep that fell upon Eve, and the effects it to give Adam an idea of the holy person who had in quieting the disorders of her mind, was to reinstate human nature in that happi-produces the same kind of consolation in the ness and perfection from which it had fallen reader, who cannot peruse the last beautiful the poet confines himself to the line of Abra- speech, which is ascribed to the mother of ham, from whence the Messiah was to descend. mankind, without a secret pleasure and satisThe angel is described as seeing the patriarch faction : actually travelling towards the land of promise, which gives a particular liveliness to

Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know: this part of the narration :

For God is also in sleep, and dreams advise,
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good

Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith

Wearied I tell asleep: but now led on; He leaves his gods, his friends, his native soil

In me is no delay: with thee to go, Ur of Chaldea, passing now the ford

Is to stay hare, without thee here to stay, To Haran, after hun a cumbrous train

Is to go hence unwillingly : thou to me Of herds, and flocks, and num'rous servitude:

Art all things under heav'n, all places thou, Not wand'ring poor, but trusting all his wealth

Who for my wilful crime art banish'd hence. With God, who call'd him in a land unknown.

This farther consolation yet secure Canann he now attains: I see his tents

I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain Such favour I unworthy an vouchsard,
Of Morch; there by promise he receives

By me the promis'd seed shall all restore.
Gift to his progeny of all that land;
From Hamatb northward to the desert south :

The following lines, which conclude the (Things by their name I call, though yet unnam'd'.)

) poem, rise in a most glorious blaze of poetical As Virgil's vision in the sixth Æneid proba- | **

images and expressions.

1 Heliodorus in the Æthiopics acquaints us, bly gave Milton the hint of this whole episode, l.

that the motion of the gods differs from that the last line is a translation of that verse where

of mortals, as the former do not stir their feet, Anchises mentions the names of places, which

(nor proceed step by step, but slide over the they were to bear hereafter :

surface of the earth by an uniform swimming

of the whole body. The reader may observe Hæc tuin nomina erunt, nunc sunt sine nomine terræ.'

: with how poetical a description Milton has The poet has very finely represented the attributed the same kind of motion to the joy and gladness of heart which arises in angels who were to take possession of ParaAdam upon his discovery of the Messiah. Asarse : he sees his day at a distance, through types

So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard and shadows, he rejoices in it; but when he

Well pleas'd, but answer'] not; for now too nigh finds the redemption of man completed, and Tb'archangel stood; and from the other hill Paradise again renewed, he breaks forth in To their fixed station, ail in bright array

The cherubim descended ; on the ground rapture and transport:

Gliding meteorous, as evening mist () goodness infinite, goodness immense!

Ris'o froin a river, o'er the marish glides,

And gathers ground fast at the lab'rer's heel That all this good of evil shall produce,' &c.

Homeward returning. High in front advanc'd, I have hinted in my sixth paper on Milton,

The brandish'd sword of God before them blaz'd

Fierce as a cometthat an heroic poem, according to the opinion of the best critics, ought to end happily, and The author helped bis invention in the folleave the mind of the reader, after having lowing passage, by reflecting on the behavi.

our of the angel, who in holy writ has the continued in Paradise while they kept the conduct of Lot and his fainily. The circum-command that was given them, and were stances drawn from that relation are very driven out of it as soon as they had transgracefully made use of on this occasion : gressed. This is likewise the moral of the

principal episode, which shows us how an • In either hand the hart'ning angel caught

innumerable multitude of angels fell from Our ling'ring parents, and to th' eastern gate Led them direct; and down the cliff as fast

their disobedience. Besides this great moral, To the subjected plain; theu disappear'd,

which may be looked upon as the soul of the They looking back, &c.

fable, there are an infinity of under-morals

which are to be drawn from the several The scene which our first parents are sur

parts of the poem, and which make this prised with, upon their looking back on Para

work more useful and instructive than any dise, wonderfully strikes the reader's imagina-1)

other poem in any language. tion, as nothing can be more natural than the

| Those who have criticised on the Odyssey, tears they shed on that occasion :

the Iliad, and Æneid, have taken a great deal

of pains to fix the number of months and days • They looking back, all th' eastern side beheld Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,

contained in the action of each of those poems. Way'd over by that flaming brand, the gate

If any one thinks it worth his while to examine With dreadful faces throng'd and fiery arms:

this particular in Milton, be' will find, that Some natural tears they dropp'd but wip'd them soon; The world was all before them, where to choose

from Adam's first appearance in the fourth Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.' | book, to his expulsion from Paradise in the

twelfth, the author reckons ten days. As for If I might presume to offer at the smallest that part of the action which is described in alteration in this divine work, I should think the three first books, as it does not pass within the poem would end better with the passage the regions of nature. I have before observed bere quoted, than with the two verses which that it is not subject to apy calculations of follow:

time. They hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow

I have now finished my observations on a Through Eden took their solitary way.

work which does an honour to the English

nation. I have taken a general view of it unThese two verses, though they have their der these four heads-the fable, the characbeauty, fall very much below the foregoing ters, the sentiments. and the language, and passage, and renew in the mind of the reader made each of them the subject of a particular that anguish which was pretty well laid by paper. I have in the next place spoke of the that consideration :

censures which our author may incur under

each of these heads, which I have confined to The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.

two papers, though I might have enlarged the

number if I had been disposed to dwell on so unThe number of books in Paradise Lost is grateful a subject. I believe, however, that equal to those of the Æneid. Our Author in the severest reader will not find any little fault his first edition had divided his poem into ten in beroic poetry, which this author has fallen books, but afterwards broke the seventh and into, that does not come under one of those the eleventh each of them into two different heads among which I have distributed his sebooks, by the help of some small additions. veral blemishes. After having thus treated This second division was made with great at large of Paradise Lost, I could not think it judgment. as any ore may see who will be at sufficient to have celebrated this poem in the the pains of examining it. It was not done whole without descending to particulars. I for the sake of such a chimerical beauty as have therefore bestowed a paper upon each that of resembling Virgil in this particular, book; and endeavoured not only to prove that but for the more just and regu.ar disposition the poem is beautiful in general, but to point of this great work.

out its particular beauties; and, to determine Those who have read Bossu, and many of wherein they consist, I have endeavoured to the critics who have written since his time, show how some passages are beautiful by bewill not pardon me if I do not find out the ing sublime, others by being soft, others by particular moral which is inculcated in Para- being natural; which of them are recommenddise Lost. Though I can by no means think, ed by the passion, which by the moral, which with the last-mentioned French author, that by the sentiment, and which by the expres. an epic writer first of all pitches upon a cer- sion. I have likewise endeavoured to show tain moral, as the ground-work and founda- how the genius of the poet shines by a happy tion of his poem, and afterwards finds out a invention, a distant allusion, or a judicious story to it; I am however of opinion, that no imitation; how he has copied or improved just heroic poem ever was or can be made, Homer or Virgil, and raises his own imagifrom whence one great moral may not be de- nations by the use which he has made of duced. That which reigns in Milton is the several poetical passages in Scripture. I might most universal and most useful that can be have inserted also several passages in Tasso, imagined. It is in short this, that obedience which our author has imitated : but, as I do to the will of God makes men happy, and not look upon Tasso to be a sufficient voucher, that disobedience makes thein miserable. I would not perplex my reader with such quoThis is visibly the moral of the principal fa- tations as might do more honour to the Italian ble, which turns upon Adam and Eve, who than to the English poet. In short, I have chVOL. II.

11

deavoured to particularize those innumerable Wilks for representing the tenderness of a kinds of beauty which it would be tedious to husband and a father in Macbeth, the contrirecapitulate, but which are essential to poetry, trition of a reformed prodigal in Harry the and which may be met with in the works of Fourth, the winning emptiness of a young this great author. Had I thought, at my man of good-nature and wealth in The Trip first engaging in this design, that it would to the Jubilee, the officiousness of an artfal bave led me to so great a length, I believe I servant in the Fox; wheir thus I celebrate should never have entered upon it; but the Wilks, I talk to all the world who are engaged kind reception which it has met with among in any of those circumstances. If I were 'to those whose judgment I have a value for, as speak of merit neglected, misapplied, or miswell as the uncommon demands which my understood, might I not say Estcourt has a bookseller tells me have been made for these great capacity? But it is not the interest of particular discourses, give me no reason to others who bear a figure on the stage, that repent of the pains I have been at in compos- his talents were understood; it is their busiing them.

ness to impose upon him what cannot become him, or keep out of his hands any thing in

which he would shine. Were one to raise a No. 370.] Monday, May 5, 1712.

suspicion of himself in a man who passes upon

the world for a fine thing in order to alarm Totus mundus agit histrionem.

I him, one might say, If Lord Foppington was - All the world's a stage,

not on the stage (Cibber acts the false pretenAnd all the men and women merely players.

'Shakencare. siops to a genteel behaviour so very justly).

he would have in the generality of mankind Many of my fair readers, as well as very gay more than would admire than deride bim. and well-received persons of the other sex, are When we come to characters directly comical, extremely perplexed at the Latin sentences at it is not to be imagined what effect a well-rethe head of my speculations. I do not know gulated stage would have upon men's mapwhether I ought not to indulge them with ners. The craft of an usurer, the absurdity translations of each of them: however, I have of a rich fool, the awkward roughness of a to-day taken down from the top of the stage fellow of half courage the ungraceful mirth in Drury-lane a bit of Latin which often stands of a creature of half wit, might for ever be in their view, and signifies, thatThe whole put out of countenance by proper parts for world acts the player.' It is certain that if Doggett. Johnson, by acting Corbacchio the we look all round us, and behold the different other night, must have given all who saw him employments of mankind, you hardly see one a thorough detestation of aged avarice. "The who is not, as the player is, in an assumed petulancy of a peevish old fellow, who loves character. The lawyer, who is vebement and and hates he knows not why, is very excelloud in a cause wherein he knows he has not lently performed by the ingenious Mr. Wilthe truth of the question on his side, is a player liam Penkethman in the Fop's Fortune; as to the personated part, but incoinparably where, in the character of Don Choleric meaner than he as to the prostitution of bim-Snap Shorto de Testy, he answers no ques. self for hire; because the pleader's falsehood tions but to those whom he likes, and wants introduces injustise: the player feigns for no no account of any thing from those he apother end but to divert or instruct you. The proves. Mr. Penkethman is also master of divine, whose passions transport him to say as many faces in the dumb scene as can be any thing with any view but promoting the expected from a man in the circumstances of interests of true piety and religion, is a player being ready to perish out of fear and hunger. with a still greater imputation of guilt, in He wonders through the whole scene very proportion to his depreciating a character masterly, without neglecting his victuals. If it more sacred. Consider all the different pur- be as I have heard it sometimes mentioned, a suits and employments of men, and you will great qualification of the world to follow busi. find half their actions tend to nothing else but ness and pleasure too, what is it in the ingedisguise and imposture; and all that is done nious Mr. Penkethman to represent a sense of which proceeds not from a man's very self, is pleasure and pain at the same time-as you the action of a player. For this reason it is may see him do this evening? that I make so frequent mention of the stage. As it is certain that a stage onght to be It is with me a matter of the highest considera- wholly suppressed, or judiciously encouraged, tion, what parts are well or ill performed, while there is one in the nation, men turned what passions or sentiments are indulged or for regular pleasure cannot employ their cultivated, and consequently what manners thoughts more usefully, for the diversion of and customs are transfused from the stage to mankind, than by convincing them that it is the world, which reciprocally imitate each in themselves to raise this entertainment to other. As the writers of epic poems intro- the greatest height. It would be a great imduce shadowy persons, and represent vices provement, as well as embellishment to the and virtues under the character of men and theatre, if dancing were more regarded, and women; so I, whom am a Spectator in the taught to all the actors. One who has the world, may perhaps sometimes make use of advantage of such an agreeable girlish per. the names of the actors of the stage, to re- son as Mrs. Bicknell, joined with her capacity present or admonish those who transact af- of imitation, could in proper gesture and mofairs in the world. When I am commending tion represent all the decent characters of fe

day.

male life. An amiable modesty in one aspects agitated with eating, drinking, and discourse, of a dancer, and assumed confidence in ano- and observing all the chins that were present ther, a sudden joy in another, a falling-off with meeting together very often over the centre of an impatience of being beheld, a return to the table, every one grew sensible of the jest, wards the audience with an unsteady resolu- and gave into it with so much good humour, tion to approach them, and well-acted solici- that they lived in strict friendship and allitude to please, would revive in the company ance from that day forward. . all the fine touches of mind raised in observ. “The same gentleman some time after packing all the objects of affection and passion ed together a set of oglers, as he called them, they had before beheld. Such elegant enter- consisting of such as had an unlucky cast in tainments as these would polish the town into their eyes. His diversion on this occasion judgment in their gratifications; and delicacy was to see the cross bows, mistaken signs, and in pleasure is the first step people of condi- wrong connivances, that passed amidst so tion take in reformation from vice. Mrs. many broken and refracted rays of sight. Bicknell has the only capacity for this sort · The third feast which this merry gentleof dancing of any on the stage; and I dare man exhibited was to the stammerers, whom say all who see her performance to-morrow he got together in a sufficient body to fill his night, when sure the romp will do her best table. He had ordered one of his servants, for her own benefit, will be of my mind. T. who was placed behind a screen, to write

down their table-talk, which was very easy to No. 371.] Tuesday, May 6, 1712.

be done without the help of short-hand. It

appears by the notes which were taken, that Janne igitur laudas quod de sapientibns unus

though their conversation never fell, there Ridebat?

Jur. Sat. x. 28.

were not above twenty words spoken during And shall the sage your approbation win,

the first course ; that upon serving up the seWhose laughing features wore a constant grin?

cond, one of the company was a quarter of an I SHALL communicate to my readers the hour in telling them that the ducklings and following letter for the entertainment of this asparagus were very good; and that another

took up the same time in declaring himself

of the same opinion. This jest did not, how“SIR,

ever, go off so well as the former; for one of • You know very well that our nation is the guests being a brave inan, and fuller of more famous for that sort of men who are resentment than he knew how to express, called " whims” and “humourists,” than went out of the room, and sent the facetious any other country in the world : for which inviter a challenge in writing, which, though reason it is observed, that our English come- it was afterwards dropped by the interposidy excels that of all other nations in the no-itioa of friends, put a stop to these ludicrous velty and variety of its characters.

entertainments. Among those innumerable sets of whims Now, Sir, I dare say you will agree with which our country produces, there are none me, that as there is no moral in these jests, they whom I have regarded with more curiosity ought to be discouraged, and looked upon than those who have invented any particular rather as pieces of unluckiness than wit. How. kind of diversion for the entertainment of ever, as it is natural for one man to refine upthemselves and their friends. My letter shall on the thought of another; and impossible for single out those who take delight in sorting a any single person, how great soever his parts company that has something of burlesque and may be, to invent an art, and bring it to its ut. ridicule in its appearance I shall make my most perfection ; I shall here give you an aca self understood by the following example : count of an honest gentleman of my acquaintOne of the wits of the last age, who was a ance, who upon hearing the character of the man of a good estate,* thought he never laid wit above-mentioned, has himself assumed it, out his money better than in a jest. As heland endeavou

nd endeavoured to convert it to the benefit was one year at the Bath, observing that, in of mankind. He invited half a dozen of his the great confluence of fine people, there were friends one day to dinner, who were each of several among them with long chins, a part them famous for inserting several redundant of the vissage by which he himself was very phrases in their discourse, as D'ye hear much distinguished, he invited to dinner half me? --D'ye see-That is, And so, Sir." Each a score of these remarkable persons who had of his guests making use of his partieular ele, their mouths in the middle of their faces. gance, appeared so ridiculous to his neighThey had no sooner placed themselves about bour, that he could not but reflect upon himthe table but they began to stare upon one self as appearing equally ridiculous to the another, not being'able to imagine what had rest of the company. By this means, before brought them together. Our English proverb they had sat long together, every one, talksays,

ing with the greatest circumspection, and 'Tis Derry in the hall,

carefully avoiding his favourite expletive, the When bcards wag all.'

conversation was cleared of its redundancies,

and had a greater quantity of sense, though It proved so in the assembly I am now speak- less of sound in it. ing of, who seeing so many peaks of faces • The same well-meaning gentleman took

occasion, at another time, to bring together • Villars, Duke of Buckingham.

such of his friends as were addicted to a fool.

« AnteriorContinuar »