Imágenes de páginas
PDF

The short fable, which has no pretence in it now and then been instances of a few crazy to reason or argument, and but a very small people in several nations, who have denied share of wit, has however recommended itself, the existence of a deity: wholly by its impiety, to those weak men who The catalogue of these is, however, very would distinguish themselves by the singularity short: even Vaninia, the most celebrated of their opinions.

champion for the cause professed before his There are two considerations which have judges that he believed the existence of a God: been often urged against atheists, and which and, taking up a straw which lay before bim they never yet could get over. The first is, on the ground, assured them, that alone was that the greatest and most eminent persons of sufficient to convince him of it; alleging seall ages have been against them, and always veral arguments to prove that it was impos. complied with the public forms of worship es. sible pature alone could create any thing. tablished in their respective countries, when I was the other day reading an account of there was nothing in them either derogatory Casimir Lyszynski, a gentleinan of Poland, to the honour of the Supreme Being, or pre- who was convicted and executed for this judicial to the good of mankind.

crime. The manner of his punishment was The Platos and Ciceros among the ancients; very particular. As soon as his body was the Bacons, the Boyles, and the Lockes, among burnt, his ashes were put into a candon, and our own countrymen ; are all instances of shot into the air towards Tartary. what I have been saying; not to mention any I am apt to believe, that if something like of the divines, however celebrated, since our this method of punishment should prevail in adversaries challenge all those, as men who England (such is the natural good sense of the have too much interest in this case to be im- British nation), that whether we rammed an partial evidences.

atheist whole into a great gun, or pulverized But what has been often urged as a consi. our infidels, as they do in Poland, we should deration of much more weight, is not only the not have many charges. . opinion of the better sort, but the general I should however premise, while our ammuconsent of mankind to this great truth; which nition lasted, that, instead of Tartary, we I think could not possibly have come to pass. should always keep two or three cannons rea. but from one of the three following reasons : dy pointed towards the Cape of Good Hope, either that the idea of a God is innate and co- in order to shoot our unbelievers into the existent with the mind itself; or that this truth country of the Hottentots. is so very obvious, that it is discovered by the In my opinion, a solemn judicial death is first exertion of reason in persons of the most too great an honour for an atheist; though I ordinary capacities; or lastly, that it has been must allow the method of exploding him, as it delivered down to us through all ages by a is practised in this ludicrous kind of martyr. tradition from the first man.

dom, has something in it proper enough to the The atheist are equally confounded, to nature of his offence. whichever of these three causes we assign it; There is indeed a great objection against they have been so pressed by this last argu- this manner of treating them. Zeal for rement from the general consent of mankind, ligion is of so effective a nature that it seldom that after great search and pains they pre-knows where to rest; for which reason I am tend to have found out a nation of atheists, afraid, after having discharged our atheists, I mean that polite people the Hottentots. we might possibly think of shooting off our

I dare not shock my readers with the de- sectaries; and as one does not foresee the scription of the customs and manners of these vicissitudes of human affairs, it might one barbarians, who are in every respect scarce time or other come to a man's own turn to one degree above brutes, having no language fly out of the mouth of a deiniculverin. among them but a confused gabble, which is If any of my readers imagine that I have neither well understood by themselves por treated these gentlemen in too ludicrous a others.

manner, I must confess, for my own part, I It is not, however, to be imagined how much tbink reasoning against such unbelievers, upon the atheists have gloried in these their good a point that shocks the common sense of manfriends and allies.

| kivd, is doing them too great an honour, gir. If we boast of a Socrates or a Seneca, they ing them a figure in the eye of the world, and may now confront them with these great philo-making people fancy that they have more in sophers the Hottentots.

them than they really have. Though even this point has, not without As for tbose persons who have any scheme reason, been several times controverted, I see of religious worship, I am for treating such no manner of harm it could do to religion, if with the utmost tenderness, and should endeawe should entirely give them up this elegant vour to show them their errors with the greatpart of mankind,

est temper and humanity : but as these ipisMethinks nothing more shows the weakness creants are for throwing down religion in of their cause, than that no division of their general, for stripping mankind of what themfellow-creatures join with them, but those selves own is of excellent use in all great soci. among whom they themselves own reason is eties, without once offering to establish any almost defaced, and who have little else but thing in the room of it, I think the best way their shape which can entitle them to any of dealing with them, is to retort their own place in the species.

weapons upon them, which are those of scorn Besides these poor creatores, there hare and mockery.

[ocr errors]

No. 390.] Wednesday, May 28, 1712. what you please, and yet be the prettiest sort

of woman in the world. If fathers and broNon pudendo, and non faciendo id quod non decet, im-thers will defend a lady's honour, she is quite pudentiae nomen effugere debemus.

as safe as in her own innocence. Many of the

distressed, who suffer under the malice of evil It is not by blushing, but by not doing what is unbecoming, that we ought to guard against the imputation of in-tongues, are so harmless, that they are every pudence.

day they live asleep till twelve at noon; con

cern themselves with nothing but their own Mary are the epistles I receive from ladies

ladies persons till two; take their necessary food be. extremely afflicted that they lie under the ob.

tween that tine and four; visit, go to the play, servation of scandalous people, who love to

and sit up at cards till towards the ensuing defame their neighbours, and make the un.

morn; and the malicious world shall draw justest interpretation of innocent and indiffer

conclusions from innocent glances, short whis. ent actions. They describe their own bena

pers, or pretty familiar railleries with fashionviour so unhappily, that there indeed lies some

able men that these fair ones are not as rigid cause of suspicion upon them. It is certain,

as vestals. It is certain, say these goodest' that there is no authority for persons who

creatures, very well, that virtue does not conhave nothing else to do, to pass away hours of

sist in constrained behaviour and wry faces ; conversation upon the miscarriages of other

that must be allowed: but there is a decency people; but since they will do so, they who

they who in the aspect and manner of ladies, contracted value their reputation should be cautious offrom a habit of virtue, and from general reappearances to their disadvantage: but very flections that regard a modest conduct, all often our young women, as well as the mid-which may be understood, though they candle aged, and the gay part of those growing not be described. A young woman of this old, without entering into a formal league sort claims an esteem mixed with affection and for that purpose, to a womai, agree upon a honour, and meets with no defaination; or, if short way to preserve their characters, and she does, the wild malice is overcome with an go on in a way that at best is only not vicious. I..

undisturbed perseverance in her innocence. The method is, when an ill-natured or talka

Ika: To speak freely, there are such coveys of cotive girl has said any thing that bears hard

quettes about this town, that if the peace were upon some part of another's carriage, this not kept by some impertinent tongues of their creature, if not in any of their little cabals,

le cabals, Jown sex, which keep them under some rea is run down for the most ceasorious, dangerous straint, we should have no manner of engagebody in the world. Thus they guard their ment upon them to keep them in any tolerable reputation rather than their modesty ; as iflorder." guilt lay in being under the imputation of al As I am a Spectator, and benold how plain. fault, and not in a cominission of it. Orbicillally one part of woman-kind balance the behais the kindest poor thing in town, but the viouro

heviour of the other, whatever I may think of most blushing creature living. It is true, she tale-bearers or slanderers. I cannot wholly has not lost the sense of shame, but she has suppre

S suppress them, no more than a general would lost the sense of innocence. If she had more discourage spies. The enemy would easily confidence, and never did any thing which surprise him whom they knew had no intelought to stain her cheeks, would she not be

ligence of their motions. It is so far othermuch more modest, without that ambiguous wise with me, that I acknowledge I permit a suffusion which is the livery both of guilt and she-slanderer or two in every quarter of the innocence! Modesty consists in being con- town, to live in the characters of coquettes, scious of no ill, and not in being ashamed of land take all the innocent freedoms of the having done it. When people go upon any rest, in order to send me information of the other foundation than the truth of their own behaviour of the respective sisterhoods. hearts for the conduct of their actions, it lies But as the matter of respect to the world in the power of scandalous tongues to car-I which looks on, is carried on, methinks it is ry the world before them, and make the rest so very easy to be what is in general called of mankind fall in with the ill for fear of virtuous that it need not cost one hoar's rereproach. On the other hand, to do what youlflections in a month to deserve that appella. ought, is the ready way to make calumny Ition. It is pleasant to hear the pretty rogues either silent, or ineffectually malicious. Spen-Italk of virtue and vice among each other. ser, in his Fairy Queen, says admirably to

' She is the laziest creature in the world, but, young ladies under the distress of being de- I must copless, strictly virtuous ; the peevishfamed:

ist hussy breathing, but as to her virtue, she is The best,' said he, that I can you advise,

without blemish. She has not the least cha. Is to avoid th' occasion of the ill:

Trity for any of her acquaintance, but I must For when the cause, whence evil doth arise, allow her rigidly virtuous. As the unthinking Removed is, th' etrect surceaseth till.

part of the male world call every man a man Abstain from pleasure, and restrain your will,

of honour who is not a coward; so the crowd Subdue desire, and bridle loose delight: Use scanty diet, and forbear your fill :

of the other sex termos every woman who will Shan secrecy, and talk in open sight; not be a wench, virtuous,

T. So shall you soon repair your present evil plight. Instead of this care over their words and ac- No. 891.7 Thursday May 29, 1712. tions, recommended by a poet in old queen

old queen - Non tu prece poscis emaci, Bess's days, the modern way is to say and dol Quæ nisi seductis nequeas committere divis; VOL. II.

14

At bona pars procerum tacità libabit acerra. (surros time taken up into heaven by Jupiter, when
Haud cuivis promptum est, murmurque humilesque sue for his entertainment, he lifted up a trap-door
Tollere de templis; et aperto vivere voto.
Mens bona, fama, fides ; hæc clarè, et ut audiat hospes, that was placed by his footstool. At its rising.
Illa sibi introrsum, et sub lingua inmurmurat: 0 si there issued through it such a din of cries as
Ebullit patrui præclarum funus! Et O si

astonished the philosopber. Upon his asking Sub rastro crepet argenti mihi seria dextro

what they meant, Jupiter told him they were Hercule? pupillumve utinam, quem proximus hæres Irapello, expungam!

Pers. Sat. ij. v. 3. the prayers that were sent up to him from the

earth. Menippus, amidst the confusion of - Thou know'st to join

voices, which was so great that nothing less No bribe unhallow 'to a praver of thine ; 'Thine, which can ev'ry ear's full test abido,

than the ear of Jove could distinguish them, Nor need be mutter'd to the gods aside!

heard the words “riches, honour," and " long No, thou aloud may'st thy petitions trust :

life," repeated in several different tones Thou need'st not whisper, other greal ones must.

and languages. When the first hubbub of For fow, my friends, fow dare like thoe be plain, And prayer's low artifice at shrines disdain.

sounds was over, the trap-door being left Few from thcir pious mumblings dare depart,

open, the voicos came up more separate and And make profession of their inmost heart.

distinct. The first prayer was a very odd Keep me, indulgent Heaven, through life sincere, Keep my mind sound, iny reputatiou cloar,

one; it came from Athens, and desired Jupiter These wishes they can speak, and we can hear. to increase the wisdom and beard of his humble Thus far their wants are audibly exprest;

supplicant. Menippus knew it by the voice to be Then sinks the voice, and muttoring groans the rest.

the prayer of his friend Licander the philospher. Hear, hear at length, good Hercules, my vow ! O chink somo pot of gold beneath my plow!

This was succeeded by the petition of one who Could J, O could I, to my ravish'd eyes

had just laden a ship, and promised Jupiter, if See my rich uncle's pompous funeral rise;

he took care of it, and returned it home again Or could I once iny ward's cold corpse attend;

full of riches, he would make him an offering Then all were mine!

of a silver cup. Jupiter thanked him for noWHERE Homer represents Phænix, the tu-thing; and, bending down his ear more attentor of Achilles, as persuading his pupil to lay tively than ordinary, heard a voice complainaside his resentment, and give himself up to ing to him of the cruelty of an Ephesian wi. the entreaties of his countrymen, the poet, in dow, and begging him to breed compassion in order to make him speak in character, as- her heart. “This," says Jupiter, " is a very cribes to hiin a speech full of those fables and honest fellow. I have received a great deal of allegories which old men take delight in rela- incense from him ; I will not be so cruel to him ting, and which are very proper for instruction. as not to hear his prayers." He was then in• The gods,' says he, 'snffer themselves to be terrupted with a whole volley of vows which prevailed upon by cntreaties. When mortals were made for the health of a tyrannical prince have offended them by their transgressions, by his subjects, who prayed for him in his prethey appease them by vows and sacrifices. sence. Menippus was surprised, after baving You must know, Achilles, that prayers are the listened to prayers offered up with so much ardaughters of Jupiter. They are crippled by dour and devotion, to bear low whispers from frequently kneeling, have their faces full of the same assembly, expostulating with Jove for scars and wrinkles, and their eyes always cast suffering such a tyrant to live, and asking him towards heaven. They are constant attend- how his thunder could lie idle? Jupiter was so ants on the goddess Ate, and march behind offended at these prevaricating rascals, that her. This goddess walks forward with a bold he took down the first vows, and puffed away and haughty air; and, being very light of the last. The philosopher, seeing a great foot, runs through the whole earth, grieving cloud mounting upwards, and making its way and afflicting the sons of men. She gets the directly to the trap-door, inquired of Jupiter start of Prayers, who always follow her, in what it meant. “This," says Jupiter, "is order to heal those persons whom she wounds. the smoke of a whole hecatomb that is offered He who honours these daughters of Jupiter, me by the general of an army, who is very when they draw near to him, receives great importunate with me to let him cut off an hunbenefits froin them; but as for him who re- dred thousand men that are drawn up in array jects them, they entreat their father to give against him. What does the impudent wretch his orders to the goddess Ate, to punish him think I see in him, to believe that I will make for his hardness of heart.' This noble alle-a sacrifice of so many mortals as good as himgory needs but little explanation; for, whe- self, and all this to his glory forsooth? But ther the goddess Ate signifies injury, as some hark !" says Jupiter, " there is a voice I never have explained it; or guilt in general, as heard but in time of danger: 'tis a rogue that others; or divine justice, as I am more apt to is shipwrecked in the Ionian sea. I saved him think ; the interpretation is obvious enough. on a plank but three days ago upon his pro

I shall produce another heathen fable re- mise to mend his manners; the scoundrel is not lating to prayers, which is of a more diverting worth a groat, and yet has the impudence to kind. One would think by some passages in offer me a temple, if I will keep him from sinkit, that it was composed by Lucian, or at least ing. But yonder," says he, “is a special by some author who has endeavoured to imi- youth for you; he desires me to take his fatate his way of writing ; but as dissertations ther, who keeps a great estate from him, out of of this nature are more curious than useful, I the miseries of human life. The old fellow shall give my reader the fable, without any shall live till be makes bis heart ache, I can further inquries after the author.

tell him that for his pains." This was follow. "Menippus the philosopher was a second ed up by the soft voice of a pious lady, desir

iog Jupiter that she inight appear amiable and relation of a coquette in the neighbourhood charming in the sight of her emperor. As the who had been discovered practising before her philosopher was reflecting on this extraordi-glass. To turn the discourse, which from benary petition, there blew a gentle wind through ing witty grew to be malicious, the matron of the trap-door which he at first took for a gen- the family took occasion from the subject to tle gale of Zephyrs, but afterwards found it to wish that there were to be found'amongst men be a breeze of sighs. They smelt strong of such faithful monitors to dress the mind by, as fowers and incense, and were succeeded by we consult to adorn the body. She added, that most passionate complaints of wounds and if a sincere friend were miraculously changed torments, fire and arrows, cruelty, despair, into a looking-glass, she should not be ashamand death. Menippus fancied that such la.ed to ask its advice very often. This whim. mentable cries arose from some general exe- sical thought worked so much upon my fancy cution, or from wretches lying under the tor-the whole evening, that it produced a very odd ture ; but Jupiter told him that they came up dream. to him from the isle of Paphos, and that he eve 'Methought that, as I stood before my glass, ry day received complaintsof the same nature the image of a youth of an open ingenuous asfrom that whimsical tribe of mortals who are pect appeared in it, who with a shrill voice called lovers. “I am so trifled with," says he, spoke in the following manner: " by this generation of both sexes, and Gind it “The looking-glass you see was heretofore so impossible to please them, whether I grant a man, even 1, the unfortunate Fidelio. I had or refuse their petitions, that I shall order a two brothers, whose deformity in shape was western wind for the future to intercept them made up by the clearness of their understandin their passage, and blow them at random ing. It must be owned, however, that (as it upon the earth.” The last petition I beard generally happpens) they had each a perversewas from a very aged man, of near an hun-ness of humour suitable to their distortion of dred years old, begging but for one year more body. The eldest, whose belly sunk in monof life, and then promising to be contented. strously, was a great coward, and, though his This is the rarest old fellow!” says Jupiter: splenetic contracted temper made him take " he has made this prayer to me for above fire immediately, he made objects that beset twenty years together. When he was but him appear greater than they were. The sefifty years old, he desired only that he might cond, whose breast swelled into a bold relievo, live to see his son settled in the world: I on the contrary, took great pleasure in lessengranted it. He then begged the same favouring every thing, and was perfectly the reverse for his daughter, and afterwards that he might of his brother. These oddnesses pleased comsee the education of a grandson. When all pany once or twice, but disgusted when often this was brought about, he puts up a petition seen; for which reason, the young gentlemen that he might live to finish a house he was were sent from court to study mathematics at building In short, he is an unreasonable old the university. cur, and never wants an excuse; I will hear “I need not acquaint you, that I was very po more of him." Upon which he flung down well made, and reckoned a bright polite gentle. the trap-door in a passion, and was resolved man. I was the confidant and darling of all to give no more audiences that day.'

the fair ; and if the old and ugly spoke ill of Notwithstanding the levity of this fable. the me, all the world knew it was because I scorned moral of it very well deserves our attention. to flatter them. No ball, no assembly, was and is the same with that which has been in- attended till I had been consulted. Flavia culcated by Socrates and Plato, not to men-coloured her hair before me, Celia showed tion Juvenal and Persius, who have each of me her teeth, Panthea heaved her bosom. them made the finest satire in their whole Cleora brandished her diamond ; I have seen works upon this subject. The vanity of men's Chloe's foot, and tied artificially the garters wishes, which are the natural prayers of the of Rhodope. mind, as well as many of those secret devo- “ It is a general maxim, that those who doto tions which they offer to the Supreme Being. Jupon themselves can have no violent affection are sufficiently exposed by it. Ainong other for another ; but, on the contrary, I found that reasons for set forms of prayer, I have often the women's passion rose for me in proportion thought it a very good one. that by this means to the love they bore to themselves. This was the folly and extravagance of men's desires verified in my amour with Narcissa, who was may be kept within due bounds, and not so constant to me, that it was pleasantly said, break ont in absurd and ridiculons petitions

ne had I been little enough, she would have hung on so great and solem an occasion.

me at her girdle. The most dangerous rival I

had, was a gay empty fellow, who by the No. 392. Friday, May 30, 1712.

strength of a long intercourse with Narcissa, Per ambages et ministeria deorum

joined to his natural endowments, had formed Præcipitandus est liber spiritus.

himself into a perfect resemblance with her. I By fable's aid ungovern'd fancy soars,

had been discarded, had she not observed that And claims the ministry of heav'aly powers. The frequently asked my opinion about matters The Transformation of Fidelio into a Looking- of the last consequence. This made me still glass.

more considerable in her eye. MR. SPECTATOR,

" Though I was eternally caressed by the 'I was lately at a tea-table, where some ladies, such was their opinion of my honour, young ladies entertained the company with a that I was never envied by the men. A jealous

Petron, The

lover of Narcissa one day thought he had may perhaps laugh at me for a most romantic caught her in an amorous conversation : for, wretch, when I have disclosed to you the occa. though he was at such a distance that he could sion of my uneasiness ; and yet I cannot belp hear nothing he imagined strange things from thinking my unhappiness real, in being confined ber airs and gestures. Sometimes with a se- to a region which is the very reverse of Para. rene look she stepped back in a listening pos- dise. The seasons here are all of them unture, and brightened into an innocent smile. pleasant, and the country quite destitute of ruQuickly after she swelled into an air of ma-ral charms. I have not heard a bird sing, nor jesty and disdain, then kept her eyes half a brook murmur, nor a breeze whisper, neishut after a languishing manner, then covered ther have I been blest with the sight of a flor. her blushes with her hand, breathed a sigh, ry meadow, these two years. Every wind here and seemed ready to sink down, in rushed is a tempest, and every water a turbulent ocean. the furious lover ; but how great was his sur I hope, when you reflect a little, you will not prise to see no one there but the innocent Fi-think the grounds of my complaint in the least delio, with his back against the wall betwixt frivolous and unbecoming a man of serious two windows!

thought; since the love of woods, of fields and "It were endless to recount all my adven- flowers, of rivers and fountains, seems to be a tures. Let me hasten to that which cost me passion implanted in our natures the most early my life, and Narcissa her happiness.

of any, even before the fair-sex had a being. “She had the misfortune to have the small-|

I am, Sir, &c. pox, upon which I was expressly forbid her sight, it being apprehended that it would in Could I transport inyself with a wish, from crease her distemper, and that I should infal- one country to another, I should choose to pass liby catch it at the first look. As soon as she my winter in Spain, my spring in Italy, my was sufferered to leave her bed, she stole out summer in England, and my autumn in France. of her chamber, and found me all alone in an

Of all these seasons there is none that can vie adjoining apartment. She ran with transport with the spring for beauty and delightfulness. to her darling and without mixture of fear It bears the samne figure among the seasons of lest I should dislike her. But, oh me! what the year, that the morning does among the diwas her fury when she heard me say, I was visions of the day, or youth among the stages afraid and shocked at so loathsome a specta- of life. The English summer is pleasanter than cle! She stepped back, swollen with rage, to that of any other country in Europe, on no see if I had the insolence to repeat it. i did. other account but because it has a greater with this addition, that her ill-timed passion mixture of spring in it. The mildness of our had increased her ugliness. Enraged, indam-climate, with those frequent refreshments of ed, distracted, she snatched a bodkin. and; dews and rains that fall among us, keep up with all her force stabbed me to the heart, a perpetual cheerfulness in our fields, and fill Dying, I preserved my sincerity, and express the hottest months of the year with a lively ed the truth though in broken words; and by verdure. reproachful grimaces to the last I mimicked In the opening of the spring, when all nature the deformity of my murderess.

begins to recover herself, the same animal plea46 Cupid, who always attends the fair, and sure which makes the birds sing, and the whole pitied the fate of so useful a servant as I was, brute creation rejoice, rises very sensibly in the obtained of the Destinies, that my body should heart of man. I know none of the poets who remain incorruptible, and retain the qualities have observed so well as Milton those secret my mind had possessed. I impediately lost overflowings of gladness which diffuse thenthe figure of a man, and became smooth, po-selves through the mind of the beholder, upon lished, and bright, and to this day and the first surveying the gay scenes of nature : he las favourite of the ladies."

T. touched upon it twice or thrice in his Paradise

Lost, and describes it very beautifully under

the name of 'vernal delight,' in that passage No. 393). Saturday, May 31 1712.

where he represents the devil himself as almost Nescio quâ prætor solituin dulcedine læti sensible of it:

Virg. Georg. 1. 412.

Blossoms and fruits at once a golden hun Unusual sweetness purer joys inspires.

Appear'd, with gay enapellid colours mixt:

On which the sun more glad inpreseid his heads LOOKING over the letters that have been Than in fir evening cloud, or humid bow, sent me, I chanced to find the following one,

When God hath showr'd the earth; so lovely seein'd which I received about two years ago from

That landskip and of pure now purer air

Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
an ingenious friend who was then in Den. Vernal delight, and joy able to drive
mark

Ali sadaess, but de pair, &c.
Copenhagen, May 1, 1710.

Many anthors have written on the vanity of
DEAR DIP,

the creature, and represented the barrenness The spring with you has already taken pos- of every thing in this world and its incapacity session of the fields and woods. Now is the of producing any solid or substantial happiness. season of solitude, and of moving complaints As discourses of this nature are very useful to upon trivial sufferings. Now the griefs of lovers the sensual and voluptuous, those speculations begin to flow, and the wounds to bleed afresh. which show the bright side of things, and lay I too, ai this distance from the softer climates, forth those innocent entertainments which are am not without my discontents at present. You to be met with among the several objects that

« AnteriorContinuar »