Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

cakes themselves: upon which one of the dents, than any other in the whole poem. company said merrily, We are eating our Satan's traversing the globe, and still keeptables.' They immediately took the hint, ing within the shadow of the night, as fearsays the historian, and concluded the pro-ing to be discovered by the angel of the phecy to be fulfilled. As Virgil did not sun, who had before detected him, is one think it proper to omit so material a parti- of those beautiful imaginations with which cular in the history of Æneas, it may be he introduces this his second series of adworth while to consider with how much ventures. Having examined the nature of judgment he has qualified it, and taken off every creature, and found out one which every thing that might have appeared im- was the most proper for his purpose, he proper for a passage in a heroic poem. The again returns to Paradise; and to avoid disprophetess who foretells it is a hungry covery, sinks by night with a river that harpy, as the person who discovers it is ran under the garden, and rises up again young Ascanius:

through a fountain that issued from it by Heus etiam mensas consumimus, inquit Iulus!'

the tree of life. The poet, who, as we

Æn. vii. 116. have before taken notice, speaks as little See we devour the plates on which we fed ! as possible in his own person, and, after the

Dryden.

example of Homer, fills every part of his Such an observation, which is beautiful work with manners and characters, introin the mouth of a boy, would have been duces a soliloquy of this infernal agent, ridiculous from any other of the company. who was thus restless in the destruction of I am apt to think that the changing of the man. He is then described as gliding Trojan fleet into water-nymphs, which is through the garden, under the resemblance the most violent machine in the whole of a mist, in order to find out the creature Æneid, and has given offence to several in which he designed to tempt our first pacritics, may be accounted for the same way. rents. This description has something in it Virgil himself, before he begins that rela- very poetical and surprising: tion, premises, that what he was going to

So saying, through each thicket dank or dry, tell appeared incredible, but that it was

Like a black mist low creeping, he held on justified by tradition. What further con His midnight search, where soonest he might find firms me that this change of the fleet was

The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found,

In labyrinth of many a round self-roll'd a celebrated circumstance in the history of

His head the miilst, well stor'd with subtil wiles. Æneas, is, that Ovid has given a place to the same metamorphosis in his account of The author afterwards gives us a de the heathen mythology.

scription of the morning which is wonderNone of the critics I have met with have

fully suitable to a divine poem, and peculiar considered the fable of the Æneid in this to that first season of nature. He reprelight, and taken notice how the tradition on sents the earth before it was cursed, as a which it was founded authorizes those parts great altar, breathing out its incense from in it which appear most exceptionable. Iall parts, and sending up a pleasant savour hope the length of this reflection will not to the nostrils of its Creator; to which he make it unacceptable to the curious part adds a noble idea of Adam and Eve, as of my readers.

offering their morning worship, and filling The history which was the basis of Mil-up the universal concert of praise and ado ton's poem is still shorter than either that ration: of the Iliad or Æneid. The poet has like Now when a sacred light began to dawn wise taken care to insert every circum In Eden on the humid flowers, that breath'd stance of it in the body of his fable. The

Their morning incense; when all things that breathe

From th' earth's great altar send up silent praise ninth book, which we are here to consider,

To the Creator, and his nostrils fill is raised upon that brief account in scrip With grateful smell; forth came the human pair ture, wherein we are told that the serpent

And join'd their vocal worship to the choir

Of creatures wanting voice.was more subtle than any beast of the field; that he tempted the woman to eat of the The dispute which follows between our forbidden fruit; that she was overcome by two first parents is represented with great this temptation, and that Adam followed art. It proceeds from a difference of judgher example. From these few particulars ment, not of passion, and is managed with Milton has formed one of the most entertain- reason, not with heat. It is such a dispute ing fables that invention ever produced. as we may suppose might have happened He has disposed of these several circum- in Paradise, had man continued happy and stances among so many agreeable and na innocent. There is a great delicacy in tural fictions of his own, that his whole the moralities which are interspersed ir. story looks only like a comment upon sacred Adam's discourse, and which the most orwrit, or rather seems to be a full and com- dinary reader cannot but take notice of. plete relation of what the other is only an That force of love which the father of mana epitome. I have insisted the longer on this kind so finely describes in the eighth book, consideration, as I look upon the disposi- and which is inserted in my last Saturday's tion and contrivance of the fable to be the paper, shows itself here in many fine inprincipal beauty of the ninth book, which stances: as in those fond regards he casts tohas more story in it, and is fuller of inci- wards Eve at her parting from hin:

Her long with ardent look his eye pursu'd

lit, are conceived with a wonderful imagina Delighted, but desiring more her stay, Oft he to her his charge of quick return

tion, and described in very natural senti Repeated ; she to him as oft engaged

ments. To be return’d by noon amid the bow'r.

When Dido, in the fourth Æneid, yielded In his impatience and amusement during to that fatal temptation which ruined her, her absence:

Virgil tells us the earth trembled, the hea--- Adam the while,

vens were filled with flashes of lightning, Waiting desirous her return, had wove

and the nymphs howled upon the mountain Of choicest flow'rs a garland to adorn

tops. Milton, in the same poetical spirit, Her tresses, and her rural labours crown, As reapers oft are wont their harvest queen.

has described all nature as disturbed upon Great joy he promis'd to his thoughts, and new Eve's eating the forbidden fruit. Solace in her return, so long delay'd.

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour, But particularly in that passionate speech, Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck'd, she eat, where, seeing her irrecoverably lost, he re

Earth felt the wound, and Nature, from her seat

Sighing, through all her works gave signs of woe solves to perish with her, rather than to live That all was lost. without her:

Upon Adam's falling into the same guilt, Some cursed fraud Of enemy hath beguil'd thee, yet unknown,

the whole creation appears a second time And me with thee hath ruin'd; for with thee

in convulsions. Certain my resolution is to die: How can I live without thee? how forego

He scrupled not to eat Thy sweet converse and love so dearly join'd

Against his better knowledge: not deceiv'd To live again in these wild woods forlorn ?

But fondly overcome with female charm, Should God create another Eve, and I

Earth trembled from her entrails, as again Another rib afford, yet loss of thee

In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan; Would never from my heart; no, no! I feel

Sky lower'd, and, muttering thunder, some sad drops The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh,

Wept at completing of the mortal sin. Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state

As all nature suffered by the guilt of our Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.

first parents, these symptoms of trouble and The beginning of this speech, and the

ne consternation are wonderfully imagined, not preparation to it, are animated with the only as prodigies, but as marks of her sum same spirit as the conclusion, which I have

pathizing in the fall of man. here quoted.

Adam's converse with Eve, after having The several wiles which are put in prac

eaten the forbidden fruit, is an exact copy tice by the tempter, when he found Eve se- of that between Jupiter and Juno in the four parated from her husband, the many pleas

teenth Iliad. Juno there approaches Jupi ing images of nature which are intermixed

ter with the girdle which she had received in this part of the story, with its gradual and fra

from Venus : upon which he tells her, that regular progress to the fatal catastrophe,

she appeared more charming and desirable are so very remarkable, that it would be than she had ever done before, even when superfluous to point out their respective their loves were at the highest. The poet beauties.

afterwards describes them as reposing on a I have avoided mentioning any particular summit of Mount Ida, which produced unsimilitudes in my remarks on this great der them a bed of flowers. the lotus. the work, because I have given a general ac-||

crocus, and the hyacinth; and concludes his count of them in my paper on the first book. 10

K. | description with their falling asleep. There is one, however, in this part of the “1

the Let the reader compare this with the folpoem which I shall here quote, as it is not lowinong

lowing passage in Milton, which begins with only very beautiful, but the closest of any in Ad

| Adam's speech to Eve: the whole poem; I mean that where the serpent is described as rolling forward in all

For never did thy beauty since the day

I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorn'd, his pride, animated by the evil spirit, and

With all perfections, so inflame my sense conducting Eve to her destruction, while With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now Adam was at too great a distance from her

Than ever, bounty of this virtuous tree.'

So said he, and forbore not glance or toy to give her his assistance. These several

Of amorous intent, well understood particulars are all of them wrought into the Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire. following similitude:

Her hand he seiz'd, and to a shady bank,

Thick overhead with verdant roof embower d,
Hope elevates, and joy

He led her nothing loth; flowers were the couch, Brightens his crest; as when a wandering fire

Pansies, and violets, and asphodel, Compact of unctious vapour, which the night

And hyacinth, Earth's freshest softest lap. Condenses, and the cold environs round,

There they their fill of love and love's disport Kindled through agitation to a flame,

Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal, (Which oft, they say, some evil spirit attends)

The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep Hovering and blazing with delusive light,

Oppress'd them.Misleads th' amaz'd night-wanderer from his way To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool, As no poet seems ever to have studied There swallow'd up and lost from succour far. Homer more, or to have more resembled

The secret intoxication of pleasure, with him in the greatness of genius, than Milton, all those transient flushings of guilt and joy, I think I should have given but a very imwhich the poet represents in our first pa- perfect account of its beauties, if I had not rents upon their eating the forbidden fruit, observed the most remarkable passages to those flaggings of spirit, damps of sor- which look like parallels in these two great row, and mutual accusations which succeed l authors. I might, in the course of these

L.

criticisms, have taken notice of many par- that nothing but truth and ingenuity has any ticular lines and expressions which are lasting good effect, even upon a man's fortranslated from the Greek poet; but as I tune and interest. thought this would have appeared too mi-Truth and reality have all the advannute and over-curious, I have purposely tages of appearance, and many more. If mitted them. The greater incidents, how- the show of any thing be good for any ever, are not only set off by being shown in thing, I am sure sincerity is better, for the same light with several of the same na- / why does any man dissemble, or seem ture in Homer, but by that means may be to be that which he is not, but because also guarded against the cavils of the taste- he thinks it good to have such a quality as less or ignorant.

he pretends to? for to counterfeit and dissemble is to put on the appearance of some real excellency. Now the best way in the

world for a man to seem to be any thing, is No. 352.] Monday, April 14, 1712.

really to be what he would seem to be. --- -Si ad honestatem nati sumus, ea aut sola

Besides, that it is many times as troublesome expetenda est, aut certe omni pondere gravior est ha- to make good the pretence of a good quality, benda quam reliqua omnia.

Tull. as to have it; and if a man have it not, it is If we be made for honesty, either it is solely to be ten to one but he is discovered to want it, and sought, or certainly to be estimated much more highly then all his pains and labour to seem to have than all other things.

it is lost. There is something unnatural in WILL HONEYCOMB was complaining to painting, which a skilful eye will easily disme yesterday, that the conversation of the cern from native beauty and complexion. town is so altered of late years, that a fine • It is hard to personate and act a part

gentleman is at a loss for matter to start dis- long; for where truth is not at the bottom, · course, as well as unable to fall in with the nature will always be endeavouring to re

talk he generally meets with. Will takes turn, and will peep out and betray herself notice, that there is now an evil under the one time or other. Therefore, if any man sun which he supposes to be entirely new, think it convenient to seem good, let him be because not mentioned by any satirist, or so indeed, and then his goodness will appear moralist, in any age. “Men,' said he, 'grow to every body's satisfaction; so that upon all knaves sooner than they ever did since the accounts sincerity is true wisdom. Particucreation of the world before. If you read iarly as to the affairs of this world, integrity the tragedies of the last age, you find the has many advantages over all the fine artful men, and persons of intrigue, are ad- and artificial ways of dissimulation and vanced very far in years, and beyond the deceit; it is much the plainer and easier, pleasures and sallies of youth; but now Will much the safer and more secure way of observes, that the young have taken in the dealing in the world: it has less of trouble vices of the aged, and you shall have a man and difficulty, of entanglement and perof five-and-twenty, crafty, false, and in- plexity, of danger and hazard in it: it is the triguing, not ashamed to over-reach, cozen, shortest and nearest way to our end, carryand beguile. My friend adds, that till about | ing us thither in a straight line, and will the latter end of king Charles's reign there hold out and last longest. The arts of dewas not a rascal of any eminence under for- ceit and cunning do continually grow weaker ty. In the places of resort for conversation, and less effectual and serviceable to them you now hear nothing but what relates to that use them; whereas integrity gains improving men's fortunes, without regard strength by use, and the more and longer to the methods towards it. This is so any man practiseth it, the greater service fashionable, that young men form them- it does him, by confirming his reputation, selves upon a certain neglect of every thing and encouraging those with whom he hath to that is candid, simple, and worthy of true do to repose the greatest trust and confiesteem; and affect being yet worse than dence in him, which is an unspeakable adthey are, by acknowledging, in their general vantage in the business and affairs of life. turn of mind and discourse, that they have Truth is always consistent with itself, not any remaining value for true honourand and needs nothing to help it out; it is alhonesty; preferring the capacity of being ways near at hand, and sits upon our lips, artful to gain their ends, to the merit of and is ready to drop out before we are despising those ends when they come in / aware; whereas a lie is troublesome, and competition with their honesty. All this is sets a man's invention upon the rack, and due to the very silly pride that generally one trick needs a great many more to make prevails of being valued for the ability of it good. It is like building upon a false founcarrying their point; in a word, from the dation, which constantly stands in need of opinion that shallow and inexperienced peo- props to shore it up, and proves at last ple entertain of the short lived force of cun- more chargeable than to have raised a subning. But I shall, before I enter upon the stantial building at first upon a true and various faces which folly covered with ar- solid foundation; for sincerity is firm and tifice, puts on to impose upon the unthink- substantial, and there is nothing hollow and ing, produce a great authority for asserting | unsound in it; and, because it is plain and

open, fears no discovery; of which the crafty | No. 353.] Tuesday, April 15, 1712.
man is always in danger: and when he
thinks he walks in the dark, all his pre-

In tenui labor

Virg. Georg. v. 6. tences are so transparent, that he that runs / Though low the subject, it deserves our pains. may read them: he is the last man that finds himself to be found out; and whilst he |

THE gentleman who obliges the world takes it for granted that he makes fools of

in general, and me in particular, with his others, he renders himself ridiculous.

+ thoughts upon education, has just sent me Add to all this, that sincerity is the most

the following letter: compendious wisdom, and an excellent in

SIR.-I take the liberty to send you a strument for the speedy despatch of busi-l fourth letter upon the education of youth. ness; it creates confidence in those we have In my i to deal with, saves the labour of many in

ve nave In my last I gave you my thoughts upon quiries, and brings things to an issue in a lit might not be amiss to mix with their

some particular tasks, which I conceived few words. It is like travelling in a plain beaten road, which commonly brings a man

usual exercises, in order to give them an sooner to his journey's end than by-ways,

early seasoning of virtue: I shall in this

propose some others, which I fancy might in which men often lose themselves. In

contribute to give them a right turn for the à word, whatsoever convenience may be

world, and enable them to make their way thought to be in falsehood and dissimulation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because it brings a man either to render a man an agreeable com

The design of learning is, as I take it, under an everlasting jealousy and suspi

panion to himself, and teach him to support cion, so that he is not believed when he speaks the truth, nor trusted perhaps when to

solitude with pleasure; or, if he is not born he means honestly. When a man has once

to an estate, to supply that defect, and fur

nish him with the means of acquiring one. forfeited the reputation of his integrity, he | A

integrity, he A person who applies himself to learning is set fast; and nothing will then serve his

with the first of these views may be said to turn, neither truth nor falsehood.

study for ornament; as he who proposes to And I have often thought, that God hath

himself the second, properly studies for use. in his great wisdom, hid from men of false | Th

| The one does it to raise himself a fortune; and dishonest minds the wonderful advan- 'thers

an- | the other to set off that which he is already tages of truth and integrity to the pros

possessed of. But as far the greater part perity even of our worldly affairs: these of my

1 of mankind are included in the latter class, men are so blinded by their covetousness I shall only propose some methods at preand ambition that they cannot look beyond

sent for the service of such who expect to a present advantage, nor forbear to seize

advance themselves in the world by their

duo upon it, though by ways never so indirect; I learning. In order to which, I shall pre they cannot see so far as to the remote con

mise, that many more estates have been sequence of a steady integrity, and the vast benefit and advantages which it will

acquired by little accomplishments than by bring a man at last. Were but this sort of

extraordinary ones; those qualities which

make the greatest figure in the eye of the men wise and clear-sighted enough to dis

world not being always the most useful in cern this, they would be honest out of very thema

themselves, or the most advantageous to knavery, not out of any love to honesty and their owners virtue, but with a crafty design to promote

promote i "The posts which require men of shining and advance more effectually their own interests; and therefore the justice of the Di

and uncommon parts to discharge them are

so very few, that many a great genius goes vine Providence hath hid this truest point

out of the world without ever having an of wisdom from their eyes, that bad men

opportunity to exert itself; whereas, permight not be upon equal terms with the just

sons of ordinary endowments meet with and upright, and serve their own wicked

occasions fitted to their parts and capacidesigns by honest and lawful means.

ties every day in the common occurrences • Indeed, if a man were only to deal in

of life. the world for a day, and should never have

i “Iam acquainted with two persons who occasion to converse more with mankind,

were formerly school-fellows,* and have never more need their good opinion or good

been good friends ever since. One of them word, it were then no great matter (speak

was not only thought an impenetrable blocking as to the concernments of this world,)

head at school, but still maintained his reif a man spent his reputation all at once,

putation at the university; the other was and ventured it at one throw; but if he be

the pride of his master, and the most celeto continue in the world, and would have

brated person in the college of which he the advantage of conversation whilst he is in

was a member. The man of genius is at it, let him make use of truth and sincerity in all his words and actions; for nothing but * Swift, and Mr. Stratford, a merchant. Stratford

| is worth a plumb, and is now lending the government other arts will fail, but truth and integrity | 40,0001. yet we were , educated together at

school and university.' Swift's Works, vol. xxii. p. 10,

cr. 810.--Stratford was afterwards a bankrupt." out to the last.'

Chalmers

hers.

wil

present buried in a country parsonage of , fied for the finer parts of learning; yet I eight-score pounds a year; while the other, believe I might carry this matter still furwith the bare abilities of a common scri- ther, and venture to assert, that a lad of vener, has got an estate of above a hundred genius has sometimes occasion for these thousand pounds.

little acquirements, to be as it were the I fancy from what I have said, it will forerunners of his parts, and to introduce almost appear a doubtful case to many a him into the world. . wealthy citizen, whether or no he ought to History is full of examples of persons wish his son should be a great genius: but who, though they have had the largest this I am sure of, that nothing is more ab- abilities, have been obliged to insinuate surd than to give a lad the education of themselves into the favour of great men, one, whom nature has not favoured with by these trivial accomplishments; as the any particular marks of distinction.

complete gentleman in some of our modern The fault, therefore, of our grammar comedies, makes his first advances to his schools is, that every boy is pushed on to mistress under the disguise of a painter or works of genius: whereas, it would be far a dancing-master. more advantageous for the greatest part of The difference is, that in a lad of genius them to be taught such little practical arts these are only so many accomplishments, and sciences as do not require any great which in another are essentials; the one share of parts to be master of them, and diverts himself with them, the other works yet may come often into play during the at them. In short, I look upon a great course of a man's life.

genius, with these little additions, in the Such are all the parts of practical geo- same light as I regard the Grand Seignior, metry. I have known a man contract a who is obliged, by an express command in friendship with a minister of state, upon the Alcoran, to learn and practise some cutting a dial in his window; and remember handicraft trade; though I need not to have a clergyman who got one of the best bene- gone for my instance farther than Germany, fices in the west of England, by setting a where several emperors have voluntarily country gentleman's affairs in some method, done the same thing. Leopold the last, and giving him an exact survey of his estate. worked in wood: and I have heard there are

While I am upon this subject, I cannot several handicraft works of his making to forbear mentioning a particular which is of be seen at Vienna, so neatly turned that the use in every station of life, and which, me- best joiner in Europe might safely own thinks, every master should teach scholars; them without any disgrace to his profesI mean the writing of English letters. To sion. * this end, instead of perplexing them with 'I would not be thought, by any thing I Latin epistles, themes, and verses, there have said, to be against improving a boy's might be a punctual correspondence esta- genius to the utmost pitch it can be carried. blished between two boys, who might act What I would endeavour to show in this in any imaginary parts of business, or be essay is, that there may be methods taken allowed sometimes to give a range to their to make learning advantageous even to the own fancies, and communicate to each other meanest capacities. I am, sir, yours, &c. whatever trifles they thought fit, provided neither of them ever failed at the appointed time to answer his correspondent's letter,

'I believe I may venture to affirm, that No. 354.] Wednesday, April 16, 1712. the generality of boys would find themselves more advantaged by this custom, when they

-Cum magnis virtutibus affers Grande supercilium.

Juv. Sat. vi. 168 come to be men, than by all the Greek and

Their signal virtues hardly can be borne, Latin their masters can teach them in seven

Dash'd as they are with supercilious scorn. or eight years. "The want of it is very visible in many

MR. SPECTATOR,--You have in some learned persons who, while they are ad of your discourses described most sort of miring the styles of Demosthenes or Cicero,

women in their distinct and proper classes, want phrases to express themselves on the

| as the ape, the coquette, and many others; most common occasions. I have seen a

but I think you have never yet said any letter from one of these Latin orators which thing of a devotee. A devotee is one of would have been deservedly laughed at by

those who disparage religion by their in a common attorney.

discreet and unseasonable introduction of Under this head of writing, I cannot

the mention of virtue on all occasions. She omit accounts and short-hand, which are professes she is what nobody ought to doubt learned with little pains, and very properly she is; and betrays the labour she is put tog come into the number of such arts as I have to be what she ought to be with cheerfulbeen here recommending.

ness and alacrity. She lives in the world, You must doubtless, sir, observe that I and denies herself none of the diversions of have hitherto chiefly insisted upon these it, with a constant declaration how insipid things for such boys as do not appear to all things in it are to her. She is never have any thing extraordinary in their natu- * The well-known labours of the Czar Peter may be ral talents, anil consequently are not quali- I added to those enumerated above.

« AnteriorContinuar »