Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

that there were several letters from France, fondness for the character of a fine gentlejust come in, with advice that the king was man; all his thoughts are bent upon this; in good health, and was gone out a-hunting instead of attending a dissection, frequentthe very morning the post came away: ing the courts of justice, or studying the upon which the haberdasher stole off his fathers, Cleanthes reads plays, dances, hat that hung upon a wooden peg by him, dresses, and spends his time in drawingand retired to his shop with great confusion. rooms; instead of being a good lawyer, diThis intelligence put a stop to my travels, vine, or physician, Cleanthes is a downright which I had prosecuted with so much satis- coxcomb, and will remain to all that know faction; not being a little pleased to hear so him a contemptible example of talents mismany different opinions upon so great an applied. It is to this affectation the world event, and to observe how naturally upon owes its whole race of coxcombs. Nature such a piece of news every one is apt to in her whole drama never drew such a part; consider it with regard to his particular she has sometimes made a fool, but a coxinterest and advantage.

L.

comb is always of a man's own making, by applying his talents otherwise than Nature

designed, who ever bears a high resentment No. 404.] Friday, June 13, 1712.

for being put out of her course, and never

fails of taking her revenge on those that do -Non omnia possumus omnes.-Virg. Ecl. viii. 63. so. Opposing her tendency in the applicaWith different talents formd, we variously excel.

tion of a man's parts has the same success

as declining from her course in the producNATURE does nothing in vain: the Creator tion of vegetables, by the assistance of art of the universe has appointed every thing to and a hot-bed. We may possibly extort an a certain use and purpose, and determined unwilling plant, or an untimely salad; but it to a settled course and sphere of action, how weak, how tasteless and insipid. Just from which if it in the least deviates, it be- as insipid as the poetry of Valerio. Valerio comes unfit to answer those ends for which had an universal character, was genteel, it was designed. In like manner it is in the had learning, thought justly, spoke cordispositions of society, the civil economy is rectly; it was believed there was nothing formed in a chain as well as the natural: in which Valerio did not excel; and it was and in either case the breach but of one link so far true, that there was but one; Valerio puts the whole in some disorder. It is, I had no genius for poetry, yet he is resolved think, pretty, plain, that most of the ab. to be a poet; he writes verses, and takes surdity and ridicule we meet with in the great pains to convince the town that Valeworld, is generally owing to the imperti- rio is not that extraordinary person he was nent affectation of excelling in characters taken for. men are not fit for, and for which nature If men would be content to graft upon never designed them.

Nature, and assist her operations, what Every man has one or more qualities mighty effects might we expect! Tully which may make him useful both to him would not stand so much alone in oratory, self and others. Nature never fails of Virgil in poetry, or Cæsar in war. To pointing them out; and while the infant build upon Nature, is laying a foundation continues under her guardianship, she upon a rock; every thing disposes itself into brings him on in his way, and then offers order as it were of course, and the whole herself as a guide in what remains of the work is half done as soon as undertaken. journey; if he proceeds in that course he Cicero's genius inclined him to oratory, can hardly n..scarry. Nature makes good Virgil's to follow the train of the Muses; her engagements: for, as she never pro- they piously obeyed the admonition, and mises what she is not able to perform, so were rewarded. Had Virgil attended the she never fails of performing what she pro- bar, his modest and ingenuous virtue would mises. But the misfortune is, men despise surely have made but a very indifferent what they may be masters of, and affect figure; and Tully's declamatory inclination what they are not fit for; they reckon would have been as useless in poetry. Nathemselves already possessed of what their ture, if left to herself, leads us on in the best genius inclined them to, and so bend all course, but will do nothing by compulsion their ambition to excel in what is out of and constraint; and if we are not always their reach. Thus they destroy the use of satisfied to go her way, we are always the their natural talents, in the same manner greatest sufferers by it. as covetous men do their quiet and repose: Wherever nature designs a production, they can enjoy no satisfaction in what they she always disposes seeds proper for it, have, because of the absurd inclination they which are as absolutely necessary to the are possessed with for what they have not. formation of any moral or intellectual ex

Cleanthes has good sense, a great memo- cellence, as they are to the being and ry, and a constitution capable of the closest growth of plants, and I know not by what application. In a word, there was no pro- fate and folly it is, that men are taught not fession in which Cleanthes might not have to reckon him equally absurd that will write made a very good figure; but this won't verses in spite of Nature, with that garsatisfy him; he takes up an unaccountable ) dener that should undertake to raise a jon

Vol. II. 17

quilor tulip without the help of their respec I am very sorry to find, by the opera bills tive seeds.

for this day, that we are likely to lose the As there is no good or bad quality that greatest performer in dramatic music that does not affect both sexes, so it is not to be is now living, or that perhaps ever appeared imagined but the fair sex must have suf- upon a stage. I need not acquaint my reafered by an affectation of this nature, at ders that I am speaking of signior Nicolini. least as much as the other. The ill effect The town is highly obliged to that excelof it is in none so conspicuous as in the two lent artist, for having shown us the Italian opposite characters of Calia and Iras; Cælia music in its perfection, as well as for that has all the charms of person, together with generous approbation he lately gave to an an abundant sweetness of nature, but wants opera of our own country, in which the wit, and has a very ill voice; Iras is ugly composer endeavoured to do justice to the and ungenteel, but has wit and good sense. beauty of the words, by following that noble If Cælia would be silent, her beholders example, which has been set him by the would adore her; if Iras would talk, her greatest foreign masters in that art. hearers would admire her; but Cælia's I could heartily wish there was the same tongue runs incessantly, while Iras gives application and endeavours to cultivate and herself silent airs and soft languors, so that improve our church-music as have been it is difficult to persuade oneself that Cælia lately bestowed on that of the stage. Our has beauty, and Iras wit: each neglects her composers have one very great incitement own excellence, and is ambitious of the to it. They are sure to meet with excelother's character; Iras would be thought to lent words, and at the same time a wonderhave as much beauty as Cælia, and Cælia as ful variety of them. There is no passion much wit as Iras.

that is not finely expressed in those parts The great misfortune of this affectation of the inspired writings, which are proper is, that men not only lose a good quality, for divine songs and anthems. but also contract a bad one. They not only There is a certain coldness and indifferare unfit for what they were designed, but | ence in the phrases of our European lanthey assign themselves to what they are guages, when they are compared with the not fit for; and, instead of making a very oriental forms of speech; and it happens good figure one way, make a very ridi- very luckily, that the Hebrew idioms run culous one another. If Semanthe would into the English tongue with a particular have been satisfied with her natural com- grace and beauty. Our language has replexion, she might still have been cele- ceived innumerable elegances and improvebrated by the name of the olive beauty; ments, from that infusion of Hebraisms, but Semanthe has taken up an affectation which vare derived to it out of the poetical to white and red, and is now distinguished passages in holy writ. They give a force by the character of the lady that paints so thd energy to our expression, warm and aniwell. In a word, could the world be re- mate our language, and convey our thoughts formed to the obedience of that famed dic- in more ardent and intense phrases, than tate, Follow Nature,' which the oracle of any that are to be met with in our own Delphos pronounced to Cicero, when he tongue. There is something so pathetic in consulted what course of studies he should this kind of diction, that it often sets the pursue, we should see almost every man as mind in a flame, and makes our hearts burn eminent in his proper sphere as Tully was within us. How cold and dead does a in his, and should in a very short time find prayer appear, that is composed in the impertinence and affectation banished from most elegant and polite forms of speech, among the women, and coxcombs and false which are natural to our tongue, when it is characters from among the men. For my not heightened by that solemnity of phrase part I could never consider this preposter- which may be drawn from the sacred writous repugnancy to Nature any otherwise, ings! It has been said by some of the anthan not only as the greatest fölly, but also cients, that if the gods were to talk with one of the most heinous crimes, since it is a men, they would certainly speak in Plato's direct opposition to the disposition of Pro-style; but I think we may say with justice, vidence, and (as Tully expresses it) like that when mortals converse with their Crethe sin of the giants, an actual rebellion ator, they cannot do it in so proper a style against heaven.

Z. as in that of the holy scriptures,

If any one would judge of the beauties of poetry that are to be met with in the divine

writings, and examine how kindly the HeNo. 405.] Saturday, June 14, 1712. brew manners of speech mix and incorpo

rate with the English language; after having

perused the book of Psalms; let him read Καλoν αειδοντες Παιηονα κουροι Αχαιων,

a literal translation of Horace or Pindar. Μελποντες Εκκεεγον· ο δε φρενα τερπετ' ακ8ων. He will find in these two last such an ab

surdity and confusion of style, with such a With hymns divine the joyous banquet ends ; comparative poverty of imagination, as will The pæans lengthen'd till the sun descends; The Greeks restord the grateful notes prolong;

make him very sensible of what I have been Apollo listens and approves the song.--Pope.

here advancing.

Οι δε σανη με ριοι μολπη Θεον ιλάσκοντο

Hom. Iliad. i. 472.

Since we have therefore such a treasury | produees more lasting and permanent imof words, so beautiful in themselves, and so pressions in the mind, than those which acproper for the airs of music, I cannot but company any transient form of words that wonder that persons of distinction should are uttered in the ordinary method of religive so little attention and encouragement gious worship.

0. to that kind of music, which would have its foundation in reason, and which would improve our virtue in proportion as it raises No. 406.] Monday, June 16, 1712. our delight. The passions that are excited hy ordinary compositions generally flow Hæc studia adolescentiam alunt, senectutem, oblecfrom such silly and absurd occasions, that a tant, secundas res ornant, adversis solatium et perfuman is ashamed to reflect upon them se

gium præbent; delectant domi, non impediunt foris;

pernoctant nobiscum, peregrinatur, rusticantur.- Tull. riously; but the fear, the love, the sorrow, the indignation, that are awakened in the ornament of prosperity; the solacement and the refuge

These studies nourish youth; delight old age ; are the mind by hymns and anthems, make the of adversity; they are delectable at home, and not burheart better, and proceed from such causes densome abroad; they gladden us at nights, and on our as are altogether reasonable and praisewor- journeys, and in the country. thy. Pleasure and duty go hand in hand, The following letters bear a pleasing and the greater our satisfaction is, the image of the joys and satisfactions of a prigreater is our religion.

vate life. The first is from a gentleman to Music among those who are styled the a friend, for whom he has a very great rechosen people was a religious art. The spect, and to whom he communicates the songs of Sion, which we have reason to be satisfaction he takes in retirement; the other lieve were in high repute among the courts is a letter to me, occasioned by an ode writof the eastern monarchs, were nothing else ten by my Lapland lover: this corresponbut psalms and pieces of poetry that adored dent is so kind as to translate another of or celebrated the Supreme Being. The Scheffer's songs in a very agreeable mangreatest conqueror in the holy nation, after ner. I publish them together, that the the manner of the old Grecian lyrics, did young and old may find something in the not only compose the words of his divine same paper which may be suitable to their odes, but generally set them to music him- respective tastes in solitude; for I know no self: after which, his works, though they fault in the description of ardent desires, were consecrated to the tabernacle, became provided they are honourable. the national entertainment, as well as the devotion of the people.

• Dear Sir,-You have obliged me with The first original of the drama was a re- a very kind letter; by which I find you ligious worship, consisting only of a chorus, shift the scene of your life from the town which was nothing else but a hymn to a to the country, and enjoy that mixed deity. As luxury and voluptuousness pre- state, which wise men both delight in and vailed over innocence and religion, this form are qualified for. Methinks most of the phiof worship degenerated into tragedies; in losophers and moralists have run too much which however the chorus so far remem- into extremes in praising entirely either sohered its first office, as to brand every thing litude or public life; in the former, men gethat was vicious, and recommend every nerally grow useless by too much rest; and, thing that was laudable, to intercede with in the latter, are destroyed by too much heaven for the innocent, and to implore its precipitation; as waters lying still putrify vengeance on the people.

and are good for nothing; and running vioHomer and Hesiod intimate to us how lently on, do but the more mischief in their this art should be applied, when they re- passage to others, and are swallowed up and present the Muses as surrounding Jupiter, lost the sooner themselves. Those who, and warbling their hymns about his throne like you, can make themselves useful to all I might show, from innumerable passages states, should be like gentle streams, that in ancient writers, not only that vocal and not only glide through lonely vales and foinstrumental music were made use of in rests, amidst the flocks and shepherds, but their religious worship, but that their most visit populous towns in their course, and are favourite diversions were filled with songs at once of ornament and service to them. and hymns to their respective deities. Had But there is another sort of people who seem we frequent entertainments of this nature designed for solitude, those I mean who among us, they would not a little purify have more to hide than to show. As for and exalt our passions, give our thoughts a my own part, I am one of those whom Seproper turn, and cherish those divine im- neca says, “ Tam umbratiles sunt, ut pupulses in the soul, which every one feels tent in turbido esse quicquid in luce est.' that has not stifled them by sensual and Some men like pictures, are fitter for a corimmoral pleasures.

ner than a full light; and I believe such as Music, when thus applied, raises noble have a natural bent to solitude are like wahints in the mind of the hearer, and fills it ters, which may be forced into fountains, with great conceptions. It strengthens de- and, exalted to a great height, may make a votion, and advances praise into rapture, much nobler figure, and a much louder lengthens out every act of worship, and noise, but after all run more smoothly,

IV.

T.

equally, and plentifully in their own natural course upon the ground. The considera

"Each moment from the charmer I'm confin'd,

My breast is tortur'd with impatient fires ; tion of this would make me very well con Fly, my rein-deer, fly swifter than the wind, tented with the possession only of that quiet Thy tardy feet wing with my fierce desires. which Cowley calls the companion of ob

V. scurity; but whoever has the muses too for “Our pleasing toil will then be soon o'erpaid, his companions can never be idle enough to

And thou, in wonder lost, shalt view my fair ;

Admire each feature of the lovely maid, be uneasy. Thus, sir, you see I would

Her artless charms, her bloom, her sprightly air. flatter myself into a good opinion of my own

VI. way of living: Plutarch just now told me,

“But lo! with graceful motion there she swims, that it is in human life as in a game at ta Gently removing each ambitious wave; bles: one may wish he had the highest cast; The crowding waves transported clasp her limbs ; but, if his chance be otherwise, he is even

When, when, oh! when shall I such freedoms have! to play it as well as he can, and make the

VII. best of it. I am, sir, your most obliged and

“In vain, ye envious streams, so fast ye flow, most humble servant."

To hide her from her lover's ardent gaze:
From every touch you more transparent grow,

And all reveal'd the beauteous wanton plays." MR. SPECTATOR,—The town being so well pleased with the fine picture of artless love, which nature inspired the Laplander No. 407.] Tuesday, June 17, 1712. to paint in the ode you lately printed, we were in hopes that the ingenious translator

abest facundis gratia dictis. would have obliged it with the other also

Ovid. Met. Lib. xiii. 127. which Scheffer has given us: but since he Eloquent words a graceful manner want. has not, a much inferior hand has ventured to send you this.

Most foreign writers, who have given It is a custom with the northern lovers any character of the English nation, whatto divert themselves with a song, whilst ever vices they ascribe to it, allow, in gethey journey through the fenny_moors to neral, that the people are naturally mopay a visit to their mistresses. This is ad- dest. It proceeds, perhaps, from this our dressed by the lover to his rein-deer, which national virtue, that our orators are observed is the creature that in that country supplies to make use of less gesture or action than the want of horses. The circumstances those of other countries. Our preachers which successively present themselves to stand stock still in the pulpit, and will not him in his way, are, I believe you will think, so much as move a finger to set off the best naturally interwoven. The anxiety of ab- sermon in the world. We meet with the sence, the gloominess of the roads, and his same speaking statues at our bars, and in resolution of frequenting only those, since all public places of debate. Our words those only can carry him to the object of his flow from us in a smooth continued stream, desires; the dissatisfaction he expresses without those strainings of the voice, moeven at the greatest swiftness with which tions of the body, and majesty of the hand, he is carried, and his joyful surprise at an which are so much celebrated in the oraunexpected sight of his mistress as she is tors of Greece and Rome. We can talk of bathing, seem beautifully described in the life and death in cold blood, and keep our original.

temper in a discourse which turns upon If those pretty images of rural nature every thing that is dear to us. Though our are lost in the imitation, yet possibly you zeal breaks out in the finest tropes and may think fit to let this supply the place of figures, it is not able to stir a limb about us. a long letter, when want of leisure, or indis- I have heard it observed more than once, by position for writing, will not permit our be- those who have seen Italy, that an untraing entertained by your own hand. I pro- yelled Englishman cannot relish all the pose such a time, because, though it is beauties of Italian pictures, because the posnatural to have a fondness for what one does tures which are expressed in them are often oneself, yet, I assure you, I would not have such as are peculiar to that country. One any thing of mine displace a single line of who has not seen an Italian in the pulpit, will yours.

not know what to make of that noble ges1.

ture in Raphael's picture of St. Paul's "Haste, my rein-deer, and let us nimbly go

preaching at Athens, where the apostle is Our am'rous journey through this dreary waste ; represented as lifting up both his arms, and Haste, my rein-deer! still, still thou art too slow, Impetuous love demands the lightning's haste.

pouring out the thunder of his rhetoric

amidst an audience of pagan philosophers. " Around us far the rushy moors are spread :

It is certain that proper gestures and veSoon will the sun withdraw his cheerful ray:

hement exertions of the voice cannot be too Darkling and tir'd we shall the marshes tread, much studied by a public orator. They are No lay unsung to cheat the tedious way.

a kind of comment to what he utters, and

enforce every thing he says, with weak “The watry length of these unjoyous moors hearers, better than the strongest argument

Does all the flow'ry meadows' pride excel; Through these I fly to her my soul adores ;

he can make use of. They keep the auYe flow'ry meadows, empty pride, farewell. dience awake, and fix their attention to what

II.

III.

1

is delivered to them, at the same time that stole it from him one day in the midst of his they show the speaker is in earnest, and af- pleading; but he had better have let it fected himself with what he so passionately alone, for he lost his cause by his jest. recommends to others. Violent gesture and I have all along acknowledged myself to vociferation naturally shake the hearts of be a dumb man, and therefore may be the ignorant, and fill them with a kind of thought a very improper person to give religious horror. Nothing is more frequent rules for oratory; but I believe every one than to see women weep and tremble at the will agree with me in this, that we ought sight of a moving preacher, though he is either to lay aside all kinds of gesture placed quite out of their hearing; as in (which seems to be very suitable to the geEngland we very frequently see people nius of our nation,) or at least to make use lulled to sleep, with solid and elaborate of such only as are graceful and expressive. discourses of piety, who would be warmed

O. and transported out of themselves by the bellowing and distortions of enthusiasm.

If nonsense, when accompanied with such No. 408.] Wednesday, June 18, 1712. an emotion of voice and body, has such an influence on men's minds, what might we subjacere, servisiter. Tull. de Finibus.

Decet affectug animi neque se nimium erigere, nec not expect from many of those admirable discourses which are printed in our tongue, indulged, nor servilely depressed.

The affections of the heart ought not to be too much were they delivered with a becoming fervour, and with the most agreeable graces • MR. SPECTATOR,-I have always been of voice and gesture!

a very great lover of your speculations, as We are told that the great Latin orator well in regard to the subject as to your manvery much impaired his health by the late- ner of treating it. Human nature I always rum contentio, the vehemence of action, thought the most useful object of human with which he used to deliver himself. The reason; and to make the consideration of it Greek orator was likewise so very famous pleasant and entertaining, I always thought for this particular in rhetoric, that one of the best employment of human wit: other his antagonists, whom he had banished from parts of philosophy may perhaps make us Athens, reading over the oration which had wiser, but this not only answers that end, procured his banishment, and seeing his but makes us better too. Hence it was that friends admire it, could not forbear asking the oracle pronounced Socrates the wisest them, if they were so much affected by the of all men living, because he judiciously bare reading of it, how much more they made choice of human nature for the object would have been alarmed, had they heard of his thoughts; an inquiry into which, as him actually throwing out such a storm of much exceeds all other learning, as it is of eloquence?

more consequence to adjust the true nature How cold and dead a figure, in compari- and measures of right and wrong, than to son of these two great men, does an orator settle the distances of the planets, and comoften make at the British bar, holding up pute the time of their circumvolutions. his head with the most insipid serenity, and One good effect that will immediately stroking the sides of a long wig that reaches arise from a near observation of human down to his middle! The truth of it is, there nature, is, that we shall cease to wonder at is often nothing more ridiculous than the those actions which men are used to reckon gestures of an English speaker: you see wholly unaccountable; for, as nothing is some of them running their hands into their produced without a cause, so by observing pockets as far as ever they can thrust them, the nature course of the passions, we and others looking with great attention on a shall be able to trace every action from its piece of paper that has nothing written on first conception to its death. We shall no it; you may see many a smart rhetorician more admire at the proceedings of Catiline turning his hat in his hands, moulding it or Tiberius, when we know the one was into several different cocks, examining some actuated by a cruel jealousy, the other by times the lining of it, and sometimes the a furious ambition: for the actions of men button, during the whole course of his follow their passions as naturally as light harangue. A deaf man would think he was does heat, or as any other effect flows from its cheapening a beaver, when perhaps he is cause; reason must be employed in adjusttalking of the fate of the British nation. !ing the passions, but they must ever remain remember, when I was a young man, and the principles of action. used to frequent Westminster-hall, there •The strange and absurd variety that is was a counsellor who never pleaded with so apparent in men's actions, shows plainly out a piece of pack-thread in his hand, they can never proceed immediately from which he used to twist about a thumb or a reason; so pure a fountain emits no such finger all the while he was speaking: the troubled waters: they must necessarily arise wags of those days used to call it 'the from the passions, which are to the mind as thread of his discourse,' for he was unable the winds to a ship; they can only move it, to utter a word without it. One of his and they too often destroy it: if fair and clients, who was more merry than wise, I gentle, they guide it into the harbour; if

« AnteriorContinuar »