Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

herself but at church; there she displays .Whenever I walk into the streets of her virtue, and is so fervent in all her de- London and Westminster, the countenances votions, that I have frequently seen her of all the young fellows that pass by me pray herself out of breath. While other make me wish myself in Sparta: I 'meet young ladies in the house are dancing, or with such blustering airs, big looks, and playing at questions and commands, she bold fronts, that, to a superficial observer, reads aloud in her closet. She says, all love would bespeak a courage above those Greis ridiculous, except it be celestial; but she cians. I am arrived to that perfection in speaks of the passion of one mortal to an- speculation, that I understand the language other with too much bitterness for one that of the eyes, which would be a great misforhad no jealousy mixed with her contempt tune to me had I not corrected the testiness of it. If at any time she sees a man warm of old age by philosophy. There is scarce in his addresses to his mistress, she will lift a man in a red coat who does not tell me, up her eyes to heaven, and cry, "What with a full stare, he is a bold man: I see nonsense is that fool talking! Will the bell several swear inwardly at me, without any never ring for prayers?”. We have an emi- offence of mine, but the oddness of my pernent lady of this stamp in our country, who son; I meet contempt in every street; expretends to amusements very much above pressed in different manners by the scornful the rest of her sex. She never carries a look, the elevated eye-brow, and the swellwhite shock-dog with bells under her arm, ing nostrils of the proud and prosperous. nor a squirrel or dormouse in her pocket, The 'prentice speaks his disrespect by an but always an abridged piece of morality, extended finger, and the porter by stealing to steal out when she is sure of being ob- out his tongue. If a country gentleman apserved. When she went to the famous pearsalittle curious in observing the edifices, ass-race, (which I must confess was but an clocks, signs, coaches, and dials, it is not to odd diversion to be encouraged by people be imagined how the polite rabble of this of rank and figure,) it was not, like other town, who are acquainted with these obladies, to hear those poor animals bray, norjects, ridicule his rusticity. I have known to see fellows run naked, or to hear country a fellow with a burden on his head steal a squires in bob wigs and white girdles make hand down from his load, and slily twirl love at the side of a coach, and cry, “Ma- the cock of a 'squire's hat behind him; dam this is dainty weather. " Thus she while the offended person is swearing, or described the diversion; for she went only out of countenance, all the wag-wits in the to pray heartily that nobody might be hurt highway are grinning in applause of the inin the crowd, and to see if the poor fellow's genious rogue that gave him the tip, and the face, which was distorted with grinning, folly of him who had not eyes all round his might any way be brought to itself again. head to prevent receiving it. These things She never chats over her tea, but covers arise from a general affectation of smarther face, and is supposed in an ejaculation ness, wit, and courage. Wycherly somebefore she tastes a sup. This ostentatious where rallies the pretensions this way, by behaviour is such an offence to true sanc-making a fellow say, “Red breeches are a tity, that it disparages it, and makes virtue certain sign of valour;" and Otway makes not only unamiable, but also ridiculous. a man, to boast his agility, trip up a beggar The sacred writings are full of reflections on crutches. From such hints I beg a specuwhich abhor this kind of conduct; and a llation on this subject: in the mean time I devotee is so far from promoting goodness, shall do all in the power of a weak old felthat she deters others by her example. low in my own defence; for as Diogenes, Folly and vanity in one of these ladies is being in quest of an honest man, sought like vice in a clergyman; it does not only for him when it was broad daylight with a debase him, but makes the inconsiderate lantern and candle, so I intend for the fupart of the world think the worse of reli- ture to walk the streets with a dark lantern, gion. I am, sir, your humble servant, which has a convex crystal in it; and if

• HOTSPUR.' any man stares at me, I give fair warning

that I will direct the light full into his eyes. * MR. SPECTATOR, -Xenophon in his Thus despairing to find men modest, I hope short account of the Spartan commonwealth by this means to evade their impudence. speaking of the behaviour of their young I'am, sir, your humble servant, men in the streets, says, “ There was so

T,

*SOPHROSUNIUS.' much modesty in their looks, that you might as soon have turned the eyes of a marble statue upon you as theirs; and that No. 355.] Thursday, April 17, 1712. in all their behaviour they were more modest than a bride when put to bed upon Non ego mordaci distrinxi carmine quenquam. her wedding-night.” This virtue, which is

Ovid. Trist. Lib. ii. 563. always subjoined to magnanimity, had such I ne'er in gall dipp'd my envenom'd pen, an influence upon their courage, that in battle an enemy could not look them in the I HAVE been very often tempted to write face, and they durst not but die for their invectives upon those who have detracted country.

from my works, or spoken in derogation of

Nor branded the bold front of shameless men.

1

1

my person; but I look upon it as a particu- i no more than one of those fictitious names lar happiness, that I have always hindered made use of by an author to introduce an my resentments from proceeding to this imaginary character. Why should a man extremity. I once had gone through half be sensible of the sting of a reproach, who a satire, but found so many motions of hu- is a stranger to the guilt that is implied in manity rising in me towards the persons it; or subject himself to the penalty, when whom I had severely treated, that I threw it he knows he has never committed the into the fire without ever finishing it. I have crime? This is a piece of fortitude, which been angry enough to make several little every one owes to his own innocence, and epigrams and lam poons; and, after having without which it is impossible for a man admired them a day or two, have likewise of any merit or figure to live at peace with committed them to the fames. These I himself, in a country that abounds with wit look upon as so many sacrifices to humanity, and liberty. and have received much greater satisfac The famous Monsieur Balzac, in a letter tion from suppressing such performances, to the chancellor of France, who had prethan I could have done from any reputation vented the publication of a book against they might have procured me, or from any him, has the following words, which are a mortification they might have given my lively picture of the greatness of mind so enemies in case I had made them public. visible in the works of that author: •If it If a man has any talent in writing, it shows was a new thing, it may be I should not a good mind to forbear answering calum- be displeased with the suppression of the nies and reproaches in the same spirit of first libel that should abuse me; but since bitterness with which they are offered. But there are enough of them to make a small when a man has been at some pains in library, I am secretly pleased to see the making suitable returns to an enemy, and number increased, and take delight in raishas the instruments of revenge in his hands, ing a heap of stones that envy has cast at to let drop his wrath, and stifle his resent- me without doing me any harm.' ments, seems to have something in it great The author here alludes to those monuand heroical. There is a particular meritments of the eastern nations which were in such a way of forgiving an enemy; and mountains of stones raised upon the dead the more violent and unprovoked the of- bodies by travellers, that used to cast every fence has been, the greater still is the merit one his stone upon it as they passed by. It of him who thus forgives it.

is certain that no monument is so glorious I never met with a consideration that is as one which is thus raised by the hands of more finely spun, and what has better envy. For my part, I admire an author pleased me, than one in Epictetus, which for such a temper of mind as enables him places an enemy in a new light, and gives to bear an undeserved reproach without us a view of him altogether different from resentment, more than for all the wit of that in which we are used to regard him. any the finest satirical reply. The sense of it is as follows: Does a man Thus far I thought necessary to explain reproach thee for being proud orill-natured, myself in relation to those who have anienvious or conceited, ignorant or detract- madverted on this paper, and to show the ing? Consider with thyself whether his re reasons why I have not thought fit to return proaches are true. If they are not, consider them any formal answer. I must further that thou art not the person whom he re- add, that the work would have been of very proaches, but that he reviles an imaginary little use to the public, had it been filled being, and perhaps loves what thou really with personal reflections and debates; for art, though he hates what thou appearest which reason I have never once turned out to be. If his reproaches are true, if thou of my way to observe those little cavils art the envious, ill-natured man he takes which have been made against it by envy thee for, give thyself another turn, become or ignorance. The common fry of scribmild, affable, and obliging, and his re- blers, who have no other way of being proaches of thee naturally cease. His taken notice of but by attacking what has reproaches may indeed continue, but thou gained some reputation in the world, would art no longer the person whom he re- have furnished me with business enough proaches."

had they found me disposed to enter the I often apply this rule to myself; and lists with them. when I hear of a satirical speech or writing I shall conclude with the fable of Boccathat is aimed at me, I examine my own lini's traveller, who was so pestered with heart, whether I deserve it or not. If I the noise of grasshoppers in his ears that bring in a verdict against myself, I endea- he alighted from his horse in great wrath vour to rectify my conduct for the future in to kill them all. . This,' says the author, those particulars which have drawn the was troubling himself to no manner of purcensure upon me; but if the whole invec- pose. Had he pursued his journey without tive be grounded upon a falsehood, I trou- taking notice of them, the troublesome ble myself no further about it, and look insects would have died of themselves in a upon my name at the head of it to signify very few weeks, and he would have suffer

ed nothing froin them.' * Epict. Ench cap. 18 and 64.

L, VOL. II,

1

[ocr errors]

Juv. Sat. x. 349.

No. 356.] Friday, April 18, 1712. for a heap of fleeting past pleasures, which -Aptissima quæque dabunt dii,

are at present aching sorrows! Charior est illis homo quain sibi

How pleasing is the contemplation of the

lowly steps our Almighty Leader took in - The gods will grant

conducting us to his heavenly mansions! What their unerring wisdom sees they want: In goodness as in greatness, they excel;

In plain and apt parable, similitude and Ah! that we lov'd ourselves but half as well! allegory, our great Master enforced the

Drydon. doctrine of our salvation, but they of his It is owing to pride, and a secret affecta- acquaintance, instead of receiving what tion of a certain self-existence, that the they could not oppose, were offended at noblest motive for action that ever was pro- the presumption of being wiser than they. posed to man is not acknowledged the glory They could not raise their little ideas above and happiness of their being. The heart the consideration of him, in those circumis treacherous to itself, and we do not let stances familiar to them, or conceive that our reflections go deep enough to receive he, who appeared not more terrible or religion as the most honourable incentive to pompous, should have any thing more exgood and worthy actions. It is our natural alted than themselves; he in that place weakness to flatter ourselves into a belief, therefore would no longer ineffectually that if we search into our inmost thoughts, exert a power which was incapable of we find ourselves wholly disinterested, and conquering the prepossession of their nardivested of any views arising from self-love row and mean conceptions. and vain-glory. But however spirits of su Multitudes followed him, and brought perficial greatness may disdain at first sight him the dumb, the blind, the sick, and to do any thing, but from a noble impulse maimed; whom when their Creator had in themselves, without any future regards touched, with a second life they saw, spoke, in this, or any other being; upon stricter leaped, and ran. In affection to him, and inquiry they will find, to act worthily, and admiration of his actions, the crowd could expect to be rewarded only in another not leave him, but waited near him till world, is as heroic a pitch of virtue as hu- they were almost as faint and helpless as man nature can arrive at. If the tenor of others they brought for succour. He had our actions have any other motive than the compassion on them, and by a miracle supdesire to be pleasing in the eye of the Deity, plied their necessities. Oh, the ecstatic it will necessarily follow that we must be entertainment, when they could behold more than men, if we are not too much ex- their food immediately increase to the disalted in prosperity and depressed in ad tributor's hand, and see their God in person versity. But the Christian world has a feeding and refreshing his creatures! Oh Leader, the contemplation of whose life envied happiness! But why do I say enand sufferings, must administer comfort in vied ? as if our God did not still preside affliction, while the sense of his power and over our temperate meals, cheerful hours, omnipotence must give them humiliation and innocent conversations. in prosperity.

But though the sacred story is every It is owing to the forbidding and unlovely where full of miracles, not inferior to this, constraint with which men of low concep- and though in the midst of those acts of tions act when they think they conform divinity he never gave the least hint of a themselves to religion, as well as to the design to become a secular prince, yet had more odious conduct of hypocrites, that the not hitherto the apostles themselves any word Christian does not carry with it, at other than hopes of worldly power, preferfirst view, all that is great, worthy, friend- ment, riches, and pomp; for Peter, upon ly, generous, and heroic. The man who an accident of ambition among the apostles, suspends his hopes of the reward of worthy hearing his Master explain that his kingactions till after death, who can bestow un- dom was not of this world, was so scandaseen, who can overlook hatred, do good to lized that he whom he had so long followed his slanderer, who can never be angry at should suffer the ignominy, shame, and his friend, never revengeful to his

enemy, death, which he foretold, that he took him is certainly formed for the benefit of society. aside and said, 'Be it far from thee, Lord, Yet these are so far from heroic virtues, this shall not be unto thee:' for which he that they are but the ordinary duties of a suffered a severe reprehension from his Christian

Master, as having in his view the glory of When a man with a steady faith looks man rather than that of God. back on the great catastrophe of this day, * The great change of things began to with what bleeding emotions of heart must draw near, when the Lord of nature he contemplate the life and sufferings of thought fit, as a saviour and deliverer, to his deliverer! When his agonies occur to make his public entry into Jerusalem with him, how will he weep to reflect that he more than the power and joy, but none of has often forgot them for the glance of a the ostentation and pomp of a triumph; he wanton, for the applause of a vain world, came humble, meek, and lowly; with an

unfelt new ecstasy, multitudes strewed his * Good Friday, 1712, the day of publication of this way with garinents and olive-branches,

crying, with loud gladness and acclama

paper.

Entrance unseen. Soon as th' unwelcome news

tion, Hosannah to the Son of David! other in the whole poem. The author, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of upon the winding up of his action, introthe Lord!' At this great King's accession duces all those who had any concern in it, to his throne, men were not ennobled, but and shows with great beauty the influence saved; crimes were not remitted, but sins which it had upon each of them. It is like forgiven. He did not bestow medals, the last act of a well-written tragedy, in honours, favours; but health, joy, sight, which all who had a part in it are generally speech.' The first object the blind ever drawn up before the audience, and represaw was the Author of sight; while the sented under those circumstances in which lame ran before, and the dumb repeated the determination of the action places them. the hosannah. Thus attended, he entered I shall therefore consider this book under into his own house, the sacred temple, and four heads, in relation to the celestial, the by his divine authority expelled traders infernal, the human, and the imaginary and worldlings that profaned it; and thus persons, who have their respective parts did he for a time use a great and despotic allotted in it. power, to let unbelievers understand that To begin with the celestial persons: the it was not want of, but superiority to, all guardian angels of Paradise are described worldly dominion, that made him not exert as returning to heaven upon the fall of man, it. But is this then the Saviour? Is this the in order to approve their vigilance; their Deliverer? Shall this obscure Nazarene arrival, their manner of reception, with command Israel, and sit on the throne of the sorrow which appeared in themselves, David ? Their proud and disdainful hearts, and in those spirits who are said to rejoice which were petrified with the love and pride at the conversion of a sinner, are very finely of this world, were impregnable to the re- laid together in the following lines: ception of so mean a benefactor; and were

Upinto heav'n from Paradise in haste now enough exasperated with benefits to con Th' angelic guards ascended, mute and sad spire his death. Our Lord was sensible of For man ; for of his state by this they knew ;

Much wond'ring how the subtle fiend had stol'n their design, and prepared his disciples for it, by recounting to them now more distinctly From earth arriv'd at heaven gate, displeas'd what should befal him; but Peter, with an

All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare

That time celestial visages; yet mixt ungrounded resolution, and in a fush of

With pity, violated not their bliss. temper, made a sanguine protestation, that About the new arriv'd, in multitudes though all men were offended in him, yet Th' ethereal people ran to hear and know would not he be offended. It was a great

How all befel. They tow'rds the throne supreme

Accountable made haste, to make appear article of our Saviour's business in the With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance, world to bring us to a sense of our inability,

And easily approvd; when the Most High without God's assistance, to do any thing

Eternal Father, from his secret cloud

Amidst, in thunder utter'd thus his voice. great or good; he therefore told Peter, who thought so well of his courage and fidelity,

The same Divine Person, who in the that they would both fail him, and even he foregoing parts of this poem interceded for should deny him thrice that very night.

our first parents before their fall, over• But what heart can conceive, what threw the rebel angels, and created the tongue utter the sequel? Who is that world, is now represented as descending to yonder, buffetted, mocked, and spurned? Paradise, and pronouncing sentence upon Whom do they drag like a felon? Whither the three offenders. The cool of the evendo they carry my Lord, my King, my Sa-ing being a circumstance with which holy viour, and my God? And will he die to

writ introduces this great scene, it is poetiexpiate those very injuries? See where cally described by our author, who has also they have nailed the Lord and giver of life! kept religiously to the form of words in How his wounds blacken, his body writhes; passed upon Adam, Eve, and the serpent.

which the three several sentences were and heart heaves with pity and with agony! He has rather chosen to neglect the nuOh Almighty sufferer, look down, look down from thy triumphant infamy! Lo, merousness of his verse, than to deviate he inclines his head to his sacred bosom from those speeches which are recorded on Hark, he groans! See, he expires! The

this great occasion. The guilt and confuearth trembles, the temple rends, the rocks before their judge, is touched with great

sion of our first parents, standing naked burst, the dead arise. Which are the quick? Which are the dead? Sure nature, into the works of creation, the Almighty is

beauty. Upon the arrival of Sin and Death all nature is departing with her Creator.'

T.

again introduced as speaking to his angels that surrounded him.

See! with what heat these dogs of hell advance, No. 357.] Saturday, April 19, 1712.

To waste and havoc yonder world, which I

So fair and good created,' &c.
Quis talia fando
Temperet a lachrymis ?. Virg. Æn. ii. 6.

The following passage is formed upon

that glorious image in holy writ, which Who can relate such woes without a tear?

compares the voice of an innumerable host The tenth book of Paradise Lost has a of angels uttering hallelujahs, to the voice greater variety of persons in it than any of mighty thunderings, or of many waters:

-Behind her Death

He ended, and the heav'nly andience loud

His first appearance in the assembly of Sung hallelujah, as the sound of seas, Through multitude that sung: 'Just are thy ways,

fallen angels is worked up with circumRighteous are thy decrees in all thy works,

stances which give a delightful surprise to Who can extenuate thee?'

the reader: but there is no incident in the Though the author, in the whole course whole poem which does this more than the of his poem, and particularly in the book transformation of the whole audience, that we are now examining, has infinite allusions follows the account their leader gives them to places of Scripture, I have only taken of his expedition. The gradual change of notice in my remarks of such as are of a Satan himself is described after Ovid's poetical nature, and which are woven with manner, and may vie with any of those celegreat beauty into the body of his fable. brated transformations which are looked Of this kind is that passage in the present upon as the most beautiful parts in that book, where, describing Sin as marching poet's works. Milton never fails of imthrough the works of nature, he adds,

proving his own hints, and bestowing the last finishing touches in every incident which

is admitted into his poem. The unexpected Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet

hiss which arises in this episode, the dimenOn his pale horse

sions and bulk of Satan so much superior to Which alludes to that passage in Scripture those of the infernal spirits who lay under so wonderfully poetical, and terrifying, to the same transformation, with the annual the imagination: “And I looked, and be change which they are supposed to suffer, hold, a pale horse, and his name that sat are instances of this kind. The beauty of on him was Death, and Hell followed with the diction is very remarkable in this whole him: and power was given unto them over episode, as I have observed in the sixth the fourth part of the earth, to kill with paper of these remarks the great judgment sword, and with hunger, and with sickness, with which it was contrived. and with the beasts of the earth.' Under

The parts of Adam and Eve, or the huthis first head of celestial persons we must man persons, come next under our conlikewise take notice of the command which sideration. Milton's art is no where more the angels received, to produce the several shown, than in his conducting the parts of changes in nature, and sully the beauty of these our first parents. The representation creation. Accordingly they are represent- he gives of them, without falsifying the ed as infecting the stars and planets with story, is wonderfully contrived to influence malignant influences, weakening the light the reader with pity and compassion toof the sun, bringing down the winter into wards them. Though Adam involves the the milder regions of nature, planting winds whole species in misery, his crime proceeds and storms in several quarters of the sky, from a weakness which every man is instoring the clouds with thunder, and, in clined to pardon and commiserate, as it short, perverting the whole frame of the seems rather the frailty of human nature, universe to the condition of its criminal in- than of the person who offended. Every habitants. As this is a noble incident in one is apt to excuse a fault which he himthe poem, the following lines, in which we self might have fallen into. It was the exsee the angels heaving up the earth, and cess of love for Eve that ruined Adam and placing it in a different posture to the sun his posterity. I need not add, that the aufrom what it had before the fall of man, is thor is justified in this particular by many conceived with that sublime imagination of the fathers, and the most orthodox wriwhich was so peculiar to this great author: ters. Milton has by this means filled a Some say he bid his angels turn askance

great part of his poem with that kind of The poles of earth twice ten degrees and more writing which the French critics call the From the sun's axle; they with labour push'd tendre, and which is in a particular manner Oblique the centric globe,

engaging to all sorts of readers. We are in the second place to consider Adam and Eve, in the book we are now the infernal agents under the view which considering, are likewise drawn with such Milton has given us of them in this book. sentiments as do not only interest the reader It is observed, by those who would set forth in their afflictions, but raise in him the most the greatness of Virgil's plan, that he con- melting, passions of humanity and comducts his reader through all the parts of the miseration. When Adam sees the several earth which were discovered in his time. changes of nature produced about him, he Asia, Africa, and Europe, are the several appears in a disorder of mind suitable to scenes of his fable. The plan of Milton's one who had forfeited both his innocence poem is of an infinitely greater extent, and and his happiness: he is filled with horror, fills the mind with many more astonishing remorse, despair; in the anguish cf his circumstances. Satan, having surrounded heart he expostulates with his Creator for the earth seven times, departs at length having given him an unasked existence: from Paradise. We then see him steering his course among the constellations; and, • Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay after having traversed the whole creation,

From darkness to promote me? or here place pursuing his voyage through the chans, and

In this delicious garden? As my will entering into his own internal dominions.

Concurr'd not to any being, 't were but right

To mould me man? Did I solicit thee

« AnteriorContinuar »