Imágenes de páginas

lutions, I must confess, with great confusion, / who very naturally lie within the shadow of that I find myself daily degenerating into a the dream-tree, as being of the same kind of bagpipe; whether it be the effect of my old make in themselves, and the materials, or age, or of the company I keep, I know not. (to use Shakspeare's phrase) the stuff of All that I can do, is to keep a watch over which dreams are made. Such are the my conversation, and to silence the drone as shades of the giant with a hundred hands, soon as I find it begin to hum in my dis- and of his brother with three bodies; of the course, being determined rather to hear the double-shaped Centaur, and Scylla; the notes of others, than to play out of time, and Gorgon with snaky hair; the Harpy with a encroach upon their parts in the concert, by woman's face and lion's talons; the seventhe noise of so tiresome an instrument. headed Hydra; and the Chimera, which

I shall conclude this paper with a letter breathes forth á flame, and is a compound of which I received last night from a friend of three animals. These several mixed namine, who knows very well my notions upon tures, the creatures of imagination, are not this subject, and invites me to pass the eve- only introduced with great art after the ning at his house, with a select company of dreams, but as they are planted at the very friends, in the following words:

entrance, and within the very gates of those

regions, do probably denote the wild deliri“DEAR ISAAC, I intend to have a concert

ums and extravagancies of fancy, which the at my house this evening, having by great soul usually falls into when she is just upon chance got a harpsichord, which I am sure

the verge of death. will entertain you very agreeably. There Thus far Æneas travels in an allegory. will be likewise two lutes and a trumpet: let | The rest of the description is drawn with me beg you to put yourself in tune, and be

great exactness, according to the religion of lieve me

the heathens, and the opinions of the Pla“Your very faithful servant,

tonic philosophy. I shall not trouble my “NICHOLAS HUMDRUM.”

reader with a common dull story, that gives an account why the heathens first of all sup

posed a ferryman in hell, and his name to be No. 154.] Tuesday, April 4, 1710, Charon ; but must not pass over in silence

the point of doctrine which Virgil hath very Obscuris vera involvens. Virg. Jin. 1. 6. much insisted upon in this book, that the

souls of those who are unburied, are not perFrom my own Apartment, April 3. mitted to go over into their respective plaWe have already examined Homer's de- ces of rest, till they have wandered a hunscription of a future state, and the condition dred years upon the banks of Styx. This in which he hath placed the souls of the de- was probably an invention of the leathen ceased. I shall in this paper make some priesthood, to make the people extremely observations on the account which Virgil careful of performing proper rites and cerehath given us of the same subject, who, be- monies to the memory of the dead. I shall sides a greatness of genius, had all the lights not, however, with the infamous scribblers of philosophy and human learning to assist of the age, take an occasion from such a cirand guide him in his discoveries.

cumstance, to run into declamations against Æneas is represented as descending into priestcraft, but rather look upon it even in the empire of death, with a prophetess by this light as a religious artifice, to raise in the his side, who instructs him in the secrets of minds of men an esteem for the memory of those lower regions.

their forefathers, and a desire to recommend Upon the confines of the dead, and before themselves to that of posterity; as also to the very gates of this infernal world, Virgil excite in them an ambition of imitating the describes several inhabitants, whose natures virtues of the deceased, and to keep alive in are wonderfully suited to the situation of the their thoughts the sense of the soul's immorplace, as being either the occasions or re- tality. In a word, we may say in defence of semblances of Death. Of the first kind are the severe opinions relating to the shades of the shadows of Sickness, Old Age, Fear, Fa- unburied persons, what hath been said by mine, and Poverty, (apparitions very terri- some of our divines, in regard to the rigid ble to behold,) with several others, as Toil, doctrines concerning the souls of such who War, Contention, and Discord, which con- die without being initiated into our religion, tribute all of them to people this common that supposing they should be erroneous, receptacle of human souls. As this was they can do no hurt to the dead, and will likewise a very proper residence for every havea good effect upon the living, in making thing that resembles death, the poet tells us, them cautious of neglecting such necessary that Sleep, whom he represents as a near solemnities.. relation to Death, has likewise his habitation Charon is no sooner appeased, and the in these quarters, and describes in them a triple-headed dog laid asleep, but Æneas huge gloomy elm-tree, which seems a very makes his entrance into the dominions of proper ornament for the place, and is pos- Pluto. There are three kinds of persons sessed by an innumerable swarm of dreams, described, as being situated on the borders; that hang in clusters under every leaf of it. and I can give no reason for their being staHe then gives us a list of imaginary persons, tioned there in so particular a manner, but


because none of them seem to have had a / and walks, which he tells us are inhabited proper right to a place among the dead, as by deceased lovers. not having run out the whole thread of their “Not far from hence (says he) lies a great days, and finished the term of life that had waste of plains, that are called the Fields of been allotted them upon earth. The first Melancholy. In these there grows a forest of these are the souls of infants, who are of myrtle, divided into many shady retiresnatched away by untimely ends: the second, ments, and covered walks, and inhabited by are of those who are put to death wrongfully, the souls of those who pined away with love. and by an unjust sentence; and the third, of The passion (says he continues with them those who grew weary of their lives, and after death.” He then gives a list of this laid violent hands upon themselves. As for languishing tribe, in which his own Dido the second of these, Virgil adds, with great makes the principal figure, and is described beauty, that Minos, the judge of the dead, is as living in this soft romantic scene, with employed in giving them a re-hearing, and the shade of her first husband Sichæus. assigning them their several quarters, suita- The poet in the next place mentions anoble to the parts they acted in life. The ther plain, that was peopled with the ghosts poet, after having mentioned the souls of of warriors, as still delighting in each other's Those unhappy men who destroyed them- company, and pleased with the exercise of selves, breaks out into a fine exclamation : arms. He there represents the Grecian ge“Oh ! how gladly says he would they now nerals and common soldiers, who perished in endure life witli all its miseries! But the the siege of Troy, as drawn up in squadrons, destinies forbid their return to earth, and the and terrified at the approach of ÆEneas, which waters of Styx surround them with nine renewed in them those impressions of fear streams that are unpassable.” It is very they had before received in battle with the remarkable, that Virgil, notwithstanding Trojans. He afterwards likewise, upon the self-murder was so frequent among the hea- same notion, gives a view of the Trojan thens, and had been practised by some of heroes, who lived in former ages, amidst a the greatest men in every age before him, visionary scene of chariots and arms, flowery hath here represented it as so heinous a meadows, shining spears, and generous crime. But in this particular he was guided steeds, which he tells us were their pleaby the doctrines of his great master Plato, sures upon earth, and now make up their who says on this subject, “ That a man is happiness in Elysium. For the same reason placed in his station of life like a soldier in also, he mentions others, as singing pæans, his proper post, which he is not to quit, and songs of triumph, amidst a beautiful whatever may happen, until he is called off grove of laurel. The chief of the concert by his commander who planted him in it." was the poet Musæus, who stood inclosed

There is another point in the Platonic phi- with a circle of admirers, and rose by the losophy, which Virgil has made the ground- head and shoulders above the throng of work of the greatest part in the piece we shades that surrounded him. The habitaare now examining, having with wonderful tions of unhappy spirits, to show the duraart and beauty materialized (if I may so call tion of their torments, and the desperate it)a scheme of abstracted notions, and cloth- condition they are in, are represented as ed the most nice, refined conceptions of phi- guarded by a fury, moated round with a lake losophy in sensible images, and poetical re of fire, strengthened with towers of iron, enpresentations. The Platonists fell us, that compassed with a triple wall, and fortified the soul, during her residence in the body, with pillars of adamant, which all the gods contracts many virtuous and vicious habits, together were not able to heave from their so as to become a beneficent, mild, charita foundations. The noise of stripes, the clank ble, or an angry, malicious, revengeful be- of chains, and the groans of the tortured, ing; a substance inftamed with lust, avarice, strike the pious Æneas with a kind of horand pride; or, on the contrary, brightened ror. The poet afterwards divides the criwith pure, generous, and humble disposi- | minals into two classes: the first and blackest tions : that these, and the like habits of vir catalogue consists of such as were guilty of tue and vice growing into the very essence outrages against the gods; and the next, of of the soul, survive and gather strength in such who were convicted of injustice beher after her dissolution: that the torments tween man and man: the greatest number of a vicious soul in a future state, arise prin- of whom, says the poet, are those who folcipally from those importunate passions, lowed the dictates of avarice. which are not capable of being gratified! It was an opinion of the Platonists, that without a body; and that, on the contrary, the souls of men having contracted in the the happiness of virtuous minds, very much body great stains and pollutions, of vice and consists in their being employed in sublime ignorance, there were several purgations and speculations, innocent diversions, sociable cleansings necessary to be passed through, affections, and all the ecstacies of passion and both here and hereafter, in order to refine rapture which are agreeable to reasonable and purify them.. natures, and of which they gained a relish Virgil, to give this thought likewise a in this life.

clothing of poetry, describes some spirits Upon this foundation, the poet raises that as bleaching in the winds, others as cleansbeautiful description of the secret haunts / ing under great falls of waters, and others as purging in fire, to recover the primitive | This man and his affairs had been long beauty and purity of their natures.

out of my mind, till about three days ago, as It was likewise an opinion of the same I was walking in St. James's Park, I heard sect of philosophers, that the souls of all somebody at a distance hemming after me; men exist in a separate state, long before and who should it be but my old neighbour their union with their bodies; and that upon the upholsterer. I saw he was reduced to their immersion into flesh, they forget every extreme poverty, by certain shabby superthing which passed in the state of pre-exis- fluities in his dress : for, notwithstanding tence ; so that what we here call know- that it was a very sultry day for the time of ledge, is nothing else but memory, or the re- the year, he wore a loose great coat and a covery of those things which we knew before, muff, with a long campaign wig out of curl;

In pursuance of this scheme, Virgil gives to which he had added the ornament of a pair us a view of several souls, who, to prepare of black garters buckled under the knee. themselves for living upon earth, fock Upon his coming up to me, I was going to about the banks of the river Lethe, and inquire into his present circumstances; but swill themselves with the water of oblivion. | was prevented by his asking me, with a

The same scheme gives him an opportu whisper, “Whether the last letters brought nity of making a noble compliment to his any accounts that one might rely upon from countrymen, where Anchises is represented Bender?" I told him, “None, that I heard taking a survey of the long train of heroes of;' and asked hini, “Whether he had yet that are to descend from him, and giving his married his eldest daughter ?" He told me, son Æneas an account of all the glories of “No. But pray, (says he) tell me sincerehis race.

ly, what are your thoughts of the King of I need not mention the revolution of the Sweden?" for though his wife and children Platonic year, which is but just touched upon were starving, I found his chief concern at in this book; and as I have consulted no present was for this great monarch. I told anthor's thoughts in this explication, shall be him, “ That I looked upon him as one of the very well pleased, if it can make the noblest first heroes of the age, 's “But pray, says piece of the most accomplished poet more he,) do you think there is any thing in the agreeable to my female readers, when they story of his wound ?" (and finding me surthink fit to look into Dryden's translation prised at the question,) “Nay, (says he,) I of it.

only propose it to you. I answered, “ That I thought there was no reason to doubt of it.” “But why in the heel, (says he,) more

than any other part of the body?"" “BeNo. 155.] Thursday, April 6, 1710.

cause (says I) the bullet chanced to light Aliena negotia curat

there." Excussus propriis.


This extraordinary dialogue was no soon

er ended, but he began to launch out into a From my own Apartment, April 5. long dissertation upon the affairs of the There lived some years since within my north : and, after having spent some time neighbourhood, a very grave person, an up-on them, he told me, he was in a great perholsterer, who seemed to be a man of more plexity how to reconcile the Supplement than ordinary application to business. He with the English-Post, and had been just · was a very early riser, and was often abroad now examining what the other papers said two or three hours before any of his neigh- upon the same subject. “The daily Cou-bours. He had a particular carefulness in rant (says he has these words, We have the knitting of his brows, and a kind of im- advices from very good hands, that a cer patience in all his motions, that plainly dis- tain prince has some matters of great imcovered he was always intent on matter of portance under consideration.' This is very importance. Upon my inquiry into his life mysterious; but the Post-boy leaves us more and conversation, I found him to be the in the dark, for he tells us, That there are greatest news-monger in our qnarter; that private intimations of measures taken by a he rose before day to read the Postman; and certain prince, which time will bring to that he would take two or three turns to the light.' Now, the Postman, (says he,) who other end of the town before his neighbours uses to be very clear, refers to the same were up, to see if there were any Dutch news in these words; “The late conduct of mails come in. He had a wife and several a certain prince affords great matter of specchildren ; but was much more inquisitive to ulation.' 'This certain prince, (says the upknow what passed in Poland, than in his holsterer,) whom they are all so cautious of own family, and was in greater pain and naming, I take to be ," upon which, anxiety of mind for King Augustus's welfare though there was nobody near us, he whisperthan that of his nearest relations. He looked ed something in my ear, which I did not hear, extremely thin in a dearth of news, and never or think worth my while to make him enjoyed himself in a westerly wind. This repeat. indefatigable kind of life was the ruin of his We were now got to the upper end of the shop; for about the time that his fa rourite | Mall, where were three or four very odd prince left the crown of Poland, he broke, fellows sitting together upon the bench. and (lisappeared,

| These I found were all of them politicians.

who used to sun themselves in that place passion to so needy a statesman, and to disevery day about dinner-time. Observing sipate the confusion I found he was in, I told them to be curiosities in their kind, and my him, if he pleased, I would give him five friend's acquaintance, I sat down among shillings, to receive five pounds of him when them,

the great Turk was driven out of ConstantiThe chief politician of the bench was a nople; which he very readily accepted, but great asserter of paradoxes. He told us, not before he had laid down to me the imwith a seeming concern, that, by some news possibility of such an event, as the affairs of he had lately read from Muscovy, it appear- | Europe now stand. ed to him, that there was a storm gathering This paper I design for the particular bein the Black Sea, which might in time do nefit of those worthy citizens who live more hurt to the naval forces of this nation. To in a coffee-house than in their shops, and this he added, that, for his part, he could not whose thoughts are so taken up with the wish to see the Turk driven out of Europe, affairs of the Allies, that they forget their which he believed could not but be prejudi- customers. cial to our woollen manufacture. He then told us, that he looked upon those extraordinary revolutions, which had lately hap- / No. 1567 Saturday Thrile 110 pened in those parts of the world, to have risen chiefly from two persons who were -Sequiturque Patrem non passibus æquis.-Virg. not much talked of; and those, says he, are Prince Menzikoff, and the Duchess of Mi

From my own Apartment, April 7

From my randola. He backed his assertions with so We have already described out of Homer, many broken hints, and such a show of the voyage of Ulysses to the infernal shades, depth and wisdom, that we gave ourselves with the several adventures that attended it. up to his opinions.

If we look into the beautiful romance pubThe discourse at length fell upon a point | lished not many years since by the Archwhich seldom escapes a knot of true-born bishop of Cambray, we may see the son of Englishmen, whether, in case of a religious Ulysses bound on the same expedition, and war, the Protestants would not be too strong after the same manner making his discovefor the Papists? This we unanimously deter- ries among the regions of the dead. The mined on the Protestant side. One who sat story of Telemachus is formed altogether in on my right hand, and, as I found by his the spirit of Homer, and will give an undiscourse, had been in the West Indies, as- learned reader a notion of that great poet's sured us, that it would be a very easy mat- manner of writing, more than any translater for the Protestants to beat the Pope at tion of him can possibly do. As it was sea; and added, that whenever such a war written for the instruction of a young prince, does break out, it must turn to the good of who may one day sit upon the throne of the Leeward Islands. Upon this, one who France, the author took care to suit the sesat at the end of the bench, and, as I after- veral parts of his story, and particularly the wards found, was the geographer of the description we are now entering upon, to the company, said, that in case the Papists character and quality of his pupil. For should drive the Protestants from these which reason, he insists very much on the parts of Europe, when the worst came to misery of bad, and the happiness of good the worst, it would be impossible to beat kings, in the account he hath given of punthem out of Norway and Greenland, provi- ishments and rewards in the other world. ded the northern crowns hold together, and Wemay, however, observe, notwithstandthe Czar of Muscovy stands neuter.

ing the endeavours of this great and learned He further told us, for our comfort, that author, to copy after the style and sentiments there were vast tracts of land about the of Homer, that there is a certain tincture of pole, inhabited neither by Protestants nor Christianity running through the whole rePapists, and of greater extant than all the lation. The prelate in several places mixes Roman Catholic dominions in Europe. himself with the poet; so that his future

When he had fully discussed this point, state puts me in mind of Michael Angelo's my friend the upholsterer began to exert last judgment, where Charon and his boat himself upon the present negotiations of are represented as bearing a part in the peace, in which he deposed princes, settled dreadful solemnities of that great day. the bounds of kingdoms, and balanced the Telemachus, after having passed through power of Europe with great justice and im- the dark avenues of death in the retinue of partiality.

Mercury, who every day delivers up a cerI at length took my leave of the company, tain tale of ghosts to the ferrymen of Styx, and was going away ; but had not gone is admitted into the infernal bark. Among thirty yards, before the upholsterer hem- the companions of his voyage, is the shade med again after me, Upon his advancing of Nabopharzon, a king of Babylon, and tytowards me, with a whisper, I expected to rant of all the East. Among the ceremohear some secret piece of news, which he nies and pomps of his funeral, there were had not thought fit to communicate to the four slaves sacrificed, according to the cusbench; but, instead of that, he desired me in tom of the country, in order to attend him my ear to lend him half-a-crown. In com- l among the shades. Tre author having described this tyrant in the most odious colours other fury, that, with an insulting derision of pride, insolence, and cruelty, tells us, that repeats to them all the praises that their his four slaves, instead of serving him after flatterers had bestowed upon them while death, were perpetually insulting him with they sat on their respective thrones. She reproaches and affronts for his past usage; I too, says the author, presents a mirror bethat they spurned him as he lay upon the fore their eyes, in which every one sees him. ground, and forced him to show his face, self adorned with all those beauties and perwhich he would fain have covered, as lying fections in wich they had been drawn by the under all the confusions of guilt and infamy; vanity of their own hearts, and the flattery and, in short, that they kept him bound in á of others. To punish them for the wantonchain, in order to drag him before the tribu-ness of the cruelty which they formerly exnal of the dead.

ercised, they are now delivered up to be Telemachus, upon looking out of the bark, treated according to the fancy and caprice sees all the strand covered with an innume- of several slaves, who have here an opporturable multitude of shades, who, upon his nity of tyrannizing in their turns. jumping ashore, immediately vanished. Hel The author having given us a description then pursues his course to the palace of Plu- of these ghastly spectres, who, says he, are to, who is described as seated on his throne always calling upon death, and are placed in terrible majesty, with Proserpine by his under the distillation of that burning venside. At the foot of his throne was the pale geance which falls upon them drop by drop, hideous spectre, who, by the ghastliness of and is never to be exhausted, leads us into a his visage, and the nature of the apparitions pleasing scene of groves, filled with the methat surrounded him, discovers himself to be lody of birds, and the odours of a thousand Death. His attendants are Melancholy, Dis- different plants. These groves are repretrust, Revenge, Hatred, Avarice, Despair, sented as rising among a great many flowery Ambition, Envy, Impiety, with frightful meadows, and watered with streams that dreams, and waking cares, which are all į diffuse a perpetual freshness in the midst of drawn very naturally in proper actions and an eternal day, and a never-fading spring. postures. The author, with great beauty, | This, says the author, was the habitation of places near his frightful dreams, an assem- those good princes who were friends of the bly of phantoms, which are often employed gods, and parents of the people. Among to terrify the living, by appearing in the these, Telemachus converses with the shade shape and likeness of the dead.

of one of his ancestors, who makes a most The young hero, in the next place, takes agreeable relation of the joys of Elysium, and a survey of the different kinds of criminals, the nature of its inhabitants. The residence that lay in torture among clouds of sulphur, of Sesostris among these happy shades, with and torrents of fire. The first of these were his character and present employment, is such as had been guilty of impieties, which drawn in a very lively manner, and with a every one hath a horror for: to which is ad- great elevation of thought. ded, a catalogue of such offenders that scarce The description of that pure and gentle appear to be faulty in the eyes of the vulgar. light which overflows these happy regions, “Among these (says the author) are mali- and clothes the spirits of these virtuous percious critics, that have endeavoured to cast sons, hath something in it of that enthusiasm a blemish upon the perfections of others;" which this author was accused of by his enwith whom he likewise places such as have emies in the church of Rome; but however often hurt the reputation of the innocent, by it may look in religion, it makes a very beaupassing a rash judgment on their actions, tiful figure in poetry. without knowing the occasion of them. .: “ The rays of the sun (says he) are dark« These crimes (says he) are more severely ness in comparison with this light, which punished after death, because they generally rather deserves the name of glory, than that meet with impunity upon earth."

of light. It pierces the thickest bodies, in Telemachus, after having taken a survey the same manner as the sunbeams pass of several other wretches in the same cir through crystal ; it strengthens the sight incumstances, arrives at that region of tor- stead of dazzling it; and nourishes in the ments in which wicked kings are punished. most inward recesses of the mind, a perpetuThere are very fine strokes of imagination al serenity that is not to be expressed. It in the description which he gives of this un- enters and incorporates itself with the very happy multitude. He tells us, that on one substance of the soul: the spirits of the blessside of them there stood a revengeful fury, ed feel it in all their senses, and in all their thundering in their ears incessant repetitions ; perceptions. It produces a certain source of of all the crimes they had committed upon peace and joy that arises in them for ever, carth, with the aggravations of ambition, running through all the faculties, and refreshvanity, hardness of heart, and all those se- ing all the desires of the soul. External cret affections of the mind that enter into the pleasures and delights, with all their charms composition of a tyrant. At the same time, and allurements, are regarded with the utshe holds up to them a large mirror, in which most indifference and neglect by these hapevery one sees himself represented in the py spirits, who have this great principle of natural horror and deformity of his charac- pleasure within themn, drawing the whole ter. On the other side of them stands an- ! mind to itself, calling off their attention from

17 Il

« AnteriorContinuar »