Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

the loss of one who has ever been the support to remove into another room, with a resolution to him under all other afflictions. How, thought accompany him until the first pangs of his afflicI, will he be able to bear the hour of her death, |tion were abated. I knew consolation would that could not, when I was lately with him, now be impertinent, and, therefore, contented speak of a sickness, which was then past, without myself to sit by him, and condole with him in sorrow! We were now got pretty far into West- silence. For I shall here use the method of an minster, and arrived at my friend's house. At ancient author, who, in one of his epistles, relatthe door of it I met Favonius, not without a ing the virtues and death of Macrinus's wife, secret satisfaction to find he had been there. I expresses himself thus: “I shall suspend my had formerly conversed with him at this house; advice to this best of friends, until he is made and as he abounds with that sort of virtue and capable of receiving it by those three great knowledge which makes religion beautiful, and remedies, the necessity of submission, length of never leads the conversation into the violence time, and satiety of grief.” and rage of party disputes, I listened to him . In the meantime, I cannot but consider, with with great pleasure. Our discourse chanced to much commiseration, the melancholy state of be upon the subject of death, which he treated one who has had such a part of himself torn with such a strength of reason, and greatness of from him, and which he misses in every circumsoul, that, instead of being terrible, it appeared stance of life. His condition is like that of one to a mind rightly cultivated altogether to be who has lately lost his right arm, and is every contemned, or rather to be desired. As I met moment offering to help himself with it. He him at the door, I saw in his face a certain does not appear to himself the same person in glowing of grief and humanity, heightened with his house, at his table, in company, or in retirean air of fortitude and resolution, which, as I ment: and loses the relish of all the pleasures afterward found, had such an irresistible force, and diversions that were before entertaining to as to suspend the pains of the dying, and the him by her participation of them. The most lamentation of the nearest friends who attended agreeable objects recall the sorrow for her with her. I went up directly to the room where she whom he used to enjoy them. This additional lay, and was met at the entrance by my friend, satisfaction, from the taste of pleasures in the who, notwithstanding his thoughts had been society of one we love is admirably described by composed a little before, at the sight of me Milton, who represents Eve, though in Paradise turned away his face and wept. The little | itself, no further pleased with the beautiful family of children renewed the expressions of objects around her, than as she sees them in their sorrow according to their several ages and company with Adam, in that passage so inexdegrees of understanding. The eldest daughter pressibly charming : was in tears, busied in attendance upon her

“With thee conversing, I forget all time: mother; others were kneeling about the bed.

All seasons, and their change; all please alike, side; and what troubled me most was, to see a

Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet little boy, who was too young to know the With charm of earliest birds ; pleasant the sun, reason, weeping only because his sisters did. | When first on this delightful land he spreads The only one in the room who seemed resigned

His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, and comforted was the dying person. At my

Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth approach to the bedside, she told me with a low

After soft showers; and sweet the coming on broken voice, “This is kindly done. Take care

Of grateful evening mild; the silent night,

With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon, of your friend-do not go from him !" She had

And these the gems of heaven, her starry train. before taken leave of her husband and children,

But neither breath of morn when she ascends in a manner proper for so solemn a parting, and With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun with a gracefulness peculiar to a woman of her On this delightful land ; nor herb, fruit, flower, character. My heart was torn in pieces, to see

Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers: the husband on one side suppressing and keeping

Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night, down the swellings of his grief, for fear of dis

With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon, turbing her in her last moments; and the wife

Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet." even at that time concealing the pain she en- | The variety of images in this passage is infindured, for fear of increasing his affliction. She itely pleasing: and the recapitulation of each kept her eyes upon him for some moments after particular image, with a little varying of the she grew speechless, and soon after closed them expression, makes one of the finest turns of for ever. In the moment of her departure, my | words that I have ever seen: which I rather friend, who had thus far commanded himself, mention, because Mr Dryden has said, in his gave a deep groan, and fell into a swoon by her preface to Juvenal, that he could meet with no bedside. The distraction of the children, who turn of words in Milton thought they saw both their parents expiring It may be further observed, that though the together, and now lying dead before them, would sweetness of these verses has something in it of have melted the hardest heart; but they soon a pastoral, yet it excels the ordinary kind, as perceived their father recover, whom I helped to much as the scr ne of it is above an ordinary

field or meadow. I might here, since I am the wood nymphs and shepherdesses, to lurk on accidentally led into this subject, show several the banks of rivulets, and watch the purling passages in Milton that have as excellent turns streams, as the resorts of retired virgins; to show of this nature as any of our English poets that lawless desire tends chiefly to prey upon whatsoever; but shall only mention that which innocence, and has something so unnatural in it, follows, in which he describes the fallen angels that it hates its own make, and shuns the object engaged in the intricate disputes of predestina it loved, as soon as it has made it like itself. tion, freewill, and foreknowledge; and, to hum Love, therefore, is a child that complains and our the perplexity, makes a kind of labyrinth in bewails its inability to help itself, and weeps for the very words that describe it.

assistance, without an immediate reflection or “Others apart sat on a hill retired,

knowledge of the food it wants : Lust, a watchful In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high thief, which seizes its prey, and lays snares for of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate, | its own relief; and its principal object being Fixed fate, freewill, foreknowledge, absolute, innocence, it never robs, but it murders at the And found no end, in wandering mazes lost."

same time,

From this idea of a Cupid and a satyr, wo TRUE LOVE

may settle our notions of these different desires,

and accordingly rank their followers. Aspasia “Whate'er men do, or say, or think, or dream,

must, therefore, be allowed to be the first of the Our motley paper seizes for its theme.”—Jud. Sat.

beauteous order of love, whose unaffected freeThe imposition of honest names and words dom and conscious innocence give her the attendupon improper subjects, has made so regular a ance of the graces in all her actions. That awful confusion among us, that we are apt to sit down distance which we bear toward her in all our with our errors, well enough satisfied with the thoughts of her, and that cheerful familiarity methods we are fallen into, without attempting with which we approach her, are certain instances to deliver ourselves from the tyranny under of her being the truest object of love of any of which we are reduced by such innovations. Of her sex. In this accomplished lady love is the all the laudable motives of human life, none constant effect, because it is never the design. have suffered so much in this kind, as love; | Yet, though her mien carries much more invitaunder which revered name a brutal desire called tion than command, to behold her is an immelust is frequently concealed and admitted ; | diate check to loose behaviour; and to love her though they differ as much as a matron from a is a liberal education ; for, it being the nature prostitute, or a companion from a buffoon. of all love to create an imitation of the beloved Philander the other day was bewailing this mis person in the lover, a regard for Aspasia naturally fortune with much indignation, and upbraided produces decency of manners, and good conduct me for having some time since quoted those ex

of life in her admirers. If, therefore, the giggling cellent lines of the satirist :

Leucippe could but see her train of fops assem“ To an exact perfection they have brought

bled, and Aspasia move by them, she would be The action love, the passion is forgot."

mortified at the veneration with which she is “How could you," said he, “leave such a hint

beheld, even by Leucippe's own unthinking

equipage, whose passions have long taken leave B0 coldly? How could Aspasia and Sempronia

of their understandings. enter into your imagination at the same time,

As charity is esteemed a conjunction of the and you never declare to us the different recep

good qualities necessary to & virtuous man, so tions you gave them ?"

love is the happy composition of all the accom. The figures which the ancient mythologists and

plishments that make a fine gentleman. The poets put upon love and lust in their writings

motive of a man's life is seen in all his actions ; are very instructive. Love is a beauteous blind

and such as have the beauteous boy for their child, adorned with a quiver and a bow, which

inspirer, have a simplicity of behaviour, and a he plays with, and shoots around him, without

certain evenness of desire, which burns like the design or direction; to intimate to us that the

lamp of life in their bosoms; while they who person beloved has no intention to give us the lare instigated by the satyr are ever tortured by anxieties we meet with, but that the beauties of

jealousies of the object of their wishes; often a worthy object are like the charms of a lovely

charms of a lovely desire what they scorn, and as often consciously infant; they cannot but attract your concern

and knowingly embrace where they are mutually

and know and fondness, though the child so regarded is as

indifferent. insensible of the value you put upon it as it is that it deserves your benevolence. On the other side, the sages figured lust in the form of a satyr;

AMUSEMENTS AND RELAXATIONS of shape, part human, part bestial; to signify

OF GREAT MEN. that the followers of it prostitute the reason of

“There should be added a certain sweetness of disa man to pursue the appetites of a beast. This course and manners, which is no considerable sauce to satyr is made to haunt the paths and coverts of friendship. But by all means throw out sadness and

severity in everything. There is something of gravity The best critic that ever wrote, speaking of indeed in it; but friendship requires a greater remiss- some passages in Homer which appear extravaness, freedom, and pleasantness, and an inclination to

gant or frivolous, says, indeed, that they are good temper and affability."--Cic. De Amicitia.

dreams, but the dreams of Jupiter. My friend's As I was looking over my letters this morn- letter appears to me in the same light. One sees ing, I chanced to cast my eye upon the following him in an idle hour; but at the same time in one, which came to my hands about two months / the idle hour of a wise man. A great mind has ago from an old friend of mine, who, as I have something in it too severe and forbidding that is since learned, was the person that wrote the not capable of giving itself such little relaxaagreeable epistle inserted in my paper of the tions, and of condescending to these agreeable third of the last month. It is of the same turn ways of trifling. Tully, when he celebrates the with the other, and may be looked upon as a friendship of Scipio and Lælius, who were the specimen of right country letters:

greatest as well as the politest men of their age, “SIR,—This sets out to you from my summer- represents it as a beautiful passage in their rehouse upon the terrace, where I am enjoying a tirement, that they used to gather up shells on few hours' sunshine, the scanty sweet remains of the sea-shore, and amuse themselves with the a fine autumn. The year is almost at the lowest; variety of shape and colour which they met with so that, in all appearance, the rest of my letters in those little unregarded works of nature. The between this and spring will be dated from my great Agesilaus could be a companion to his own parlour fire, where the little fond prattlo of a children, and was surprised by the ambassadors wife and children will so often break in upon of Sparta * as he was riding among them upon a the connection of my thoughts, that you will hobby-horse. Augustus, indeed, had no play-fel. easily discover it in my style. If this winter lows of his own begetting, but he is said to have should prove as severe as the last, I can tell you passed many of his hours with little Moorish beforehand that I am likely to be a very miser. boys at a game of marbles, not unlike our able man, through the perverse temper of my modern taw. There is, methinks, a pleasure in eldest boy. When the frost was in its ex- seeing great men thus fall into the rank of mantremity, you must know that most of the black. kind, and entertain themselves with diversions birds, robins, and finches of the parish, whose and amuseinents that are agreeable to the very. music has entertained me in the summer, took weakest of the species. I must frankly confess, refuge under my roof. Upon this, my care that it is to me a beauty in Cato's character, that was to rise every morning before day to set he would drink a cheerful bottle with his friend: open my windows for the reception of the and I cannot but own, that I have seen with cold and hungry, whom at the same time I re | great delight one of the most celebrated authors lieved with a very plentiful alms, by strewing of the last age feeding the ducks in St James's corn and seeds upon the floors and shelves. Park. By instances of this nature, the heroes, But Dicky, without any regard to the laws of the statesmen, the philosophers, become as it hospitality, considered the casements as so many were familiar with us, and grow the more ami. traps, and used every bird as a prisoner at disable, the less they endeavour to appear awful. cretion. Never did tyrant exercise more various A man who always acts in the severity of wis. cruelties. Some of the poor creatures he chased dom, or the haughtiness of quality, seems to to death about the room; others he drove into move in a personated part. It looks too conthe jaws of a bloodthirsty cat; and even in his strained and theatrical for a man to be always greatest acts of mercy either clipped the wings in that character which distinguishes him from or singed the tails of his innocent captives. others; besides that the slackening and unbend. You will laugh when I tell you I sympathised ing our minds on some occasions makes them exert with every bird in its misfortunes; but I believe themselves with greater vigour and alacrity when you will think me in the right for bewailing the they return to their proper and natural state, child's unlucky humour. On the other hand, I As this innocent way of passing a leisure hour am extremely pleased to see his younger brother is not only consistent with a great character, carry a universal benevolence towards every- but very graceful in it; so there are two sorts of thing that has life. When he was between four I people to whom I would most earnestly recom. and five years old, I caught him weeping over a mend it. The first are those who are uneasy beautiful butterfly, which he chanced to kill as out of want of thought; the second are those he was playing with it; and I am informed that who are so out of turbulence of spirit. The first this morning he has given his brother three half. I are the impertinent, and the second the dancer. pence, which was his whole estate, to spare the ous part of mankind. life of a tom-tit. These are at present the It grieves me to the very heart when I see matters of greatest moment within my observa- several young gentlemen, descended of honest tion, and I know are too trifling to be communi. parents, run up and down, hurrying from one cated to any but so wise a man as yourself, and end of the town to the other, calling in at every from one who has the happiness to be-Your most faithful, and most obedient servant."

* Persia.

place of resort, without being able to fix a times please myself with considering how much quarter of an hour in any, and in a particular reason and instinct are capable of delighting baste without knowing for what. It would, each other. Thus, you see, I have communi. methinks, be some consolation if I could per. cated to you the material occurrences in my suade those precipitate young gentlemen to com. family with the same freedom that you use to pose their restlessness of mind, and apply them. me; as I am, with the same sincerity and affecselves to any amusement, how trivial soever, tion, Your most faithful humble servant, that might give them employment, and keep

“ISAAC BICKERSTAFF." them out of harm's way. They cannot imagine how great a relief it would be to them, if they

ERRORS IN EDUCATION. ' could grow sedate enough to play for two or three hours at a game of push-pin. But these “When free from folly, we to wisdom rise." busy, idle animals are only their own tormentors.

-Francis. The turbulent and dangerous are for embroiling When I first began to learn to push, this last councils, stirring up seditions, and subverting winter, my master had a great deal of work upon constitutions out of a mere restlessness of his hands to make me unlearn the postures and temper, and an insensibility of all the pleasures motions which I had got, by having in my of life that are calm and innocent. It is impos. | younger years practised backsword, with a sible for a man to be so much employed in any little eye to the single falchion. Knock Down scene of action, as to have great and good affairs was the word in the civil wars; and we generally enough to fill up his whole time; there will still added to this skill the knowledge of the Cornish be chasms and empty spaces, in which a work- hug, as well as the grapple, to play with hand ing mind will employ itself to its own prejudice, and foot. By this means, I was for defending or that of others, unless it can be at ease in the my head when the French gentleman was making exercise of such actions as are in themselves a full pass at my bosom; insomuch, that he told indifferent. How often have I wished, for the me I was fairly killed seven times in one morn. good of the nation, that several famous politi. ing, without having done my master any other cians could take any pleasure in feeding ducks! mischief than one knock on the pate. This was I look upon an able statesman out of business, a great misfortune to me; and I believe I may like a huge whale that will endeavour to over-say, without vanity, I am the first who ever turn the ship, unless he has an empty cask to pushed so erroneously, and yet conquered the

prejudice of education so well, as to make my But to return to my good friend and corre passes so clear, and recover hand and foot with spondent: I am afraid we shall both be laughed that agility as I do at this day. The truth of it at when I confess that we have often gone out is, the first rudiments of education are given into the field to look upon a bird's nest; and very indiscreetly by most parents, as much with have more than once taken an evening's walk relation to the more important concerns of the together on purpose to see the sun set. I shall mind, as in the gestures of the body. Whatever conclude with my answer to his foregoing letter:

children are designed for, and whatever prospects

the fortune or interest of their parents may give “DEAR SIR, I thank you for your obliging

them in their future lives, they are all promiscu. letter, and your kindness to the distressed, who

ously instructed the same way; and Horace and will, doubtless, express their gratitude to you Virgil must be thumbed by a boy, as well before themselves the next spring. As for Dick the | he goes to an apprenticeship, as to the univers. tyrant, I must desire you will put a stop to his

ity. This ridiculous way of treating the under. proceedings; and at the same time take care that aged of this island has very often raised both my his little brother be no loser by his mercy to the spleen and mirth, but I think never both at once tom-tit. For my own part, I am excluded all so much as to-day. A good mother of our neighconversation with animals that delight only in bourhood made me a visit with her son and heir: a country life, and am, therefore, forced to | a lad somewhat above five feet, and wants but entertain myself as well as I can with my little little of the height and strength of a good mus. dog and cat. They both of them sit by my fire keteer in any regiment in the service. Her every night, expecting my coming home with business was to desire I would examine him ; for impatience; and, at my entrance, never fail of he was far gone in a book, the first letters of running up to me, and bidding me welcome, which she often saw in my papers. The youth each of them in his proper language. As they produced it, and I saw it was my friend Horace, have been bred up together from their infancy, It was very easy to turn to the place the boy was and seen no other company, they have learned learning in, which was the fifth Ode of the first each other's manners, so that the dog often book, to Pyrrha. I read it over aloud as well, gives himself the airs of a cat, and the cat, in because I am always delighted when I turn to several of her motions and gestures, affects the the beautiful parts of that author, as also to gain behaviour of the little dog. When they are at time for considering a little how to keep up the play, I often make one with them; and some mother's pleasure in her child, which I thought

play with.

barbarity to interrupt. In the first place, I nature designed him. As they go on now, our asked him, “Who this same Pyrrha was?" He parents do not only force us upon what is answered, very readily, “She was the wife of against our talents, but our teachers are also as Pyrchus, one of Alexander's captains." I lifted injudicious in what they put us to learn. I have up my hands. The mother courtesies—“Nay," hardly ever since suffered so much by the charms says she, “I knew you would stand in admira. of any beauty, as I did before I had a sense of tion; I assure you," continued she, “for all he passion, for not apprehending that the smile of looks so tall, he is but very young. Pray ask Lalage was what pleased Horace; and I verily him some more; never spare him." With that believe, the stripes I suffered about Digito male I took the liberty to ask him, “what was the pertinaci has given me that irreconcilable avercharacter of this gentlewoman?” He read the sion, which I shall carry to my grave, against three first verses :

coquettes.

As for the elegant writer of whom I am talk. “Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa

ing, his excellences are to be observed as they Perfusus liquidis urget odoribus

relate to the different concerns of his life; and Grato, Pyrrha, sub antro?”

-Hor. 1 d. v. 1

he is always to be looked upon as a lover, &

courtier, or a man of wit. His admirable Odes and very gravely told me she lived at the sign have numberless instances of his merit in each of The Rose in a cellar. I took care to be very of these characters. His epistles and satires are much astonished at the lad's improvements; but full of proper notices for the conduct of life in a withal advised her, as soon as possible, to take court; and what we call good-breeding is most him from school, for he could learn no more agreeably intermixed with his morality. His there. This very silly dialogue was a lively addresses to the persons who favoured him, are image of the impertinent method used in breed soinimitably engaging, that Augustus complained ing boys without genius or spirit to the reading of him for so seldom writing to him, and asked things for which their heads were never framed. him, “whether he was afraid posterity should But this is the natural effect of a certain vanity read their names together?" Now for the gener. in the minds of parents, who are wonderfully ality of men to spend much time in such writings delighted with the thought of breeding their is as pleasant a folly as any he ridicules. Whatchildren to accomplishments, which they believe ever the crowd of scholars may pretend, if their nothing but want of the same care in their own way of life, or their own imaginations, do not fathers prevented them from being masters of, lead them to a taste of him, they may read, nay Thus it is, that the part of life most fit for im- write, fifty volumes upon him, and be just as provement is generally employed in a method they were when they began. I remember to against the bent of nature; and a lad of such have heard a great painter say, “There are cerparts as are fit for an occupation, where there tain faces for certain painters, as well as certain can be no calls out of the beaten path, is two or subjects for certain poets." This is as true in three years of his time wholly taken up in know the choice of studies; and no one will ever relish ing how well Ovid's mistress became such a an author thoroughly well, who would not have dress; how such a nymph for her cruelty was been fit company for that author, had they lived changed into such an animal; and how it is at the same time. All others are mechanics in made generous in Æneas to put Turnus to death; learning, and take the sentiments of writers like gallantries that can no more come within the waiting-servants who report what passed at their occurrences of the lives of ordinary men, than master's table; but debase every thought and they can be relished by their imaginations. How expression, for want of the air with which they ever, still the humour goes on from one gener. were uttered. ation to another; and the pastry-cook here in the lane, the other night, told me," he would not yet take away his son from his learning; but

ON THE DEATH OF FRIENDS. has resolved, as soon as he had a little smattering

And now the rising day renews the year. in the Greek, to put him apprentice to a soap

A day for ever sad, for ever dear.”—Dryden. boiler." These wrong beginnings determine our There are those among mankind who can enjoy success in the world ; and when our thoughts no relish of their being, except the world is are originally falsely biassed, their agility and made acquainted with all that relates to them, force do but carry us the farther out of our way, and think everything lost that passes unob. in proportion to our speed. But we are half served; but others find a solid delight in stealway our journey, when we have got into the ing by the crowd, and modelling their life after right road. If all our days were usefully em-such a manner, as is as much above the approbaployed, and we did not set out impertinently, tion as the practice of the vulgar. Life being we should not have so many grotesque professors too short to give instances great enough of true in all the arts of life; but every man would be friendship or goodwill, some sages have thongbt in a proper and becoming method of distinguish | it pidus to preserve a certain reverence for the ing or entertaining himself suitably to what manes of their deceased friends; and have wits

« AnteriorContinuar »