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attachment to music, and would learn to play on the fiddle: but, through want of genius for the science, he never made any considerable progress. However I flattered his performance, and he grew extravagantly fond of me for so doing. Had I continued this behaviour I might possibly have reaped the greatest advantages from his kindness: but I had raised his own opinion of his musical abilities of high that he now began to prefer his skill to mine, a presumption I could not bear. One day as we were playing in concert he was horribly out; nor was it possible, as he destroyed the harmony, to avoid telling him of it. Instead of receiving my correction, he answered, it was my blunder, and not his, and that I had mistaken the key. Such an affront from my own scholar was beyond human patience; I flew into a violent passion, I flung down my instrument in a rage, and swore I was not to be taught music at my age. He answered with as much warmth, nor was he to be instructed by a strolling fiddler. The dispute ended in a challenge to play a prize before judges. This wager was determined in my favour; but the purchase was a dear one; for I lost my friend by it, who now twitting me with all his kindness, with my former ignominious punishment, and the destitute condition from which I had been by his bounty relieved, discarded me for ever. 'While I lived with this gentleman I became known, among others, to Sabina, a lady of distinction, and who valued herself much on her taste for music. She no sooner heard of my being discarded, than she took me into her house, where I was extremely well clothed and fed. Notwithstanding which, my situation was far from agreeable: for I was obliged to submit to her constant reprehensions before company; which gave me the greater uneasiness, because they were always wrong; nor am I certain that she did not by these provocations contribute to my death; for as experience had taught me to give up my sentiment to my bread, so my passions, for want of outward vent, preyed inwardly on my vitals, and perhaps occasioned the distemper of which I sickened.
'The lady, who, amidst all the faults she found, was very fond of me; nay, probably was the fonder of me the more faults she found; immediately called in the aid of three celebrated physicians. The doctors (being well fee'd) made me seven visits in three days; and two of them were at the door to visit me the eighth time, when, being acquainted that I was just dead, they shook their heads and departed.
'When I came to Minos, he asked me with a smile, whether I had brought my fiddle with me; and receiving an answer in the negative, he bid me get about my business, saying, it was well for me that the devil was no lover of music.'
The History of the Wise Man.
'I now returned to Rome, but in a very different cha'racter. Fortune had now allotted me a serious part to 'act. I had even in my infancy a grave disposition, nor * was I ever seen to smile ; which infused an opinion into 'all about me, that I was a child of great solidity: some 'foreseeing that I should be a judge, and others a bishop. 'At two years old my father presented me with a rattle, 'which I broke to pieces with great indignation. This, 'the good parent being extremely wise, regarded as an 'eminent symptom of my wisdom, and cried out in a kind of ecstasy, Well said, boy! I warrant thou makest a great man.
'At school, I could never be persuaded to play with my mates: not that I spent my hours in learning, to which I was not in the least addicted, nor indeed had I any talents for it. However, the solemnity of my carriage won so much on my master, who was a most sagacious person, that I was his chief favourite, and my example on all occasions was recommended to the other boys, which filled them with envy, and me with pleasure: but though they envied me, they all paid me that involuntary respect, which it is the curse attending this passion to bear towards its object.
'I had now obtained universally the character of a very wise young man, which I did not altogether purchase without pains; for the restraint I laid on myself in abstaining from the several diversions adapted to my years cost me many a yearning: but the pride which I inwardly enjoyed in the fancied dignity of my character made me some amends.
'Thus I past on, without any thing very memorable happening to me, till I arrived at the age of twentythree; when unfortunately I fell acquainted with a young Neapolitan lady, whose name was Ariadne. Her beauty was so exquisite that her first sight made a violent impression on me; this was again improved by her behaviour, which was most genteel, easy, and affable: lastly, her conversation completed the conquest In this she discovered a strong and lively understanding, with the sweetest and most benign temper. This lovely creature was about eighteen when I first unhappily beheld her at Rome, in a visit to a relation with whom I had great intimacy. As our interviews at first were extremely frequent my passions were captivated before I apprehended the least danger; and the sooner, probably, as the young lady herself, to whom I consulted every method of recommendation, was not displeased with my being her admirer. 'Ariadne having spent three months at Rome, now returned to Naples, bearing my heart with her: on the other hand, I had all the assurances, consistent with the constraint under which the most perfect modesty lays a young woman, that her own heart was not entirely unaffected. I soon found her absence gave me an uneasiness not easy to be borne, or to remove. I now first applied to diversions (of the graver sort, particularly to music), but in vain; they rather raised my desires, and heightened my anguish. My passion at length grew so violent that I began to think of satisfying it. As the first step to this, I cautiously enquired into the circumstances of Ariadne's parents, with which I was hitherto unacquainted: though, indeed, I did not apprehend they were extremely great, notwithstanding the handsome appearance of their daughter at Rome. Upon examination, her fortune exceeded my expectation; but was not sufficient to justify my marriage with her, in the opinion of the wise and prudent. I had now a violent struggle between wisdom and happiness, in which, after several grievous pangs, wisdom got the better. I could by no means prevail with myself to sacrifice that character of profound wisdom, which I had with such uniform conduct obtained, and with such caution hitherto preserved. I therefore resolved to conquer my affection, whatever it cost me; and indeed it did not cost me a little. 'While I was engaged in this conflict (for it lasted a long time), Ariadne returned to Rome: her presence was a terrible enemy to my wisdom, which even in her absence had with great difficulty stood its ground. It seems (as she hath since told me in Elysium with much merriment) I had made the same impressions on her
which she had made on me. Indeed, I believe my wisdom would have been totally subdued by this surprise, had it not cunningly suggested to me a method of satisfying my passion without doing any injury to my reputation. This was by engaging her privately as a mistress, which was at that time reputable enough at Home, provided the affair was managed with an air of slyness and gravity, though the secret was known to the whole city.
'I immediately set about this project, and employed every art and engine to effect it. I had particularly bribed her priest, and an old female acquaintance and distant relation of her's into my interest: but all was in vain; her virtue opposed the passion in her breast, as strongly as wisdom had opposed it in mine. She received my proposals with the utmost disdain, and presently refused to see or hear from me any more.
'She returned again to Naples, and left me in a worse condition than before. My days I now passed with the most irksome uneasiness, and my nights were restless and sleepless. The story of our amour was now pretty public, and the ladies talked of our match as certain; but my acquaintance denied their assent, saying, No, no, he is too wise to marry so imprudently. This their opinion gave me, I own, very great pleasure: but, to say the truth, scarce compensated the pangs I suffered to preserve it.
'One day, while I was balancing with myself, and. had almost resolved to enjoy my happiness, at the price of my character, a friend brought me word that Ariadne was married. This news struck me to the soul; and though I had resolution enough to maintain my gravity before him (for which I suffered not a little the more), the moment I was alone I threw myself into the most violent fit of despair, and would willingly have parted