« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Turnus ut antevolans tardum præcesserat agmen, &c.
'Our English archers bent their bows,
'With that there came an arrow keen
Which struck Earl Douglas to the heart,
A deep and deadly blow.'
Æneas was wounded after the same manner by an unknown hand in the midst of a parley.
Has inter voces, media inter talia verba,
En. xii. 318.
Thus while he spake, unmindful of defence, A winged arrow struck the pious prince; But whether from a human hand it came, Or hostile god, is left unknown by fame. Dryden. But of all the descriptive parts of this song, there are none more beautiful than the four following stanzas, which have a great force and spirit in them, and are filled with very natural circumstances. The thought in the third stanza was never touched by any other poet, and is such a one as would have shined in Homer or Virgil:
So thus did both these nobles die,
'He had a bow bent in his hand,
An arrow of a cloth-yard long!
'Against Sir Hugh Montgomery
The grey-goose wing that was thereon
"This fight did last from break of day
For when they rung the ev'ning bell
One may observe, likewise, that in the catalogue of the slain, the author has followed the example of the great ancient poets, not only in giving a long list of the dead, but by diversifying it with little characters of particular persons.
And with Earl Douglas there was slain
Sir Charles Carrel, that from the field
son I do not mention this part of the poem but to show the natural cast of thought which appears in it, as the two last verses look almost like a translation of Virgil. -Cadit et Ripheus, justissimus unus Qui fuit in Teucris, et servantissimus æqui. Diis aliter visum
An. ii. 426.
In the catalogue of the English who fell, Witherington's behaviour is in the same manner particularized very artfully, as the reader is prepared for it by that account which is given of him in the beginning of the battle; though I am satisfied your little buffoon readers (who have seen that pas sage ridiculed in Hudibras) will not be able to take the beauty of it: for which reason I dare not so much as quote it.*
'Then stept a gallant 'squire forth,
"That e'er my captain fought on foot,
We meet with the same heroic sentiment in Virgil.
Non pudet, O Rutuli, cunctis pro talibus unam
Can we before the face of Heav'n confess Our courage colder, or our numbers less? Dryden. What can be more natural, or more moving, than the circumstances in which he describes the behaviour of those women who had lost their husbands on this fatal day?
'Next day did many widows come
Their husbands to bewail;
They wash'd their wounds in brinish tears,
"Their bodies bath'd in purple blood,
They bore with them away;
They kiss'd them dead a thousand times,
Thus we see how the thoughts of this poem, which naturally arise from the subject, are always simple, and sometimes exquisitely noble; that the language is often very sounding, and that the whole is written with a true poetical spirit.
If this song had been written in the Gothic manner, which is the delight of all our little wits, whether writers or readers, it would not have hit the taste of so many ages, and have pleased the readers of all ranks and conditions. I shall only beg par don for such a profusion of Latin quotations; which I should not have made use of, but that I feared my own judgment would have looked too singular on such a subject, had not I supported it by the practice and authority of Virgil.
*There is nothing ludicrous in the verse alluded toas it stands in the original ballad:
'For Wetharryngton my harte is wo,
For when both his legges wear hewyne in to,
No. 75.] Saturday, May 26, 1711.
Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et status, et res.
vail, as the standards of behaviour, in the country wherein he lives. What is opposite to the eternal rules of reason and good sense, must be excluded from any place in the carriage of a well-bred man. I did not, suffered the raillery of a fine lady of my subject, when I called Dorimant a clown, I confess, explain myself enough on this acqaintance, for calling, in one of my pa- and made it an instance of it, that he called pers,* Dorimant a clown. She was so un- the orange-wench, Double Tripe: I should merciful as to take advantage of my in- have shown, that humanity obliges a genvincible taciturnity, and on that occasion with great freedom to consider the air, the tleman to give no part of humankind reheight, the face, the gesture of him, who proach, for what they, whom they recould pretend to judge so arrogantly of gal- the most virtuous and worthy amongst us. proach, may possibly have in common with lantry. She is full of motion, janty and When a gentleman speaks coarsely, he has lively in her impertinence, and one of those dressed himself clean to no purpose. The that commonly pass, among the ignorant, for persons who have a great deal of hu- clothing of our minds certainly ought to be mour. She had the play of Sir Fopling in regarded before that of our bodies. To beher hand, and after she had said it was is a much greater offence against the contray in a man's talk a corrupt imagination, happy for her there was not so charming a creature as Dorimant now living, she began Versation of a gentleman, than any negliwith a theatrical air and tone of voice to gence of dress imaginable. But this sense read, by way of triumph over me, some of of the matter is so far from being received his speeches. "'Tis she! that lovely air, among people even of condition, that Vocithat easy shape, those wanton eyes, and all fer passes for a fine gentleman. He is loud, those melting charms about her mouth, haughty, gentle, soft, lewd, and obsequious which Medley spoke of. I'll follow the by turns, just as a little understanding and lottery, and put in for a prize with my sent moment. He passes among the silly great impudence prompt him at the prefriend Bellair. part of our women for a man of wit, because he is generally in doubt. He contradicts with a shrug, and confutes with a such a thing is above his capacity. What makes his character the pleasanter is, that he is a professed deluder of women; and because the empty coxcomb has no regard to any thing that is of itself sacred and inviolable. I have heard an unmarried lady of fortune say, It is a pity so fine a gentleman as Vocifer is so great an atheist. The crowds of such inconsiderable creatures, that infest all places of assembling, every reader will have in his eye from his own observation; but would it not be worth
'In love the victors from the vanquish'd fly; They fly that wound, and they pursue that die.'
Then turning over the leaves, she reads certain sufficiency, in professing such and alternately, and speaks,
'And you and Loveit to her cost shall find I fathom all the depths of woman-kind.'
Oh the fine gentleman! But here, continues she, is the passage I admire most, where he begins to tease Loveit, and mimic Sir Fopling. Oh, the pretty satire, in his resolving to be a coxcomb to please, since noise and nonsense have such powerful charms.
'I, that I may successful prove, Transform myself to what you love.'
Then how like a man of the town, so wild considering what sort of figure a man
and is that! gay
"The wise will find a diff'rence in our fate, You wed a woman, I a good estate.'
who formed himself upon those principles
It would have been a very wild endeavour for a man of my temper to offer any opposition to so nimble a speaker as my fair several duties of life better than Ignotus. I hardly have observed any one fill his enemy is; but her discourse gave me very All the under parts of his behaviour, and many reflections, when I had left her com- such as are exposed to common observapany. Among others, I could not but con- tion, have their rise in him from great and sider with some attention, the false impres- noble motives. A firm and unshaken exsions the generality (the fair sex more especially) have of what should be in- pectation of another life makes him become tended, when they say a fine gentleman; by the sense of virtue, has the same effect this; humanity and good-nature, fortified and could not help revolving that subject upon him as the neglect of all goodness has in my thoughts, and settling, as it were, an idea of that character in my own imagina- in all matters of importance, that certain upon many others. Being firmly established inattention which makes men's actions look No man ought to have the esteem of the rest of the world, for any actions which are easy, appears in him with greater beauty: disagreeable to those maxims which pre-lencies, he is perfectly master of them. by a thorough contempt of little excel
*Spect. No. 65.
This temper of mind leaves him under no
peculiar distinction, that his negligence is | alliances. A man who is but a mere Specunaffected. tator of what passes around him, and not He that can work himself into a pleasure engaged in commerces of any consideration, in considering this being as an uncertain is but an ill judge of the secret motions of one, and think to reap an advantage by its the heart of man, and by what degrees it is discontinuance, is in a fair way of doing all actuated to make such visible alterations in things with a graceful unconcern, and a the same person: but at the same time, gentleman-like ease. Such a one does not when a man is no way concerned in the behold his life as a short, transient, per- effect of such inconsistencies in the behaplexing state, made up of trifling pleasures viour of men of the world, the speculation and great anxieties; but sees it in quite an- must be in the utmost degree both divertother light; his griefs are momentary and ing and instructive; yet to enjoy such obhis joys immortal. Reflection upon death servations in the highest relish, he ought is not a gloomy and sad thought of resign- to be placed in a post of direction, and have ing every thing that he delights in, but it the dealings of their fortunes to them. I is a short night followed by an endless day. have therefore been wonderfully diverted What I would here contend for is, that the with some pieces of secret history, which more virtuous a man is, the nearer he will an antiquary, my very good friend, lent me naturally be to the character of genteel and as a curiosity. They are memoirs of the agreeable. A man whose fortune is plenti- private life of Pharamond of France. 'Pha ful, shows an ease in his countenance, and ramond,' says my author, was a prince of confidence in his behaviour, which he that infinite humanity and generosity, and at the is under wants and difficulties cannot as- same time the most pleasant and facetious sume. It is thus with the state of the mind; companion of his time. He had a peculiar he that governs his thoughts with the ever- taste in him, which would have been unlasting rules of reason and sense, must have lucky in any prince but himself; he thought something so inexpressibly graceful in his there could be no exquisite pleasure in conwords and actions, that every circumstance versation, but among equals; and would must become him. The change of persons pleasantly bewail himself that he always or things around him does not alter his situa- lived in a crowd, but was the only man in tion, but he looks disinterested in the oc- France that could never get into company. currences with which others are distracted, This turn of mind made him delight in because the greatest purpose of his life is midnight rambles, attended only with one to maintain an indifference both to it and person of his bed-chamber. He would in all its enjoyments. In a word, to be a fine these excursions get acquainted with men gentleman, is to be a generous and a brave (whose temper he had a mind to try) and recommend them privately to the parti cular observation of his first minister. He generally found himself neglected by his new acquaintance as soon as they had hopes of growing great; and used on such occasions to remark, that it was a great injus tice to tax princes of forgetting themselves in their high fortunes, when there were so few that could with constancy bear the favour of their very creatures.' My author in these loose hints has one passage that gives us a very lively idea of the uncommon' genius of Pharamond. He met with one man whom he had put to all the usual proofs he made of those he had a mind to know thoroughly, and found him for his purpose. In discourse with him one day, he gave him an opportunity of saying how much would satisfy all his wishes. The prince immediately revealed himself, doubled the sum, and spoke to him in this manner: 'Sir, you have twice what you desired, by the favour of Pharamond; but look to it, that you are satisfied with it, for it is the last you shall ever receive. I from this moment consider you as mine; and to make you truly so, I give you my royal word you shall never be greater or less than you are at present. Answer me not (concluded the prince smiling,) but enjoy the fortune I have put you in, which is above my own condition; for you have hereafter nothing to hope or fear.
What can make a man so much in constant good humour, and shine, as we call it, than to be supported by what can never fail him, and to believe that whatever happens to him was the best thing that could possibly befal him, or else he on whom it depends, would not have permitted it to have befallen him at all.
No. 76.] Monday, May 28, 1711.
THERE is nothing so common as to find a man whom in the general observation of his carriage you take to be of a uniform temper, subject to such unaccountable starts of humour and passion, that he is as much unlike himself, and differs as much from the man you at first thought him, as any two distinct persons can differ from each other. This proceeds from the want of forming some law of life to ourselves, or fixing some notion of things in general, which may affect us in such a manner as to create proper habits both in our minds and bodies. The negligence of this, leaves us exposed, not only to an unbecoming levity in our usual conversation, but also to the same instability in our friendships, interests, and
His majesty having thus well chosen and
bought a friend and companion, he enjoyed which no man else can ever have an op-
ble and generous use of his observations,
Non convivere licet, nec urbe tota
Pharamond would often, to satisfy a vain fool of power in his country, talk to him in My friend Will Honeycomb is one of a full court, and with one whisper make those sort of men who are very often absent him despise all his old friends and acquain- in conversation, and what the French call tance. He was come to that knowledge of a reveur and a distrait. A little before our men by long observation, that he would club-time last night, we were walking toprofess altering the whole mass of blood in gether in Somerset-gardens, where Will some tempers, by thrice speaking to them. had picked up a small pebble of so odd a As fortune was in his power, he gave him- make, that he said he would present it to a self constant entertainment in managing the friend of his, an eminent virtuoso. After mere followers of it with the treatment they we had walked some time, I made a full deserved. He would, by a skilful cast of stop with my face towards the west, which his eye, and half a smile, make two fellows Will knowing to be my usual method of who hated, embrace, and fall upon each asking what's o'clock, in an afternoon, imother's necks with as much eagerness, as mediately pulled out his watch, and told me if they followed their real inclinations, and we had seven minutes good. We took a intended to stifle one another. When he turn or two more, when to my great surwas in high good humour, he would lay the prise, I saw him squir away his watch a scene with Eucrate, and on a public night considerable way into the Thames, and exercise the passions of his whole court. with great sedateness in his looks put up He was pleased to see a haughty beauty the pebble, he had before found, in his fob. watch the looks of the man she had long As I have naturally an aversion to much despised, from observation of his being speaking, and do not love to be the messentaken notice of by Pharamond; and the ger of ill news, especially when it comes lover conceive higher hopes, than to follow too late to be useful, I left him to be conthe woman he was dying for the day be- vinced of his mistake in due time, and confore. In a court, where men speak affec- tinued my walk, reflecting on these little tion in the strongest terms, and dislike in absences and distractions in mankind, and the faintest, it was a comical mixture of resolving to make them the subject of a incidents to see disguises thrown aside in future speculation.
one case, and increased on the other, ac
I was the more confirmed in my design, when I considered that they were very
often blemishes in the characters of men of
'Great wit to madness sure is near ally'd,
cording as favour or disgrace attended the
A monarch, who had wit and humour like Pharamond, must have pleasures
And thin partitions do their bounds divide."*
Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiæ.
former may, I believe, be generally ac-house about 'Change. I was his bail i counted for from one of these reasons. the time of the Popish plot, when he wa taken up for a Jesuit.' If he had looked o me a little longer, he had certainly de scribed me so particularly, without eve considering what led him into it, that th whole company must necessarily hav found me out; for which reason, remem bering the old proverb, 'Out of sight o of mind,' I left the room; and upon mee ing him an hour afterwards, was asked b him, with a great deal of good humour, i what part of the world I lived, that he ha not seen me these three days.
Either their minds are wholly fixed on some particular science, which is often the case of mathematicians and other learned men; or are wholly taken up with some violent passion, such as anger, fear or love, which ties the mind to some distant object, or, lastly, these distractions proceed from a certain vivacity and fickleness in a man's temper, which while it raises up infinite numbers of ideas in the mind, is continually pushing it on, without allowing it to rest on any particular image. Nothing therefore is more unnatural than the thoughts and conceptions of such a man, which are seldom occasioned either by the company he is in, or any of those objects which are placed before him. While you fancy he is admiring a beautiful woman, it is an even wager that he is solving a proposition in Euclid; and while you may imagine he is reading the Paris Gazette, it is far from being impossible, that he is pulling down and rebuilding the front of his country
At the same time that I am endeavouring to expose this weakness in others, I shall readily confess that I once laboured under the same infirmity myself. The method I took to conquer it was a firm resolution to learn something from whatever I was obliged to see or hear. There is a way of thinking, if a man can attain to it, by which he may strike somewhat out of any thing. I can at present observe those starts of good sense, and struggles of unimproved reason in the conversation of a clown, with as much satisfaction as the most shining periods of the most finished orator; and can make a shift to command my attention at a puppet-show or an opera, as well as at Hamlet or Othello. I always make one of the company I am in; for though I say little myself, my attention to others, and those nods of approbation which I never bestow unmerited, sufficiently show that I am among them. Whereas Will Honeycomb, though a fellow of good sense, is every day doing and saying a hundred things, which he afterwards confesses, with a well-bred frankness, were somewhat mal à propos, and undesigned.
Monsieur Bruyere has given us the cha racter of an absent man, with a great de of humour, which he has pushed to a agreeable extravagance: with the heads it I shall conclude my present paper.
'Menalcas,' says that excellent autho comes down in a morning, opens his do to go out, but shuts it again, because perceives that he has his night-cap on: ar examining himself further, finds that he but half shaved, that he has stuck h sword on his right side, that his stocking are about his heels, and that his shirt over his breeches. When he is dresse he goes to court, comes into the drawing room, and walking bolt-upright under branch of candlesticks, his wig is caught u by one of them, and hangs dangling in th air. All the courtiers fall a-laughing, but M nalcas laughs louder than any of them ar looks about for the person that is the jest the company. Coming down to the cour gate he finds a coach, which taking for b own, he whips into it; and the coachma drives off, not doubting but he carries h master. As soon as he stops, Menalc throws himself out of the coach, cross the court, ascends the stair-case, and ru through all the chambers with the greate familiarity; reposes himself on a couc and fancies himself at home. The mast of the house at last comes in; Menalc rises to receive him, and desires him to down; he talks, muses, and then tal again. The gentleman of the house is tir and amazed; Menalcas is no less so, but every moment in hopes that his imper nent guest will at last end his tedious vis Night comes on, when Menalcas is hard
I chanced the other day to go into a cof-undeceived. fee-house, where Will was standing in the When he is playing at backgammo midst of several auditors, whom he had he calls for a full glass of wine and wate gathered round him, and was giving them it is his turn to throw, he has the box an account of the person and character of one hand, and his glass in the other; a Moll Hinton. My appearance before him being extremely dry, and unwilling to lo just put him in mind of me, without making time, he swallows down both the dice, a him reflect that I was actually present. at the same time throws his wine into t So that, keeping his eyes full upon me, to tables. He writes a letter, and flings t the great surprise of his audience, he sand into the ink-bottle; he writes a seco broke off his first harangue, and proceed- and mistakes the superscription. A nob ed thus: Why now there's my friend,' man receives one of them, and upon ope mentioning me by my name, he is a fel- ing it reads as follows: I would have yo low that thinks a great deal, but never honest Jack, immediately upon the rece opens his mouth; I warrant you he is now of this, take in hay enough to serve me t thrusting his short face into some coffee-winter.' His farmer receives the oth