Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Qualis ubi in lucem coluber mala gramina pastus
Frigida, sub terra tumidum quem bruma tegebat;
Nunc positis novus exuviis, nitidusque juventa,
Lubrica convolvit sublato pectore terga
Arduus ad solem, et linguis micat ore trisulcis.
Virg. n. ii. 471

are greater; for what the antique statues | No. 556.] Friday, June 18, 1714.
and bas-reliefs which Italy enjoys are to
the history-painters, the beautiful and no-
ble faces with which England is confessed
to abound, are to face-painters; and, be-
sides, we have the greatest number of the
works of the best masters in that kind of
any people, not without a competent num-
ber of those of the most excellent in every
other part of painting. And for encourage-
ment, the wealth and generosity of the
English nation affords that in such a degree
as artists have no reason to complain.

I

So shines, renew'd in youth, the crested snake, Who slept the winter in a thorny brake: And casting off his slough, when spring returns, Now looks aloft, and with new glory burns: Restor❜d with pois'nous herbs, his ardent sides Reflect the sun, and rais'd on spires he rides ; High o'er the grass hissing he rolls along, And brandishes by fits his forky tongue.-Dryden. UPON laying down the office of Spectator. acquainted the world with my design of electing a new club, and of opening my mouth in it after a most solemn manner. Both the election and the ceremony are now past; but not finding it so easy, as I at first imagined, to break through a fifty years' silence, I would not venture into the world under the character of a man who_pretends to talk like other people, until I had arrived at a full freedom of speech.

'And accordingly, in fact, face-painting is no where so well performed as in England: I know not whether it has lain in your way to observe it, but I have, and pretend to be a tolerable judge. I have seen what is done abroad; and can assure you, that the honour of that branch of painting is justly due to us. I appeal to the judicious observers for the truth of what I assert. If foreigners have oftentimes, or even for the most part excelled our natives, it ought to be imputed to the advantages I shall reserve for another time the histhey have met with here, joined to their tory of such club or clubs of which I am own ingenuity and industry; nor has any now a talkative but unworthy member; one nation distinguished themselves so as to and shall here give an account of this surraise an argument in favour of their coun-prising change which has been produced try: but it is to be observed that neither in me, and which I look upon to be as reFrench nor Italians, nor any one of either nation, notwithstanding all our prejudices in their favour, have, or ever had, for any considerable time, any character among us as face-painters.

markable an accident as any recorded in history, since that which happened to the son of Croesus, after having been many years as much tongue-tied as myself.

Upon the first opening of my mouth, I This honour is due to our own country, made a speech, consisting of about half a and has been so for near an age: so that, dozen well-turned periods; but grew so instead of going to Italy, or elsewhere, one very hoarse upon it, that for three days tothat designs for portrait-painting ought together, instead of finding the use of my study in England. Hither such should come from Holland, France, Italy, Germany, &c. as he that intends to practise any other kinds of painting should go to those parts where it is in the greatest perfection. It is said the blessed Virgin descended from heaven to sit to St. Luke. I dare venture to affirm that, if she should desire another Madonna to be painted by the life, she would come to England; and am of opinion that your present president, Sir Godfrey Kneller, from his improvement since he arrived in this kingdom, would perform that office better than any foreigner living. I am, with all possible respect, sir, your most humble and most obedient servant, &c.'

tongue, I was afraid that I had quite lost it. Besides, the unusual extension of my muscles on this occasion made my face ache on both sides to such a degree, that nothing but an invincible resolution and perseverance could have prevented me from falling back to my monosyllables.

[blocks in formation]

I afterwards made several essays towards speaking; and that I might not be startled at my own voice, which has happened to me more than once, I used to read aloud in my chamber, and have often stood in the middle of the street to call a coach, when I knew there was none within hearing.

When I was thus grown pretty well ac quainted with my own voice, I laid hold of all opportunities to exert it. Not caring however to speak much by myself, and to draw upon me the whole attention of those I conversed with, I used for some time to walk every morning in the Mall, and talk in chorus with a parcel of Frenchmen. I found my modesty greatly relieved by the communicative temper of this nation, who are so very sociable as to think they are never better company than when they are all opening at the same time.

I then fancied I might receive great be nefit from female conversation, and that I should have a convenience of talking with

T

اہی

the greater freedom, when I was not under friend to no interests but those of truth and any impediment of thinking: I therefore virtue; nor a foe to any but those of vice threw myself into an assembly of ladies, and folly. Though I make more noise in but could not for my life get in a word the world than I used to do, I am still reamong them; and found that if I did not solved to act in it as an indifferent spectachange my company, I was in danger of tor. It is not my ambition to increase the being reduced to my primitive taciturnity. number either of whigs or tories, but of The coffee-houses have ever since been wise and good men; and I could heartily my chief places of resort, where I have wish there were not faults common to both made the greatest improvements; in order parties, which afford me sufficient matter to which I have taken a particular care to work upon, without descending to those never to be of the same opinion with the which are peculiar to either. man I conversed with. I was a tory at Button's, and a whig at Child's, a friend to the Englishman, or an advocate for the Examiner, as it best served my turn: some fancy me a great enemy to the French king, though in reality I only make use of him for a help to discourse. In short, I wrangle and dispute for exercise; and have carried this point so far, that I was once like to have been run through the body for making a little too free with my betters. In a word, I am quite another man to what I was.

nay,

[blocks in formation]

Nothing was ever so unlike itself. My old acquaintance scarce know me; I was asked the other day by a Jew at Jonathan's, whether I was not related to a dumb gentleman, who used to come to that coffee-house? But I think I never was better pleased in my life than about a week ago, when, as I was battling it across the table with a young Templar, his companion gave him a pull by the sleeve, begging him to come away, for that the old prig would talk him to death.

If in a multitude of counsellors there is safety, we ought to think ourselves the securest nation in the world. Most of our garrets are inhabited by statesmen, who watch over the liberties of their country, and make a shift to keep themselves from starving by taking into their care the properties of their fellow-subjects.

As these politicians of both sides have already worked the nation into a most unnatural ferment, I shall be so far from endeavouring to raise it to a greater height, that, on the contrary, it shall be the chief tendency of my papers to inspire my countrymen with a mutual good-will and benevolence. Whatever faults either party may be guilty of, they are rather inflamed than cured by those reproaches which they cast upon one another. The most likely method of rectifying any man's conduct, is by recommending to him the principles of truth and honour, religion and virtue: and so long as he acts with an eye to these principles, whatever party he is of, he cannot fail of being a good Englishman, lover of his country.

and a

As for the persons concerned in this work, the names of all of them, or at least of such Being now a very good proficient in dis- as desire it, shall be published hereafter: course, I shall appear in the world with until which time I must entreat the courthis addition to my character, that my teous reader to suspend his curiosity, and Countrymen may reap the fruits of my new-rather to consider what is written, than acquired loquacity.

Those who have been present at public disputes in the university know that it is usual to maintain heresies for argument's sake. I have heard a man a most impudent Socinian for half an hour, who has been an orthodox divine all his life after. I have taken the same method to accomplish myself in the gift of utterance, having talked above a twelvemonth, not so much

who they are that write it.

Having thus adjusted all necessary preliminaries with my reader, I shall not trouble him with any more prefatory discourses, but proceed in my old method, and entertain him with speculations on every useful subject that falls in my way.

1714.

C.

for the benefit of my hearers, as of myself. No. 557.] Monday, June 21,
But, since I have now gained the faculty
I have been so long endeavouring after, I
intend to make a right use of it, and shall
think myself obliged for the future, to
speak always in truth and sincerity of
heart. While a man is learning to fence,
he practises both on friend and foe; but
when he is a master in the art, he never
exerts it but on what he thinks the right
side.

Quippe domum timet ambiguam Tyriosque bilingues.
Virg. n. i, 665.

He fears the ambiguous race, and Tyrians double-
tongu'd.

That this last allusion may not give my reader a wrong idea of my design in this paper, I must here inform him, that the author of it is of no faction; that he is a

"THERE is nothing,' says Plato, so delightful as the hearing or the speaking of truth. For this reason there is no conversation so agreeable as that of the man of integrity, who hears without any intention to betray, and speaks without any intention to deceive.

Among all the accounts which are given of Cato, I do not remember one that more redounds to his honour than the following

passage related by Plutarch. As an advo- | than from London to Bantam; and thou cate was pleading the cause of his client knowest the inhabitants of one of these before one of the prætors, he could only places do not know what is done in the produce a single witness in a point where the law required the testimony of two persons; upon which the advocate insisted on the integrity of that person whom he had produced; but the prætor told him, that where the law required two witnesses he would not accept of one, though it were Cato himself. Such a speech from a person who sat at the head of a court of justice, while Cato was still living, shows us, more than a thousand examples, the high reputation this great man had gained among his contemporaries upon the account of his sincerity.

[graphic]

When such an inflexible integrity is a little softened and qualified by the rules of conversation and good-breeding, there is not a more shining virtue in the whole catalogue of social duties. A man however ought to take great care not to publish himself out of his veracity, nor to refind his behaviour to the prejudice of his virtue.

This subject is exquisitely treated in the most elegant sermon of the great British preacher. I shall beg leave to transcribe out of it two or three sentences, as a proper introduction to a very curious letter, which I shall make the chief entertainment of this speculation.

other. They call thee and thy subjects barbarians, because we speak what we mean; and account themselves a civilized people, because they speak one thing and mean another; truth they call barbarity, and falsehood politeness. Upon my first landing, one, who was sent from the king of this place to meet. me, told me that he was extremely sorry for the storm I had met with just before my arrival. I was troubled to hear him grieve and afflict himself upon my account; but in less than a quarter of an hour he smiled, and was as merry as if nothing had happened. Another who came with him told me by my interpreter, he should be glad to do me any service that lay in his power. Upon which I desired him to carry one of my portmanteaus for me; but, instead of serving me according to his promise, he laughed, and bid another do it. I lodged, the first week, at the house of one who desired me to think myself at home, and to consider his house as my own. Accordingly, I the next morning began to knock down one of the walls of it, in order to let in the fresh air, and had packed up some of the household goods, of which I intended to have made thee a present; but the false varlet no The old English plainness and sincerity, sooner saw me falling to work, but he sent that generous integrity of nature, and ho- word to desire me to give over, for that he nesty of disposition, which always argues would have no such doings in his house. I true greatness of mind, and is usually ac- had not been long in this nation before I companied with undaunted courage and re- was told by one, for whom I had asked a solution, is in a great measure lost among us. certain favour from the chief of the king's The dialect of conversation is now-a- servants, whom they here call the lorddays so swelled with vanity and compli- treasurer, that I had eternally obliged him. ment, and so surfeited (as I may say) of I was so surprised at his gratitude, that I expressions of kindness and respect, that if could not forbear saying, "What service a man that lived an age or two ago should is there which one man can do for another, return into the world again, he would really that can oblige him to all eternity!" Howwant a dictionary to help him to under-ever, I only asked him, for my reward, that stand his own language, and to know the true intrinsic value of the phrase in fashion; and would hardly at first believe at what a low rate the highest strains and expressions of kindness imaginable do commonly pass in current payment; and when he should come to understand it, it would be a great while before he could bring himself, with a good countenance, and a good conscience, to converse with men upon equal terms and in their own way.'

[blocks in formation]

he would lend me his eldest daughter during my stay in this country; but I quickly found that he was as treacherous as the rest of his countrymen.

'At my first going to court, one of the great men almost put me out of countenance, by asking ten thousand pardons of me for only treading by accident upon my toe. They call this kind of lie a compli ment; for, when they are civil to a great man they tell him untruths, for which thou wouldest order any of thy officers of state to receive a hundred blows upon his foot. I do not know how I shall negotiate any thing with this people, since there is so little credit to be given to them. When I go to see the king's scribe, I am generally told that he is not at home, though perhaps I saw him go into his house almost the very moment before. Thou wouldest fancy that first question they always ask me is, how I the whole nation are physicians, for the do; I have this question put to me above a hundred times a-day. Nay, they are not

J

[graphic]

only thus inquisitive after my health, but | of any other person would be, in case we wish it in a more solemn manner, with a would change conditions with him. full glass in their hands, every time I sit with them at table, though at the same time they would persuade me to drink their liquors in such quantities as I have found by experience will make me sick. They often pretend to pray for thy health also in the same manner; but I have more reason to expect it from the goodness of thy constitution than the sincerity of their wishes. May thy slave escape in safety from this double-tongued race of men, and live to lay himself once more at thy feet in the royal city of Bantam !'

No. 558.] Wednesday, June 23, 1714.

Qui fit, Mæcenas, ut nemo, quam sibi sortem
Seu ratio dederit, seu fors objecerit, illa
Contentus vivat: laudet diversa sequentes?
O fortunati mercatores, gravis annis
Miles ait, multo jam fractus membra labore!
Contra mercator, navim jactantibus austris,
Militia est potior. Quid enim? concurritur: hora
Momento cita mors venit, aut victoria læta.
Agricolam laudat juris legumque peritus,
Sub galli cantum consultor ubi ostia pulsat.
Ille, datis vadibus, qui rure extractus in urbem est,
Solos felices viventes clamat in urbe.
Cætera de genere hoc (adeo sunt multa) loquacem
Delassare valent Fabium. Ne te morer, audi
Quo rem deducam. Si quis Deus, en ego, dicat,
Jam faciam quod vultis: eris tu, qui modo miles,
Mercator: tu consultus modo, rusticus. Hinc vos,
Vos hinc mutatis discedite partibus. Eja,
Quid statis? Nolint. Atqui licet esse beatis.
Hor. Sat. i. Lib. 1. 1.

Whence is't, Mecenas, that so few approve
The state they're plac'd in, and incline to rove;
Whether against their will by fate impos'd,
Or by consent and prudent choice espous'd?
Happy the merchant! the old soldier cries,
Broke with fatigues and warlike enterprise
The merchant, when the dreaded hurricane
Tosses his wealthy cargo on the main,
Applauds the wars and toils of a campaign:
There an engagement soon decides your doom,
Bravely to die, or come victorious home.
The lawyer vows the farmer's life is best,
When at the dawn the clients break his rest.
The farmer, having put in bail t'appear,

And forc'd to town, cries they are happiest there: With thousands more of this inconstant race, Would tire e'en Fabius to relate each case. Not to detain you longer, pray attend The issue of all this: Should Jove descend, And grant to every man his rash demand, To run his lengths with a neglectful hand; First, grant the harass'd warrior a release; Bid him to trade, and try the faithless seas, To purchase treasure and declining ease; Next call the pleader from his learned strife, To the calm blessings of a country life; And, with these separate demands dismiss Each suppliant to enjoy the promis'd bliss: Don't you believe they'd run? Not one will move, Though proffer'd to be happy from above.-Horneck. Ir is a celebrated thought of Socrates, that if all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a public stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole species, those who now think themselves the most unhappy, would prefer the share they are already possessed of before that which could fall to them by such a division. Horace has carried this thought a great deal farther in the motto of my paper, which implies, that the hardships or misfortunes we lie under are more easy to us than those

As I was ruminating upon these two remarks, and seated in my elbow chair, I insensibly fell asleep; when on a sudden, methought, there was a proclamation made by Jupiter, that every mortal should bring in his griefs and calamities, and throw them together in a heap. There was a large plain appointed for this purpose. I took my stand in the centre of it, and saw with a great deal of pleasure the whole human species marching one after another, and throwing down their several loads, which immediately grew up into a prodigious mountain, that seemed to rise above the clouds.

There was a certain lady of a thin airy shape, who was very active in this solemnity. She carried a magnifying glass in one of her hands, and was clothed in a loose flowing robe, embroidered with several figures of fiends and spectres, that discovered themselves in a thousand chimerical shapes, as her garment hovered in the wind. There was something wild and distracted in her looks. Her name was Fancy. She led up every mortal to the appointed place, after having very officiously assisted him in making up his pack, and laying it upon his shoulders. My heart melted within me to see my fellow-creatures groaning under their respective burdens, and to consider that prodigious bulk of human calamities which lay before me.

There were however several persons who gave me great diversion upon this occasion.

observed one bringing in a fardel very carefully concealed under an old embroidered cloak, which, upon his throwing it into the heap, I discovered to be Poverty. Another, after a great deal of puffing, threw down his luggage, which, upon examining, I found to be his wife.

There were multitudes of lovers saddled with very whimsical burdens composed of darts and flames; but, what was very odd, though they sighed as if their hearts would break under these bundles of calamities, they could not persuade themselves to cast them into the heap, when they came up to to it; but, after a few faint efforts, shook their heads, and marched away as heavy loaden as they came. I saw multitudes of old women throw down their wrinkles, and several young ones who stripped themselves of a tawny skin. There were very great heaps of red noses, large lips, and rusty teeth. The truth of it is, I was surprised to see the greatest part of the mountain made up of bodily deformities. Observing one advancing towards the heap with a larger cargo than ordinary upon his back, I found upon his near approach that it was only a natural hump, which he disposed of, with great joy of heart, among this collection of human miseries. There were likewise distempers of all sorts; though I could not but observe, that there

were many more imaginary than real. One little packet I could not but take notice of, which was a complication of all the diseases incident to human nature, and was in the hand of a great many fine people: this was called the spleen. But what most of all surprised me, was a remark I made, that there was not a single vice or folly thrown into the whole heap; at which I was very much astonished, having concluded within myself, that every one would take this opportunity of getting rid of his passions, prejudices, and frailties.

I took notice in particular of a very profligate fellow, who I did not question came loaded with his crimes: but upon searching into his bundle I found, that instead of throwing his guilt from him, he had only laid down his memory. He was followed by another worthless rogue, who flung away his modesty instead of his ignorance. When the whole race of mankind had thus cast their burdens, the phantom which had been so busy on this occasion, seeing me an idle Spectator of what had passed, approached towards me. I grew uneasy at her presence, when of a sudden she held her magnifying glass full before my eyes. I no sooner saw my face in it, but was startled at the shortness of it, which now appeared to me in its utmost aggravation. The immoderate breadth of the features made me very much out of humour with my own countenance, upon which I threw it from me like a mask. It happened very luckily that one who stood by me had just before thrown down his visage, which it seems was too long for him. It was indeed extended to a most shameful length; I believe the very chin was, modestly speaking, as long as my whole face. We had both of us an opportunity of mending ourselves; and all the contributions being now brought in, every man was at liberty to exchange his misfortunes for those of another person. But as there arose many new incidents in the sequel of my vision, I shall reserve them for the subject of my next paper.

[blocks in formation]

and wondered how the owners of them ever came to look upon them as burdens and grievances.

As we were regarding very attentively this confusion of miseries, this chaos of calamity, Jupiter issued out a second proclamation, that every one was now at liberty to exchange his affliction, and to return to his habitation with any such other bundle as should be delivered to him.

Upon this, Fancy began again to besti herself, and, parcelling out the whole heap with incredible activity, recommended to every one his particular packet. The hurry and confusion at this time was not to be ex pressed. Some observations which I made upon this occasion, I shall communicate to the public. A venerable gray-headed man who had laid down the colick, and who found wanted an heir to his estate, snatch ed up an undutiful son that had been thrown into the heap by his angry father. The graceless youth, in less than a quarter of an hour, pulled the old gentleman by the beard, and had like to have knocked his brains out; so that meeting the true father, who came towards him with a fit of the gripes, he begged him to take his son again, and give him back his colick; but they were incapable either of them to recede from the choice they had made. A poor galley-slave, who had thrown down his chains, took up the gout in their stead, but made such wry faces, that one might easily perceive he was no great gainer by the bargain. It was pleasant enough to see the several exchanges that were made, for sickness against poverty, hunger against want of appetite, and care against pain.

The female world were very busy among themselves in bartering for features: on was trucking a lock of gray hairs for a car buncle, another was making over a shor waist for a pair of round shoulders, and third cheapening a bad face for a lost re putation: but on all these occasions ther was not one of them who did not think th new blemish, as soon as she had got it int her possession, much more disagreeabl than the old one. I made the same observ ation on every other misfortune or calamity which every one in the assembly brough upon himself in lieu of what he had parted with: whether it be that all the evils which befal us, are in some measure suited and proportioned to our strength, or that every evil becomes more supportable by our be ing accustomed to it, I shall not determine I could not from my heart forbear pitying the poor hump-backed gentleman mention ed in the former paper, who went off a very well shaped person with a stone in hi bladder; nor the fine gentleman who had struck up this bargain with him, that limp ed through a whole assembly of ladies, wh used to admire him, with a pair of shoulders peeping over his head.

I must not omit my own particular ad venture. My friend with a long visage had

[graphic]
[graphic]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »