Изображения страниц

word leads a writer out of his road, and been pleased to lay it down as a maxim, makes him wander from his subject for a that nothing spoils a young fellow's fortune page together. I remember a young fel- so much as marrying early; and that no low of this turn, who, having said by chance that his mistress had a world of charms, thereupon took occasion to consider her as one possessed of frigid and torrid zones, and pursued her from one pole to the other. I shall conclude this paper with a letter written in that enormous style, which I hope my reader hath by this time set his heart against. The epistle hath heretofore received great applause; but after what hath been said, let any man commend it if he dare.

SIR,-After the many heavy lashes that have fallen from your pen, you may justly expect in return all the load that my ink can lay upon your shoulders. You have quartered all the foul language upon me that could be raked out of the air of Bil-I linsgate, without knowing who I am, or whether I deserved to be cupped and sacrificed at this rate. I tell you, once for all, turn your eyes where you please, you shall never smell me out. Do you think that the panicks, which you sow about the parish, will ever build a monument to your glory? No, sir, you may fight these battles as long as you will, but when you come to balance the account you will find that you have been fishing in troubled waters, and that an ignis fatuus hath bewildered you, and that indeed you have built upon a sandy foundation, and brought your hogs to a fair market, I am, sir, yours, &c.'

[blocks in formation]

'Middle-Temple, Sept. 18. 'SIR, I am fully convinced that there is not upon earth a more impertinent creature than an importunate lover. We are daily complaining of the severity of our fate to people who are wholly unconcerned in it: and hourly improving a passion, which we would persuade the world is the torment of our lives. Notwithstanding this reflection, sir, I cannot forbear acquainting you with my own case. You must know, then, sir, that even from my childhood, the most prevailing inclination I could perceive in myself was a strong desire to be in favour with the fair-sex. I am at present in the one-and-twentieth year of my age; and should have made choice of a she-bedfellow many years since, had not my father, who has a pretty good estate of his own getting, and passes in the world for a prudent man,

man ought to think of wedlock until sixand-twenty. Knowing his sentiments upon this head, I thought it in vain to apply myself to women of condition, who expect settlements; so that all my amours have hitherto been with ladies who had no fortunes: but I know not how to give you so good an idea of me, as by laying before you the history of my life.

'I can very well remember, that at my school-mistress's, whenever we broke up, I was always for joining myself with the miss who lay-in, and was constantly one of Husband and Wife. This passion for bethe first to make a party in the play of ing well with the females still increased as I advanced in years. At the dancing-school contracted so many quarrels by struggling with my fellow-scholars for the partner liked best, that upon a ball-night, before our mothers made their appearance, I was usually up to the nose in blood. My father, like a discreet man, soon removed me from this stage of softness to a school of discipline, where I learnt Latin and Greek. I until it was thought convenient to send me underwent several severities in this place, to the university: though to confess the that seat of learning, but from the discotruth, I should not have arrived so early at very of an intrigue between me and my master's housekeeper; upon whom I had employed my rhetoric so effectually, that, though she was a very elderly lady, I had almost brought her to consent to marry me. Upon my arrival at Oxford, I found logic so dry, that, instead of giving attention to the dead, I soon fell to addressing the living. My first amour was with a pretty girl whom I shall call Parthenope: her mother sold ale by the town-wall.

'Being often caught there by the proctor, I was forced at last, that my mistress's reputation might receive no blemish, to confess my addresses were honourable. Up pon this I was immediately sent home; but Parthenope soon after marrying a shoe-maker, I was again suffered to return. My next affair was with my tailor's daughter, who deserted me for the sake of a young barber. Upon my complaining to one of my particular friends of this misfortune, the cruel wag made a mere jest of my calamity, and asked me, with a smile, where the needle should turn but to the pole?* After this I was deeply in love with a milliner, and at last with my bed-maker; upon which I was sent away, or, in the university phrase, rusticated for ever.

Upon my coming home, I settled to my studies so heartily, and contracted so great a reservedness by being kept from the company I most affected, that my father

[blocks in formation]

thought he might venture me at the Temple

"Within a week after my arrival I began to shine again, and became enamoured with a mighty pretty creature, who had every thing but money to recommend her. Having frequent opportunities of uttering all the soft things which a heart formed for love could inspire me with, I soon gained her consent to treat of marriage; but, unfortunately for us all, in the absence of my charmer I usually talked the same language to her eldest sister, who is also very pretty. Now I assure you, Mr. Spectator, this did not proceed from any real affection I had conceived for her: but, being a perfect stranger to the conversation of men, and strongly addicted to associate with the women, I knew no other language but that of love. I should, however, be very much obliged to you, if you could free me from the perplexity I am at present in. I have sent word to my old gentleman in the country, that I am desperately in love with the younger sister; and her father, who knew no better, poor man, acquainted him by the same post, that I had for some time made my addresses to the elder. Upon this old Testy sends me up word, that he has heard so much of my exploits, that he intends immediately to order me to the South-sea. Sir, I have occasionally talked so much of dying, that I begin to think there is not much in it; and if the old 'squire persists in his design, I do hereby give him notice that I am providing myself with proper instruments for the destruction of despairing lovers: let him therefore look to it, and consider that by his obstinacy he may himself lose the son of his strength, the world a hopeful lawyer, my mistress a passionate lover, and you, Mr. Spectator, your constant admirer,


to all manner of dangers for her sake and safety. He desires in his postscript to know whether, from a constant success in them, he may nct promise himself to succeed in her esteem at last.

Another, who is very prolix in his narrative, writes me word, that having sent a venture beyond sea, he took occasion one night to fancy himself gone along with it, and grown on a sudden the richest man in all the Indies. Having been there about a year or two, a gust of wind that forced open his casement, blew him over to his native country again, where, awaking at six o'clock, and the change of the air not agreeing with him, he turned to his left side in order to a second voyage; but before he could get on ship-board was unfortunately apprehended for stealing a horse, tried and condemned for the fact, and in a fair way of being executed, if somebody stepping hastily into his chamber had not brought him a reprieve. This fellow too wants Mr. Shadow's advice; who, I dare say, would bid him be content to rise after his first nap, and learn to be satisfied as soon as nature is.

The next is a public-spirited gentleman, who tells me, that on the second of September, at night, the whole city was on fire, and would certainly have been reduced to ashes again by this time, if he had not flown over it with the New River on his back, and happily extinguished the flames before they had prevailed too far. He would be informed whether hel has not a right to petition the lord mayor and aldermen for a reward.

A letter, dated September the ninth, acquaints me, that the writer, being resolved to try his fortune, had fasted all that day; and, that he might be sure of dreaming upon something at night, procured a handsome slice of bride-cake, which he placed very conveniently under his pillow. In the morning his memory happened to fail him,

No. 597.] Wednesday, September 22, 1714. and he could recollect nothing but an odd

-Mens sine pondere ludit.-Petr.

The mind uncumber'd plays.

fancy that he had eaten his cake; which being found upon search reduced to a few crumbs, he is resolved to remember more of his dreams another time, believing from this that there may possibly be somewhat of truth in them.

SINCE I received my friend Shadow's letter, several of my correspondents have been pleased to send me an account how they have been employed in sleep, and what I have received numerous complaints notable adventures they have been engaged from several delicious dreamers, desiring in during that moonshine in the brain. I me to invent some method of silencing those shall lay before my readers an abridgment noisy slaves, whose occupations lead them of some few of their extravagances, in to take their early rounds about the city in hopes that they will in time accustom a morning, doing a deal of mischief, and themselves to dream a little more to the working strange confusion in the affairs of purpose. its inhabitants. Several monarchs have done me the honour to acquaint me how often they have been shook from their respective thrones by the rattling of a coach, or the rumbling of a wheelbarrow. And many private gentlemen, I find, have been bawled out of vast estates by fellows not worth three pence. A fair lady was just on the point of being married to a young,

One, who styles himself Gladio, complains heavily that his fair one charges him with inconstancy, and does not use him with half the kindness which the sincerity of his passion may demand; the said Gladio having, by valour and stratagem, put to death tyrants, enchanters, monsters, knights, &c. without number, and exposed himself

handsome, rich, ingenious nobleman, when of the audience were enjoying the benefit an impertinent tinker passing by forbid the of an excellent discourse, was losing her bans; and a hopeful youth who had been money and jewels to a gentleman at play, newly advanced to great honour and pre- until after a strange run of ill-luck she was ferment, was forced by a neighbouring cob- reduced to pawn three lovely pretty chilbler to resign all for an old song. It has dren for her last stake. When she had been represented to me, that those inconsi- thrown them away, her companion went derable rascals do nothing but go about dis-off, discovering himself by his usual tokens, solving of marriages, and spoiling of for a cloven foot and a strong smell of brimtunes, impoverishing rich, and ruining stone, which last proved a bottle of spirits, great people, interrupting beauties in the which a good old lady applied to her nose, midst of their conquests, and generals in to put her in a condition of hearing the the course of their victories. A boisterous preacher's third head concerning time. peripatetic hardly goes through a street without waking half a dozen kings and princes, to open their shops or clean shoes, frequently transforming sceptres into paring-shovels, and proclamations into bills. I have by me a letter from a young statesman, who in five or six hours came to be emperor of Europe, after which he made war upon the Great Turk, routed him horse and foot, and was crowned lord of the universe in Constantinople: the conclusion of all his successes is, that on the 12th instant, about seven in the morning, his Imperial Majesty was deposed by a chimney No. 598.] Friday, September 24, 1714.


On the other hand, I have epistolary testimonies of gratitude from many miserable people, who owe to this clamorous tribe frequent deliverances from great misfor


A small-coal-man, by waking one of these distressed gentlemen, saved him from ten years' imprisonment. An honest watchman, bidding aloud good-morrow to another, freed him from the malice of many potent enemies, and brought all their designs against him to nothing. A certain valetudinarian confesses he has often been cured of a sore-throat by the hoarseness of a carman, and relieved from a fit of the gout by the sound of old shoes. A noisy puppy, that plagued a sober gentleman all night long with his impertinence, was silenced by a cinder-wench with a word speaking.

If a man has no mind to pass abruptly from his imagined to his real circumstances, he may employ himself a while in that new kind of observation which my oneirocritical correspondent has directed him to make of himself. Pursuing the imagination through all its extravagances, whether in sleeping or waking, is no improper method of correcting and bringing it to act in subordination to reason, so as to be delighted only with such objects as will affect it with pleasure when it is never so cool and sedate.

[blocks in formation]

MANKIND may be divided into the merry and the serious, who both of them make a very good figure in the species so long as they keep their respective humours from degenerating into the neighbouring extreme: there being a natural tendency in the one to a melancholy moroseness, and in the other to a fantastic levity.

The merry part of the world are very amiable, while they diffuse a cheerfulness through conversation at proper seasons and on proper occasions; but, on the contrary, a great grievance to society when they infect every discourse with insipid mirth, and turn into ridicule such subjects as are not suited to it. For though laughter is looked upon by the philosophers as the property of reason, the excess of it has been always considered as the mark of folly.

Instead, therefore, of suppressing this order of mortals, I would propose it to my readers to make the best advantage of their morning salutations. A famous Macedonian prince, for fear of forgetting himself in the midst of his good fortune, had a youth to wait on him every morning, and bid him remember that he was a man. A citizen, who is waked by one of these criers, may On the other side, seriousness has its regard him as a kind of remembrancer, beauty whilst it is attended with cheerfulcome to admonish him that it is time to re-ness and humanity, and does not come in turn to the circumstances he has overlooked all the night time, to leave off fancying himself what he is not, and prepare to act suitably to the condition he is really placed in.

People may dream on as long as they please, but I shall take no notice of any imaginary adventures that do not happen while the sun is on this side the horizon. For which reason I stifle Fritilla's dream at church last Sunday, who, while the rest

unseasonably to pall the good humour of those with whom we converse.

These two sets of men, notwithstanding they each of them shine in their respective characters, are apt to bear a natural aversion and antipathy to one another.

What is more usual than to hear men of serious tempers, and austere morals, enlarging upon the vanities and follies of the young and gay part of the species, while they look with a kind of horror upon such

[blocks in formation]

It must indeed be confessed that levity of temper takes a man off his guard, and opens a pass to his soul for any temptation that assaults it. It favours all the approaches of vice, and weakens all the resistance of virtue: for which_reason a renowned statesman in queen Elizabeth's days, after having retired from court and public business, in order to give himself up to the duties of religion, when any of his -old friends used to visit him, had still this word of advice in his mouth, 'be serious.'

An eminent Italian author of this cast of mind, speaking of the great advantage of a serious and composed temper, wishes very gravely, that for the benefit of mankind he had Trophonius's cave in his possession; which, says he, would contribute more to the reformation of manners than all the workhouses and bridewells in Europe." We have a very particular description of this cave in Pausanias, who tells us that it was made in the form of a huge oven, and had many particular circumstances, which disposed the person who was in it to be more pensive and thoughtful than ordinary; insomuch, that no man was ever observed to laugh all his life after, who had once made his entry into this cave. It was usual in those times, when any one carried a more than ordinary gloominess in his features, to tell him that he looked like one just come out of Trophonius's cave.

On the other hand, writers of a more merry complexion have been no less severe on the opposite party; and have had one advantage above them, that they have attacked them with more turns of wit and humour.

After all, if a man's temper were at his own disposal, I think he would not choose to be of either of these parties; since the most perfect character is that which is formed out of both of them. A man would neither choose to be a hermit nor a buffoon; human nature is not so miserable, as that we should be always melancholy; nor so happy, as that we should be always merry. In a word, a man should not live as if there was no God in the world, nor, at the same time, as if there were no men in it.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

I never took in my youth. Among others is that of an afternoon's nap, which I fell into in the fifty-fifth year of my age, and have continued for the three last years past. By this means I enjoy a double morning, and rise twice a day fresh to my speculations. It happens very luckily for me, that some of my dreams have proved instructive to my countrymen, so that I may be said to sleep, as well as to wake, for the good of the public. I was yesterday meditating on the account with which I have already entertained my readers concerning the cave of Trophoníus. I was no sooner fallen into my usual slumber, but I dreamed that this cave was put into my possession, and that I gave public notice of its virtue, inviting every one to it who had a mind to be a serious man for the remaining part of his life. Great multitudes immediately resorted to me. The first who made the experiment was a Merry-andrew, who was put into my hand by a neighbouring justice of peace, in order to reclaim him from that profligate kind of life. Poor Pickle-herring had not taken above one turn in it, when he came out of the cave, like a hermit from his cell, with a penitential look and a most rueful countenance. I then put in a young laughing fop, and, watching for his return, asked him, with a smile, how he liked the place? He replied, Pr'ythee, friend, be not impertinent;' and stalked by me as grave as a judge. A citizen then desired me to give free ingress and egress to his wife who was dressed in the gayest coloured ribands I had ever seen. She went in with a flirt of her fan and a smirking countenance, but came out with the severity of a vestal; and throwing from her several female gewgaws, told me, with a sigh, that she resolved to go into deep mourning, and to wear black all the rest of her life, As I had many coquettes recommended to me by their parents, their husbands, and their lovers, I let them in all at once, desiring them to divert themselves together, as well as they could. Upon their emerging again into day-light, you would have fancied my cave to have been a nunnery, and that you had seen a solemn procession of religious marching out, one behind another, in the most profound silence and the most exemplary decency. As I was very much delighted with so edifying a sight, there came towards me a great company of males and females, laughing, singing, and dancing, in such a manner, that I could hear them a great while before I saw them. Upon my asking their leader what brought them thither? they told me all at once that they were French Protestants lately arrived in Great Britain, and that finding themselves of too gay a humour for my country, they applied themselves to me in order to compose them for British conversation. I told them that, to oblige them, I would soon spoil their mirth; upon which I admitted a

whole shoal of them, who after having | patients walking by themselves in a very taken a survey of the place, came out in pensive and musing posture, so that the very good order, and with looks entirely English. I afterwards put in a Dutchman, who had a great fancy to see the kelder, as he called it; but I could not observe that I had made any alteration in him.

whole space seemed covered with philosophers. I was at length resolved to go into the cave myself, and see what it was that had produced such wonderful effects upon the company; but as I was stooping at the re-entrance, the door being somewhat low, I gave such a nod in my chair that I awaked. After having recovered myself from my first startle, I was very well pleased at the accident which had befallen me, as not knowing but a little stay in the place might have spoiled my Spectators.

A comedian, who had gained great putation in parts of humour, told me that he had a mighty mind to act Alexander the Great, and fancied that he should succeed very well in it if he could strike two or three laughing features out of his face. He tried the experiment, but contracted so very solid a look by it, that I am afraid he will be fit for no part hereafter but a Timon of Athens, or a Mute in The Funeral.

Solemque suum, sua sidera norunt.

Virg. Æn. vi. 641. Stars of their own, and their own suns they know. Dryden.

I then clapped up an empty fantastic No. 600.] Wednesday, September 29, 1714, citizen, in order to qualify him for an alderman. He was succeeded by a young rake of the Middle Temple, who was brought to me by his grandmother; but, to her great sorrow and surprise, he came out a quaker. Seeing myself surrounded with a body of freethinkers and scoffers at religion, who were making themselves merry at the sober looks and thoughtful brows of those who had been in the cave, I thrust them all in, one after another, and locked the door upon them. Upon my opening it, they all looked as if they had been frightened out of their wits, and were marching away with ropes in their hands to a wood that was within sight of the place. I found they were not able to bear themselves in their first serious thoughts; but, knowing these would quickly bring them to a better frame of mind, I gave them into the custody of their friends until that happy change was wrought in them.

The last that was brought to me was a young woman, who at the first sight of my short face fell into an immoderate fit of laughter, and was forced to hold her sides all the while her mother was speaking to me. Upon this, I interrupted the old lady, and taking her daughter by the hand, Madam, said I, 'be pleased to retire into my closet while your mother tells me your case. I then put her into the mouth of the cave; when the mother, after having begged pardon for the girl's rudeness, told me that she had often treated her father and the gravest of her relations in the same manner; that she would sit giggling and laughing with her companions from one end of a tragedy to the other; nay, that she would sometimes burst out in the middle of a sermon, and set the whole congregation a staring at her. The mother was going on, when the young lady came out of the cave to us with a composed countenance and a low courtesy. She was a girl of such exuberant mirth that her visit to Trophonius only reduced her to a more than ordinary decency of behaviour, and made a very pretty prude of her. After having performed innumerable cures, I looked about me with great satisfaction, and saw all my

I HAVE always taken a particular pleasure in examining the opinions which men of different religions, different ages, and different countries, have entertained concerning the immortality of the soul, and the state of happiness which they promise themselves in another world. For, whatever prejudices and errors human nature lies under, we find that either reason, or tradition from our first parents, has discovered to all people something in these great points which bears analogy to truth, and to the doctrines opened to us by divine revelation. I was lately discoursing on this subject with a learned person who has been very much conversant among the inhabitants of the more western parts of Africa.* Upon his conversing with several in that country, he tells me that their notion of heaven or of a future state of happiness is this, that every thing we there wish for will immediately present itself to us. We find, say they, our souls are of such a nature that they require variety, and are not capable of being always delighted with the same objects. The Supreme Being, therefore, in compliance with this taste of happiness which he has planted in the soul of man, will raise up from time to time, say they, every gratification which it is in the humour to be pleased with. If we wish to be in groves or bowers, among running streams, or falls of water, we shall imme diately find ourselves in the midst of such a scene as we desire. If we would be entertained with music and the melody of sounds, the concert arises upon our wish, and the whole region about us is filled with harmony. In short, every desire will be followed by fruition; and whatever a man's inclination directs him to will be present with him. Nor is it material whether the Supreme Power creates in conformity to our wishes, or whether he only produces

published an account of West Barbary, &c. He died in *Addison's father, dean Launcelot Addison, who 1703, aged 71.049

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »