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I need not pont out the beauty of that prising accidents, are nevertheless probable circumstance, wherein the whole host of when we are told, that they were the gods angels are represented as standing mute; who thus transformed them. It is this kind nor show how proper the occasion was to of machinery which fills the poems both of produce such a silence in heaven. The Homer and Virgil with such circumstances close of this divine colloquy, with the hymn as are wonderful but not impossible, and of angels that follows upon it, are so won- so frequently produce in the reader the derfully beautiful and poetical, that I should most pleasing passion that can rise in the not forbear inserting the whole passage, if mind of man, which is admiration. If there the bounds of my paper would give me be any instance in the Æneid liable to exleave:
ception upon this account, it is in the beNo sooner had th' Almighty ceas'd, but all
ginning of the third book, where Æneas is The multitude of angels with a shout
represented as tearing up the myrtle that (Loud as from numbers without number, sweet dropped blood. To qualify this wonderful As from blest voices) utt'ring joy, heav'n rung With jubilee, and loud Hosannas fill'd
circumstance, Polydorus tells a story from Th' eternal regions, &c. &c.
the root of the myrtle, that the barbarous
inhabitants of the country having pierced Satan's walk upon the outside of the uni- him with spears and arrows, the blood verse, which at a distance appeared to him which was left in his body took root in his of a globular form, but upon his nearer ap- wounds, and gave birth to that bleeding proach looked like an unbounded plain, is tree. This circumstance seems to have the natural and noble; as his roaming upon the marvellous without the probable, because frontiers of the creation, between that mass it is represented as proceeding from natuof matter which was wrought into a world, ral causes, without the interposition of any and that shapeless unformed heap of mate-god, or other supernatural power capable rials which still lay in chaos and confusion, of producing it. The spears and arrows strikes the imagination with something asto- grow of themselves without so much as the nishingly great and wild, I have before modern help of enchantment. If we look spoken of the Limbo of Vanity, which the into the fiction of Milton's fable, though we poet places upon this outermost surface of find it full of surprising incidents, they are the universe, and shall here explain myself generally suited to our notions of the things more at large on that, and other parts of and persons described, and tempered with the poem, which are of the same shadowy a due measure
of probability. I must only nature.
make an exception to the Limbo of Vanity, Aristotle observes, that the fable of an with his episode of Sin and Death, and some epic poem should abound in circumstances of the imaginary persons in his chaos.that are both credible and astonishing; or, These passages are astonishing, but not as the French critics choose to phrase it, credible: the reader cannot so far impose the fable should be filled with the probable upon himself as to see a possibility in them; and the marvellous. This rule is as fine they are the description of dreams and shaand just as any in Aristotle's whole Art of dows, not of things or persons. I know that Poetry.
many critics look upon the stories of Circe, If the fable is only probable, it differs Polypheme, the Sirens, nay the whole Odysnothing from a true history; if it is only sey and Iliad, to be allegories; but allowing marvellous, it is no better than a romance. this to be true, they are fables, which, conThe great secret, therefore, of heroic poe- sidering the opinions of mankind that pretry is to relate such circumstances as may vailed in the age of the poet, might possibly produce in the reader at the same time both have been according to the letter. The belief and astonishment. This is brought to persons are such as might have acted what pass in a well-chosen fable, by the account is ascribed to them, as the circumstances of such things as have really happened, or in which they are represented might posat least of such things as have happened sibly have been truths and realities. This according to the received opinions of man- appearance of probability is so absolutely kind. Milton's fable is a master-piece of requisite in the greater kinds of poetry, that this nature; as the war in heaven, the con- Aristotle observes the ancient tragic writers dition of the fallen angels, the state of inno- made use of the names of such great men cence, the temptation of the serpent, and as had actually lived in the world, though the fall of man, though they are very asto- the tragedy proceeded upon adventures nishing in themselves, are not only credible, they were never engaged in, on purpose to but actual points of faith.
make the subject more credible. In a word, The next method of reconciling miracles besides the hidden meaning of an epic allewith credibility, is by a happy invention of gory, the plain literal sense ought to appear the poet: as in particular, when he intro- probable. The story should be such as an duces agents of a superior nature, who are ordinary reader may acquiesce in, whatcapable of effecting what is wonderful, and ever natural, moral, or political truth may what is not to be met with in the ordinary be discovered in it by men of greater penecourse of things. Ulysses's ship being turned tration. into a rock, and Æneas's fleet into a shoal Satan, after having long wandered upon of water-nymphs, though they are very sur-I the surface or outermost wall of the uni
verse, discovers at last a wide gap in it, poem. The same observation might be which led into the creation, and is described applied to that beautiful digression upon as the opening through which the angels hypocrisy in the same book.
L. pass to and fro into the lower world, upon their errands to mankind. His sitting upon the brink of this passage, and taking a No. 316.] Monday, March 3, 1711-12. survey of the whole face of nature, that appeared to him new and fresh in all its Libertas; quæ sera, tamen respexit inertem. beauties, with the simile illustrating this
Virg. Ecl. i. 28. circumstance, fills the mind of the reader Freedom, which came at length, though slow to come. with as surprising and glorious an idea as
Dryden. any that arises in the whole poem. He
Mr. SPECTATOR,- If you ever read a looks down into thrat vast hollow of the uni- letter which is sent with the more pleasure verse with the eye, or (as Milton calls it in for the reality of its complaints, this may his first book) with the ken of an angel. have reason to hope for a favourable acHe surveys all the wonders in this immense ceptance; and if time be the most irretrievamphitheatre that lie between both the able loss, the regrets which follow will be poles of heaven, and takes in at one view thought, I hope, the most justifiable. The the whole round of the creation.
regaining of my liberty from a long state of His flight between the several worlds indolence and inactivity, and the desire of that shined on every side of him, with the resisting the farther encroachments of idleparticular description of the sun, are set ness, make me apply to you; and the unforth in all the wantonness of a luxuriant easiness with which I recollect the past imagination. His shape, speech, and be years, and the apprehensions with which I haviour, upon his transforming himself into expect the future, soon determined me to an angel of light, are touched with exquisite it. Idleness is so general a distemper, that beauty. The poet's thought of directing I cannot but imagine a speculation on this Satan to the sun, which, in the vulgar subject will be of universal use. There is opinion of mankind, is the most conspicuous hardly any one person without some allay part of the creation, and the placing in it of it; and thousands besides myself spend an angel, is a circumstance very finely con- more time in an idle uncertainty which to trived, and the more adjusted to a poetical begin first of two affairs, than would have probability, as it was a received doctrine been sufficient to have ended them both. among the most famous philosophers, that The occasion of this seems to be the want every orb had its intelligence; and as an of some necessary employment, to put the apostle in sacred writ is said to have seen spirits in motion, and awaken them out of such an angel in the sun. In the answer their lethargy. If I had less leisure, I which the angel returns to the disguised should have more; for I should then find evil spirit, there is such a becoming ma- my time distinguished into portions, some jesty as is altogether suitable to a superior for business, and others for the indulging of being. The part of it in which he repre- pleasures; but now one face of indolence sents himself as present at the creation, is overspreads the whole, and I have no landvery noble in itself, and not only proper mark to direct myself by. Were one's time where it is introduced, but requisite to pre- a little straitened by business, like water pare the reader for what follows in the enclosed in its banks, it would have some seventh book:
determined course; but unless it be put into I saw when at his word the formless mass,
some channel it has no current, but becomes This world's material mould, came to a heap:
a deluge without either use or motion Confusion heard his voice, and wild Uproar
•When Scanderbeg, Prince of Epirus, Stood rul'd, stood vast infinitude confin'd;
was dead, the Turks, who had but too often Till at his second bidding Darkness tled, Light shone, &c.
felt the force of his arm in the battles he
had won from them, imagined that by wearIn the following part of the speech he ing a piece of his bones near their heart, points out the earth with such circum- they should be animated with a vigour and stances, that the reader can scarce forbear force like to that which inspired him when fancying himself employed on the same living. As I am like to be but of little use distant view of it.
whilst I live, I am resolved to do what good Look downward on that globe, whose hither side
I can after my decease; and have accordWith light from hence, though but reflected, shines; ingly ordered 'my bones to be disposed of That place is earth, the seat of man, that light in this manner for the good of my counHis day, &c.
trymen, who are troubled with too exorbiI must not conclude my reflections upon tant a degree of fire. All fox-hunters, this third book of Paradise Lost, without upon wearing me, would in a short time be taking notice of that celebrated complaint brought to endure their beds in a morning, of Milton with which it opens, and which and perhaps even quit them with regret at certainly deserves all the praises that have ten. Instead of hurrying away to tease a been given it; though, as I have before poor animal, and run away from their own hinted, it may rather be looked upon as an thoughts, a chair or a chariot would be excrescence than as an essential part of the thought the most desirable means of per
forming a remove from one place to an- / acquired his eloquence. Seneca in his letother. I should be a cure for the unnatural ters to Lucilius assures him there was not desire of John Trot for dancing, and a spe- a day which he did not either write cific to lessen the inclination Mrs. Fidget something, or read and epitomize some good has to motion, and cause her always to give author; and I remember Pliny in one of his her approbation to the present place she letters, where he gives an account of the is in. In fine, no Egyptian mummy was various methods he used to fill up every ever half so useful in physic, as I should be vacancy of time, after several employments to these feverish constitutions, to repress which he enumerates; “Sometimes,” says the violent sallies of youth, and give each he, “I hunt: but even then I carry with action its proper weight and repose. me a pocket-book, that whilst my servants
• I can stifle any violent inclination, and are busied in disposing of the nets and other oppose a torrent of anger, or the solicita- matters, I may be employed in something tions of revenge, with success. Indolence that may be useful to me in my studies; is a stream which flows slowly on, but yet and that if I miss of my game, I may at the undermines the foundation of every virtue. least bring home some of my own thoughts A vice of a more lively nature were a more with me, and not have the mortification of desirable tyrant than this rust of the mind, having caught nothing all day. which gives a tincture of its nature to every • Thus, sir, you see how many examples action of one's life. It were as little hazard I recall to mind, and what arguments I'use to be lost in a storm, as to lie thus perpe- with myself to regain my liberty: but as I tually becalmed: and it is to no purpose to am afraid it is no ordinary persuasion that have within one the seeds of a thousand good will be of service, I shall expect your qualities, if we want the vigour and resolu- thoughts on this subject with greatest tion necessary for the exerting them. Death impatience, especially since the good will brings all persons back to an equality; and not be confined to me alone, but will be of this image of it, this slumber of the mind, universal use. For there is no hope of leaves no difference between the greatest amendment where men are pleased with genius, and the meanest understanding. Atheir ruin, and whilst they think laziness faculty of doing things remarkably praise- is a desirable character; whether it be that worthy, thus concealed, is of no more use they like the state itself, or that they think to the owner than a heap of gold to the man it gives them a new lustre when they do who dares not use it.
exert themselves, seemingly to be able to • To-morrow is still the fatal time when do that without labour and application, all is to be rectified. To-morrow comes, it which others attain to but with the greatest goes, and still I please myself with the diligence. I am, sir, your most obliged humshadow, whilst I lose the reality: unmind- ble servant, SAMUEL SLACK.' ful that the present time alone is ours, the future is yet unborn, and the past is dead,
Clytander to Cleone. and can only live (as parents in their chil- •Madam,-Permission to love you is all dren,) in the actions it has produced. that I desire, to conquer all the difficulties
• The time we live ought not to be com- those about you place in my way, to surputed by the number of years, but by the mount and acquire all those qualifications use that has been made of it; thus, it is you expect in him who pretends to the not the extent of ground, but the yearly honour of being, madam, your most devoted rent, which gives the value to the estate. humble servant, Wretched and thoughtless creatures, in the Z.
•CLYTANDER.' only place where covetousness were a virtue, we turn prodigals! Nothing lies upon our hands with such uneasiness, nor have No. 317.] Tuesday, March 4, 1711-12. there been so many devices for any one thing, as to make it slide away impercepti- --Fruges consumere nati. Hor. Ep. ii. Lib. 1. 27. bly and to no purpose. A shilling shall be hoarded up with care, whilst that which is above the price of an estate is flung away death, asked his friends who stood about
AUGUSTUS, a few minutes before his with disregard and contempt. There is
him, if they thought he had acted his part nothing now-a-days, so much avoided, as a solicitous improvement of every part of well; and upon receiving such an answer
as was due to his extraordinary merit, ‘Let time; it is a report must be shunned as one tenders the name of a wit and a fine genius, me, then,' says he, 'go off the stage with and as one fears the dreadful character of your applause;' using the expression with a laborious plodder: but notwithstanding at the conclusion of a dramatic piece. I
which the Roman actors made their exit this, the greatest wits any age has pro- could wish that men, while they are in duced thought far otherwise; for who can health, would consider well the nature
of think either Socrates or Demosthenes lost the part they are engaged in, and what any reputation by their continual pains both figure it will make in the minds of those in overcoming the defects and improving they leave behind them, whether it was the gifts of nature? All are acquainted with the labour and assiduity with which Tully
* Vos valete et plaudite.
-Born to drink and eat.
worth coming into the world for; whether Hours ten, eleven, and twelve. Smoked it be suitable to a reasonable being; in short, three pipes of Virginia. Read the Supplewhether it appears graceful in this life, or ment and Daily Courant. Things go ill in will turn to an advantage in the next. Let the north. Mr. Nisby's opinion thereupon. the sycophant, or the buffoon, the satirist, One o'clock in the afternoon. Chid Ralph or the good companion, consider with him- for mislaying my tobacco-box. self, when his body shall be laid in the Two o'clock. Sat down to dinner. Mem. grave, and his soul pass into another state Too many plumbs, and no suet. of existence, how much it will redound to From three to four. Took my afternoon's his praise to have it said of him that no nap. man in England ate better, that he had an from four to six, Walked in the fields. admirable talent at turning his friends into Wind S. S. E. ridicule, that nobody out-did him at an ill- From six to ten. At the Club. Mr. natured jest, or that he never went to bed Nisby's opinion about the peace. before he had despatched his third bottle. Ten o'clock. Went to bed, slept sound. These are, however, very common funeral orations and eulogiums on deceased per
TUESDAY, being holiday, eight o'clock,
rose as usual. sons who have acted among mankind with some figure and reputation.
Nine o'clock. Washed hands and face, But if we look into the bulk of our spe-shaved, put on my double-soled shoes. cies, they are such as are not likely to be
Ten, eleven, twelve. Took a walk to remembered a moment after their disap
Islington. pearance. They leave behind them no
One. Took a pot of Mother Cob's mild. traces of their existence, but are forgotten
Between two and three. Returned, dined as though they had never been. They are
on a knuckle of veal and bacon, Mem. neither wanted by the poor, regretted by Sprouts wanting. the rich, nor celebrated by the learned.
Three. Nap as usual. They are neither missed in the common
From four to six. Coffee-house. Read wealth, nor lamented by private persons.
the news. A dish of twist, Grand vizier Their actions are of no significancy to man
strangled. kind, and might have been performed by
From six to ten. At the club, Mr. Niscreatures of much less dignity than those by's account of the Great Turk. who are distinguished by the faculty of rea
Ten. Dream of the grand vizier. Broken son. An eminent French author speaks somewhere to the following purpose: I WEDNESDAY, eight o'clock. Tongue have often seen from my chamber win- of my shoe-buckle broke. Hands but not dow two poble creatures, both of them of face. an erect countenance and endowed with Nine. Paid off the butcher's bill. Mem. reason. These two intellectual beings are To be allowed for the last leg of mutton. employed from morning to night in rubbing Ten, eleven. At the Coffee-house. More two smooth stones one upon another; that work in the north. Stranger in a black wig is, as the vulgar phrase is, in polishing asked me how stocks went. marble.
From twelve to one. Walked in the My friend, Sir Andrew Freeport, as we fields. Wind to the south. were sitting in the club last night, gave us From one to two. Smoked a pipe and a an account of a sober citizen, who died a half. few days since. This honest man being of Two. Dined as usual. Stomach good. greater consequence in his own thoughts Three. Nap broke by the falling of a than in the eye of the world, had for some pewter dish. Mem. Cook-maid in love, years past kept a journal of his life. Sir An- and grown careless. drew showed us one week of it. Since the From four to six. At the coffee-house, occurrences set down in it mark out such a Advice from Smyrna that the grand vizier road of action as that I have been speaking was first of all strangled, and afterwards of, I shall present my reader with a faith- beheaded. ful copy of it; after having first informed Six o'clock in the evening. Was half him, that the deceased person had in his an hour in the club before any body else youth been bred to trade, but finding him- came. Mr. Nisby of opinion that the self not so well turned for business, he had grand vizier was not strangled the sixth for several years last past lived altogether instant. upon a moderate annuity. *
Ten at night. Went to bed. Slept withMONDAY, eight o'clock. I put on my out waking until nine the next morning. clothes and walked into the parlour.
THURSDAY, nine o'clock. Staid within Nine o'clock ditto. Tied my knee-strings, until two o'clock for Sir Timothy; who did and washed my hands.
not bring me my annuity according to his * It has been conjectured that this journal was in promise. tended to ridicule a gentleman who was a member of Two in the afternoon. Sat down to dinthe congregation named Independents, where a Mr. Nesbit officiated as minister. See John Dunton's account ner. Loss of appetite. Small-beer sour. of his Life, Errors and Opinions.
Three. Could not take my nap.
No. 318.] Wednesday, March 5, 1711-12 Four and five. Gave Ralph a box on the ear. Turned off my cook-maid. Sent a
-non omnia possumus omnes.
Virg. Ecl. viii. 63. messenger to Sir Timothy. Mem. I did not go to the club to night. Went to bed at
With different talents form'd, we variously excel. nine o'clock.
•MR. SPECTATOR,--A certain vice,
which you have lately attacked, has not Friday. Passed the morning in medita- yet been considered by you as growing so tion upon Sir Timothy, who was with me a deep in the heart of man, that the affectaquarter before twelve. Twelve o'clock. Bought a new head to have observed, that men who have been
tion outlives the practice of it. You must my cane, and a tongue to my buckle. Drank bred in arms preserve to the most extreme a glass of purl to recover appetite. and feeble old age, a certain daring in their Two and three. Dined and slept well.
aspect. In like manner, they who have From four to six. Went to the coffee- passed their time in gallantry and advenhouse. Met Mr. Nisby there. Smoked ture, keep up, as well as they can, the apseveral pipes. Mr. Nisby of opinion that pearance of it, and carry a petulant inclilaced coffee is bad for the head.
nation to their last moments. Let this Six o'clock. At the club as steward. serve for a preface to a relation I am going Sat late.
to give you of an old beau in town, that has Twelve o'clock. Went to bed, dreamt that not only been amorous, and a follower of I'drank small beer with the grand vizier.
women in general, but also, in spite of the SATURDAY.. Waked at eleven, walked sixty-third year to his present seventieth,
admonition of grey hairs, been from his in the fields, wind N. E. Twelve. Caught in a shower.
in an actual pursuit of a young lady, the One in the afternoon. Returned home wife of his friend, and a man of merit.' The and dried myself.
gay old Escalus has wit, good health, and Two. Mr. Nisby dined with me. First is perfectly well-bred; but from the fashion course, marrow-bones; second, ox-cheek, his bloom, has such a natural tendency to
and manners of the court when he was in with a bottle of Brooks and Hellier, Three. Overslept myself.
amorous adventure, that he thought it Six. Went to the club. Like to have would be an endless reproach to him to fallen into a gutter. Grand vizier certainly at a gentleman's house, whose good hu
make no use of a familiarity he was allowed dead, &c.
mour and confidence exposed his wife to I question not but the reader will be sur- the addresses of any who should take it in prised to find the above-mentioned journal- their head to do him the good office. It is ist taking so much care of a life that was not impossible that Escalus might also refilled with such inconsiderable actions, and sent that the husband was particularly nereceived so very small improvements; and gligent of him; and though he gave many yet, if we look into the behaviour of many intimations of a passion towards the wife, whom we daily converse with, we shall find the husband either did not see them, or put that most of their hours are taken up in him to the contempt of overlooking them. those three important articles of eating, In the mean time Isabella, for so we shall drinking, and sleeping. I do not suppose call our heroine, saw his passion, and rethat a man loses his time, who is not en-joiced in it, as a foundation for much divergaged in public affairs, or in an illustrious sion, and an opportunity of indulging hercourse of action. On the contrary, I believe self in the dear delight of being admired, our hours may very often be more profit- addressed to, and Aattered, with no ili ably laid out in such transactions as make consequence to her reputation. This lady no figure in the world, than in such as are is of a free and disengaged behaviour, apt to draw upon them the attention of ever in good-humour, such as is the image mankind. One may become wiser and bet- of innocence with those who are innocent, ter
by several methods of employing one's and an encouragement to vice with those self in secrecy and silence, and do what is who are abandoned. From this kind of laudable without noise or ostentation. I carriage, and an apparent approbation of would, however, recommend to every one his gallantry, Escalus had frequent opporof my readers, the keeping a journal of tunities of laying amorous epistles in her their lives for one week, and setting down way, of fixing his eyes attentively upon her punctually their whole series of employ- actions, of performing a thousand little ofments during that space of time.
This fices which are neglected by the unconcernkind of self-examination would give them ed, but are so many approaches towards a true state of themselves, and incline them happiness with the enamoured. It was to consider seriously what they are about. now, as is above hinted, almost the end of One day would rectify the omissions of the seventh year of his passion, when Esanother, and make a man weigh all those calus, from general terms, and the ambigyindifferent actions, which though they are easily forgotten, must certainly be accounted for,
• The motto to this paper in folio was,