« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
"Thou rising sun, whose gladsome ray
Oh! were I sure my dear to view,
I'd climb that pine-tree's topmost bough,
My Orra Moor, where art thou laid?
Oh! could I ride the clouds and skies,
My bliss too long my bride denies,
Not storms, or night shall keep me here.
What may for strength with steel compare?
No longer then perplex thy breast;
'April the 10th.
follow your counsel; who am your admirer and humble servant,
'I beg that you will put it in a better dress, and let it come abroad, that my mistress, who is an admirer of your speculations, may see it.' T.
No. 367.] Thursday, May 1, 1712.
In mercy spare us when we do our best
I HAVE often pleased myself with considering the two kinds of benefits which accrue to the public from these my speculations, and which, were I to speak after the manner of logicians, I would distinguish into the material and the formal. By the latter I understand those advantages which my readers receive, as their minds are either improved or delighted by these my daily labours; but having already several times descanted on my endeavours in this light, I shall at present wholly confine myself to the consideration of the former. 'MR. SPECTATOR,-I am one of those By the word material, I mean those benedespicable creatures called a chambermaid, fits which arise to the public from these my and have lived with a mistress for some speculations, as they consume a considertime, whom I love as my life, which has able quantity of our paper-manufacture, made my duty and pleasure inseparable. employ our artisans in printing, and find My greatest delight has been in being cm-business for great numbers of indigent ployed about her person; and indeed she is persons. very seldom out of humour for a woman of her quality. But here lies my complaint, sir. To bear with me is all the encouragement she is pleased to bestow upon me; for she gives her cast-off clothes from me to others; some she is pleased to bestow in the house to those that neither want nor wear them, and some to hangers-on, that frequent the house daily, who come dressed out in them. This, sir, is a very mortifying sight to me, who am a little necessitous for clothes, and love to appear what I am; and causes an uneasiness, so that I cannot serve with that cheerfulness as formerly; which my mistress takes notice of, and calls envy and ill-temper, at seeing others preferred before me. My mistress has a younger sister The materials are no sooner wrought lives in the house with her, that is some into paper, but they are distributed among thousands below her in estate, who is conti- the presses, when they again set innumenually heaping her favours on her maid; so rable artists at work, and furnish business that she can appear every Sunday, for the to another mystery. From hence, accordfirst quarter, in a fresh suit of clothes of ingly as they are stained with news and her mistress's giving, with all other things politics, they fly through the town in Postsuitable. All this I see without envying, men, Post-boys, Daily Courants, Reviews, but not without wishing my mistress would Medleys, and Examiners. Men, women, a little consider what a discouragement it and children contend who shall be the first is to me to have my perquisites divided be-bearers of them, and get their daily sustentween fawners and jobbers, which others ance by spreading them. In short, when I enjoy entire to themselves. I have spoken to my mistress, but to little purpose; I have desired to be discharged (for indeed I fret myself to nothing,) but that she answers with silence. I beg, sir, your direction what to do, for I am fully resolved to
Our paper-manufacture takes into it several mean materials which could be put to no other use, and affords work for several hands in the collection of them which are incapable of any other employment. Those poor retailers, whom we see so busy in every street, deliver in their respective gleanings to the merchant. The merchant carries them in loads to the paper-mill, where they pass through a fresh set of hands, and give life to another trade. Those who have mills on their estate, by this means considerably raise their rents, and the whole nation is in a great measure supplied with a manufacture for which formerly she was obliged to her neighbours.
trace in my mind a bundle of rags to a quire of Spectators, I find so many hands employed in every step they take through their whole progress, that while I am writing a Spectator, I fancy myself providing bread for a multitude.
If I do not take care to obviate some of my witty readers, they will be apt to tell me, that my paper, after it is thus printed and published, is still beneficial to the public on several occasions. I must confess I have lighted my pipe with my own works for this twelvemonth past. My landlady often sends up her little daughter to desire some of my old Spectators, and has frequently told me, that the paper they are printed on is the best in the world to wrap spices in. They likewise made a good foundation for a mutton pie, as I have more than once experienced, and were very much sought for last Christmas by the whole neighbourhood.
which has passed through the hands of one of the most accurate, learned, and judicious writers this age has produced. The beauty of the paper, of the character, and of the several cuts with which this noble work is illustrated, makes it the finest book that I have ever seen; and is a true instance of the English genius, which, though it does not come the first into any art, generally carries it to greater heights than any other country in the world. I am particularly glad that this author comes from a British printing-house in so great a magnificence, as he is the first who has given us any tolerable account of our country.
My illiterate readers, if any such there are, will be surprised to hear me talk of learning as the glory of a nation, and of printing as an art that gains a reputation to a people among whom it flourishes. When men's thoughts are taken up with avarice and ambition, they cannot look upon any thing as great or valuable which does not bring with it an extraordinary power or interest to the person who is concerned in it. But as I shall never sink this paper so far as to engage with Goths and Vandals, I shall only regard such kind of reasoners with that pity which is due to so deplorable a degree of stupidity and ignorance.
It is pleasant enough to consider the changes that a linen fragment undergoes by passing through the several hands above mentioned. The finest pieces of Holland, when worn to tatters, assume a new whiteness more beautiful than the first, and often return in the shape of letters to their native country. A lady's shift may be metamorphosed into billets-doux, and come into her possession a second time. A beau may peruse his cravat after it is worn out, with greater pleasure and advantage than ever he did in a glass. In a word, a piece of cloth, after having officiated for some years as a towel or a napkin, may by this means be raised from a dunghill, and become the most valuable piece of furni- No. 368.] Friday, May 2, 1712. ture in a prince's cabinet.
Lugere ubi esset aliquis in lucem editus,
Eurip. apud Tull.
When first an infant draws the vital air,
The politest nations of Europe have endeavoured to vie with one another for the reputation of the finest printing. Absolute governments, as well as republics, have encouraged an art which seems to be the noblest and most beneficial that ever was invented among the sons of men. The present king of France, in his pursuits after glory, has particularly distinguished himself by the promoting of this useful art, insomuch that several books have been printed in the Louvre at his own expense, upon which he sets so great a value that he considers them as the noblest presents he can make to foreign princes and ambassadors. If we look into the commonwealths of Holland and Venice, we shall find that in this particular they have made themselves the envy of the 'Paris, April 18, 1712. greatest monarchies. Elzevir and Aldus are 'SIR,-It is so many years since you left more frequently mentioned than any pen-your native country, that I am to tell you sioner of the one or doge of the other.
of news from the natural world, as others As the Spectator is, in a kind, a paper kind, I shall translate the following letter, are from the busy and politic part of manwritten to an eminent French gentleman in this town from Paris, which gives us the exit of a heroine who is a pattern of patience and generosity.
the characters of your nearest relations as The several presses which are now in much as if you were an utter stranger to England, and the great encouragement them. The occasion of this is to give you which has been given to learning for some an account of the death of Madam de Vilyears last past, has made our own nation lacerfe, whose departure out of this life I as glorious upon this account as for its late know not whether a man of your philotriumphs and conquests. The new edition sophy will call unfortunate or not, since it which is given us of Cæsar's Commenta- was attended with some circumstances as ries has already been taken notice of in much to be desired as to be lamented. She foreign gazettes, and is a work that does was her whole life happy in an uninterhonour to the English press. It is no won-rupted health, and was always honoured der that an edition should be very correct
*A most magnificent edition of Caesar's Commentaries published about this time, by Dr. Samuel Clarke.
for an evenness of temper and greatness of mind. On the 10th instant that lady was taken with an indisposition which confined her to her chamber, but was such as was
too slight to make her take a sick bed, and yet too grievous to admit of any satisfaction in being out of it. It is notoriously known, that some years ago Monsieur Festeau, one of the most considerable surgeons in Paris, was desperately in love with this lady. Her quality placed her above any application to her on the account of his passion: but as a woman always has some regard to the person whom she believes to be her real admirer, she now took it into her head (upon advice of her physicians to lose some of her blood) to send for Monsieur Festeau on that occasion. I happened to be there at that time, and my near relation gave me the privilege to be present. As soon as her arm was stripped bare, and he began to press it, in order to raise the vein, his colour changed, and I observed him seized with a sudden tremor, which made me take the liberty to speak of it to my cousin with some apprehension. She smiled, and said, she knew M. Festeau had no inclination to do her injury. He seemed to recover himself, and, smiling also, proceeded in his work. Immediately after the operation, he cried out, that he was the most unfortunate of all men, for that he had opened an artery instead of a vein. It is as impossible to express the artist's distraction as the patient's composure. I will not dwell on little circumstances, but go on to inform you, that within three days' time it was thought necessary to take off her arm. She was so far from using Festeau as it would be natural for one of a lower spirit to treat him, that she would not let him be absent from any consultation about her present condition; and, after having been about a quarter of an hour alone, she bid the surgeons, of whom poor Festeau was one, go on in their work. I know not how to give you the terms of art, but there appeared such symptoms after the amputation of her arm, that it was visible she could not live four-and-twenty hours. Her behaviour was so magnanimous throughout the whole affair, that I was particularly curious in taking notice of what past as her fate approached nearer and nearer, and took notes of what she said to all about her, particularly word for word what she spoke to M. Festeau, which was as follows:
"Sir, you give me inexpressible sorrow for the anguish with which I see you overwhelmed. I am removed to all intents and purposes from the interests of human life, therefore I am to begin to think like one wholly unconcerned in it. I do not consider you as one by whose error I have lost my life; no, you are my benefactor, as you have hastened my entrance into a happy immortality. This is my sense of this accident: but the world in which you live may have thoughts of it to your disadvantage: I have therefore taken care to provide for you in my will, and have placed you above what you have to fear from their ill-nature.'
'While this excellent woman spoke these words, Festeau looked as if he received a condemnation to die, instead of a pension for his life. Madame de Villacerfe lived till eight of the clock the next night; and though she must have laboured under the most exquisite torments, she possessed her mind with so wonderful a patience, that one may rather say she ceased to breathe, than she died at that hour. You, who had not the happiness to be personally known to this lady, have nothing but to rejoice in the honour you had of being related to so great merit; but we, who have lost her conversation, cannot so easily resign our own happiness by reflection upon hers. I am, sir, your affectionate kinsman, and most obedient humble servant,
There hardly can be a greater instance of a heroic mind than the unprejudiced manner in which this lady weighed this misfortune. The regard of life could not make her overlook the contrition of the unhappy man, whose more than ordinary concern for her was all his guilt. It would certainly be of singular use to human society to have an exact account of this lady's ordinary conduct, which was crowned by so uncommon magnanimity. Such greatness. was not to be acquired in the last article; nor is it to be doubted but it was a constant practice of all that is praiseworthy, which made her capable of beholding death, not as the dissolution, but consummation of her life.
No. 369.] Saturday, May 3, 1712.
Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures, Quam quæ sunt oculis subjecta fidelibus.
Hor. Ars Poet. v. 180. What we hear moves less than what we see. Roscommon.
MILTON, after having represented in vision the history of mankind to the first great period of nature, despatches the remaining part of it in narration. He has devised a very handsome reason for the angel's proceeding with Adam after this manner; though doubtless the true reason was the difficulty which the poet would have found to have shadowed out so mixed and complicated a story in visible objects. I could wish, however, that the author had done it, whatever pains it might have cost him. To give my opinion freely, I think that the exhibiting part of the history of mankind in vision, and part in narrative, is as if a history-painter should put in colours one half of his subject, and write down the remaining part of it. If Milton's poem flags any where, it is in this narration, where in some places the author has been so attentive to his divinity that he has neglected his poetry. The narration, however, rises very happily on several occa
sions, where the subject is capable of The poet has very finely represented the poetical ornaments, as particularly in the joy and gladness of heart which arises in confusion which he describes among the Adam upon his discovery of the Messiah. builders of Babel, and in his short sketch As he sees his day at a distance through of the plagues of Egypt. The storm of types and shadows, he rejoices in it; but hail and fire, with the darkness that over- when he finds the redemption of man comspread the land for three days, are depleted, and Paradise again renewed, he scribed with great strength. The beautiful passage which follows is raised upon noble hints in Scripture:
-Thus with ten wounds
The river dragon tam'd, at length submits
breaks forth in rapture and transport:
'O goodness infinite! goodness immense!
I have hinted in my sixth paper on Milton, that a heroic poem, according to the opinion of the best critics, ought to end happily, and leave the mind of the reader, after having conducted it through many doubts and fears, sorrows and disquietudes, in a state of tranquillity and satisfaction. Milton's fable, which had so many other qualifications to recommend it, was deficient in this particular. It is here therefore that the poet has shown a most exquisite judgment, as well as the finest invention, by finding out a method to supply this natural defect in his subject. Accordingly he leaves the adversary of mankind, in the last view which he gives of him, under the lowest state of mortification and disappointment. We see him chewing ashes, gro
The river dragon is an allusion to the crocodile, which inhabits the Nile, from whence Egypt derives her plenty. This allusion is taken from that sublime passage in Ezekiel: Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I am against thee, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.' Milton has given us another very noble and poetical image in the same de-velling in the dust, and loaden with superscription, which is copied almost word for word out of the history of Moses!
All night he will pursue, but his approach
As the principal design of this episode was to give Adam an idea of the holy person who was to reinstate human nature in that happiness and perfection from which it had fallen, the poet confines himself to the line of Abraham, from whence the Messiah was to descend. The angel is described as seeing the patriarch actually travelling towards the land of promise, which gives a particular liveliness to this part of the narration:
'I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith He leaves his gods, his friends, his native soil, Ur of Chaldea, passing now the ford
To Haran; after him a cumbrous train Of herds, and flocks, and num'rous servitude; Not wand'ring poor, but trusting all his wealth With God, who call'd him in a land unknown. Canaan he now attains: I see his tents Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain Of Morch; there by promise he receives Gift to his progeny of all that land; From Hamath northward to the desert south: (Things by their names I call, though yet unnam'd.)' As Virgil's vision in the sixth Eneid probably gave Milton the hint of this whole episode, the last line is a translation of that verse where Anchises mentions the names of places, which they were to bear hereafter:
Hæc tum nomina erunt, nunc sunt sine nomine terræ.
numerary pains and torments. On the contrary, our two first parents are comforted by dreams and visions, cheered with promises of salvation, and in a manner raised to a greater happiness_than_that which they had forfeited. In short, Satan is represented miserable in the height of his triumphs, and Adam triumphant in the height of misery.
Milton's poem ends very nobly. The last speeches of Adam and the archangel are full of moral and instructive sentiments. The sleep that fell upon Eve, and the effects it had in quieting the disorders of her mind, produces the same kind of consolation in the reader, who cannot peruse the last beautiful speech, which is ascribed to the mother of mankind, without a secret pleasure and satisfaction:
'Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know:
I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
The following lines, which conclude the poem, rise in a most glorious blaze of poetical images and expressions.
Heliodorus in the Ethiopics acquaints us, that the motion of the gods differs from that of mortals, as the former do not stir their feet, nor proceed step by step, but slide over the surface of the earth by an uniform swimming of the whole body. The
reader may observe with how poetical a
So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard
The author helped his invention in the
The scene which our first parents are surprised with, upon their looking back on Paradise, wonderfully strikes the reader's imagination, as nothing can be more natural than the tears they shed on that occasion:
They looking back, all th' eastern side beheld
The world was all before them, where to choose
They hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow
These two verses, though they have their beauty, fall very much below the foregoing passage, and renew in the mind of the reader that anguish which was pretty well laid by
The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide. The number of books in Paradise Lost is equal to those of the Æneid. Our author, in his first edition, had divided his poem into ten books, but afterwards broke the seventh and the eleventh each of them into two different books, by the help of some small additions. This second division was made with great judgment, as any one may see who will be at the pains of examining it. It was not done for the sake of such a chimerical beauty as that of resembling Virgil in this particular, but for the more just and regular disposition of this great work.
Those who have read Bossu, and many of the critics who have written since his time, will not pardon me if I do not find out the particular moral which is inculcated in Paradise Lost. Though I can by
no means think, with the last-mentioned French author, that an epic writer first of all pitches upon a certain moral, as the ground-work and foundation of his poem, and afterwards finds out a story to it; I am however of opinion, that no just heroic poem ever was or can be made, from whence one great moral may not, be deduced. That which reigns in Milton is the most universal and most useful that can be imagined. It is, in short, this, that obedience to the will of God makes men happy, and that disobedience makes them misera ble. This is visibly the moral of the prin cipal fable, which turns upon Adam and Eve, who continued in Paradise while they kept the command that was given them, and were driven out of it as soon as they had transgressed. This is likewise the moral of the principal episode, which shows us how an innumerable multitude of angels fell from their disobedience. Besides this great moral, which may be looked upon as the soul of the fable, there are an infinity of under-morals which are to be drawn from the several parts of the poem, and which make this work more useful and instructive than any other poem in any language.
Those who have criticised on the Odyssey, the Iliad, and Æneid, have taken a great deal of pains to fix the number of months and days contained in the action of each of these poems. If any one thinks it worth his while to examine this particular in Milton, he will find, that from Adam's first appearance in the fourth book, to his expulsion from Paradise in the twelfth, the author reckons ten days. As for that part of the action which is described in the three first books, as it does not pass within the regions of nature, I have before observed that it is not subject to any calculations of time.
work which does an honour to the English I have now finished my observations on a nation. I have taken a general view of it under these four heads-the fable, the characters, the sentiments, and the language, and made each of them the subject of a particular paper. I have in the next place spoke of the censures which our author may incur under each of these heads, which I have confined to two papers, though I might have enlarged the number if I had been disposed to dwell on so ungrateful a subject. I believe, however, that the severest reader will not find any little fault in heroic poetry, which this author has fallen into, that does not come under one of those heads among which I have distributed his several blemishes. After having thus treated at large of Paradise Lost, I could not think it sufficient to have celebrated this poem in the whole without descending to particulars. I have therefore bestowed a paper upon each book, and endeavoured not only to prove that the poem is beautiful in general, but to point out its particular beauties; and to deter