Page images
PDF
EPUB

will-whether in town or country in cart all bitterness to thee, whatever life is or under panniers--whether in liberty or to others. And now thy mouth, if bondage I have ever something civil one knew the truth of it, is as bitter, I to say to him on my part; and as one dare say, as foot (for he had cast aside word begets another (if he has as little to the stem) and thou hast not a friend perdo as 1)-I generally fall into conversa. haps in all this world, that will give thee tion with him; and surely never is my a macaroon.-- In saying this, I pulled imagination so busy as in framing his re- out a paper of them, which I had just pur. sporles from the etchings of his counte. chased, and gave him one and at this nance and where those carry me not deep moment that I am telling it, my heart enough- in flying from my own heart smites me, that there was more of pleainto his, and seeing what is natural for an fantry in the conceit, of seeing how an ass ass to think as well as a man, upon the would eat a macaroon -- than of beneoccasion. In truth, it is the only creature volence in giving him one, which presided of all the classes of heings below me, with in the act. whom I can do this : for parrots, jack- When the ass had eaten his macaroon, daws, &c.- never exchange a word I press’d him to come in the poor beast with them nor with the apes, &c. for was heavy loaded his legs seem'd to pretty near the same reason; they act by tremble under him-he hung rather backtote, as the others speak by it, ard equally wards, and, as I pulled at his halter, it make me filent: nay, my dog and my cat, broke hort in my hand he look'd up though I value them both (and for pensive in my face" Don't thrash me my dog, he would speak if he could) with it but if you will, you may." yet, somehow or other, they neither of If I do, said I, I'll be died. them posless the talents for conversation- The word was but one half of it pro. I can make nothing of a discourse with nounced, like the abbess of Andoüillet's them, beyond the propoiition, the reply, (so there was no fin in it)—when a person and rejoinder, which terminated my fa- coming in, let fall a thundering basinado ther's and my mother's conversations, in upon the poor devil's crupper, which pur bis beds of justice and those uttered an end to the ceremony. there's an end of the dialogue

Out upon it! But with an ass, I can commune for cried I - but the interjection was equi. ever.

vocal and, I think, wrong placed too Come, Honesty I said I seeing it was for the end of an osier, which had started impracticable to pass betwixt him and the out from the contexture of the ass's pangate--art thou for coming in, or going nier, had caught hold of my breeches out?

pocket as he rushed by me, and rent it in The ass cwisted his head round to look the most disastrous direction you can ima. up the street

ginem so that the Out upon it! in my opi. Well-replied I-we'll wait a minute nion, should have come in here. Sterne. for thy driver.

He turned his head thoughtful § 72. Players in a Country Town deabout, and looked wiltfully the opposite

fcribed. way

The players, you must know, finding I understand thee perfectly, answered I this a good town, had taken a lease the Lif thou takett a wrong step in this affair, last summer of an old synagogue deserted he will cudgel thee to death -Well! by the Jews; but the mayor, being a preso a minute is but a minute, and if it faves a byterian, refused to licence their exhibifeilow-creature a drubbing, it shall not be tions : however, when they were in the utset down as ill (peni.

most despair, the ladies of the place joined He was eating the stem of an artichoke in a petition to Mrs. Mayoress, who pre. as this discourse went on, and in the little vailed on her husband to wink at their peevith contentions of nature betwixt hun- performances. The company immediately ger and unfavouriness, had drope it out of opened their synagogue theatre with the his mouth half a dozen times, and pick'd Merchant of Venice; and finding a quick it up again God help thee, Jack! said doctor's zany, a dro!l fellow, they decoyed I, thou hast a bitter breakfast on'-and him into cheir service; and he has since many a bitter day's labour and many a performed the part of the Mock Doctor bitter blow, I fear, for its wages'tis all with universal applause. Upon his revolt

the doctor himself found it absolutely ne. eager lover talk of rushing into his miro eessary to enter of the company; and, hav- tress's arms, rioting on the nectar of her ing a talent for tragedy, has performed lips, and defiring (in the tragedy rap with great success the Apothecary in Ro- cure) to “ hug her thus, and thus, for meo and Juliet.

ever ;” though he always took care to The performers at our rustic theatre are stand at a moit ceremonious distance. But far beyond those paltry strollers, who run I was afterwards very much diverted at about the country, and exhibit in a barn the cause of this extraordinary respect, or a cow-houfe: for (as their bills declare) when I was told that the lady laboured they are a company of Comedians from under the misfortune of an ulcer in her the Theatre Royal; and I assure you they leg, which occasioned such a disagreeable are as much applauded by our country stench, that the performers were obliged critics, as any of your capital actors. The to keep her at arms length. The entershops of our tradesmen have been almost tainment was Lethe; and the part of the deserted, and a croud of weavers and hard. Frenchman was performed by a South waremen have elbowed each other two Briton; who, as he could not pronounce a hours before the opening of the doors, word of the French language, supplied its when the bills have informed us, in enor. place by gabbling in his native Welsh. mous red letters, that the part of George. The decorations, or (in the theatrical Barnwell was to be performed by Mr, dialect) the property of our company, are

, at the particular defire of several as extraordinary as the performers. 0ladies of distinction. 'Tis true, indeed, thello raves about in a checked handkerthat our principal actors have most of them chief; the ghost in Hainlet stalks in a polhad their education at Covent-garden ortilion's leathern-jacket for a coat of mail; Drury-lane; but they have been employed and Cupid enters with a fiddle.case llung in the business of the drama in a degree over his shoulders for a quiver. The apobut just above a scene-fifter. An heroine, thecary of the town is free of the house, to whom your managers in town (in envy for lending them a pestle and mortar to to her rifing merit) scarce allotted the serve as the bell in Venice Preserved: and humble part of a confidante, now blubbers a barber-surgeon has the same privilege, out Andromache or Belvidera; the atten- for furnishing them with basons of blood dants on a monarch strut monarchs them to besmear the daggers in Macbeth. Macselves, mutes find their voices, and mef- beth himself carries a rolling-pin in his fage-bearers rise into heroes. The humour hand for a truncheon; and, as the breakof our best comedian consists in shrugs and ing of glasses would be very expensive, he grimaces; he jokes in a wry mouth, and dalhes down a pewter pint-pot at the fight repartees in a grin: in fhort, he practises of Banquo's ghost. on Congreve and Vanbrugh all those dif- A fray happened here the other night, tortions which gained him so much ap- which was no small diversion to the audiplause from the galleries, in the drubs ence. It seems there had been a great which he was obliged to undergo in pan- conteft between two of those mimic heroes, tomimes. I was vaftly diverted at seeing which was the fittest to play Richard the a fellow in the character of Sir Harry Third. One of them was reckoned to have Wildair, whose chief action was a conti- the better person, as he was very roundnual pressing together of the thumb and shouldered, and one of his legs was shorter fore-finger, which, had he lifted them to than the other; but his antagonift carried his nose, I should have thought he design the part, because he started beft in the tent ed as an imitation of taking snuff: but [ scene. However, when the curtain drew could easily account for the cause of this up, they both rushed in upon the stage at single gesture, when I discovered that Sir once; and, bawling out together, “ Now Harry was no less a person than the dex- are our brows bound with victorious terous Mr. Clippit, the candle-snuffer. wreaths,” they both went through the

You would laugh to see how (trangely whole speech without stopping the parts of a play are cast. They played

Connoiffeur. Cato: and their Marcia was such an old woman, that when Juba came on with 9 73• Fagersg". hi: Hail! charming maid !”.

another. the fellow could not help laughing, An. The French have diftinguished the arother night I was surprized to hear an tifices made use of on the stage to deceive

the the audience, by the expression of Jeu de bias on the opposite side, and to preserve, Theatre, which we may translate, “the jag. in all their behaviour, the appearance of gle of the theatre.” When these little arts sentiments contrary to those which they are exercised merely to affift nature, and set naturally incline to. Thus, as we are naher off to the best advantage, none can be turally proud and selfish, and apt to assume so critically nice as to object to them; but the preference above others, a polite man when tragedy by these means is lifted into is taught to behave with deference towards rant, and comedy distorted into buffoonry; those with whom he converses, and to yield though the deceit may succeed with the up the superiority to them in all the commultitude, men of sense will always be of. mon incidents of society. In like manner, fended at it. This conduct, whether of wherever a person's fituation may natural. the poet or the player, resembles in some ly beget any disagreeable suspicion in him, fort the poor contrivance of the ancients, 'tis the part of good-manners to prevent it, who mounted their heroes upon ftilts, and by a studied display of sentiments directly expressed the manners of their characters contrary to those of which he is apt to be by the grotesque figures of their masks. jealous. Thus old men know their infir

Ibid. mities, and naturally dread contempt from $74. True Pleafure defined.

youth: hence, well educated youth re

double their instances of respect and deWe are affected with delightful sensa. tions, when we see the inanimate parts of

ference to their elders. Strangers and the creation, the meadows, Aowers, and

foreigners are without protection : hence,

in all polite countries, they receive the trees, in a flourishing state. There must be some rooted melancholy at the heart,

highest civilities, and are entitled to the when all nature appears smiling about us,

first place in every company. A man is

lord in his own family, and his guests are, to hinder us from corresponding with the rest of the creation, and joining in the

in a manner, subject to his authority: hence,

he is always the lowest person in the com universal chorus of joy. But if meadows

pany; attentive to the wants of every one; and trees in their chearful verdure, if

and giving himself all the trouble, in order flowers in their bloom, and all the vege

to please, which may not betray too visible table parts of the creation in their most

an affeEtation, or impose too much conadvantageous dress, can inspire gladness

straint on his guests. Gallantry is nothing into the heart, and drive away all sadness but despair; to see the rational creation

but an instance of the fame generous and

refined attention. As nature has given happy and flourishing, ought to give us a pleasure as much superior, as the latter is

man the superiority above woman, by en

dowing him with greater strength both of to the former in the scale of beings. But the pleasure is still heightened, if we our

mind and body, 'tis his part to alleviate

that superiority, as much as poflible, by the selves have been instrumental in contributing to the happiness of our fellow.creatures,

generosity of his behaviour, and by a studied

deference and complaisance for all her inif we have helped to raise a heart drooping beneath the weight of grief, and re

clinations and opinions. Barbarous nations vived that barren and dry land, where no

display this superiority, by reducing their water was, with refreshing Thowers of love

females to the most abjeet lavery; by conand kindness.

Seed's Sermons.

ve fining them, by beating them, by felling

them, by killing them. But the male sex, $ 75. How Politeness is manifested. among a polite people, discover their au

To correct such gross vices as lead us to thority in a more generous, though not a commit a real injury to others, is the part left evident, manner; by civility, by reof morals, and the object of the most ordi- fpect, by complaisance, and, in a word, by nary education. Where that is not attend. gallantry. In good company, you need ed to, in some degree, no human society not ask, who is master of the feast? The can sublit. But in order to render conver- man who fits in the lowest place, and who sation and the intercourse of minds more is always industrious in helping every one, easy and agreeable, good-manners have is most certainly the person. We must eibeen invented, and have carried the matter ther condemn all such instances of generosomewhat farther. Wherever nature has fity, as foppish and affected, or admit of given the mind a propensity to any vice, or gallantry among the rest. The ancient to any paflion disagreeable to others, re. Muscovites wedded their wives with a whip fined breeding has taught men to throw the instead of a wedding ring. The same people, in their own houses, took always pinnacles of the palace. Sometimes I wan. the precedency above foreigners, even fo- dered along the mazes of the rivulet, and reign ambassadors. These two instances sometimes watched the changes of the of their generosity and politeness are much summer clouds. To a poet nothing can of a-piece.

3 L 2

ple,

Hume's Efays. be useless. Whatever is beautiful, and

whatever is dreadful, must be familiar to $76. The Business and Qualifications of a

alications To his imagination : he must be conversant Poet described.

with all that is awfully vast or elegantly • Wherever I went, I found that poetry little. The plants of the garden, the ani. was considered as the highest learning, and mals of the wood, the minerals of the earth, regarded with a veneration somewhat ap- and meteors of the sky, must all concerto proaching to that which man would pay to store his mind with inexhaustible variety: the angelic nature. And it yet fills me for every idea is useful for the enforcewith'wonder, that, in almost all countries, ment or decoration of moral or religious the most ancient poets are considered as truth: and he who knows most will have the best: whether it be that every other most power of diversifying his scenes, and kind of knowledge is an acquisition gra- of gratifying his reader with remote allu. dually attained, and poetry is a gift con- fions and unexpected instruction ferred at once; or that the first poetry of “ All the appearances of nature I was every nation surprised them as a novelty, therefore careful to study, and every counand retained the credit by consent which try which I have surveyed has contributed it received by accident at first: or when something to my poetical powers.ther, as the province of poetry is to de. «In so wide a survey,” said the prince, scribe nature and passion, which are always " you must surely have left much unobthe same, the first writers took poslession of served. I have lived, till now, within the the most striking objects for description, circuit of these mountains, and yet cannot and the most probable occurrences for fic- walk abroad without the fight of some. tion, and left nothing to those that follow thing which I never, beheld before,' or ed them, but transcriptions of the same never heeded.” events and new combinations of the same - The business of a poet," said Imlac, images. Whatever be the reason, it is « is to examine, not the individual, but the commonly observed, that the early writers fpecies, to remark general properties and are in poffeffion of nature, and their follow. large appearances : he does not number ers of art: that the first excel in strength the streaks of the tulip, or describe the dif. and invention, and the latter in elegance ferent shades in the verdure of the forest. and refinement.

He is to exhibit in his portraits of nature “I was desirous to add my name to this : such prominent and striking features, 'as reillustrious fraternity. I read all the poets cal the original to every mind; and must of Persia and Arabia, and was able to re- neglect the minuter discriminations, which peat by memory the volumes that are suf- one may have remarked, and another have pended in the mosque of Mecca. But I soon neglected, for those characteristics which found that no man was ever great by imi.. are alike obvious to vigilance and care. tation. My desire of excellence impelled lessness. me to transfer my attention to nature and « But the knowledge of nature is only to life.' Nature was to be my subject, and half the task of a poet: he must be acmen to be my auditors: I could never de. quainted likewise with all the modes of life. scribe what I had not seen: I could not His character requires that he estimate the hope to move those with delight or terror, happiness and misery of every condition, whose interests and opinions I did not un observe the power of all the passions in all derstand.

their combinations, and trace the changes “ Being now resolved to be a poet, I of the human mind as they are modified by faw every thing with a new purpose; my various institutions, and accidental in. sphere of attention was suddenly magnifi- fluences of climate or custom, from the ed: no kind of knowledge was to be over- sprightliness of infancy to the despondence looked. I ranged mountains and deserts of decrepitude. He must diveft himself of for images and resemblances, and pictured the prejudices of his age or country; he upon my mind every tree of the forest and must consider right and wrong in their abflower of the valley. I observed with stract and invariable state ; he must disreequal care the crags of the rock, and the gard present laws and opinions, and rise to

general

general and transcendental truths, which T hus I might safely confine myself to will always be the same: he mult there- my native country ; but if I would only fore content himself with the flow pro- cross the seas, I might find in France a liva gress of his name ; contemn the applause ing Horace and a Juvenal, in the person of his own time, and commit his claims to of the admirable Boileau, whose numbers the justice of posterity. He must write as are excellent, whose expressions are noble, the interpreter of nature, and the legislator whose thoughts are juft, whose language is of mankind, and consider himself as pre. pure, whose fatire is pointed, and whose liding over the thoughts and manners of sense is close. What he borrows from the future generations, as a being superior to ancients, he repays with usury of his own, time and place.

in coin as good, and almost as universally His labour is not yet at an end: he valuable; for, setting prejudice and partiamust know many languages and manylity apart, though he is our enemy, the sciences; and, that his Ityle may be wor- ftamp of a Louis, the patron of arts, is not thy of his thoughts, must, by incessant prac. much inferior to the medal of an Augustus tice, familiarize to himself every delicacy Cæsar. Let this be said without entering of speech and grace of harmony.”

into the interests of factions and parties, Johnson's Rafelas. and relating only the bounty of that king

to men of learning and merit: a praise lo $77. Remarks on some of the best Poets, just, that even we, who are his enemies, both anciert and modern.

cannot refuse it to him. 'Tis manifeft, that some particular ages Now, if it may be permitted me to go have been more happy than others, in the back again to the confideration of epic production of great men, and all sorts of poetry, I have confessed that no man. hiarts and sciences; as that of Euripides. therto has reached, or so much as approachSophocles, Ariftophanes, and the relt, for ed to the excellencies of Homer or Virgil; Itage poetry, among the Greeks; that of I must farther add, that Statius, the beft Auguftus for heroic, lyric, dramatic, ele- versificator next Virgil, knew not how to giac, and indeed all forts of poetry, in the defign after him, though he had the model persons of Virgil, Horace. Varius, Ovid, in his eyes; that Lucan is wanting both ir and many others; especially if we take design and subject, and is besides too full into that century the latter end of the of heat and affection; that among the mocommonwealth, wherein we find Varro, derns, Ariosto neither designed juftly, nor Lucretius, and Catullus : and at the same observed any unity of action, or compass of time lived Cicero, Sallust, and Cæsar. A time or moderation in the vastness of his famous age in modern times, for learning draught: his style is luxurious, without in every kind, was that of Lorenzo de Me- majeity or decency; and his adveuturers dici, and his son Leo X. wherein painting without the compass of pature and possibiwas revived, poetry Fourished, and the lity. Tasio, whose design was regular, Greek language was restored.

and who observed the rules of unity in time Examples in all these are obvious: but and place more closely than Virgil, yet was what I would infer is this, That in such an not lo happy in his action: he confesses age, 'tis poflible some great genius may himself to have been too lyrical, that is, 10 arise to equal any of the ancients, abating have written beneath the dignity of hero c only for the language ; for great contem- verse, in his episodes of Sophronia, Erini. poraries whet and cultivate each other; nia, and Armida; his story is not so pleasing and mutual borrowing and commerce, as Ariosto's; he is too flatulent sometimes, makes the common riches of learning, as and sometimes too dry; many times unit does of civil government.

equal, and almost always forced ; and beBut suppose that Homer and Virgil were fides, is full of conceptions, points of epith, only poets of their species, and chat na- gram, and witticisms; all which are not only ture was so much worn out in producing below the dignity of heroic verse, but conthem, that she is never able to bear the like trary to its nature. Virgil and Homer again; yet the example only holds in he have not one of them : and those who are roic poetry. In tragedy and satire, I offer guilty of ro boyish an ambition in so grave myself to maintain, against some of our a subject, are so far from being considered modern critics, that this age and the last, as heroic poets, that they ought to be turnparticularly in England, have excelled the ed down from Homer to Anthologia, from ancients in both these kinds.

Virgil to Martial and Owen's epigrams, 3 L 3

and

« PreviousContinue »