Page images
PDF
EPUB

this case,

I will speak it; because it ordinary prepossessions which stop is possible that turn of thought may the way to the true knowledge and be received by others, who may service of mankind, overlook the reap as much satisfaction from it as little distinctions of fortune, raise I do myself.

obscure merit, and discountenance It is to me a very great mean. successful indesert, has, in the ness, and something much below a minds of knowing men, the figure of philosopher, which is what I mean an angel rather than a man, and is by a gentleman, to rank a man above the rest of men in the highest among the vulgar for the condition character he can be, even that of of life he is in, and not according to their benefactor. his behaviour, his thoughts and sentiments, in that condition. For if a

The Pin. man be loaded with riches and ho. Dours, and in that state of life has The English, if we may judge thoughts and inclinations below the from their marriage contracts, are, meanest artificer, is not such an or at least were, the greatest conartificer who within his power is sumers of pins in the world. Nogood to his friends, moderate in thing is more usual than for a lady his demands for his labour, and of fashion to be allowed a thousand cheerful in his occupation, very pounds sterling a year for the single much superior to him who lives for article of pins. Historians relate, no other end but to serve himself, that in those days when pin-money and assumes a preference in all his was first introduced, the English lawords and actions to those who act dies consumed a vast number of pins their parts with much more grace to fasten their clothes In process of than himself ? Epictetus has made tiine, however, the consumption of use of the similitude of a stage-play pins has decreased, and in the exact to human life with much spirit. It proportion with the diminution of is not, says he, to be considered drapery. Now-a-days, God knows, among the actors, who is prince, or a husband will not be ruined by the who is beggar, but who acts prince expence of pins ! Indeed, I be. or beggar best. The circumstance lieve an élégante makes almost as of life should not be that which little use of a pin as of a needle ! gives us place, but our behaviour in But yet allow me to tell your that circumstance is what should be dames of fashion, for whom pins our solid distinction. Thus, a wise have become useless, that a pin in man should think no man above him place may sometimes be of importor below him any further than it re ance to the reputation of your gards the outward order or discipline charms! Little do you think how of the world: for if we take too great much even a beauty may be indebtan idea of the eminence of our supe- ed to a pin! Little do you consider riors, or subordination of our inferi- how many vows, how many adors, it will have an ill effect upon dresses, depend upon a single pin! our behaviour to both. He who Take out that solitary pin which, thinks po man above him but for his strange to tell, has found its way virtue, none below him but for his into your robe; take out that pin, vice, can never be obsequious or and the loves and desires, which assuming in a wrong place, but will hover round what it mysteriously frequently emulate men in rank be. conceals, disappear. The imagina. low him, and pity those above him. tion droops its wing; the illusion

This sense of mankind is so far vanishes; pleasure is disappointed, from a levelling principle, that it and flies in search of new deceptions. only sets us upon a true basis of Ah, madam ! learn to conceal with distinction, and doubles the merit of grace; and remember that your such as become their condition. A charms soon lose their power when man in power, who can, without the you display their utmost force: VOL, VIII, NO. XLVI.

5

Above all, know that there are some my hands; I outstripped every one pins which you should rarely un- in running; and I could grasp a fasten!

staff so firmly, that not any two of the strongest men could wrest it

from my hands. I was a very skilWe are incessantly told that we ful swimmer; and I knew how to must be born poets. Yes, in the dive for shell-fish to the bottom of same manner that we must be born the deepest creek or river." musicians, orators, or mechanics : that is, with the dispositions necessary to become such, which disposi. A curious Epistle from Augustus to tions must afterwards be unfolded

Horace. and brought to perfection by study and exercise.

Dyonysius brought me your little volume. I took it in good part, and

did not complain of its brevity. HowBishop Huet.

ever, you seem to be afraid lest your

scroll should be of a larger size than The good and ingenuous French your person : but your stature is so bishop, Huet, recollected in his old low, your bulk makes amends for it: age the loves and gallantries of his you might sit and write in a bushel. youth, with a mingled penitence Your packet was exactly like your and self-complacency, the expres- own belly, thick and short. sion of which is not unamusing :

“I went too much," says he, “into the gay company of men, and

Envy. much more into that of women; thinking that, to obtain a character Envy is a personage frequently for politeness, it was necessary to introduced by the poets, and we please the fair sex. I omitted have several descriptions of her, all none of those attentions by which it indeed formed on the same model, is supposed that their favour is te and copied from each other. The be won. I kept my person fresh first of these is in Ovid's Metamorand neat, wore fashionable clothes, phoses, book ii, where she is emwas indefatigable in my assiduities ploved like a Fury by Minerva, to towards those whom I admired, infect the mind of Aglauros. The often addressed them in amatory description is partly natural, partly verses, and whispered many a ten- emblematical." She is represented der thing in their ears.

as dwelling in a cave seated in a of love-verses which I then wrote cold dark valley. She is found is now universally read, and is not chewing the flesh of vipers, which over delicate.”

may be interpreted feeding on maHow admirably the character of lignant thoughts. Her gait is slugthe old Frenchman here breaks out! gish, her countenance pale, her body From an old officer this would have lean ; she looks askance; her breast been nothing surprising : being is suffused with gall, and her tongue from an aged bishop, it bespeaks in flows with poison. She never smiles, him a lightness of spirit not natu. but at mischief; she is sleepless rally allied to episcopal gravity. through anxiety ; she pines at the

The following is also an ungenu. view of prosperity, and suffers as ous display of French vanity by the much as she inflicts. This is little same worthy Huet :

more than the natural description of “ I was," says he,“ an indifferent an envious person, the bodily effects dancer indeed; bui then I exceeded of which corroding passion are alall my young companions in fencing most literally to envenom the juices, and riding : I could leap over any and causes a superabundance of height to which I was able to reach acrid gall. It is a stroke of nature,

One copy

human gore,

she goes

teo, when she is represented as sigh- Sucking black blood from thence, ing deeply at the view of Minerva's which, to repair, beauty and splendor, and scarcely Both day and night they left fresh forbearing to weep as she passes poisons there. over the flourishing and opulent city Her garments were deep-staind in of Athens. Her thorny staff allego. rically expresses the pains of mind And torn by her own hands, in which

she bore produced by enrious affections. The blight and desolation which fall on

A knotted whip, and bowl, that to the

brim the subjacent earth, over which she Did with green gall and juice of takes her flight, denote the baleful

wormwood swim.” effects of this passion.

Garth has bestowed a good deal “ She takes her staff, with thorny of labour upon a similar description wreaths begirt,

in his “ Dispensary,” but with little And, veil'd in murky clouds, where'er or no improvement on the establish

ed imagery. Beats down the ripening corn, the

verdant fields Withers, and every flowery summit

A Puff crops ; And, 'mid subjacent people, houses,

The following advertisement is towns, Breathes foul contagion.”

copied, verbatim et literatim, from one of the Philadelphia daily prints :

Nimrod Maxwell, proprietor of Her mode of infecting the unhap- the celebrated Sulphur Spring, in py Aglauros is by stroking her Adams county, Pennsylvania, takes breast with her envenomed hands, leave, on the approach of the season and enfixing her hooked thorns." There are two descriptions of medicinal water, to inform his for

for bathing and drinking this highly Envy in “ The Fairy Queen ;" both of them loathsome and disgusting, this and the neighbouring states,

mer friends, and the inhabitants of and, though manifestly imitated from that of Ovid, less distinct and who may be in quest of health or pleaconsistent as allegories. The only ad- them in both. His house is in all res.

sure, that he is prepared to gratify ditional circumstance worth re. marking is, that the garment of pects in an improved state, his rooms

freshly embellished and furnished Envy is painted full of eyes, an em

with the best beds, and his cellars blem, no doubt, of the sharp-sighted- replenished with a variety of the ness of envious persons in discern- choicest liquors. He promises a ing the faults of their neighbours. Cowley, in his “ Davideis,” gives lished by the best of cooks; and has

plentiful and luxuriant table, embel. a portrait of Envy, drawn with

been at the expense of sinking in much strength, and with some no

the solid rock, and replenishing velty :

with abundance of ice, a cave, for

the refreshment of his Spring Envy at last crawls forth from guests. He will have obliging wait

that dire throng, Of all the direfull’st ; her black lockscrs, and plenty of them, together

with music for the entertainment of hung long, Attird with curling serpents ; her such as delight in that exquisite

treat. The house on the south side pale skin Was almost dropt from the sharp of the bridge is occupied by Mr. bones within ;

Robert Long, who kept it formerly, And at her breast hung vipers, which and who has fitted it in the best

manner for the accommodation of Upon her panting heart, both night boarders. N. Maxwell, in this age and day;

of puffing, has chosen to content

did prey.

CENTO.

himself with this plain and modest was improved and finished by a po. notice, begging his readers to be- lite education, and by a familiar in. lieve that he means to perform even tercourse with the great. The symmore than he has promised. metry of his features was dignified June 17, 1807.

with a manly aspect ; and his eye

was animated with sentiment and This modest Nimrod, who, at the poetry. same time that he takes leave of his His elocution, like his verse, was friends, promises them, should they musical and flowing. In the senate, pay him a visit, such an exquisite indeed, it often assumed a vigorous sensual and intellectual treat, and and majestic tone, which, it must be who has thus contrived to combine owned, is not a leading characterispleasure with health, is certainly tic of his numbers. highly deserving of public patron He was so happily formed for soage. I would recommend his adver- ciety, that his company was sought tisement to the notice of all loun- for by those who detested his pringers and valetudinarians, and ear- ciples and his conduct. He must nestly exhort them to fly for a while have had very engaging qualities, the sickly vapours of the crowded who kept up an intimacy with peocity, and breathe the pure and bra- ple of two prejudiced and exaspecing air of the mountains, in the de. rated parties; and who had the lightful retreat offered them by the countenance of kings of very differworthy Mr. Maxwell.

ent tempers and characters. He was a favourite with the persons of either sex of the times in which he lived, who were most distinguished

for their rank and for their genius. For the Literary Magazine. The mention of a Morley, a St.

Evremond, a Dorset, a Clarendon, OF WALLER, and a Falkland, with whom he AS A MAN AND A POET. spent many of his social hours, ex

THE

cludes a formal eulogium on his From Stockdale's Life of IValler. companionable talents. Let it suf

fice, therefore, to observe, that his THE endowments of his mind conversation was chastised by powere recommended by the graces of liteness, enriched by learning, and his form. Mankind are so subject brightened by wit. to the fascination of externals, that The warmth of his fancy, and the the effects of the most elevated ge- gaiety of his disposition, were nius and virtue are greatly obstruct. strictly regulated by temperance ed by personal disadvantages. and decorum. Like most men of a Worth, covered by deformity, gains fine imagination, he was a devotee upon us but by slow approaches, and to the fair sex; but his gallantry was must not expect to be generally well not vitiated with debauchery; nor l'eceived, till the world is convinced were his hours of relaxation and of its reality by repeated experience. mirth prostituted to profaneness and But to him in whom nature hath infidelity. Irreligion and intempeunited amiable qualities and great ránce had not infected all ranks in talents with personal elegance, we Waller's time as they are now; but are immediately prepared to pay he had as much merit in avoiding homage. While the eye surveys, the contagion of a profligate court, the mind wishes to esteem and to with which he had such familiar inadmire.

tercourse, as we can ascribe to an Waller's person was handsome individual of the present age, who and graceful. That delicacy of soul mixes much with the world, and which produces instinctive proprie- yet continues proof against its licenty, gave him an easy manner, which tiousness. He rebuked the impi.

CHARACTER

ous wit of the libertine, even before sier to imitate than to invent. A a king who was destitute of religion voyage to the West-Indies, first atand principle; and who enjoyed a chieved by Columbus, and the cal. jest upon that sacred truth, which culations of Newton, are now often it was his duty to defend and to made by the modern mariner and maintain.

mathematician: but who refuses But his virtue was more theoretic admiration to the inventor of flucthan practical. It was of a delicate tions, and to the discoverer of and tender make; formed for the America ? quiet of the poetical shade, and the Ease, gallantry, and wit, are the ease of society; not hardy and con- principal constituents of his poetry ; firmed enough for a conflict with though he is frequently plaintive popular commotions. His beha. with tenderness, and serious with viour on his trial was hypocritical, dignity: but impartiality must acupmanly, and abject; yet the aların- knowledge, that his muse seldom ing occasion of it, on which but few reaches the sublime. She is chawould have acquitted themselves racterised by the softer graces, not with a determined fortitude, exte- by grandeur and majesty. It is her nuates it in some measure to candour province to draw sportive or eleand humanity ; though he who had giac notes from the lyre; not to effectually reduced the discipline of sound the trumpet and inflame the philosophy to practice, would ra- soul. ther have suffered death, than pur Hitherto we have remarked our chased life with the ignominy which author's beauties; we must now it cost Waller. But let us recol-. mention his faults. Undistinguishlect, that Providence is very rarely ed praise is as weak as it is unjust; lavish of its extraordinary gifts to it neither does credit to the encoone man. Let us not condemn him miast, nor to the person commended. with untempered severity, because Grammatical inaccuracies are not he was not a prodigy which the unfrequent in Waller. The literaworld hath seldom seen : because ry amusement of the gentleman was his character comprised not the not sufficiently tempered with the poet, the orator, and the hero. care and circumspection of the au

That he greatly improved our thor. He sometimes prefers a point language and versification, and that more brilliant than acute to a manly his works gave a new æra to English and forcible sentiment; and somepoetry, was allowed by his contem times violates the simplicity of naporaries: nor has it ever been dis ture for the conceit of antithesis. In puted by good critics. Dryden tells his fondness of simile he is apt to us he had heard Waller say, " that lose the merit of a good, by the adhe owed the harmony of his num dition of a bad one; in which he sabers to Fairfax's translation of the crifices truth and propriety to sound Godfrey of Buloigne.” Whoever and splendour. These faults, how. reads that translation, and com ever, we must, in a great measure, pares it with our author's poetry, impute to the rudeness of the age, will see in how rude a state English with which greater poets thanWaller verse was when Waller began to complied; partly from negligence or write, and what advantage it re the immediate influence of example, ceived from him. Perhaps more and partly from necessity. elegant language, and more harmo Waller's works will always hold nious numbers than his, would be a considerable rank in English poeexpected even from a middling poet try. His great abilities as a statesin this age of refinement : but such man and an orator are indisputable; a writer would be as much inferior and his moral character will be to Waller in absolute merit, as it viewed with lenity by those whose is more difficult to attain new, than minds are actuated by humanity, to copy past excellence, as it is ea- and who are properly acquainted

« PreviousContinue »