« PreviousContinue »
or the circumstantial forms of some of his institutions. A humble sense of our own weakness, and of the many imperfections of our character, which will never be more deeply felt than when we consider ourselves as standing before our Divine Master, will dispose us to mutual candour, will guard us against the indecency of contending in his presence, and will, as St. Paul, with admirable spirit, expresses it, dispose us to receive one another, as Christ hath received us. Yea, our hearts will be so eagerly desirous of employing our life in serving him to the best purpose we can, that we shall dread the thought of mis-spending, in our mutual animosities, accusations, and complaints, the time that was given us for ends so much nobler, and which is capable of being employed to the honour of our common Lord, and for the benefit of the Church and the World.
72.-SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.-III. ADDISON, after a long interval in the production of his papers on the worthy knight whom he had adopted for his own, brings him to London. His character will now be brought out under new aspects. The following passages are from the Spectator,' No. 269.
“I was this morning surprised with a great knocking at the door, when my landlady's daughter came up to me, and told me that there was a man below desired to speak with me. Upon my asking her who it was, she told me it was a very grave elderly person, but that she did not know his name. I immediately went down to him, and found him to be the coachman of my worthy friend Sir Roger de Coverley. He told me that his master came-to town last night, and would be glad to take a turn with me in Gray's Inn walks. As I was wondering with myself what had brought Sir Roger to town, not having lately received any letter from him, he told me that his master was come up to get a sight of Prince Eugene, and that he desired I would immediately meet him.
"I was not a little pleased with the curiosity of the old knight, though I did not much wonder at it, having heard him say more than once in private discourse, that he looked upon Prince Eugenio (for so the knight calls him) to be a greater man than Scanderbeg.
"I was no sooner come into Gray's Inn walks, but I heard my friend hemming twice or thrice to himself with great vigour, for he loves to clear his pipes in good air (to make use of his own phrase), and is not a little pleased with any one who takes notice of the strength which he still exerts in his morning hems.
“I was touched with a secret joy at the sight of the good old man, who, before he saw me, was engaged in conversation with a beggarman that had asked an alms of him. I could hear my friend ebide him for not finding out some work; but at the same time saw him put his hand in his pocket and give him sixpence.
“Our salutations were very hearty on both sides, consisting of many kind shakes of the hand, and several affectionate looks which we cast upon one another. After which the knight told me my good friend his chaplain was very well, and much at my service, and that the Sunday before he had made a most incomparable sermon out of Dr. Barrow. "I have left,' says he, all my affairs in his hands, and being willing to lay an obligation upon him, have deposited with him thirty marks, to be distributed among his poor parishioners.'
“ He then proceeded to acquaint me with the welfare of Will Wimble. Upon which he put his hand into his fob, and presented me, in his name, with a tobacco-stopper, telling me that Will had been busy all the beginning of the winter in turning great quantities of them; and that he made a present of one to every gentleman in the country who has good principles and smokes. He added, that poor Will was at present under great tribulation, for that Tom Touchy had taken the law of him for cutting some hazel-sticks out of one of his hedges.
“Among other pieces of news which the knight brought from his country-seat, he informed me that Moll White was dead, and that about a month after her death the wind was so very high that it blew down the end of one of his barns. “But for my own part,' says Sir Roger, I do not think that the old woman had any hand it.'
“ He afterwards fell into an account of the diversions which had passed in his house during the holidays; for Sir Roger, after the laudable custom of his ancestors, always keeps open house at Christmas.
“I learned from him that he had killed eight fat hogs for this season; that he had dealt about his chines very liberally amongst his neighbours, and that in particular he had sent a string of hogs'-puddings, with a pack of cards, to every poor family in the parish. 'I have often thought,' says Sir Roger, 'it happens very well that Christ
mas should fall out in the middle of winter. It is the most dead uncomfortable time of the year, when the poor people would suffer very much from their poverty and cold, if they had not good cheer, warm fires, and Christmas gambols to support them. I love to rejoice their poor hearts at this season, and to see the whole village merry in my great hall. I allow a double quantity of malt to my small-beer, and set it a running for twelve days to every one that calls for it. I have always a piece of cold beef and a mince-pie upon the table, and am wonderfully pleased to see my tenants pass away a whole evening in playing their innocent tricks, and smutting one another. Our friend Will Wimble is as merry as any of them, and shows a thousand roguish tricks upon these occasions.'....
“Having passed away the greatest part of the morning in hearing the knight's reflections, which were partly private and partly political, he asked me if I would smoke a pipe with him over a dish of coffee at Squires's. As I love the old man, I take delight in complying with every thing that is agreeable to him, and accordingly waited on him to the coffee-house, where his venerable figure drew upon us the eyes of the whole room. He had no sooner seated himself at the upper end of the high table, but he called for a clean pipe, a paper of tobacco, a dish of coffee, a wax-candle, and the “Supplement,' with such an air of cheerfulness and good humour, that all the boys in the coffee-room (who seemed to take pleasure in serving him) were at once employed on his several errands, insomuch that nobody else could come at a dish of tea until the knight had got all his conveniences about him."
When Addison has got Sir Roger fairly in London, he will not trust him to inferior hands. The Spectator,' No. 329, is a genuine morsel of quiet humour. The idea of the good old country squire displaying his historical knowledge, upon the strength of Baker's Chronicle, is highly amusing. Nothing can be happier than his wonder that he did not find the history of the wax-work maid of honour in the State Annals of Queen Elizabeth.
“My friend Sir Roger de Coverley told me t'other night, that he had been reading my paper upon Westminster Abbey, in which, says he, there are a great many ingenious fancies. He told me at the same time, that he observed I had promised another paper upon the tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read history. I could not imagine at first how this came into the knight's head, till I recollected that he had been busy all last summer upon · Baker's Chronicle,' which he has quoted several times in his disputes with Sir Andrew Freeport since his last coming to town. Accordingly I promised to call upon him the next morning, that we might go together to the abbey... As we went up the body of the church, the knight pointed at the trophies upon one of the new monuments, and cried out, “A brave man, I warrant him !! Passing afterward by Sir Cloudesley Shovel, he fung his hand that way, and cried, “Sir Cloudesley Shovel! a very gallant man. As we stood before Busby's tomb, the knight uttered himself again after the same manner: ‘Dr. Busby! a great man! he whipped my grandfather; a very great man! I should have gone to him myself, if I had not been a blockhead : a very great man!'
“We were immediately conducted into the little chapel on the right hand. Sir Roger, planting himself at our historian's elbow, was very attentive to every thing he said, particularly to the account he gave us of the lord who had cut off the King of Morocco's head. Among several other figures, he was very well pleased to see the statesman Cecil upon his knees; and concluding them all to be great men, was conducted to the figure which represents that martyr to good housewifery who died by the prick of a needle. Upon our interpreter's telling us that she was maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, the knight was very inquisitive into her name and family; and after having regarded her finger for some time, 'I wonder,' says he, that Sir Richard Baker has said nothing of her in his Chronicle.'
“We were then conveyed to the two coronation chairs, where my old friend, after having heard that the stone under the most ancient of them, which was brought from Scotland, was called Jacob's pillar, sat himself down in the chair, and, looking like the figure of an old Gothic king, asked our interpreter what authority they had to say that Jacob had ever been in Scotland. The fellow, instead of returning him an answer, told him, that he hoped his honour would pay his forfeit. I could observe Sir. Roger a little ruffled upon being thus trepanned; but our guide not insisting upon his demand, the knight soon recovered his good humour, and whispered in my ear, that if Will Wimble were with us, and saw those chairs, it would go hard but he would get a tobacco-stopper out of one or t'other of them.
“ Sir Roger in the next place laid his hand upon Edward III.'s sword, and, leaning upon the pommel of it, gave us the whole history of the Black Prince, concluding that in Sir Richard Baker's opinion Edward III. was one of the greatest princes that ever sat upon the English throne.
“We were then shown Edward the Confessor's tomb; upon which Sir Roger acquainted us that he was the first who touched for the evil: and afterward Henry IV.'s, upon which he shook his head, and told us there was fine reading in the casualties of that reign.
“Our conductor then pointed to that 'monument where there is the figure of one of our English kings without a head; and upon giving us to know that the head, which was of beaten silver, had been stolen away several years since—Some Whig, I'll warrant you,' says Sir Roger: ‘you ought to lock up your kings better; they will carry off the body too, if you don't take care.'
"The glorious names of Henry V. and Queen Elizabeth gave the knight great opportunities of shining, and of doing justice to Sir Richard Baker, who, as our knight observed with some surprise, had a great many kings in him, whose monuments he had not seen in the abbey.
“For my own part, I could not but be pleased to see the knight show such an honest passion for the glory of his country, and such a respectful gratitude to the memory of its princes.
"I must not omit that the benevolence of my good old friend, which flows out towards every one he converses with, made him very kind to our interpreter, whom he looked upon as an extraordinary man, for which reason he shook him by the hand at parting, telling him that he should be very glad to see him at his lodgings in Norfolk-buildings, and talk over these matters with him more at leisure.”
CARLYLE. THOMAS CARLYLE, one of the most remarkable writers of our own times, is a native of Scotland. His mind has been chiefly formed in the German school of literature and philosophy; but he rises far above the character of a mere imitator. His style is entirely his own -at first repulsive,- but when familiar to the reader, highly exciting. Perhaps this style may occasionally gild over common thoughts; but