« PreviousContinue »
due to you.
the gum of a mortal; ay, and a strong you think that my talent was of no use to one too. The hardett food would not break correct human nature ? Is whipping of no it, and it could pierce the thickest skulls. use to mend naughty boys ? Indeed it was like one of Cerberus's teeth: Mercury. Men are not so patient of one hould not have thought it belonged to whipping as boys, and I feldo:n have a man.--Mr. Addison, I beg your par. known a rough fatiriit mend them. But I don, I should have spoken to you sooner; will allow that you have done some good but I was so ftruck with the light of the in that way, though not half so much as dotor, that I forgot for a time the respects Addison did in his. And now you are
here, if Pluto and Proferpine would take Swift. Addison, I think our dispute my advice, they should dispose of you both is decided before the judge has heard the in this manner :-When any liero comes cause.
hither from earth, who wants to be humAldison. I own it is in your favour, and bled, (as most heroes do) they should set I submit-but
Swift upon him to bring him down. The Mercury. Do not be discouraged, fiind fame good office he may frequently do to Ad tifon. Apollo perhaps would have given a faint swoln too much with the wind of a different judgment. 'I am a wit, and a spiritual pride, or to a philosopher, vain of rogue, and a fue to all dignity. Swift and his wisdom and virtue. He will soon shew I naturally like one another: he worships the first that he cannot bøholy without beme more than Jupiter, and I honour hiin ing humble; and the last, that with all his more than Homer; but yet, I affure you, I boasted morality, he is but a better kind of have a great value for you--Sir Roger Yahoo. I would also have him apply his de Coverley, Will Honeycomb, Will Wim- anticosmetic wash to the painted face of ble, the country gentleman in the Free- female vanity, and his rod, which draws holder, and twenty more characters, drawn blood at every stroke, to the hard back of with the finest strokes of natural wit and insolent folly or petulant wit. But you, humour in your excellent writings, seat you Mr. Addison, should be employed to comvery high in the class of my authors, though fort and raise the spirits of those whose not quite so high as the dean of St. Pa- good and noble souls are dejected with a trick's. Perhaps you might have come sense of some infirmities in their nature. nearer to him, if the decency of your na To them you should hold your fair and ture and cautiousness of your judgment charitable mirrour, which would bring to would have given you leave. But if in the their sight all their hidden perfections, caft force and spirit of his wit he has the advan over the rest a softening shade, and put tage, how much does he yield to you in all them in a temper fit for Elyfium. the polite and elegant graces ; in the fine Adieu : I must now return to my business touches of delicate sentiment; in develop- above.
Dialogues of the Dead. ing the secret springs of the soul; in Newing all the mild lights and shades of a cha
$ 8. The Hill of Science. A Vision. racter; in marking distinctly every line, In that season of the year when the seand every soft gradation of tints which renity of the sky, the various fruits which would escape the common eye! Who ever cover the ground, the discoloured foliageof painted like you the beautiful parts of hu- the trees, and all the sweet, but fading man nature, and brought them out from graces of inspiring autumn, open the mind under the shade even of the greatest sim to benevolence, and dispose it for contemplicity, or the most ridiculous weaknesses; plation, I was wandering in a beautiful and so that we are forced to admire, and feel romantic country, till curiosity began to that we venerate, even while we are laugh- give way to weariness; and I lát me down ing! Swift could do nothing that ap. on the fragment of a rock overgrown with proaches to this.--He could draw an ill moss, where the rustling of the falling face very well, or caricature a good one leaves, the dashing of waters, and the hum with a masterly hand: but there was all his of the distant city, foothed my mind into power; and, if I am to speak as a god, a the most perfect tranquillity, and sleep inworthless power it is. Yours is divine : sensibly stole upon me, as I was indulging it tends to improve and exalt human na. the agreeable reveries which the objects
around me naturally inspired. Swift. Pray, good Mercury, (if I may I immediately found myself in a vast exhave leave to say a word for myself) do tended plain, in the middle of which arose
a mountain higher than I had before any The trees in many places shot their boughe conception of. It was covered with a mul- over the path, and a thick milt often refied titude of people, chiefly youth ; many of on it; yet never so much but that it was whom pressed forwards with the liveliest discernible by the light which beamed from expression of ardour in their countenance, the countenance of Truth. though the way was in many places steep In the pleasantest part of the mountain and disficult. I observed, that those who were placed the bowers of the Muses, whose had but just begun to climb the hill thought office it was to cheer the spirits of the trathemselves not far from the top; but as vellers, and encourage their fainting steps they proceeded, new hills were continually with songs from their divine barps. Not rising to their view, and the summit of the far from hence were the fields of Fiction, highest they could before discern seemed filled with a variety of wild howers fpringbut the foot of another, till the mountain ing up in the greatest luxuriance, of richer at length appeared to lose itself in the scents and brighter colours than I had obclouds. As I was gazing on these things served in any other climate. And near with astonishment, my good genius suddenly them was the dark walk of Allegory, fo appeared: The mountain before thee, faid artificially Maded, that the light at noonhe, is the Hill of Science. On the top is day was never stronger than that of a bright the temple of Truth, whose head is above moon-line. This gave it a pleasingly rothe clouds, and a veil of pure light covers mantic air for those who delighted in conher face. Observe the progress of her vo- templation. The paths and alleys were taries; be filent and attentive.
perplexed with intricate windings, and were I saw that the only regular approach to all terminated with the statue of a Grace, the mountain was by a gate, called the a Virtue, or a Muse. gate of languages. It was kept by a wo After I had observed these things, I man of a pensive and thoughtful appeas- turned my eye towards the multitudes who ance, whose lips were continually moving, were climbing the steep ascent, and observas though she repeated something to herself. ed amongst them a youth of a lively look, Her name was Memory. On entering this a piercing eye, and something fiery and irfirst enclosure, I was stunned with a con- regular in all his motions. His name was fused murmur of jarring voices, and disso- Genius. He darted like an eagle up the nant sounds; which increased upon me to mountain, and left his companions gazirg such a degree, that I was utterly confound. after him with envy and admiration : but ed, and could compare the noise to nothing his progress was unequal, and interrupted but the confusion of tongues at Babel. The by a thousand caprices. When Pleasure road was also rough and ftony; and ren warbled in the valley he mingled in her dered more difficult by heaps of rubbish train. When Pride beckoned towards the continually tumbled down from the higher precipice he ventured to the tottering edge. parts of the mountain; and broken ruins He delighted in devious and untried paths; of ancient buildings, which the travellers and made so many excursions from the were obliged to climb over at every ftep; road, that his feebler companions often outinsomuch that many, disgusted with 10 stripped him. I observed that the Muses rough a beginning, turned back, and at- beheld him with partiality; but Truth tempted the mountain ro more; while often frowned, and turned aside her face. others having conquered this dificulty, While Genius was thus wasting his strength had no fpirits to ascend further, ard fitting in eccentric flights, I saw a person of a very down on some fragment of the rublit, different appearance, named Application. harangued the multitude below with the He crept along with a slow and unremitting greatest marks of importance and self- pace, his eyes fixed on the top of the mouncomplacency.
tain, patiently removing every stone that About half way up the hill, I observed obstructed his way, till he saw most of those on each side the path a thick forest covered below him who had at first derided his Now with continual fogs, and cut out into laby- and toilsome progress. Indeed there were rinths, cross alleys, and serpentine walks few who ascended the hill with equal and entangled with thorns and briars. This uninterrupted steadiness ; for, beside the was called the wood of Error: and I heard difficulties of the way, they were continu. the voices of many who were toft up and ally solicited to turn aside by a numerous down in it, calling to onc another, and en- crowd of Appetites, Pallions, and Pleasures, deavouring in vain to extricate themselves. whose importunity, when they had once
complied with, they became less and less The captives of Appetite and Passion could able to refift; and though they often re
often seize the moment when their tyrants turned to the path, the asperities of the were languid or aileep to escape from their road were more severely felt, the hill ap- enchantment; but the dominion of Indopeared more steep and rugged, the fruits lence was constant and unremitted, and selwhich were wholesome and refreshing dom refilted, till resistance was in vain. seemed harsh and ill-tasted, their right After contemplating these things, I turngrew dim, and their feet tript at every ed my eyes towards the top of the mounlittle obitruction.
tain, where the air was always pure and I saw, with some surprize, that the Muses, exhilarating, the path fhaded with laurels whole business was to cheer and encourage and other ever-greens, and the effulgence those who were toiling up the ascent, would which beamed from the face of the godoften fing in the bowers of Pleasure, and dess seemed to ihed a glory round her voaccompany those who were enticed away taries. Happy, said I, are they who are at the call of the Passions ; they accom permitted to ascend the mountain !-but panied them, however, but a little way, and while I was pronouncing this exclamation always forsook them when they lost fight with uncommon ardour, I saw standing beof the hill. The tyrants then doubled fide me a form of diviner features and a their chains upon the unhappy captives, more benign radiance. Happier, said she, and led them away, without resistance, to
are those whom Virtue conducts to the manthe cells of Ignorance, or the mansions of fions of Content! What, said I, does VirMisery. Amongst the innumerable fe tue then reside in the vale ? I am found, ducers, who were endeavouring to draw said she, in the vale, and I illuminate the away the votaries of Truth from the path mountain : I cheer the cottager at his toil, of Science, there was one, so little formi. and inspire the fage at his meditation. I dable in her appearance, and so gentle mingle in the crowd of cities, and bless the and ianguid in her attempts, that I hould hermit in his cell. I have a temple in scarcely have taken notice of her, but for every heart that owns my influence; and the numbers she had imperceptibly loaded to him that wilhes for me I am already with her chains. Indolence (for so she was present. Science may raise you to emicalled) far from proceeding to open hosti- nence, but I alone can guide you to felilities, did not attempt to turn their feet out city !-While the goddeis was thus speakof the path, but contented herself with re- ing, I stretched out my arms towards her tarding their progress; and the purpose the with a vehemence which broke
sumcould not force them to abandon, flie per
bers. The chill dews were falling around fuaded them to delay. Her touch had a me, and the shades of evening Itretched power like that of the torpedo, which wi over the landscape. I haltened homeward, thered the strength of those who came and resigned the night to filence and mewithin its influence. Her unhappy cap- ditation.
Aikin's Mifcel. tives Atill turned their faces towards the temple, and always hoped to arrive there;
§ 3. On the Love of Life. but the ground seemed to slide from be Age, that lessens the enjoyment of life, neath their feet, and they found themselves encreases our desire of living. Those danat the bottom, before they suspected they gers which, in the vigour of youth, we had had changed their place. The placid re- learned to despise, afiume new terrors as renity, which at first appeared in their we grow old. Our caution encreasing as countenance, changed by degrees into a our years encrease, fear becomes at last the melancholy languor, which was tinged with prevailing passion of the mind; and the deeper and deeper gloom, as they glided small remainder of life is taken up in useless down the stream of Infignificance; a dark efforts to keep off our end, or provide for a and sluggish water, which is curled by no continued existence. breeze, and enlivened by no murmur, till it Strange contradiction in our nature, and falls into a dead sea, where startled passen- to which even the wise are liable ! If I gers are awakened by the shock, and the should judge of that part of life which lies next moment buried in the gulph of Ob- before me by that which I have already seen,
the prospect is hideous. Experience tells me, Of all the unhappy deserters from the that my past enjoyments have brought uo paths of Science, none seemed less able real felicity; and sensation affuies me, that to return than the followers of Indolence. those I have felt are stronger than those
3 F 2
which are yet to come. Yet experience « lived in folitude and darkness for more .and sensation in vain persuade; hope, more “ than fifty years, and am gro:vn familiar powerful than either, dreses out the distant “ with distress. As yet, dazzled with the prospect in fancied beauty; tome happiness, splendor of that fun to which you have in long prospective, still beckons me to pur “ restored me, I have been wandering the fue; and, like a lofing gamester, every new « ftreets to find out some friend that would disappointment encreases my ardour to allift, or relieve, or remember me; but continue the game.
my friends, my family, and relations are Whence then is this encreased love of “ all dead; and I am forgotten. Permit life, which grows upon us with our years ? me then, O Chinvang, to wear out the whence comes it, that ive thus make greater “ wretched remains of life in my former efforts to preserve our existence, at a period prison ; the walls of my dungeon are to when it becomes scarce worth the keeping? “ me more plealing than the most splendid Is it that Nature, attentive to the preserva palace: I have not long to live, and thail tion of mankind, encreases our wishes to “ be unhappy except I spend the rest of live, while she lefiens our enjoymenis; and, my days where my youth was passed; in as the robs the senses of every pleasure, " that prison from whence you were pleased equips Imagination in the spoils ? Life « to release me.” would be infupportable to an old man, who, The old man's passion for confinement loaded with infirmities, feared death no is similar to that we all have for life. We more than when in the vigour of manhood; are habituated to the prison, we look round the numberleís calamities of decaying na. with discontent, are displeased with the ture, and the consciousness of lurviving aborie, and yet the length of our cap. every pleasure, would at once induce him, tivity only encreases our fondness for the with his own hand, to terminate the scene cell.' The trees we have planted, the houfes of anisery; but happily the content of we have built, or the polterity we have bedeath forsakes him at a time when it could gotten, all serve to bind us closer to the only be prejudicial; and life acquires an earth, and embitter our parting. Life sues imaginary value, in proportion as its real the young like a new acquaintance; the value is no more.
companion, as yet unexhausted, is at once inOur attachment to every object around structive and amuling; its company pleases, us, encreases, in general, from the length yet, for all this it is but little regarded. of our acquaintance with it. “ I would To us, who are declined in
life “ not chuse,” says a French Philosopher, pears like an old friend; its jeits have been “ to see an old poft pulled up, with which anticipated in former eonversation ; it has “ I had been long acquainted." A mind no new story to make us smile, no new imlong habituated to a certain set of objects, provement with which to surprize, yet fill insensibly becomes fond of seeing them; we love it ; destitute of every enjoyment, visits them from habit, and parts from them ftill we love it, husband the waiting treawith reluctance: from hence proceeds the fure with encreasing frugality, and feel all avarice of the old in every kind of posief- the poignancy of anguish in the fatal sepa. fion; they love the world and all that it ration. produces; they love life and all its advan Sir Philip Mordaunt was young, beautages; not because it gives them pleasure, tiful, fincere, brave, an Englishman. He but because they have known it long. had a complete fortune of his own, and
Chinvang the Chafte, ascending the the love of the king his master, which was throne of China, commanded that all who equivalent to riches. Life opened all her were unjustly detained in prison during the treasures before him, and promised a long preceding reigns should be set free. Among fucceffion of happiness. He came, talted the number who came to thank their delic of the entertainment, but was disgusted even verer on this occasion, there appeared a at the beginning. He professed an aversion majestic old man, who, falling at the em to living; was tired of walking round the peror's feet, addressed him as follows: same circle; had tried every enjoyment, « Great father of China, behold a wretch, and found them all grow weaker at every “ now eighty-five years old, who was thut repetition. “ If life be, in youth, fo dil
up in a dungeon at the age of twenty pleasing," cried he to himself, “what “ two. I was imprisoned, though a stran. “ will it appear when age comes on ? if it “ ger to crime, or without being even “ be at present indifferent, sure it will “ confronted by my accusers. I have now “ then be execrable.” This thought em.
bittered every reflection; till, at last, with with a wreath of water-lily, interwoven
« Hence, ignoble rill! with thy scanty
« thine aid is, it will not be unacceptable
“ to that master stream himself; for, as I § 10. The Canal and the Brook.
lately crossed his channel, I perceived his A Reverie.
“ fands loaded with stranded vessels. I
“conveyance of merchandize, and splen-
Deity of the Brook, in a modett accent,
"peaceful valley, rendered more fertile rounded his brow. His naked feet were « and beautiful by my stream ; the neighdiscoloured with clay. On his left shoulder « bouring fylvan deities, to whose pleature he bore a huge pick-axe; and in his right “ I contribute ; will pay a grateful tellihand he held certain instruments, used in mony to my merit. The windings of furveying and levelling. His looks were
“ my course, which you so much blame, thoughtful, and his fearures harsh. The “ serve to diffuse over a greater extent of breach through which he proceeded in “ground the refreshment of my waters; fantly closed, and with a heavy tread he " and the lovers of nature and the Muses, advanced into the valley.
“ who are fond of straying on my banks, proached the brook, the Deity of the “ are better pleased that the line of beauty Stream arose to meet him. He was habited “ maiks my way, than if, like yours, it in a light green mantle, and the clear drops were directed in a straight, unvaried line. fell from his dark hair, which was encircled “ They prize the irregular wildnets with
As he ap