« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
1.-The Honor and Advantage of a constant Adherence
to truth;-PERCIVAL'S TALES, PETRARCH, a celebrated Italian poet, who flourished about four hundred years ago, recommended him. self to the confidence and affection of Cardinal Colonna, in whose family he resided, by his candor and strict regard to truth. A violent quarrel occurred in the household of this nobleman-; which was carried so far, that recourse was had to arms. The.Cardinal wished to know the foundation of this affair ; and that he mighi be able to decide with justice, he assembled all his people, and obliged them to bind themselves, by a most solemn oath on the gospels, to declare the whole truih. Every one without exception, submitted to this determination; even the bishop of Luna, brother to the Cardinal, was not excused. Petrarcb, in his turn, presenting himse if to take the oath, the Cardinal closed the book, and said, As to you, Petrarch, your word is sufficient.
JI.Impertinence in discourse. -THEOPHRASTUS.
THIS kind of impertinence is a habit of talking much without thinking.
A man who has this disłemper in his tongue shall entertain you, though he never saw you before, with a long story in praise of his own wife ; give you the particulars of last night's dream, or the discription of a feast he has been at without letting a single dish escape him. When he is thus entered into conversation, he grows very wise descants upon the corruprion of the times, and the degeneracy of the age we live i3 ; from which, as his cransitions are somewhat sudden, he falls upon the price of corn, and the uumber of strangers that are in town. He undertakes to prove, that it is better putting to sca in summer than in wintcr, and that rain is necessary to produce a good crop of corn; telling you, in the same
breath, that he intends to plough up such a part of his estate next year, that the times are hard, and that a man has much ado to get through the world. His whole discourse is nothing but hurry and incoherence, He acquaints you, that Demippus had the largest torch at the seast of Ceres ; asks you if you remember how many pillars are in the musick theatre ; tells you that he took physic yesterday ; and desires to know what day of the month it is. If you have patience to hear hin he will inform you what festivals are kept in August, what in October, and what in December. When you see such a fellow as this coming towards
A man had much better be vis. ited by a fever ; so painful is it to be fastened upon by one of this make, who lakes it for granted that you have nothing else to do, but give him a hearing.
you, run for
Ill-Character of Addison as a Writer -JOHNSON,
AS a discriber of life and manners, Mr. Addison must be allowed to stand perhaps the first in the first rank. His humor is peculiar to himself; and is so happily dif. fused, as to give the grace of novelty to domestic scenes and daily occurrences. He never o’ersteps the modesty of nature, nor raises merriment or wonder by the violation of truth. His figures neither divert by distortion, por amaze by aggravation. He copies iife with so much fidelity, that he can hardly be said to invent; yet his exhibitions have an air so much original that it is difficult to suppose them not merely the product of imagi. pation.
As a teacher of wisdom he may be confidently fol. lowed His religion has nothing in it enthusiastic or superstitious; he a spears neither weakly credulous, nor wantonly sceprical; his morality is neither dangerously lax, nor implacably rigid. All the enchantments of fancy, and all the cogency of argumento, are employed to recommend to the reader nis real interest, the care of pleasing the author of his being. Truth is shown some. linies as the phantom of a vision, somcrimes appears half veiled in an aliegory, sometimes attracts regard in the robes of fancy, and sometimes steps ferth in the
confidence of reason. She wears a thousand dresses, and in all is pleasing
His prose is the model of the middle style; on grave subjects not formal, on light occasions not groveling ; pure without scrupulosity, and exact without apparent elaboration ; always cquable, and always easy, without glowing words or pointed sentences. His page is always luminous, but never blazes in unexpected splendor. It seems to have been his principai endeavor 10 avoid all harshness and severity of diction; he is therefore sometimes verbose in his transitions and connexions, and sometimes descends too much to the language of conversation ; yet, if his language had been less idiomatical, it might have lost somewhat of its genuine Anglicism. What he attempted he performed , he is never feeble, and he did not wish to be energetic ; he is never rapid, and he never stagnates. His sentences have neither studied amplitude noraffected brcvity; his periods, though not diligently rounded, are voluble and easy. Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.
IV.-Pleasure and Pain.-SPECTATOR. THERE were two families, which, from the begin. Dingof the world, were as opposite to each other as light and darkness. The one of them lived in heaven, and the other in hell. The youngest descendan: of the first family vas Pleasure, who was the daughter of Happiness, who was the child of Virtue, who was the offspring of the Gods. Tbese, as I said before, had their habitation in heaven. The youngest of the opposite family was Pain, who was the son of Misery, who was the child of Vice, who was the offspring of the Furies. The hibitation of this race of beings was in hell.
The middle station of nature between these two opposite extremes was the earth, which was inhabited by creatures of a middle kind ; neither so virtuous as the one, nor so vicious as the other, but partaking of the good and bad qualities of those two opposite families-Jupiter, considering that this species, commonly called
Max, was too virtuous to be miserable and too vicious. to be happy, that he might make a distinction between the good and the bad, ordered the two youngest of the abovementioned families (Pleasure, who was the daugh. ter of Happiness, and Pain, who was the son of Misery) to meet one another upon this part of nature, which lay in the half way between them, having promised to settle it upon them both, provided they could agree upon the division of it, so as to share mankind between them.
Pleasure and Pain were no sooner met in their new habitation, but they immediately agreed upon this point, that Pleasure should take possession of the virtuous, and Pain of the vicious part of that species which was given up to them. But upon examining to which of them any individual they met with belonged, they found each of them liad a right to him ; for that contrary to what they had seen in their old place of residence, there was no person so 'vicious who had not some good in m, no any person so virtuous who had not in him some evil The truth of it is, they generally found,upon search,that in the most vicious man Pleasure might lay claimi to an hundredth part, and that in the most virtuous man Pain might come in for at least two thirds. This they saw would occasion endless disputes between them, un. less they could come to some accommodation. To ihis erd, there was a marriage proposed between them, and at length concluded. Hience it is that we find Pleasure and Pain are such constant yoke fellows, and that they either make their visits together, or are never far asunder. If Pain comes into an heart, he is quickly followed by Pleasure ; and if Pleasure enters, you may be sure Pain is not far off.
But notwithstanding this marriage was very conveni. ent for the two parties, it did not seem to answer the intention of Jupiter in sending them among mankind. To remedy, therefore, this inconvenience, it was stipulated between them by article, and comfirmed by the consent of each family, that,notwithstanding they here possessed the species indifferently, upon the death of every single person, if he was found to have in him a certain proportion of evil, he should be dispatched into the infernal regions by a passport from Pain, there to dwell with Misery, Vice and the Furies ; or, on the contrary, if he had in him a certain proportion of good, he should be dis. patched into heaven, by a passport from Pleasure, there to dwell with Happiness, Virtue and the Gods,
V. Sir Roger de Coverly's Family.--B.
HAVING often received an invitation from my friend Sir Roger de Coverly, to pass away a month with him in the country, I last week accompanied him thither, and am settled with him for some time at his countryhouse, where I intend to form several of my ensuing speculations. Sir Roger, who is very well acquainted with my humor, lets me rise and go to bed when I please, dine at his own table or in my chamber, as I think fit, sit still and say nothing, without bidding me
When the gentlemen of the country come to see him, he only shews me at a distance, As I have been walking in the fields, I have observed them stealing a sight of me over an hedge, and liave heard the knight desire them not to let me see them, for that I hated to be stared at.
I am the more at ease in Sir Roger's family, because it consists of sober and staid persons; for as the knight is the best master in the world, he seldoni changes his servants; and as he is beloved by all about him, his servants never care for leaving him ; by this means his domestics are all in years and grown old with their master. You would take his vallet de chambre for his brother ; his butler is gray headed, his groom is one of the gravest men I have ever seen, and his coachman has the looks of a privy counsellor. You see the goodness of the master even in the old house dog, and in a gray pad that is kept in the stable with great care and tenderness, out of regard to his past services, though he has been useless for several years.
I could not but observe, with a great deal of pleasure, the joy that appeared in the countenances of these ancient domestics, upon my friend's arrival at his country scat. Some of them could not refrain from tears at the sight of their old master; every one of then pressed for.