Изображения страниц

selves to be impressed, but demanded upon my going about into the pit, and taking to be pleased. To please rationally them in front, I was immediately undeceived, was the object of their literature. Such and saw so much beauty in every face, that

found them all to be English. Such eyes and is Addison's criticism, which resembles lips, cheeks and foreheads, could be the growth his art; born, like his art, of classical of no other country. The complexion of their urbanity; fit, like his art, for the life of the colour of their hoods, though I could easily

faces hindered me from observing any furthe the world, having the same solidity and perceive, by that unspeakable satisfaction which the same limits, because it had the appeared in their looks, that their own thoughts Bame sources, namely, order and relaxa. were wholly taken up on those pretty orrido tion.

ments they wore upon their heads." *

In this discreet raillery, modified by an VI.

almost official admiration, we perceive But we must consider that we are in the English mode of treating women: England, and that we find

there many man, by her side, is always a lay-preachhings not agreeable to a Frenchman. er; they are for him charming children, in France, the classical age attained or useful housewives, never queens perfection; so that, compared to it,

of the drawing-room, or equals, as other countries lack somewhat of finJamongst the French. When Addison ish. Addison, elegant in his own na dies to the Protestant party, he treats

wishes to bring back the Jacobite lative country, is not quite so in France. them almost like little girls, to whom Compared with Tillotson, he is the most charming man possible; compared store their doll or their cake :

we promise, if they will be good, to re. to Montesquieu, he is only half polished. His converse is hardly sparkling ferings and persecutions to which they expose

“ They should first reflect on the great suf enough; the quick movement, the easy themselves by the obstinacy of their behaviour. change of tone, the facile smile, readily They lose their

elections in every club where uropt and readily resumed, are hardly they are set up for toasts. They are obliged visible. He drags on in long and too by their principles to stick a patch on the most uniform phrases; his periods are too forego the advantage of birthday suits. .

unbecoming side of their foreheads. They square; we might cull a load of useless They receive no benefit from the army, and words. He tells us what he is going are never the better for all the young fellows to say: he marks divisions and subdi- to live in the country and feed their chickens ;

that wear hats and feathers. They are forced visions; he quotes Latin, even Greek; at the same time that they might show themhe displays and protracts without end selves at court, and appear in brocade, if they the serviceable and sticky plaster of his behaved themselves well. In short, what must morality. He has no fear of being to the heart of every fine woman, they throw

themselves quite out of the fashion. . . . A wearisome. That is not what English-man is startled when he sees a pretty bosom men fear. Men who love demonstra- heaving with such party-rage, as is disagreeable tive sermons three hours long are not

even in that sex which is of a more coarse and difficult to amuse. Remember that

rugged make. And yet such is our misfortune,

that we sometimes see a pair of stays ready to here the women like to go to meeting, burst with sedition; and hear the most mascu. and are entertained by listening for half line passions expressed in the sweetest voices. a day to discourses on drunkenness, or the ground at distance seems entirely covered

Where a great number of flowers grow, of the sliding scale for taxes : these pa. with them, and we must walk into it before we ::ent creatures do not require that con- can distinguish the several weeds that spring rersation should be always lively and up in such a beautiful mass of colours.” | piq jant. Consequently they can put This gallantry is too deliberate ; we up with a less refined politeness and are somewhat shocked to see a woman Less disguised compliments. When touched by such thoughtful hands. It Addison bows to them, which happens is the urbanity of a moralist; albeit he often, it is gravely, and his reverence is well-bred, he is not quite amiable is always accompanied by a warning. and if a Frenchman can receive fium Take the following on their gaudy him lessons of pedagogy and conduct, dresses :

Addison might come over to France to

find models of manners and conversa “ I looked with as much pleasure upon this

tion. little party-coloured assembly, as upon a bed of tulips, and did not know at first whether it

* Spectator, No. 265. might not be an embassy of Indian quceris; but

+ Freeholder, No

If the first care of a Frenchman in | There is much originality in this grave society is to be amiable, that of an gayety. As a rule, singularity is in Englishman is to be dignified; their accordance with the taste of the nation, mood leads them to immobility, as they like to be impressed strongly by ours to gestures ; and their pleasantry contrasts. French literature seems to is as grave as ours is gay. Laughter them threadtare ; and the French find with them is inward; they shun giving them often not very delicate. A num. themselves up to it; they are amused ber of the Spectator which seemed pleas silently. Let us make up our mind to ant to London ladies would have shock understand this kind of temper, it will ed people in Paris. Thus, Addison end by pleasing us. When phlegm is relates in the form of a dream the dissec united to gentleness, as in Addison, it tion of a beau's brain : is as agreeable as it is piquant. We

“ The pinea' gland, which many of our mcd are charmed to meet a lively man, who ern philosophers suppose to be the seat of the is yet master of himself. We are as. soul, smelt very strong of essence and orange tonished to see these contrary qualities flower water, and was encompassed with a kind together. Each heightens and modi- of horny substance, cut into a thousand little

faces or mirrors, which were imperceptible to fies the other. We are not repelled by the naked eye ; insomuch that the soul, if there venomous bitterness, as in Swift, or by had been any here, must have been always continuous buffoonery, as in Voltaire. I taken up in contemplating her own beauties.

We observed a large antrum or cavity in the We enjoy altogether the rare union, sinciput, that was filed with ribbons, lace, and which for the first time combines seri- embroidery: We did not find anything ous bearing and good humor. Read very remarkable in the eye, saving only, that this little satire against the bad taste of the musculi amatorii, or, as we may translate

it into English, the ogling muscles, were very the stage and the public.

much worn, and decayed with use ; whereas on “ There is nothing that of late years has af.

the contrary, the elevator, or the muscle which

turns the eye towards heaven, did not appear forded matter of greater amusement to the town than Signor Nicolini's combat with a lion to have been used at all.” * in the Haymarket, which has been very often exhibited to the general satisfaction of most of These anatomical details, which would the nobility and gentry in the kingdom of Great disgust the French, amuse a matter of Britain. The first lion was a candle-snuf- fact mind; harshness is for him only fer, who being a fellow of a testy, choleric tem- accuracy; accustomed to precise im per, overdid his part, and would not suffer himself to be killed so easily as he ought to have ages, he finds no objectionable odor ir.

. The second lion was à tailor by the medical style. Addison does not trade, who belonged to the playhouse, and had share our repugnance. To rail at a the character of a mild and peaceable man in vice, he becomes a mathematician, an his profession. If the former was too furious, this was too sheepish for his part ; insomuch economist, a pedant, an apothecary. that, after a short modest walk upon the stage, Technical terms amuse him. He sets he would fall at the first touch of Hydaspes, up a court to judge crinolines, and conwithout grappling with him, and giving him an demns petticoats in legal formulas. He opportunity of shewing his variety of Italian trips. It is said, indeed, that he once gave him teaches how to handle a fan as if he a rip in his flesh-coloured doublet; but this was were teaching to prime and load mus. only to make work for himself, in his private kets. He draws up a list of men dead character of a tailor. ... The acting lion at present is as I am informed, a country gentle or injured by love, and the ridiculous man, who does it for his diversion, but desires causes which have reduced them to his name may be concealed. He says, very such a condition : handsomely, in his own excuse, that he does not act for gain, that he indulges an innocent “ Will Simple, smitten at the Opera by the pleasure in it; and that it is better to pass glance of an eye that was aimed at one who away an evening in this manner than in gaming stood by him. and drinking. . . . This gentleman's temper is “ Sir Christopher Crazy, Bart., hurt by the made out of such a happy mixture of the mild brush of a whalebone petticoat. and the choler*;, that he outdocs both his pre- “ Ned Courtly, presenting Flavia with her decessors, and nas drawn toget aer greater au- glove (which she had dropped on purpose! diences than have been known in the memory she received it and took away his life with a of man. . . . In the meantime I have related curtsey. this combat of the lion, to show what are at “ John Gosselin, having , received a slight present the reigning entertainments of the hurt from a pair of blue eyes, as he was making politer part of Great Britain." .

his escape, was dispatched by a smile." + * Spectator, No. 13.

• Thid. No. 373.

| Ibid. No. 371

done. .

Other stat stics, with recapitulations from him in all directions in vain is and tables of numbers, relate the his. it enclosed in the regular channel of tory of the Leucadian leap:

official dogma; the text and arguments Aridæue a beautiful youth of Epirus, in with which it is covered do not hide iuve with Praxinoe, the wife of the Thespis, its true origin. It springs from the escaped without damage, saving only that two grave and fertile imagination which of his foreteeth were struck out, and his nose a

can only be satisfied with a sight of litt e flatted.

• Hipparchus, being passionately fond of his what is beyond. owa wife, who was enamoured of Bathyllus, Such a faculty swallows a man up, leaped and died of his fall; upon which his wife and if we descend to the examination married her gallant." *

of literary qualities, we find it at the We see this strange mode of paint. bottom as well as at the top. Nothing ing human folly : in England it is called in Addison is more varied and rics aumor. It consists of an incisive good than the changes and the scenery. The sense, the habit of restraint, business driest morality is transformed under habits, but above all a fundamental his hand into pictures and stories. energy of invention. The race is less There are letters from all kinds of men, refined, but stronger than the French; clergymen, common people, men of and the pleasures which content its fashion, who keep their own style, and mind and taste are like the liquors disguise their advice under the form of which suit its palate and its stomach. a little novel. An ambassador from

This potent Germanic spirit breaks Bantam jests, like Montesquieu, at the out even in Addison through his classi- lies of European politeness. Greek or cal and Latin exterior. Albeit he rel. Oriental tales, imaginary travels, the ishes art, he still loves nature. His vision of a Scottish seer, the memoirs education, which loaded him with of a rebel, the history of ants, the transmaxims, has not destroyed his virgin formations of an ape, the journal of an sentiment of truth. In his travels in idle man, a walk in Westminster, the France he preferred the wildness of genealogy of humor, the laws of ridicuFontainebleau to the correctness of lous clubs; in short, an inexhaustible Versailles. He shakes off worldly re- mass of pleasant or solid fictions. The finement to praise the simplicity of the allegories are most frequent. We feel old national ballads. He explains to that the author delights in this maghis public the sublime images, the vast nificent and fantastic world; he is actpassions, the deep religion of Paradise ing for himself a sort of opera ; his Lost. It is curious to see him, com- eyes must look on colors. Here is a pass in hand, kept back by Bossu, paper on religions, very Protestant, but fettered in endless arguments and as sparkling as it is ingenious: relaxa. academical phrases, attaining with one tion in England does not consist, as in spring, through the strength of natural France, in the vivacity and variety of emotion, the lofty unexplored regions tone, but in the splendor and correct to which Milton rose by the inspiration ness of invention : of faith and genius. Addison does not say, as Voltaire does, that the allegory tracted the eyes of the whole company, and was

“ The middle figure, which immediately at3f Sin and Death is enough to make much bigger than the rest, was formed like a people sick. He has a foundation of matron, dressed in the habit of an elderly wogrand imagination, which makes him man of quality in Queen Elizabeth's days. The indifferent to the little refinements of most remarkable parts of her dress were the social civilization. He sojourns wille was darker than sable, and the lawn apron that

beaver with the steeple crown, the scarf that ingly amid the grandeur and marvels was whiter than ermine. Her gown was of the of the other world. He is penetrated riche black velvet, and just upon her heart by the presence of the Invisible, he studder with large diamonds of an inestimable

value, disposed in the form of a cross. She must escape from the interests and bore an inexpressible cheerfulness and dignity hopes of the petty life in which we in her aspect ; and though she seemed in years, crawl. This source of faith gushes appeared with so much spirit and vivacity, as upon her; and still the more I looked upon ing it, at the same time and in the same her, the more my heart was melted wzh the sentiments of filial tenderness and duty. I dis way as his most illustrious neighbc.rs covered every moment something so charming His characters are taken from life, in this figure, that I could scarce take my eyes from the manners and conditions of off it. On its right hand there sat the figure of the age, described at length and minute woman. so covered with ornaments that her ly in all the details of their education race, her body, and her hands were almost en: sirely hid under them. The little you could and surroundings, with a precise and see of her face was painted, and what I thought positive observation, marvellously real very, odd, had something in it like artificial and English. A masterpiece as well wrinkles ; but I was the less surprised at it, when I saw upon her forehead an old-fashioned as an historical record is Sir Roger de tower of grey

gave her at the same time an air of old age and * Spectator, No.233.

immortality. I found my heart touched with + See the last thirty numbers of the Sperta- so much love and reverence at the sight of her,

that the tears ran down my face as I looked


hairs. Her head-dress 1 ose very Coverley, the country gentleman. a high by three several stories or degrees; her loyal servant of State and Church, 2 garments had a thousand colours in them, and justice of the peace,' with a chaplain of were embroidered with crosses in gold, silver, his own, and whose estate shows on : and silk; she had nothing on, so much as a glove or a slipper, which was not marked with small scale the structure of the English this figure ; nay, so superstitiously fond did she nation. This domain is a little kingappear of iç that she sat cross-legged. The next to her was a figure which somewhai dom, paternally governed, but still gov. puzzled me; it was that of a man looking with erned. Sir Roger rates his tenants, horror in his eyes, upon a silver bason filled passes them in review in church, knows with water. Observing something in his coun- their affairs, gives them advice, as tenance that looked like lunacy, I fancied at first that he was to express that kind of distrac" sistance, commands; he is respected, tion which the physicians call the Hydrophobia; obeyed, loved, because he lives with but considering what the intention of the show them, because the simplicity of his was, I immediately recollected myself, and tastes and education puts him almost concluded it to be Anabaptism." *

on a level with them; because as a The reader must guess what these two magistrate, a landed proprietor of many first figures mean. They will please a years standing, a wealthy man, a benemember of the Episcopal Church more factor and neighbor, he exercises a than a Roman Catholic; but I think moral and legal, a useful and respected that a Roman Catholic himself cannot authority. Addison at the same time help recognizing the fulness and fresh- shows in him the solid and peculiar ness of the fiction,

English character, built of heart of oak, Genuine imagination naturally ends with all the ruggedness of the primitive in the invention of characters. For, bark, which can neither be softened if we clearly represent to ourselves a nor planed down, a great fund of situation or an action, we will see at kindness which extends even to an. the same time the whole network of its imals, a love for the country and for connection ; the passion and faculties, bodily exercises, an inclination to comall the gestures and tones of voice, all mand and discipline, a feeling of subdetails of dress, dwelling, social inter- ordination and respect, much common course, which flow from it, will be con- sense and little finesse, a habit of disnected in our mind, and bring their pre- playing and practising in public his cedents and their consequences; and singularities and oddities, careless of this multitude of ideas, slowly organ- ridicule, without thought of bravado, ized, will at last be concentrated in a solely because these men acknowledge single sentiment, from which, as from a no judge but themselves. A hundred deep spring, will break forth the por- traits depict the times; a lack of love trait and the history of a complete for reading, a lingering belief in witches, character. There are several such in rustic and sporting manners, the igno Addison; the quiet observer Will rances of an artless or backward mind. Honeycomb, the country Tory Sir Sir Roger gives the children, who an. Roger de Coverley, which are not satir- swer their catechism well, a "ible for ical theses, like those of La Bruyère, themselves, and half a fitch et bacon but genuine individuals, like, and some for their mothers. When a verse times equal to, the characters of the pleases him, he sings it for half a min great contemporary novels. In reality, ute after the congregation has finished. he invents the novel without suspect. He kills eight fat pigs at Christmas, Tatlor, No. 297,

and sends a pudding and a pack of

cards to each poor family in the parish. from me, where I discovered one in the habit When he goes to the theatre, he sup- his hand. As 'I looked upon him he applied it

of a shepherd, with a musical instrument in plies his servants with cudgels to pro- to his lips, and began to play upon it.

The tect themselves from the thieves which, sound of it was exceeding sweet, and wrouglit he says, infest London. Addison re into a variety of tunes that were inexpressibly turns a score of times to the old knight, thing I had ever heard. They put me in mind

melodious, and altogether different from anyalways showing some new aspect of his of those heavenly airs that are played to the character, a disinterested observer of departed souls of good men upon their first ar humanity, curiously assiduous and dis- rival in Paradise, to wear out the impressions cerning, a true creator, having but one pleasures of that happy place. My heart melted

of the last agonies, and qualify them for the step farther to go to enter, like Richard away in secret raptures son and Fielding, upon the great work “'He (the Genius) then led me to the of modern literature, the novel of man- highest pinn..cle of the rock, and placing ners and customs.

me on the top of it, Cast thy eyes eastward,

said he, and tell me what thou seest. There is an undercurrent of poetry see, said I, a huge valley, and a prodigious in all this. It has flowed through his tide of water rolling through it. The valley prose a thousand times more sincere

that thou seest, said he, is the vale of and beautiful than in his verses. Rich misery, and the tide of water that thou seest

is part of the great tide of Eternity. What is oriental fancies are displayed, not with the reason, said I, that the tide I see rises a shower of sparks as in Voltaire, but out of a thick mist at one end, and again loses in a calm and abundant light, which itself in a thick mist at the other? What thou makes the regular folds of their purple is called Time, measured out by the Sun, and

seest, said he, is that portion of Eternity which and gold undulate.* The music of the reaching from the beginning of the world to its vast cadenced and tranquil phrases consummation. Examine now, said he, this leads the mind gently amidst romantic sea that is bounded with darkness at both er.ds,

and tell me what thou discoverest in it. I see splendors and enchantments, and the a bridge, said 1, standing in the midst of the deep sentiment of ever young nature tide. The bridge thou seest, said he, is human recalls the happy quietude of Spenser. life ; consider it attentively, Upon a more Through gentle railleries or moral of three score and ten entire arches, with sev

leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted essays we feel that the author's imagina eral broken arches, which added to those that tion is happy, delighted in the contem- were entire, made up the number about an hụnplation of the swaying to and fro of the dred. As I was counting the arches, the genius forest-tops which clothe the mountains, thousand arches: but that a great flood swept

told me that this bridge consisted at first of a the eternal verdure of the valleys, in- away the rest, and left the bridge in the ruinous vigorated by fresh springs, and the condition I now beheld

it. But tell me further, wide view undulating far away on the said he, what thou discoverest on it. I see distant horizon. Great and simple a black cloud hanging on each end of it. As I

multitudes of people passing over it, said I, and sentiments naturally join these noble looked more attentively, I saw several of the images, and their measured harmony passengers dropping through the bridge into creates a unique spectacle, worthy to the great tide that dowed underneath it ; and fascinate the heart of a good man by innumerable trap-doors that lay concealed in

upon further examination, perceived there were its gravity and sweetness. Such are the bridge, which the passengers no sooner the Visions of Mirza, which I wil. give tood upon, but they fell through them into the almost entire ;

tide, and immediately disappeared. These hid.

den pit-falls were set very thick at the entrance “On the fifth day of the moon, which ac of the bridge, so that throngs of people no cording to the custom of my forefathers I al- sooner broke through the cloud, but many of ways keep holy, after having washed myself, them fell into them. They grew thinner to and offere i up my morning devotions, 1 as- wards the middle, but multiplied and jay closes sended the high hills of Bagdat, in order to together towards the end of he archies that pass the rest of the day in meditation and prazer. As I was here airing myself on the “ There were indeed some persons, but their tops of the mountains, I fell into a profound number was very small, that continued a kind contemplation on the vanity of human life ; and of hobbling march on the broken arches, but passing from one thought to another: Surely, fell through one after another, being quite tired said I, man is but a shadow and life a dream. and spent with so long a walk. Whilst I was thus musing, I cast my eyes to

“ I passed some time in the contemplation of wards the summit of a rock that was not far this wonderful structure, and the great variety

of objects which it presented. My heart was * See the history of Alnaschar in the Spec. filled with a deep melancholy to see several tator, No. 535, and also that of Hilpa ir the dropping unexpectedly in the midst of mirth same paper, Nos. 584, $85

and jollity, and catching at everything them

were entire.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »