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This last circumstance of a deceased father's rejoicing in the behaviour of his son, is very finely contrived by Homer, as an incentive to virtue, and made use of by none that I know besides himself.
The description of Ajax, which follows, and his refusing to speak to Ulysses, who had won the armour of Achilles from him, and by that means occasioned his death, is admired by every one that reads it. When Ulysses relates the sullenness of his deportment, and considers the greatness of the hero, he expresses him self with generous and noble sentiments. " Oh! that " I had never gained a prize which cost the life of so " brave a man as Ajax! who for the beauty of his
person, and greatness of his actions, was inferior to none but the divine Achilles.” The same noble condescension, which never dwells but in truly great minds, and such as Homer would represent that of Ulysses to have been, discovers itself likewise in the speech which he made to the ghost of Ajax on that occasion.
“Oh Ajax! (says he) will you keep your “ resentments even after death? What destructions hath this fatal armour brought upon the Greeks, by
robbing them of you, who were their bulwark and " defence ? Achilles is not more bitterly lamented. among us than you. Impute not then your death to any one but Jupiter, who out of his anger to the "Greeks, took you away from amongst them: let me
you to approach me; restrain the fierceness your wrath, and the greatness of your soul, and " hear what I have to say to you.” Ajax, without
a reply, turned his back upon him, and retired into a crowd of ghosts.
Ulysses, after all these visions, took a view of those impious wretches whoʻlay in tortures for the crimes they had committed upon the earth, whom he describes under all the varieties of pain, as so many marks of di
Vengeance, to deter others from following their example. He then tells us, that notwithstanding he
entreat w of
had a great curiosity to see the heroes that lived in the ages before him, the ghosts began to gather about him in such prodigious multitudes, and with such a confusion of voices, that his heart trembled as he saw, himself amidst so great a scene of hurrors. He adds, that he was afraid lest some hideous spectre should appear to him, that might terrify him to distraction: and therefore withdrew in time.
I question not but my reader will be pleased with this description of a future state, represented by such a noble and fruitful imagination, that had nothing to direct it besides the light of nature, and the opinions of a dark and ignorant age.
No. CLIII. THURSDAY, APRIL 1.
Bombalio, clangor, stridor, taratantara, murmur.
From my own Apartment, March 31. I HAVE heard of a very valuable picture, w wherea in all the painters of the age in which it was drawn, are represented sitting together in a circle, and joining in a concert of music. Each of them plays upon such a particular instrument as is the most suitable to his character, and expresses that style and manner of painting, which is peculiar to him. The famous cupola-painter of those times, to shew the grandeur and boldness of his figures, hath a horn in his mouth which he seems to wind with great strength and force. On the contrary an eminent artist, who wrought up his pictures with the greatest accuracy, and gave them all those delicate touches which are apt to please the nicest eye, is represented as tuning a theorbo. The same kind of humour runs through the whole piece. I have often, from this hint, imagined to myself, that different talents in discourse might be shadowed. out after the same inanner by different kinds of music; and that the several conversable parts of mankind in this great city, might be cast into proper characters and divisions, as they resemble several instruments that are in use among the masters of harmony....., Of these therefore in their order, and first of the drum.
Your drums are the blusterers in conversation, that with a loud laugh, unnatural mirth, and a torrent of noise, domineer in public assemblies, overbear men of sense, stun their companions, and fill the place they are in with a rattling sound, that hath seldom any wit, humour, or good breeding in it. The drum notwithstanding, by this boisterous vivacity, is very proper to impose, upon the ignorant; and in conversation with Jadies, who are not of the finest taste, often passes for, a man of mirth and wit, and for wonderful pleasant company. I need not observe, that the emptiness of the drum very much contributes to its noise.
The lute is a character directly opposite to the drum, that sounds very finely, by itself, or in a very small concerta, Its notes are exquisitely sweet, and very low, easily drowned in a multitude of instruments, and even lost among a few, unless you give a particular attention to it. A lute is seldom heard in a com pany of more than five, whereas a drum will shew, itself to advantage in an assembly of five hundred. The, lutanists therefore are men of a fine genius, unconimon reflection, great affability, and esteemed chiefly by persons of good taste, who are the only proper judges of so delightful and soft a melody. The trumpet is an instrument that has in it no com
of music, or variety of sound, but is not withstanding very agreeable, so long as it keeps within its pitch. It has not above four or five notes, which are however very pleasing, and capable of exquisite turns and mo
dulations. The gentlemen who fall under this denomination, are your men of the most fashionable education, and refined breeding, who have learned a certain smoothness of discourse, and sprightliness of air, from the polite company they have kept ; but at the same time have shallow parts, weak judgments, and a short reach of understanding. A play house, a drawingroom, a ball, a visiting-day, or a ring at Hyde-Park, are the few notes they are masters of, which they touch upon in all conversations. The trumpet however is a necessary instrument about a court, and a proper enlivener of a concert, though of no great harmony by itself.
Violins are the lively, forward, importunate wits, that distinguish themselves by the flourishes of imagination, sharpness of repartee, glances of satire, and bear away the upper part in every concert. I cannot however but observe, that when a man is not disposed to hear music, there is not a more disagreeable sound in harmony than that of a violin.
There is another musical instrument, which is more frequent in this nation than any other; I mean your bass-viol, which grumbles in the bottom of the concert, and with a surly masculine sound strengthens the harmony, and tempers the sweetness of the several instruments that play along with it. The bass-viol is an instrument of a quite different nature to the trumpet, and may signify men of rough sense, and unpolished parts, who do not love to hear themselves talk, but sometimes break out with an agreeable bluntness, unexpected wit, and surly pleasantries, to the no small diversion of their friends and companions. In short, I look upon every sensible true-born Briton to be naturally a bass-viol.
As for your rural wits, who talk with great eloquence and alacrity, of foxes, hounds, horses, quickset-hedges, and six-bar gates, rouble ditches, and broken necks, I am in doubt, whether I should give them
a place in the conversable world. However, if they will content themselves with being raised to the dignity of hunting-horns, I shall desire for the future, that they may be known by that name.
I must not here omit the bag-pipe species, that will entertain you from morning to night with the repetition of a few notes, which are played over and over, with the perpetual humming of a drone running under
а neath them. These are your dull, heavy, tedious storytellers, the load and burthen of conversations, that set up for men of importance, by knowing secret history, and giving an account of transactions, that whether they ever passed in the world or not, doth not signify an halfpenny to its instruction, or its welfare. Some have observed, that the northern parts of this island are more particularly fruitful in bag-pipes.
There are so very few persons who are masters in every kind of conversation, and can talk on all subjects, that I do not know whether we should make distinct species of them: nevertheless, that my scheme may not be defective, for the sake of those few who are endowed with such extraordinary talents, I shall allow them to be harpsichords, a kind of music which every one knows is a concert by itself.
As for your passing-bells, who look upon mirth as criminal, and talk of nothing but what is melancholy in itself, and mortifying to human nature, I shall not mention them.
I shall likewise pass over in silence all the rabble of mankind, that crowd our streets, coffee-houses, feasts, and public tables. I cannot call their discourse conversation, but rather something that is practised in imitation of it. For which reason, if I would describe them by any musical instrument, it should be by those modern inventions of the bladder and string, tongs and key, marrow-bone and cleaver.
My reader will doubtless observe, that I have only touched here upon male instruments, having reserved