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The author, having given us a description of these ghastly spectres, who, says he, are always calling upon death, and are placed under the distillation of that burning vengeance which falls upon them drop by drop, and is never to be exhausted, leads us into a pleasing scene of groves, filled with the melody of birds, and the odours of a thousand different plants. These groves are represented as rising among a great many flowery meadows, and watered with streams that diffuse a perpetual freshness, in the midst of an eternal day, and a never-fading spring. This, says the author, was the habitation of those good princes who were friends of the gods, and parents of the people. Among these, Telemachus converses with the shade of one of his ancestors, who makes a most agreeable relation of the joys of Elysium, and the nature of its inhabitants. The residence of Sesostris among these happy shades, with his character and present employment, is drawn in a very lively manner, and with a great elevation of thought.
The description of that pure and gentle light which overflows these happy regions, and clothes the spirits of these virtuous persons, hath something in it of that enthusiasm which this author was accused of by his enemies in the church of Rome; but however it may look in religion, it makes a very beautiful figure in poetry. The
rays of the sun, says he, are darkness in comparison with this light, which rather deserves the name of glory, than that of light. It pierces the thickest bodies, in the same manner as the sun beams pass through crystal: it strengthens the sight, instead of dazzling it; and nourishes in the most inward recesses of the mind a perpetual serenity that is not to be expressed. It enters and incorporates itself with very
substance of the soul: the spirits of the blessed feel it in all their senses, and in all their perceptions. It produces a certain source of peace and joy
that arises in them for ever, running through all the faculties, and refreshing all the desires of the soul. External pleasures and delights, with all their charms and allurements, are regarded with the utmost indifference and neglect by these happy spirits, who have this great principle of pleasure within them, drawing the whole mind to itself, calling off their attention from the most delightful objects, and giving them all the transports of inebriation, without the confusion and the folly of it.
I have here only mentioned some master-touches of this admirable piece, because the original itself is understood by the greater part of my readers. I must confess, I take a particular delight in these prospects of futurity, whether grounded upon the probable sug. gestions of a fine imagination, or the more severe conclusions of philosophy; as a man loves to hear all the discoveries or conjectures relating to a foreign country which he is, at some time, to inhabit. Prospects of this nature lighten the burden of any present evil, and refresh us under the worst and lowest circum. stances of mortality. They extinguish in us both the fear and envy of human grandeur. Insolence shrinks its head, power disappears ; pain, poverty and death fly before them. In short, the mind that is habituated to the lively sense of an hereafter, can hope for what is the most terrifying to the generality of man: kind, and rejoice in what is the most afflicting,
No. CLVII. TUESDAY, APRIL 10.
.............Facile est inventis addere............
From my own Apartment, April 10. I WAS last night in an assembly of very fine women. How I came among them, is of no great importance to the reader. I shall only let him know, that I was betrayed into so good company by the device of an old friend, who had promised to give some of his female acquaintance a sight of Mr. Bickerstaff. Upon hearing my name mentioned, a lady who sat by me, told me, they had brought together a female concert for my entertainment. You must know, says she, that we all of us look upon ourselves to be musical instruments, though we do not yet know of what kind, which we hope to learn from you, if you will give us leave to play before you. This was followed by a general laugh, which I always look upon as a necessary flourish in the opening of a female concert. They then struck up together, and played a whole hour upon two grounds, viz. the trial and the opera. I could not but observe, that several of their notes were more soft, and several more sharp than any
that I ever heard in a male concert; though I must confess, there was not any regard to time, nor any of those rests and pauses which are frequent in the harmony of the other sex. Besides that, the · music was generally full, and no particular instrument permitted to play long by itself.
I seemed so very well pleased with what every one said, and smiled with so much complaisance at all their pretty fancies, that though I did not put one word into their discourse, I have the vanity to think, they looked upon me as very agreeable company. I then told them, that if I were to draw the picture of so many charming musicians, it should be like one I
had seen of the muses, with their several instruments in their hands; upon which the lady Kettle-Drum tossed back her head, and cried, a very pretty simile! The concert again revived; in which, with nods, smiles, and approbations, I bore the part rather of one who beats the time, than of a performer.
I was no sooner retired to my lodgings, but I ran over in my thoughts the several characters of this fair assembly, which I shall give some account of, because they are various in their kind, and
each of them stand as a sample of a whole species. · The person who pleased me most was a Flute, an instrument, that, without any great compass, hath something exquisitely sweet and soft in its sound: it Julls and soothes the ear, and fills it with such a gentle kind of melody, as keeps the mind awake without startling it, and raises a most agreeable passion between transport and indolence. In short, the music of the Flute is the conversation of a mild and amiable woman, that has nothing in it very elevated, or at the same time, any thing mean or trivial.
I must here observe, that the Hautboy is the most perfect of the Flute species, which, with all the sweetness of the sound, hath a great strength and variety of notes; though at the same time I must observe, that the Hautboy in one sex is as scarce as the harpsicord in the other.
By the side of the Flute there sat a Flageolet ; for so I must call a certain young lady, who fancying herself a wit, despised the music of the Flute, as low and insipid, and would be entertaining the company with tart ill-natured observations, pert fancies, and little turns, which she imagined to be full of life and spirit. The Flageolet therefore doth not differ from the Flute so much in the compass of its notes, as in the shrillness and sharpness of the sound. We must however take notice, that the Flageolets, among their own sex, are more valued and esteemed than the Flutes.
There chanced to be a coquet in the concert, that, with a great many skittish notes, affected squeaks, and studied inconsistencies, distinguished herself from the rest of the company. She did not speak a word during the whole trial; but I thought she would never have
the operá. One while she would break out upon,
"That hideous King !" then upon that charming blackmoor! then, “O that dear Lion !" Then would hum over two or three notes ; then run to the window to see what coach was coming. The coquet therefore I must distinguish by that musical instrument which is commonly known by the name of a Kit, that is more jiggish than the Fiddle itself, and never sounds but to a dance.
The fourth person who bore a part in the conversation was a prude, who stuck to the trial, and was silent upon the whole opera. The gravity of her censures, and composure of her voice, which were often attended with supercilious casts of the eye, and a seeming contempt for the lightness of the conversation, put me in mind of that ancient, serious, matron-like instrument the Virginal.
I must not pass over in silence a Lancashire Hornpipe, by which I would signify a young country lady, who, with a great deal of mirth and innocence, diverted the company very agreeably; and, if I am not mistaken, by that time the wildness of her notes is a little softened, and the redundancy of her music restrained by conversation, and good company, will be improved into one of the most amiable Flutes about the town. Your romps and boarding-school girls fall likewise under this denomination.
On the right hand of the Hornpipe sat a Welsh Harp, an instrument which very much delights in the tunes of old historical ballads, and in celebrating the renowned actions and exploits of ancient British heroes. By this instrument I therefore would describe a certain lady, who is one of those female historians