« VorigeDoorgaan »
Whether it were because the thread of my dream was åt an end, I cannot tell; but upon my taking a survey of this imaginary old man, my sleep left
NO 84. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 1711.
-Quis taliu fando
VIRG. Æn. ii. 6.
As steru Ulysses must have wept to hear? LOOKING over the old manuscript wherein the private actions of Pharamond are set down by way of table-book, I found many things which gave me great delight; and as human lite turns upon the same principles and passions in all ages, I thought
I it very proper to take minutes of what passed in that age, for the instruction of this. The antiquary who lent me these papers, gave me a character of Eucrate the favourite of Pharamond, extracted from an author who lived in that court. The account he gives both of the prince and this his faithful friend, will not be improper to insert here, because I may have occasion to mention many of their conversations, into which these memorials of them may give light.
Pharamond, when he had a mind to retire for an hour or two from the hurry of business and fatigue of ceremony, made a signal to Eucrate, by putting his hand to his face, placing his arm negligently on a window, or some such action as appeared indifferent to all the rest of the company. Upon such notice, unobserved by others, (for their intire intimacy was always a secret) Eucrate repaired to his own apartment to receive the king. There was a secret access to this part of the court, at which
Eucrate used to admit many whose mean appearance in the eyes of the ordinary waiters and doorkeepers made them be repulsed from other parts of the palace. Such as these were let in here by order of Eucrate, and had audiences of Pharamond. This entrance Pharamond called “ The gate of the unhappy ;' and the tears of the afflicted who came before him, he would say, were bribes received by Eucrate ; for Eucrate, had the most compassionate spirit of all men living, except his generous master, who was always kindled at the least affliction which was communicated to him. In the regard for the miserable, Eucrate took particular care, that the common forms of distress, and the idle pretenders to sorrow, about courts, who wanted only supplies to luxury, should never obtain favour by his means : but the distresses, which arise from the many inexplicable occurrences that happen among men, the unaccountable alienation of parents from their children, cruelty of husbands to wives, poverty occasioned from shipwreck or fire, the falling-out of friends, or such other terrible disasters, to which the life of man is exposed; in cases of this nature, Eucrate was the patron ; and enjoyed this part of the royal favour so much without being envied, that it was never enquired into, by whose means what no one else cared for doing, was brought about.
' One evening when Pharamond came into the apartment of Eucrate, he found himn extremely dejected; upon which he asked (with a smile which was natural to him) " What, is there any one too miserable to be relieved by Pharamond, that Eucrate is melancholy ?"-" I fear there is," answered the
?” favourite: “A person without, of a good air, well A
a dressed, and, though a man in the strength of his life, seems to faint under some inconsolable calamity. All his features seem suffused with agony of mind; but I can observe in him, that it is more inclined to break
away in tears, than rage. I asked him what he would have. He said he would speak to Phara
mond. I desired his business. He could hardly say to me, Eucrate, carry me to the king, my story is not to be told twice; I fear I shall not be able to speak it at all.” Pharamond commanded Eucrate to let him enter; he did so, and the gentleman approached the king with an air which spoke him under the greatest concern in what manner to demean himself. The king, who had a quick discerning, relieved him from the oppression he was under and with the most beautiful complacency said to him,
6 Sir, do not add to that load of sorrow I see in your countenance the awe of my presence. Think you are speaking to your friend. If the circumstances of your distress will admit of it, you shall find me so.” To whom the stranger: “ Oh excellent Pharamond, name not a friend to the unfortunate Spinamont* : I had one, but he is dead by my own hand; but, oh Pharamond, though it was by the hand of Spinamont, it was by the guilt of Pharamond. I come not, oh excellent prince, to implore your pardon: I come to relate my sorrow, a sorrow too great for human life to support: from henceforth shall all occurrences appear dreams, or short intervals of amusement, from this one affliction which has seized my very being. Pardon me, oh Pharamond, if
my griefs give me leave, that I lay before you, in the
, anguish of a wounded mind, that you, good as you are, are guilty of the generous blood spilt this day by this unhappy hand. Oh that it had perished beföre that instant !” Here the stranger paused, and recollecting his mind, after some little meditation, he went on in a calmer tone and gesture, as follows:
“ There is an authority due to distress, and as none of human race is above the reach of sorrow, none should be above the hearing the voice of it; 1 am sure Pharamond is not. Know then, that I have
* The person here alluded to was a Mr. Thornhill, .who killed Sir Cholmley Dering in a duel in Tothil Fields, on the 9th of May 1711. They fought so close, that the muzzles of their pistols touched each other. Mr. Thornhill was tried at the Old Bailey on the 18th, and found guilty of manslaughter. Three months after, he was himself assassinated on Turnham Green,
this morning unfortunately killed in a duel, the man whom of all men living 1 most loved. I command myself too much in your royal presence, to say, Pħaramond give me my friend? Pharamond'has taken him from me! I will not say, shall the merciful Pharamond destroy his own subjects? Will the father of his country murder his people ? But the merciful Pharamond does destroy his subjects, the father of his country does murder his people. Fortune is so much the pursuit of mankind, that all glory and honour is in the power of a prince, because he has the distribution of their fortunes. It is therefore the inadvertency, negligence, or guilt of princes to let any thing grow into custom which is against their laws. A court can make fashion and duty walk together; it can never, without the guilt of a court, happen, that it shall not be unfashionable to do what is unlawful. But alas ! in the dominions of Pharamond, by the force of a tyrant castom, which is misnamed a point of honour, the duellist kills his friend whom he loves; and the judge condemns the duellist, while he approves his behaviour. Shame is the greatest of all evils; what avail laws, when death only attends the breach of them, and shame obedience to them? As for me, oh Pharamond, were it possible to describe the nameless kinds of compunctions and tendernesses I feel, when I reflect upon the little accidents in our former familiarity, my mind swells into sorrow which cannot be resisted enough to be silent in the presence of Pharamond. (With that he fell into a flood of tears, and wept aloud.) Why should not Pharaniond
, hear the anguish he only can relieve others from in time to come? Let him hear from me, what they feel who have given death by the false mercy of his ad. ministration, and form to himself the vengeance called for by those who have perished by his negligence."
* Steele, in his admirable comedy of “ The Conscious Lovers,” has a fine scene, to exhibit the absurdity of duelling.
NO 85. THURSDAY, JUNE 7, 1711.
Interdum speciosa locis, morataque
HOR. Ars Poet, ver. 319.
is the custom of the Mahometans, if they see any printed or written paper upon the ground, to take it up and lay it aside carefully, as not knowing but it may contain some piece of their Alcoran. I must confess I have so much of the Mussulman in me, that I cannot forbear looking into every printed paper which comes in my way, under whatsoever despicable circumstances it may appear; for as no mortal author, in the ordinary fate and vicissitude of things, knows to what use his works may some time or other be applied, a man may often meet with
celebrated names in a paper of tobacco. I have lighted my pipe more than once with
. the writings of a prelate; and know a friend of mine, who, for these several years, has converted the essays of a man of quality into a kind of fringe for his candlesticks. I remember in particular, after having read over a poem of an eminent author on a victory, I met with several fragments of it upon the next rejoicing day, which had been employed in squibs and crackers, and by that means celebrated its subject in a double capacity. I once met with a page of Mr. Baxter under a Christmas-pye. , Whether or no the pastry-cook had made use of it through chance or waggery, for the defence of that superstitious viande, I know not; but upon the per