« VorigeDoorgaan »
pal officers, that if he died during the engagement, inseparable; and that courage, without regard to they should conceal his death from the army, and that they should ride up to the litter in which his corpse was carried, under the pretense of receiving orders from him as usual. Before the battle began, he was carried through all the ranks of his army in an open litter, as they stood drawn up in array, encouraging them to fight valiantly in de-gence of giving offense. This is visible in all the fense of their religion and country. Finding afterward the battle to go against him, though he was very near his last agonies, he threw himself out of his litter, rallied his army, and led them on to the charge; which afterward ended in a complete victory on the side of the Moors. He had no sooner brought his men to the engagement, but finding himself utterly spent, he was again replaced in his litter, where, laying his finger on his mouth, to enjoin secrecy to his officers who stood about him, he died a few moments after in that posture.-L.
No. 350.] FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 1712. Ea animi elatio quæ cernitur in periculis, si justitia vacal pugnatque pro suis commodis, in vitio est.-TULL. That elevation of mind which is displayed in dangers, if it wants justice, and fights for its own conveniency, is
justice and humanity, was no other than the fierceness of a wild beast. "A good and truly bold spirit," continued he, "is ever actuated by reason, and a sense of honor and duty. The affectation of such a spirit exerts itself in an impudent aspect, an overbearing confidence, and a certain negli cocking youths you see about this town, who are noisy in assemblies, unawed by the presence of wise and virtuous men; in a word, insensible of all the honors and decencies of human life. A shameless fellow takes advantage of merit clothed with modesty and magnanimity, and, in the eyes of little people, appears sprightly and agreeable: while the man of resolution and true gallantry is overlooked and disregarded, if not despised. There is a propriety in all things; and I believe what you scholars call just and sublime, in opposition to turgid and bombast expression, may give you an idea of what I mean, when I say modesty is the certain indication of a great spirit, and impudence the affectation of it. He that writes with judgment, and never rises into improper warmths, manifests the true force of genius; in like manner, he who is quiet and equal in all his behavior is supported in that deportment by what we may call true courage. Alas! it is not so easy a thing to be a brave man as the unthinking part of manCAPTAIN SENTRY was last night at the club, and kind imagine. To dare is not all that there is in produced a letter from Ipswich, which his corre- it. The privateer we were just now talking of spondent désired him to communicate to his friend had boldness enough to attack his enemy, but not the Spectator. It contained an account of an en- greatness of mind enough to admire the same gagement between a French privateer, commanded quality exerted by that enemy in defending himby one Dominick Pottiere, and a little vessel of self. Thus his base and little mind was wholly that place laden with corn, the master whereof, as taken up in the sordid regard to the prize of which I remember was one Goodwin. The Englishman he failed, and the damage done to his own vessel; defended himself with incredible bravery, and beat and therefore he used an honest man, who defend off the French, after having been boarded three ored his own from him, in the manner as he would four times. The enemy still came on with greater fury, and hoped by his number of men to carry "He was equally disappointed, and had not the prize; till at last the Englishman, finding him- spirit enough to consider, that one case would be self sink apace, and ready to perish, struck; but laudable, and the other criminal. Malice, rancor, the effect which this singular gallantry had upon hatred, vengeance, are what tear the breasts of the captain of the privateer was no other than an mean men in fight; but fame, glory, conquests, deunmanly desire of vengeance for the loss he had sires of opportunities to pardon and oblige their op sustained in his several attacks. He told the Ips. posers, are what glow in the minds of the gallant." wich man in a speaking-trumpet, that he would The captain ended his discourse with a specimen not take him aboard, and that he stayed to see of his book-learning; and gave us to understand him sink. The Englishman at the same time ob- that he had read a French author on the subject served a disorder in the vessel, which he rightly of justness in point of gallantry. "I love," said judged to proceed from the disdain which the Mr. Sentry, a critic who mixes the rules of life ship's crew had of their captain's inhumanity. with annotations upon writers. My author," With this hope he went into his boat, and ap- added he, "in his discourse upon epic poetry, proached the enemy. He was taken in by the takes occasion to speak of the same quality of sailors in spite of their commander: but, though courage drawn in the two different characters of they received him against his command, they Turnus and Eneas. He makes courage the chief treated him, when he was in the ship, in the manner and greatest ornament of Turnus; but in Eneas he directed. Pottiere caused his men to hold are many others which outshine it; among the Goodwin, while he beat him with a stick, till he rest, that of piety. Turnus is, therefore, all along fainted with loss of blood and rage of heart; after painted by the poet full of ostentation, his lan which he ordered him into irons, without allow-guage haughty and vain-glorious, as placing his ing him any food, but such as one or two of the honor in the manifestation of his valor: Eneas men stole to him under peril of the like usage: and having kept him several days overwhelmed with the misery of stench, hunger, and soreness, he brought him into Calais. The governor of the place was soon acquainted with all that had passed, dismissed Pottiere from his charge with ignominy, and gave Goodwin all the relief which a man of honor would bestow upon an enemy barbarously treated, to recover the imputation of cruelty upon his prince and country.
When Mr. Sentry had read his letter, full of many other circumstances which aggravate the barbarity, he fell into a sort of criticism upon mag
a thief that should rob him.
speaks little, is slow to action, and shows only s sort of defensive courage. If equipage and address make Turnus appear more courageous than Eneas, conduct and success prove Æneas more valiant than Turnus."-T.
No. 351.] SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 1712.
In te omnis domus inclinata recumbit.
On thee the fortunes of our house depend.
nanimity and courage, and argued that they were which have appeared in the world, we may
observe that they are built upon very slight foundations. Homer lived near 300 years after the Trojan war; and, as the writing of history was not then in use among the Greeks, we may very well suppose that the tradition of Achilles and Ulysses had brought down but very few particulars to his knowledge; though there is no question but he has wrought into his two poems such of their remarkable adventures as were still talked of among his cotemporaries.
whole Eneid, and has given offense to several critics, may be accounted for the same way. Virgil himself, before he begins that relation, premises, that what he was going to tell appeared incredible, but that it was justified by tradition. What further confirms me that this change of the fleet was a celebrated circumstance in the history of Eneas, is, that Ovid has given a place to the same metamorphosis in his account of the heathen mythology.
None of the critics I have met with have con
The story of Eneas, on which Virgil founded his poem, was likewise very bare of circum-sidered the fable of the Eneid in this light, and stances, and by that means afforded him an oppor- taken notice how the tradition on which it was tunity of embellishing it with fiction, and giving founded authorizes those parts in it which appear a full range to his own invention. We find, how the most exceptionable. I hope the length of this ever, that he has interwoven, in the course of his reflection will not make it unacceptable to the fable, the principal particulars, which were gene- curious part of my readers. rally believed among the Romans, of Æneas's Voyage and settlement in Italy.
The reader may find an abridgement of the whole story, as collected out of the ancient historians, and as it was received among the Romans, in Dionysius Halicarnassus.
The history which was the basis of Milton's poem is still shorter than either that of the Iliad or Æneid. The poet has likewise taken care to insert every circumstance of it in the body of his fable. The ninth book, which we are here to consider, is raised upon that brief account in ScripSince none of the critics have considered Virgil's ture, wherein we are told that the serpent was fable with relation to this history of Eneas, it more subtile than any beast of the field; that he may not, perhaps, be amiss to examine it in this tempted the woman to eat of the forbidden fruit; light, so far as regards my present purpose. that she was overcome by this temptation, and Whoever looks into the abridgement above-men- that Adam follwed her example. From these few tioned, will find that the character of Eneas is particulars, Milton has formed one of the most filled with piety to the gods, and a superstitious entertaining fables that invention ever produced. observation of prodigies, oracles, and predictions. He has disposed of these several circumstances Virgil has not only preserved his character in the among so many beautiful and natural fictions of person of Eneas, but has given a place in his his own, that his whole story looks like a compoem to those particular prophesies which he ment upon sacred writ, or rather seems to be a found recorded of him in history and tradition. full and complete relation of what the other is The poet took the matters of fact as they came only in epitome. I have insisted the longer on down to him, and circumstanced them after his this consideration, as I look upon the disposition own manner, to make them appear the more na- and contrivance of the fable to be the principal tural, agreeable, or surprising. I believe very beauty of the ninth book, which has more story many readers have been shocked at that ludicrous in it, and is fuller of incidents, than any other in prophesy which one of the harpies pronounces to the whole poem. Satan's traversing the globe, the Trojans in the third book; namely, that be- and still keeping within the shadow of the night, fore they had built their intended city they should as fearing to be discovered by the angel of the be reduced by hunger to eat their very tables. sun, who had before detected him, is one of those But, when they hear that this was one of the cir- beautiful imaginations with which he introduces umstances that had been transmitted to the Ro- this his second series of adventures. Having mans in the history of Eneas, they will think the examined the nature of every creature, and found poet did very well in taking notice of it. The out one which was the most proper for his purhistorian above-mentioned acquaints us, that a pose, he again returns to Paradise; and, to avoid prophetess had foretold Eneas, he should take discovery, sinks by night with a river that ran his voyage westward, till his companions should under the garden, and rises up again through a eat their tables; and that accordingly, upon his fountain that issued from it by the tree of life. landing in Italy, as they were eating their flesh The poet, who, as we have before taken notice, upon cakes of bread for want of other conve- speaks as little as possible in his own person, niences, they afterward fed on the cakes them- and, after the example of Homer, fills every part selves; upon which one of the company said of his work with manners and characters, intromerrily, "We are eating our tables." They im- duces a soliloquy of this infernal agent, who was mediately took the hint, says the historian, and thus restless in the destruction of man. concluded the prophesy to be fulfilled. As Virgil then described as gliding through the garden, did not think it proper to omit so material a par- under the resemblance of a mist, in order to find ticular in the history of Eneas, it may be worth out that creature in which he designed to tempt while to consider with how much judgment he has our first parents. This description has something qualified it, and taken off everything that might in it very poetical and surprising:
have appeared improper for a passage in a heroic poem. The prophetess who foretells it is a hungry harpy, as the person who discovers it is young
So saying, through each thicket dank or dry,
His head the midst, well stor'd with subtile wiles.
The author afterward gives us a description of the morning, which is wonderfully suitable to a divine poem, and peculiar to that first season of nature. He represents the earth, before it was cursed, as a great altar breathing out its incense from all parts, and sending up a pleasant savor to the nostrils of its Creator; to which he adds a noble idea of Adam and Eve, as offering their
morning worship, and filling up the universal con- | ance.
Now when a sacred light began to dawn
Their morning incense; when all things that breathe
With grateful smell; forth came the human pair,
These several particulars are all of them wrought into the following similitude:
-Hope elevates, and joy
Brightens his crest; as when a wandering fire,
The dispute which follows between our two first parents is represented with great art. It proceeds The secret intoxication of pleasure, with all from a difference of judgment, not of passion, and those transient flushings of guilt and joy, which is managed with reason, not with heat. It is the poet represents in our first parents upon eatsuch a dispute as we may suppose might have ing the forbidden fruit, to those flaggings of spirit, happened in Paradise, had men continued happy damps of sorrow, and mutual accusations which and innocent. There is a great delicacy in the succeed it, are conceived with a wonderful imamoralities which are interspersed in Adam's dis-gination, and described in very natural senti course, and which the most ordinary reader cannot but take notice of. That force of love which the father of mankind so finely describes in the eighth book, and which is inserted in my last Saturday's paper, shows itself here in many fine instances; as in those fond regards he casts toward Eve at her parting from him;
Some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguil'd thee, yet unknown,
The beginning of this speech, and the preparation to it, are animated with the same spirit as the conclusion, which I have here quoted.
The several wiles which are put in practice by the tempter, when he found Eve separated from her husband, the many pleasing images of nature which are intermixed in this part of the story, with its gradual and regular progress to the fatal catastrophe, are so very remarkable, that it would be superfluous to point out their respective beauties.
I have avoided mentioning any particular similitudes in my remarks on this great work, because I have given a general account of them in my paper on the first book. There is one, however, in this part of the poem, which I shall here quote, as it is not only very beautiful, but the closest of any in the whole poem; I mean that where the serpent is described as rolling forward in all his pride, animated by the evil spirit, and conducting Eve to her destruction, while Adam was at too her his assistgreat a distance from he
When Dido, in the fourth Eneid, yielded to
So saying, her rash band in evil hour,
Against his better knowledge; not deceiv'd,
As all nature suffered by the guilt of our first parents, these symptoms of trouble and consterna tion are wonderfully imagined, not only as prodigies, but as marks of her sympathizing in the fall
Adam's converse with Eve, after having eaten of the forbidden fruit, is an exact copy of that be tween Jupiter and Juno in the fourteenth lind Juno there approaches Jupiter with the girdle which she had received from Venus; upon he tells her, that she appeared more charming and desirable than she had ever done before, even when their loves were at the highest. The poet afterward describes them as reposing on a summit of Mount Ida, which produced under them a bed of flowers, the lotus, the crocus, and the hyacinth; and concludes his description with their falling asleep.
Let the reader compare this with the following passage in Milton, which begins with Adam's speech to Eve:
For never did thy beauty since the day
As no poet seems to have ever studied Homer more, or to have more resembled him in the greatness of genius, than Miltou, I think I should have given but a very imperfect account of his beauties, If I had not observed the most remarkable passages which look like parallels in these two great authors. I might, in the course of these criticisms, have taken notice of many particular lines and expressions which are translated from the Greek poet; but as I thought this would have appeared too minute and over curious, I have purposely omitted them. The greater incidents, however, are not only set off by being shown in the same light with several of the same nature in Homer, but by that means may be also guarded against the cavils of the tasteless or ignorant.-L.
No. 352.] MONDAY, APRIL 14, 1712.
Si ad honestatem nati sumus, ea aut sola expetenda est, aut certe omni pondere gravior est habenda quam reliqua omnia.-TULL.
If we be made for honesty, either it is solely to be sought, or certainly to be estimated much more highly than all other things.
seem to be that which he is not, but because he thinks it good to have such a quality as he pretends to? for to counterfeit and dissemble is to put on the appearance of some real excellency. Now the best way in the world for a man to seem to be anything, is really to be what he would seem to be. Beside, that it is many times as troublesome to make good the pretense of a good quality, as to have it; and if a man have it not, it is ten to one but he is discovered to want it, and then all his pains and labor to seem to have it is lost. There is something unnatural in painting, which a skillful eye will easily discern from native beauty and complexion.
"It is hard to personate and act a part long; for where truth is not at the bottom, nature will always be endeavoring to return, and will peep out and betray herself one time or other. Therefore if any man think it convenient to seem good, let him be so indeed, and then his goodness will appear to everybody's satisfaction; so that upon all accounts sincerity is true wisdom. Particularly as to the affairs of this world, integrity has many advantages over all the fine and artificial ways of dissimulation and deceit; it is much the plainer and easier, much the safer and more secure way of dealing in the world: it has less trouble and difficulty, of entanglement and perplexity, of danger and hazard in it; it is the shortest and nearest way to our end, carrying us thither in a straight line, and will hold out and last longest. The arts of deceit and cunning do continually grow weaker and less effectual and serviceable to them that use them; whereas integrity gains strength by use, and the more and longer any man practiceth it, the greater service it does him, by confirming his reputation, and encouraging those with whom he hath to do to repose the greatest trust and confidence in him, which is an unspeakable advantage in the business and affairs of life.
"Truth is always consistent with itself, and needs nothing to help it out; it is always near at hand, and sits upon our lips, and is ready to drop out before we are aware; whereas a lie is troublesome, and sets a man's invention upon the rack, and one trick needs a great many more to make it good. It is like a building upon a false foundation, which constantly stands in need of props to
WILL HONEYCOMB was complaining to me yesterday that the conversation of the town is so altered of late years, that a fine gentleman is at a loss for matter to start a discourse, as well as unable to fall in with the talk he generally meets with. Will takes notice, that there is now an evil under the sun which he supposes to be entirely new, because not mentioned by any satirist, or moralist, in any age. Men," said he, "grow knaves sooner than they ever did since the creation of the world before." If you read the tragedies of the last age, you find the artful men, and persons of intrigue, are advanced very far in years, and beyond the pleasures and sallies of youth; but now Will observes, that the young have taken in the vices of the aged, and you shall have a man of five-and-twenty, crafty, false and intriguing, not ashamed to overreach, cozen, and beguile My friend adds, that till about the latter end of King Charles's reign there was not a rascal of any eminence under forty. In the places of resort for conversation, you now hear nothing but what re-shore it up, and proves at last more chargeable lates to the improving men's fortunes, without regard to the methods toward it. This is so fashionable, that young men form themselves upon a certain neglect of everything that is candid, simple, and worthy of true esteem; and affect being yet worse than they are, by acknowledging, in their general turn of mind and discourse, that they have not any remaining value for true honor and honesty; preferring the capacity of being artful to gain their ends, to the merit of despising those ends when they come in competiton with their honesty. All this is due to the very silly pride that generally prevails, of being valued for the ability of carrying their point; in a word, from the opinion that shallow and inexperienced people entertain of the short-lived force of cunning. But I shall, before I enter upon the various faces which folly, covered with artifice, puts on to impose upon the unthinking, produce a great authority for asserting, that nothing but truth and ingenuity has any lasting good effect, even upon a man's
fortune and interest.
"Truth and reality have all the advantages of appearance, and many more. If the show of any thing be good for anything, I am sure sincerity is better; for why does any man dissemble, or
•Ingenuity seems to be here used for ingenuousness.
than to have raised a substantial building at first upon a true and solid foundation; for sincerity is firm and substantial, and there is nothing hollow and unsound in it, and, because it is plain and open, fears no discovery; of which the crafty man is always in danger; and when he thinks he walks in the dark, all his pretenses are so transparent, that he that runs may read them; he is the last man that finds himself to be found out; and while he takes it for granted that he makes fools of others, he renders himself ridiculous.
"Add to all this, that sincerity is the most compendious wisdom, and an excellent instrument for the speedy dispatch of business; it creates confidence in those we have to deal with, saves the labor of many inquiries, and brings things to an issue in few words. It is like traveling in a plain beaten road, which commonly brings a man sooner to his journey's end than byways, in which men often lose themselves. In a word, whatsoever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and dissimulation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because it brings a man under an everlasting jealousy and suspicion, so that he is not believed when he speaks truth, nor trusted when perhaps he means honestly. When a man has once forfeited the reputation of his integrity, he is set fast; and nothing will
then serve his turn, neither truth nor falsehood.
And I have often thought, that God hath, in his great wisdom, hid from men of false and dishonest minds the wonderful advantages of truth and integrity to the prosperity even of our worldly affairs: these men are so blinded by their covetousness and ambition, that they cannot look beyond a present advantage, nor forbear to seize upon it, though by ways never so indirect; they cannot see so far as to the remote consequences of a steady integrity, and the vast benefit and advantages which it will bring a man at last. Were but this sort of men wise and clear-sighted enough to discern this, they would be honest out of very knavery, not out of any love to honesty and virtue, but with a crafty design to promote and advance more effectually their own interests; and therefore the justice of the Divine Providence has hid this truest point of wisdom from their eyes, that bad men might not be on equal terms with the just and upright, and serve their own wicked designs by honest and lawful means.
"Indeed, if a man were only to deal in the world for a day, and should never have occasion to converse more with mankind, never more need their opinion or good word, it were then no great matter (speaking as to the concernments of this world) if a man spent his reputation all at once, and ventured it at one throw: but if he be to continue in the world, and would have the advantage of conversation while he is in it, let him make use of truth and sincerity in all his words and actions; for nothing but this will last and hold out to the end all other arts will fail, but truth and integrity will carry a man through, and bear him out to the last."-T.
No. 353.] TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 1712.
THE gentleman who obliges the world in general, and me in particular, with his thoughts upon education, has just sent me the following letter:
"The posts which require men of shining and uncommon parts to discharge them are so very few, that many a great genius goes out of the world without ever having had an opportunity to exert itself; whereas persons of ordinary endow ments meet with occasions fitted to their parts and capacities every day in the common occurrences of life.
"I am acquainted with two persons who were formerly school-fellows, and have been good friends ever since. One of them was not only thought an impenetrable blockhead at school, but still maintained his reputation at the university; the other was the pride of his master, and the most celebrated person in the college of which he was a member. The man of genius is at present buried in a country parsonage of eightscore pounds a-year; while the other, with the bare abilities of a common scrivener, has got an estate of above a hundred thousand pounds.
"I fancy, from what I have said, it will almost appear a doubtful case to many a wealthy citizen, whether or no he ought to wish his son should be a great genius; but this I am sure of, that nothing is more absurd than to give a lad the education of one, whom nature has not favored with any par ticular marks of distinction.
The fault, therefore, of our grammar-schools is, that every boy is pushed on to works of genius; whereas it would be far more advanta geous for the greatest part of them to be taught such little practical arts and sciences as do not require any great share of parts to be master of them, and yet may come often into play during the course of a man's life.
"Such are all the parts of practical geometry. I have known a man contract à friendship with minister of state upon cutting a dial in his window; and remember a clergyman who got one of the best benefices in the west of England, by setting a country gentleman's affairs in some method, and giving him an exact survey of his estate.
"While I am upon this subject, I cannot forbear mentioning a particular which is of use in every station of life, and which, methinks, every master should teach his scholars; I mean the wri ting of English letters. To this end, instead of "I take the liberty to send you a fourth letter perplexing them with Latin epistles, themes, and upon the education of youth. In my last I gave verses, there might be a punctual correspondence you my thoughts upon some particular tasks, established between two boys, who might at in which I conceived it might not be amiss to mix any imaginary parts of business, or be allowed with their usual exercises, in order to give them sometimes to give a range to their own fancies an early seasoning of virtue: I shall in this pro-and communicate to each other whatever trifles pose some others, which I fancy might contribute to give them a right turn for the world, and enable them to make their way in it.
they thought fit, provided neither of them ever failed at the appointed time to answer his corres pondent's letter.
"I believe I may venture to affirm, that the g nerality of boys would find themselves more advantaged by this custom, when they come to be men, than by all the Greek and Latin their maste IS can teach them in seven or eight years.
"The design of learning is, as I take it, either to render a man an agreeable companion to himself, and teach him to support solitude with pleasure; or, if he is not born to an estate, to supply that defect, and furnish him with the means of acquiring one. A person who applies himself to learn"The want of it is very visible in many learned ing with the first of these views, may be said to persons, who, while they are admiring the sys study for ornament; as he who proposes to him- of Demosthenes or Cicero, want phrases to express self the second, properly studies for use. The themselves on the most common occasiones. one does it to raise himself a fortune; the other, have seen a letter from one of these Latin orgies to set off that which he is already possessed of. which would have been deservedly laughed at ṛ But as far the greater part of mankind are included a common attorney. in the latter class, I shall only propose some methods at present for the service of such who expect to advance themselves by their learning. In order to which I shall premise, that many more estates have been acquired by little accomplishments than by extraordinary ones; those qualities which make the greatest figure in the eye of the world, not being always the most useful in themselves, or the most advantageous to their owners.
"Under this head of writing, I cannot omin se counts and short-hand, which are learns #73 little pains, and very properly come into the nu
*Swift and Mr. Stratford, a merchant. "Stratford is worth a plum, and is now lending the government 400 yel were educated together at the same school and uniricity. Swift's Works, vol. xxii, p. 10, cr., Svo-Stratford was shes ward a bankrupt.