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the prefervation of life should be only a fecondary concern, and the direction of it our principal. If we have this frame of mind, we shall take the best means to preferve life, without being over folicitous about the event; and shall arrive at that point of felicity which Martial has mentioned as the perfection of happiness, of neither fearing nor wishing for death.
In anfwer to the gentleman, who tempers his health by ounces and by fcruples, and, instead of complying with thofe natural folicitations of hunger and thirst, drowfinefs or love of exercife, governs himself by the prefcriptions of his chair, I fhall tell him a fhort fable. Jupiter, fays the Mythologift, to reward the piety of a certain countryman, promised to give him whatfoever he would afk: the countryman defired that he might have the management of the weather in his own eftate: he obtained his requeft, and immediately distributed rain, fnow, and funshine among his feveral fields, as he thought the nature of the foil required. At the end of the year, when he expected to fee a more than ordinary crop, his harveft fell infinitely fhort of that of his neighbours; upon which, fays the fable, he defired Jupiter to take the weather again into his own hands, or that otherwfe he fhould utterly ruin himself. с
poifed after dinner. I walk till I have perfpired • five ounce and four fcruples; and when I dif• cover, by my chair, that I am fo far reduced, I fall to my books, and study away three ounces • more: As for the remaining parts of the pound, I keep no account of them. I do not dine and fup by the clock, but by my chair, for when that informs me my pound of food is exhaufted, I ⚫ conclude myself to be hungry, and lay in another 'with all diligence. In my days of abftinence I lofe a pound and an half, and on folemn fafts am two pounds lighter than on other days in the year.
I allow myself, one night with another, a quarter of a pound of fleep within a few grains more or lefs; and if upon my rifing I find that I have ⚫ not confumed my whole quantity, I take out the reft in my chair. Upen an exact calculation of what I expended and received the last year, which I always regifter in a book, I find the 'medium to be two hundred weight, fo that I cannot difcover that I am impaired one ounce ' in my health during a whole twelvemonth. And yet, Sir, notwithstanding this my great care to ballast myself equally every day, and to keep my body in its proper poife, fo it is that I find myfelf in a fick and languishing condition. My 'complexion is grown very fallow, my pulfe low, and my body hydropical. Let me therefore beg F you, Sir, to confider me as your patient, and to give me more certain rules to walk by than thofe I have already obferved, and you will very much ⚫ oblige.
Your humble fervant,
No. 26. FRIDAY, MARCH 30.
Pallida mors aquo pulfat pede pauperum tabernas
Vita fumma brevis ffem nos vetat inchoare longam.
This letter puts me in mind of an Italian epitaph written on the monument of a Valetudinarian; "Stavo ben, ma per ftar Meglio, fto qui:" which it is impoffible to tranflate. The fear of death often proves mortal, and fets people on methods to fave their lives, which infallibly destroy them. This is a reflection made by fome historians, upon obferving that there are many more thoufands killed in a flight than in a battle; and be to multitudes of
fick perfons that break their conftitutions by phy-W
HEN I am in a ferious humour, I very often walk by myself in Westminster-abbey; where the gloominess of the place, and the ufe to which it is applied, with the folemnity of the building, and the condition of the people who lie in it, are apt to fill the mind with a kind of melancholy, or rather thoughtfulness, that is not difagreeable. I yesterday paffed a whole afternoon in the church-yard, the cloifters, and the church,
fic, and throw themselves into the arms of death, by endeavouring to escape it. This method is not only dangerous, but below the practice of a reasonable creature. To confult the prefervation of life, as the only end of it, to make our health our bufinefs, to engage in no action that is not part of a regimen, or courfe of phyfic; are purpofes fo abject, fo mean, fo unworthy human na-amufing myself with the tomb-ftones and infcripture, that a generous foul would rather die than tions that I met with in thofe feveral regions of fubmit to them. Befides, that a continual anxiety the dead. Most of them recorded nothing elfe of for life vitiates all the relishes of it, and cafts a the buried perfon, but that he was born upon one gloom over the whole face of nature; as it is im- day, and died upon another: the whole hiftory of poffible we fhould take delight in any thing that his life being comprehenddd in thofe two circumwe, are every moment afraid of lofing. ftances, that are common to all mankind. I could not but look upon thefe regifters of exiftence, whether of brafs or marble, as a kind of fatire upon the departed perfons; who had left no other memorial of them, but that they were born and that they died. They put me in mind of feveral perfons mentioned in the battles of heroic poems, who have founding names given them, for no other reafon but that they may be killed, and are celebrated for nothing but being knocked on the head.
I do not mean, by what I have here faid, that I think any one to blame for taking due care of their health. On the contrary, as chearfulness of mind, and capacity for bufinefs, are in a great measure the effects of a well-temper'd conftitution, a man cannot be at too much pains to cultivate and preferve it. But this care, which we are prompted to. not only by common fenfe, but by duty and in tipet, should ever engage us in groundlefs frs, melancholy apprel enfons, and imaginary tempers, which are natural to every man who org anxious to live than how to live. In fhort,
Γλαύκόν τε Μεδίνα τε Ξερσιλοχόν τε.
HOR. Od. 'I. iv. 13. With equal foot, rich friend, impartial fate Knocks at the cottage, and the palace gate: Life's fpan forbids thee to extend thy cares,
And ftretch thy hopes beyond thy years: Night foon will feize, and you must quickly go To story'd ghofts, and Pluto's houfe below. CREECH.
Glaucumque, Medontaque, Therfilochumque. VIRG.
Upon my going into the church, I entertained myfelf with the digging of a grave; and faw in every fhovel-full of it that was thrown up, the fragment of a bone or skull intermixt with a kind of fresh mouldering earth that fome time or other had a place in the composition of an human body, Upon this I began to confider with myself what innumerable multitudes of people lay confused together under the pavement of that ancient cathedral; how men and women, friends and enemies, priests and foldiers, monks and prebendaries, were crumbled amongst one another, and blended together in the fame common mafs; how beauty, strength, and youth, with old age, weakness, and deformity, lay undiftinguished in the fame promifcuous heap of matter.
After having thus furveyed this great magazine of mortality, as it were in the lump; I examined it more particularly by the accounts which I found on feveral of the monuments which are raifed in every quarter of that ancient fabric. Some of them were covered with fuch extravagant epitaphs, that if it were poffible for the dead perfon to be acquainted with them, he would blush at the praises which his friends have beftowed upon him. There are others fo exceffively modeft, that they deliver the character of the perfon departed in Greek or Hebrew, and by that means are not understood once in a twelvemonth. In the poetical quarter, I found there were poets who had no monuments, and monuments which had no poets. I obferved indeed that the prefent war had filled the church with many of thefe uninhabited monuments, which had been erected to the memory of perfons whofe bodies were perhaps buried in the plains of Blenheim, or in the bofom of the
But to return to our fubject. I have left the repofitory of our English kings for the contemplation of another day, when I shall find my mind disposed for so serious an amusement. I know that entertainments of this nature are apt to raise dark and difinal thoughts in timorous minds, and gloomy imaginations; but for my own part, though I am always ferious, I do not know what it is to be melancholy; and can therefore take a view of nature, in her deep and folemn fcenes, with the fame pleasure as in her moft gay and delightful ones. By this means I can improve myfelf with thofe objects, which others confider with terror. When I look upon the tombs of the great,every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate defire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tomb-ftone, my heart melts with compaffion; when I fee the tomb of the parents themselves, I confider the vanity of grieving for those whom we muft quickly follow; when I fee kings lying by thofe who depofed them, when I confider rival wits placed fide by fide, or the holy men that divided the world with their contefts and difputes, I reflect with forrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and fome fix hundred years ago, I confider that great day when we fhall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together.
I could not but be very much delighted with feveral modern epitaphs, which are written with great elegance of expreffion and juftness of thought, and therefore do honour to the living as well as to the dead. As a foreigner is very apt to conceive an idea of the ignorance or politenefs of a nation from the turn of their public monuments and inferiptions, they should be submitted to the perufal of men of learning and genius before they are put in execution. Sir Cloudefly Shovel's monument has very often given me great offence; instead of the brave rough English admiral, which was the diftinguishing character of that plain gallant man, he is reprefented on his tomb by the figure of a beau, dreffed in a long perriwig, and repofing himself upon velvet cushions under a canopy of ftate. The infcription is answerable to the monument; for inftead of celebrating the many remarkable actions he had performed in the fervice of his country, it acquaints us only with the manner of his death, in which it was impoffible for him to reap any honour. The Dutch, whom we are apt to defpife for want of genius, fhew an infinitely greater tafte of antiquity and politenef. in their buildings, and works of this nature, than what we meet with in thofe of our own country. The monuments of their admirais, which have been erected at the public expence, represent them like themselves; and are adorned with roftra! crowns and naval ornaments, with beautiful feftoons of fea-weed, thells, and coral.
Long as to him, who works for debt, the day;
HERE is fcarce a thinking man in the world, who is involved in the bufinefs of it, but lives under a fecret impatience of the hurry and fatigue he fuffers, and has formed a refolution to fix himself, one time or other, in fuch a ftate as is fuitable to the end of his being. You hear men every day in converfation profefs that all the honour, power, and riches, which they propofe to themfelves, cannot give fatisfaction enough to reward them for half the anxi ty they underro in the purfuit or poffeffion of the. While men are in this temper, which happens very frequently, how inconfifient are they with themfelves! They are wearied with the toil they bear, but cannot fre
their hearts to relinquish it; retirement is what they want, but they cannot betake themselves to it: while they pant after fhade and covert, they still affect to appear in the most glittering scenes of life; but fure this is but juft as reasonable as if a man fhould call for more lights, when he has a mind to go to fleep.
Since then it is certain that our own hearts deceive us in the love of the world, and that we can-.'' Set con ourselves
we every day with ourselves difengaged from its allurements; let us not stand upon a formal taking of leave, but wean ourselves from them, while we are in the midft of them.
It is certainly the general intention of the greater part of mankind to accomplish this work, and live according to their own approbation, as foon as they poffibly can; but fince the duration of life is fo uncertain, and that has been a common topic of difcourfe ever fince there was fuch a thing as life itfelf, how is it poffible that we should defer a moment the beginning to live according to the rules of reafon ?
The man of business has ever fome one point to carry, and then he tells himfelf he'll bid adieu to all the vanity of ambition; the man of pleasure refolves to take his leave at leaft, and part civilly with his miftrefs; but the ambitious man is entangled every moment in a fresh purfuit, and the lover fees new charms in the object he fancied he could abandon. It is therefore a fantastical way of thinking, when we promife ourselves an alteration in our conduct from change of place, and difference of circumftances; the fame paffions will attend us wherever we are till they are conquered; and we can never live to our fatisfaction in the deepest retirement, unless we are capable of living fo in fome measure amidst the noife and bufinefs of the world.
I have ever thought men were better known, by what could be obferved of them from a perufal of their private letters, than any other way. My friend the clergyman, the other day, upon ferious difcourse with him concerning the danger of procrastination, gave me the following letters from perfons with whom he lives in great friendship and intimacy, according to the good breeding and good fenfe of his character. The firft is from a man of bufinefs, who is his convert; the fecond from one of whom he conceives good hopes; the third from one who is in no flate at all, but carried one way and another by Starts.
knowledge I am the better man, from the influTM ence aud authority you have over.
Your moft obliged and
AM intirely convinced of the truth of what
laft with you alone. You told me then of the filly way I was in; but you told me fo, as I faw 6 you loved me, otherwife I could not obey your commands in letting you know my thoughts fo fincerely as I do at prefent. "J know the crea"ture for whom I resign so much of my charac"ter," is all that you faid of her; but then the triser has fomething in her fo undefigning and harmless, that her guilt in one kind difappears by the comparison of her innocence in another. Will 6 you, virtuous men, allow no alteration of offences? Muft dear Chloe be called by the hard " name you pious people give to common women? I keep the folemn promife I made you in writing to you the state of my mind, after your kind admonition; and will endeavour to get the better of this fondness, which makes me fo much her humble fervant, that I am almost ashamed to fub• fcribe myself yours,
Know not with what words to express to you the fenfe I have of the high obligation you have laid upon me, in the penance you enjoined me of doing fome good or other to a person of worth every day I live. The station I am in fur
nishes me with daily opportunities of this kind; N° 28. MONDAY, APRIL 2.
and the noble principle with which you have in" fpired me, of benevolence to all I have to deal with, quickens my application in every thing I undertake. When I relieve merit from difcountenance, when I assist a friendless perfon, when I produce concealed worth, I am difpleafed with myfelf, for having defigned to leave the world in order to be virtuous. I am forty you decline the • occafions which the condition I am in might afford me of enlarging your fortures; but know I contribute more to your fatisfaction, when I ac
HERE is no ftate of life fo anxious as that of a man who does not live according to the dictates of his own reafon. It would feem odd to you, when I affure you that my love of retirement first of all brought me to court; but this will be no riddle, when I acquaint you that I placed myfelf here with a defign of getting fo much money as might enable me to purchase a handfome retreat in the country. At prefent my • circumstances enable me, and my duty prompts me, to pass away the remaining part of my life in fuch a retirement as I at first propofed to myfelf; but to my great misfortune I have intirely loft the relifh of it, and fhould now return to the country ' with greater reluctance than I at first came to court, I am fo unhappy, as to know that what I am fond of are trifles, and that what I neglect is of the greatest importance: in short, I find a conteft in my own mind between reafon and faflion. I re'member you once told me, that I might live in the world and out of it at the fame time. Let 'me beg of you to explain this paradox more at large to me, that I may conform my life, if poffible, both to my duty and my inclination, I am, Your most humble fervant,
-Neque femper arcum Tendit Apollo. HOR. Od. II. x. 19. Nor does Apollo always bend his bow. Shall here prefent my reader with a letter from a projector, concerning a new office which he thinks may very much contribute to the embellifment of the city, and to the driving barbarity out of our fireets. I confider it is a fatire upon projectors in general, and a lively picture of the whole art of modern criticiím.
ting certain officers under you, for the infpection of feveral petty enormities which you ⚫ yourself cannot attend to; and finding daily abfurdities hung out upon the fign-pofts of this cito the great scandal of foreigners, as well as those ⚫ of our own country, who are curious fpectators of the fame; I do humbly propofe that you would be pleased to make me your fuperintendant of all fach figures and devices as are or fhall be made ufe ⚫ of on this occafion; with full powers to rectify or ' expunge whatever I shall find irregular or defective. For want of fuch an officer, there is nothing like found literature and good fenfe to be met with in those objects, that are every where thrufting themselves out to the eye, and endeavouring to become vifible. Our freets are filled with blue boars, black fwans, and red lions; not to mention flying pigs and hogs in armour, with many other ⚫ creatures more extraordinary than any in the deferts of Afric. Strange! that one who has all the birds and beafts in nature to choose out of, fhould live at the fign of an Ens Rationis!
< My first task therefore should be, like that of Hercules, to clear the city from monfters. In the ⚫ fecond place I would forbid, that creatures ofjarring ⚫ and incongruous natures should be joined together * in the fame fign; fuch as the Bell and the Neat's'tongue, the Dog and Gridiron. The Fox and Goofe may be fuppofed to have met, but what has the Fox and Seven Stars to do together? And when did the Lamb and Dolphin ever meet, except upon a fign poft? As for the Cat and Fiddle, there is a conceit in it; and therefore I do not intend that any thing I have here faid fhould affect it. I must however obferve to you this fubject, that it is ufual for a young upon tradesman, at his first fetting-up, to add to his • own fign that of the mafter whom he ferved; as the husband, after marriage, gives a place to his • miftrefs's arms in his own coat. This I take to ⚫ have given rife to many of those absurdities which
are committed over our heads; and, as I am informed, firft occafioned the Three Nuns and a • Hare, which we fee fo frequently joined together. I would therefore establish certain rules, for the determining how far one tradesman may give the fign of another, and in what cafes he may be allowed to quarter it with his own.
In the third place, I would enjoin every fhop to make ufe of a fign which bears fome affinity to the wares in which it deals. What can be ⚫ more inconûftent, than to fee a Bawd at the fign of the Angel, or a Tailor at the Lion? A Cook fhould not live at the Boot, nor a Shoe-maker at the Roasted Pig; and yet, for want of this regulation, I have seen a Goat fet up before the door of a perfumer, and the French king's head at a fword cutler's.
An ingenious foreigner obferves, that feveral of thofe gentlemen who value themselves upon ⚫ their families, and overlook fuch as are bred to 'trade, bear the tools of their forefathers in their coats of arms. I will not examine how true this is in fact; but though it may not be neceflary for pofterity thus to fet up the fign of their forefathers, I think it highly proper for thofe who actually profefs the trace, to fhew • fome fuch marks of it before their doors.
When the name gives an occafion for an ingenious fign-poft, I would likewise advise the
owner to take that opportunity of letting the world know who he is. It would have been ridi'culous for the ingenious Mrs. Salmon to have lived at the fign of the trout; for which reafon the has erected before her houfe the figure of the 'fish that is her name-fake. Mr. Bell has likewife diftinguished himself by a device of the fame na. ture: and here, Sir, I must beg leave to obferve to you, that this particular figure of a bell has given ⚫ occafion to several pieces of wit in this kind. man of your reading muft know, that Abel Drugger gained great applaufe by it in the time of Bea Jonfon. Our apocryphal heathen God is alfo reprefented by this figure; which, in conjunction with the dragon, makes a very handsome picture in feveral of our streets. As for the bell favage, which is the fign of a favage man standing by a bell, I was formerly very much puzzled upon the Conceit of it, till I accidentally fell into the read. 'ing of an old romance, tranflated out of the French; which gives an account of a very beautiful woman who was found in a wilderness, and is called in the French, La belle Sauvage; and is every where tranflated by our countrymen the Bell-Savage. This piece of philofophy will, I hope, convince you that I have made fign-pofts my ftudy, and con. fequently qualified myfelf for the employment which I folicit at your hands. But before I con. clude my letter, I must communicate to you another remark which I have made upon the fubject with which I am now entertaining you, namely, that I can give a fhrewd guess at the humour of the inhabitant by the fign that hangs before his door. A furly choleric fellow generally makes choice of a bear; as men of milder difpofitions frequently live at the lamb. Seeing a punchbowl painted upon a fign near Charing-Crofs, and 6 very curiously garnished, with a couple of angels hovering over it, and fqueezing a lemnon into it, I had the curiofity to afk after the master of the houfe, and found, upon inquiry, as I had gueffed by the little agrémens upon his fign, that he was a Frenchman. I know, Sir, it is not requisite for me to enlarge upon these hints to a gentleman of your great abilities; fo humbly recommending myfelf to your favour and patronage.
I remain, &c.
I fhall add to the foregoing letter, another which came to me by the fame penny-polt.
From my own apartment near Charing-Crofs.
AVING heard that this nation is a great encourager of ingenuity, I have brought with me a rope dancer that was caught in one of the woods belonging to the Great Mogul. He is by birth a monkey; but fwings upon a rope, takes a pipe of tobacco, and drinks a glass of ale, like any reasonable creature. He gives great fatisfaction to the quality, and if they will make a fubfcription for him, I will fend for a brother of his out of Holland that is a very good turabler; and alfo for another of the fame family whom I design for my Merry-Andrew, as being an excellent mimic, and the greatest droll in the country where he now is. I hope to have this entertainment in a readiness for the next winter; and doubt not but it will pleafe more than the opera or puppet show. I will not fay that a monkey is a better man than fome of the opera-heroes; but certainly he is a better reprefentative of a man, than the most artificial compofition of • wood
TUESDAY, APRIL 3. -----Sermo linguâ concinnus utrâque Suavior:ut Chio nota fi commifta Falerni eft. HOR. Sat. I. x. 23, Both tongues united sweeter founds produce, Like Chian mix'd with the Falernian juice. HERE is nothing that has more startled our English audience, than the Italian Recitativo at its first entrance upon the ftage. People were wonderfully furprised to hear generals finging the word of command, and ladies delivering messages in mufic. Our countrymen could not forbear laughing when they heard a lover chanting out a billet-doux, and even the fuperfcription of a letter fet to a tune. The famous blunder in an old play of "Enter a king and two fiddlers folus," was now no longer an abfurdity; when it was im poffible for a hero in a defert, or a princefs in her clofet, to speak any thing accompanied with mufical inftruments.
To go to the bottom of this matter, I must obferve, that the tone, or, as the French call it, the accent of every nation in their ordinary fpeech is altogether different from that of every other people; as we may fee even in the Welch and Scotch, who border fo near upon us. By the tone or accent, I do not mean the pronunciation of each par, ticular word, but the found of the whole fentence, Thus it is very common for an English gentleman, when he hears a French tragedy, to complain that the actors of all them fpeak in a tone; and therefore he very wifely prefers his own countrymen, not confidering that a foreigner complains of the fame tone in an English actor.
For this reafon, the recitative music, in every language, fhould be as different as the tone or accent of each language; for otherwife, what may properly exprefs à paffion in one language, will not do it in another. Every one who has been long in Italy knows very well, that the cadences in the Recitativo bear a remote affinity to the tone of their voices in ordinary conversation, or, to speak more properly, are only the accents of their language made more mufical and tuneful.
For this reafon the Italian artifts cannot agree with our English musicians, in admiring Purcell's compofitions, and thinking his tunes fo wonder fully adapted to his words; because both nations do not always exprefs the fame paffions by the fame founds.
Thus the notes of interrogation, or admiration, in the Italian mufio, if one may fo call them, which refemble their accents in difcourfe on fuch occaHons, are not unlike the ordinary tones of an English voice when we are angry; infomuch that I have often feen our audiences extremely miftaken as to what has been doing upon the flage, and expecting to fee the hero knock down his meffenger, when he has been asking him a queftion; or faneying that he quarrels with his friend, when he only bids tim good-morrow,
I am therefore humbly of opinion, that an English compofer should not follow the Italian reci tative too fervilely, but make ufe of many gentle deviations from it, in compliance with his own native language. He may copy out of it all the lul ling foftnefs and Dying Falls, as Shakefpear calls. them, but should still remember that he ought to accommodate himfelf to an English audience; and by humouring the tone of our voices in ordinary converfation, have the fame regard to the accent of his own language, as thofe perfons had to theirs whom he profeffes to imitate. It is observed that feveral of the finging birds of our own country learn to fweeten their voices, and mellow the harfhnefs of their natural notes, by practising un der thofe that come from warmer climates. In the fame manner I would allow the Italian opera to lead our English mufic as much as may grace and foften it, but never intirely to annihilate and deftroy it. Let the infufion be as ftrong as you pleafe, but ftill let the fubject-matter of it be English.
A composer should fit his mufic to the genius of the people, and confider that the delicacy of hearing, and tatte of harmony, has been formed upon thofe founds which every country abounds with in thort, that mufic is of a relative nature, and what is harmony to one ear, may be diffonance to another.
The fame obfervations which I have made upon the recitative part of mufic, may be applied to al our fongs and airs in general
Signior Baptift Lully acted like a man of fenfe in this particular. He found the French mufic extremely defective and very often barbarous; however, knowing the genius of the people, the hus mour of their language, and the prejudiced ears he had to deal with, he did not pretend to extirpate the French music, and plant the Italian in its flead; but only to cultivate and civilize it with innumerable graces and modulations which he borrow' from the Italian. By this means, the French muhe is now perfect in its kind; and when you fay it is not fo good as the Italian, you only mean that it does not pleafe you fo well; for there is scarce a Frenchman who would not wonder to hear you give the Italian such a preference. The mufic of the French is indeed very properly adapted to their pronunciation and accent, as their whole opera wonderfully favours the genius of fuch a gay airy people. The choruffes in which that opera abounds gives the parterre frequent opportunities of join ing in concert with the stage. This inclination of the audience to fing along with the actors, so pres vails with them, that I have fometimes known the performer on the stage do no more in a celebrated fong, than the clerk of a parish-church, who ferves only to raife the pfalm, and is afterwards drowned in the mufic of the congregation. Every actor that comes on the ftage is a beau. The queens and heroines are fo painted, that they appear as ruddy and cherry-cheek'd as milk-maids. The thepherds are all embroider'd, and acquit themfelves in a ball better than our English dancingmatters. I have feen a couple of rivers appear in red ftockings; and Alpheus, instead of having his head covered with fedge and bull-ruhes, making