« VorigeDoorgaan »
Twas first a charming shape enslav'd me,
liberal education, and have been trained up in the An eye then gave the fatal stroke: studies of knowledge and. virtue.
It has been observed, that men of learning who take to business, discharge it generally with greater honesty than men of the world. The chief reason for it I take to be as follows: A man that has spent his youth in reading, has been used to find virtue extolled, and vice stigmatized. A man that has passed his time in the world, has often seen vice triumphant, and virtue discountenanced. Extortion, rapine, and injustice, which are branded with infamy in books, often give a man a figure in the world; while several qualities, which are celebrated in authors, as generosity, ingenuity, and good-nature, impoverish and ruin him. This cannot but have a proportionable effect on men whose tempers and principles are equally good and vicious.
There would be at least this advantage in employing men of learning and parts in business; that their prosperity would sit more gracefully on them, and that we should not see many worthless persons shot up into the greatest figures of life.-C.
No. 470.] FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 1712.
Et stultus labor est ineptiarum.-MART. 2 Epig. Ixxxvi.
Turns trifles into things of consequence.
I HAVE been very often disappointed of late years, when upon examining the new edition of a classic author, I have found above half the volume taken up with various readings. When I have expected to meet with a learned note upon a doubtful passage in a Latin poet, I have only been informed, that such or such ancient manuscripts for an et write an de, or of some other notable discovery of the like importance. Indeed, when a different reading gives us a different sense, or a new elegance in an author, the editor does very well in taking notice of it; but when he only entertains us with the several ways of spelling the same word, and gathers together the various blunders and mistakes of twenty or thirty different transcribers, they only take up the time of the learned reader, and puzzle the minds of the ignorant. I have often fancied with myself how enraged an old Latin author would be, should he see the several absurdities in sense and grammar, which are imputed to him by some or other of these various readings. In one he speaks nonsense; in
another makes use of a word that was never heard of; and indeed there is scarce a solecism in writing which the best author is not guilty of, if we may be at liberty to read him in the words of some manuscript, which the laborious editor has thought fit to examine in the prosecution of his work.
I question not but the ladies and pretty fellows will be very curious to understand what it is that I have been hitherto talking of. I shall therefore give them a notion of this practice, by endeavouring to write after several persons who make an eminent figure in the republic of letters. To this end, we will suppose that the following song is an old ode, which I present to the public in a new edition, with the several various readings which I find of it in former editions, and in ancient manuscripts. Those who cannot relish the various readings, will perhaps find their account in the song, which never before appeared in print.
My love was fickle once and changing,
Till by her wit Corinna sav'd me,
But now a long and lasting anguish
For here the false unconstant lover,
After a thousand beauties shown,
Stanza the first, verse the first. And changing.] The and in some manuscripts is written thus, &: but that in the Cotton library writes it in three distinct letters.
Verse the second. Nor e'er would.] Aldus reads it ever would; but as this would hurt the metre, we have restored it to its genuine reading, by observing that synæresis which had been neglected by ignorant transcribers.
Ibid. In my heart.] Scaliger and others, on my
Verse the fourth. I found a dart.] The Vatican manuscript for I reads it; but this must have been the hallucination of the transcriber, who probably mistook the dash of the I for a T.
Stanza the second, verse the second. The fatal the read a; but I have stuck to the usual reading. stroke.] Scioppius, Salmasius, and many others, for
Verse the third. Till by her wit.] Some manuscripts have it his wit, others your, others their unit. But as I find Corinna to be the name of a woman in other authors, I cannot doubt but it should be her.
Stanza the third, verse the first. A long and lasting anguish.] The German manuscript reads a lasting passion, but the rhyme will not admit it.
Verse the second. For Belvidera I endure.] Did not all the manuscripts reclaim, I should change Belvidera into Pelvidera; Pelvis being used by several of the ancient comic writers for a looking-glass, by which means the etymology of the word is very visible, and Pelvidera will signify a lady who often looks in her glass; as indeed she had very good reason, if she had all those beauties which our poet
here ascribes to her.
Verse the third. Hourly I sigh, and hourly languish.] Some for the word hourly read daily, and others nightly; the last has great authorities of its
Stevens reads wanted cure.
thousand beauties.] In several copies we meet with
mistress than a hundred.
of the ancient manuscripts have it in two.
by casting up both together, composed out of them the figure 2. But this I shall leave to the learned, without determining any thing in a matter of so great uncertainty.-C.
No. 471.] SATURDAY, AUGUST 30, 1712.
THE time present seldom affords sufficient employment to the mind of man. Objects of pain or pleasure, love or admiration, do not lie thick enough together in life to keep the soul in constant action, and supply an immediate exercise to its faculties. In order, therefore, to remedy this defect, that the mind may not want business, but always have materials for thinking, she is endowed with certain powers, that can recall what is passed, and anticipate what is to come.
That wonderful faculty, which we call the memory, is perpetually looking back, when we have nothing present to entertain us. It is like those repositories in several animals that are filled with stores of their former food, on which they may ruminate when their present pasture fails.
As the memory relieves the mind in her vacant moments, and prevents any chasms of thought by ideas of what is passed, we have other faculties that agitate and employ her for what is to come. These are the passions of hope and fear.
By these two passions we reach forward into futurity, and bring up to our present thoughts objects that lie hid in the remotest depths of time. We suffer misery and enjoy happiness, before they are in being; we can set the sun and stars forward, or lose sight of them by wandering into those retired parts of eternity, when the heavens and earth shall
be no more.
By the way, who can imagine that the existence of a creature is to be circumscribed by time, whose thoughts are not? But I shall, in this paper, confine myself to that particular passion which goes by the name of hope.
upon the tradition of the fall of man) shows us how deplorable a state they thought the present life, with out hope. To set forth the utmost condition of misery, they tell us, that our forefather, according to the pagan theology, had a great vessel presented him by Pandora. Upon his lifting up the lid of it, says the fable, there flew out all the calamities and distempers incident to men, from which, till that time, they had been altogether exempt. Hope, who had been enclosed in the cup with so much bad company, instead of flying off with the rest, stuck so close to the lid of it, that it was shut down upon her, I shall make but two reflections upon what I have hitherto said. First, that no kind of life is so happy as that which is full of hope, especially when the hope is well grounded, and when the object of it is of an exalted kind, and in its nature proper to make the person happy who enjoys it. This proposition must be very evident to those who consider how few are the present enjoyments of the most happy man, and how insufficient to give him an entire satisfac tion and acquiescence in them.
is that which most abounds in a well-grounded hope, My next observation is this, that a religious life and such a one as is fixed on objects that are capable of making us entirely happy. This hope in a religious man is much more sure and certain than the hope of any temporal blessing, as it is strengthened not only by reason, but by iaith. It has at the same time its eve perpetually fixed on that state, which implies in the very notion of it the most full and the most complete happiness.
I have before shown how the influence of hope in general sweetens life, and makes our present condition supportable, if not pleasing; but a religious hope has still greater advantages. It does not only bear up the mind under her sufferings, but makes her rejoice in them, as they may be the instruments of procuring her the great and ultimate end of all her hope.
Religious hope has likewise this advantage above, any other kind of hope, that it is able to revive the dying man, and to fill his mind not only with secret comfort and refreshment, but sometimes with rapture and transport. He triumphs in his agonies, whilst the soul springs forward with delight to the great object which she has always had in view, and leaves the body with an expectation of being reunited to her in a glorious and joyful resurrection.
Our actual enjoyments are so few and transient, that man would be a very miserable being, were he not endowed with this passion, which gives him a taste of those good things that may possibly come into his possession. "We should hope for every thing that is good," says the old poet Linus, "because there is nothing which may not be hoped for, and nothing but what the gods are able to give us.' I shall conclude this essay with those emphatical Hope quickens all the still parts of life, and keeps expressions of a lively hope, which the Psalmist the mind awake in her most remiss and indolent made use of in the midst of those dangers and adhours. It gives habitual serenity and good humour,versities which surrounded him; for the following It is a kind of vital heat in the soul, that cheers and gladdens her, when she does not attend to it. It makes pain easy, and labour pleasant.
passage had its present and personal, as well as its
Beside these several advantages which rise from
The old story of Pandora's box (which many of the learned believe was formed among the heathensa
No. 472.1 MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1,
VIRG. Æn. fil. 660.
This only solace his hard fortune sends-DRYDEN, I RECEIVED some time ago a proposal, which had preface to it, wherein the author discoursed at
obliging benefactress that bestows on us the most transporting sensations that we have from the various and wonderful products of nature. To the sight we owe the amazing discoveries of the height, magnitude, and motion of the planets; their several revolutions about their common centre of light, heat, and motion, the sun. The sight travels yet further to the fixed stars, and furnishes the understanding with solid reasons to prove, that each of them is a sun, moving on its own axis, in the centre of its own vortex or turbillion, and performing the same offices to its dependent planets that our glorious sun does to this. But the inquiries of the sight will not be stopped here, but make their progress through the immense expanse to the Milky Way, and there divide the blended fires of the galaxy into infinite and different worlds, made up of distinct suns, and their peculiar equipages of planets, till, unable to pursue this track any further, it deputes the imagination to go on to new discoveries, till it fill the unbounded space with endless worlds.
large of the innumerable objects of charity in a na- greatest and most important share of those pleation, and admonished the rich, who were afflicted sures; and I soon concluded that it was to the sight. with any distemper of body, particularly to regard That is the sovereign of the senses, and mother of all the poor in the same species of affliction, and con- the arts and sciences, that have refined the rudeness fine their tenderness to them, since it is impossible of the uncultivated mind to a politeness that distinto assist all who are presented to them. The pro-guishes the fine spirits from the barbarous goût of poser had been relieved from a malady in his eyes the great vulgar and the small. The sight is the by an operation performed by Sir William Read, and, being a man of condition, had taken a resolution to maintain three poor blind men during their lives, iu gratitude for that great blessing. This misfortune is so very great and unfrequent, that one would think an establishment for all the poor under it might be easily accomplished, with the addition of a very few others to those wealthy who are in the same calamity. However, the thought of the proposer arose from a very good motive; and the parcelling of ourselves out, as called to particular acts of beneficence, would be a pretty cement of society and virtue. It is the ordinary foundation for men's holding a commerce with each other, and becoming familiar, that they agree in the same sort of pleasure; and sure it may also be some reason for amity, that they are under one common distress. If all the rich who are lame in the gout, from a life of ease, pleasure, and luxury, would help those few who have it without a previous life of pleasure, and add a few of such laborious men, who are become lame from unhappy blows, falls, or other accidents of age or sickness; I say, would such gouty persons administer to the necessities of men disabled like themselves, the consciousness of such a behaviour, would be the best jalap, cordial, and anodyne, in the feverish. faint, and tormenting vicissitudes of that miserable distemper. The same may be said of all other, both bodily and intellectual evils. These classes of charity would certainly bring down blessings upon an age and people; and if men were not petrified with the love of this world, against all sense of the commerce which ought to be among them, it would not be an unreasonable bill for a poor man in the agony of pain, aggravated by want and poverty, to draw upon a sick alderman after this forin:
MR. BASIL PLENTY.
"The sight informs the statuary's chisel with power to give breath to lifeless brass and marble, and the painter's pencil to swell the flat canvass with moving figures actuated by imaginary souls. Music indeed may plead another original, since Jubal, by the different falls of his hammer on the anvil, discovered by the air the first rude music that pleased the antediluvian fathers; but then the sight has not only reduced those wilder sounds into artful order and harmony, but conveys that harmony to the most distant parts of the world without the help of sound. To the sight we owe not only all the discoveries of philosophy, but all the divine imagery of poetry that transports the intelligent reader of Homer, Milton, and Virgil.
"As the sight has polished the world, so does it supply us with the most grateful and lasting pleasure. Let love, let friendship, paternal affection,
"You have the gout and stone, with sixty thou-filial piety, and conjugal duty, declare the joys the sand pounds sterling; I have the gout and stone, not worth one farthing; I shall pray for you, and desire you would pay the bearer twenty shillings for value received from,
Sir, your humble Servant,
sight bestows on a meeting after absence. But it would be endless to enumerate all the pleasures and advantages of sight; every one that has it, every hour he makes use of it, finds them, feels them, enjoys them.
"Cripplegate, Thus, as our greatest pleasures and knowledge August 29, 1712." are derived from the sight, so has Providence been The reader's own imagination will suggest to him more curious in the formation of its seat, the eye, the reasonableness of such correspondences, and di- than of the organs of the other senses. versify them into a thousand forms; but I shall close pendous machine is composed, in a wonderful manthis, as I began, upon the subject of blindness.*ner, of muscles, membranes, and humours. Its moThe following letter seems to be written by a man tions are admirably directed by the muscles; the of learning, who is returned to his study after a sus- perspicuity of the humours transmit the rays of pense of an ability to do so. The benefit he reports light; the rays are regularly refracted by their fihimself to have received, may well claim the hand-gure; the black lining of the sclerotes effectually somest encomium he can give the operator.
"Ruminating lately on your admirable discourses on the Pleasures of the Imagination, I began to consider to which of our senses we are obliged for the
* A benevolent institution in favour of blind people, and Swift's hospital, seem to have originated from this paper, certainly from the principles of humanity stated in it.
prevents their being confounded by reflection. It is wonderful indeed to consider how many objects the eye is fitted to take in at once, and successively in an instant, and at the same time to make a judgment of their position, figure, and colour. It watches against our dangers, guides our steps, and lets in all the visible objects, whose beauty and variety instruct and delight.
* Mr. Weaver ascribes the discovery to Pythagoras.
"The pleasures and advantages of sight being so great, the loss must be very grievous; of which Milton, from experience, gives the most sensible idea, both in the third book of his Paradise Lost, and in his Samson Agonistes.
To light, in the former.
These I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovʻreign vital lamp; but thou
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Of nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
"Again, in Samson Agonistes.
But chief of all
O loss of sight! of thee I most complain:
Still as a fool,
In pow'r of others, never in my own,
"I AM now in the country, and employ most of my time in reading, or thinking upon what I have read. Your paper comes constantly down to me, and it affects me so much, that I find my thoughts run into your way: and I recommend to you a subject upon which you have not yet touched, and that is, the satisfaction some men seem to take in their imperfections: I think one may call it glorying in their insufficiency. A certain great author is of opinion it is the contrary to envy, though perhaps it may proceed from it. Nothing is so common as to hear men of this sort, speaking of themselves, add to their own merit (as they think) by impairing it, in praising themselves for their defects, freely allowing they commit some few frivolous errors, in order to be esteemed persons of uncommon talents and great qualifications. They are generally professing an in, 7 judicious neglect of dancing, fencing, and riding, as. also an unjust contempt for travelling, and the me dern languages; as for their part, say they, they never valued or troubled their head about them. This panegyrical satire on themselves certainly is worthy our animadversion. I have known one of these gentlemen think himself obliged to forget the day of an appointment, and sometimes even that you spoke to him; and when you see them, they hope "The enjoyment of sight then being so great a you'll pardon them, for they have the worst memory blessing, and the loss of it so terrible an evil, how in the world. One of them started up the other day excellent and valuable is the skill of that artist which in some confusion, and said, Now I think on't, I can restore the former, and redress the latter! My am to meet Mr. Mortmain, the attorney, about some frequent perusal of the advertisements in the public business, but whether it is to-day or to-morrow, newspapers (generally the most agreeable entertain-faith I cannot tell.' Now, to my certain knowledge, ment they afford) has presented me with many and he knew his time to a moment, and was there acvarious benefits of this kind done to my countrymen cordingly. These forgetful persons have, to heighten by that skilful artist Dr. Grant, her majesty's oculist their crime, generally the best memories of any extraordinary, whose happy hand has brought and people, as I have found out by their remembering restored to sight several hundreds in less than four sometimes through inadvertency. Two or three of years. Many have received sight by his means who them that I know can say most of our modern tracame blind from their mother's womb, as in the fa-gedies by heart. I asked a gentleman the other day mous instance of Jones of Newington.* I myself have been cured by him of a weakness in my eyes next to blindness, and am ready to believe any thing that is reported of his ability this way; and know that many, who could not purchase his assistance with money, have enjoyed it from his charity. But a list of particulars would swell my letter beyond its bounds: what I have said being sufficient to comfort those who are in the like distress, since they may conceive hopes of being no longer miserable in this kind, while there is yet alive so able an oculist as Dr. Grant.
that is famous for a good carver (at which acquisi tion he is out of countenance, imagining it may detract from some of his more essential qualifications). to help me to something that was near him; but he excused himself, and blushing told me,' Of all things he could never carve in his life; though it can be proved upon him that he cuts up, disjoints, and uncases, with incomparable dexterity. I would not be understood as if I thought it laudable for a man of quality and fortune to rival the acquisitions of artificers, and endeavour to excel in little handy qualities; no, I argue only against being ashamed at what is really praiseworthy. As these pretences to inge ,,nuity show themselves several ways, you will often see a man of this temper ashamed to be clean, and setting up for wit, only from negligence in his habit. No. 473.] TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1712. Now I am upon this head, I cannot help observing
"I am the Spectator's humble Servant,
Quid? si quis vultu torvo ferus, et pede nuao,
HOR. 1 Ep. xix. 12
• This ostentatious oculist was, it seems, originally a cobbler or tinker, afterward a preacher in a congregation of Baptists. William Jones was not boru blind, and was but very little, if at all, benefited by Grant's operation, who appears to have been guilty of great fraud and downright forgery in his account and
advertisements of this pretended cure.
also upon a very different folly proceeding from the same cause. As these above-mentioned arise from affecting an equality with men of greater talents;» · from having the same faults, there are others that r would come at a parallel with those above them, by."" possessing little advantages which they want. I heard a young man not long ago, who has sense, comfort himself in his ignorance of Greek, Hebrew,” and the Orientals: at the same time that he pub lished his aversion to those languages, he said that
the knowledge of them was rather a diminution than
"Your most humble Servant,
because they have thrown away the former part of theirs? It is to me an insupportable affliction, to be tormented with the narrations of a set of people, who are warm in their expressions of the quick relish of that pleasure which their dogs and horses have a more delicate taste of. I do also in my heart detest and abhor that damnable doctrine and position of the necessity of a bumper, though to one's own toast; for though it is pretended that these deep potations are used only to inspire gaiety, they certainly drown that cheerfulness which would survive a moderate circulation. If at these meetings it were left to every "I am a man of a very good estate, and am ho- stranger either to fill his glass according to his own nourably in love. I hope you will allow, when the inclination, or to make his retreat when he finds he ultimate purpose is honest, there may be, without has been sufficiently obedient to that of others, these trespass against innocence, some toying by the way. entertainments would be governed with more good People of condition are perhaps too distant and for- sense, and consequently with more good breeding, mal on those occasions but however that is, I am than at present they are. Indeed, where any of the to confess to you that I have writ some verses to guests are known to measure their fame or pleasure atone for my offence. You professed authors are a by their glass, proper exhortations might be used to little severe upon us, who write like gentlemen: but these to push their fortunes in this sort of reputaif you are a friend to love, you will insert my poem. tion; but where it is unseasonably insisted on to a You cannot imagine how much service it would do modest stranger, this drench may be said to be swalme with my fair one, as well as reputation with all lowed with the same necessity as if it had been tenmy friends, to have something of mine in the Spec-dered in the horn for that purpose, with this aggratator. My crime was, that I snatched a kiss, and my poetical excuse as follows:
Belinda, see from yonder flowers
The bee flies loaded to its cell:
So, though I robb'd you of a kiss,
Tis by this cunning I contrive,
To keep my famished love alive,
I am, Sir, your humble Servant,
"P. S. If you approve of my style, I am likely enough to become your correspondent. I desire your opinion of it. I design it for that way of writing called by the judicious the familiar.'"-T.
No. 474.] WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3, 1712. Asperitas agrestis, et inconcinna-Hoa. 1 Ep. xviii. 6. Rude, rustic, and inelegant, "MR. SPECTATOR, "BRING of the number of those that have lately retired from the centre of business and pleasure, my uneasiness in the country where I am arises rather from the society than the solitude of it. To be obliged to receive and return visits from and to a circle of neighbours, who, through diversity of age or inclinations, can neither be entertaining nor serviceable to us, is a vile loss of time, and a slavery from which a man should deliver himself, if possible: for why must I lose the remaining part of my life,
vating circumstance, that it distresses the entertainer's guest in the same degree as it relieves his horses.
"To attend without impatience an account of five-barred gates, double ditches, and precipices, and to survey the orator with desiring eyes, is to me extremely difficult but absolutely necessary, to be upon tolerable terms with him; but then the occasional burstings out into laughter is of all other accomplishments the most requisite. I confess at present I I have not that command of these convulsions as is necessary to be good company; therefore I beg you would publish this letter, and let me be known all at once for a queer fellow, and avoided. It is monstrous to me, that we who are given to reading and calm conversation, should ever be visited by these roarers; but they think they themselves, as neighbours, may come into our rooms with the same right that they and their dogs hunt in our grounds.
"Your institution of clubs I have always admired, in which you constantly endeavoured the union of the metaphorically defunct, that is, such as are neither serviceable to the busy and enterprising part of mankind, nor entertaining to the retired and speculative. There should certainly, therefore, in each county be established a club of the persons whose conversations I have described, who for their own private, as also the public emolument, should exclude, and be excluded, all other society. Their attire
should be the same with their huntsmen's, and none should be admitted into this green conversation-piece, except he had broken his collar-bone thrice. broken rib or two might also admit a man without the least opposition. The president must necessarily have broken his neck, and have been taken up dead once or twice: for the more maims this brotherhood shall have met with, the easier will their conversation flow and keep up; and when any one of these vigorous invalids had finished his narration of the collar-bone, this naturally would introduce the history of the ribs. Besides, the different circumstances of their falls and fractures would help to prolong and diversify their relations. There should also be another club of such men, who had not succeeded so well in maiming themselves, but are however in the constant pursuit of these accomplishments. I would
• A horn is used to administer potions to horses