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given him boundless wealth. The first tion of his plays. But his plots, admicup of Canary and the first tug of in- rable of their kind, are still but elabovention bring up this enormous piece rate contrivances of the understanding, of humor :
all distinctly thought out beforehand by “My flatterers
the method of logic, not the method of Shall be the pure and gravest of divines imagination ; regular in external form, That I can get for money."
but animated by no living internal prinThen another wrench of the mind, and, ciple; artful, but not artistic; ingeniit is to be feared, another inlet of the ous schemes, not organic growths; and liquid, and we have this:
conveying the same kind of pleasure “My meat shall all come in in Indian shells,
we experience in inspecting other meDishes of agate, set in gold, and studded
chanical contrivances. His method is With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths, and rubies." neither the method of nature nor the Glue that on, and now for another tug:
method of art, but the method of arti
fice. A drama of Shakespeare may “My shirts I'll have of taffeta-sarsnet, soft and light
be compared to an oak; a drama by As cobwebs; and for all my other raiment, Jonson, to a cunningly fashioned box, It shall be such as might provoke the Persian, made of oak-wood, with some living Were he to teach the world riot anew."
plants growing in it. Jonson is big ; And then, a little heated, his imagina- Shakespeare is great. tion is stung into action, and this re- Still we say, “O rare Ben Jonson!” finement of sensation flashes out: A large, rude, clumsy, English force, My gloves of fishes' and birds' skins perfumed
irritable, ugotistic, dogmatic, and quarWith gums of Paradise and Eastern air." relsome, but brave, generous, and pla
cable; with no taint of a malignant vice And now we have an extravagance in his boisterous foibles; with a good jerked violently out from his logical deal of the bulldog in him, but nothing fancy: –
of the spaniel, and one whose growl “I will have all my beds blown up, not stuffed ; was ever worse than his bite ;-he, the Down is too hard."
bricklayer's apprentice, fighting his way But all this patient accumulation of to eminence through the roughest obparticulars, each costing a mighty effort stacles, capable of wrath, but incapaof memory or analogy, produces no cu- ble of falsehood, willing to boast, but mulative effect. Certainly, the word scorning to creep, still sturdily keeps “strains," as employed to designate the his hard-won position among the Elizaeffusions of poetry, has a peculiar sig- bethan worthies as poet, playwright, nificance as applied to Jonson's verse. scholar, man of letters, man of muscle No hewer of wood or drawer of water and brawn; as friend of Beaumont and ever earned his daily wages by a more Fletcher and Chapman and Bacon and conscientious putting forth of daily la- Shakespeare ; and as ever ready, in all bor. Critics -and among the critics places and at all times, to assert the Ben is the most clamorous - call upon manhood of Ben by tongue and pen us to admire and praise the construc- and sword.
or commoner, how lenient I am to my I wondered once where all the dis- own faults, - how intensely alive to my consolate came from, - where all the hu- neighbor's ! man wrecks tossed up by the waves of If Kubla Khan decide to build his misfortune received their injuries, and pleasure dome, – nay, if he but hint at what became of those who sailed from it, -T set myself to wonder where he port in early youth and were never can possibly have obtained the funds. heard of more. I marvelled, too, that Not in commerce surely. Not in that there were so many unhappy bachelors, vulgar little furnishing-store in which so many forlorn maids, so many neither he has toiled early and late for twenty wife nor maid ; but at all these things I years. He is doubtless a spy of the wonder no longer. I have solved the government, –a detective of some kind; problem I set myself. Society makes and, now that I recall it, he certainly them all.
was away some time during the RebelI am not going to analyze society to lion. In short, there are many ways please any one. I make mine own. Hy- by which he may have procured this acinth, I dare swear, makes his. Why money dishonestly. Rather than beshall I paint it? It is you, it is I, it is lieve my neighbor quite honest and beboth of us, and many more. Can I yond reproach, I discuss the topic of sketch the figures in a kaleidoscope ere his supposed fall from virtue with our they change? If I could, I might say mutual neighbors, until at last I bring what society is or was. To-day mem- them to the conclusion I have long ago bers of circles marry, or are given in arrived at, which is, if the truth were marriage. Disease comes and war deci- known, that Kubla Khan is no better mates ; foul tongues asperse, and the than the law compels him to be. unity that was perfect is so no longer. I do this, of course, solely from a reThe whole world is society, and I gard for virtue, from a sense of duty. believe there was not so much confu- The times, I say in my discussions, are sion at the Tower of Babel after all. such that one must know his associates Men speak in different tongues, but thoroughly; and so I believe, or profess their motives are the same in all
to believe, K. K. to be a rogue rather climes.
than an honest, upright man. I love or I hate my Celtic friend. I have a right to my opinion, have I The sea rolls between us, but from afar not? Most unquestionably. While the same sun warms us. If he does a this tongue and beard can wag, I will good deed, I shall applaud it; or, if he assert the privilege of free speech. is mean, shall I not smite him? The But have I a right to traduce my neighworld looks on, and puts us all to the bor? What business is it of mine if test alike. We love or we hate.
he has money, and sees fit to build a Are there no Procrustean couches house with it? Am I his banker, that in these days ? If my neighbor is I give heed to his concerns ? Why too short, what shall I do but stretch cannot I look on with delight, and even him ? if he is too long, I am the one help select the site of the future edifice ? who shall hack off his superfluous All of his previous life has been blameinches.
less and without reproach ; but now I Ah! believe me, sceptic, there is a suddenly discover that my neighbor is mote in thine eye, but in mine there is not trustworthy. Is this charity ? no beam. It is I who am immaculate. Perhaps I do not touch upon Kubla " The king can do no wrong." I am a Khan and his prospective chateau at all. My neighbors in the house ad- now; thus making his family suffer joining engross my attention. Come! doubly for his misdeed. let us watch for the butcher and the O, I cry in the pride of my heart, baker, that we may see what our neigh- truly “the sins of the fathers are visited bors' fare is. I will engage that I can upon the children,” and I not only fix fix to a shilling the amount of their the nature of my neighbor's transgresweekly bills. Such meanness are some sion, but the very jail in which he was people guilty of, that they live upon a incarcerated. sum that would not keep my boy in Fool and blind that I am! If I had but tarts. I am certain that our neighbors Ja tithe of that intuition I boast, I might take ice but every other day in the have discerned that my neighbor was summer, and if the milk they buy is one of those rare individuals we somenot swill-fed, then I am no judge. The times read of in tracts, but seldom meet steaks are not porter-house, but rump- in the flesh, — one of those heroes who steaks. Last Saturday night I saw Pa- fight daily battles with trial, temptation, ter-familias bring home a smoked shoul- suffering, and privation in many shapes, der, — not a ham, because that is much that he may live honorably before men, dearer; and — will it be believed ?
and leave a heritage of honor to his the bonnets the girls wear are revamped children when he goeth to his long from those of last year. Young Thread- home. I might have seen that this man paper dances attendance upon them, worked early and late without comand I am sure of all low things a man plaint, that he might pay debts his dead milliner is the lowest. Two weeks ago father incurred for his education, and Pater-familias rode down town with me, that the poor decrepit old lady whom and I saw upon his shoe an immense no physician can cure is his mother. patch, while his hat was so shiny, with She costs him a pretty penny for her frequent caressings from a silk hand- support, I warrant me, and accuses him kerchief, that it seemed to be varnished in her dotage with harboring a desire to and polished.
get rid of her. What wonder if he is His clothes are very unfashionable, reticent to the world ? Look in his eye. too. He is invariably a year behind the It is the eye of an honest man. Take style ; and how can one respect a per
his hand. 'T is a true palm, and many son who does not wear garments of a beggar shall be refused at Dives's the prevalent cut?
door, but not at his. There must be something mysterious But he is poor; he looks downcast. about this man. If there is, I am the Come, let us beslime him with the one to ferret it out. Let me see. His breath of suspicion. Let us gossip manner is reticent. From this I de- about him. Let us look askance at duce the fact that he has at some time him, and direct our children to avoid been a convict. All men who have his, — when they play their little hour, been incarcerated are just so quiet. I to run swiftly past that wretched abode was once in a jail in Massachusetts, of silence. with other persons, and one poor fel
Silence ! said I. Ah! that is a queer low, taking advantage of our presence,
silence which reigns in my neighbor's whispered to his neighbor, whereat dwelling. When he comes to his famthe jailer swore awfully, and punished ily there are shouts and laughter, and him ; but the rest were very quiet, just rosy-mouthed roisterers stand ready to like my neighbor. It is certainly sus- pillage the plethoric pockets laden to picious.
the flaps with bananas and oranges he He is economical, too. Ah! that fol- has starved himself to procure. I do lows quite naturally. Remorse has not hear that he discusses his neighseized him, and he is now endeavoring bor's affairs, or that he distils into his to pay off his indebtedness, or do some- oolong one drop of bitter scandal by thing else which I cannot fathom just way of flavor. Nay, I am certain that
I might lose five hundred dollars per I say the shield is silver ; how can it diem, and the world would be none the be gold ? Is it not white ? doth it not wiser through him.
glisten ? hath it not lustre ? what else So much for externals.
can it be? How sharply we see things which My neighbor suggests sportively that have no existence! How quickly we it is tin; whereupon I impugn my discern faults in our neighbors, but how neighbor's good-sense; and that is a Islow we are to find out our own! logical conclusion of the controversy.
Now I look at it, there is a grievous It does not occur to me that a man rent in my neighbor's doublet; but look may differ in opinion from his fellows, at mine own. How it fits! Is it not and yet not be a convicted felon or a immaculate ? I have a suit of charac- disturber of the peace. His views are ter in which I am triply armed, - a his; foolish, perhaps, from my standcoat of mail of reputation which I defy point; yet, because he is not so wise as slander to pierce. The man who wrote I, is he any the less entitled to cour" He that is down need fear no fall,
tesy, to consideration and charity, — is He that is up no pride,
he the less a fond father, a patriot, or He that is humble ever shall
an honorable man? Why insist that Have God to be his guide,"
of all the world I am sagest and always knew nothing about human nature. right? I fancy I could teach that genius a Why shall I break the images men thing or two. The springs of human set up ? Iconoclast that I
reflecaction are not concealed to me. Ah, tion would show me what long years no! I see them all, in my own con- ago my copy-book told me, Humanum ceit, and no mean motive of other peo- est errare, — and that violence, intolerple escapes me.
ance, and discourtesy are poor weapBut how shall my neighbor fare at ons to fight prejudice and bigotry with. my hands in argument ? Well, I trust, Come! let us throw them aside hereif he agree with me. That is, provided after ; let none be persecuted or dehe sees things as I do. If he sees the rided in social circles for their opin shield to be gold, and I see it so also, ions' sake. There are more forcible , what sagacity he has ! what judgment! arguments than vituperation and per“A man of fine talents,” I say to my sonality, and if we cannot convince, let son. “See that you emulate him. Mark us be content. how quickly he grasps the same points The world is made for all. When
that I did, — with what nice discrimina- my Uncle Toby took the fly and let rtion he avoids irrelevant matters, and him out, he did as men should to oth
treats only the main idea." Next to ers who differ in opinion. Go! I say
At the commencement of this paper, But let him dare to disagree with I said it was no mystery where the disme, — let him say the shield is gold consolate came from, — society made when I say it is silver, or brass if I like, them; and I reassert it as my convic
- and what depth of stultification is tion that the supply is far ahead of the
the money spent upon her education is What! differ from me ? — the idiot! thrown away. She has no air, no man
ner, no tone. My vis-à-vis under- cakes. In short, how very far below our stands me, and, taking her cue, goes to neighbors we are in social standing ! the cherished of her heart, and straight- Go to, ye shallow dissemblers, reway repeats the slander, and we smile tailers of scandal, disturbers of the and smile and are villains.
peace! Leave us in peace, and possess “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity, your souls in patience. We are busaith the Preacher," and I say after man, and frail even as you are. We him, Is there nothing but nettles in the have faults and virtues. Why not exworld's garden, - nothing but noxious tend the hand of friendship to us? weeds ? Have we no traits and senti- Why not be courteous, instead of makments which are lofty and ennobling? ing us detest your presence, - instead Why cannot we see these and talk about of souring our tempers, and making us them? But whoever went to a party feel as though every one's hand was where the guests talked of virtue ? against us?
Here is Straitlace. His wife is in There is that Abigail, whom I have the country; he will therefore bear often seen lounging at the next door watching. Come! let us invent and below. She snuffeth scandal from afar. suppose, let us pry and peek. Ah, ha ! She heareth the whisperings and innuI see a letter, -a billet-doux, a deli- endoes of them that traffic in reputacately scented one, and he is so close tions, and she loseth little time ere she to me in the cars that; by the merest adorns the secret meetings of the conaccident I assure you, I am able to spirators with her presence. Away with read the beginning, — “ Dearest of my her to the scaffold ! she is chiefest soul."
among the malefactors. Offer her up a There, that is quite enough. Dearest sacrifice to charity, and let none say of her soul, indeed! Do wives begin nay! letters in that way? Not many. Shock- Suppose I stand by when the taleing! Dreadful! And then my com- bearer begins his monotonous song, rades and I roll the sweet morsel under what am I to lose by keeping silent, as our tongues, when, after all, the model 'he tears my neighbor to pieces? husband was only reading his model There were two maidens, saith the wife's letter.
fable, one of whom was lovely to look Or look at this phase of uncharita- upon, while the other was plain ; but bleness. What a happy faculty my when the former spake, toads and sercountrymen have for finding out each pents fell from her lips, while from the other's business. I move into some unlovely lips came diamonds and pearls. country village, where a small but se- I know which I should have wooed, lect community meet and agitate vari- and I hope won, for I value more a. ous topics for the moral regeneration quiet life than false lips and a tongue of all. I am from the city, and there- that speaketh lies. fore have some ways easily noticed. I “ Speech is silvern, but silence is am unquestionably “stuck up,” and am golden.” I shall be silent when the hardly settled in my place before a detractor begins his tale. tea-party is held, not to do me honor, “Teach me to hide the faults I see, but to sit in inquest upon me and my
And feel for others' woe," family.
saith the poet, and, though he may be Are our virtues discussed at the in- accused of uttering a platitude, I subquest? Have we any good qualities ? scribe to it. I am willing to forgive and Are we not almost outcasts? How we forget, instead of enlarging upon all the drawl our words, for example. We flaws, all the weaknesses, of human nawear white skirts, when balmorals are ture. I shall not thunder on the roor good enough for most folks. We starve of some hapless wretch who has stumour children, too, because they get only bled, fallen by the wayside, and cry, bread and milk for tea, and no pies or “Come out! come out ! thou villain, and