« 上一頁繼續 »
· COULD I transport my self with a Wish from one Country to another, Î should choose to pass my Winter in Spain, my Spring in Italy, my Summer in England, and my Autumn in France. Of all these Seafons there is none that can vie with the Spring for Beauty and Delightfulness. It bears the same Figure among the Seasons of the Year, that the Morning does among the Divisions of the Day, or Youth among the Stages of Life. The English Summer is pleasanter than that of any other Country in Europe, on no other account but because it has a greater Mixture of Spring in it. The Mildness of our Climate, with those frequent Refreshments of Dews and Rains that fall among us, keep up a perpetual Chearfulness in our Fields, and fill the hottest Months of the Year with a lively Verdure.
IN the opening of the Spring, when all Nature be. gins to recover her self, the same animal Pleasure which makes the Birds sing, and the whole brute Creation rejoice, rises very sensibly in the Heart of Man.. I know none of the Poets who have observed fo well as Milton those secret Overflowings of Gladness which diffuse them. selves thro' the Mind of the Beholder, upon surveying the gay Scenes of Nature : he has touched upon it twice or thrice in his Paradise Lof, and describes it very beautifully under the Name of Vernal Delight, in that Paffage where he represents the Devil himself as almost fenfible of it.
Blossoms and Fruits at once of golden bue
All Sadness but Despair, &c.
lations which shew the bright side of things, and lay forth those innocent Entertainments which are to be met with among the several Objects that encompass us, are no less beneficial to Men of dark and melancholy Tempers. It was for this reason that I endeavoured to recommend a Chearfulness of Mind in my two last Saturday's Papers, and which I would still inculcate, not only from the Confideration of our selves, and of that Being on whom we depend, nor from the general Survey of that Universe in which we are placed at present, but from Reflexions on the particular Season in which this paper is written. The Creation is a perpetual Feast to the Mind of a good Man, every thing he fees chears and delights him ; Providence has imprinted so many Smiles on Nature, that it is impossible for a Mind which is not sunk in more gross and sensual Delights, to take a Survey of them without several fecret Sensations of Pleasure. The Psalmist has in several of his divine Poems celebrated those beautiful and agreeable Scenes which make the Heart glad, and produce in it that vernal Delight which I have before taken notice of.
NATURAL Philofophy quickens this Taste of the Creation, and renders it not only pleasing to the Imagination, but to the Understanding. It does not rest in the Murmur of Brooks, and the Melody of Birds, in the Shade of Groves and Woods, or in the Embroidery of Fields and Meadows, but considers the several Ends of Providence which are served by them, and the Wonders of Divine Wisdom which appear in them. It heightens the Pleasures of the Eye, and raises such a rational Admi. ration in the Soul as is little inferior to Devotion.
IT is not in the power of every one to offer up this kind of Worship to the great Author of Nature, and to indulge these more refined Meditations of Heart, which are doubtless highly acceptable in his fight; I shall therefore conclude this short Essay on that Pleasure which the Mind naturally conceives from the prefent Season of the Year, by the recommending of a Practice for which every one has sufficient Abilities.
I would have my Readers endeavour to moralize this natural Pleasure of the Soul, and to improve this Vernal Delight, as Milton calls it, into a Christian Virtue. When we find our felves inspired with this pleasing Instinct, this secret Satisfaction and Complacency arising from the Beauties of the Creation, let us consider to whom we stand indebted for all these Entertainments of Sense, and who it is that thus opens his Hand and fills the World with Good. The Apostle instructs us to take advantage of our present Temper of Mind, to graft upon it such a religious Exercise as is particularly conformable to it, by that Precept which advises those who are sad to pray, and those who are merry to sing Psalms. The Chearfulness of Heart which springs up in us from the Survey of Nature's Works, is an admirable Preparation for Gratitude. The Mind has gone a great way towards Praise and Thanksgiv. ing, that is filled with such a secret Gladness: A grateful Reflexion on the supreme Cause who produces it, sanctifies it in the Soul, and gives it its proper Value. Such an habitual Disposition of Mind consecrates every Field and Wood, turns an ordinary Walk into a morning or evening Sacrifice, and will improve those transient Gleams of Joy which naturally brighten up and refresh the Soul on such Occasions, into an inviolable and perpetual State of Bliss and Happiness.
N° 394. Monday, June 2.
Bene colligitur hæc Pueris & Mulierculis & Servis &
Servorum fimillimis Liberis elle grata : Gravi verò | homini & ea quæ funt Judicio certo ponderanti probari · pose nullo modo.
I Have been considering the little and frivolous things I which give Men Accesses to one another, and Power
with each other, not only in the common and indif. ferent Accidents of Life, but also in Matters of greater importance. You see in Elections for Members to fit in Parliament, how far saluting Rows of oldWomen, drinking with Clowns, and being upon a level with the lowest Part of Mankind in that wherein they themselves are lowest, their Diversions, will carry a Candidate. A Capacity for
prostituting a Man's Self in his Behaviour, and descending to the prelent Humour of the Vulgar, is perhaps as good an Ingredient as any other for making a considerable Figure in the World ; and if a Man has nothing else, or better, to think of, he could not make his way to Wealth and Distinction by properer Methods, than studying the particular Bent or Inclination of People with whom he converses, and working from the Observation of such their Bias in all matters wherein he has any Intercourse with them : For his Ease and Comfort he may assure himself, he need not be at the Expence of any great Talent or Virtue to please even those who are possess’d of the highest Qualifications. Pride in some particular Disguise or other, (often a Secret to the proud Man himself) is the most ordinary Spring of Action among Men. You need no more than to discover what a Man values himself for ; then of all things admire that Quality, but be sure to be failing in it your self in comparison of the Man whom you court. I have heard, or read, of a Secretary of State in Spain, who served a Prince who was happy in an elegant use of the Latin Tongue, and often writ Dispatches in it with his own Hand. The King shewed his Secretary a Letter he had written to a foreign Prince, and under the Colour of asking his Advice, laid a Trap for his Applause. The honeft Man read it as a faithful Counsellor, and not only excepted against his tying himfelf down too much by some Expresiions, but mended the Phrase in others. You may guess the Dispatches that Evening did not take much longer time. Mr. Secretary, as soon as he came to his own House, sent for his eldest Son, and communicated to him that the Family must retire out of Spain as soon as possible ; for, said he, the King knows I understand Latin better than he does.
THIS egregious Fault in a Man of the World, should be a Lesson to all who would make their Fortunes : But a Regard must be carefully had to the Person with whom you have to do ; for it is not to be doubted but a great Man of common Sense must look with secret Indignation or bridled Laughter, on all the Slaves who stand round him with ready Faces to approve and smile at all he says in the gross, It is good Comedy enough to observe a Superior talking half Sentences, and playing an humble
Admirer's Countenance from one thing to another, with such Perplexity, that he knows not what to sneer in Approbation of. But this kind of Complaisance is peculiarly the Manner of Courts ; in all other Places you must conItantly go farther in Compliance with the Persons you! have to do with, than a mere Conformity of Looks and Geitures. If you are in a Country Life, and would be a leading Man, a good Stomach, a loud Voice, and rustick Chearfulness will go a great way, provided you are able to drink, and drink any thing. But I was just now going to draw the manner of Behaviour I would advise People to practise under some Maxim, and intimated, that every one almost was governed by his Pride. There was an old Fellow about forty Years ago so peevith and fretful, though a Man of Business, that no one could come at him : But he frequented a particular little Coffee-house, where he triumphed over every body at Trick-track and Baggammon. The way to pass his Office well, was frit to be insulted by him at one of those Games in his leisure Hours ; for his Vanity was to fhew, that he was a Man of Pleasure as well as Business. Next to this sort of Insinuation which is called in all Places (from its taking its Birth in the Housholds of Princes) making one's Court, the most prevailing way is, by what better bred People call a Prelent, the Vulgar a Bribe. I humbly conceive that such a thing is cenveyed with more Gallantry in a Billet-doux that should be understood at the Bank, than in gross Money: But as to stubborn People, who are so sur. ly as to accept of neither Note nor Caih having formerly dabbled in Chymistry, I can only say that one part of Matter asks one thing, and another another, to make it Auent ; but there is nothing but may be dissolved by a proper Mean: Thus the Virtue which is too obdurate for Gold or Paper, Tall melt away very kindly in a Liquid. The I Mand of Barbadoes (a shrewd People) manage all their Appeals to Great Britain, by a skilful Distribution of Citron-Water among the Whisperers about Men in Power. Generous Wines do every Day prevail, and that in great Points, where ten thouiand tiines their Value would have been rejected with Indignation. .
BUT to wave the Enumeration of the fundry ways of applying by Presents, Bribes, Management of People's