« 上一頁繼續 »
their thoughts to a third, who is yet living, and numbers of people who scarce thew the first is likewise the glory of our own nation. The glimmerings of reason, and seem to have few improvements which others had made in natural ideas above those of sense and appetite. These, and mathematical knowledge have so vastly in methinks, appear like large wilds, or vast un creased in his hands, as to afford at once a won cultivated tracts of human nature ; and when derful instance how great the capacity is of a wę compare them with men of the most exhuman soul, and how inexhaustible the subject alted characters in arts and learning, we find of its inquiries ; so true is that remark in holy it difficult to believe that they are creatures of writ, that “tho' a wise man seek to find out the same species. " the works of God from the beginning to'the Some are of opinion that the souls of men “ end, yet Thall he not be able to do it.”
are all naturally equal, and that the great dif. I cannot help mentioning here one character parity, we so often observe, arises from the dif. more of a different kind indeed from these, yet ferent organization or structure of the bodies such a one as may serve to thew the wonderful to which they are united. But whatever con. force of nature and of application, and is the stitutes this first disparity, the next great differmost fingular instance of an universal genius I ence which we find between men in their several have ever met with. The person I mean is acquirements is owing to accidental differences Leonardo da Vinci, an Italian painter, descend- in their education, fortunes, or course of life. ed from a noble family in Tuscany, about the The soul is a kind of rough diamond, which beginning of the sixteenth century. In his pro requires art, labour, and time to polith it. feffion of history-painting he was so great a
For want of which, many a good natural gemaster, that some have affirmed he excelled all nius is lost, or lies unfashioned, like a jewel in who want before him. It is certain that he the mine. raised the envy of Michael Angelo, who was his One of the strongest incitements to excel in contemporary, and that from the study of his such arts and accomplishments as are in the works Raphael himself learned his best manner highest esteem among men, is the natural pafof designing. He was a master too in sculpture fion which the mind of man has for glory; and architecture, and skilful in anatomy, ma- which, though it may be faulty in the excess thematics, and mechanics. The aqueduct from of it, ought by no means to be discouraged. the river Adda to Milan, is mentioned as a work Perhaps some moralists are too severe in beatof his contrivance. He had learned several ing down this principle, which seems to be a languages, and was acquainted with the studies spring implanted by nature to give motion to of history, philosophy, poetry, and music. all the latent powers of the soul, and is always Though it is not neceffary to my prefent purpose, observed to exert itself with the greatest force I cannot but take notice, that all who have writ in the most generous dispositions. The men of him mention likewise his perfection of body. whose characters have done the brightest among The inftances of his strength are almost incre. the ancient Romans, appear to have been dible. He is described to have been of a well strongly animated by this passion. Cicero, whose formed person, and master of all genteel exercises, learning and services to his country are so well And lastly, we are told that his moral qualities known, was inflamed by it to an extravagant were agreeable to his natural and intellectual degree, and warmly preses Lucceius, who was endowments, and that he was of an honest, and composing a history of those times, to be very generous mind, adorned with great sweetness of particular and zealous in relating the story of
I might break off the account of him his consulthip: and to execute it speedily, that here, but I imagine it will be an entertainment he might have the pleasure of enjoying in his to the curiosity of my readers, to find so remark. life time some part of the honour which he fore. able a character distinguished by as remarkable saw would be paid to his memory. This was a circumstance at his death. The fame of his the ambition of a great mind; but he is faulty works having gained him an universal esteem, in the degree of it, and cannot refrain from he was invited to the court of France, where, foliciting the historian upon this occafion to after some time, he fell fick; and Francis the neglect the strict laws of hiftory, and, in praise First coming to see him, he raised himself in luis ing him, “even to exceed the bounds of truth.” bed to acknowledge the honour which was done The younger Pliny appears to have had the same him by that visit. The King embraced him, passion for fame, but accompanied with greatand Leonardo fainting at the same instant, ex er chasteness and modesty.' His ingenious man. pired in the arms of that great monarch. ner of owning it to a friend, who had prompt.
It is impossible to attend to such inftances as ed him to undertake some great work, is ex. these, without being raised into a contemplation quisitely beautiful, and raises him to a certain on the wonderful nature of an human mind, grandeur above the imputation of vanity. “I which is capable of such progressions in know as must confefs," says he," that nothing emledge, and can contain such a variety of ideas ploys my thoughts more than the desire I without perplexity or consufion. How reaso. “ have of perpetuating my name ; which in nable is it froin hence to infer its divine original ? my opinion is a design worthy of a man, at And whilst we find unthinking matter endued « least of such a one, who being conscicus of with a natural power to last for ever, unless no guile, is not afraid to be remembered by annihilated by Omnipotence, how absurd would " porerity.” it be to imagine, that a being so much superior I think I ought not to conclude, without in. to it mould not have the same privilege? terefing all my readers in the subject of this
At the same time it is very surpriiing, when discourse : I shall therefore lay it down as a we remove our thoughts from such infances as maxim, that though all are not capable of I have mentioned, to consider those wo to fre. Mining in learning or the politer arts; yet. quenti; ineet with in the accounts of barbaro!'s “ every one is capable of excelling in fome. nations among the Indians; where we find a thing." "The soul has in this respet a cer
tain vegetative power which cannot lie wholly After I have put other friends upon importuning idle. if it is not laid out and cultivated into him to publish dramatic, as well as a regular and beautiful garden, it will of it- writings he has by him, I shall end what I think seif shoot up in weeds or flowers of a wilder I am obliged to say on this head, by giving my growth,
reader this hint for the better judging of my productions, that the best comment upon them
would be an account when the patron to the No 555. SATURDAY, Dec. 6. Tender husband was in England, or abroad.
The reader will also find some papers which Respue quid non es
are marked with the letter X, for which he is Pers. Sat. 4. ver. 51. obliged to the ingenious gentleman who diLay the fictitious character aside.
verted the town with the epilogue to the Dif
treffed Mother. I might have owned these feLL the members of the imaginary society veral papers with the free consent of these gen
which were described in my first papers, tlemen, who did not write them with a design having disappeared one after another, it is high of being known for the authors. But as a cantime for the Spečiator himself to go off the stage. did and sincere behaviour ought to be preferred But, now I am to take my leave, I am under to all other considerations, I would not let my much greater anxiety than I have known for heart reproach me with a consciousness of having the work of any day since I undertook this pro- acquired a praise which is not my right. vince. It is much more difficult to converse
The other assistances which I have had, have with the world in a real than a personated cha- been conveyed by letter, sometimes by whole racter. That mig! pass for humour in the
papers, and other times by Mort hints from unSpectator, which would look like arrogance in a known hands. I have not been able to trace writer who sets his name to his work. The
favours of this kind, with any certainty, but fictitious person might contemn those who dif
to the following names, which I place in the approved him, and, extol his own performances, order wherein I received the obligation, though without giving offence. He might affuine a the first I am going to name can hardly be menmock-authority, without being looked upon as tioned in a lift wherein he would not deserve vain and conceited. The praises or censures of the precedence. The persons to whom I am to himself fall only upon the creature of his ima- make these acknowledgements are, Mr. Henry gination ; and if any one finds fault with him, Martin, Mr. Pope, Mr. Hughes, Mr. Carey, of the author may reply with the philosopher of New College in Oxford, Mr. Tickell, of Queen's old, “ Thou doit but beat the case of Anaxar- in the fame Univerâty, Mr. Parnelle, and Mr. “ chus.” When I speak in my own private Eulden, of Trinity in Cambridge. Thus, to sentiments, I cannot but address myself to my speak in the language of my late friend Sir Anreaders in a more submissive manner, and with drew Freepert, I have balanced my accounts a just gratitude, for the kind reception which with all my creditors for wit and learning. they have given to these daily papers that have But as these excellent performances would not been published for almost the space of two years have seen the light without the means of this Taft paft. I hope the apology I have made as to the bi- of their being communicated to the public.
paper, I may still arrogate to myself the merit cence allowable to a feigned character, may ex
I have nothing more to add, bor having swelcuse any thing which has been said in these led this work to five hundred and fifty-ave discourses of the Speciator and his works ; but papers, they will be disposed into seven volumes, the imputation of the groffest vanity would still four of which are already published, and the dwell upon me, if I did not give some account three others in the press. It will not be de. by what means I was enabled to keep up, the manded of me why I now leave off, though I spirit of so long and approved a performance. must own myself obliged to give an account to All the papers marked with a C, an L, an I, or
the town of my time hereafter; fince Į retire an o, that is to say, all the papers which I when their partiality to me is so great, that an have distinguished by any letter in the name of edition of the former volumes of Spectators of the muse Clio, were given me by the gentle above nine thousand each book is already fuld man of whose afiiftance I formerly boaited in off, and the tax on each hali theet has brouglit the preface and concluding leaf of my Tatlers. into the stamp-office one week with another I am indeed much more proud of his long con- above twenty pounds a week arising from this tinued friendlip, than 1 hould be of the fame single paper, notwithstanding it at first reduced of being thought the author of any writings it to lers than half the nuinber that was usually which he himself is capable of producing. printed before this tax was laid. remember when I finished the Tender Husband,
l humbiy beseech the continuance of this in. I told him there was nothing ! fo ardently wish- clination to favour what I may hereafter pra. ed, as that we might fome tine or other pub; duce, and hope I have in ray occurrences of lith a work written by us both, which should life tasted so deeply of pain and forrow, that I bear the name of the Monument, in memory
am proof againit much more profperous cirof our friendihip. I heartily wish what I have cumstances than any advantages to which my done hcre, was as honorary to that sacred name,
own industry can poñibly cxalt me. as learning, wit, and humanity render those
I am, pieces which I have taught the reader how to
My good-natured reador, distinguith for his. When the play abovemen.
Your m f cbedient, tioned was last aced, there were to many ap
moft obliged hamble servant, pizoded strokes in it which i had from the same
Richard Steele. hand, that I thought very meanly oi, myself that
TIR, I have nevor publicly acknowledged thein Vos valore e padite.
The following letter regards an ingenious set are greater ; for what the antique statues and of gentlemen, who have done me the honour to bas reliefs which Italy enjoys are to the hismake me one of their society.
tory painters, the beautiful and noble faces
with which England is confessed to abound, Mr. Spectator,
Dec 4, 1712.
are to face painters ; and besides we have THE academy of painting, lately establish the greatest number of the works of the best ed in London, having done you and
• masters in that kind of any people, not with" themselves the honour to choose you one of
out a competent number of those of the most ' their directors ; that noble and lively art,
excellent in every other part of painting. which before was intitled to your regard as a
. And for encouragement, the wealth and geSpectator, has an additional claim to you, and
' nerosity of the English nation affords that in you seem to be under a double obligation to
' such a degree, as artists have no reason to I take some care of her interests.
• complain. The honour of our country is also concerned
• And accordingly in fact, face-painting is no ' in the matter I am going to lay before you :
(where so well performed as in England : I
o know not whether it has lain in your way to we, and perhaps other nations as well as we, • have a national false humility as well as
o observe it, but I have, and pretend to be a • national vain glory; and though we boaft
• tolerable judge. I have seen what is done ourselves to excell all the world in things
abroad, and can assure you, that the honour ( wherein we are outdone abroad, in other
of that branch of painting is juftly due to us. I things we attribute to others a superiority
'I appeal to the judicious observers for the
( truth of what I afiert. ( which we ourselves poffess. This is what is
If foreigners have done, particularly in the art of portrait or
oftentimes, or even for the most part excelled • face-painting.
our natives, it ought to be imputed to the ad• Painting is an art of a vast extent, too great
vantages they have met with here, joined to by much for any mortal man to be in full por
" their own ingenuity and industry: nor has "fefsion of in all its parts; it is enough if any
any one nation distinguished themselves so as • one fucceed in painting faces, history, battles,
to raise an argument in favour of their coun. " landskips, sea-pieces, fruit, flowers, or drolls,
try; but it is to be observed that neither
• French nor Italians, nor any one of either ' &c. Nay, no man ever was excellent in all the branches, though many in number, of
• nation, notwithstanding all our prejudices in (there several arts, for a distinct art I take upon
" their favour, have, or ever had, for any con
o siderable time, any character among us as me to call every one of those several kinds of • painting.
« This honour is due to our own country ; « And as one man may be a good landskip painter, but unable to paint a face or a history
and has been so for near an age : so that intolerably well, and so of the rest ; one na
• stead of going to Italy, or elsewhere, one that til n may excel in some kinds of painting,
designs for portrait-painting ought to study in and other kinds may thrive better in other
England. Hither such Mould come from Holo climates.
land, France, Italy, Germany, &c. as he that • Italy may have the preference of all other
intends to practice any other kinds of paint( nations for history-painting; Holland for
ing, should go to those parts where it is in drolls, and a neat finished manner of working;
greatest perfection. It is said the bleted vir• France for gay, janty, fluttering pictures ;
egin descended from heaven, to fit to St. Luke;
"I dare venture to affirm, that if the mould and England for portraits : but to give the
I desire another Madonna to be painted by the " honour of every one of these kinds of paintring to any one of those nations on account of
life, she would come to England; and am of their excellence in any of these parts of it,
• opinion that your present president, Sir God. is like adjudging the prize of heroic, drama frey Kneller, from his improvement since he ( tic, lyric, or burlesque poetry, to him who
' arrived in this kingdom, would perform that " has done well in any one of them.
office better than any foreigner living. " Where there are the greatest geniuses, and
" With all posible respect, Sir, I most helps and encouragements, it is reasona
" Your most humile, and <ble to suppose an art will arrive to the great
• Most obedient servant, &c.' ' est perfection : by this rule let us confider
our own country with respect to face painting. "No nation in the world delights so much in
The ingenious letters figned the Weather" having their own, or friends, or relations Glass, with several others, were received, but
came too late. ' pictures ; whether from their national good nature, or having a love to painting, and not
P O S TS C R I P T. being encouraged in the great article of reli'gious pictures, which the purity of our wor It had not come to my knowledge, when I • Thip réfuses the free use of, or from whatever left off the Speciator, that I owe several excel
other cause. Our helps are not inferior to lent sentiments and agreeable pieces in this work those of any ctirer people, but rather they to Mr. Ince of Gray's Inn.
6 I am,