網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

come into the mind of any but of one a little too studious; for I said to myself with a kind of pun in thought, “What nonsense is all the hurry of this world to those who are above it?". In these, or not much wiser thoughts, I had like to have lost my place at the chop-house, where every man, according to the natural bashfulness or sullenness of our nation, eats in a publio room a mess of broth, or chop of meat, in dumb silence, as if they had no pretence to speak to each other on the foot of being men, except they were of each other's acquaintance.

I went afterward to Robin's, and saw people, who had dined with me at the five-penny ordinary just before, give bills for the value of large estates; and could not but behold with great pleasure, property lodged in, and transferred in a moment from, such as would never be masters of half as much as is seemingly in them, and given from them, every day they live. But before five in the afternoon I left the city, came to my common scene of Covent-garden, and passed the evening at Will's in atiending the discourses of several sets of people, who relieved each other within my hearing on the subjects of cards, dice, love, learning, and politics. The last subject kept me till I heard the streets in the possession of the bell-man, who had now the world to himself, and cried “ Past two o'clock.” This roused me from my seat; and I went to my lodgings, led by a light, whom I put into the discourse of his private economy, and made him give me an account of the charge, hazard, profit, and loss, of a family that depended upon a link, with a design to end my trivial day with the generosity of six-pence, instead of a third part of that sum. When I came to my chambers, I writ down these minutes ; but was at a loss what instruction I should propose to my reader from the enumeration of so many insignificant matters and occurrences; and I thought it of great use, if they could learn with me to keep their minds open to gratification, and ready to receive it from any thing it meets with. This one circumstance will make every face you see give you the satisfaction you now take in beholding that of a friend; will make every object a pleasing one; will make all the good which arrives to any man, an increase of happiness

to yourself. T.

[ocr errors]

N° 455. TUESDAY, AUGUST 12, 1712.

-Ego apis Matinee
More modoque,
Grata carpentis thyma per laborem
Plurimum

HOR. 4 Od. ii. 27.
My timorous Muse
Unambitious tracts pursues ;
Does with weak unballast wings,
About the mossy brooks and springs,

Like the laborious bee,
For little drops of honey fly,
And there with humble sweets contents her industry.

COW LEY.
THE following letters have in them reflections which

will seem of importance both to the learned world and to domestic life. There is in the first an allegory so well carried on, that it cannot but be very pleasing to those who have a taste of good writing: and the other billets may have their use in common life :

« MR. SPECTATOR, “ As I walked the other day in a fine garden, and observed the great variety of improvements in plants and flowers, beyond what they otherwise would have been, I was naturally led into a reflection upon the advantages of education, or modern culture : how many good qualities in the mind are lost, for want of the like due care in nursing and skilfully managing them; how many virtues are choked by the multitude of weeds which are suffered to grow among them; how excellent parts are often starved and useless, by being planted in a wrong soil; and how very seldom do these moral seeds produce the noble fruits which might be expected from them by a neglect of proper manuring, necessary pruning, and an artful management of our tender inclinations and first spring of life. These obvious speculations made me at length conclude, that there is a sort of vegetable principle in the mind of every man when he comes into the world. In infants, the seeds lie buried and undiscovered, till after a while they sprout forth in a kind of rational leaves, which are words; and in due season the flowers begin to appear in variety of beautiful colours, and all the gay pictures of youthful fancy

and imagination; at last the fruit knits and is formed, which is green perhaps at first, sour and unpleasant to the taste, and not fit to be gathered : till, ripened by due care and application, it discovers itself in all the noble productions of philosophy, mathematics, close reasoning, and handsome argumentation. These fruits, when they arrive at a just maturity, and are of a good kind, afford the most vigorous nourishment to the minds of men. I reflected farther on the intellectual leaves before mentioned, and found almost as great a variety among them, as in the vegetable world. I could easily observe the smooth shining Italian leaves, the nimble French aspen always in motion, the Greek and Latin evergreens, the Spanish myrtle, the English oak, the Scotch thistle, the Irish shambrogue, the prickly German and Dutch holly, the Polish and Russian nettle, besides a vast number of exotics imported from Asia, Africa, and America. I saw several barren plants, which bore only leaves, without any hopes of flower or fruit. The leaves of some were fragrant and well-shaped, of others ill-scented and irregular. I wondered at a set of old whimsical botanists, who spent their whole lives in the contemplation of some withered Egyptian, Coptic, Armenian, or Chinese leaves; while others made it their business to collect, in voluminous herbals, all the several leaves of some one tree. The flowers afforded a most diverting entertainment, in a wonderful variety of figures, colours, and scents; however, most of them withered soon, or at best are but annuals. Some professed florists make them their constant study and employment, and despise all fruit; and now and then a few fanciful people spend all their time in the cultivation of a single tulip, or a carnation. But the most agreeable amusement seems to be the well-choosing, mixing, and binding together, these flowers in pleasing nosegays, to present to ladies. The scent of Italian flowers is observed, like their other perfumes, to be too strong, and to hurt the brain ; that of the French with glaring gaudy colours, yet faint and languid ; German and northern flowers have little or no smell, or sometimes an unpleasant one.

The ancients had a secret to give a lasting beauty, colour, and sweetness, to some of their choice fowers, which flourish to this day, and which few of the moderns can effect. These are becoming

us.

enough, and agreeable in their season, and do often handsomely adorn an entertainment: but an over-fondness of them seems to be a disease. It rarely happens to find a plant vigorous enough to have (like an orange-tree) at once beautiful and shining leaves, fragrant flowers, and delicious nourishing fruit, “Sir, yours," &c. « DEAR SPEC.,

August 6, 1712. “ You have given us, in your Spectator of Saturday last, a very excellent discourse upon the force of custom, and its wonderful efficacy in making every thing pleasant to

I cannot deny but that I received above two-penny; worth of instruction from your paper, and in the general was

very well pleased with it: but I am, without a compliment, sincerely troubled that I cannot exactly be of your opinion, that it makes every thing pleasing to us. In short, I have the honour to be yoked to a young lady, who is, in plain English, for her standing, a very eminent scold. She began to break her mind, very freely, both to me and to her servants, about two months after our nuptials; and, though I have been accustomed to this humour of hers these three years, yet I do not know what is the matter with me, but I am no more delighted with it than I was at the

very first. I have advised with her relations about her, and they all tell me that her mother and her grandmother before her were both taken much after the same manner; so that, since it runs in the blood, I have but small hopes of her recovery. I should be glad to have a little of

your advice in this matter. I would not willingly trouble you to contrive how it may be a pleasure to me;

if
you

will but put me in a way that I may bear it with indifference, I shall rest satisfied.

“Dear Spec.,

“ Your very humble servant, “P.S. I must do the poor girl the justice to let you know that this match was none of her own choosing (or indeed of mine either); in consideration of which, I avoid giving her the least provocation; and indeed we live better together than usually folks do who hated one another when they were first joined. To evade the sin against parents, or at least to extenuate it, my dear rails at my father and mother, and I curse hers for making the match.”

“ Yours,

« MR. SPECTATOR,

August 8, 1712. “ I like the theme you lately gave out extremely, and should be as glad to handle it as any man living. But I find myself no better qualified to write about money than about my wife ; for, to tell you a secret, which I desire may go no farther, I am master of neither of those subjects.

“Pill GARLICK.“ MR. SPECTATOR, “I desire you will print this in italic, so as it may

be

generally taken notice of. It is designed only to admonish all persons, who speak either at the bar, pulpit, or any public assembly whatsoever, how they discover their ignorance in the use of similes. There are, in the pulpit itself, as well as in other places, such gross abuses in this kind, that I give this warning to all I know. I shall bring them for the future before your spectatorial authority. On Sunday last, one, who shall be nameless, reproving several of his congregation for standing at prayers, was pleased to say, One would think, like the elephant, you had no knees.' Now I myself saw an elephant, in Bartholomew fair, kneel down to take on his back the ingenious Mr. William Penkethman.

“ Your most humble servant,”

N° 456. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 1712. De quo libelli in celeberrimis locis proponuntur, huic ne perire quidem tacitè conceditur.

TULL. The man whose conduct is publicly arraigned, is not suffered even to be undone quietly.

TWAY, in his tragedy of Venice Preserved, has de

the hands of the law with great spirit. The bitterness of being the scorn and laughter of base minds, the anguish of being insulted by men hardened beyond the sense of shame or pity, and the injury of a man's fortune being wasted, under pretence of justice, are excellently aggravated in the following speech of Pierre to Jaffier:

I pass'd this very moment by thy doors,
And found them guarded by a troop of villains;

« 上一頁繼續 »