« 上一頁繼續 »
upon us. These expressions were no sooner banded about, but I immediately saw a general disorder, till at last there was a parting in one place, and a grave old man, decent and resoluțe, was led forward to be punished for the words he had uttered. He appeared inclined to have spoken in his own defence, but I could not observe that any one was willing to hear him. Vanity cast a scornful smile at him; Self-Conceit was angry; Flattery, who knew him for PlainDealing, put on a vizard, and turned away; Affectation tossed her fan, made mouths, and called him Envy or Slander; and Fashion would have it, that at least he must be Ill-Manners. Thus slighted and despised by all, he was driven out for abusing people of merit and figure; and I heard it firmly resolved, that he should be used no better wherever they met with him hereafter.
I had already seen the meaning of most part of that warning which he had given, and was considering how the latter words should be fulfilled, when a mighty noise was heard without, and the door was blackened by a numerous train of harpies crowding in upon us. Folly and BrokenCredit were seen in the house before they entered. Trou, ble, Shame, Infamy, Scorn, and Poverty, brought up the rear. Vanity, with her Cupid and Graces, disappeared ; her subjects ran into holes and corners; but many of them were found and carried off (as I was told by one who stood near me) either to prisons or cellars, solitude or little company, the mean arts or the viler crafts of life. these," added he with a disdainful air, such who would fondly live here, when their merits neither matched the lustre of the place, nor their riches its expenses. We have seen such scenes as these before now; the glory you saw will all return when the hurry is over.” I thanked him for bis information; and, believing him so incorrigible as that he would stay till it was his turn to be taken, I made off to the door, and overtook some few, who, though they would not hearken to Plain-Dealing, were now terrified to good purpose by the example of others. But when they had touched the threshold, it was a strange shock to them to find that the delusion of Error was gone, and they plainly discerned the building to hang a little up in the air without any real foundation. At first we saw nothing but a desperate leap remained for us, and I a
thousand times blamed my unmeaning curiosity that had brought me into so much danger. But as they began to sink lower in their own minds, methought the place sunk along with us, till they were arrived at the due point of esteem hich they ought to have for themselves: then the part of the building in which they stood touched the earth, and we departing out, it retired from our eyes. Now, whether they who stayed in the palace were sensible of this descent, I cannot tell; it was then my opinion that they were not. However it be, my dream broke up at it, and has given me occasion all my life to reflect upon the fatal consequences of following the suggestions of Vanity.
“ MR. SPECTATOR, "I write to you to desire, that you would again touch upon a certain enormity, which is chiefly in use among the politer and better-bred part of mankind; I mean the ceremonies, bows, curtsies, whisperings, smiles, winks, nods, with other familiar arts of salutation, which take up in our churches so much time that might be better employed, and which seem so utterly inconsistent with the duty and true intent of our entering into those religious assemblies. The resemblance which this bears to our indeed proper behaviour in theatres, may be some instance of its incongruity in the above-mentioned places. In Roman Catholic churches and chapels abroad, I myself have observed, more than once, persons of the first quality, of the nearest relation, and intimatest acquaintance, passing by one another unknowing, as it were, and unknown, and with so little notice of each other, that it looked like having their minds more suitably and more solemnly engaged; at least it was an acknowledgment that they ought to have been şo., I have been told the same even of the Mahometaas, with relation to the
propriety of their demeanour in the conventions of their erroneous worship; and I cannot but think either of them sufficient laudable patterns for our imitation in this particular.
"I cannot help, upon this occasion, remarking on the excellent memories of those devotionists, who upon returning from church shall give a particular account how two or three hundred people were dressed : a thing, by reason
of its variety, so difficult to be digested and fixed in the head, that it is a miracle to me how two poor hours of divine service can be time sufficient for so elaborate an undertaking, the duty of the place too being jointly, and no doubt oft pathetically, performed along with it. Where it is said in sacred writ, that' the woman ought to have a covering on her head because of the angels,' that last word is by some thought to be metaphorically used, and to signify young men. Allowing this interpretation to be right, the text may not appear to be wholly foreign to our present purpose.
“ When you are in a disposition proper for writing on such a subject, I earnestly recommend this to you: and am, T.
N° 461. TUESDAY, AUGUST 19, 1712.
-Sed non ego credulus illis.-VIRG, Ecl. ix. 34. But I discern their fatt'ry from their praise.-Dryden. VOR want of time to substitute something else in the
room of them, I am at present obliged to publish compliments above my desert in the following letters. It is no small satisfaction to have given occasion to ingenious. men to employ their thoughts upon sacred subjects, from the approbation of such pieces of poetry as they have seen in my Saturday's papers. I shall never publish verse on that day but what is written by the same hand :* yet shall I not accompany .these writings with eulogiums, but leave them to speak for themselves.
“ FOR THE SPECTATOR. « MR. SPECTATOR,
very much promote the interests of virtue, while you reform the taste of a profane age; and persuade us ; to be entertained with divine poems, while we are distinguished by so many thousand humours, and split into so many different sects and parties; yet persons of every party, sect, and humour, are fond of conforming their taste to
yours. You can transfuse your own relish of a poem into all your readers according to their capacity to receive; and when you recommend the pious passion that reigns in the verse, we seem to feel the devotion, and grow proud and pleased inwardly, that we have souls capable of relishing what the Spectator approves.
Upon reading the hymns that you have published in late
papers, I had a mind to try yesterday whether I could write one. The cxivth psalm appears to me an admirable ode, and I began to turn it into our language. As I was describing the journey of Israel from Egypt, and added the Divine Presence amongst them, 'I perceived a beauty in this psalm, which was entirely new to me, and which I was going to lose ; and that is, that the poet utterly conceals the presence of God in the beginning of it, and rather lets a possessive pronoun go without a substantive, than he will so much as mention any thing of divinity there. • Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion or kingdom.' The reason now seems evident, and this conduct necessary; for, if God had appeared before, there could be no wonder why the mountains should leap and the sea retire ; therefore, that this convulsion of nature may be brought in with due surprise, his name is not mentioned till afterward : and then with a very agreeable turn of thought, God is introduced at once in all his majesty. This is what I have attempted to imitate in a translation without paraphrase, and to preserve. what I could of the spirit of the sacred author.
“If the following essay be not too incorrigible, bestow upon it a few brightenings from your genius, that I may learn how to write better, or to write no more.
“Your daily admirer and humble servant," &c.
With backward current to their head.
And fires and seas confess their Lord.*
There are those who take the advantage of your putting a halfpenny value upon yourself above the rest of our daily writers, to defame you in public conversation, and strive to make you unpopular upon the account of this said halfpenny. But, if I were you, I would insist upon that small acknowledgment for the superior merit of yours, as being a work of invention. Give me leave, therefore, to do you justice, and say in your behalf, what you cannot yourself, which is, that your writings have made learning a more necessary part of good breeding than it was before you appeared ; that modesty is become fashionable, and impudence stands in need of some wit, since you have put them both in their proper lights. Profaneness, lewdness, and debauchery, are not now qualifications; and a man may be a very fine gentleman, though he is neither a keeper nor an infidel.
“I would have you tell the town the story of the Sibyls, if they deny giving you two-pence. Let them know, that those sacred papers were valued at the same rate after two-thirds of them were destroyed, as when there was the whole set. There are so many of us who will give you your own price, that you may acquaint your nonconformist readers, that they shall not have it, except they come in
• By Dr. Isaac Watts.