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own, that nothing can be more useful or laudable, r than the scheme we go upon. To avoid nicknames
and witticisms, we call ourselves the Hebdomadal 6 Meeting: our President continues for a year at least, ( and sometimes four or five : we are all grave, serisous, designing men, in our way: we think it our « duty, as far as in us lies, to take care the constitu
tion receives no harm— Ne quid detrimenti Res • capiat publica”—To censure doctrines or facts, per• sons or things, which we do not like; to settle the « nation at home, and carry on the war abroad, where (and in what manner we see fit. If other people are ( not of our opinion, we cannot help that. It were I better they were. Moreover, we now and then con
descend to direct, in some measure, the little af. fairs of our own University.
Verily, Mr. Spectator, we are much offended at the act for importing French wines : a bottle or two
of good solid edifying port at honest George's made ( a night cheerful, and threw off reserve. But this
plaguy French claret will not only cost us more money, but do us less good: had we been aware of it,
before it had gone too far, I must tell you, we would • have petitioned to be heard upon that subject. But o let that pass.
· I must let you know likewise, good Sir, that we “ look upon a certain northern prince's march, in con6 junction with infidels, to be palpably against our "good-will and liking, and, for all Monsieur Palm
quist, a most dangerous innovation; and we are by ( no means yet sure, that some people are not at the 6 bottom of it. At least, my own private letters leave ' no room for a politician, well versed in matters of
this nature, to suspect as much as a penetrating friend of mine tells me. "We think we have at last done the business with
the malecontents in Hungary, and shall clap up a o peace there,
( What the neutrality army is to do, or what tlie ( army in Flanders, and what two or three other s princes, is not yet fully determined among us: and 6 we wait impatiently for the coming-in of the next
Dyer, who, you must know, is our authentic intel(ligence, our Aristotle in politics. And it is indeed • but fit there should be some dernier resort, the ab< solute decider of all controversies.
6 We were lately informed, that the gallant trained« bands had patrolled all night long about the streets " of London: we indeed could not imagine any occa"sion for it, we guessed not a tittle of it aforehand, ( we were in nothing of the secret; and that city • tradesmen, or their apprentices, should do duty, or
work, during the holidays, we thought absolutely 'impossible. But Dyer being positive in it, and some ( letters from other people, who had talked with some ( who had it from those who should know, giving isome countenance to it, the chairman reported from ' the committee, appointed to examine into that affair,
that it was possible there might be something in it. "I have much more to say to you, but my two good
friends and neighbours, Dominick and Slyboots, are · just come in, and the coffee's ready. I am, in the (mean time, ? Mr. Spectator, 5 Your admirer and humble servant,
YOU may observe the turn of their minds tends only to novelty, and not satisfaction in any thing. It would be disappointment to them, to come to certainty in any thing, for that would gravel them, and put an end to their enquiries, which dull fellows do not make for information, but for exercise. I do not know but this may be a very good way of accounting for what we frequently see, to wit, that dull fellows prove very
good men of business. Business relieves them from their own natural heaviness, by furnishing them with what to do: whereas business to mercurial men, is an interruption from their real existence and happiness. Though the dull part of mankind are harmless in their amusements, it were to be wished they had no vacant time, because they usually undertake something that makes their wants conspicuous, by their manner of supplying them. You shall seldom find a dull fellow of good education, but (if he happens to have any leisure upon his hands) will turn his head to one of those two amusements, for all fools of eminence, politics or poetry. The former of these arts, is the study of all dull people in general; but when Julness is lodged in a person of a quick animal life, it generally exerts itself in poetry. One might here mention a few military writers, who give great entertainment to the age, by reason that the stupidity of their heads is quickened by the alacrity of their hearts. This constitution in a dull fellow, gives vigour to nonsense, and makes the puddle boil, which would otherwise stagnate. The British Prince, that celebrated poem, which was written in the reign of king Charles the second, and deservedly called by the wits of that age incomparable, was the effect of such an unhappy genius as we are speaking of. From among many other distichs, no less to be quoted on this account, I cannot but recite the two following linys;
A painted vest prince Voltager had on,
Here if the poet had not been vivacious, as well as stupid, he could not, in the warmth and hurry of nonsense, have been capable of forgetting that neither prince Voltager, nor his grand-father, could strip a naked man of his doublet; but a fool of a colder constitution would have staid to have flea'd the Pict, and made buff of his skin for the wearing of the conqueror.
To bring these observations to some useful purpose of life, what I would propose should be, that we iinitated those wise nations, wherein every man learns some handicraft-work. Would it not employ a beau prettily enough, if, instead of eternally playing with a snuff-box, he spent some part of his time in making one? Such a method as this would very much conduce to the public emolument, by making every man living good for something ; for there would then be no one member of human society, but would have some little pretensions for some degree in it; like him who came to Will's coffee-house, upon the merit of having writ a posy of a ring.
No. XLIV. FRIDAY, APRIL 20..
AMONG the several artifices which are put in practice by the poets to fill the minds of an audience with terror, the first place is due to thunder and lightning, which are often made use of at the descending of a god, or the rising of a ghost, at the vanishing of a devil, or the death of a tyrant. I have known a bell introduced into several tragedies with good effect; and have seen the whole assembly in a very great alarm all the while it has been ringing. But there is nothing which delights and terrifies our English theatre
so much as a ghost, especially when he appears in a . bloody shirt. A spectre has very often saved a play, though, he has done nothing but stalked across the stage, or rose through a cleft of it, and sunk again without speaking one word. There may be a proper season for these several terrors; and when they only come in as aids and assistances to the poet, they are not only to be excused, but to be applauded. Thus the sounding of the clock in Venice Presery'd, makes the liearts of the whole audience quake ; and conveys a stronger terror to the mind than it is possible for words to do. The appearance of the ghost in Hamlet is a master-piece in its kind, and wrought up with all the circumstances that can create either attention or horror. The mind of the reader is wonderfully prepared for his reception by the discourses that precede it: his dumb behaviour at his first entrance strikes the imagination very strongly; but every time he enters, he is still more terrifying. Who can read the speech with which young Hamlet accosts him, without trembling.
• Hor. Look, my Lord, it comes !
* Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us !