« 上一頁繼續 »
of the jester, his affairs might have ended better than they did.
Dioclesian, a Roman emperor, made the difficulty of reigning well to consist chiefly in the difficulty of arriving at the real knowledge of affairs. "Four or five courtiers," said he, "form themselves into a cabal, and unite in their councils to deceive the emperor. They say what will please their master; who, being shut up in his palace, is a stranger to the truth, and forced to know only what they think fit to tell him."* Now the jester will be sure to prevent or dissipate all this darkness and obscurity: he will be a perpetual intelligencer to his master, he will daily and hourly laugh him into true ideas of persons and things, and lead him gradually to see them as they are. Thus royalty will be guarded against many evils: it will not be misled by either flattery or abuse; but taught to lay the due stress, and no more, upon whatever shall be said for or against itself. These, and innumerable other benefits, will be obtained, and all in the way of mirth and pleasantry.
Upon the whole, then, agreeably to my idea of a jester, many might be glad to see this personage_reestablished at court, and a proper stipend assigned to his office. If he produce the effects I have specified, well and good; and, let the worst happen that can, it will be only adding one more to those many places and pensions, which, being of no great use or ornament to the kingdom, must unavoidably create disaffection and
* Vopiscus in Aureliano.
+ This was what the famous Carvalho so much dreaded from the witty Count d'Obidos.-" Il craignoit," says the historian, " que ses bons mots ne fissent à la fin quelque impression sur l'esprit du Monarque, et ne parvissent pent être à lui ouvrir les yeux."-Memoires de Carvalho, Marquis de Pombal, tom. 2, p. 35.
Yet a certain writer seems to think this in no wise necessary. "The last jester we had at court," says he, 66 was in the licentious reign of Charles II. Since that time our manners have been so gradually refining, that our court, at present, is full of patriots, who wish for nothing but the honours and wealth of their country; and our ladies are all so chaste, so spotless, so good, so devout, that there is nothing for a jester to make a jest of."Yorick's Sentimental Journey
complaint; unless we could suppose the English of the same humour with the subjects of a duke of Savoy, who being asked "how they could bear their heavy taxations?" replied, "We are not so much offended with the duke for what he takes from us, as thankful for what he leaves us."
DESCRIPTION OF FROGMORE HOUSE,
The favourite Residence of Her Majesty. FROGMORE HOUSE is situated at a short distance from the southern end of Windsor, and is a favourite, as it is a most elegant retreat of her Majesty, Queen Charlotte. It was among the ancient possessions of the crown; and that it was known by that name before Shakspeare's time is evident, by the mention made of it in his comedy of the Merry Wives of Windsor; but whether as a residence, or as an open field only, does not appear. It was sold among the crown-lands during the civil war, and became afterwards the seat of George Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton, one of the natural sons of Charles II.; whose widow, the duchess dowager, died there at a very advanced age. Frogmore was for some time the residence of Marshal Belleisle, after he was released from his confinement in the Round Tower of Windsor Castle. It then became the seat of Sir Edward Walpole, Knight of the Bath.
For several years past it has been in the possession of her Majesty, who purchased the lease of Mrs. Ann Egerton, by whom it was held under the crown.
The house is a modern structure, which has been much improved under the direction of Mr. James Wyatt. It is partly built with freestone, and partly cased. Towards the south, which is the garden front, it has a projecting colonnade, uniting the principal building with two uniform wings. The interior contains the following apartments, fitted up with an elegant simplicity; a library, well furnished with modern authors; an eating-room, in which are portraits of the Princesses of Strelitz, her majesty's mother and sister, and of the princes, her brothers. The chimney-piece of this room was brought from Italy by the Duke of Sussex. It is of statuary marble, enriched with marks
and bacchanalian symbols, of excellent workmanship; a cabinet of natural history; a botanical library, in which room is an oak-tree dwarfed, after the manner of the Chinese; a billiard-room; a pavilion, decorated with flowers, painted by Mrs. Lloyd, R. A., formerly Miss Moser; the princess royal's first closet, so called from its being furnished with the drawings of her royal highness, now Queen of Wirtemburgh, in imitation of etchings; the black japan room. Both these apartments are indebted for their tasteful appearance to her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth. Princess royal's second closet, fitted up also with drawings from the pen of her royal highness. Second pavilion: drawing-room hung with sketches for the altar-piece of the Foundling Hospital, by West; oval picture of Cleopatra and Dido, by Cipriani; and a small sea-view, by Mr. Cowden, after the manner of Morland: state bed-room and dressing-room; yellow bed-room filled with portraits by Edridge, in the earlier manner of that excellent artist; and the queen's library, in which hangs the picture of his majesty, which was sent to Germany previous to his marriage with his present royal consort.
The garden contains about thirteen acres, and is diversified with great skill and taste, and a piece of water winds through it with a pleasing variety of turn and shape. The trees and shrubs, both native and exotic, which spread their shade and diffuse their fragrance, are disposed with the best effect; while buildings are so placed, as to enliven and give character to the general scene. The ruin was designed by Mr. James Wyatt, and being seated on the bank of the water, as well as in part immersed in wood, it presents, with its creeping ivy and fractured buttresses, a most pleasing object from various points of the garden. The hermitage is a small circular thatched building, completely embowered in lofty trees, and was constructed from a drawing of the Princess Elizabeth. There is also a gothic temple, sacred to solitude; and well-imagined and picturesque barn, which heightens the appropriate scenery. Too much cannot be said of the secluded beauty of this charming spot; and nothing further need be said of the taste and judgment of Major Price, to whom its arrangements have been intrusted.
THE GRECIAN LIBERTY OF THE STAGE
BRITISH LIBERTY OF THE PRESS.
THE ancient Greeks, in their dramatic entertainments of the pristine comedy, attacked the vices of their great men by the most severe personalities. Not a misdemeanour, whether public or private, escaped the Aristophanes and Pratinas of Greece. Was a general tardy, destitute of talents, or disloyal to the state---was a chief magistrate partial in the administration of justice---or did a philosopher render himself conspicuously ridiculous by the absurdity of his doctrine---they were immediately exposed on the stage; their foibles, defects, or vices, held up to the public ridicule and detestation, even their names mentioned on the stage, and their characters drawn so strongly that no one could mistake these dramatic portraits.
Like the liberty of the British press, it had the same effect on the public characters of Greece, by checking them from the commission of dishonourable actions, and by stimulating them to the most heroic and patriotic deeds; well knowing should they prove false to their country, the poets would exhibit their actions on the theatres, and rouse the public indignation against them.
But the most perfect human blessings being subject to the abuse of the unprincipled, many of the most virtuous and great characters among the Greeks were maliciously traduced by the dramatic wits, and their most godlike actions ascribed to the vilest intentions. Even the virtues of Socrates were vilified by the licentious scurrility of Aristophanes.
This mode of personally satirising the great continued till the Athenian liberty received a stab by the administration of the thirty tyrants, who, conscious that their actions could bear no scrutiny, were resolved to prevent censure, by prohibiting the dramatic writers from mentioning any one by name in their pieces.
However, the characters continued to be so strongly drawn, that every one knew the originals, laughed at their foibles, detested their vices, and despised the men.
But the all-conquering son of Ammon, who was more afraid of the wit than of the arms of the Greeks, effectually overturned the liberty of their stage, with the liberty of that people.
From this cursory view of the Grecian theatre, what can bear a closer comparison to it, than the liberty of the British press, which, although its licentiousness has done some harm, its almost unbounded freedom has been the sole means of preserving the liberties of Great Britain; and till another Alexander arises (which Heaven forbid) the freedom of the press will be the infallible salvation of the British empire. C.
THE mind is depraved by the society of the low; it riseth to equality with equals; and to distinction with the distinguished.
An influx of riches and constant health; a wife who is dear to one, and one who is of kind and gentle speech; a child who is obedient, and useful knowledge, are, my son, the six pleasures of life.
Men of good or evil birth may be possest of good qualities; but falling into bad company, they become. vicious. Rivers flow with sweet waters; but having joined the ocean, they become undrinkable.
These six-the peevish, the niggard, the dissatisfied, the passionate, the suspicious, and those who live upon others means are for ever unhappy.
Fortitude in adversity, and moderation in prosperity; eloquence in the senate, and courage in the field; great glory in renown, and labour in study; are the natural perfections of great minds.
Nor bathing with cool water, nor a necklace of pearls, or anointing with sanders, yieldeth such comfort to the body oppressed with heat, as the language of a good man, cheerfully uttered, doth to the mind.
It is better to dwell in a forest haunted by tigers and lions; the trees our habitation, flowers, fruits, and water for food, the grass for a bed, and the bark of the trees for garments, than to live amongst relations after the loss of wealth.