« 上一頁繼續 »
Above all, those insufferable concertos, and pieces of music, as they are called, do plague and embitter my apprehension.-Words are something; but to be exposed to an endless battery of mere sounds; to be long a dying, to lie stretched upon a rack of roses; to keep up languor by unintermitted effort; to pile honey upon sugar, and sugar upon honey, to an interminable tedious sweetness; tò fill up sound with feeling, and strain ideas to keep pace with it; to gaze on empty frames, and be forced to make the pictures for yourself; to read a book, all stops, and be obliged to supply the verbal matter; to invent extempore tragedies to answer to the vague gestures of an inexplicable rambling mime_these are faint shadows of what I have undergone from a series of the ablest-executed pieces of this empty instrumental music.
I deny not, that in the opening of a concert, I have experienced something vastly lulling and agreeable :-afterwards followeth the languor and the oppression.-Like that disappointing book in Patmos ; or, like the comings on of melancholy, described by Burton, doth music make her first insinuating approaches :-" Most pleasant it is to such as are melancholy given to walk alone in some solitary grove, betwixt wood and water, by some brook side, and to meditate upon some delightsome and pleasant subject, which shall affect him most, amabilis insania, and mentis gratissimus error. A most incomparable delight to build castles in the air, to go smiling to themselves, acting an infinite variety of parts, which they suppose, and strongly imagine, they act, or that they see done. So delightsome these toys at first, they could spend whole days and nights without sleep, even whole years in such contemplations, and fantastical meditations, which are like so many dreams, and will hardly be drawn from them-winding and unwinding themselves as so many clocks, and still pleasing their humours, until at the last the SCENE TURNS UPON A SUDDEN, and they being now habitated to such meditations and solitary places, can endure no company, can think of nothing but harsh and distasteful subjects. Fear, sorrow, suspicion, subrusticus pudor, discontent, cares, and weariness of life, surprise them on a sudden and they can think of nothing else; continually suspecting, no sooner are their eyes open, but
this infernal plague of melancholy seizeth on them, and terrifies their souls, representing some dismal object to their minds; which now, by no means, no labour, no persuasions, they can avoid, they cannot be rid of, they cannot resist."
Something like this " SCENE TURNING " I have experienced at the evening parties, at the house of my good Catholic friend Novwho, by the aid of a capital organ, himself the most finished of players, converts his drawingroom into a chapel, his week days into Sundays, and these latter into minor heavens.*
When my friend commences upon one of those solemn anthems, which peradventure struck upon my heedless ear, rambling in the side aisles of the dim Abbey, some fiveand-thirty years since, waking a new sense, and putting a soul of old religion into my young apprehension-(whether it be that, in which the Psalmist, weary of the persecutions of bad men, wisheth to himself dove's wings --or that other, which, with a like measure of sobriety and pathos, inquireth by what means the young man shall best cleanse his mind)— a holy calm pervadeth me.-I am for the time -rapt above earth,
And possess joys not promised at my birth.
But when this master of the spell, not con tent to have laid a soul prostrate, goes on, in his power, to inflict more bliss than lies in her capacity to receive,-impatient to overcome her "earthly" with his "heavenly,”—still pouring in, for protracted hours, fresh waves and fresh from the sea of sound, or from that inexhausted German ocean, above which, in triumphant progress, dolphin-seated, ride those Arions Haydn and Mozart, with their attendant Tritons, Bach, Beethoven, and a countless tribe, whom to attempt to reckon up would but plunge me again in the deeps,—I stagger under the weight of harmony, reeling to and fro at my wits' end;-clouds, as of frankincense, oppress me priests, altars, censers, dazzle before me the genius of his religion hath me in her toils-a shadowy triple tiara invests the brow of my friend, late, so naked, so ingenuous- -he is Pope, and by him sits, like as in the anomaly of dreams, a she-Pope too,-tricoroneted like himself!—I am converted, and
*I have been there, and still would go;
yet a Protestant ;-at once malleus hereticorum, and myself grand heresiarch: or three heresies centre in my person :-I am Marcion, Ebion, and Cerinthus-Gog and Magog-what not?-till the coming in of the friendly suppertray dissipates the figment, and a draught of
true Lutheran beer (in which chiefly my friend shows himself no bigot) at once reconciles me to the rationalities of a purer faith; and restores to me the genuine unterrifying aspects of my pleasant-countenanced host and hostess.
ALL FOOLS' DA Y.
down Etna. Worse than samphire-picking by some odds. 'Tis a mercy your worship did not singe your mustachios.
Ha! Cleombrotus! and what salads in faith did you light upon at the bottom of the Mediterranean? You were founder, I take it, of the disinterested sect of the Calenturists.
THE Compliments of the season to my worthy | It is long since you went a salamander-gathering masters, and a merry first of April to us all! Many happy returns of this day to you-and you-and you, Sir-nay, never frown, man, nor put a long face upon the matter. Do not we know one another? what need of ceremony among friends? we have all a touch of that same -you understand me-a speck of the motley. Beshrew the man who on such a day as this, the general festival, should affect to stand aloof. I am none of those sneakers. I am free of the corporation, and care not who knows it. He that meets me in the forest to-day, shall meet with no wise-acre, I can tell him. Stultus sum. Translate me that, and take the meaning of it to yourself for your pains. What! man, we have four quarters of the globe on our side, at the least computation.
Fill us a cup of that sparkling gooseberrywe will drink no wise, melancholy, politic port on this day-and let us troll the catch of Amiens-duc ad me-duc ad mee-how goes it?
Here shall he see
Gross fools as he.
Now would I give a trifle to know historically and authentically, who was the greatest fool that ever lived. I would certainly give him in a bumper. Marry, of the present breed, I think I could without much difficulty name you the party.
Remove your cap a little further, if you please it hides my bauble. And now each man bestride his hobby, and dust away his bells to what tune he pleases. I willgive you, for my part,
-The crazy old church clock,
Good master Empedocles, you are welcome.
Gebir, my old free-mason, and prince of plasterers at Babel, bring in your trowel, most Ancient Grand! You have claim to a seat here at my right hand, as patron of the stammerers. You left your work, if I remember Herodotus correctly, at eight hundred million toises, or thereabout, above the level of the sea. Bless us, what a long bell you must have pulled, to call your top workmen to their nuncheon on the low grounds of Shinar. Or did you send up your garlic and onions by a rocket? I am a rogue if I am not ashamed to show you our Monument on Fish-street Hill, after your altitudes. Yet we think it somewhat.
What, the magnanimous Alexander in tears? -cry, baby, put its finger in its eye, it shall have another globe, round as an orange, pretty moppet!
Mister Adams- -'odso, I honour your coat -pray do us the favour to read to us that sermon, which you lent to Mistress Slipslopthe twenty and second in your portmanteau there on Female Incontinence-the sameit will come in most irrelevantly and impertinently seasonable to the time of the day. Good Master Raymund Lully, you look wise. Pray correct that error.
Duns, spare your definitions. I must fine you a bumper, or a paradox. We will have
To descend from these altitudes, and not to protract our Fool's Banquet beyond its appro
nothing said or done syllogistically this day. Remove those logical forms, waiter, that no gentleman break the tender shins of his appre-priate day, for I fear the second of April is hension stumbling across them.
not many hours distant-in sober verity I will confess a truth to thee, reader. I love a Fool-as naturally, as if I were of kith and kin to him. When a child, with child-like
Master Stephen, you are late.-Ha! Cokes, is it you?-Aguecheek, my dear knight, let me pay my devoir to you.-Master Shallow, your worship's poor servant to command.-apprehensions, that dived not below the surMaster Silence, I will use few words with you. -Slender, it shall go hard if I edge not you in somewhere-You six will engross all the poor wit of the company to-day.-I know it, I know it. Ha! honest R, my fine old Librarian of Ludgate, time out of mind, art thou here again? Bless thy doublet, it is not over-new, threadbare as thy stories-what dost thou flitting about the world at this rate?-Thy customers are extinct, defunct, bed-rid, have ceased to read long ago.-Thou goest still among them, seeing if, peradventure, thou canst hawk a volume or two.-Good Granville S- thy last patron, is flown.
King Pandion, he is dead,
All thy friends are lapt in lead.
Nevertheless, noble R- come in, and take your seat here, between Armado and Quisada; for in true courtesy, in gravity, in fantastic smiling to thyself, in courteous smiling upon others, in the goodly ornature of well-apparelled speech, and the commendation of wise sentences, thou art nothing inferior to those accomplished Dons of Spain. The spirit of chivalry forsake me for ever, when I forget thy singing the song of Macheath, which declares that he might be happy with either, situated between those two ancient spinsters -when I forget the inimitable formal love which thou didst make, turning now to the one, and now to the other, with that Malvolian smile-as if Cervantes, not Gay, had written it for his hero; and as if thousands of periods must revolve, before the mirror of courtesy could have given his invidious preference between a pair of so goodly-propertied and meritorious-equal damsels.
face of the matter, I read those Parables—not guessing at the involved wisdom-I had more yearnings towards that simple architect, that built his house upon the sand, than I entertained for his more cautious neighbour : I grudged at the hard censure pronounced upon the quiet soul that kept his talent; and-prizing their simplicity beyond the more provident, and, to my apprehension, somewhat unfeminine wariness of their competitors-I felt a kindliness, that almost amounted to a tendre, for those five thoughtless virgins.—I have never made an acquaintance since, that lasted or a friendship, that answered; with any that had not some tincture of the absurd in their characters. I venerate an honest obliquity of understanding. The more laughable blunders a man shall commit in your company, the more tests he giveth you, that he will not betray or overreach you. I love the safety, which a palpable hallucination warrants; the security, which a word out of season ratifies. And take my word for this, reader, and say a fool told it you, if you please, that he who hath not a dram of folly in his mixture, hath pounds of much worse matter in his composition. It is observed, that "the foolisher the fowl or fish, — woodcocks,— dotterels-cods'-heads, &c., the finer the flesh thereof," and what are commonly the world's received fools, but such whereof the world is not worthy? and what have been some of the kindliest patterns of our species, but so many darlings of absurdity, minions of the goddess, and her white boys?-Reader, if you wrest my words beyond their fair construction, it is you, and not I, that are the April Fool.
A QUAKERS' MEETING.
Still-born Silence! thou that art
Frost o' the mouth, and thaw o' the mind!
Who makes religion mystery!
Admiration's speaking'st tongue!
With thy enthusiasms come,
Seize our tongues, and strike us dumb! *
READER, would'st thou know what true peace and quiet mean; would'st thou find a refuge from the noises and clamours of the multitude; would'st thou enjoy at once solitude and society; would'st thou possess the depth of thy own spirit in stillness, without being shut out from the consolatory faces of thy species; would'st thou be alone, and yet accompanied; solitary, yet not desolate; singular, yet not without some to keep thee in countenance; a unit in aggregate; a simple in composite :-come with me into a Quakers' Meeting.
Dost thou love silence deep as that "before the winds were made?" go not out into the wilderness, descend not into the profundities of the earth; shut not up thy casements; nor pour wax into the little cells of thy ears, with little-faith'd self-mistrusting Ulysses.-Retire with me into a Quakers' Meeting.
For a man to refrain even from good words, and to hold his peace, it is commendable; but for a multitude, it is great mastery.
What is the stillness of the desert, compared with this place? what the uncommunicating muteness of fishes ?-here the goddess reigns and revels.-" Boreas, and Cesias, and Argestes loud," do not with their inter-confounding uproars more augment the brawlnor the waves of the blown Baltic with their clubbed sounds-than their opposite (Silence her sacred self) is multiplied and rendered more intense by numbers, and by sympathy. She too hath her deeps, that call unto deeps. Negation itself hath a positive more and less
and closed eyes would seem to obscure the great obscurity of midnight.
There are wounds, which an imperfect solitude cannot heal. By imperfect I mean that which a man enjoyeth by himself. The perfect is that which he can sometimes attain in crowds, but nowhere so absolutely as in a Quakers' Meeting. Those first hermits did certainly understand this principle, when they retired into Egyptian solitudes, not singly, but in shoals, to enjoy one another's want of conversation. The Carthusian is bound to his brethren by this agreeing spirit of incommunicativeness. In secular occasions, what so pleasant as to be reading a book through a long winter evening, with a friend sitting by -say, a wife-he, or she, too, (if that be probable,) reading another, without interruption, or oral communication?. -can there be no sympathy without the gabble of words ?away with this inhuman, shy, single, shadeand-cavern-haunting solitariness. Give me, Master Zimmermann, a sympathetic solitude. To pace alone in the cloisters, or side aisles of some cathedral, time-stricken ;
Or under hanging mountains,
Or by the fall of fountains;
is but a vulgar luxury, compared with that which those enjoy, who come together for the purposes of more complete, abstracted solitude. This is the loneliness" to be felt."-The Abbey Church of Westminster hath nothing so solemn, so spirit-soothing, as the naked walls and *From "Poems of all Sorts," by Richard Fleckno, 1653.
benches of a Quakers' Meeting. Here are no tombs, no inscriptions,
-Sands, ignoble things,
story of that much-injured, ridiculed man (who perhaps hath been a by-word in your mouth), -James Naylor what dreadful sufferings, Dropt from the ruined sides of kingswith what patience, he endured, even to the but here is something, which throws Antiquity boring through of his tongue with red-hot herself into the fore-ground-SILENCE-eldest irons, without a murmur; and with what of things-language of old Night-primitive | strength of mind, when the delusion he had Discourser to which the insolent decays of fallen into, which they stigmatised for blasmouldering grandeur have but arrived by a phemy, had given way to clearer thoughts, he violent, and, as we may say, unnatural pro- could renounce his error, in a strain of the gression. beautifullest humility, yet keep his first grounds, and be a Quaker still!-so different from the practice of your common converts from enthusiasm, who, when they apostatize, apostatize all, and think they can never get far enough from the society of their former errors, even to the renunciation of some saving truths, with which they had been mingled, not implicated.
How reverend is the view of these hushed heads, Looking tranquillity! Nothing-plotting, nought-caballing, unmischievous synod! convocation without intrigue! parliament without debate! what a lesson dost thou read to council, and to consistory!—if my pen treat of you lightly—as haply it will wander-yet my spirit hath gravely felt the wisdom of your custom, when sitting among you in deepest peace, which some out-welling tears would rather confirm than disturb, I have reverted to the times of your beginnings, and the sowings of the seed by Fox and Dewesbury. I have witnessed that, which brought before my eyes your heroic tranquillity, inflexible to the rude jests and serious violences of the insolent soldiery, republican or royalist, sent to molest you-for ye sate betwixt the fires of two persecutions, the outcast and off-scouring of church and presbytery. -I have seen the reeling sea-ruffian, who had wandered into your receptacle, with the avowed intention of disturbing your quiet, from the very spirit of the place receive in a moment a new heart, and presently sit among ye as a lamb amidst lambs. And I remember Penn before his accusers, and Fox in the bail-dock, where he was lifted up in spirit, as he tells us, and "the Judge and the Jury became as dead men under his feet.”
Reader, if you are not acquainted with it, I would recommend to you, above all churchnarratives, to read Sewel's History of the Quakers. It is in folio, and is the abstract of the Journals of Fox and the primitive Friends. It is far more edifying and affecting than anything you will read of Wesley and his colleagues. Here is nothing to stagger you, nothing to make you mistrust, no suspicion of alloy, no drop or dreg of the worldly or ambitious spirit. You will here read the true
Get the Writings of John Woolman by heart; and love the early Quakers.
How far the followers of these good men in our days have kept to the primitive spirit, or in what proportion they have substituted formality for it, the Judge of Spirits can alone determine. I have seen faces in their assemblies, upon which the dove sate visibly brooding. Others again I have watched, when my thoughts should have been better engaged, in which I could possibly detect nothing but a blank inanity. But quiet was in all, and the disposition to unanimity, and the absence of the fierce controversial workings.-If the spiritual pretensions of the Quakers have abated, at least they make few pretences. Hypocrites they certainly are not, in their preaching. It is seldom indeed that you shall see one get up amongst them to hold forth. Only now and then a trembling, female, generally ancient, voice is heard-you cannot guess from what part of the meeting it proceeds with a low, buzzing, musical sound, laying out a few words which "she thought might suit the condition of some present," with a quaking diffidence, which leaves no possibility of supposing that anything of female vanity was mixed up, where the tones were so full of tenderness, and a restraining modesty.-The men, for what I have observed, speak seldomer.
Once only, and it was some years ago, I witnessed a sample of the old Foxian orgasm. It was a man of giant stature, who, as Words