صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

ration; always equable, and always easy, without glowing words or pointed -sentences. His page is always luminous, but never blazes in unexpected splendour. It seenis to have been his principal endeavour to avoid all harshness and severity of diction ; he is therefore sometimes verbose in his transitions and connexions, and sometimes descends too much to the language of conversation ; yet, if his language had been less idiomatical, it might have lost somewhat of its genuine Anglicism. What he attempted he performed; he is never feeble, and he did not wish to be energetic; he is never rapid, and he never stagnates. His sentences have neither studied amplitude nor affected brevity;

his periods, though not diligently rounded, are voluble and easy. Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.

IV.--Pleasure and Pain,SPECTATOR: THERE were two families, which, from the beginning of the world, were as opposite to each other as light and darkness. The one of them lived in heaven, and the other in helt: The youngest descendant of the first family was Pleasure, who was the daughter of Happiness, who was the child of Virtue, who was the offspring of the Gods. These, as I said before, had their habitation in heaven. The youngest of the opposite family was Pain, who was the son of Misery, who was the child of Vice, who was the offspring of the Furies. The habitation of this race of beings was in hell.

The middle station of nature between these two opposite extremes was the earth, which was inhabited by creatures of a middle kind; neither so virtuous as the one ; nor so vicious as the other, but partaking of the good and bad qualities of those two opposite families. Jupiter, considering that this species, commonly called man, was too virtuous to be miserable and too vicious to be happy, that he might make a distinction between the good and the bad, ordered the two youngest of the abovementioned families (Pleasure, who was the daughter of Happiness, and Pain, who was the son of Misery) to meet one another ppon this part of nature which lay in the half way be»

tween them, having promised to settle it upon them both, provided they could agree upon the disvision of it, so as to share mankind between them.

Pleasure and Paig, were no sooner met in their new habitation, but they immediately agreed upon this point, that Pleasure should take possession of the virtuous, and Pain of the vicious part of that species which was given up to them. But upon examining to which of them any individual they met with belonged, they found each of them had a right to him; for that contrary to what they had seen in their "trlace of residence, there was no per son so vicious » d not some good in him, nor any person so virtuou

· had not in trim some evil. The truth of it is, they rally found, upon search, that in the most vicious man ieasure might lay claim to an hun. dredth part, and that in the most virtuous man Pain might come in for at least two thirds. This they saw would oc casion endless disputes between them, unless they could come to some accommodation. To this end, there was a marriage proposed between them, and at length concluded. Hence it is that we find Pleasure and Pain are such constant yoke fellows, and that they either make their visits together, or are never far asunder. If Pain comes into an heart, he is quickly followed by Pleasure; and if Pleasure enters, you may be sure Pain is not far off.

But notwithstanding this marriage was very convenient for the two parties, it did not seem to answer the intention ef Jupiter in sending them among mankind. To remedy, therefore, this inconvenience, it was stipulated between thein by article, and confirmed by the consent of each family, that, notwithstanding they here possessed the species indifferently, upon the death of every single person, if he was found to have in him a certain proportion of evil, he should be dispatched into the infernal regions by a passport from Pain, there to dwell with Misery, Vice and the Furies; or, on the contrary, if he had in him certain proportion of good, he should be dispatched into heaven, hy a passport from Pleasure, there to dwell with Happiness, Virtue and the Gods.

V.-Sir Roger de Coverly's Family.--IB. HAVING often received an invitation from my friend Sir Roger de Coverly, to pass away a month with him in the country, I last week accompanied him thither, and am settled with him for some time at his country-house, #here I intend to form several of my ensuing speculations. Sir Roger, who is very well acquainted with my humour, lets me rise and go to bed when I please, dine at his own table or in my chamber, as I think fit, sit still and say nothing, without bidding me be merry. When the gentlemen of the country come to see him, he only shows me at a distance. As I have been walking in the fields, I have observed them stealing a sight of me over an hedge, and have heard the knight desiring them not to let me see them, for that I hated to be stared at.

I am the more at ease in Sir Roger's family. because it consists of sober and staid persons ; for as ihe knight is the best master in the world, he seldom changes his servants, and as lie is beloved by all about him, his servants never care for leaving him; by this means his domestics are all in years and growp old with their master. You would take his valet de chambre for his brother ; his butler is grey headed, his groom is one of the gravest men [ have ever seen, and his coachman has the looks of a privy counsellor. . You see the goodness of the master even in the old house dog, and in a gray pad that is kept in the stable with great care and tenderness, out of regard to his past services, though he has been useless for several years.

I could not but observe, with a great deal of pleasure, the joy that appeared in the countenances of these ancient domestics, upon my friend's arrival at his country seat, Some of them could not refrain froin tears at the sight of their old masterevery one of them pressed forward to do something for him, and seemed discouraged if they were not employed. At the same time, the good old knight, with the mixture of the father and the master of the family, teinpered the inquiries after his own affairs with several kind questions relating to themselves. This humanity and good nature engages every body to him; so that when he is pleasant upon any of them, all his family are in good humour, and none so much as the person whom he diverts himself with; on the contrary, if he coughs, or betrays any infirmity of old age, it is easy for

a 'stander-by to observe a secret-concern in the looks of all his servants.

My worthy friend has put me under the particular care of his butler, who is a very prudent man, and, as well as the rest of his fellow servants, wonderfully desirous of pleasing me, because they have often heard their master talk of me as bis particular friend.

My chief companion when Sir Roger is diverting dimself in the woods or in the fields, is a very venerable man who is ever with Sir Roger, and has lived at his house in the nature of a chaplain, above thirty years.

This gentleman is a person of good sense and some learning, of a very regular life and obliging conversation; he heartily loves Sir Roger, and knows that he is very much in the old knight's esteem; so that he lives in the family rather as a relation than a dependant.

I have observed in several of my papers, that my friend Sir Roger, amidst all his good qualities, is something of an humourist; and that his virtues, as well as imperfections, are, as it were, tinged by a certain extravagance, which makes them particularly bis, and distinguishes them from those of other men. This cast of mind, as it is generally very innocent in itself, so it ren. ders his conversation highly agreeable, and more delightful than the same degree of sense and virtue would appear in their common and ordinary colours. As I was walking with hiin last night, he asked me how I liked the good man whom I have just now mentioned ;-and, without staying for my answer, told me that he was afraid of being insulted with Latin and Greek at his own table; for which reason he desired a particular friend of his at the university, to find him out a clergyman rather of plain sense than much learning, of a good aspect, a clear voice

, a sociable temper; and if possible, a man who understood a little back gammon. My friend, says Sir Rog. er, found me out this gentlemans who, besides the endowments required of him, is, they tell me a good scholar, though he does not show it. I have given him the parsonage of the parish ; and because I know. his value, have settled upon him a good annuity for life. If he outlives me, he shall find that lie was higher in my esteem than perhaps he thinks he is. He has now been with me

[ocr errors]

thirty years; and though he does not know I have taken notice of it, has never, in all that time, asked any thing of me for himself, though he is every day soliciting me for something in behalf of one or other of my tenants, his parishioners. There has not been a lawsuit in the parish since he has lived among them. If any dispute arises, they apply themselves to him for the decision ; they do pot acquiesce in his judgment, which I think never happened above once or twice at most, they appeal to me. At his first settling with me, I made him a present of all the good sermons which have been printed in English ; and only begged of him that every Sunday he would pronounce one of them in the pulpit. Accordingly lie has digested them into such a series, that they follow one another naturally, and make a continued system of practical divinity.

As Sir Roger was going on in his story, the gentleman we were talking of came up to us; and, upon the knight's asking him who preached to-morrow (for it was Saturday night) told us the Bishop of St. Asaph, in the morning, and Dr. South in the afternoon. He then showed us lais list of preachers for the whole year; where I saw with a great deal of pleasure, Archbishop Tillotson, Bishop Saunderson, Dr. Barrow, Dr. Calamy, with several living authors, who have published discourses of practical divinity. I no sooner saw this venerable man in the pulpit, but I very much approved of my friend's insisting upon the qualifications of a good aspect, and a clear soice; for I was so charmed with the gracefulness of his figure and delivery, as well as with the discourses lie pronounced, that I think I never passed any time more to my satisfaction. A sermon repeated after this manner, is like the composition of a poet in the mouth of a graceful actor.

VI. - The Folly of inconsistent Eocpectations.--AITKIN.

THIS world may be considered as a great mart of commerce, where fortune exposes to our view various commodities; riches, ease, tranquility, fame, integrity, knowledge. Every thing is marked at a settled price. Our time, our labour, our ingenuity, is so much ready money, which we are to lay out to the best advantage.

« السابقةمتابعة »