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“ The next he advised with was one of his Majesty's Justices of the Quorum, and indeed a very able and learned man he was; and his worship was so good to say so many kind things, and to express himself so much to the advantage of the author, that he cannot but think himself (out of modesty) obliged to conceal the whole discourse.
“The last person consulted was a very eminent and judicious Free-Thinker, who seemed, as my friend told me, not to read the thing with the least pleasure, or any sign of joy in his countenance; but after having gone over it twice, and made some remarks with his pencil, he, in a very grave and solemn manner, delivered him the paper, and expressed himself, as near as I can remember, in these words:
-Here(says he), give my humble service to the worthy author, and thank him from me, in the behalf of all the Free-Thinkers of England :'— and then he added, Take my word (says he), the thing will do ; the right method of overturning religion, is, first to begin with the clergy; let us once get well rid of these fellows, and I make not the least question but that all the absurd doctrine's about good and evil, about a resurrection, and a future judgment, hell and heaven, God and the devil, will together go along with them.”
“The person who wrote the foregoing discourse, being a very public-spirited gentleman, and desiring to give all due encouragement to a work of this nature, which may be of such great benefit to the world, desired his printer to give notice, that if any country squire has a mind to do good among his neighbours and tenants, by putting this little treatise into their hands, he may be supplied with what number he has a mind to take, at 2s. 6d. a dozen, sent him, carriage paid, in any part of England. MEMOIRS OF THE Society or GRUB-STREET,
No. 120, April 20, 1732.
Hic manus, ob patriam pugnando vulnera passi ;
Here patriots live, who, for their country's good,
The subject of this day's paper is the second part of Psychostatics, the weighing of true merit; which (to pursue the allegory) is to be represented in picture, on the walls of the inner and more retired room.
As poetry and painting are sister arts; so there is a particular affinity between history painting and epic poetry. This will justify my taking the whole design of the imagery from a passage in the sixth book of the Æneid: the place is, where the poet peoples his Elysium with a colony of inhabitants worthy of those blissful regions. His sentiments are noble and delicate; and he has, with the nicest judgment, here shadowed out the distinct kinds of true merit and excellency, which justly entitle men to superior degrees of esteem and glory.
I have taken part of the verses in the original for my present motto ; and, as in the entire passage, Virgil specifies five kinds of great merit; answerable to his division, I shall distribute this second part of psychostatical experiments into five history-pieces: two of which shall be the entertainment of this day.
The first piece is much the largest, and fills the whole fronting wall at the upper end of the
Here we see a prospect of the sea; and far off, on one side, is extended a flat coast, full of shoals, and fenced with dykes; behind which appears in perspective) a level country; in which thick spread cities rise, many of them surrounded with water, and the streets adorned with trees and canals. On the shore of this country stand crowds of the inhabitants, with tears in their eyes, looking on a numerous fleet, which sails from them; and seems to direct its course towards a large neighbouring island. This: island rises out of the sea, encompassed with white rocks, on which swarms a mixt multitude, of every rank and condition: by their countenances, and the spying-glasses which several of them use, it may be guessed that they wait for the arrival of the fleet, with no less concern than the opposite' nation laments its departure. The face of the island is agreeably diversified with cities, towns, villages, hills, rivers, woods, green meadows, and corn-fields; and the very mountains are clothed with grass.
On the level top of one of the mountains is erected a large balance: in the ascending scale hangs, tottering, a tall person, of a long, dejected visage, with a crown falling from his head, and a male infant in his arms. Below him, on the ground, stands a huge monster (like that by which the poets represent Faction) with a multiplicity of heads and hands: some of the hands tug at the cords of the scale, endeavouring to pull it downwards; others appear open, with heaps of French pistoles in the palms. The weightier scale descends as low as possible; and in it sits, on a throne, a princely figure: his look is majestic, wise, resolute, and honest; with an high forehead, and piercing eye. On the right and left side of this scale are placed two portraitures, that seem attentive to every motion of the prince. The figure on the right discovers in his aspect great penetration and affability; a golden mace lies by him, and he holds in one hand a large embroidered purse with the arms of England embossed upon it; in the other, a baron's coronet, with this device, “ Prodesse quam conspici.” On the left is the figure of a person much younger: in his