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the gum of a mortal; ay, and a strong one too. The hardest food would not break it, and it could pierce the thickest skulls. Indeed it was like one of Cerberus's teeth: one should not have thought it belonged to a man. Mr. Addison, I beg your pardon, I should have spoken to you sooner; but I was so struck with the fight of the doctor, that 1 forgot for a time the respects due to you.
Swift. Addison, I thir.k our dispute is decided before the judge has heard the cause.
Addifim. I own it is in your favour, and I submit—but—
Mercury. Do not be discouraged, friend Ad.lison. Apollo perhaps would have given a different judgment. I am a wit, and a rogue, and a foe to all dignity. Swift and I naturally like one another: he worships me more than Jupiter, and I honour him more than Homer; but yet, I assure you, I have a great value for you——Sir Roger de Coverley, Will Honeycomb, Will Wimble, the country gentleman in the Freeholder, and twenty more characters, drawn with the finest strokes of natural wit and humour in your excellent writings, feat you very high in the class of my authors, though not quite so high as the dean of St. Patrick's. Perhaps you might have come nearer to him, if the decency of your nature and cautiousness of your judgment would have given you leave. But if in the force and spirit of his wit he has the advantage, how "much docs he yield to you in all the polite and elegant graces; in the fine touches of delicate sentiment; in developing the secret springs of the foul; in shewing a'l the mild lights and (hades of a character; in marking distinctly every line, and every soft gradation of tints which would escape the common eye! Who ever painted like you the beautiful parts of human nature, and brought them out from under the (hade even of the greatest simplicity, or the mod ridiculous weaknesses; so that we are forced to admire, and feel that we venerate, even while we are laughing? Swift could do nothing that approaches to this. He could draw an ill
face very well, or caricature a good one with a masterly hand: but there was all his power; and, if I am to speak as a god, a worthless power it is. Yours is divine: it tends to improve and exalt human nature.
you think that my talent was of no use to correct human nature? Is whipping of no use to mend naughty boys f
Mercury. Men are not so patient of whipping as boys, and I seldom have known a rough satirist mend them. But I will allow that you have done some good in that way, though not half so much as Addison did in his. And new you are here, if Pluto and Proserpine would take my advice, they should dispose of you both in this manner:—When any hero comes hither from earth, who wants to be humbled, (as most heroes do) they should set Swift upon him to bring him down. The same good office he may frequently do to a saint swoln too much with the wind of spiritual pride, or to a philosopher, vain of his wisdom and virtue. He will soon shew the first that he cannot b^holy without being humble; and the last, that with all his boasted morality, he is but a better kind of Yahoo. I would also have him apply his anticosmetic wash to the painted face of female vanity, and his rod, which draws blood at every stroke, to the hard back of insolent folly or petulant wit. But you, Mr. Addison, should be employed to comfort and raise the spirits of those whose good and noble fouls are dejected with n fense of some infirmities in their nature. To them you should hold your fair and charitable mirrour, which would bring to their sight all their hidden perfections, cast over the rest a softening shade, and put them in a temper sit for Elysium. Adieu: I must now return to my business above. Dialogues cf the Dead.
§ 8. The Ml of Science. A Vision. In that season of the year when the serenity of the sky, the various fruits which cover theground, the discoloured soliageos the trees, and all the sweet, but fading graces of inspiring autumn, open the mind to benevolence, and dispose it for contemplation, I was wandering in a beautiful and romantic country, till curiosity began to give way to weariness; and I fat me down on the fragment of a rock overgrown with moss, where the rustling of the falling leaves, the dashing of waters, and the hum of the distant city, soothed my mind into the most perfect tranquillity, and sleep insensibly stole upon me, as I was indulging the agreeable reveries which the objects around me naturally inspired.
I immediately sound myself in a vast extended plain, in the middle of which arose 3 F a moun
a mountain higher than I had before any conception of. It was covered with a multitude of people, chiefly youth; many of whom pressed forwards with the liveliest expression of ardour in their countenance, though the way was in many places steep and difficult. I observed, that those who had but just begun to climb the hill thought themselves not far from the top; but as they proceeded, new hills were continually rising to their view, and the summit of the highest they could before discern seemed but the soot os another, till the mountain at length appeared to lose itself in the clouds. As I was gazing on these things •with astonishment, my good genius suddenly appeared: The mountain before tr.ee, said he, is the Hill of Science. On the top is the temple of Truth, whose head is above the clouds, and a veil of pure light covers her face. Observe the progress of her votaries; be silent and attentive.
I saw that the only regular approach to the mountain was by a gate, called the gate of languages. It was kept by a woman of a pensive and thoughtful appearance, whose lips were continually moving, as though she repeated somt thing to herself. Her name was Memory. On entering this first enclosure, I was stunned with a confused murmurof jarring voices, and dissonant sounds; which increased upon me to such a degree, that I was utterly confounded, and could compare the noiie to nothing but the confusion of tongues at Babel. The road was also rough and steny; and rendered more difficult by heaps of rubbish continually tumbled down from the higher parts of the mountain; and broken ruins of ancient buildings, which the tiavellers were obliged to climb over at every step; insomuch that many, disgusted with so rough a beginning, turned back, and attempted the mountain no more; while others having conquered this difficulty, had no spirits to ascend further, and sitting down on some fragment os the rubbish, harangued the multitude below with the greatest marks of importance and selfcomplacency.
About half way up the hill, 1 observed on each side the path a thick forest covered with continual fogs, and cut out into labyrinths, cross alleys, and serpentine walks entangled with thorns and briars. This was called the wood of Error: and I heard the voices of many who were tost up and down in it, calling to one another, and endeavouring in vain to extricate themselves.
The trees in many places shot their bough* over the path, and a thick mist often rested on it; yet never so much but that it was discernible by the light which beamed from the countenance of Truth.
In the pleasantest part of the mountain were placed the bowers of the Muses, whose office it was to cheer the spirits of the travellers, and encourage their fainting steps with songs from their divine harps. Not far from hence were the fields of Fiction, filled with a variety of wild ilowers springing up in the greatest luxuriance, of richer scents and brighter colours than I had observed in any other climate. And near them was the dark walk of Allegory, so artificially shaded, that the light at noonday was never stronger than that of a bright moon-shine. This gave it a pleasingly romantic air for those who delighted in contemplation. The paths and alleys were perplexed with intricate windings, and were all terminated with the statue of a Grace, a Virtue, or a Muse.
After I had observed these things, I turned my eye towards the multitudes who were elimbing the steep ascent, and observed amongst them a youth of a lively look, a piercing eye, and something fiery and irregular in all his motions. His name was Genius. He darted like an eagle up the mountain, and left his companions gazir.g after him with envy and admiration: but his progress was unequal, and interrupted by a thousand caprices. When Pleasure warbled in the valley he mingled in her train. When Pride beckoned towards the precipice he ventured to the tottering edge. He delighted in devious and untried paths; and made so many excursions from the road, that his feebler companions often outstripped him. I observed that the Muses beheld him with partiality; but Truth often frowned, and turned aside her face. While Genius was thus wasting his strength in eccentric flights, I saw a person of a very different appearance, named Application. He crept along with a flow and unremitting pace, his eyes fixed on the top of the mountain, patiently removing every stone that obstructed his way, till he saw most of those below him who had at first derided his flow a:id toilsome progress. Indeed there were few who ascended the hill with equal and uninterrupted steadiness; for, beside the difficulties of the way, they weie continually solicited to turn aside by a numerous crowd of Appetites, Passions, and Pleasures, whose importunity, when they had once complied with, they became less and less able to resist; and though they often returned to the path, the asperities of the road were more severely felt, the hill appeared more steep and rugged, the fruits which were wholesome and refreshing seemed harsh and ill-tasted, their sight grew dim, and their feet tript at every little obstruction.
I saw, with some surprize, that the Muses, whose business was to cheer and encourage those who were toiling up the ascent, would often sing in the bowers of Pleasure, and accompany those who were enticed away at the call of the Passions; they accompanied them, however, but a little way, and always forsook them when they lost sight of the hill. The tyrants then doubled their chains upon the unhappy captives, and led them away, without resistance, to the cells of Ignorance, or the mansions of Misery. Amongst the innumerable seducers, who were endeavouring to draw away the voturies of Truth from the path of Science, there was one, so little formidable in her appearance, and so gentle and languid in her attempts, that I should scarcely have taken notice of her, but for the numbers she had imperceptibly loaded with her chains. Indolence (for so she was called) far from proceeding to open hostilities, did not attempt to turn their feet out of the path, but contented herself with retarding their progress; and the purpose she could not force them to abandon, she persuaded them to delay. Her touch had a power like that of the torpedo, which withered the strength of those who came within its influence. Her unhappy cap•ws still turned their faces towards the temple, and always hoped to arrive there; but the ground seemed to slide from beneath their feet, and they found themselves at the bottom, before they suspected they had changed their place. The placid serenity, which at first appeared in their countenance, changed by degrees into a Melancholy languor, which was tinged with
The captives of Appetite and Passion could often seize the moment when their tyrants were languid or asleep to escape from their enchantment; but the dominion of Indolence was constant and unremitted, and seldom resisted, till resistance was in vain.
After contemplating these things, I turned my eyes tou ards the top of the mountain, where the air was always pure £nd exhilarating, the path shaded with laurels and other ever-greens, and the effulgence which beamed from the face of the goddess seemed to shed a glory round her votaiies. Happy, said I, are they who are permitted to ascend the mountain '.—but while 1 was pronouncing this exclamation with uncommon ardour, I saw standing beside me a form of diviner features and a more benign radiance. Happier, said she, are those whom Virtue conducts to the mansions of Content! What, said I, does Virtue then reside in the vale? I am found, said she, in the vale, and I illuminate the mountain: I cheer the cottager at his toil, and inspire the sage at his meditation. I mingle in the crowd of cities, and bless the hermit in his cell. I have a temple in every hea-t that owns my influence; and to him that wishes for me I am already present. Science may raise you to eminence, but I alone can guide you to felicity !—While the goddels was thus speaking, I stretched out my arms towards her with a vehemence which broke my slumbers. The chill dews were falling around me, and the shades of evening stretched over the landscape. I hastened homeward, and resigned the night to silence and meditation. Aikin's Mi/cel.
§ 9. On the Lc-ve ef Life.
Age, that lessens the enjoyment of life, encreafes our desire of living. Those dangers which, in the vigour of youth, we had learned to despise, asiume new terrors as we grow old. Our caution encreasing as our years encrease, fear becomes at last the prevailing passion of the mind; and the
1 cv' — —o, •»«. r b 1 —'
<feper and deeper gloom, as they glided small remainder oslifeis taken up in useless
■own the stream of Insignificance; a dark efforts to keep oft* our end, or provide fora
and sluggish water, which is curled by no continued existence.
°'wze,and enlivened by no murmur, till it Strange contradiction in our nature, and
into a dead sea, where startled passen?ers are awakened by the (hock, and the
next moment buried in the gulph of Oblivion.
Of all the unhappy deserters from the P'ths of Science, none seemed less able 10 return than the followers of Indolence.
to which even the wise are liable! If I should judge of that part of life which lies before me by that which I have already seen, the prospect is hideous. Experience tells me, that my past enjoyments have brought uo real felicity; and sensation assujes me, that those I have felt are stronger than those 3 F 2 which
which are yet to come. Yet experience and sensation in vain persuade ; hope, more powerful than either, dresses out the distant proipect in fancied beauty; some happiness, in long prospective, still beckons me to pursue ; and, like a losing gamester, every new disappointment encreases my ardour to continue the game.
Whence then is this encreased love of life, which grows upon us with our vears? whence crimes it, that we thus make greater efforts to preserve our existence, at a period when it becomes scarce wortli the keeping? Is it that Nature, attentive to the preservation of mankind, encreases our wishes to live, while she lessens our enjoyments; and, as she robs the fenses of every pleasure, equips Imagination in the spoils? Life would be insupportable to an oli man, who, loaded with infirmities, feared death no more than when in the vigour of manhood; the numberless calamities of decaying nature, and the consciousness of surviving every pleasure, would at once induce htm, with his own hand, to terminate the scene of misery; but happily the contempt of death forsakes him at a time when it could only be prejudicial; and life acquires an imaginary value, in proportion as its real value is no more.
Our attachment to every object around us, encreases, in general, from the length of our acquaintance with it. "I would "not chuse," fays a French Philosopher, "to see an old post pulled up, with whicli "I had been long acquainted." A mind long habituated to a certain set of objects, insensibly b?corr,es fond of seeing them; visits them from habit, and parts from them with reluctance: from hence proceeds the avarice of the old in every kind of possession; they love the world and all that it produces; they love life and all its advantages; not because it gives them pleasure, but because they have known it long. _
Chinvang the Chaste, ascending the throne of China, commanded that all who were unjustly detained in prison during the preceding reigns should be set free. Among the number who came to thank their deliverer on this occasion, there appeared a majestic old man, who, falling at the emperor's feet, addressed him as follows: f Great father of China, behold a wretch, "now eighty-five years old, who was shut "up in a dungeon at the age of twenty"two. I was imprisoned, though a stran"ger to crime, or without being even "confronted by my accusers. I have now
"lived in solitude and darkness for more "than fifty years, and am gro vn familiar "with distress. As yet, dazzled with the "splenJor of that sun to which you have "restored me, I have been wandering the "streets to find out some friend that would "assist, or relieve, or remember me; but "my friends, my family, and relations are "all dead ; and I am forgotten. Permit "me then, O Chinvang, to wear out the "wretched remains of life in my former "prison; the walls of my dungeon are to "me more pleasing than the most splendid "palace: I have not long to live, and (hail "be unhappy except I spend the rest of "my days where my youth was passed; in "that prison from whence you were pleased "to release me."
The old man's paflion for confinement is similar to that we 211 have for life. We are habituated to the prison, we look round with discontent, are displeased with the aboi'e, and yet the length of our cap. tivity only encreases our fondness for the cell. The trees we have planted, the houses we have built, or the posterity we have begotten, all serve to bind us closer to the earth, and embitter our parting. Life sues the young like a new acquaintance; the companion, as yet unexhausted, is at once instructive and amusing; its company pleases, yet, for all this it is but little regarded. To us, who are declined in years, life appears like an old friend; its jests have been anticipated in former conversation; it has no new story to make us smile, no new improvement with which to surprize, yet still we love it; destitute os every enjoyment, still we love it, hulband the wasting treasure with encreasing frugality, and feel all the poignancy of anguilh in the fatal separation.
Sir Philip Mordaunt was young, beautiful, sincere, brave, an Englimman. He had a complete fortune of his own, and the love of the king his master, which was equivalent to riches. Life opened all her treasures before him, and promised a long succession of happiness. He came, tailed of the entertainment,but wasdisgusted even at the beginning. He professed an aversion to living; was tired of walking round the fame circle; had tried every enjoyment, and found them all grow weaker at every repetition. "If life be, in youth, so dis"pleasing," cried he to himself, "what "will it appear when age comes on ? if* "be at present indifferent, sure it will "then be execrable." This thought emblttered every reflection; till, at last, with all the serenity of perverted reason, he ended the debate with a pistol! Had this self-deluded man been apprized, that existence grows more desirable to us the longer we exist, he would have then faced old age without shrinking; he would have boldly dared to live; and served that society by his future assiduity, which he basely injured by his desertion. Goldsmith.
§ IO. The Canal and the Brook.
A delightfully pleasant evening succeeding a sultry summer-day, invited me to take a solitary walk; and, leaving the dust of the highway, 1 fell into a path which led along a pleasant little valley watered by a small meandring brook. The meadow ground on its banks had been lately mown, and the new grafs was springing up with a lively verdure. The brook was hid in several places by the llirubs that grew on each iidc, and intermingled their branches. The sides of the valley were roughened by small irregular thickets; and the whole scene had an airof solitudeand retirement, uncommon in the neighbourhood of a populous town. The Duke of Bridgwater's canal crossed the valley, high raised on a mound of earth, which preserved a level with the elevated ground on each side. An arched road was carried under it, beneath which the brook that ran along the valley was conveyed by a subterraneous passage. I threw myself upon a green bank, shaded by a leafy thicket, and resting my head upon my hand, after a welcome indolence had overcome my senses, I saw, with the eyes of fancy, the following scene. «V
The firm-built side of the aqueduct suddenly opened, and a gigantic form issued forth, which I soon discovered to be the Genius of the Canal. He was clad in a dole garment of russet hue. A mural crown, indented with .battlements, furrounded his brow. His naked feet were discoloured with clay. On his left (houlJcr he bore a huge pick-axe; and in his right hand he held certain instruments, used in sorveying and levelling. His looks were thoughtful, and his features har(h. The breach through which he proceeded instantly closed, and with a heavy tread he advanced into the valley. As he approached the brook, the Deity of the Stream arose to meet him. He was habited in a light green mantle, and the clear drops sell from his dark hair, which was encircled
with a wreath of water-lily, interwoven with sweet-scented flag: an angling rod supported his steps. The Genius of the Canal eyed him with a contemptuous look, and in a hoarse voice thus began:
'' Hence, ignoble rill! with thy scanty "tribute to thy lord the Mersey; nor thus "waste thy almost-exhausted urn in lingcr"ing windings along the vale. Feeble as "thine aid is, it will not be unacceptable "to that master stream himself; for, as I "lately crossed his channel, I perceived his "sands loaded with stranded vessels. I "saw, and pitied him, for undertaking a "talk to which he is unequal. But thou, "whose languid current is obscured by « weeds, and interrupted by milhapen "pebbles; who losest thyself in endless "mazes, remote from any found but thy "own idle gurgling; how canst thou fup"port an existence lo contemptible and use"less? For me, the noblest child of Art, "who hold my unremitting course from "hill to hill, over vales and rivers; who "pierce the solid rock for my passage, and "connect unknown lands with distant seas; "wherever I appear I am viewed with "astonishment, and exulting Commerce "hails my waves. Behold my channel "thronged with capacious vessels for the "conveyance of merchandize, and splen"did barges for the use and pleasure of "travellers; my banks crowned with airy "bridges and huge warehouses, and echo"ing with the busy sounds of industry! "Pay then the homage due from Sloth "and Obscurity to Grandeur and Uti"lity."
"I readily acknowledge," replied the Deity of the Brook, in a modest accent, "the superior magnificence and more ex"tensive utility of which you so proudly "boast; yet in my humble walk, I am not « void of a praise less mining, but not less — solid than yours. The nymph of this As' peaceful valley, rendered more fertile "and beautiful by my stream; the neigh"bouring sylvan deities, to whose pleasure "I contribute; will pay a gratclu! testi** mony to my merit. The windings of "my course, which you so much blame, "serve to diffuse over a greater extent of "ground the rcsrestiment of my waters; "and the lovers of nature and the Muses, "who are fond of straying on my banks, "arc better pleased that tne line of beauty "maiks my way, than if, like yours, it "were diiectedin a straight, unvaried line. "They prize the irregular wildness with 3 F 3 "which