Page images

churchman, has beautified the inside of general good sense and worthiness of his his church with several texts of his own character make his friends observe these choosing. He has likewise given a hand- little singularities as foils that rather set some pulpit-cloth, and railed in the com- off than blemish his good qualities. munion-table at his own expense. He As soon as the sermon is finished, has often told me, that at his coming to nobody presumes to stir till Sir Roger his estate, he found his parishioners very is gone out of the church. The knight irregular : and that in order to make them walks down from his seat in the chancel kneel, and join in the responses, he gave between a double row of his tenants, that every one of them a hassock and a Com- stand bowing to him on each side; and mon Prayer Book; and at the same time every now and then inquires how such a employed an itinerant singing-master, one's wife, or mother, or son, or father who goes about the country for that pur- do, whom he does not see at church; pose, to instruct them rightly in the tunes which is understood as a secret reprimand of the Psalms, upon which they now very to the person that is absent. much value themselves, and indeed outdo The chaplain has often told me, that most of the country churches that I have upon a catechising day, when Sir Roger ever heard.

has been pleased with a boy that answers As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole well, he has ordered a Bible to be given to congregation, he keeps them in very good him next day for his encouragement, and order, and will suffer nobody to sleep in sometimes accompanies it with a fitch of it besides himself; for if by chance he has bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likebeen surprised into a short nap at ser- wise added five pounds a year to the mon, upon recovering out of it, he stands clerk’s place; and, that he may encourage up and looks about him, and if he sees the young fellows to make themselves peranybody else nodding, either wakes them fect in the church service, has promised himself, or sends his servants to them. upon the death of the present incumbent, Several other of the old knight's particu- who is very old, to bestow it according to larities break out upon these occasions. merit. Sometimes he will be lengthening out a The fair understanding between Sir verse in the singing Psalms, half a minute Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual after the rest of the congregation have concurrence in doing good, is the more done with it; sometimes, when he is remarkable, because the very next village pleased with the matter of his devotion, is famous for the differences and contenhe pronounces Amen three or four times tions that arise between the parson and in the same prayer; and sometimes stands the 'squire who live in a perpetual state up when everybody else is upon their of war. The parson is always preaching knees, to count the congregation, or see if at the 'squire, and the 'squire, to be reany of his tenants are missing.

venged on the parson, never comes to I was yesterday very much surprised church. The 'squire has made all his to hear my old friend, in the midst of the tenants atheists and tithe-stealers, while service, calling out to one John Matthews the parson instructs them every Sunday in to mind what he was about, and not dis- the dignity of his order, and insinuates to turb the congregation. This John Mat- them, in almost every sermon, that he is thews, it seems, is remarkable for being a better man than his patron. In short, an idle fellow, and at that time was kick- matters are come to such an extremity, ing his heels for his diversion. This that the 'squire has not said his prayers authority of the knight, though exerted either in public or private this half-year; in that odd manner which accompanies and the parson threatens him, if he does him in all the circumstances of life, has a not mend his manners, to pray for him in very good effect upon the parish who are the face of the whole congregation. not polite enough to see anything ridicu- Feuds of this nature, though too frelous in his behaviour ; besides that the quent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be the appointed place, after having very dazzled with riches, that they pay as much officiously assisted him in making up his deference to the understanding of a man of pack, and laying it upon his shoulders. an estate as of a man of learning; and are There were, however, several persons very hardly brought to regard any truth, who gave me great diversion. Upon this how important soever it may be, that is occasion, I observed one bringing in a preached to them, when they know there fardel, very carefully concealed under an are several men of five hundred a year old embroidered cloak, which, upon his who do not believe it. — The Spectator. throwing it into the heap, I discovered to

be poverty. Another, after a great deal

of puffing, threw down his luggage, which, THE MOUNTAIN OF MISERIES. upon examining, I found to be his wife.

There were multitudes of lovers, saddled It is a celebrated thought of Socrates, with very whimsical burdens, composed of that if all the misfortunes of mankind darts and flames; but, what was very odd, were cast into a public stock, in order to though they sighed as if their hearts would be equally distributed among the whole break under these bundles of calamities, species, those who now think themselves they could not persuade themselves to cast the most unhappy, would prefer the share them into the heap when they came up to they are already possessed of, before that it; but, after a few vain efforts, shook which would fall to them by such a di- their heads, and marched away as heavy vision. Horace has carried this thought laden as they came. The truth of it is, I a great deal further (Sat. i. l. 1, ver. 1), was surprised to see the greatest part of which implies, that the hardships or mis- the mountain made up of bodily deformifortunes we lie under are more easy to us ties. But what most of all surprised me, than those of any other person would be, was a remark I made, that there was not in case we could change conditions with a single vice or folly thrown into the him.

whole heap; at which I was very much As I was ruminating upon these two astonished, having concluded within myremarks, and seated in my elbow chair, self that every one would take this opporI insensibly fell asleep; when on a sudden tunity of getting rid of his passions, premethought there was a proclamation made judices, and frailties. by Jupiter, that every mortal should bring I took notice in particular of a very in his griefs and calamities, and throw them profligate fellow, who, I did not question, together in a heap. There was a plain ap- came loaden with his crimes; but upon pointed for this purpose. I took my stand searching into his bundle, I found that, in the centre of it, and saw, with a great instead of throwing his guilt from him, deal of pleasure, the whole human species he had only laid down his memory. He marching one after another, and throwing was followed by another worthless rogue, down their several loads, which imme- who flung away his modesty instead of diately grew up into a prodigious moun- his ignorance. tain, that seemed to rise above the clouds. When the whole race of mankind had

There was a certain lady of a thin airy thus cast their burdens, the phantom shape, who was very active in this so- which had been so busy on this occasion, lemnity. She carried a magnifying glass in seeing me an idle spectator of what passed, one of her hands, and was clothed in a loose approached towards me. I grew uneasy flowing robe, embroidered with several at her presence, when of a sudden she held figures of fiends and spectres, that dis- her magnifying glass full before my eyes. covered themselves in a thousand chi- I no sooner saw my face in it, but was merical shapes, as her garments hovered startled at the shortness of it, which now in the wind. There was something wild appeared to me in its utmost aggravation. and distracted in her looks. Her name The immoderate breadth of the features was Fancy. She led up every mortal to made me very much out of humour with my own countenance, upon which I threw short waist for a pair of round shoulders ; it from me like a mask. It happened and a third cheapening a bad face for a very luckily that one who stood by me lost reputation : but on all these occasions had just before thrown down his visage, there was not one of them who did not which it seems was too long for him. It think the new blemish, as soon as she got was indeed extended to a most shameful it into her possession, much more dislength, I believe the very chin was, mo- agreeable than the old one. I made the destly speaking, as long as my whole same observation on every other misforface.

tune or calamity which every one in the I saw with unspeakable pleasure the assembly brought upon himself in lieu of whole species thus delivered from its sor- what he had parted with ; whether it be rows; though at the same time, as we that all the evils which befall us are in stood round the heap, and surveyed the some measure suited and proportioned to several materials of which it was com- our strength, or that every evil becomes posed, there was scarce a mortal in this more supportable by our being accusvast multitude who did not discover what tomed to it, I shall not determine. he thought pleasures and blessings of life, I must not omit my own particular and wondered how the owners of them adventure. My friend with a long visage ever came to look upon them as burdens had no sooner taken upon him my short and grievances.

face, but he made such a grotesque figure As we were regarding very attentively in it, that as I looked upon him I could this confusion of miseries, this chaos of not forbear laughing at myself, insomuch calamity, Jupiter issued out a second pro- that I put my own face out of counteclamation, that every one was now at nance. The poor gentleman was so senliberty to exchange his affliction, and to sible of the ridicule, that I found he was return to his habitation with any such ashamed of what he had done; on the other bundle as should be allotted to him. side I found that I myself had no great

Upon this Fancy began again to bestir reason to triumph, for as I went to touch herself, and, parcelling out the whole heap my forehead, I missed the place, and with incredible activity, recommended to clapped my finger upon my upper lip. every one his particular packet. The Besides, as my nose was exceedingly prohurry and confusion at this time was minent, I gave it two or three unlucky not to be expressed. Some observations knocks, as I was playing my hand about which I made upon the occasion I shall my face, and aiming at some other part communicate to the public. A venerable of it. I saw two other gentlemen by me, grey-headed man, who had laid down the who were in the same ridiculous circumcholic, and who, I found, wanted an heir stances. These had made a foolish swap to his estate, snatched up an undutiful son, between a couple of thick bandy legs and who had been thrown into the heap by his two long trapsticks that had no calves to angry father. The graceless youth, in less them. One of these looked like a man than a quarter of an hour, pulled the old walking upon stilts, and was so lifted up gentleman by the beard, and had like to into the air, above his ordinary height, have knocked his brains out; so that, that his head turned round with it; while meeting the true father, who came to the other made such awkward circles, as wards him with a fit of the gripes, he he attempted to walk, that he scarcely begged him to take his son again and give knew how to move forward upon his new him back his cholic; but they were in- supporters. Observing him to be a pleacapable either of them to recede from sant kind of fellow, I stuck my cane in the the choice they had made.

ground, and told him I would lay him a The female world were very busy among bottle of wine that he did not march up to it themselves in bartering for features: one on a line that I drew for him in a quarter of was trucking a lock of grey hairs for a

an hour. carbuncle; another was making over a The heap was at last distributed among

the two sexes, who made a most piteous meet with the grief of parents upon a sight as they wandered up and down tombstone, my heart melts with comunder the pressure of their several bur- passion; when I see the tomb of the dens. The whole plain was filled with parents themselves, I consider the vanity murmurs and complaints, groans and of grieving for those whom we must lamentations. Jupiter at length, taking quickly follow. When I see kings lying compassion on the poor mortals, ordered by those who deposed them, when I conthem a second time to lay down their sider rival wits placed side by side, or the loads, with a design to give every one his holy men that divided the world with own again. They discharged themselves their contests and disputes, I reflect with with a great deal of pleasure: after which, sorrow and astonishment on the little the phantom who had led them into such competitions, factions, and debates of gross delusions was commanded to dis- mankind. When I read the several dates appear. There was sent in her stead a of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, goddess of a quite different figure; her and some six hundred years ago, I conmotions were steady and composed, and sider that great day when we shall all her aspect serious but cheerful. She of us be contemporaries, and make our every now and then cast her eyes towards appearance together. - The Spectator. heaven, and fixed them upon Jupiter. Her name was Patience. She had no

ooner placed herself by the mount of sorrows, but, what I thought very remark

ON CHEERFULNESS. able, the whole heap sunk to such a de

I HAVE always preferred cheerfulness to gree, that it did not appear a third part mirth. The latter I consider as an act, so big as it was before. She afterwards the former as a habit of the mind. Mirth returned every man his own proper cala- is short and transient, cheerfulness fixed mity, and teaching him how to bear it in and permanent. Those are often raised the most commodious manner, he marched into the greatest transports of mirth, who off with it contentedly, being very well are subject to the greatest depressions of pleased that he had not been left to his own choice as to the kind of evils which ness, though it does not give the mind

melancholy: on the contrary, cheerfulfell to his lot.

such an exquisite gladness, prevents us Besides the several pieces of morality from falling into any depths of sorrow. to be drawn out of this vision, I learned Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that from it never to repine at my own misfor- breaks through a gloom of clouds, and tunes, or to envy the happiness of another, glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps since it is impossible for any man to form up a kind of daylight in the mind, a right judgment of his neighbour's suf- and fills it with a steady and perpetual ferings; for which reason also I have

serenity. determined never to think too lightly of

Cheerfulness of mind is of a serious and another's complaints, but to regard the composed nature; it does not throw the sorrows of my fellow-creatures with sen- mind into a condition improper for the timents of humanity and compassion.present state of humanity, and is very The Spectator.

conspicuous in the characters of those who are looked upon as the greatest

philosphers among the heathens, as well REFLECTIONS IN WEST- as among those who have been deservedly

esteemed as saints and holy men among MINSTER ABBEY.

Christians. When I look upon the tombs of the If we consider cheerfulness in three great, every emotion of envy dies in me; lights, with regard to ourselves, to those when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, we converse with, and to the great Author every inordinate desire goes out; when I of our being, it will not a little recom

mend itself on each these accounts. with an immensity of love and mercy. The man who is possessed of this excel. In short, we depend upon a Being, whose lent frame of mind, is not only easy in power qualifies him to make us happy by his thoughts, but a perfect master of all an infinity of means, whose goodness the powers and faculties of his soul: his and truth engage him to make those imagination is always clear, and his happy who desire it of him, and whose judgment undisturbed : his temper is even unchangeableness will secure us in this and unruffled, whether in action or in happiness to all eternity. solitude. He comes with a relish to all Such considerations, which every one those goods which nature has provided should perpetually cherish in his thoughts, for him, tastes all the pleasures of the will banish from us all that secret heavicreation which are poured upon him, and ness of heart which unthinking men are does not feel the full weight of those acci- subject to when they lie under no real dental evils which may befal him. affliction, all that anguish which we

When I consider this cheerful state of may feel from any evil that actually mind in its third relation, I cannot but oppresses us; to which I may likewise look upon it as a constant habitual grati- add those little cracklings of mirth and tude to the Author of nature. An inward folly, that are apter to betray virtue than cheerfulness is an implicit praise and support it; and establish in us such an thanksgiving to Providence under all its even and cheerful temper, as makes us dispensations. It is a kind of acqui- pleasing to ourselves, to those with whom escence in the state wherein we are placed, we converse, and to him whom we were and a secret approbation of the Divine made to please. — The Spectator. will in his conduct towards man.

A man who uses his best endeavours to live according to the dictates of virtue and right reason, has two perpetual

THE VISION OF MIRZA. sources of cheerfulness, in the considera- When I was at Grand Cairo, I picked tion of his own nature, and of that Being up several oriental manuscripts, which I on whom he has a dependence. If he have still by me. Among others I met looks into himself, he cannot but rejoice with one entitled “The Visions of Mirza,' in that existence, which is so lately be which I have read over with great pleastowed upon him, and which, after mil. sure. I intend to give it to the public lions of ages, will be still new, and still when I have no other entertainment for in its beginning. How many self-con- them, and shall begin with the first vision, gratulations naturally rise in the mind, which I have translated word for word as when it reflects on this its entrance into follows: eternity, when it takes a view of those On the 5th day of the moon, which, improvable faculties, which, in a few according to the custom of my forefathers, years, and even at its first setting out, I always keep holy, after having washed have made so considerable a progress, myself, and offered up my morning devoand which will be still receiving an in- tions, I ascended the high hills of Bagdat, in crease of perfection, and consequently order to pass the rest of the day in meditaan increase of happiness?

tion and prayer. As I was here airing myThe second source of cheerfulness to a self on the tops of the mountains, I fell into good mind, is its consideration of that a profound contemplation on the vanity of Being on whom we have our dependence, human life ; and ing from one thought and in whom, though we behold him as to another, Surely, said I, man is but a yet but in the first faint discoveries of shadow, and life a dream. Whilst I was his perfections, we see every thing that thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the we can imagine as great, glorious, or summit of a rock that was not far from amiable. We find ourselves everywhere me, where I discovered one in the habit upheld by his goodness, and surrounded of a shepherd, with a little musical instru

« EelmineJätka »