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of morality and religion divested of all austerity and gloom-criticism at once pleasing and ingenious-and pictures of national character and manners that must ever charm from their vivacity and truth. The mind of Addison was so happily constituted, that all its faculties appear to have been in healthy vigour and due proportion, and to have been under the control of correct taste and principles. Greater energy of character, or a more determined hatred of vice and tyranny, would have curtailed his usefulness as a public censor. He led the nation gently and insensibly to a love of virtue and constitutional freedom, to a purer taste in morals and literature, and to the importance of those everlasting truths which so warmly engaged his heart and imagination. The national taste and circumstances have so much changed during the last century and a half, that these essays, inimitable as they are, have become antiquated, and are little read.
Among the other prose works of the essayist are 'Remarks on Several Parts of Italy in the years 1701, 1702, 1703,' in which he has considered the passages of the ancient poets that have any relation to the places and curiosities he saw. The style of this early work is remarkable for its order and simplicity, but seldom rises into cloquence. He wrote also 'Dialogues on the Usefulness of Ancient Medals, especially in Relation to the Latin and Greek Poets,' a treatise uniting patient research and originality of thought and conception. The learning of Addison is otherwise displayed in his unfinished treatise on the Evidences of the Christian Religion,' in which he reviews the heathen philosophers and historians who advert to the spread of Christianity, and also touches on a part of the subject now more fully illustrated the fulfillment of the Scripture prophecies. The 'Whig Examiners' of Addison (five in number) are clever, witty, party productions. He ridicules his opponents without bitterness or malice, yet with a success that far outstripped competition. When we consider that this great ornament of our literature died at the age of forty-seven, and that the greater part of his manhood was spent in the discharge of important official duties, we are equally surprised at the extent of his information and the variety and richness of his genius.
The Political Upholsterer.
There lived some years since, within my neighbourhood, a very grave person, an npholsterer, who seemed a man of more than ordinary application to business. He was a very early riser, and was often abroad two or three hours before any of his neighbors. He had a particular carefulness in the knitting of his brows, and a kind of impatience in all his motions, that plainly discovered he was always intent on matters of importance. Upon my inquiry into his life and conversation I found him to be the greatest newsmonger in our quarter; that he rose before day to read the Postman; and that he would take two or three turns to the other end of the town before his neighbours were up, to see if there were any Dutch mails come in. He had a wife and several children; but was much more inquisitive to know what passed in Poland than in his own family, and was in greater pain and anxiety of mind for King Augustus's welfare than that of his nearest relations. He looked extremely thin in a dearth of news, and never enjoyed himself in a westerly wind.
E. L. v. iii.-10
This indefatigable kind of life was the ruin of his shop; for about the time that his favourite prince left the crown of Poland, he broke and disappeared.
This man and his affairs had been long out of my mind, till about three days ago, as I was walking in St. James's Park, I heard somebody at a distance hemming after me; and who should it be but my old neighbour the upholsterer! I saw he was reduced to extreme poverty, by certain shabby superfluities in his dress; for notwithstanding that it was a very sultry day for the time of the year, he wore a loose greatcoat and a muff, with a long campaign wig out of curl; to which he had added the ornament of a pair of black garters buckled under the knee. Upon his coming up to me, I was going to inquire into his present circumstances, but was prevented by his asking me, with a whisper, whether the last letters brought any accounts that one might rely upon from Bender. I told him, none that I heard of; and asked him whether he had yet married his eldest daughter. He told me no: But pray,' says me tell me sincerely, what are your thoughts of the king of Sweden ?' for though his wife and children were starving, I found his chief concern at present was for this great monarch. I told him, that I looked upon him as one of the first heroes of the age. 'But pray,' says he, do you think there is anything in the story of his wound ?? And finding me surprised at the question, Nay,' says he, I only propose it to you.' I answered, that I thought there was no reason to doubt of it. 'But why in the heel,' says he, more than in any other part of the body?' 'Because,' said I, 'the bullet chanced to light there.'
This extraordinary dialogue was no sooner ended, but he began to launch out into along dissertation upon the affairs of the north; and after having spent some time on them, he told me he was in a great perplexity how to reconcile the Supplement' with the English Post,' and had been just examining what the other papers say upon the same subject. "The Daily Courant,"" says he, has these words: We have advices from very good hands, that a certain prince has some matters of great importance under consideration. This is very mysterious; but the "Postboy leaves us more in the dark, for he tells us that there are private intimatious of measures taken by a certain prince, which time will bring to light. Now the "Postman," says he, who used to be very clear, refers to the same news in these words: the late conduct of a certain prince affords great matter of speculation. This certain prince,' says the upholsterer, whom they are all so cautious of naming, I Upon which, though there was nobody near us, he whispered something in my ear, which I did not hear, or think worthy my while to make him repeat.*
take to be
We were now got to the upper end of the Mall, where were three or four very odd fellows sitting together upon the bench. These I found were all of them politicians, who used to sun themselves in that place every day about dinner-time. Observing them to be curiosities in their kind, and my friend's acquaintance, I sat down among
The chief politician of the bench was a great asserter of paradoxes. He told us, with a seeming concern, that by some news he had lately read from Muscovy, it appeared to him that there was a storm gathering in the Black Sea, which might in time do hurt to the naval forces of this nation. To this he added, that for his part he could not wish to see the Turk driven out of Europe, which he believed could not but be prejudicial to our woollen manufacture. He then told us, that he looked upon the extraordinary revolutions which had lately happened in those parts of the world, to have risen chiefly from two persons who were not much talked of; and those, says he, are Prince Menzikoff and the Duchess of Mirandola. He backed his assertious with so many broken hints, and such a show of depth and wisdom, that we gave ourselves up to his opinions.
The discourse at length fell upon a point which seldom escapes a knot of true-born Englishmen Whether, in case of a religions war, the Protestants would not be too strong for the Papists? This we unanimously determined on the Protestant side. One who sat on my right hand, and, as I found, by his discourse, had been in the West Indies, assured us, that it would be a very easy matter for the Protestants to beat the pope at sea; and added, that whenever such a war does break out, it must turn to the good of the Leeward Islands. Upon this, one who sat at the end of the
The prince here alluded to so mysteriously was the son of James II.
bench, and, as I afterwards found, was the geographer of the company, said, that in case the Papists should drive the Protestants from these parts of Europe, when the worst came to the worst, it would be impossible to beat them out of Norway and Greenland, provided the northern crowns hold together, and the Czar of Muscovy stand neuter.
He further told us for our comfort, that there were vast tracts of lands about the pole, inhabited neither by Protestants nor Papists, and of greater extent than all the Roman Catholic dominions in Europe.
When we had fully discussed this point, my friend the upholsterer began to exert himself upon the present negotiations of peace, in which he deposed princes, settled the bounds of kingdoms, and balanced the power of Europe, with great justice and impartiality.
I at length took my leave of the company, and was going away; but had not gone thirty yards, before the upholsterer hemmed again after me. Upon his advancing towards me with a whisper, I expected to hear some secret piece of news, which he had not thought fit to communicate to the bench; but instead of that, he desired me in my ear to lend him a half-crown. In compassion to so needy a statesman, and to dissipate the confusion I found he was in, I told him, if he pleased, I would give him five shillings, to receive five pounds of him when the great Turk was driven out of Constantinople; which he very readily accepted, but not before he had laid down to me the impossibility of such an event, as the affairs of Europe now stand.
The Vision of Mirza.
When I was at Grand Cairo, I picked up several Oriental manuscripts, which I have still by me. Among others, I met with one entitled 'The Visions of Mirza,' which I have read over with great pleasure. I intend to give it to the public when have no other entertamment for them, and shall begin with the first vision, which I have translated word for word, as follows:
On the 5th day of the moon, which, according to the custom of my forefathers, I always keep holy, after having washed myself and offered up any morning devotions, I ascended the high hills of Bagdat, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and prayer. As I was here airing myself on the tops of the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation on the vanity of human life; and passing from one thought to another: Surely,' said I, man is but a shadow, and life a dream.' Whilst I was thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the summit of a rock that was not far from me, where I discovered one in the habit of a shepherd, with a little musical instrument in his hand. As I looked upon him, he applied it to his lips, and began to play upon it. The sound of it was exceedingly sweet, and wrought into a variety of tunes that were inexpressibly melodious, and altogether different from anything I had ever heard. They put me in mind of those heavenly airs that are played to the departed souls of good men upon their first arrival in paradise, to wear out the impressions of the last agonies, and qualify them for the pleasures of that happy place. My heart melted away in secret raptures.
I had been often told that the rock before me was the haunt of a genius, and that several had been entertained with music who had passed by it, but never heard that the musician had before made himself visible. When he had raised my thoughts by those transporting airs which he played, to taste the pleasures of his conversation, as I looked upon him like one astonished, he beckoned to me, and by the waving of his hand, directed me to approach the place where he sat. I drew near with that reverence which is due to a superior nature; and as my heart was entirely subdued by the captivating strains I had heard, I fell down at his feet and wept. The genius smiled upon me with a look of compassion and affability that familiarised him to my imagination, and at once dispelled all the fears and apprehensions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the ground, and taking me by the hand, · Mirza,' said he. I have heard thee in thy soliloquies; follow me.'
He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it, 'Cast thine eyes eastward,' said he, ‘and tell me what thou seest.' 'I sec,' said I, a huge valley, and a prodigious tide of water rolling through it.' 'The valley that thou seest,' said he, is the vale of misery, and the fide of water that thou seest, is part of the great tide of eternity.' "What is the reason,' said I, 'that the tide I see rses out of a thick mist at one end, and again loses itself in a thick mist at the
other? What thon seest,' said he, is that portion of eternity which is called Time, measured out by the sun, and reaching from the beginning of the world to its consumma.ion. Examine now,' said he, this sea that is bounded with darkness at both ends, and tell me what thou discoverest in it.' 'I see a bridge,' said I, 'standing in the midst of the tide.' The bridge thou seest,' said he, is Human Life: consider it attentively.' Upon a more leisurely survey of it, I found that it consisted of threescore and ten entire arches, with several broken arches, which, added to those that were entire, made up the number to about a hundred. As I was counting the arches, the genius told me that this bridge consisted at first of a thousand arches, but that a great flood swept away the rest, and left the bridge in the ruinous condi tion I now beheld it. 'But tell me further,' said he, 'what thou discoverest on it.' I see multitudes of people passing over it,' said I,‘and a black cloud hanging on each end of it.' As I looked more attentively, I saw several of the passengers dropping through the bridge into the great tide that flowed beneath it; and upon further examination, perceived there were innumerable trap-doors that lay concealed in the bridge, which the passengers no sooner trod upon, but they fell through them into the tide, and immediately disappeared. These hidden pitfalls were set very thick at the entrance of the bridge, so that throngs of people no sooner broke through the cloud, but many of them fell into them. They grew thinner toward the middle, but multiplied and lay closer together towards the end of the arches that were entire.
There were indeed some persons, but their number was very small, that continned a kind of hobbling march on the broken arches, but fell through one after another, being quite tired and spent with so long a walk.
I passed some time in the contemplation of this wonderful structure, and the great variety of objects which it presented. My heart was filled with a deep melancholy to see several dropping nexpectedly in the midst of mirth and pollity, and catching at everything that stood by them to save themselves. Some were looking up towards the heavens in a thoughtful posture, and, in the midst of a speculation, stumbled, and fell out of sight. Multitudes were very busy in the pursuit of bubbles that glittered in their eyes and danced before them; but often when they thought themselves within the reach of them, their footing failed, and down they sank. In this confusion of objects, I observed some with scimitars in their hands, and others who ran to and fro upon the bridge, thrusting several persons on trap-doors which did not seem to he in their way, and which they might have escaped had they not been thus forced upon them.
The genius seeing me indulge myself on this melancholy prospect, told me I had dwelt long enough upon it. Take thine eyes off the bridge,' said he, and tell me if thou yet seest anything thou dost not comprehend. Upon looking up, What mean,' said I, those great flights of birds that are perpetually hovering about the bridge, and settling upon it from time to time? I see vultures, harpies, ravens, cormorants, and, among many other feathered creatures, several little winged boys, that perch in great numbers upon the middle arches.' 'These,' said the genius, are Envy, Avarice, Superstition, Despair, Love, with the like cares and passions that infest Human Life.'
I here fetched a deep sigh. Alas,' said I, 'man was made in vain!-how is he given away to misery and mortality!-tortured m fe, and swallowed up in death! The genius being moved with compassion towards me, bade me quit so uncomfortable a prospect. 'Look no more,' said he, on man in the first stage of his existence, in his setting out for eternity, but cast thine eye on that thick mist into which the tide bears the several generations of mortals that fall into it.' I directed my sight as I was ordered, and-whether or no the good genius strengthened it with any supernatural force, or dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate-I saw the valley opening at the former end, and spreading forth into an immense ocean, that had a huge rack of adamant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts. The clouds still rested on one half of it, insomuch that I could discover nothing in it, but the other appeared to me a vast ocean planted with innumerable islands that were covered with fruits and flowers, and interwoven with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. I could see persons dressed in glorious habits, with garlands upon their heads, passing among the trees, lying down by the sides of fountains, or resting on beds of flowers, and could hear a confused harmony of singing-birds, falling waters, human voices, and musical instruments. Gladness grew in me upon the
discovery of so delightful a scene. I wished for the wings of an eagle that I might fly away to those happy seats, but the genius told me there was no passage to them except through the Ga es of Death that I saw opening every moment upon the bridge. The islands,' said he, that lie so fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in number than the sands on the sea-shore; there are myriads of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching further than thine eye, or even thine imagination, can extend itself. These are the mansions of good men after death, who, according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are distributed among these several islands, which abound with pleasures of different kinds and degrees, suitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are settled in them. Every island is a paradise accommodated to its respective inhabitants. Are not these, O Mirza! habitations worth contending for? Does life appear miserable, that gives thee opportunities of earning such a reward? Is death to be feared, that will convey thee to so happy an existence? Think not man was made in vain, who has such an eternity reserved for him.' I gazed with inexpressible pleasure on these happy islands. At length, said I: Shew me now, I beseech thee, the secrets that he hid under those dark clouds which cover the ocean on the other side of the rock of adamant. The genius making me no answer, I turned about to address myself to him a second time, but I found that he had left me. I then turned again to the vision which I had been so long contemplating, but instead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the happy islands, I saw nothing but the long hollow valley of Bagdat, with oxen, sheep, and camels grazing upon the sides of it.
Sir Roger de Coverley's Visit to Westminster Abbey.
My friend Sir Roger de Coverley told me the other night that he had been reading my paper upon Westminster Abbey, in which,' says he, there are a great many ingenious fancies' He told me, at the same time, that he observed I had promised another paper upon the tombs, and that he should be glad to go and see them with me, not having visited them since he had read history. I could not at first imagine how this came into the knight's head, till I recollected that he had been very busy all Jast summer upon Baker's Chronicle,' which he has quoted several times in his disputes with Sir Andrew Freeport since his last coming to town. Accordingly, I promised to call upon him the next morning, that we might go together to the abbey.
I found the knight under the butler's hands, who always shaves him. He was no sooner dressed, than he called for a glass of the Widow Trueby's water, which he told me he always drank before he went abroad. He recommended to me a dram of it at the same time, with so much heartiness, that I could not forbear drinking it. As soon as I had got it down, I found it very unpalatable; upon which the knight observing that I had made several wry faces, told me that he knew I should not like it at first, but that it was the best thing in the world against the stone or gravel.
I could have wished, indeed, that he had acquainted me with the virtues of it sooner; but it was too late to complain, and I knew what he had done was out of good-will. Sir Roger told me further, that he looked upon it to be very good for a man whilst he stayed in town, to keep off infection, and that he got together a quantity of it upon the first news of the sickness being at Dantzic: when of a sudden, turning short to one of his servants, who stood behind him, he bade him call a hackney coach, and take care that it was an elderly man that drove it.
He then resumed his discourse upon Mrs. Trueby's water, telling me that the Widow Trueby was one who did more good than all the doctors and apothecaries in the country; that she distilled every poppy that grew within five miles of her; that she distributed her medicine gratis among all sorts of people; to which the knight added, that she had a very great jointure, and that the whole country would fain have it a match between him and her; and truly,' says Sir Roger, if I had not been engaged, perhaps I could not have done better.'
His discourse was broken off by his man's telling him he had called a coach. Upon our going to it, after having cast his eye upon the wheels, he asked the coachman if his axle-tree was good. Upon the fellow's telling him he would warrant it, the knight turned to me, told me he looked like an honest man, and went in without further ceremony.