Page images
PDF
EPUB

likewise (as I afterwards found) a greater valetudinarian than any I had ever met with, even in her own sex, and subject to such momentary consumptions, that in the twinkling of an eye, she would fall away from the most florid complexion, and most healthful state of body, and wither into a skeleton. Her recoveries were often as sudden as her decays, insomuch that she would revive in a moment out of a wasting distemper, into a habit of the highest health and vigour.

I had very soon an opportunity of observing these quick turns and changes in her constitution. There sat at her feet a couple of secretaries, who received every hour letters from all parts of the world, which the one or the other of them was perpetually reading to her; and, according to the news the heard, to which the was exceedingly attentive, the changed colour, and discovered many symptoms of health, or Sickness.

Behind the throne, was a prodigious heap of bags of money, which were piled upon one another so high that they touched the cieling. The floor, on her right hand, and on her left, was covered with vast sums of gold that rose up

in pyramids on either side of her. But this I did not so much wonder at, when I heard, upon enquiry, that she had the same virtue in her touch, which the poets tell us a Lydian king was formerly possessed of: and that she could convert whatever the pleased into that precious metal,

After

C 2

After a little dizziness, and confused hurry of thought, which a man often meets with in a Dream, methought the hall was alarmed, the doors flew open, and there entered half a dozen of the most hideous phantoms that I had ever seen (even in a Dream) before that tirne. They came in two by two, though matched in the most dissociable manner, and mingled together in a kind of dance. It would be tedious to describe their habits and persons, for which reason I shall only inform my reader, that the first couple were Tyranny and Anarchy, the second were Bigotry and Atheisin, the third the Genius of a commonwealth, and a young man of about twenty-two years of age *, whose name I could not learn, He had a sword in his right hand, which in the dance he often brandished at the act of Settlement; and a citizen, who stood by me, whispered in my ear, that he saw a fpunge in his left hand-t. The dance of so many jarring natures put me in mind of the sun, moon, and earth, in the Rehearsal I, that danced together for no other end but to eclipse one another.

The reader will easily suppose, by what has been before faid, that the lady on the throne would have been almost frighted to distraction, had the seen but any one of these spectres; what then must have been her condition when she saw them all in a body ? She fainted and died away at the fight.

* James Stuart, the pretended prince of Wales, bora June 10, 1688. See Tar. No. 187.

+ To wipe out the national debt. # Rehearsal, Act V. Sc. 1.

Et neque jam color est misto candore rubori ;
Nec vigor, & vires, & quæ modò visa placebant ;
Nec corpus remanet

Ovid, Met. iii. 491.

Her spirits faint,
Her blooming cheeks assume a palid teint,
And scarce her form remains.

There was as great a change in the hill of money-bags, and the heaps of money, the former shrinking and falling into so many empty bags, that I now found, not above a tenth part of them had been filled with money.

The rest that took up the same space, and made the fame figure, as the bags that were really filled with money, had been blown up with air, and called into my memory the bags full of wind, which Homer tells us, his hero received as a present from Æolus. The great heaps of gold on either side the throne, now appeared to be only heaps of paper, or little piles of notched sticks, bound up together in bundles, like Bathfaggots.

Whilst I was lamenting this sudden desolation that had been made before me, the whole scene vanished. In the room of the frightful spectres, there now entered a second dance of apparitions very agreeably matched together, and made up of very amiable phantoms. The first pair was Liberty with Monarchy at her right hand. The second was Moderation leading in Religion; and the third a person whom I had never seen *, with the genius of Great-Britain. At the first entrance the lady revived, the bags swelled to their former bulk, the pile of faggots and heaps of paper changed into pyramids of guineas; and for my own part I was so transported with joy, that I awaked, though I must confess, I would fain have fallen alleep again to have closed my Vision, if I could have done it.

Ct.

N° 4. Monday, March 5, 1710-11.

A

Egregii mortalem altique filentii ?

Hor. 2 Sat. vi. 58. One of uncommon filence and reserve.

N author, when he first appears in the

world, is very apt to believe it has nothing to think of but his performances. With a good share of this vanity in my heart, I made it

my business these three days to listen after my own fame; and as I have sometimes met with circumstances which did not displease me, I have been encountered by others, which gave me much mortification, It is incredible to think how empty I have in this time observed some part of the species to be, what mere blanks they are when they first come abroad in

• The Elector of Hanover, afterwards George I.

+ By ADDISON, dated, as the signature is supposed to im. ply, from Chelsea, where he lived much about this time.

the

the morning, how utterly they are at a stand, until they are set a-going by some paragraph in a news-paper.

Such persons are very acceptable to a young author, for they desire no more in any thing but to be new, to be agreeable. If I found confolation among such, I was as much disquieted by the incapacity of others. These are mortals who have a certain curiosity without power of reflection, and perused my Papers like Spectators rather than Readers. But there is so little pleasure in enquiries that so nearly concern ourselves, (it being the worst way in the world to fame, to be too anxious about it) that

upon

the whole I resolved for the future, to go on in my ordinary way; and without too much fear or hope about the business of reputation, to be very careful of the design of my actions, but very negligent of the consequences of them.

It is an endless and frivolous pursuit to act by any other rule, than the care of satisfying our own minds in what we do. One would think a silent man, who concerned himself with no one breathing, should be very little liable to misinterpretations; and yet I remember I was once taken up for a jesuit, for no other reason but my profound taciturnity. It is from this misfortune that to be out of harm's

way,

I have ever since affected crowds. He who comes into assemblies only to gratify his curiosity, and not to make a figure, enjoys the pleasures of retirement in a more exquisite degree, than he posfibly could in his closet; the lover, the ambi

tious,

C4

« EelmineJätka »