Page images
[ocr errors]


* Notwithstanding all his endeavours, he is • still poor. This has flung him into a most

deplorable state of melancholy and despair. • He is a composition of envy and idleness;

hates mankind, but gives them their revenge by being more uneasy to himself than to any one else.

• The phial I looked upon next contained a • large fair heart which beat very strongly, The fomes or spot in it was exceeding small ; • but I could not help observing, that which

way soever I turned the phial it always ap• peared uppermost, and in the strongest point • of light. The heart you are examining, says

my companion, belongs to Will Worthy. He ' has, indeed, a most noble soul, and is pof• sessed of a thousand good qualities. The speck • which


discover is vanity • Here,' says the angel, is the heart of Freelove, your intimate friend.' Freelove and

I,' said I, are at present very cold to one • another, and I do not care for looking on the • heart of a man which I fear is overcast with

rancour. My teacher commanded me to look upon

it: I did so; and, to my unspeakable surprise, found that a small swelling spot, 6 which I at first took to be ill-will towards

me, was only passion; and that upon my

nearer inspection it wholly disappeared : upon ' which the phantom told me Freelove was one • of the best-natured men alive.

This,' says my teacher, is a female heart ' of your acquaintance. I found the fomes in

[ocr errors]

• it of the largest size, and of an hundred dif« ferent colours, which were still varying every • moment. Upon my asking to whom it be

longed, I was informed that it was the heart • of Coquetilla.

• I set it down, and drew out another, in which I took the fomes at first sight to be very small, but was amazed to find that, as I looked steadfastly upon it, it grew still larger. It was the heart of Melista, a noted prude who lives next door to me. • I Thew you this,' says the phantom,“ because it is indeed a rarity, and you have the happiness to know the person to whom it belongs. He then put into my hand a large crystal glass, that enclosed an heart, in which,

though I examined it with the utmost nicety, • I could not perceive any blemish. I made no

scruple to affirm that it must be the heart of • Seraphina ; and was glad, but not surprised, to • find that it was so. She is indeed,' continued ' my guide, 'the ornament, as well as the

envy, of her fex.' At these last words he

pointed to the hearts of several of her female " acquaintance which lay in different phials, ' and had very large spots in them, all of a

You are not to wonder,' says he, that you see no spot in an heart, whose • innocence has been proof against all the cor

ruptions of a depraved age. • blemish, it is too small to be discovered by « human eyes.'

'I laid it down and took up the hearts of other females, in all of which the fomes ran in

• feveral

deep blue.

If it has any

• several veins, which were twisted together, , • and made a very perplexed figure. I asked * the meaning of it, and was told it represented • deceit.

'I fhould have been glad to have examined • the hearts of several of my acquaintance, ' whom I knew to be particularly addicted to

drinking, gaming, intriguing, &c. but my

interpreter told me I must let that alone • until another opportunity, and flung down • the cover of the chest with so much violence as immediately awoke me.'

* By Mr. John Byrom. This « Vision of Hearts,” the “Differtation of the Beau's Head,” Spect. Vol. IV. No. 275, and of the “ Coquette's Heart,Ibidem, No. 281, probably suggested to Alexander Stevens the first idea of his justly celebrated “ Lectures on Heads."

Mr. John Byrom, the ingenious author of this and the preceding Paper, &c. was born at Manchester in 1691. Having incurred the displeasure of his nearest relations by an early marriage with a young lady who had little or no fortune, he supported himself principally by teaching short hand in a very ingenious way, till, by the death of an elder brother without issue, the family estate of Kersal came to him by inheritance. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a great proficient in polite literature and fine taste. The general tenour of his life was innocent and inoffensive, at a great distance from any reproachful vice. He died at Mancheiter, September 26, 1763, An. Ætat. 72. To all his productions the distich of Ovid is justly applicable

Non ego mordaci diftrinxi carmine quenquam,

Nulla venenato eft litera mista joco. See Spect. No. 603, and Note.

This eighth volume, in Dr. Johnson's opinion the best of the SpecȚATOR, might ftill have been better, had Mr, Byrom's contributions to it been more numerous, and not inferior to the few specimens he has given of his abilities, See Nichols's “ Select Collection of Poems,” with Notes, &c. Vol. VII. p. 156, & feqq.

No. 588,

N° 588. Wednesday, September 1, 1714.

Dicitis, omnis in imbecillitate eft & gratia, & caritas.

CICERO. • You pretend that all kindness and benevolence is

« founded in weakness.'


AN may be confidered in two views, as

a reasonable and as a social being; capable of becoming himself either happy or milerable, and of contributing to the happiness or misery of his fellow-creatures. Suitable to this double capacity, the contriver of human nature hath wisely furnished it with two principles of action, self-love, and benevolence; deligned one of them to render man wakeful to his own personal interest, the other to dispose him for giving his utmost affistance to all engaged in the lame pursuit. This is such an account of our frame, so agreeable to reason, so much for the honour of our Maker, and the credit of our fpecies, that it may appear somewhat unaccountable what should induce men to represent human nature as they do under characters of disadvantage; or, having drawn it with a little fordid aspect, what pleasure they can possibly take in such a picture. Do they reflect that it is their own, and, if we would believe themselves, is not more odious than the original ? One of the first that talked in this lofty strain of


our nature was Epicurus. Beneficence, would his followers say, is all founded in weakness; and, whatever he pretended, the kindness that passeth between men and men is by every man directed to himself. This, it must be confeffed, is of a piece with the rest of that hopeful philosophy, which, having patched men up out of the four elements, attributes his being to chance, and derives all his actions from an unintelligible declination of atoms. And for these glorious discoveries the poet is beyond measure transported in the praises of his hero, as if he must needs be something more than man, only for an endeavour to prove that man is in nothing superior to beasts. In this school was Mr. Hobbes instructed to speak after the same manner, if he did not rather draw his knowledge from an observation of his own temper*; for he somewhere unluckily lays down this as a rule, • That, from the similitudes of thoughts • and passions of one man to the thoughts and

passions of another, whosoever looks into him' self and considers 'what he doth when he

thinks, hopes, fears, &c. and upon what grounds, he shall hereby read and know what are the thoughts and passions of all other men upon the like occasions. Now we will

[ocr errors]

* This censure of Mr. Hobbes appears to be illiberal and unfounded. Many testimonies, apparently unsuspicious, lead to the belief that he was a good and an amiable man, as well as possessed of superior understanding and uncommon perfpicacity and penetration. However exceptionable his writings may be, his life it seems was irreproachable.


« EelmineJätka »