« EelmineJätka »
privilege of sociable beings, that of conversing with and knowing each other? what would they have done had matter never been created? I suppose, not have lived in eternal solitude. As incorporeal substances are of a nobler order, so be sure their manner of intercourse is answerably more expedite and intimate. This method of communication we call intellectual vision, as something analogous to the sense of seeing, which is the medium of our acquaintance with this visible world. And in some such way can God make himself the object of immediate intuition to the blessed; and as he can, it is not improbable that he will, always condescending, in the circumstances of doing it, to the weakness and proportion of finite minds. His works but faintly reflect the image of his perfections; it is a second-hand knowledge: to have a just idea of him, it may be necessary that we see him as he is. But what is that? it is something that never entered into the heart of man to conceive; yet, what we can easily conceive, will be a fountain of unspeakable and everlasting rapture. All created glories will fade and die away in his presence. Perhaps it will be my happi. ness to compare the world with the fair exemplar of it in the divine mind; perhaps to view the original plan of those wise designs that have been executing in a long succession of ages. Thus employed in finding out his works, and contemplating their author, how shall I fall prostrate and adoring, my body swallowed up in the immensity of matter, my mind in the infiui. tude of his perfections!
TRUE AND FALSE WIT.
Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam
HOR. Ars. Poet. ver. 1.
"If in a picture, Piso, you should see
Wou'd you not laugh, and think the painter mad?
METHOUGHT I was transported into a country that was filled with prodigies and enchantments, governed by the goddess of Falsehood, and entitled the Region of False Wit. There was nothing in the fields, the woods, and rivers, that appeared natural. Several of the trees blossomed in leaf-gold, some of them produced bonelace, and some of them precious stones. The fountains bubbled in an opera tune, and were filled with stags, wild-boars, and mermaids that lived among the waters; at the same time that dolphins and several kinds of fish played upon, the banks, or took their pastime in the meadows. The birds had many of them golden beaks, and human voices. The flowers perfumed the air with smells of incense, am. bergrease, and pulvillios; and were so interwoven with one another, that they grew up in pieces of em
broidery. The winds were filled with sighs and messages of distant lovers. As I was walking to and fro in this enchanted wilderness, I could not forbear breaking out into soliloquies upon the several wonders which lay before me, when, to my great surprise, I found there were artificial echoes in every walk, that by repetitions of certain words which I spoke, agreed with me, or contradicted me, in every thing 1 said. In the midst of my conversation with these invisible companions, I discovered in the centre of a very dark grove a monstrous fabric built after the Gothic manner, and covered with innumerable devices in that barbarous kind of sculpture. I immediately went up to it, and found it to be a kind of heathen temple, con. secrated to the god of Dulness. Upon my entrance I saw the deity of the place dressed in the habit of a monk, with a book in one hand, and a rattle in the other. Upon his right hand was Industry, with a lamp burning before her; and on his left Caprice, with a monkey sitting on her shoulder. Before his feet there stood an altar of a very odd make, which, as I afterwards found, was shaped in that manner to comply with the inscription that surrounded it. Upon the altar there lay several offerings of axes, wings, and eggs, cut in paper, and inscribed with verses. The temple was filled with votaries, who applied themselves to different diversions, as their fancies directed them. In one part of it I saw a regiment of Anagrams, who were continually in motion, turning to the right or to the left, facing about, doubling their ranks, shifting their stations, and throwing themselves into all the figures and counter-marches of the most change. able and perplexed exercise.
Not far from these was a body of Acrostics, made up of very disproportioned persons. It was disposed into three columns, the officers planting themselves in a line on the left hand of each column. The officers were all of them at least six feet high, and made three rows of very proper men; but the common soldiers,
who filled up the spaces between the officers, were such dwarfs, cripples, and scarecrows, that one could hardly look upon them without laughing. There were behind the Acrostics two or three files of Chronogramas, which differed only from the former, as their officers were equipped (like the figure of Time) with an hourglass in one hand, and a scythe in the other, and took their posts promiscuously among the private men whom they commanded.
In the body of the temple, and before the very face of the deity, methought I saw the phantom of Tryphiodorus, the lipogrammatist, engaged in a ball with four-and-twenty persons, who pursued him by turns through all the intricacies and labyrinths of a countrydance, without being able to overtake him.
Observing several to be very busy at the western end of the temple, I inquired into what they were doing, and found there was in that quarter the great magazine of Rebusses. These were several things of the most different natures tied up in bundles, and thrown upon one another in beaps like faggots. You might behold an anchor, a night rail, and a hobby-horse bound up together. One of the workmen seeing me very much surprised, told me, there was an infinite deal of wit in several of those bundles, and that he would explain them to me if I pleased: I thanked him for his civility, but told him I was in very great haste at that time. As I was going out of the temple, I observed in one corner of it a cluster of men and women laughing very heartily, and diverting themselves at a game of Crambo. I heard several Double Rhymes as I passed by them, which raised a great deal of mirth.
Not far from these was another set of merry people engaged at a diversion, in which the whole jest was to mistake one person for another. To give occasion for these ludicrous mistakes, they were divided into pairs, every pair being covered from head to foot with the same kind of dress, though perhaps there was not the least resemblance in their faces. By these mean
an old man was sometimes mistaken for a boy, a woman for a man, and a black-a-moor for an European, which very often produced great peals of laughter. These I guessed to be a party of Puns. But being very desirous to get out of this world of magic, which had almost turned my brain, I left the temple, and crossed over the fields that lay about it with all the speed I could make. I was not gone far, before I heard the sound of trumpets and alarms, which seemed to proclaim the march of an enemy; and as I afterwards found, was in reality what I apprehended it. There appeared at a great distance a very shining light, and, in the midst of it, a person of a most beautiful aspect: her name was Truth. On her right hand there marched a male deity, who bore several quivers on his shoulders, and grasped several arrows in his hand; his name was Wit. The approach of these two enemies filled all the territories of False Wit with an un. speakable consternation, insomuch that the goddess of those regions appeared in person upon her frontiers, with the several inferior deities, and the different bodies of forces which I had before seen in the temple, who were now drawn up in array, and prepared to give their foes a warm reception. As the march of the enemy was very slow, it gave time to the several inhabitants who bordered upon the regions of -Falsehood to draw their forces into a body, with a design to stand upon their guard as neuters, and attend the issue of the combat.
I must here inform my reader, that the frontiers of the enchanted region, which I have before described, were inhabited by the species of Mixed Wit, who made a very odd appearance when they were mustered together in an army. They were men whose bodies were stuck full of darts, and women whose eyes were burning glasses: men that had hearts of fire, and women that had breasts of snow, It would be endless to describe several monsters of the like nature, that composed this great army: which immediately fell asunder,