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There is a famous passage in the Alcoran,, which looks as if Mahomet had been possessed of the notion we are now speaking of. It is there said, that the angel Gabriel took Mahomet out of his bed one morning to give him a sight of all things in the seven heavens, in paradise, and in hell, which the prophet took a distinct view of :' and after having held ninety thousand conferences with God, was brought back again to his bed. All this, says the Alcoran, was transacted in so small a space of time, that Mahomet at his return found his bed still warm, and took up au
1 Not in the Koran, but a tradition. V. Irving's Mahomet, ch. xxii.-G.
• Which the prophet took a distinct view of. This way of throwing the preposition to the end of a sentence, is among the peculiarities of Mr. Addison's manner; and was derived from his nice ear. The secret deserves to be explained. The English tongue is naturally grave and majestic. The rhythm correspouds to the genius of it; and runs, almost whether we will or no, into iambics. But the continuity of this solemn measure has an ill-effect, where the subject is not of moment. Mr. Addison's delicate ear made him sensible of this defect in the rhythm of our language, and sug: gested to him the proper cure for it; which was, to break the continued iambic measure, especially at the end of a sentence, where the weight of it would be most felt, by a preposition, or other short word, of no emphasis in the sense, and withont accent, thrown into that part: whence, a trochee, being introduced into the place of an iambus, would give that air of negligence, and what the French call “legereté,” which, in a work of gaiety or elegance, is found so taking. For instance; had the author said, “ of which the prophět töök å distinct việw"—the metre had been wholly iambic, or, what is worse, would have been loaded with a spondee in the last foot, and the accent must have fallen, with solemnity, on the word “view.” But by reserving the preposition “of,” to the end of the sentence, he gains this advantage, that " view of ” becomes a trochee; and the ear is not only relieved by the variety, but escapes the "ictus” of a too important close. For the same reason, he frequently terminates a sentence, or paragraph, by such unpretending phrases, as, of it—of him—to hěr—from thăm, &c.; which have the same effect on the ear, (the accent, here, falling on the preposition) and give a careless air to the rhythm, exactly suited to the subject and genius of these little essays: though the common reader, who does not enter into the beauty of this contrivance, is ready to censure the author, as wanting nerve and force
In the formal style, it is evident, this liberty should be paringly used: but in conversation, in letters, in narratives, and, universally, in all the lighter forms of composition, the Addisonian termination, us we may all it, has an extreme grace.-H.
Here Hurd differs from Blair (v. Blair, sect. xii.,) and I am glad to have an opportunity of agreeing with Hurd.-G.
earthen pitcher (which was thrown down at the very instant that the angel Gabriel carried him away) before the water was all spilt.
There is a very pretty story in the Turkish Tales which relates to this passage of that famous impostor, and bears some affinity to the subject we are now upon.
A sultan of Egypt, who was an infidel, used to laugh at this circumstance in Mahomet's life, as what was altogether impossible and absurd: but conversing one day with a great doctor in the law, who had the gift of working miracles, the doctor told him he would quickly convince him of the truth of this passage in the history of Mahomet, if he would consent to do what he should desire of him. Upon this the sultan was directed to place himself by an huge tub of water, which he did accordingly; and as he stood by the tub amidst a circle of his great men, the holy man bid him plunge his head into the water, and draw it up again; the king accordingly thrust his head into the water, and at the same time found himself at the foot of a mountain on a sea-shore. The king immediately began to rage against his doc. tor for this piece of treachery and witchcraft; but at length, knowing it was in vain to be angry, he set himself to think on proper methods for getting a livelihood in this strange country: accordingly he applied bimself to some people whom he saw at work in a neighbouring wood; these people conducted him to a town that stood at a little distance from the wood, where, after some adventures, he married a woman of great beauty and for : tune. He lived with this woman so long that he had by her seven sons and seven daughters : he was afterwards reduced to great want, and forced to think of plying in the streets as a porter for his livelihood. One day as he was walking alone by the sea-side, being seized with many melancholy reflections upon his former
and his present state of life, which had raised a fit of devotion in him, he threw off his clothes with a design to wash himself, according to the custom of the Mahometans, before he said his prayers.
After his first plunge into the sea, he no sooner raised his head above the water but he found himself standing by the side of the tub, with the great men of his court about him, and the holy man at his side. He immediately upbraided his teacher for having sent him on such a course of adventures, and betrayed him into so long a state of misery and servitude; but was wonderfully surprised when he heard that the state he talked of was only a dream and delusion; that he had not stirred from the place where he then stood; and that he had only dipped his head into the water, and immediately taken it out again.
The Mahometan doctor took this occasion of instructing the sultan, that nothing was impossible with God; and that He, with whom a thousand years are but as one day, can, if he pleases, make a single day, nay, a single moment, appear to any of his creatures as a thousand years.
I shall leave my reader to compare these eastern fables with the notions of those two great philosophers whom I have quoted in this paper; and shall only, by way of application, desire him to consider how we may extend life beyond its natural dimen sions, by applying ourselves diligently to the pursuits of knowledge.
The hours of a wise man are lengthened by his ideas, as those of a fool are by his passions : the time of the one is long, because he does not know what to do with it; so is that of the other, because he distinguishes every moment of it with useful or amusing thoughts; or, in other words, because the one is al ways wishing it away, and the other always enjoying it.
How different is the view of the past life, in the man who is grown old in knowledge and wisdom, from that of him who is grown old in ignorance and folly! The latter is like the owner of a barren country, that fills his eye with the prospect of naked hills and plains, which produce nothing either profitable or ornamental; the other beholds a beautiful and spacious landscape, divided into delightful gardens, green meadows, fruitful fields; and can scarce cast his eye on a single spot of his possessions, that is not covered with some beautiful plant or flower."
No. 98. FRIDAY, JUNE 22.
-Tanta est quærendi cura decoris.
Juv. Sat. v. 500.
THERE is not so variable a thing in nature as a lady's head dress : within my own memory I have known it rise and fall above thirty degrees. About ten years ago it shot up to a very great height, insomuch that the female part of our species were much taller than the men.' The women were of such enormous
1 This refers to the commode (called by the French fontange), a kind of nead-dress worn by the ladies at the beginning of the eighteenth century, which by means of wire bore up the hair and fore part of the cap, consisting of many folds of fine lace, to a prodigious height. The transition from this to the opposite extreme was very abrupt and sudden.-C.
· The plain good sense which runs through the former of these two papers, on the employment of time, and the ingenuity of the last, may satisfy us that the author possessed, in an eminent degree, the two great qualities of a popular moralist,
-simul et jucunda et idonea dicere vitiæ." It should further be observed, how exactly the style of these papers correspon is to the subject of them; simple, pure, perspicuous, in the highest degree; such, in a word, as shows the writer to be in earnest, and not, like Seneca, solicitous to illustrate himself, rather than the truths he de livers (which are best seen by their own light), in the false glare of an ambitious rhetoric -H.
man travelled from place to place to preach down this monstrous commode; and succeeded so well in it, that as the magicians sacrificed their books to he flames upon the preaching of an apostle, many of the women threw down their head-dresses in the middle of his sermon, and made a bonfire of them within sight of the pulpit. He was so renowned, as well for the sanctity of his life as his manner of preaching, that he had often a congregation of twenty thousand people; the men placing themselves on the one side of his pulpit, and the women on the other, that appeared (to“ use the similitude of an ingenious writer) like a forest of cedars with their heads reaching to the clouds. He so warmed and animated the people against this monstrous ornament, that it lay under a kind of persecution; and whenever it appeared in public, was pelted down by the rabble, who flung stones at the persons that wore it. But notwithstanding this prodigy vanished while the preacher was among them, it began to appear again some months after his departure; or, to tell it in Monsieur Paradin's own words, “The women that, like snails in a fright, had drawn in their horns, shot them out again as soon as the danger was over.” This extravagance of the women's head-dresses in that age is taken notice of by Monsieur D'Argentre in his History of Bretagne,' and by other historians as well as the person I have here quoted.
It is usually observed, that a good reign is the only time for the making of laws against the exorbitance of power; in the same manner an excessive head-dress may be attacked the most effectually when the fashion is against it. I do, therefore, recommend this paper to my female readers by way of prevention. I would desire the fair sex to consider how impossible it is
1 Bertrand d’Argentre died 1590, aged 71.-C.
* To use the similitude of an ingenious writer. An artful apology for the following hyperbolical similitude.-H.