Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

sensations of mirth are never productive of ultimate fac tisfaction, that beauty, which is in most minds the parent of love, should, in order to the prosperity of its offspring, be attended with “ a species of melancholy." Those objects from which we derive our greatest pleasuręs, are mostly of a pensive description. The dance may amuse and delight us but it is almost instantaneously obliterated; while circumftances affecting to the heart, are experienced with tenderness, and treasured with assiduity. Love is not talkative. In familiar life, the chief fources of our amusement are derived from converf. ing with the intelligent, and those around us ; while the lover, Itrange as it may seem, however accomplished and cultivated his mistress, is best gratified by a silent at. tention to her beauties, and a sort of mute admiration. Women do not appear to be properly acquainted with this truth. They would consider such a suitor as fupid: the rattler they admire; and it is but a step from admiration to love. The dear delightful dog, who can prate gaily of what he does not comprehend, and launch forth into a thousand idle eulogiums of a beauty to which he is insensible;--this sweet compound of every thing that is light, pretty, and agreeable, will be preferred to the man of sense and affection, merely because the latter, from the very nature of fense and affection, is incapable of such folly. We know it has been said, that the same things will act differently on different individuals, and the affertion may hold good in a majority of instances. But love, which has been called the universal paffion, unless in cases of inability, is uniforın in its effect. Real love is always timid, solicitous, attentive. These are qualities not to be affected, and they serve to distinguish the value of the same sentiment in its manifold applications.

Among those pleasures which are dear to recollection, we trace few that are strictly mirthful. There is something in mirth not at all congenial to contemplation, an act characteristic of the memory. What is cherished by reflection, will be found interesting to the heart. Love,

it is known, gathers strength and stability from absence ; deprived awhile of its object, a thousand little tenderRefles are valued as subjects of the first regard, which, when received, were but cominonly esteemed. Absence is a kind of death, and there is no one who need be apprised of the benevolence we feel towards those who can offend no more. But all this would not bappen to love, if it were not, as Mr. Burke says of beauty, allied to a species of melancholy.

To those who have accompanied the human mind in its progress from childhood to maturity, and from thence to the decline of life, this inclination in man to ideas in themselves folitary and pensive, must be clearly evident. Even youth, the very spring of hilarity, has a bias to me. lancholy. This is daily demonstrated in the poetry of our most cultivated young men : and it may not appear so extraordinary if we consider, that the distinction between melancholy and grief is essentially marked; the first as a pleasing, the latter as a corroding passion. Grief is certainly inimical to the playfulness of our early days ; but melancholy, so far from having a similar influence, by giving a kind of shade to our ideas, feems to relieve us from the too great luftre of a juvenile imagination ; it is a grove to defend us from the over-powering influence of the noon-day fun, where we sit and contemplate with more effect the surrounding landscape : it is, in fact, the evening of thought.

No one thinks of addressing his mistress in the language of mirth. All our poets, excepting Cowley and Waller, have treated plaintively of love: these were ftrange exceptions-Cowley, a fanciful metaphysician, and Waller, a sprightly courtier; the former was far. fetched and obtruse, the last, though sometimes tender, was on the whole rampant and debonaire ; and, while Cowley is supposed to have had no mistress, Waller had too many to love any: it would therefore be idle to enumerate these writers as exceptions to a general rule. Beauty implies some kind of perfection, and it does Vol. IV.

B

not

not matter, while that perfection is understood, whether it be real or imaginary. Perhaps it may be affirmed, that the contemplation of every species of perfection, is attended with melancholy on two accounts—it always carries with it the ideas of greatness and purity, which inspire us with a melancholy respect; while we imbibe a kind of regret or pensiveness, in the comparison which we are tempted to draw betwixt ourselves and the object of our admiration. Certain, however, it is, whatever obscurities may be found to attach to the explication I have attempted on this occasion, that “ the paffiou excited by beauty is, in fact, nearer to a species of melancholy, than to jollity or mirth.”

[ocr errors]

GOSSIPIANA.

[No. XVII.)

MILTON'S DAUGHTERS.
S Milton at his death left his affairs very much in

A

that he died worth fifteen hundred pounds, yet she allowed but one hundred pounds to each of his three daughters. Anne, the eldest, was decrepid and deformed! but had a very handsome face: The married a masterbuilder, and died in child-bed of her first child, who died with her. Mary, the second, lived and died single. Deborah, the youngest, in her father's life time went over to Ireland with a lady; and afterwards was married to Mr. Abraham Clarke, a weaver in Spitalfields, and died in August, 1727, in the 76th year of her age. She is said to have been a woman of good understanding and genteel behaviour, though in low circumstances. As the had been often called to read Homer and Ovid's Metamorphoses to her father, she could have repeated a con

siderable

fiderable number of verses from the beginning of both these poets, as Mr. Ward, Professor of Rhetoric, in Grelham College, relates upon his own knowledge : and another gentleman has informed me, that he has heard her repeat several verses likewise out of Euripides. Mr. Addison, and the other gentlemen who had opportunities of seeing her, knew her immediately to be Milton's daughter by the fimilitude of her countenance to her fa. ther's picture; and Mr. Addison made her a hand. fome present of a purse of guineas, with a promise of procuring for her fome annual provision for life ; but his death happening foon after, the lost the benefit of his generous design. She received presents likewise from several other gentlemen; and Queen Caroline fent her fifty pounds by the hands of Dr. Friend, the physician.

BISHOP WAR BURTON. This prelate has observed in one of his letters, with fingular truth and humour, that “ To be always lamenting the miseries, or always seeking after the pleasures of life, equally takes us off from the work of our situation ; and though I am extremely cautious what sect I follow in religion, yet any in philosophy will serve my turn; and honeft Sanca Pancha's is as good as any, who, on his return from an important commission, when asked by his master whether they fhould mark the day with a black or a white stone, replied, “ Faith, Sir, if you will be ruled by me, with neither, but with good brown ocre.”

" What this philofopher thought of his commission," adds the great prelate, “ I think of hunan life in ge. neral; good brown ocre is the complexion of it.”

STERNE. I CANNOT omit mentioning this anecdote of myself and master :-He had the ceiling of the school-room new white-washed. The ladder remained there. I one un. lucky day mounted it, and wrote with a brush, in large capital letters, LAU. STERNE, for which the usher le

verely

B 2

verely whipped me. My master was very much hurt at this, and said before me, “ that never fhouid that name be effaced; for I was a boy of genius, and he was sure I should come to preferment." This expression made me forget the stripes I had received.

DR. SAMUEL JOHNSON. Dr. Johnson was indeed famous for disregarding public abuse. When the people criticised and answered his pamphlets, papers, &c. * why now those fellows are only advertising my books,” he would say; " it is surely better a man thould be abused than forgotten."

BERENGERIA, QUEEN OF CASTILE. BERENGERIA united to all the attractions of evanes. cent beauty, the eternal loveliness of a cultivated and expanded mind. She was in the castle of Ozexa, with a very inconsiderable number of forces, when it was besieged by the Moors. She considered the terrors of her situation. The ammunition of the fortress was nearly exhausted, and to try the hazard of a fally, would be certain destruction to her few, but brave troops. In this dilemma, she sent the following message to the generals of Texufin:mori Berengeria of Barcelona, queen of Castile, could not have imagined that cavaliers fi renowned for their valour and gallantry, would have sem riously determined to attack a castle which was defended only by a woman.' - These simple words, in an ag which is now called barbarous, were sufficient to induce men to abandon victory, when that victory would be the vanquishment of weakness, though the acquifition of territory. The Moors declared they would immediately retire; only begging the queen would honour them with a view of her perfon, from any distance that the might prefer. Berengeria adorned herseif in the most magnificent and graceful manner; and appeared on the walls with a majesty and sweetness that drew forth the loudest exclamations of applause and admira

« ПредишнаНапред »