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takes in but a part, for the best ancient poets excelled in thus painting to the eye as well as to the ear. Virgil, describing his housewife preparing her wine, exhibits the act of the fire to the eye.
'Aut dulcis musti Vulcano decoquit humorem, Et foliis undam trepidi dispumat aheni.'
"For the line (if I may be allowed the expression) boils over; and in order to reduce it to its proper bounds, you must, with her, skim off the redundant syllable." These are beauties, which, doubtless, the reader is displeased he can not discern.
Sometimes contradictory: thus, page 3. "Style (says he) is used by some writers, as synonymous with diction, yet in my opinion, it has rather a complex sense, including both sentiment and diction." Oppose to this, page 135. "As to concord and even style, they are acquirable by most youth in due time, and by many with ease; but the art of thinking properly, and choosing the best sentiments on every subject, is what comes later." And sometimes he is guilty of false criticism: as when he says, Ovid's chief excellence lies in description. Description was the rock on which he always split; Nescivit quod bene cessit relinquere, Sometimes confused: "There is a deal of artful as Seneca says of him: when once he embarks in and concealed satire in what Enone throws out description, he most commonly tires us before he against Helen and to speak truth, there was fair has done with it. But to tire no longer the reader, scope for it, and it might naturally be expected. or the translator with extended censure; as a critic Her chief design was to render his new mistress this gentleman seems to have drawn his knowledge suspected of meretricious arts, and make him ap- from the remarks of others, and not his own reflecprehensive that she would hereafter be as ready to tion; as a translator, he understands the language leave him for some new gallant, as she had be-- of Ovid, but not his beauties; and though he may fore, perfidiously to her lawful husband, followed be an excellent schoolmaster, he has, however no pretensions to taste.
CITIZEN OF THE WORLD
FRIENDS IN THE EAST.
THE EDITOR'S PREFACE.
Their formality our author carefully preserves. Many of their favourite tenets in morals are illustrated. The Chinese are always concise, so is he. Simple, so is he. The Chinese are grave and sententious, so is he. But in one particular the resem.
THE schoolmen had formerly a very exact way of computing the abilities of their saints or authors. Escobar, for instance, was said to have learning as five, genius as four, and gravity as seven. Cara-blance is peculiarly striking: the Chinese are often muel was greater than he. His learning was as dull, and so is he. Nor has any assistance been eight, his genius as six, and his gravity as thir- wanting. We are told in an old romance, of a certain teen. Were I to estimate the merits of our Chi-knight errant and his horse who contracted an intinese Philosopher by the same scale, I would not mate friendship. The horse most usually bore the hesitate to state his genius still higher; but as to knight; but, in cases of extraordinary dispatch, his learning and gravity, these, I think, might the knight returned the favour, and carried his safely be marked as nine hundred and ninety-nine, within one degree of absolute frigidity.
horse. Thus, in the intimacy between my author and me, he has usually given me a lift of his eastern sublimity, and I have sometimes given him a return of my colloquial ease.
Yet it appears strange, in this season of panegyric, when scarcely an author passes unpraised, either by his friends or himself, that such merit as our Philosopher's should be forgotten. While the epithets of ingenious, copious, elaborate, and refined, are lavished among the mob, like medals at a coronation, the lucky prizes fall on every side, but not one on him. I could, on this occasion, make myself melancholy, by considering the capriciousness of public taste, or the mutability of fortune: but, during this fit of morality, lest my reader should sleep, I'll take a nap myself, and when I awake tell him my dream.
Yet, upon his first appearance here, many were angry not to find him as ignorant as a Tripoline ambassador, or an envoy from Mujac. They were surprised to find a man born so far from London, that school of prudence and wisdom, endued even with a moderate capacity. They expressed the same surprise at his knowledge that the Chinese do at ours. *How comes it, said they, that the Europeans so remote from China, think with so much justice and precision? They have never read our books, they scarcely know even our letters, and yet they talk and reason just as we do. The truth is, the Chinese and we are pretty much alike. Different degrees of refinement, and not of distance, mark the distinctions among mankind. Savages of the most opposite climates have all but I imagined the Thames was frozen over, and I one character of improvidence and rapacity; and stood by its side. Several booths were erected tutored nations, however separate, make use of upon the ice, and I was told by one of the spectathe very same method to procure refined enjoy-tors, that FASHION FAIR was going to begin. He
The distinctions of polite nations are few, but such as are peculiar to the Chinese, appear in every page of the following correspondence. The metaphors and allusions are all drawn from the East.
'Le Comte, vol. i. p. 210.
added, that every author who would carry his works there, might probably find a very good reception. I was resolved, however, to observe the humours of the place in safety from the shore; sensible that the ice was at best precarious, and having been always a little cowardly in my sleep.
Several of my acquaintance seemed much more hardy than I, and went over the ice with intrepidity. Some carried their works to the fair on sledges, some on carts, and those which were more voluminous, were conveyed in wagons. Their temerity astonished me. I knew their cargoes were heavy, and expected every moment they would have gone to the bottom. They all entered the fair, however, in safety, and each soon after returned to my great surprise, highly satisfied with his entertainment, and the bargains he had brought
LETTERS FROM A
CITIZEN OF THE WORLD
FRIENDS IN THE EAST.
To Mr., Merchant in London.
The success of such numbers at last began to SIR, Amsterdam. operate upon me. If thesc, cried I, meet with fa- YOURS of the 13th instant, covering two bills, vour and safety, some luck may, perhaps, for once, one on Messrs. R. and D. value 4781. 10s. and the attend the unfortunate. I am resolved to make a other on Mr. ****, value 2857., duly came to hand, new adventure. The furniture, frippery, and fire- the former of which met with honour, but the other works of China, have long been fashionably bought has been trifled with, and I am afraid will be reup. I'll try the fair with a small cargo of Chinese turned protested. morality. If the Chinese have contributed to viti
The bearer of this is my friend, therefore let him ate our taste, I'll try how far they can help to im- be yours. He is a native of Honan in China, and prove our understanding. But as others have one who did me signal services, when he was a driven into the market in wagons, I'll cautiously mandarine, and I a factor, at Canton. By frebegin by venturing with a wheelbarrow. Thus quently conversing with the English there, he has resolved, I baled up my goods, and fairly ventured; learned the language, though he is entirely a stranwhen, upon just entering the fair, I fancied the ice ger to their manners and customs. I am told he that had supported a hundred wagons before, is a philosopher; I am sure he is an honest man: cracked under me, and wheelbarrow and all went that to you will be his best recommendation, next to the bottom. to the consideration of his being the friend of, sir,
Upon awaking from my reverie with the fright, I can not help wishing that the pains taken in giving this correspondence an English dress, had been employed in contriving new political systems, or
new plots for farces. I might then have taken my From Lien Chi Altangi, to ****, Merchant in Amsterdam. station in the world, either as a poet or a philoso
pher, and made one in those little societies where FRIEND OF MY HEART,
losophic wanderer can return. Sure, fortune is resolved to make me unhappy, when she gives others a power of testifying their friendship by actions, and leaves me only words to express the sincerity of mine.
London. men club to raise each other's reputation. May the wings of peace rest upon thy dwelling, present I belong to no particular class. I resemble and the shield of conscience preserve thee from one of those animals that has been forced from its rice and misery! For all thy favours accept my forest to gratify human curiosity. My earliest wish gratitude and esteem, the only tributes a poor phiwas to escape unheeded through life; but I have been set up for halfpence, to fret and scamper at the end of my chain. Though none are injured by my rage, I am naturally too savage to court any friends by fawning; too obstinate to be taught new tricks; and too improvident to mind what may hap- I am perfectly sensible of the delicacy with which pen. I am appeased, though not contented. Too you endeavour to lessen your own merit and my indolent for intrigue, and too timid to push for fa- obligations. By calling your late instances of vour, I am—but what signifies what I am. friendship only a return for former favours, you would induce me to impute to your justice what I owe to your generosity.
Ελπις και ου τυχη μεγα χαιρετεί τον λιμεν ευρον.
Fortune and Hope, adieu!-I see my Port:
The services I did you at Canton, justice, humanity, and my office, bade me perform; those you have done me since my arrival at Amsterdam, no laws obliged you to, no justice required,—even half
your favours would have been greater than my up every passage; so that a stranger, instead of findmost sanguine expectations.
ing time for observation, is often happy if he has The sum of money, therefore, which you pri- time to escape from being crushed to pieces. vately conveyed into my baggage, when I was The houses borrow very few ornaments from arleaving Holland, and which I was ignorant of till chitecture; their chief decoration seems to be a palmy arrival in London, I must beg leave to return. try piece of painting hung out at their doors or You have been bred a merchant, and I a scholar; windows, at once a proof of their indigence and you consequently love money better than I. You vanity: their vanity, in each having one of those can find pleasure in superfluity; I am perfectly con- pictures exposed to public view; and their inditent with what is sufficient. Take therefore what gence, in being unable to get them better painted. is yours, it may give you some pleasure, even In this respect, the fancy of their painters is also though you have no occasion to use it; my happi- deplorable. Could you believe it? I have seen five ness it can not improve, for I have already all that black lions and three blue boars, in less than the I want. circuit of half a mile; and yet you know that animals of these colours are no where to be found except in the wild imaginations of Europe.
From these circumstances in their buildings, and from the dismal looks of the inhabitants, I am induced to conclude that the nation is actually poor; and that, like the Persians, they make a splendid figure every where but at home. The proverb of Xixofou is, that a man's riches may be seen in his eyes : if we judge of the English by this rule, there is not a poorer nation under the sun.
My passage by sea from Rotterdam to England was more painful to me than all the journeys I ever made on land. I have traversed the immeasurable wilds of Mogul Tartary; felt all the rigours of Siberian skies: I have had my repose a hundred times disturbed by invading savages, and have seen, without shrinking, the desert sands rise like a troubled ocean all around me: against these calamities I was armed with resolution; but in my passage to England, though nothing occurred that gave the mariners any uneasiness, to one who was I have been here but two days, so will not be never at sea before, all was a subject of astonish- hasty in my decisions. Such letters as I shall ment and terror. To find the land disappear, to write to Fipsihi in Moscow, I beg you'll endeavour see our ship mount the waves, swift as an arrow to forward with all diligence; I shall send them from the Tartar bow, to hear the wind howling open, in order that you may take copies or translathrough the cordage, to feel a sickness which depresses even the spirits of the brave; these were unexpected distresses, and consequently assaulted me unprepared to receive them.
You men of Europe think nothing of a voyage by sea. With us of China, a man who has been from sight of land is regarded upon his return with admiration. I have known some provinces where there is not even a name for the Ocean. What a strange people, therefore, am I got amongst, who have founded an empire on this unstable element, who build cities upon billows that rise higher than the mountains of Tipertala, and make the deep more formidable than the wildest tempest!
tions, as you are equally versed in the Dutch and Chinese languages. Dear friend, think of my absence with regret, as I sincerely regret yours; even while I write, I lament our separation. Farewell.
From Lien Chi Altangi, to the care of Fipsihi, resident in
THINK not, O thou guide of my youth! that abSuch accounts as these, I must confess, were my sence can impair my respect, or interposing trackfirst motives for seeing England. These induced less deserts blot your reverend figure from my me to undertake a journey of seven hundred pain-memory. The farther I travel I feel the pain of ful days, in order to examine its opulence, build-separation with stronger force; those ties that bind ings, sciences, arts, and manufactures, on the spot. me to my native country and you, are still unJudge then my disappointment on entering Lon-broken. By every remove, I only drag a greater don, to see no signs of that opulence so much talked length of chain.*
Could I find aught worth transmitting from so of abroad: wherever I turn, I am presented with a gloomy solemnity in the houses, the streets, and remote a region as this to which I have wandered, the inhabitants; none of that beautiful gilding I should gladly send it; but, instead of this, you which makes a principal ornament in Chinese ar- must be contented with a renewal of my former chitecture. The streets of Nankin are sometimes professions, and an imperfect account of a people strewed with gold-leaf; very different are those of
London. in the midst of their pavements, a great • We find a repetition of this beautiful and affecting image lazy puddle moves muddily along; heavy laden ma-in the Traveller: chines, with wheels of unwieldy thickness, crowd
"And drags at each remove a lengthening chain."
with whom I am as yet but superficially acquaint- To make a fine gentleman, several trades are reed. The remarks of a man who has been but quired, but chiefly a barber. You have undoubtthree days in the country, can only be those obvi-edly heard of the Jewish champion, whose strength ous circumstances which force themselves upon the lay in his hair. One would think that the English imagination. I consider myself here as a newly- were for placing all wisdom there. To appear created being introduced into a new world; every wise, nothing more is requisite here than for a man object strikes with wonder and surprise. The to borrow hair from the heads of all his neighbours, imagination, still unsated, seems the only active and clap it like a bush on his own; the distributors principle of the mind. The most trifling occur- of law and physic stick on such quantities, that it rences give pleasure till the gloss of novelty is worn is almost impossible, even in idea, to distinguish away. When I have ceased to wonder, I may between the head and the hair.
possibly grow wise; I may then call the reasoning Those whom I have been now describing affect principle to my aid, and compare those objects with the gravity of the lion; those I am going to deeach other, which were before examined without scribe, mere resemble the pert vivacity of smaller reflection. animals. The barber, who is still master of the
Behold me then in London, gazing at the ceremonies, cuts their hair close to the crown; and strangers, and they at me: it seems they find some- then with a composition of meal and hog's-lard, what absurd in my figure; and had I been never plasters the whole in such a manner as to make it from home, it is possible I might find an infinite impossible to distinguish whether the patient wears fund of ridicule in theirs; but by long travelling am taught to laugh at folly alone, and to find nothing truly ridiculous but villany and vice.
a cap or a plaster; but, to make the picture more perfectly striking, conceive the tail of some beast, a greyhound's tail, or a pig's tail, for instance, appended to the back of the head, and reaching down to that place where tails in other animals are generally seen to begin; thus betailed and bepowdered, the man of taste fancies he improves in beauty, dresses up his hard-featured face in smiles, and at
When I had just quitted my native country, and crossed the Chinese wall, I fancied every deviation from the customs and manners of China was a departing from nature. I smiled at the blue lips and red foreheads of the Tonguese; and could hardly contain when I saw the Daures dress their heads tempts to look hideously tender. Thus equipped, with horns. The Ostiacs powdered with red earth; and the Calmuck beauties, tricked out in all the finery of sheep-skin, appeared highly ridiculous: but I soon perceived that the ridicule lay not in them but in me; that I falsely condemned others for absurdity, because they happened to differ from a standard originally founded in prejudice or partiality.
he is qualified to make love, and hopes for success more from the powder on the outside of his head, than the sentiments within.
Yet when I consider what sort of a creature the fine lady is to whom he is supposed to pay his addresses, it is not strange to find him thus equipped in order to please. She is herself every whit as fond of powder, and tails, and hog's-lard, as he. I find no pleasure therefore in taxing the Eng- To speak my secret sentiments, most reverend lish with departing from nature in their external Fum, the ladies here are horribly ugly; I can appearance, which is all I yet know of their charac- hardly endure the sight of them; they no way reter: it is possible they only endeavour to improve semble the beauties of China: the Europeans have her simple plan, since every extravagance in dress quite a different idea of beauty from us. When I proceeds from a desire of becoming more beautiful reflect on the small-footed perfections of an Eastern than nature made us; and this is so harmless a beauty, how is it possible I should have eyes for a vanity, that I not only pardon but approve it. A woman whose feet are ten inches long? I shall desire to be more excellent than others, is what ac- never forget the beauties of my native city of Nantually makes us so; and as thousands find a liveli- few. How very broad their faces! how very short hood in society by such appetites, none but the ig- their noses! how very little their eyes! how very norant inveigh against them. thin their lips! how very black their teeth! the You are not insensible, most reverend Fum snow on the tops of Bao is not fairer than their Hoam, what numberless trades, even among the cheeks; and their eyebrows are small as the line Chinese, subsist by the harmless pride of each by the pencil of Quamsi. Here a lady with such other. Your nose-borers, feet-swathers, tooth-stain- perfections would be frightful; Dutch and Chinese ers, eyebrow-pluckers, would all want bread, should beauties, indeed, have some resemblance, but Engtheir neighbours want vanity. These vanities, lish women are entirely different; red cheeks, big however, employ much fewer hands in China than eyes, and teeth of a most odious whiteness, are not in England; and a fine gentleman or a fine lady only seen here, but wished for; and then they have here, dressed up to the fashion, seems scarcely to such masculine feet, as actually serve some for have a single limb that does not suffer some distor-walking! tions from art.
Yet uncivil as nature has been, they seem re