« ПредишнаНапред »
have been just, that they who flattered the king whether I can buy it or no! Fum, thou son of while living, for virtues which he had not, should Fo, what sort of a people am I got amongst? where lament him dead, for those he really had. being out of black is a certain symptom of poverty,
In this universal cause for national distress, as I where those who have miserable faces cannot have had no interest myself, so it is but natural to sup-mourning, and those who have mourning will not pose I felt no real affliction. "In all the losses of wear a miserable face! Adieu.
From the Same.
our friends," says an European philosopher, we first consider how much our own welfare is affected by their departure, and moderate our real grief just in the same proportion." Now, as I had neither received, nor expected to receive, favours from kings or their flatterers; as I had no acquaintance in particular with their late monarch; as I knew It is usual for the booksellers here, when a book that the place of a king is soon supplied; and, as has given universal pleasure upon one subject, to the Chinese proverb has it, that though the world bring out several more upon the same plan; which may sometimes want cobblers to mend their shoes, are sure to have purchasers and readers, from that there is no danger of its wanting emperors to rule desire which all men have to view a pleasing obtheir kingdoms: from such considerations, I could|ject on every side. The first performance serves bear the loss of a king with the most philosophic rather to awaken than satisfy attention; and, when resignation. However, I thought it my duty at that is once moved, the slightest effort serves to least to appear sorrowful; to put on a melancholy continue its progression: the merit of the first difaspect, or to set my face by that of the people.
fuses a light sufficient to illuminate the succeeding The first company I came amongst after the efforts, and no other subject can be relished, till news became general, was a set of jolly companions, that is exhausted. A stupid work coming thus who were drinking prosperity to the ensuing reign. immediately in the train of an applauded performI entered the room with looks of despair, and even ance, weans the mind from the object of its pleasure; expected applause for the superlative misery of my and resembles the sponge thrust into the mouth of countenance. Instead of that, I was universally a discharged culverin, in order to adapt it for a condemned by the company for a grimacing son of new explosion. a whore, and desired to take away my penitential This manner, however, of drawing off a subject, phiz to some other quarter. I now corrected my or a peculiar mode of writing to the dregs, effectuformer mistake, and, with the most sprightly air imaginable, entered a company, where they were talking over the ceremonies of the approaching funeral. Here I sat for some time with an air of pert vivacity; when one of the chief mourners, immediately observing my good-humour, desired me, if I pleased, to go and grin somewhere else; they Of this number, I own myself one: I am now wanted no disaffected scoundrels there. Leaving grown callous to several subjects, and different this company, therefore, I was resolved to assume kinds of composition. Whether such originally a look perfectly neutral; and have ever since been pleased I will not take upon me to determine; but studying the fashionable air; something between at present I spurn a new book, merely upon seeing jest and earnest; a complete virginity of face, its name in an advertisement; nor have the smalluncontaminated with the smallest symptom of est curiosity to look beyond the first leaf, even meaning. though, in the second, the author promises his own face neatly engraved on copper.
ally precludes a revival of that subject or manner for some time for the future; the sated reader turns from it with a kind of literary nausea; and though the titles of books are the part of them most read, yet he has scarcely perseverance enough to wade through the title-page.
But though grief be a very slight affair here, the mourning, my friend, is a very important concern. I am become a perfect epicure in reading; plain When an emperor dies in China, the whole ex- beef or solid mutton will never do. I am for a Chipense of the solemnities is defrayed from the royal nese dish of bear's claws and birds' nests. I am coffers. When the great die here, mandarines are for sauce strong with assafoetida, or fuming with ready enough to order mourning; but I do not see garlic. For this reason there are a hundred very they are so ready to pay for it. If they send me wise, learned, virtuous, well-intended productions, down from court the gray undress frock, or the that have no charms for me. Thus, for the soul of black coat without pocket holes, I am willing me, I could never find courage nor grace enough to enough to comply with their commands, and wear wade above two pages deep into "Thoughts upon both; but, by the head of Confucius! to be obliged God and Nature;" or "Thoughts upon Provito wear black, and buy it into the bargain, is more dence;" or "Thoughts upon Free Grace;" or inthan my tranquillity of temper can bear. What, deed into thoughts upon any thing at all. I can order me to wear mourning, before they know no longer meditate with meditations for every day
in the year. Essays upon divers subjects can not allure me, though never so interesting; and as for funeral sermons, or even thanksgiving sermons, I can neither weep with the one, nor rejoice with the other.
would be a fault not to be pleased with good things. There I learn several great truths: as, that it is impossible to see into the ways of futurity; that pu nishment always attends the villain; that love is the fond soother of the human breast; that we But it is chiefly in gentle poetry, where I seldom should not resist Heaven's will,-for in resisting look farther than the title. The truth is, I take up Heaven's will Heaven's will is resisted; with sebooks to be told something new; but here, as it is veral other sentiments equally new, delicate, and now managed, the reader is told nothing. He opens striking. Every new tragedy, therefore, I shall go the book, and there finds very good words truly, to see; for reflections of this nature make a toleraand much exactness of rhyme, but no information. ble harmony, when mixed up with a proper quanA parcel of gaudy images pass on before his imagi-tity of drum, trumpet, thunder, lightning, or the nation like the figures in a dream; but curiosity, scene-shifter's whistle. Adieu.
induction, reason, and the whole train of affections, are fast asleep. The jucunda et idonea vitæ ; those sallies which mend the heart, while they amuse the fancy, are quite forgotten: so that a reader, who would take up some modern applauded performances of this kind, must, in order to be pleased, first leave his good sense behind him, take for his recompense and guide bloated and compound epithet, and dwell on paintings, just indeed, because laboured with minute exactness.
From the Same.
I HAD Some intentions lately of going to visit Bedlam, the place where those who go mad are confined. I went to wait upon the man in black to be my conductor, but I found him preparing to If we examine, however, our internal sensations, go to Westminster-hall, where the English hold we shall find ourselves but little pleased with such their courts of justice. It gave me some surprise laboured vanities; we shall find that our applause to find my friend engaged in a law-suit, but more rather proceeds from a kind of contagion caught up so when he informed me that it had been dependfrom others, and which we contribute to diffuse, than ing for several years. "How is it possible," cried from what we privately feel. There are some sub-I, "for a man who knows the world to go to law? jects of which almost all the world perceive the fu- I am well acquainted with the courts of justice in tility; yet all contribute in imposing them upon each China, they resemble rat-traps every one of them, other, as worthy of praise. But chiefly this imposition nothing more easy than to get in, but to get out obtains in literature, where men publicly contemn again is attended with some difficulty, and more what they relish with rapture in private, and ap- cunning than rats are generally found to possess!" prove abroad what has given disgust at home. The "Faith," replied my friend, "I should not have truth is, we deliver those criticisms in public which gone to law, but that I was assured of success beare supposed to be best calculated not to do justice to the author, but to impress others with an opinion of our superior discernment.
fore I began; things were presented to me in so alluring a light, that I thought by barely declaring myself a candidate for the prize, I had nothing more to do than to enjoy the fruits of the victory. Thus have I been upon the eve of an imaginary triumph every term these ten years; have travelled forward with victory ever in my view, but ever out of reach; however, at present, I fancy we have hampered our antagonist in such a manner, that, without some unforeseen demur, we shall this very day lay him fairly on his back.”
But let works of this kind, which have already come off with such applause, enjoy it all. It is not my wish to diminish, as I was never considerable enough to add to their fame. But, for the future, I fear there are many poems of which I shall find spirits to read but the title. In the first place, all odes upon winter, or summer, or autumn; in short, all odes, epodes, and monodies whatsoever, shall hereafter be deemed too polite, classical, ob-| "If things be so situated," said I, "I don't care scure, and refined to be read, and entirely above hu- if I attend you to the courts, and partake in the man comprehension. Pastorals are pretty enough-pleasure of your success. But prithee," continued for those that like them; but to me, Thyrsis is one I, as we set forward, "what reasons have you to of the most insipid fellows I ever conversed with; think an affair at last concluded, which has given and as for Corydon, I do not choose his company. you so many former disappointments?"—“My Elegies and epistles are very fine to those to whom lawyer tells me," returned he, “that I have Salkeld they are addressed; and as for epic poems, I am and Ventris strong in my favour, and that there generally able to discover the whole plan in reading are no less than fifteen cases in point.”—“I underthe two arst pages. stand," said I, "those are two of your judges who Tragedies, however, as they are now made, are have already declared their opinions."-" Pardon good instructive moral sermons enough; and it me," replied my friend, "Salkeld and Ventris are
“A grasshopper, filled with dew, was merrily singing under a shade; a whangam, that eats
lawyers, who some hundred years ago gave their that pays them all for watching; it puts me in mind opinions on cases similar to mine; these opinions of a Chinese fable, which is entitled Five Animals which make for me my lawyer is to cite; and those at a Meal. opinions which look another way are cited by the lawyer employed by my antagonist: as I observed, I have Salkeld and Ventris for me, he has Coke grasshoppers, had marked it for its prey, and was and Hale for him; and he that has most opinions just stretching forth to devour it; a serpent, that is most likely to carry his cause."-" But where is had for a long time fed only on whangams, was the necessity," cried I, "of prolonging a suit by coiled up to fasten on the whangam; a yellow bird citing the opinions and reports of others, since the was just upon the wing to dart upon the serpent; same good sense which determined lawyers in for- a hawk had just stooped from above to scize the mer ages may serve to guide your judges at this yellow bird; all were intent on their prey, and unday? They at that time gave their opinions only mindful of their danger; so the whangham ate the from the light of reason; your judges have the grasshopper, the serpent ate the whangam, the yelsame light at present to direct them; let me even low bird the serpent, and the hawk the yellow add, a greater, as in former ages there were many bird; when, sousing from on high, a vulture gobprejudices from which the present is happily free. bled up the hawk, grasshopper, whangam, and all, If arguing from authorities be exploded from every in a moment." other branch of learning, why should it be par- I had scarcely finished my fable, when the lawticularly adhered to in this? I plainly foresee how yer came to inform my friend, that his cause was such a method of investigation must embarrass put off till another term, that money was wanting every suit, and even perplex the student; ceremo-to retain, and that all the world was of opinion, nies will be multiplied, formalities must increase, that the very next hearing would bring him off and more time will thus be spent in learning victorious. "If so, then," cries my friend, "I be the arts of litigation than in the discovery of lieve it will be my wisest way to continue the cause right." for another term; and, in the mean time, my friend here and I will go and see Bedlam." Adieu.
From the Same.
"I see," cries my friend, "that you are for a speedy administration of justice; but all the world will grant, that the more time that is taken up in considering any subject, the better it will be understood. Besides, it is the boast of an Englishman, that his property is secure, and all the world will grant that a deliberate administration of justice is the best way to secure his property. Why have I LATELY received a visit from the little beau, we so many lawyers, but to secure our property? who, I found, had assumed a new flow of spirits why so many formalities, but to secure our proper- with a new suit of clothes. Our discourse hapty? Not less than one hundred thousand families pened to turn upon the different treatment of the live in opulence, elegance, and ease, merely by se- fair sex here and in Asia, with the influence of curing our property." beauty in refining our manners, and improving our conversation.
"To embarrass justice," returned I, "by a multiplicity of laws, or to hazard it by a confidence in I soon perceived he was strongly prejudiced in our judges, are, I grant, the opposite rocks on favour of the Asiatic method of treating the sex, which legislative wisdom has ever split: in one and that it was impossible to persuade him but case, the client resembles that emperor, who is said that a man was happier who had four wives at his to have been suffocated with the bed-clothes which command, than he who had only one. "It is true," were only designed to keep him warm; in the cries he, "your men of fashion in the East are other, to that town which let the enemy take pos- slaves, and under some terrors of having their session of its walls, in order to show the world how throats squeezed by a bow-string; but what then? little they depended upon aught but courage for they can find ample consolation in a seraglio: they safety. But, bless me! what numbers do I see make, indeed, an indifferent figure in conversation here-all in black !-how is it possible that half abroad, but then they have a seraglio to console this multitude can find employment ?"-"Nothing them at home. I am told they have no balls, so easily conceived," returned my companion; drums, nor operas, but then they have got a se"they live by watching each other. For instance, raglio; they may be deprived of wine and French the catchpole watches the man in debt, the attorney cookery, but they have a seraglio: a seraglio—a watches the catchpole, the counsellor watches the seraglio, my dear creature, wipes off every inconattorney, the solicitor the counsellor, and all find venience in the world!
sufficient employment."—"I conceive you," inter- 'Besides, I am told your Asiatic beauties are rupted I, "they watch each other, but it is the client the most convenient women alive, for they have no
souls; positively there is nothing in nature I should der creature's reply? Only that she detested my like so much as ladies without souls; soul, here, is pig-tail wig, high-heeled shoes, and sallow comthe utter ruin of half the sex. A girl of eighteen plexion! That is all. Nothing more!—Yes, by the shall have soul enough to spend a hundred pounds Heavens, though she was more ugly than an unin the turning of a trump. Her mother shall have painted actress, I found her more insolent than a soul enough to ride a sweepstake match at a horse- thorough-bred woman of quality!"
race; her maiden aunt shall have soul enough to purchase the furniture of a whole toy-shop; and others shall have soul enough to behave as if they had no souls at all."
He was proceeding in this wild manner, when his invective was interrupted by the man in black, who entered the apartment, introducing his niece, a young lady of exquisite beauty. Her very ap"With respect to the soul," interrupted I, "the pearance was sufficient to silence the severest satiAsiatics are much kinder to the fair sex than you rist of the sex: easy without pride, and free withimagine: instead of one soul, Fohi, the idol of out impudence, she seemed capable of supplying China, gives every woman three; the Brahmins every sense with pleasure; her looks, her convergive them fifteen; and even Mahomet himself sation, were natural and unconstrained; she had nowhere excludes the sex from Paradise. Abulfeda neither been taught to languish nor ogle, to laugh reports, that an old woman one day importuning him without a jest, or sigh without sorrow. I found to know what she ought to do in order to gain Paradise?"My good lady," answered the prophet, "old women never get there."-" What! never get to Paradise!" returned the matron in a fury. "Never," says he, "for they always grow young by the way."
that she had just returned from abroad, and had been conversant in the manners of the world. Curiosity prompted me to ask several questions, but she declined them all. I own I never found myself so strongly prejudiced in favour of apparent merit before; and could willingly have pro"No, sir," continued I, "the men of Asia be-longed our conversation, but the company after have with more deference to the sex than you seem some time withdrew. Just, however, before the to imagine. As you of Europe say grace upon little beau took his leave, he called me aside, and sitting down to dinner, so it is the custom in China requested I would change him a twenty pound bill; to say grace when a man goes to bed to his wife." which, as I was incapable of doing, he was con"And may I die," returned my companion, tented with borrowing half-a-crown. Adieu. "but it is a very pretty ceremony! for, seriously, sir, I see no reason why a man should not be as grateful in one situation as in the other. Upon honour, I always find myself much more disposed to gratitude on the couch of a fine woman, than upon sitting down to a sirloin of beef."
From Lien Chi Altangi to Hingpo, by the way of Moscow.
"Another ceremony," said I, resuming the con- FEW virtues have been more praised by moralversation, "in favour of the sex, amongst us, is ists than generosity; every practical treatise of the bride's being allowed, after marriage, her three ethics tends to increase our sensibility of the disdays of freedom. During this interval, a thousand tresses of others, and to relax the grasp of fruextravagancies are practised by either sex. The gality. Philosophers that are poor, praise it belady is placed upon the nuptial bed, and number-cause they are gainers by its effects; and the less monkey-tricks are played round to divert her. opulent Seneca himself has written a treatise on One gentleman smells her perfumed handkerchief, benefits, though he was known to give nothing another attempts to untie her garters, a third pulls away.
off her shoe to play hunt the slipper, another pre
But among many who have enforced the duty tends to be an ideot, and endeavours to raise a of giving, I am surprised there are none to incullaugh by grimacing; in the mean time, the glass cate the ignominy of receiving; to show that by goes briskly about, till ladies, gentlemen, wife, hus-every favour we accept, we in some measure forband, and all, are mixed together in one inunda-feit our native freedom; and that a state of contion of arrack punch." tinual dependance on the generosity of others, is a life of gradual debasement.
"Strike me dumb, deaf, and blind," cried my companion, "but that's very pretty! there's some Were men taught to despise the receiving oblisense in your Chinese ladies' condescensions! but, gations with the same force of reasoning and deamong us, you shall scarce find one of the whole clamation that they are instructed to confer them, sex that shall hold her good humour for three days we might then see every person in society filling together. No later than yesterday, I happened to up the requisite duties of his station with cheerful say some civil things to a citizen's wife of my ac-industry, neither relaxed by hope, nor sullen from quaintance, not because I loved her, but because I disappointment.
had charity; and what do you think was the ten
Every favour a man receives in some measure
sinks him below his dignity; and in proportion to cle of those whom hope or gratitude has gathered the value of the benefit, or the frequency of its ac- round him; their unceasing humiliations must neceptance, he gives up so much of his natural inde- cessarily increase his comparative magnitude, for all pendence. He, therefore, who thrives upon the men measure their own abilities by those of their unmerited bounty of another, if he has any sensi- company; thus being taught to over-rate his merit, bility, suffers the worst of servitude; the shackled he in reality lessens it; increasing in confidence, slave may murmur without reproach, but the hum- but not in power, his professions end in empty ble dependant is taxed with ingratitude upon every boast, his undertakings in shameful disappointsymptom of discontent; the one may rave round ment. the walls of his cell, but the other lingers in all the silence of mental confinement. To increase his distress, every new obligation but adds to the former load which kept the vigorous mind from rising; till, at last, elastic no longer, it shapes itself to constraint, and puts on habitual servility.
It is, perhaps, one of the severest misfortunes of the great, that they are, in general, obliged to live among men whose real value is lessened by dependence, and whose minds are enslaved by obligation. The humble companion may have at first accepted patronage with generous views; but soon he feels It is thus with a feeling mind; but there are the mortifying influence of conscious inferiority, some who, born without any share of sensibility, by degrees sinks into a flatterer, and from flattery receive favour after favour, and still cringe for at last degenerates into stupid veneration. To more; who accept the offer of generosity with as remedy this, the great often dismiss their old delittle reluctance as the wages of merit, and even pendants, and take new. Such changes are falsely make thanks for past benefits an indirect petition imputed to levity, falsehood, or caprice, in the pafor new; such, I grant, can suffer no debasement tron, since they may be more justly ascribed to the from dependence, since they were originally as vile client's gradual deterioration.
ceive, our shame; serenity, health, and affluence, attend the desire of rising by labour; misery, repentance, and disrespect, that of succeeding by extorted benevolence; the man who can thank himself alone for the happiness he enjoys is truly blessed; and lovely, far more lovely, the sturdy gloom of laborious indigence, than the fawning simper of thriving adulation. Adieu.
as it was possible to be; dependence degrades only No, my son, a life of independence is generally a the ingenuous, but leaves the sordid mind in pris-life of virtue. It is that which fits the soul for every tine meanness. In this manner, therefore, long generous flight of humanity, freedom, and friendcontinued generosity is misplaced, or it is injurious; ship. To give should be our pleasure, but to reit either finds a man worthless, or it makes him so; and true it is, that the person who is contented to be often obliged, ought not to have been obliged at all. Yet, while I describe the meanness of a life of continued dependence, I would not be thought to include those natural or political subordinations which subsist in every society; for in such, though dependence is exacted from the inferior, yet the obligation on either side is mutual. The son must rely upon his parent for support, but the parent lies under the same obligations to give, that the other has to expect; the subordinate officer must receive the commands of his superior, but for this obedience the former has a right to demand an intercourse of favour. Such is not the dependence I would depreciate, but that where every expected IN every society some men are born to teach, and favour must be the result of mere benevolence in others to receive instruction; some to work, and the giver, where the benefit can be kept without others to enjoy in idleness the fruits of their indusremorse, or transferred without injustice. The try, some to govern, and others to obey. Every character of a legacy hunter, for instance, is detesta- people, how free soever, must be contented to give ble in some countries, and despicable in all; this up part of their liberty and judgment to those who universal contempt of a man who infringes upon govern, in exchange for their hopes of security; and none of the laws of society, some moralists have the motives which first influenced their choice in arraigned as a popular and unjust prejudice; never the election of their governors should ever be weighconsidering the necessary degradations a wretched against the succeeding apparent inconsistencies must undergo, who previously expects to grow rich of their conduct. All can not be rulers, and men by benefits, without having either natural or social are generally best governed by a few. In making claims to enforce his petitions. way through the intricacies of business, the smallest
From Lien Chi Altangi, to Fum Hoam, First President of
the Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China.
But this intercourse of benefaction and acknow-obstacles are apt to retard the execution of what is ledgment, is often injurious even to the giver as to be planned by a multiplicity of counsels; the well as the receiver. A man can gain but little judgment of one alone being always fittest for knowledge of himself, or of the world, amidst a cir-winding through the labyrinths of intrigue, and the