Billeder på siden

by Error, fired by Self-Conceit, and given up to be trained in all the courses of Vanity, till Scorn or Poverty come upon us.

These expressions were no fooner handed about, but I immediately saw a general disorder, till at lat there was a parting in one place, and a grave old man, decent and resolute, was led forward to be punished for the words he had uttered. He appeared inclined to have spoken in his own defence, but I could not ob. ferve that any one was willing to hear him. Vanity cast a scornful smile at him; Self. Conceit was angry; Flattery, who knew him for Plain-dealing, put on a Vizard, and turned away; Affectation tofled her fan, made mouths, and called him Envy or Slander ; and Fashion would have it, that at least he must be Ill-Manners. Thus flighted and despised by all, he was driven out for abusing people of merit and figure; and I heard it firmly resolved, that he should be used no better wherever they met with him hereafter.

I had already seen the meaning of most part of that warning which he had given, and was cousidering how the latter words should be fulfilled, when a mighty noise was hcard without, and the door was blackned by a nu, merous train of harpies crouding in upon us. Folly and Broken-Credit were feen in the house before they entered. Trouble, Shame, Infamy, Scorn and Poverty brought up the rear. Vanity, with her Cupid and Graces, disappeared ; her subjects ran into holes and corners; but many

of them were found and carried off (as I was told by one who stood near me, either to prisons or cellars, folitude, or little company, the mean arts or the viler crafts of life. But these, added he with a disdainful air, are such who would fondly live here, when their merits neither matched the luftre of the place, nor their riches its ex, pences. We have seen such scenes as these before now; the glory you saw will all return when the hurry is

I thanked him for his information, and believing him so incorrigible as that he would stay till it was his turn to be taken, I made off to the door, and overtooķ fome few, who, though they would not hearken to Plain dealing, were now terrified to good purpose by the example of others : But when they had touched the threshold, it was a strange shock to them to find that



[ocr errors]

the delusion of Error was gone, and they plainly difa cerned the building to hang a little up in the air without any real foundation. At first we faw nothing but a desperate leap remained for us, and I a thousand times blamed my unmeaning curiosity that had brought me into so much danger. But as they began to fink lower in their own minds, methought the palace sunk along with us, till they were arrived at the due point of Esteem which they ought to have for themselves; then the part of the building in which they food touched the earth, and we departing out, it retired from our eyes. Now, whether they who stayed in the palace were sensible of this descent, I cannot tell; it was then my opinion that they were not. However it be, my dream broke up at it, and has given me occasion all my life to reflect upon the fatal consequences of following the suggestions of Vanity. Mr. SPECTATOR,

Write to you to deare, that you would again touch

upon a certain enormity, which is chiefly in use • among the politer and better-bred part of mankind; I

mean the ceremonies, bows, curtsies, whisperings, • smiles, winks, nods, with other familiar arts of falu. • tation, which take up in our churches so much time, • that might be better employed, and which seem so ut

terly inconsistent with the duty and true intent of our • entring into those religious assemblies. The resem• blance which this bears to our indeed proper behaviour • in theatres, may be some instance of its incongruity • in the above-mentioned places. In Roman catholic • churches and chapels abroad, I myself have observed,

more than once, persons of the first quality, of the • nearest relation, and intimatest acquaintance, pafling

by one another unknowing as it were, and unknown, • and with so little notices of each other, that it looked • like having their minds more suitably and more

solemnly engaged ; at least it was an acknowledgment " that they ought to have been so. I have been told " the same even of the Mahometans, with relation to the

propriety of their demeanour in the conventions of their erroneous worship: And I cannot but think either

: 1


[ocr errors]

of them sufficient and laudable patterns of our imitation in this particular.

• I cannot help upon this occasion remarking on the • excellent memories of those devotionists, who upon re• turning from church shall give a particular account • how two or three hundred people were dressed ; a thing, • by reason of its variety, fo difficult to be digested and • fixed in the head, that 'tis a miracle to me how two poor

hours of divine service can be time sufficient • for so elaborate an undertaking, the duty of the place • too being jointly, and, no doubt, oft pathetically per

formed along with it. Where it is said in Sacred Writ, • that the woman ought to have a covering on her head . because of the angels, that last word is by fome thought • to be metaphorically used, and to signify young men.

Allowing this interpretation to be right, the text may not appear to be wholly foreign to our present purpole. • When you are in a disposition proper for writing on such a subject, I earnestly recommend this to you,

6 and am,



Your very humble servant.

NO 461

Tuesday, August 19.

-Sed non Ego credulus illis.

Virg. Ecl. 9. v. 340 But I discern their flatt'ry from their praise.



POR want of time to substitute fomething else in

the room of them, I am at present obliged to pub

lish compliments above my defert in the following letters. It is no small satisfaction, to have given occafion to ingenious men to employ their thoughts upon sacred subjects from the approbation of such pieces of poetry as they have seen in my Saturday's papers. I


fhall never publish verse on that day but what is written by the same hand; yet shall I not accompany those writings with Eulogiums, but leave them to speak for themselves.

For the SPECT'A TOR.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Mr. SpecTATOR,

CU very much promote the interests of virtue

while you reform the taste of a profane aye, and persuade us to be entertained with divine poems, whilst we are distinguished by so many thousand humours, and

fplit into so many different sects and parties; yet per• fons of every party, fect, and humour are fond of con

forming their taste to yours. You can transfuse your

own relish of a poem into all your readers, according • to their capacity to receive; and when you recommend • the pious pafion that reigns in the verse, we seem to • feel the devotion, and grow proud and pleas'd in• wardly, that we have fouls capable of reifhing what the • SPECTATOR approves,

Upon reading the hymns that you have published • in some late papers, I had a mind to try yesterday o whether I could write one.

The cxivth Pfalm appears to me an admirable ode, and I began to turn it into our language. As I was describing the journey of

Ifrael from Egypt, and added the Divine Presence • amongst them, 1 perceived a beauty in this Psalm which

was intirely new to me, and which I was going to lose; • and that is, that the poet utterly conceals the presence • of God in the beginning of it, and rather lets a poffel• five pronoun go without a substantive, than he will so • much as mention any thing of divinity there. Judah

was his fanctuary, and Israel his dominion or kingdom. The reaion now seems evident, and this conduct ne

cessary : For if God had appeared before, there could • be no wonder why the mountains Mould leap and the « fea retire; therefore that this convulsion of nature may • be brought in with due surprise, his name is not men• tioned till afterward, and then with a very agreeable

turn of thought God is introduced at once in all his • majesty. This is what I have attempted to imitate




in a translation without paraphrase, and to preserve • what I could of the spirit of the Sacred Author.

• If the following essay be not too incorrigible, bestow • upon it a few brightnings from your genius, that I may • learn how to write better, or to write no more.

Your daily admirer and humble servant, &c.

[blocks in formation]

W rbe

HEN Israel, freed from Pharoah's hand

[ocr errors]

The tribes with chearful bomage on
Their king, and Judah was his throne,

Across the deep their journey lay,
The deep divides to make them way ;
The streams of Jordan law, and fled
With backward current to their head.

The mountains fbook like frighted sheep,
Like lambs the little hillocks leap;
Not Sinai on her base could fiand,
Conscious of fou'reign pow'r at hand.

What pow'r could make the deep divide ?
Make Jordan backward roll his tide ?
W by did ye leap, ye little bills ?
And whence the fright that Sinai feels ?

Let ev'ry mountain, ev'ry flood
Retire, and know th' approaching God,
The king of Israel : See him here;
Tremble thou eartb, adore and fear.

He thunders, and all nature mourns ;
The rock to standing pools he turns ;
Flints Spring with fountains at his word,
And fires and seas confess their Lord.

« ForrigeFortsæt »