Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Verse the fourth. I found a dart.] The Vatican manuscript for I reads it, but this must have b en the hallucination of the transcriber, who probably mistook the dash of the I for a T.

Stanza the second, verse the second. The fatal stroke.] Scioppius, Salmafius, and many others, for the reade, but I have stuck to the usual reading.

Verse the third, Till ly her wit.] Some manuscripts have it his wit, others your, others their wit. But as I find Corinna to be the name of a woman in other authors, I cannot doubt but it should be her.

Stanza the third, verse the firft. A long and leffing 'anguish.) The German manuscript reads a lasting pajion, but therhime will not admit it.

Verse the second. For Belvidera I endure.] Did not all the manuscripts reclaim, I should change Belvidera into Pelvidera; Pelvis being used by several of the ancient comick writers for a looking-glass, by which means the etymology of the word is very visible, and Pelvidera will signify a lady, who often looks in her glass ; as indeed she had very good reason, if he had all those beauties which our poet here ascribes to her.

Verse the third.' Hourly I figh, and bourly languifs.] Some for the word hourly read daily, and others night.y; the last has great authorities of its fide.

Verse the fourth. The wonted cure.] The elder Stevens reads wanted cure.

Stanza the fourth, verse the second. After a thousand beauties.] In several copies we meet with a hundred beauties, by the usual error of the transcribers, who probably omitted a cypher, and had not talte enough to know that the word thousand was ten times a greater compliment to the poet's mistress than an hundred.

Verse the fourth. And finds variety in one.] Most of the ancient manufcripts have it in two. Indeed so many of them concur in this last reading, that I am very much in doubt whether it ought not to take place. There are but two reasons which incline me to the reading as I have published it; First, because the rhime, and, lecondly, because the sense is preserved by it. It might likewise proceed from the otcitancy of transcribers, who, to dispatch their work the sooner, used to write all

number

[ocr errors]

numbers in cyphers, and seeing the figure i followed by a little dash of the pen, as is customary in old manuscripts, they, perhaps mi took the dash' for a second figure, and by cafting up both together, composed out of them the figure 2. But this I shall leave to the learned, without determining any thing in a matter of so great uncertainty.

C

N° 471

Saturday, August 30.

'Εν ελπίσιν χρή τες σοφες βιών.

Euripid. The wise with hope fupport the pains of life.

T

HE time present feldom affords fufficient employ

ment to the mind of man. Objects of pain or

pleasure, love or admiration, do not lie thick enough together in life to keep the soul in constant action, and Tupply an immediate exercise to its faculties. In order, therefore, to remedy this defect, that the mind may not want business, but always have materials for thinking, she is endowed with certain powers, that can recal what is passed, and anticipate what is to come.

That wonderful faculty, which we call the memory, is perpetually looking back, when we have nothing present to entertain us. It is like those repositories in several animals that are filled with stores of their former food, on which they may ruminate when their present pafture fails.

As the memory relieves the mind in her vacant mo. ments, and prevents any chasms of thought by ideas of what is past, we have other faculties that agitate and employ her for what is to come. These are the passions of hope and fear.

By these two passions we reach forward into futurity, and bring up to our present thoughts objects that lie hid in the remoteft depths of time. We suffer mi

fory,

N 3

fery, and enjoy happiness, before they are in being; we can set the sun and stars forward, or lose fight of them by wandring into those retired parts of eternity, when the heavens and earth shall be no more.

By the way, who can imagine that the existence of a creature is to be circumscribed by time, whose thoughts are not ? But I shall, in this paper, confine myfelf to that particular paffion which goes by the name of hope.

Our actual enjoyments are so few and transient, that man would be a very miserable Being, were he not endowed with this passion, which gives him a taste of those good things that may posibly come into his poffeffion. We should hope for every thing that is good, says the old poet Linus, because there is nothing which may not be hoped for, and nothing but what the Gods are able to give us. Hope quickens all the fill parts of life, and keeps the mind awake in her most remiss and indolent hours. It gives habitual serenity and good humour. It is a kind of vital heat in the soul, that cheers and gladdens her, when she does not attend to it. It makes pain easy, and labour pleafant.

Beside these several advantages which rise from bope, there is another which is none of the least, and that is, its great efficacy in preserving us from setting too high a value on present enjoyments. The saying of Casar is very well known. When he had given away, all his estate in gratuities among his friends, one of them asked what he had left for himself; to which that great man replied, Hope. His natural magnanimity hindered him from prizing what he was certainly possessed of, and turned all his thoughts upon something more valuable that he had in view. I question not but every reader will draw a moral from this story, and apply it to him. self without my direction.

The old story of Pandora's box (which many of the learned believe was formed among the Heathens upon the tradition of the fall of man) shews us how deplo. rable a state they thought the present life, without hope : To set forth the utmost condition of misery they tell us, that our forefather, according to the Pagan theology, had a great vessel presented him by Pandora : Upon his

lifting

[ocr errors]

lifting up the lid of it, says the fable, there flew out all the calamities and distempers incident to men, from which, till that time, they had been altogether exempt. Hope, who had been inclosed in the cup with so much bad company, instead of flying off with the rest, stuck so close to the lid of it, that it was shut down upon her.

I fall make but two reflexions upon what I have hitherto said. First, that no kind life is so happy as that which is full of hope, especially when the hope is well grounded, and when the object of it is of an exalted kind, and in its nature proper to make the person happy who enjoys it. This proposition must be very evident to those who consider how few are the present enjoyments of the most happy man, and how infufficient to give him an intire fatisfaction and acquiescence in them.

My next observation is this, that a religious life is that which most abounds in a well-grounded hope, and fuch án one as is fixed on objects that are capable of making us entirely happy. This hope in a religious man is muc more sure and certain than the hope of any temporal blessing, as it is strengthened not only by reason, but by faith. It has at the same time its eye perpetually fixed on that state, which implies in the very notion of it the most full and the most complete happiness.

I have before thewn how the influence of hope in general sweetens life, and makes our present condition fupportable, if not pleasing ; but a religious hope has fill greater advantages. It does not only bear up the mind under her sufferings, but makes her rejoice in them, as they may be the instruments of procuring her the great and ultimate end of all her hope.

Religious hope has likewise this advantage above any other kind of hope, that it is able to revive the dying man, and to fill his mind not only with secret comfort and refreshment, but sometimes with rapture and transport. He triumphs in his agonies, whilst the soul springs forward with delight to the great object which the has always had in view, and leaves the body with an expectation of being re-united to her in a glorious and joyful resurrection.

N 4

I shall

I shall conclude this essay with those emblematical expressions of a lively hope, which the Pfalmift made use of in the midst of those dangers and adverfities which surrounded him ; for the following passage had its present and personal, as well as its future and prophetick sense. I have set the Lord always before me : Because he is at my right hand I shall not be movedo

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth : my flejballo Joall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption. Thou wilt her me the path of life : in the presence there is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

C

N° 472

Monday, September 1.

Voluptas Solamenque mali

Virg. Æn. 3. v. 660. This only folace his hard fortune fends.

DRYDEN.

I

Received fome time ago a proposal, which had a preface to it, wherein the author discoursed at large

of the innumerable objects of charity in a nation, and admonished the rich, who were afflicted with any distemper of body, particularly to regard the poor in the same species of afliction, and confine their tenderness to them, since it is impossible to assist all who are presented to them. The proposer had been relieved from a malady in his eyes by an operation performed by Sir William Read, and being a man of condition, had taken a resolution to maintain three poor

blind

men during their lives, in gratitude for that great blessing. This misfortune is so very great and unfrequent, that one would think, an establishment for all the poor under it might be easily accomplished, with the addition of a very few others to those wealthy who are in the

fame

« ForrigeFortsæt »