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cient to illuminate the fucceeding efforts; and no other subject can be relifhed till that is exhaufted. A ftupid work coming thus immediately in the train of an applauded performance, weans the mind from the object of it's pleasure; and fembles the sponge thrust into the mouth of a difcharged culverin, in order to adapt it for a new explosion.
finds very good words, truly, and muëte» exactness of rhyme, but no information. A parcel of gaudy images pafs on bea fore his imagination like the figures in a dream; but curiofity, induction, reare-fon, and the whole train of affections, are faft afleep. The jocunda et idonea vite; thofe fallies which mend the heart? while they amufe the fancy, are quite forgotten; fo that a reader who would take up fome modern applauded performances of this kind, muft, in order to be pleased, first leave his good fenfe behind hin, take for his recompence and guide bloated and compound epithet, and dwell on paintings, juft indeed, becaufe laboured with minute ex-" aftnefs.
This manner, however, of drawing off a fubject, or a peculiar mode of writ ing, to the dregs, effectually precludes a revival of that subject or manner for fome time for the future; the fated reader turns from it with a kind of literary naufea; and though the titles of books are the part of them most read, yet he has fcarce perfeverance enough to wade through the title-page.
Of this number I own myfelf one; I am now grown callous to leveral fubjects, and different kinds of compofition. Whether fach originally pleased, I will not take upon me to determine; but at present I spurn a new book merely upon feeing it's name in an advertisement; nor have the mallett curiofity to look beyond the fieft leaf, even though in the fecond the author proinites his own face neatly engraved on copper.
I am become a perfect epicure in reading; plain beef or folid mutton will never do. I am for a Chinefe difh of bears claws and birds netts. I am for fance strong with affafoetida, or fuming with garlick. For this reafon there are an hundred very wife, learned, virtuous, well-intended productions, that have no charms for me. Thus, for the foul of me, I could never find courage nor grace enough to wade above two pages deep into Thoughts upon God and Nature; or, Thoughts upon Providence; or, Thoughts upon Free Grace; or indeed into Thoughts *pon any thing at all, I can no longer meditate with Meditations for every day in the year; Eflays upon divers fubjects ca not allure me, though never fo interefting and as for Funeral Sennons, or even Thanksgiving Sermons, I can neither weep with the one, nor rejoice With the other.
But it is chiefly in gentle poetry, where I feldom look farther than the title. The truth is, I take up books to be told fomething new; but here, as it is now managed, the readergis told noHe opens the book, and there salys i care iaş
If we examine, however, our internal fenfations, we fhall find ourselves but little pleased with fuch laboured va nities; we shall find that our applause rather proceeds from a kind of conta gion caught up from others, and which we contribute to diffufe, than from what we privately feel. There are fome fubjets of which almost all the world perceive the futility; yet all combine in impoting upon each other, as worthy of praife. But chiefly this impofition ob tains in literature, where men publiely" contemn what they relish with rapture in private, and approve abroad what has given them difguit at home. The truth is, we deliver thofe criticisms in public which are fupposed to be best calculated not to do justice to the author, but to imprefs others with an opinion of our fuperior difcernment,
But let works of this kind, which have already come off with fuch applause, enjoy it all. It is neither my with to diminish, as I was never confiderable enough to add to their fame. But, for the futurey I fear there are many poeins of which I shall find (pirits to read but the title. In the firit-place, all odes upon winter, or fummer, or autumin; in thort, all odes, epodes, and monodies whatfoever, fhall hereafter be deemed too polite, claffical, obfcure, and refined, to be read, and entirely above human comprehension. Paftorals are pretty enough for thofe that like them to me Thyris is one of the most insipid fellows I ever converted with; and as for Corridon, I do not chufe his company. Elegies and epiftles are very fine to thofe to whom they are addressed;
FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO FUM HOAM, FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE CEREMONIAL ACADEMY AT PEKIN, IN CHINA 2 91 ***
I Had of we set A:
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 go to Weltminster Hall, where the English hold their courts of justice. It gave me fome furprize to find my friendless engaged in a law-fuit, but more fo when he informed me that it had been depending for feveral years. How is
it poffible, cried I, for a man who knows the world to go to law ! I am well acquainted, with the courts of juftice in China; they refemble rattraps every one of them, nothing ⚫ more easy to get in, but to get out <again is attended with fome difficulty,
reafons have you to think an affair að lat concluded, which has given fo many former disappointments?' →→ My lawyer tells me, returned he, ⚫ that I have Salkeld and Ventris strong in my favour, and that there are no than fifteen cafes in point, I understand,' faid I, thofe are two of your judges who have already declared their opinions. Pardon me," replied my friend, Salkeld and Ventris are lawyers who fome hundred years ago gave their opinion on cafes fimilar to mine; these opinions which make for me my lawyer is to cite, and those opinions, which look another way are cited by the lawyer employed by my
and more cunning than rats are geantagonist: as I oblerved, I bave Salnerally found to poffefs!'
Faith,' replied my friend, I fhould not have gone to law, but that I was affured of fuccefs before I began; things were prefented to me in fo al. luring a light, that I thought by ⚫ barely declaring myself a candidate for the prize, I had nothing more to do but to enjoy the fruits of the victory. Thus have I been upon the eve of an ⚫ imaginary triumph every term thefe ⚫ ten years; have travelled forward with ⚫ctory ever in my view, but ever out of reach however, at prefent, I fancy we ⚫ have hampered our antagonist in fuch f a manner, that, without fome unfore⚫ feen demur, we shall this very day lay f him fairly on his back...
keld and Ventris for me, he has Coke and Hales for him, and, he that has moft opinions is most likely to carry His caufe. But where is the nece fity,' cried I, of prolonging a fuit by citing the opinions and reports of others, lince the fame good fenfe which determined lawyers in former ages may ferve to guide your judges at this day? They at that time gave their opinions only from the light of reafon your judges have the fame light at present to direct them; let me even add, a greater, as in former ages there were many prejudices from which the prefent is happily free. If arguing from authorities be exploded from every other branch of learning, why
If things be fo fituated,' faid I,Ifhould it be particularly adhered to in (do not care if I attend you to the courts, and partake in the pleasure of f your fuccess. But, pr'ythee,' con
this? I plainly forefce how fuch a method of investigation must embarrass every fuit, and even perplex the ftu
dent, ceremonies will be multiplied,
I fee, cries my friend, that you
To embarrals justice,' returned I, by a multiplicity of laws, or to hazard it by a confidence in our judges, are, I grant, the oppofite rocks on which legislative wildom has ever fplit; in one cafe, the client refembles that emperor who is faid to have been fuffocated with the bed clothes which were only defigned to keep him warm; in the other, to that town which let the enemy take poffeffion of it's walls, in order to fhew the world how little they depended upon aught but courage for safety.—But, blefs me! what numbers do I fee here-all in black!
How is it poffible that half this multitude find employment? Nothing fo eafily conceived,' returned my companion; they live by watching each other. For instance, the, catchpole
watches the man in debt, the attorney watches the catchpole, the counsellor watches the attorney, the folicitor the counsellor, and all find fufficient em, ployment. I conceive you, in terrupted 1, they watch each other, but it is the client that pays them all for watching; it puts me in mind of < a Chinese fable, which is intituled, "Five Animals at a Meal."
A grafshopper, filled with dew, was merrily finging under a fhade; a whangam, that eats grafshoppers, had marked it for it's prey, and was just ftretching forth to devour it; a ferpent, that had for a long time fed only on whangams, was coiled up to faften on the whangam; a yellow bird was just upon the wing to dart upon the ferpent; a hawk had juft ftooped from above to feize the yellow bird; all were intent on their prey, and unmindful of their danger: fo the whangam eat the grafshopper, the ferpent eat the whangam, the yellow bird the ferpent, and the hawk the yellow bird; when foufing from on high, a vulture gobbled up the hawk, grafshopper, whangam, and all, in a moment."
I had fcarce finifhed my fable, when the lawyer came to inform my friend, that his caufe was put off till another term, that money was wanted to retain, and that all the world was of opinion, that the very next hearing would bring him off victorious. If fo, then,' cries my friend, I believe it will be my wifeft way to continue the caufe for another term; and, in the mean time, my friend here and I will go and fee Bedlam.' Adieu.
FROM THE SAME.
Lately received a vifit from the little
who found had affumed a new flow of fpirits with a new fuit of cloaths. Our difcourfe happened to turn upon the different treatment of the fair-fex here and in Afia, with the inQuence of beauty in refining our manners and improving our converfation.
I foon perceived he was ftrongly prejudiced in favour of the Afiatic method of treating the fex, and that it was im
• feraglio to c
am told thole them at home. I
have no balls, drums,
nor operas, but then they have got a feragho; they may be deprived of Wine and French cookery, but have a feraglio: 'a feraglio, a feraglio, my dear creature, wipes off every incon venience in the world!
Befides, I am told, your Afiatic Beauties are the most convenient women alive, for they have no fouls; po* fitively there is nothing in nature I fhould like fo much as ladies without fouls; foul, here, is the utter ruin of half the fex. A girl of eighteen fhall have foul enough to spend an hundred pounds in the turning of a trump. Her mother fhall have foul enough to ride a fweep-itake match at a horfe race; her maiden aunt fhall have foul enough to purchase the furniture of a whole toy-fhop; and others thall have foul enough to behave as if they had no fouls at all.
With refpect to the foul, interrupted L, the Afiatics are much kinder to the fair-fex than you imagine; inftead of one foul, Fohi, the idol of China, gives every woman three; Bramines give them fifteen; and even Mahomet himself no where excludes the fex from Paradife. Abulfeda reports, that an old woman one day importaning him to know what the ought to do in order to gain Paradife?
My good lady," anfwered the prophet, old women never get there." "What, never get to Paradife!" I returned the matron, in a fury. "Never," fays he, "for they always "grow young by the way."
No, Sir,' continued I, the men of Afia behave with more deference to the fex than you feem to imagine. As · you of Europe fay grace upon fitting ⚫ down to dinner, fo it is the custom in China to fay grace when a man goes to bed to his wife. And may I 'die,' returned my companion, but
a very pretty ceremony! For, ferioully, Sir, I fee no reason why a man fhould not be as grateful in one fituation as in the other. Upon honour, I always find myself much ⚫more difpofed to gratitude, on the couch of a fine woman, 'than upon fitning down to a fulloin of beef.*
Another ceremony, faid 1, refum. ing the conversation, in favour of the
fex amongst us, is the bride's being allowed, after marriage, her three days of freedom. During this interval, a thousand extravagancies are practifed by either fex. The lady is placed upon the nuptial bed,, and • numberleis monkey-tricks are played ⚫ round to divert her. One gentleinan fmells her perfumed handkerchief another attempts to untie her garters, a third pulls off her shoe to play hunt the flipper, another pretends to be an idiot, and endeavours to raise a laugh by grimacing; in the mean time, the glais goes brifkly about, till ladies, gentlemen, wife, hufband, and all, are mixed together in one inundation of arrack-punch.'
Strike me dumb, deaf, and blind, cried my companion, but very pretty There is fome fenfe in your Chinese ladies condefcenfions! but among us, you shall fcarce find one of the whole lex that fhall hold her good humour for three days together. No later than yesterday I happened to fay fome civil things to a citizen's wife of my 'acquaintance, not becaufe I loved, but because I had charity; and what do you think was the tender creature's reply? Only that she d tefted my pigtail wig, high-heeled fhoes, and fallow complexion! That is all. Nothing more!-Yes, by the heavens, though he was more ugly than an unpainted actress, I found her more infolent than a thorough bred woman of quality !'
He was proceeding in this wild man. ner, when his invective was interrupted by the man in black, who entered the apartment, introducing his niece, a young lady of exquifite beauty. Her very appearance was fufficient to filence the fevereft fatirift of the lex; eafy without pride, and free without impudence, fhe feemed capable of fupplying every fenfe with pleature; her looks, her converfation, were natural and unconstrained; the had neither been taught to lan guifh nor ogle, to laugh without a jelt, or figh without forrow. I found that fhe had just returned from abroad, and had been converfant in the manners of the world: Curiofity prompted me to afk feveral questions, but the declined them all. I own I never found myself fo ftrongly prejudiced in favour of apparent merit before; and could willing
Iv have prolonged our converfation, but the company after fome time withdrew. Juft, however, before the little beau took his leave, he called me aside, and
requested I would change him a twenty. pound bill; which, as I was incapable of doing, he was contented with borrowing half a crown. Adieu.
FROM LIEN CHI ALTANGI, TO HINGPO, BY THE WAY OF MOSCOW.
EW virtues have been more praifevery practical treatife of ethics tends to encreate our fenfibility of the diftreffes of others, and to relax the grafp of frugality. Philofophers that are poor, praile it because they are gainers by it's effects; and the opulent Seneca himself has written a treatife on benefits, though he was known to give nothing away.
But among the many who have enforced the duty of giving, I am furprifed there are none to inculcate the ignominy of receiving, to fhew that by every favour we accept, we in fome meafure forfeit our native freedom, and that a state of continual dependance on the generofity of others is a life of gradual debalement.
Were men taught to defpife the receiving obligations with the fame force of reasoning and declamation that they are inftructed to confer them, we might then fee every perfon in fociety filling up the requifite duties of his ftation with cheatful induftry, neither relaxed by hope, nor fullen from, difappointment.
Every favour a man receives, in fome measure finks him below his dignity; and in proportion to the value of the benefit, or the frequency of it's acceptance, he gives up fo much of his natural independence. He, therefore, who thrives upon the unmerited bounty of another, if he has any fenfibility, fuffers the worlt of fervitude; the fhackled flave may murmur without reproach, but the humble dependant is taxed with ingratitude upon every symptom of difcontent; the one may rave round the walls of his cell, but the other lingers in all the filence of mental confinement. To encrease his diftrefs, every new obligation but adds to the former load which kept the vigorous mind from rifing, till at last, elastic no longer, it hapes itfelf to constraint, and puts on habitual fervility.
It is thus with the feeling mind; but
there are fome who, born without any
favour, and fill cringe for more; who accept the offer of generofity with as little reluctance as the wages of merit, and even make thanks for paft benefits an indirect petition for new: fuch, I grant, can fuffer no debasement from dependence, fince they were originally as vile as was poffible to be; dependence degrades only the ingenuous, but leaves the fordid mind in priftine meannefs. In this manner, therefore, long continued generofity is misplaced, or it is injurious; it either finds a man worthlefs, or it makes him fo; and true it is, that the perfon who is contented to be often obliged, ought not to have been obliged
Yet, while I defcribe the meanness of a life of continued dependence, I would not be thought to include those natural or political fubordinations which fubfift in every fociety; for in fuch, though dependence is exacted from the inferior, yet the obligation on other fide is mutual. The fon must rely upon his parent for fupport, but the parent lies under the fame obligations to give that the other has to expect; the fubordinate officer must receive the commands of his fuperior, but for this obedience the former has a right to demand an intercourfe of favour: fuch is not the dependence I would depreciate, but that where every expected favour must be the refult of mere benevolence in the giver, where the benefit can be kept without remorse, or transferred withcut injuftice. The character of a legacyhunter, for instance, is detestable in fome countries, and defpicable in all: this univerfal contempt of a man who infringes upon none of the laws of society, fome moralifts have arraigned as a popular and unjust prejudice; never confidering the neceffary degradations a wretch must undergo, who previously, expects to grow rich by benefits, with