« PředchozíPokračovat »
representation of persons or things, a counterfeit speech, a mimical look or gesture passeth for it: Sometimes an affected simplicity, sometimes a presumptuous bluntness, giveth it being : Sometimes it riseth from a lucky hitting upon what is strange, sometimes from a crafty wresting obvious matter to the purpose;
often it consisteth in one knows not what, and springeth up one can hardly tell how. Its ways are unaccountable and inexplicable, being answerable to the numberless rovings of fancy, and windings of language. It is, in short, a manner of speaking out of the simple and plain way (such as reason teacheth and proveth things by), which by a pretty surprising uncouthness in conceit or expression, doth affect and amuse the fancy, stirring in it some wonder, and breeding some delight thereto. It raiseth admiration, as signifying a nimble sagacity of apprehension, a special felicity of invention, a vivacity of spirit, and reach of wit more than vulgar; it seeming to argue a rare quickness of parts, that
can fetch in remote conceits applicable ; a notable skill, that he can dexterously accommodate them to the purpose before him; together with a lively briskness of humour, not apt to damp those sportful flashes of imagination. (Whence in Ariztotle such persons are termed dexterous men, and men of facile or versatile manners, who can easily turn themselves to all things, or turn all things to themselves.) It also procureth delight, by
gratifying curiosity with its rareness or semblance of difficulty (as monsters, not for their beauty, but their rarity, as juggling tricks, not for their use, but their abstruseness, are beheld with pleasure); by divesting the mind from its road of serious thoughts, by instilling gaiety and airiness of spirit, by provoking to such dispositions of spirit by way of emulation or complaisance, and by seasoning matters, otherwise distasteful or insipid, with an unusual and thence grateful tang.
But saying no more what it is, and leaving it to your imagination and experience to supply the defect of such explication, I shall address myself to show, first, when and how such a manner of speaking may be allowed, then in what matters and
ways it should be condemned.
Such facetiousness is not absolutely unreasonable or unlawful, which ministereth harmless divertisement and delight to conversation; (harmless, I say, that is, not entrenching upon piety, not infringing charity or justice, not disturbing peace.) For Christianity is not so tetrical, so harsh, so envious, as to bar us continually from innocent, much less from wholesome and useful pleasure, such as human life doth need or require. And if jocular discourse may serve to good purposes of this kind ; if it may be apt to raise our drooping spirits, to allay our irksome cares, to whet our blunted industry, to recreate our minds, being tired and cloyed with graver occupa
tions ; if it may conduce to sweeten conversation and endear society; then is it not inconvenient or unprofitable.
It doth especially seem requisite to do it in this age, wherein plain reason is deemed a dull and heavy thing. When the mental appetite of man is become like the corporeal, and cannot relish any food without some piquant sauce, so that people will rather starve than live on solid fare; when substantial and sound discourse findeth small attention or acceptance; in such a time, he that can, may in complaisance, and for fashion's sake, vouchsafe to be facetious; an ingenious vein, coupled with an honest mind, may be a good talent; he shall employ wit commendably, who by it can further the interests of goodness, alluring men first to listen, then inducing them to consent unto its wholesome dictates and precepts, &c. &c.
DESCRIPTION OF THE HOUSE OF CORRECTION
The vast and high enclosure of the Bagnio, situated contiguously to the arsenal and the docks, contains a little world of its own, but a world of wailing. One part is tenanted by the prisoners made on board the enemy's ships, who, with an iron ring round their legs, await in this dismal repository
their transference on board the Turkish fleet. This part may only be called a sort of purgatory. The other is hell in perfection. It is the larger division, filled with the natural subjects of the Grand Signor, whom their real or supposed misdemeanors have brought to this abode of unavailing tears. Here are confined alike the ragged beggar urged by famine to steal a loaf, and the rich banker instigated by avarice to deny a deposit; the bandit who uses open violence, and the baker who employs false weights ; the land robber and the pirate of the seas, the assassin and the cheat. Here, as in the infernal regions, are mingled natives of every countryTurks, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, and Gipsies; and are confounded individuals of every creed-the Mohammedan, the Christian, the Hebrew, and the Heathen. Here the proud and the humble, the opulent and the necessitous, are reduced to the direst of equalities—the equality of torture. But I err: for should some hapless victim-perhaps guilty of no other crime but that of having excited the Sultan's cupidity-still wear on his first entrance the livery of better days, his more decent appearance will only expose him to harsher treatment. Loaded with the heaviest fetters, linked to the most loathsome of malefactors, he is compelled to purchase every alleviation of his burthen, every mitigation of his pain, at the most exorbitant price; until the total exhaustion of his slender store has acquired him the privilege of being at least on a level with
the lowest of his fellow sufferers, and spared additional torments, no longer lucrative to their inAicters.
Every day a capital fertile in crimes pours new offenders into this dread receptacle; and its high walls and deep recesses resound every instant with imprecations and curses, uttered in all the various idioms of the Othoman empire. Deep moans and dismal yells leave not its frightful echoes a moment's repose. From morning till night, and from night till morning, the ear is stunned with the clang of chains, which the galley-slaves wear while confined in their cells, and which they still drag about when toiling at their tasks. Linked together two and two for life, should they sink under their sufferings, they still continue unsevered after death; and the man doomed to live on, drags after him the corpse of his dead companion. In no direction can the eye escape the spectacle of atrocious punishments and of indescribable agonies. Here perhaps you see a wretch whose stiffened limbs refuse their office, stop suddenly short in the midst of his labour, and, as if already impassible, defy the stripes that lay open his flesh, and wait in total immobility the last merciful blow that is to end his misery; while there, you view his companion foaming with rage and madness, turn against his own person his desperate hands, tear his clotted hair, rend his bleeding bosom, and strike his skull until it burst against the wall of his dungeon.