Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

Against fir Hugh Montgomery

So right his shaft he set,
• The gray-goose wing that was thereon

• In his heart-blood was wet.
• This fight did last from break of day
• Till

setting of the sun ;
· For when they rung the ev'ning-bell
• The battle scarce

was

done. One may observe likewise, that in the catalogue of the Dain the author has followed the example of the greatest ancient poets, not only in giving a long list of the dead, but by diversifying it with little characters of particular persons.

• And with earl Douglas there was lain

• Sir Hugh Montgomery,
Sir Charles Carrel, that from the field

• One foot would never fly :
« Sir Charles Murrel of Ratcliff too,

· His fifter's son was he ;
• Sir David Lamb, fo well efteen’d,

Yet saved could not be.' The familiar found in these names destroys the majesty of the description ; for this reason I do not mention this

poem

but to shew the natural cast of thought which appears in it, as the two last verses look almoft like a translation of Virgil.

-Cadit & Ripheus, juftiffimus unus.
Qui fuit in Teucris, & fervantifimus aqui.
Dis aliter visum

Æn. ii. 426. • Then Ripheus fell in the unequal fight,

Just of his word, observant of the right: • Hear'n thought not so.'

Dryden. In the catalogue of the English who fell

, Witherington's behaviour is in the fame manner particularized very artfully, as the reader is prepared for it by that accoum which is given of him in the beginning of the battle ; tho' I am fatisfied your little buffoon readers, who have seen that paffage ridiculed in Hudibras, will not be able to take the beauty of it; for which reason I dare not fo much as quote it.

part of the

[ocr errors]

• Then stept a gallant squire forth,

• Witherington was his name,
Who said, I would not have it told

• To Henry our king for shame,
• That e'er my captain fought on foot

And I stood looking on.
We meet with the same heroic sentiments in Virgil:
Non pudet, O Rutuli, cundis pro talibus unam
Objeftare animam ? numerone an viribus equi
Non fumus?

Æn. xii. 229.
• For shame, Rutilians, can you bear the fight
Of one expos’d for all, in single fight?
• Can we, before the face of heav'n, confess

• Our courage colder, or our numbers lefs?'DRYDEN.
What can be more natural or more moving, than the cir-
cumstances in which he describes the behaviour of those
women who had lost their husbands on this fatal day?
· Next day did many

widows come
• Their husbands to bewail ;
• They wach'd their wounds in brinish tears,

• But all would not prevail.
· Their bodies bath'd in purple blood,

They bore with them away;
They kiss’d them dead a thoufand times;

• When they were clad in clay:'
Thus we see how the thoughts of this poem, which na-
turally arise from the fubject, are always fimple, and
sometimes exquisitely noble ; that the language is often
very founding; and that the whole is written with a true
poetical spirit.
* If this song had been written in the Gothic manner,
which is the delight of all our little wits, whether writ-
ers or readers, it would not have hit the taste of so many
ages, and have pleased the readers of all ranks and con-
ditions. I Ihall only beg pardon for such a profusion of
Latin quotations, which I should not have made use of,
but that I feared my own judgment would have looked
the practice and authority of Virgil.

1

not I supported it by

N° 75

Saturday, May 26.

Omnis Ariflippum decuit color, & fatus, & res.

Hor. Ep. I. xvii. 23. All fortune fitted Ariftippus well. CREECH. IT

T was with fome mortification that I suffered the raillery of a fine lady of my acquaintance, for calling, in one of my papers, Dorimant a clown. She was fo unmerciful as to take advantage of my invincible taciturnity, and on that occafion, with great freedom to confider the air, the height, the face, the gesture of him who could pretend to judge fo arrogantly of gallantry. She is full of motion, janty, and lively in her impertinence, and one of those that commonly pass, among the ignorant, for persons who have a great deal of humour. She had the play of fir Fopling in her hand, and after She had said it was happy for her there was not so charming a creature as Dorimant now living, fhe began with a theatrical air and tone of voice to read, by way of triumph over me, some of his speeches. "Tis The;

that lovely air, that easy shape, those wanton eyes, and • all those melting charms about her mouth, which

Medley spoke of ; I'll follow the lottery, and put in • for a prize with my friend Bellair.'

• In love the victors from the vanquish'd fly ;

• They fly that wound, and they pursue that die.' Then turning over the leaves, she reads alternately, and speaks,

' And you and Loveit to her cost shall find

* I fathom all the depths of womankind.' Oh the fine gentleman ! But here, continues flie, is the passage I admire most, where he begins to teize Loveit, and mimic fir Fopling : Oh the pretty satire, in his refolving to be a coxcomb to please, since noise and nonsense have such powerful charms. • Ithat I may successful prove,

Transform myself to what you love."

Then how like a man of the town, so wild and gay is that!
. The wise will find a diff'rence in our fate,
• You wed a woman, I a good estate.'

It would have been a very wild endeavour for a man of my temper to offer any opposition to so nimble a speaker as my fair enemy is; but her discourse gave me very many reflections, when I had left her company. Among others, I could not but consider, with some attention, the falle impressions the generality, the fair sex more especially, have of what should be intended, when they say a fine gentleman ; and could not help revolving that subject in my thoughts, and settling, as it

were, an idea of that character in my own imagination.

No man ought to have the esteem of the rest of the world, for any actions which are disagreeable to those maxims which prevail, as the standards of behaviour, in the country wherein he lives. What is oppofite to the eternal rules of reason and good sense, must be excluded from any place in the carriage of a well-bred man. I did not, I confess, explain myself enough on this subject, when I called Dorimant a clown, and made it an instance of it, that he called the orange wench, Double Tripe : I should have fhewed, that humanity obliges a gentleman to give no part of human-kind reproach, for what they, whom they reproach, may posebly have in common with the most virtuous and worthy among us. When a gentleman speaks coarsely, he has dressed himself clean to no purpose : the clothing of our minds certainly ought to be regarded before that of our bodies. To betray in a man's talk a corrupted imagination, is a much greater offence against the conversation of a gentleman, than any negligence of dress imaginable. But this sense of the matter is so far from being received among people even of condition, that Vocifer pafies for a fine gentleman. He is loud, haughty, gentle, soft, lewd, and obsequious by turns, just as a little understanding and great impudence prompt him at the present moment. He palses among the filly part of our women for a man of wit, because he is generally in doubt. He contradicts with a shrug, and confutes with a certain sufficiency, in profeflo ing such and such a thing is above his capacity. What makes his character the pleasanter is, that he is a professs

1 ed deluder of women ; and because the empty coxcomb has no regard to any thing that is of itself facred and inviolable, I have heard an unmarried lady of fortune fay, it is pity fo fine a gentleman as Vocifer is so great an atheist.' The crouds of such inconfiderable creatures, that infeft all places of assembling, every reader will have in his eye from his own observation; but would it not be worth confidering what sort of figure a man who formed himself upon those principles among us, which are

agreeable to the dictates of honour and religion, would make in the familiar and ordinary occurrences of life?

I hardly have observed any one fill his several duties of life better than Ignotus. All the under parts of his behaviour, and such as are exposed to common observation, have their rise in him from great and noble motives. A firm and unshaken expectation of another life, makes him become this. Humanity and good-nature, fortified by the sense of virtue, has the same effect upon him, as the neglect of all goodness has upon many others. Be=' ing firmly established in all matters of importance, that certain inattention which makes mens actions look easy appears in him with greater beauty : by a thorough contempt of little excellencies, he is perfectly master of them. This temper of mind leaves him under no neceflity of studying his air, and he has this peculiar diftinction, that his negligence is unaffected.

He that can work himself into a pleasure in considering this being as an uncertain one, and think to reap an advantage by its discontir uance, is in a fair way of doing all things with a graceful unconcern, and gentleman-like eafe. Such a one does not behold his life as a short, transient, perplexing state, made up of trifling pleasures, and great anxieties; but fees it in quite another light; his griefs are momentary, and his joys immortal. Reflection upon death is not a gloomy and sad thought of resigning every thing that he delights in, but it is a short night followed by an endless day. What I would here contend for is, that the more virtuous the man is, the nearer he will naturally be to the character of genteel and agreeable. A man whose fortune is plentiful, shews an ease in his countenance, and confidence in his behaviour, which he that is under wants and difficulties cannot

« PředchozíPokračovat »