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himself upon a bed which happened to be there, it being night, he began to express his thoughts upon the occasion in this manner :-If I dispose of this dish, I shall get ten kapardakas * for it; and with that sum I may purchase many pots and pans,
the sale of which will increase my capital so much that I shall be able to lay in a large stock of cloth and the like; which having disposed of at a great advance, I shall have accumulated a fortune of a lack † of money.
With this I will marry four wives; and of these I will amuse myself with her, who may prove the handsomest. This will create jealousy; so when the rival wives shall be quarrelling, then will I, overwhelmed with hurl
my stick at them, thus! Saying which, he flung his walking stick out of his hand with such force, that he not only brake his curious dish, but destroyed many of the pots and
pans in the shop; the master of which hearing the noise, came in, and discovering the cause, disgraced the Brahman, and turned him out of doors.”
The style which Addison has adopted in his oriental tales, and in his translation of the
apologues, is precisely such as corresponds to the best ages of Arabian literature. Simplicity and
* Ten cowries. + One hundred thousand rupees. ☆ Wilkins's Heetopades of Veeshnoo Sarma, p. 247.
freedom from inflation we have seen, on the authority of Professor Carlyle, to have been cha. racteristic of the literary productions of the most flourishing periods of the Khaliphat; “ their best writers," he remarks,“ both of poetry and prose, expressed themselves in a language as chaste and simple as that of Prior or of Addison *.” In this respect the example of Addison has not been sufficiently attended to, the oriental narratives of the Rambler, Adventurer, and Tales of the Genii, though rich in fancy, abounding too much with lofty epithet and tumid metaphor. The sweetness and simplicity of our author's diction, add, more than is usually imagined, to the effect and poignancy of these interesting fictions. The dialogue of the Barmecide, for instance, of Sultan Mahmoud and the Dervise, owes much of its archness and humour to the elegant plainness of the language employed; and in the Vision of Mirza no reader can be insensible to the ease, amenity, and grace of style which clothe and heighten the imagery of that exquisite composition.
Another department of fiction, in which Addison has exhibited great powers of fancy and invention, is the Allegorical. This, which is totally * Carlyle's Specimens of Arabian Poetry, Preface, p. 5.
independent of oriental imagery, he has conducted with most singular felicity; and to him may be justly ascribed the introduction into our literature of that species of it which is built upon the classic model. “I have revived,” he observes, “ several antiquated ways of writing, which, though very instructive and entertaining, had been laid aside and forgotten for some ages. I shall, in this place, only mention those allegories wherein virtues, vices, and human passions are introduced as real actors. Though this kind of composition was practised by the finest authors among the ancients, our countryman Spenser is the last writer of note who has applied himself to it with success *.”
Allegory, whether in poetry or prose, has in this country usually been constructed upon two models, the Grecian and the Gothic; the former occasionally exemplified in the writings of Homer and Æschylus, and more fully and frequently in the precepts of Socrates and Plato, of Xenophon and Cebes; the latter in the elaborate and protracted effusions of William de Lorris, Chaucer, and Spenser, Addison has, with much judgment, chosen for his guide the more correct and legitimate example of Plato and Cebes; and we
* Guardian, No 152,
possess no allegories more happily conceived than those which, upon the plan of these authors, are dispersed through his periodical writings.
The opinion that he entertained of what was requisite toward the successful execution of this species of fable, he has himself given us in the Guardian. “ That an allegory," he remarks, “may be both delightful and instructive, in the first place, the fable of it ought to be perfect, and, if possible, to be filled with surprising turns and incidents. In the next, there ought to be useful morals and reflections couched under it, which still receive a greater value from being new and uncommon; as also from their appearing difficult to have been thrown into emblematical types and shadows *.”
These rules, to which he has faithfully adhered, have been productive of an excellence so consummate in this mode of composition, that we may, without hazard, consider the allegories of our author as nearly perfect models. Of these we possess twelve t; six in the Tatler, and six in the Spectator and Guardian. The first, however, which is on the Origin of Love I, is merely
* Guardian, No 152.
f The vision of Mirza I hare already enumerated under the head of Oriental A pologues.
# Tatler, No 90,
a translation from Plato, but answers the purpose not only of placing before the reader a specimen of the manner of the Grecian philosopher, but of shewing how admirably the English allegorist has emulated, and perhaps even excelled, his prototype. The Vision of Justice *, which occurs next, presents the genius of Addison in full lustre; the invention, imagery, and humour of this piece, are alike excellent, and the style is as beautiful as the materials. Nothing can be more happily conceived and expressed than the night scene, introductive of this vision. « The heaven above me,” says the author, “ appeared in all its glories, and presented me with such an hemisphere of stars, as made the most agreeable prospect imaginable to one who delights in the study of nature. It happened to be a freezing night, which had purified the whole body of air into such a bright transparent æther, as made every constellation visible; and at the same time gave such a particular glowing to the stars, that I thought it the richest sky I had ever seen. I could not behold a scene so wonderfully adorned and lighted up, if I may be allowed that expression, without suitable meditations on the author of such illustrious and amazing objects; for on these occasions, philosophy suggests motives to
* Tatler, Nos. 100 and 102.