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or misery we are capable of receiving from the imagination only. We have already seen the influence that one has over the fancy of another, and with what ease he conveys into it a variety of imagery; how great a power then may we suppose lodged in him, who knows all the ways of affecting the imagination, who can infuse what ideas he pleases, and fill those ideas with terror and delight to what degree he thinks fit ! He can excite images in the mind without the help of words, and make scenes rise up before us and seem present to the eye without the assistance of bodies or exterior objects. He can transport the imagination with such beautiful and glorious visions, as cannot possibly enter into our present conceptions, or haunt it with such ghastly spectres and apparitions, as would make us hope for annihilation, and think existence no better than a curse. In short, he can so exquisitely ravish or torture the soul through this single faculty, as might suffice to
make the whole heaven or hell of any finite being. ADDISON.
THE SEASONS. A VISION. (No. 425).
“There is hardly anything gives me a more sensible delight than the enjoyment of a cool still evening after the uneasiness of a hot sultry day. Such a one I passed not long ago, which made me rejoice when the hour was come for the sun to set, that I might enjoy the freshness of the evening in my garden, which then affords me the pleasantest hours I pass in the whole four-and-twenty. I immediately rose from my couch, and went down into it. You descend at first by twelve stone steps into a large square divided into four grass-plots, in each of which is a statue of white marble. This is separated from a large parterre by a low wall, and from thence, through a pair of iron gates, you are led into a long broad walk of the finest turf, set on each side with tall yews, and on either hand bordered by a canal, which on the right divides the walk from a wilderness parted into variety of alleys and arbours, and on the left forms a kind of amphitheatre, which is the receptacle of a great number of oranges and myrtles. The moon shone bright, and seemed then most agreeably to supply the place of the sun, obliging me with as much light as was necessary to discover a thousand pleasing objects, and at the same time divested of all power of heat. The reflection of it in the water, the fanning of the wind rustling on the leaves, the singing of the thrush and nightingale, and the coolness of the walks, all conspired to make me lay aside all displeasing thoughts, and brought me into such a tranquillity of mind, as is, I believe, the next happiness to that of hereafter. “I reflected then upon the sweet vicissitudes of night and day, on the charming disposition of the seasons, and their return again in a perpetual circle; and oh! said I, that I could from these my declining years, return again to my first spring of youth and vigour; but that, alas! is impossible; all that remains within my power is to soften the inconveniences I feel, with an easy contented mind, and the enjoyment of such delights as this solitude affords me. In this thought I sat me down on a bank of flowers and dropped into a slumber, when methought the genius of the garden stood before me, and introduced into the walk where I lay this drama and different scenes of the revolution of the year, which, whilst I then saw, even in my dream, I resolved to write down, and send to the Spectator. “The first person whom I saw advancing towards me, was a youth of a most beautiful air and shape, though he seemed not yet arrived at that exact proportion and symmetry of parts, which a little more time would have given him; but, however, there was such a bloom in his countemance, such satisfaction and joy, that I thought it the most desirable form that I had ever seen. He was clothed in a flowing mantle of green silk, interwoven with flowers: he had a chaplet of roses on his head, and a Narcissus in his hand; primroses and violets sprang up under his feet, and all nature was cheered at his approach. Flora was on one hand, and Vertumnus on the other in a robe of changeable silk. After this I was surprised to see the moonbeams reflected with a sudden glare from armour, and to see a man completely armed advancing with his sword drawn. I was soon informed by the genius it was Mars, who had long usurped a place among the attendants of the Spring. He made way for a softer appearance: it was Venus, without any ornament but her own beauties, not so much as her own cestus, with which she had encompassed a globe, which she held in her right hand, and in her left she had a sceptre of gold. After her followed the Graces, with arms entwined within one another; their girdles were loosed, and they moved to the sound of soft music, striking the ground alternately with their feet. Then came up the three months which belong to this season. As March advanced towards me, there was methought in his look a lowering roughness, which ill befitted a month which was ranked in so soft a season; but as he came forwards his features became insensibly more mild and gentle: he smoothed his brow, and looked with so sweet a countenance, that I could not but lament his departure, though he made way for April. He appeared in the greatest gaiety imaginable, and had a thousand pleasures to attend him : his look was frequently clouded, but immediately returned to its first composure, and remained fixed in a smile. Then came May, attended by Cupid, with his bow strung, and in a posture to let fly an arrow: as he passed by, methought I heard a confused noise of soft complaints, gentle ecstacies, and tender sighs of lovers; vows of constancy, and as many complainings of perfidiousness; all which the winds wafted away as soon as they had reached my hearing. After these I saw a man advance in the full prime and vigour of his age : his complexion was sanguine and ruddy; his hair black, and fell down in beautiful ringlets beneath his shoulders; a mantle of hair-coloured silk hung loosely upon him : he advanced with a hasty step after the Spring, and sought out the shade and cool fountains which played in the garden. He was particularly well pleased when a troop of Zephyrs fanned him with their wings: he had two com: panions, who walked on each side, that made him appear the most agreeable; the one was Aurora, with fingers of roses, and her feet dewy, attired in gray; the other was Vesper, in a robe of azure beset with drops of gold, whose breath he caught while it passed over a bundle of honeysuckles and tuberoses which he held in his hand. Pan and Ceres followed them with four reapers, who danced a morrice to the sound of oaten pipes and cymbals. Then came the attendant Months. June retained still some small likeness of the Spring; but the other two seemed to step with a less vigorous tread, especially August, who seemed almost to faint, whilst, for half the steps he took, the dog-star levelled his rays full at his head. They passed on, and made way for a person that seemed to bend a little under the weight of years; his beard and hair, which were full grown, were composed of an equal number of black and gray; he wore a robe which he had girt round him of a yellowish cast, not unlike the colour of fallen leaves, which he walked upon. I thought he hardly made amends for expelling the foregoing scene by the large quantity of fruits which he bore in his hands. Plenty walked by his side with a healthy fresh countenance, pouring out from a horn all the various products of the year. Pomona followed with a glass of cider in her hand, with Bacchus in a chariot drawn by tigers, accompanied by a whole troop of Satyrs, fauns, and sylvans. September, who came next, seemed in his looks to promise a new Spring, and wore the livery of those Months. The succeeding Month was all soiled with the juice of grapes, as he had just come from the wine-press. November, though he was in this division, yet by the many stops he made seemed rather inclined to the Winter, which followed close at his heels. He advanced in the shape of an old man in the extremity of age: the hair he had was so very white, it seemed a real snow; his eyes were red and piercing, and his beard hung with a great quantity of icicles: he was wrapped up in furs, but yet so pinched with excess of cold that his limbs were all contracted, and his body bent to the ground, so that he could not have supported himself had it not been for Comus the god of revels, and Necessity the mother of Fate, who sustained him on each side. The shape and mantle of Comus was one of the things that most surprised me; as he advanced towards me, his countenance seemed the most desirable I had ever seen. On the fore-part of his mantle was pictured joy, delight, and satisfaction, with a thousand emblems of merriment, and jests with faces looking two ways at once; but as he passed from me I was amazed at a shape so little correspondent to his face; his head was bald, and all the rest of his limbs appeared old and deformed. On the hinder part of his mantle was represented Murder with dishevelled hair and a dagger all bloody, Anger in a robe of scarlet, and Suspicion squinting with both eyes; but, above all, the most conspicuous was the battle of the Lapithae and the Centaurs. I detested so hideous a shape, and turned my eyes upon Saturn, who was stealing away behind him, with a scythe in one hand and an hour-glass in the other, unobserved. Behind Necessity was Westa the goddess of fire, with a lamp which was perpetually supplied with oil, and whose flame was eternal. She cheered the rugged brow of Necessity, and warmed her so far as almost to make her assume the features and likeness of Choice. December, January, and February, passed on after the rest all in furs; there was little distinction to be made amongst them, and they were only more or less displeasing as they discovered more or less haste towards the grateful return of Spring.” Probably by DR. PARNELL.
BASILIUS AND ALEXANDRINUS. (No. 426).
A very agreeable friend of mine, the other day, carrying me in his coach into the country to dinner, fell into discourse concerning the care of parents due to their children, and the piety of children towards their parents. But as he never fails to mix an air of mirth and good-humour with his good sense and reasoning, he entered into the following relation:—
I will not be confident in what century, or under what