« AnteriorContinuar »
ror, and the landscape in all its beauty ; islands, fields, woods, rocks, and mountains, are seen inverted, and floating on its surface. I will now carry you to the top of a cliff, where, if you dare approach the ridge, a new scene of astonishment presents itself; where the valley, lake, and islands, seeni lying at your feet'; where this expanse of water appears diminished to a little pool, amidst the vast and unmeasurable objects that surround it; for here the summits of more distant bills appear beyond those you have already seen; and, rising behind each other, in successive rauges, and azure groups
of craggy and broken steeps, form an homense and awful picture, which can only be expressed by the image of a tempestuous sea of mountains. Let me now conduct you down again to the valley, and conclure with one circumstance more; which is, that a walk by a still moonlight (at which time the distant waterfalls are heard in all their variety of sound) among these enchanting dales, opens such scenes of delicate beauty, lepose and solewnity, as exceed all description.
VIII.-Pity, an Allegory. IN the happy period of the golden age, when all the celestial inhabitants descended to the earth, and conversed
familiarly with mortals, among the most cherished of the heavenly powers, were twins, the offspring of Jupiter, Love and Joy. Wherever they appeared, the flowers sprung up beneath their feet, the sun shone with a brighter radiance, and all nature seemed embellished by their presence.
They were inseparable companions; and their growing attachment was favoured by Jupiter, who had decreed that a lasting union should be solemnizeri between them, so soon as they were arrived at maturer years. But, in the mean time, the sons of men deviated from their native innocence; vice vooruin overran the earth with giant strides ; and Astrea, with her train of celestial visitants, forsook their polluted abodes. Love aloue remained, having been stolen away by Hope, who was his nurse, and conveyed by her to the forests of Arcadia, where he was brought up anong the shepherds. But Jupiter assigned him a different partner, and commanded him to espouse SORROW, the daughter of Ate. He complied, with reluctance; for her features were harsh and disagreeable, her eyes sunk, her forehead contracted into perpetual wrinkles, and her temples were coyered with a wreath of cyprus and wormwood.
From this union sprang a virgin, in whom might be traced a strong resemblance to both her parents; but the sullen and unamiable features of her mother, were so mixed and blended with the sweetness of her father, that her countenance, though mournful, was highly pleasing. The maids and shepherds of the neighbouring plains gathered round, and called her Piry. A red breast was observed to build in the cabin where she was born ; and, while she was yet an infant, a dove, pursued by a hawk, flew into her. bosom. The nymph had a dejected appearance; but so soft and gentle a mein, that she was belored to a degree of enthusia
Her voice was low and plaintive, but inexpressibly sweet, and she loved to lie, for hours together, on the banks of some wild and melancholy streaın, singing to her lute. She taught men to weep, for she took a strange delijo in tears; and often, when the virgins of the hamlet were assem.. bled at their evening sports, she would steal in among them, and captivate their hearts by her tales, full of charming sad.
She wore on her head a garland, compose:l of her father's myrtles, twisted with her mother's cyprus.
One day, as she sat musing by the waters of Helicon, her tears by chance fell into tlie fountain, and ever since, the muse's spring has retained a strong taste of the infusion. Pity was commanded by Jupiter to follow the steps of her mother through the world, dropping balm into the wounds she made, and binding up the hearts she had broken. She follows with her hair loose, her bosom bare and throbbing, her garments torn by the briers, and her feet bleeding with the ronghness of the path. The nymph is mortal, for her mother is so; and when she has fulfilled her destined course upon the earth, they shall both expire together, and Love be again united to loy, his immortal and long betrothed bride,
IX.-Advantages of Commerce. THERE is no place in town which I so much love to frequent, as the Royal Exchange. It gives me a secret satisfaction, and in some measure gratifies my vanity, as I am an Englishman, to see so rich an assènıbly of my countrymen and foreigners, consulting together upon the private business of mankind, and making this metropolis a kind of emporium for the whole earth. I must confess I look upon High Change to be a grand council, in which all considerable nations have their representatives. Factors, in the trading world, are what ambassadors are in the politic world:
They negotiate affairs, conclude treaties, and maintain a good correspondence between those wealthy societies of men, that are divided from one another by seas and oceans, or live ' on the different extremities of a continent. I have often been pleased to hear disputes adjusted between an inhabitant of Japan and an alderman of London ; or 10 see a subject of the Great Mogul entering into a league with one of the Czar of Muscovy. I am infinitely delighted in mixing with these several ininisters of commerce, as they are distinguished by their different walks and different languages. Sometimes I am jostled among a body of Armenians; sometimes I am lost in a crowd of Jews, and sometimes make one in a group of Dutchmen., I am a Dane, Swede, or Freuchman, at different times, or rather fancy myself like the old philosopher, who, upon being asked what countryman he was, replied, that he was a citizen of the world.
Nature seems to have taken a particular care to disseminate her blessings anong the different regious of the world, with an eye to this mutual intercourse and traffic among mankind, that the natives of the several parts of the globe might have a kind of dependance upon one another, and be united together by their common interests. Almost every degree produces something peculiar to it. The food often grows in one country, and the sauce in another. The fruits of Portugal are corrected by the products of Barbadoes ; the infusion of a China plant sweetened with the pith of an Indian cane. The Philippine islands give a flavour to our European bowls. The single dress of a woman of quality is often the product of a hundred climates. The muff and the fan come together from the different ehds of the earth. The scarf is sent from the torrid zune, and the tippet froin beneath the pole. The brocade petticoat rises out of the unines of Peru, and the diamond necklace out of the bowels of lodostan.
If we consider our own country in its natural prospect, without any of the benefits and advantages of commerce, what a barren uncomfortable spot of the earth falls to our share ! Natural historian's tell us, that no fruit grows originally among us, besides hips and baws, acords and pignuts, with other delicacies of the like pature; that our climate, of itself, and without the assistance of art, can make no further advances towards a plum, than a sloe, and carries an apple to no greater perfection than a crab ; that our melons, our peaches, our figs, our apricots, and our cherries, are
strangers among us, imported in different ages, and naturalized in our English gardens; and that they would all degenerate and fall away into the trash of our own country, if they were wholly neglected by the planter, and left to the mercy of our sun and soil.
Nor has traffic more enriched our vegetable world, than it has improved the whole face of nature among us.
Our ships are laden with the harvest of every climate ; our tables are stored with spices, and oils, and wines ; our rooms are filled with pyrainids of China, and adorned with the workmanship of Japan; our morning's draught comes to us from the remotest corners of the earth; we repair our bodies by the drugs of America, and repose ourselves under Indian canopies. My friend, Sir Andrew, calls the vineyards of France, our gardens ; the spice islands, our hot beds; the Persians, our silk weavers; and the Chinese, our putters. Nature, indeed, furnishes us with the bare necessaries of life; but traffic gives us a great variety of what is useful, and at the same time, supplies us with every thing that is couvenient and ornamental. Nor is it the least part of this our happiness, that whilst we enjoy the remotest products of the north and south, we are free from those extremities of weather which give them birth; that our eyes are refreshed with the green fields of Britain, at the same time that our palates are feasted with fruits that rise between the trepics.
For these reasons, there are not more useful members in a commonwealth than merchants. They knit inankind together in a mutual intercourse of good offices, distribute the gifts of nature, find work for the poor, add wealth to the rich, and magnificence to the great. Our English merchant converts the tin of his own country into gold, and exchanges his wool for rubies. The Mahometans are clothed in our British manufacture, and the inhabitants of the frozen zone warmed with the fleeces of our sheep.
X.- On Public Speaking. MOST forcign writers who have given any character of the English nation, whatever vice they ascribe to it, allow, in general, that the people are naturally modest. It proceeds, perhaps, from this our national virtue, that our orators are observed to make use of less gesture or action than those of other countries. Our preachers stand stock still in the pulpit, and will not so much as move a finger to set off the best sermons in the world. We meet with the same speaking statues at our bars, and in all public places of debate. Our words flow from us in a smooth continued stream, without those strainings of the voice, motions of the body, and majesty of the hand, which are so much celebrated in the orators of Greece and Rome. We can talk of life and death in cold blood, and keep our temper in a discourse which turns upon every thing that is dear to us. Though our zeal breaks out in the finest tropes and figures, it is not able to stir a limb about us.
It is certain that proper gestures and exertions of the voice cannot be too much studied by a public orator. They are a kind of comment to what he utters; and enforces every thing he says, with weak hearers, better than the strongest argument he can make use of. They keep the audience awake, and fix their attention to what is delivered to them ; at the same time that they show the speaker is in earnest, and affected himself with what he so passionately recommends to others.
We are told that the great Latin orator very much impaired his health, by the vehemence of action with which he used to deliver himself. The Greek orator was likewise so very famous for this particular in rhetorir, that one of his antagonists, whom he had banished from Athens, reading over the oration which had procured his banishment, and seeing his friends admire it, could not forbear asking them -If they were so much affected by the bare reading of it, how much more they would have been alarmed, had they heard him actually throwing out such a storm of eloquence.
How cold and dead a figure, in comparison of these two great men, does an orator often make at the British bar, holding up his hea. with the most insipid serenity, and stroking the sides of a long wig that reaches down to his middle ! Nothing can be more ridiculous than the gestures of most of our English speakers. You see some of them running their hands into their pockets as far as ever they can thrust them, and others looking with great attention on a piece of paper that has nothing written on it; you may see many a smart rhetorician turning his hat in his hands, moulding it into several different cocks, examining sonuetimes the lining of it, and sometimes the button, during the whole course of his harangue. A deaf man would think he was cheapening a beaver ; when perhaps he was talking of the fate of the British nation. I remember, when I was a young man, and used to frequent Westminster hall, there was a