Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

than it is proper for the world to be acquainted with. Those who are versed in the philosophy of Pythagoras, and swear by the Tetrachtys, that is, the number four, will know very well that the number ten, which is signified by the letter X, and which has so much perplexed the town, has in it many particular powers; that it is called by Platonic writers the complete number; that one, two, three, and four put together, make up the number ten; and that ten is all. But these are not mysteries for ordinary readers to be let into. A man must have spent many years in hard study before he can arrive at the knowledge of them.

We had a rabbinical divine in England, who was chaplain to the earl of Essex, in queen Elizabeth's time, that had an admirable head for secrets of this nature. Upon his taking the doctor of divinity's degree, he preached before the university of Cambridge, upon the first verse of the first chapter of the first book of Chronicles, in which,' says he, you have the three following words,

*Adam, Sheth, Enosh.' He divided this short text into many parts; and by discovering several mysteries in each word, made a most learned and elaborate discourse. The name of this profound preacher was Dr. Alabaster, of whom the reader may find a more particular account in Dr. Fuller's book of English worthies.* This instance will, I hope,

It seems the word Adam signifies in the Hebrew language, man; Sheth signifies placed; and Enosh, misery;

nce this profound doctor (to use the words of the histo

convince my readers, that there may be a great deal of fine writing in the capital letters which bring up the rear of my paper, and give them some satisfaction in that particular. But as for the full explication of these matters, I must refer them to time, which discovers all things. *

ADDISON.

[ocr errors]

rian referred to) “mined for a mystical meaning," and dug out this moral inference, that " Man is placed in mise. ry or pain.” See Fuller's Worthies of Suffolk, p. 70.

* In Steele's dedication of “ The Drummer" to Mr. Congreve, we find the following passage. — The editor (of Addison's Works, in 4to, Mr. Thomas Tickell] will not let me or any body else obey Mr. Addison's commands in hiding any thing he desires should be concealed. The circumstance of marking his Spectators (which I did not know till I had done with the work) I made my own act; because I thought it too great a sensibility in my friend, and thought it, since it was done, better to suppose it marked by me than the author himself, the real state of which this zealot rashly and injudiciously exposes, I ask the reader, whether any thing but an earnestness to disparage me, could provoke the editor in behalf of Mr. Addison to say, that he marked it out of caution against me, when I had taken upon me to say it was I that did it out of tenderness to him. It may be hence conjectured, that Steele put the as a mark to distinguish Addison's papers in the Guardian.

No. 222. WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14.

Cur alter fratrum cessare, et ludere, et ungi,
Praferat Herodis palmetis pinguibus — HOR.
Why, of two brothers, one his pleasure loves,
Prefers his sports to Herod's fragrant groves. CREECE.

6 MR. SPECTATOR,

THERE is one thing I have often looked for in your papers, and have as often wondered to find myself disappointed; the rather because I think it a subject every way agreeable to your design, and by being left unattempted by others, it seems reserved as a proper employment for you; I mean a disquisition, from whence it proceeds, that men of the brightest parts, and most comprehensive genius, completely furnished with talents for any province in human afiairs; such as by their wise lessons of economy to others, have made it evident that they have the justest notions of life, and of true sense in the conduct of it:from what unhappy contradictious cause it proceeds, that persons thus finished by nature and by art should so often fail in the management of that which they so well understand, and want the address to make a right application of their own rules. This is certainly a prodigious inconsistency in behaviour, and makes much such a figure in morals as a monstrous birth in naturals; with this difference only, which greatly aggravates the wonder, that it happens much more frequently; and what a blemish does it cast upon wit and

rning in the general account of the world? And in how disadvantageous a light does it ex.

pose them to the busy class of mankind, that there should be so many instances of persons who have so conducted their lives, in spite of these transcendant advantages, as neither to be happy in themselves, nor useful to their friends; when every body sees it was entirely in their own power to be eminent in both these characters? For my part, I think there is no reflection more astonishing, than to consider one of these gentlemen spending a fair fortune, running in every body's debt without the least apprehension of a future reckoning, and at last leaving, not only his own children, but possibly those of other people, by his means, in starving circumstances; while a fellow whom one would scarce suspect to have a human soul, shall perhaps.raise a vast estate out of nothing, and be the founder of a family capable of being very considerable in their country, and doing many illustrious services to it. That this observation is just, experience has put beyond all dispute. But, though the fact be so evident and glaring, yet the causes of it are still in the dark; which makes me persuade myself, that it would be no unacceptable piece of entertainment to the town, to inquire into the hidden sources of so unaccountable an evil. I am, sir,

Your most humble servant."

What this correspondent wonders at, has been matter of admiration ever since there was any such thing as human life. Horace reflects upon this inconsistency very agreeably in the character of Tigellius, (see No. 162) whom he makes a mighty pretender to economy, and tells you, you might one day hear him speak the most phi

losophic things imaginable concerning being contented with a little, and his contempt of every thing but mere necessaries, and in half a week af. ter spend a thousand pounds. When he says this of him with relation to expense, he describes him as unequal to himself in every other circumstance of life. And, indeed, if we consider lavish men carefully, we shall find it always proceeds from a certain incapacity of possessing themselves, and finding enjoyment in their own minds. Mr. Dryden has expressed this very excellently in the character of Zimri.*

A man so various, that he seem'd to be Not one, but all mankind's epitome. Stiff in opinion, always in the wrong, Was every thing by starts, and nothing long; But in the course of one revolving moon, Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon; Then all for women, painting, rhyming, drinking, Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking. Blest madman, who could every hour employ In something new to wish, or to enjoy! In squand'ring wealth was his peculiar art: Nothing went unrewarded but desert.' This loose state of the soul hurries the extravagant from one pursuit to another; and the reason that his expenses are greater than another's is, that his wants are also more numerous. But what makes so many go on in this way to their life's end is, that they certainly do not know how contemptible they are in the eyes of the rest of mankind, or rather, that indeed they are not so contemptible as they deserve. Tully says, it is the greatest wickedness to lessen your paternal

• Intended to characterize the Duke of Buckingham.

« AnteriorContinuar »