« 前へ次へ »
to a cat, many and many an assembly am I forced to endure; and though rest and composure are my peculiar joy, am worn out, and harrassed to death with journies by men and women of quality, who never take one, but when I can be of the party. Some, on a contrary extreme, will never receive me but in bed, where they spend at least half of the time I have to ftay with them; and others are so monstrously ill-bred as to take phyfic on purpose when they have reason to expect me. Those who keep upon terms of more politeness with me, are generally so cold and constrained in their behaviour, that I cannot but perceive myself an unwelcome guest : and even among persons delerying of esteem, and who certainly have a value for me, it is too evident that generally whenever I come I throw a dulness over the whole company, that I am entertained with a formal stiff civility, and that they are glad when I am fairly gone.
How bitter must this kind of reception be to one formed to inspire delight, admiration and love! To one capable of answering and rewarding the greatest warmth and delicacy of sentiments !
I was bred up among a set of excellent people, who affectionately loved me, and treated me with the utmost honour and respect. It would be tedious to relate the variety of my adventures, and strange vicissitudes of my fortune in many different countries. Here in England there was a time when I lived according to my heart's desire. Whenever I appeared, public assemblies appointed for-my reception were crowded with persons of quality and fashion, early dreft as for a court, to pay me their devoirs. Chearful hospitality every where crowned my board, and I was looked upon in every country parish as a kind of social bond between the 'squire, the parson, and the tenants. The laborious poor every where blest my appearance: they do so fill, and keep their best clothes to do me honour; though as much as I delight in the honest country folks, they do now and then throw a pot of ale at my head, and sometimes an unlucky boy will drive his cricketball full in my face,
Even in these my best days there were persons who thought me too demure and grave. I muít forsooth by all means be instructed by foreign masters, and taught to dance and play. This method of education was so contrary to my genius, formed for much nobler entertainments, that it did not fucceed at all.
I fell next into the hands of a very different set. They were so excessively scandalized at the gaiety of my appearance, as not only to despoil me of the foreign fopperies, the paint and the patches that I had. been tricked out with by my last misjudging tutors, but they robbed me of every innocent ornament I had from my infancy been used to gather in the fields and gardens; nay, they blacked my face, and covered me all over with a habit of mourning, and that too very coarse and awkward. I was now obliged to spend my whole life in hearing fermons; nor permitted so much as to smile upon any occasion.
In this melancholy disguise I became a perfect bugbear to all children and young folks. Wherever [ came there was a general hush, and immediate stop to all pleasantness of look or discourse; and not being permitted to talk with them in my own language at that time, they took such a disgust to me in those tedi. ous hours of yawning, that having transmitted it to their children, I cannot now be heard, though it is long since I have recovered my natural form, and pleafing tone of voice. Would they but receive my visits kindly, and listen to what I could tell them-let me say it without vanity-how charming a companion Tould I be! to every one could I talk on the subjects most interesting and most pleasing. With the great and ambitious, I would discourse of honours and advancements, of distinctions to which the whole world fhould be witness, of unenvied dignities and durable preferments. To the rich I would tell of inexhaustible treasures, and the sure method to attain them. I would teach them to put out their money on the best interest, and inftruct the lovers of pleasure how to secure and improve it to the highest degree. The beauty should learn of me how to preserve an everlasting bloom. To
the afflicted I would administer comfort, and relaxation to the busy.
As I dare promise myself you will attest the truth of all I have advanced, there is no doubt but many will be desirous of improving their acquaintance with me; and that I may not be thought too difficult, I will tell you, in short, how I wish to be received.
You must know I equally bate lazy idlenqss and hurry. I would every where be welcomed at a tolerably early hour with decent good-humour and gratitude. I must be attended in the great halls peculiarly appropriated to me with respect; but I do not infiit upon finery: propriety of appearance, and perfect neatness is all I require. I must at dinner, be treated with a temperate, but a chearful social meal; both the neighbours, and the poor should be the better for me. Some time I must have tête à tête with my kind entertainers, and the rest of my visit should be spent in pleasant walks and airings among sets of agreeable people, in such difcourse as I shall naturally dičtate, or in read ing some few selected out of those numberless books that are dedicated to me, and go by my name. A name that, alas ! as the world stands at present, makes them oftener thrown aside than taken up. As those conversations and books should be both well chofen, to give some advice on that head may possibly furnish you with a future paper, and any thing you thall offer on my behalf will be of great service to, Good Mr. Rambler, Your faithful Friend and Servant,
Religion and Superstition.
[Rambler, No. 44.]
T Had lately a very remarkable dream, which made 1 so strong an impression on me, that I remember it every word; and if you are not better employed, you may read the relation of it as follows..
Methought I was in the midst of a very entertaining set of company, and extremely delighted in attending to a lively conversation, when on a sudden I perceived one of the most shocking figures imagination can frame, advancing towards me. She was drest in black, her skin was contracted into a thousand wrinkles, her eyes deep funk in her head, and her complexion pale and livid as the countenance of death. Her looks were filled with terror and unrelenting severity, and her. hands armed with whips and scorpions. As soon as the came near, with a horrid frown, and a voice that chilled my very blood, the bid me follow her. I obeyed, and the led me through rugged paths, beset with briars and thorns, into a deep folitary valley. Wherever the passed the fading verdure withered beneath her steps; her peftilential breath infected the air with malignant vapours, obscured the lustre of the fun, and involved the fair face of heaven in universal gloom. Dismal howlings resounded through the forest, from every baleful tree the night-raven uttered his dreadful note, and the prospect was filled with desolation and horror. In the midlt of this tremendous scene my execrable guide addressed me in the following manner.
" Retire with me, O rafh unthinking mortal, from " the vain allurements of a deceitful world, and learn " that pleasure was not designed the portion of human « life. Man was born to mourn and to be wretched ; " this is the condition of all below the stars, and who. “ ever endeavours to oppose it acts in contradi&tion to “ the will of heaven. Fly then from the fatal en. “ chantments of youth and social delight, and here “ consecrate thy folitary hours to lamentation and woe. " Misery is the duty of all sublunary beings, and every “ enjoyment is an offence to the Deity, who is to be “ worshipped only by the mortification of every sense “ of pleasure, and the everlasting exercise of fighs and us tears."
This melancholy picture of life quite funk my fpirits, and seemed to annihilate every principle of joy within me. I threw myself beneath a blasted yeugb, . where the winds blew cold and dismal round my head,
and dreadful apprehensions chilled my heart. Here I resolved to lie till the hand of death, which I impatiently invoked, should put an end to the miseries of a life so deplorably wretched. In this sad situation I spied on one hand of-me a deep muddy river, whose heavy waves rolled on in slow sullen murmurs. Here I determined to plunge, and was just upon the brink, when I found myself suddenly drawn back. I turned about, and was surprised by the fight of the loveliest object I had ever beheld. The moft engaging charms of youth and beauty appeared in all her form ; effulgent glories sparkled in her eyes, and their awful splendors were softened by the gentlest looks of compassion and peace. At her approach, the frightful spectre, who had before tormented me, vanilhed away, and with her all the horrors she had caused. The gloomy clouds brightened into chearful sun-line, the groves recovered their verdure, and the whole region looked gay and blooming as the garden of Eden. I was quite transported at this unexpected change, and reviving pleasure began to glad my thoughts, when, with a look of inexpressible sweetness, my beauteous deliverer thus uttered her divine instructions.
“ My name is Religion. I am the offspring of " Truth and Love, and the parent of Benevo" LENCE, Hope and joy. That monster from whose " power I have freed you is called SUPERSTITION, " The is the child of DisCONTENT, and her followers “ are Fear and SORROW. Thus different as we are, ” she has often the insolence to assume my name and “ character, and seduces unhappy mortals to think s6 us the same, till the, at length, drives them to the " borders of DESPAIR, that dreadful abyss into which “ you were just going to fink,
Look round and survey the various beauties of " this globe, which heaven has destined for the seat of “ human race, and consider whether a world thus ex" quisitely framed could be ineant for the abode of " misery and pain. For what end has the lavish hand " of Providence diffused such innumerable objects of s delight, but that all night rejoice in the privilege