« 前へ次へ »
Each in his
money rattling, Insisting, arguing, and battling. One of them cried at last," A truce!
This point we will no longer moot; Wrangling for trifles is no use,
And thus we'll finish the dispute.That we may settle what we three owe,
We'll blindfold Sam, and whichsoe'er
He catches of us first, shall bear
When the three knaves, I needn't say,
Slipp'd down the stairs, and stole away. Poor Sam continued hard at work ;
Now o’er a chair he gets a fall, Now floundering forward with a jerk,
He bobs his nose against the wall ; And now encouraged by a subtle
Fancy that they're near the door,
He jumps behind it to explore,
Than, pouncing on him like a bruin,
He almost shook him into ruin, And with a shout of laughter said
By gom, I have cotch'd thee now! so down With cash for all, and my
half-crown.” Off went the bandage, and his eyes
Seem'd to be goggling o'er his forehead,
While his mouth widen'd with a horrid Look of agonized surprise. “ Gull!” roard his master—" Gudgeon! dunce ! Fool as you are, you 're right for once, "Tis clear that I must
But this one thought my wrath assuagesThat every halfpenny shall come
Out of your wages!”
H. ON THE AMUSEMENTS OF THE STUDIOUS.
EVERY class of men have some characteristic amusements to which they are attached. What is relaxation to one, is probably labour to another. A weaver, or any other “rude mechanical,” when he wishes to divert himself, takes a walk, a mode of enjoyment quite alien to the notions of an unfortunate two-penny postman. Amusement consists principally in the excitement which the mind experiences from a change of ideas ; and it is on this account that we so frequently find men taking pleasure in pursuits which appear entirely foreign to their usual habits and occupations. Thus we see the highest intellects delighting in trifles. Agesilaus diverting his children and himself with riding on a stick, and Scipio picking up shells on the sea-shore. This seems to be the reason why our poets do not carry their poetry into life, and why such a discrepancy exists between their biography and their verses. I need cite no instances, but for form's sake I will mention Young, who possessed nothing of that sombre character which appears in his poems.
Literary men, therefore, are often addicted to amusements which have nothing intellectual about them. Their object is to let their minds lie fallow, as a member of the agricultural committee would express himself; and they delight to abandon themselves to pleasures in which there is no waste of thought. Can any thing more completely childish be imagined than Dean Swift driving his friends the Sheridans before him through all the rooms of the deanery? So the confinement and study which the learned are compelled to undergo make them feelingly alive to the beauties of Nature. Perhaps a happier man could not be found in the world than Pope, when he was walking in his garden and superintending its improvements. From the same cause many of our literary men, like Charles Fox, have been much attached to the sports of the field; while those whose occupations are of a more stirring and boisterous nature are often insensible of such pleasures. At first sight it appears singular that such a man as Sir Philip Sidney should have disliked the sports of the chace, so fashionable too as they were in his day; and yet Osborn' tells us that he used to say, that next to hunting he liked hawking worst. The gallant Lord Herbert of Cherbury also had a distaste for hunting. In those chivalrous times a knight was glad to leave the saddle.
The scholars of antiquity were a jovial race of men; hearty good fellows, who were fond of all the boisterous pleasures of life. most virtuous, grave, and honest men,” says Plutarch, “ use feasts, jests, and toys, as we do sauce to our meals.” Even Socrates used to dance and sing. Scipio and Lælius, we know, were accustomed
“ discineti ludere donec
Decoqueretur olus." Mæcenas was fond of his sports; and if Virgil and Horace did not join in them, it was their infirmity which prevented them :
“ Lusum it Mæcenas: dormitum ego Virgiliusque ;
Namque pila lippis inimicum, et ludere crudis." VOL. VII. NO. XXV.
Dancing appears to have been a great amusement with the learned of antiquity; and, in truth, it is a most scholarlike diversion. Lucian, in his book de Saltatione, confesses that he took infinite delight in singing, dancing, and music; and even the grave Scaliger acknowledges that he was unmeasureably affected with music, and that he took much pleasure in beholding dances. Cicero, it is true, has told us that nemo saltat sobrius, a maxim in which the literati of modern times seem to coincide. There is certainly no amusement in which so much exercise may be compressed within so short a time as dancing, and I would therefore propose it to our savans as a most desirable accomplishment. Would it not be well to institute a sort of Literary Almack's ? The advantages which might be derived from such an assembly are incalculable. The author and the reviewer would forget their mutual heartburnings in thus mingling in the same festive scene; and the injuries inflicted by the Edinburgh and the Quarterly would be redressed in the mazes of“ L'Eté” or “ La Poule.” What might not be expected from the keen encounter of so many wits ? Nay, what fond attachments might not arise between our most celebrated writers; and what prodigies of future genius might not the world thus promise itself! Then, again, what hints for histories, what embryos of epics, what skeletons of romances, might not be found at such an assembly; and how pleasantly contrasted would it be with the venerable dulness of the Royal Society's meetings ! There are many other exercises also which are peculiarly fitted for our literati, who, as their business is reflection, should make action their amusement. Upon this point, I cannot do better than transcribe the advice of one of our own old chivalrous scholars. " It will be good also for a gentleman to learn to leap, wrestle, and vault on horseback, they being all of them qualities of great use.”
It must not be supposed, because some instances may be found of men of letters who have been averse to violent exercises or lively amusements, that therefore my theory is incorrect. In general, such instances are where the men have been of weak constitutions or sickly habits ; as, unfortunately, has been the case with too many of our scholars. Pope was feeble and wretched all his life ; and would have been annihilated had he ventured to go a-hunting. Gibbon suffered much from ill-health; and his greatest pleasure, therefore, was pacing quietly up and down his garden. Gray, who was a nervous man, was lady-like in his amusements, and could fancy no higher gratification than to lie at full length on a sofa or a bench reading novels. Beattie has represented his young Minstrel as shunning the ruder sports of his companions; and that melancholy retiring disposition often distinguishes the temperament of genius ; but, at the same time, it is frequently accompanied with weakness or ill-health. Sir William Jones, too, passed a sickly childhood. If Johnson's habits were sedentary, both from the want of faculties for exercise and the cumbrousness of his person, it must be remembered, that he has sufficiently recorded the delight which violent motion was capable of affording him, in his well-known remark," that life contained nothing better than the excitation produced by being hurried along at full speed in a post-chaise. We could mention more than one grave and learned judge, or solemn statesman, “è consiliis secretioribus regis,” who have taken no small delight in cheering the hounds and tracking the footsteps of the hare; indeed, it has been boldly stated, that so enamoured of his gun, on one occasion, was a certain distinguished dignitary of the law, that he actually hurried to the field, without taking the usual preliminary step of procuring a license. Even the great pillars of our church have often been “mighty hunters.” In the good old times the king, on the death of a bishop, was entitled to his best pack of hounds. At least, as late as James the First's time, our dignified churchmen did not scruple to indulge in the sports of the field, as may be learned from the case of Archbishop Abbott, who had the misfortune to kill one of the foresters while he was hunting. But I hasten to more gentle amusements.
Far, far above every other delight of intellectual spirits, is the charm of music. It is the language of the feelings. Who is there, that in listening to an old and remembered air, has not found his heart as audibly addressed, as when his ear has been greeted by the voice of a valued and early friend? I often think that many of the finest passages in Shakspeare have precisely the same effect on the mind as beautiful music—they go directly to the feelings without the interposition of the judgment. That the master-dramatist himself knew and acknowledged the power of music, is evident in every part of his writings; and that he thought it a worthy amusement for the leisure-hours of the studious, should appear from the lines-
“ Music was given to sooth the mind of man
After his studies, and relieve his cares." Indeed, there is a refreshment in its tones which seems to me the most reviving thing in the world. There is certainly no charm like music to a weary spirit;" and though I do not go the length of the learned Scriblerus, in the belief of its influence over the human mind, yet I do think that it is a relaxation eminently suited to the literary character, and as such I would have our scholars cultivate a taste for it. I do not recommend them to study the science and the practice of it so deeply as Gargantua, who “ learned to play upon the lute, the virginals, the harp, the Allman flute with nine holes, the viol, and the sackbut," but I am sure that, if they choose to cultivate it, they will soon find the delight and advantage of a musical taste. Fine music is the most excellent composer of the spirits
“ A solemn air is the best comforter
To an unsettled fancy.” Like sleep, it takes full possession of the mind, and restores it to its tone more delightfully than sleep. To a poetical temperament music has a still more exquisite relish ; for it begets all those feelings which are at once the parent and the offspring of poetry.
“ Music and poetry," says Shakspeare, linking them together, “ used to quicken you." The loftiest of all our bards was passionately attached to this science. “ His early and frugal dinner succeeded, and when it was finished, he resigned himself to the recreation of music, by which he found his mind at once gratified and restored. Of music he was particularly fond, and both with its science and its practice he was more than superficially acquainted. He could compose, as Richardson says it was reported; and with his voice, which was delicately sweet and harmonious, he would frequently accompany the instruments on which he
played, the bass viol or the organ
* Indeed, after he had become blind, his ears, as Richardson says, became eyes to him, and on hearing a lady sing, “Now will I swear,” says he, “this lady is handsome." In his tractate on education he strongly recommends music after meals ; a practice, of which, Sir William Jones tells us, he has, from his own experience found the advantaget. Many other illustrious names might be mentioned, who amidst their graver studies have mingled the charms of music. To such blandishments, indeed, Samuel Johnson always refused to submit himself; or rather he appears to have been perfectly insensible to the “ touches of sweet harmony.” I have always accounted this a great defect in his character. The bitterness of Mrs. Thrale's marriage must have been exceedingly enhanced to him by her becoming the wife of a music-master.
By way of opposition to the delights of music, which is undoubtedly the most intellectual of all the pleasures to which the senses serve as avenues, I may mention the enjoyments of the table. Now, it must be confessed, that the literati, as a body, are by no means insensible of the kindness which Nature has shown to man in spreading for him so abundant a banquet of cates and delicacies. If I mistake not, the habits of literary occupation rather induce a disposition to good-fellowship and joviality at those seasons when the mind is released from its bondage ; and, accordingly, we find in the lives and writings of our poets not a few symptoms of their attachment to the fruits of the earth. So the lawyers-than whom, I believe, no set of men exchange with more zest the pen for the knife and fork. Nay, philosophers themselves have been but too often vanquished with the charms of stewed lampreys, and the sparkling graces of their wine-cups. “Neither the greatest captains, nor the greatest philosophers," says one who was a perfect philosopher in his way," have disdained either the use or science of eating well.” The same candid writer has told us how keen he was himself in the use of the knife and fork—no, I mistake-of his fingers. “ 'Tis indecent, besides the hurt it does to one's health, to eat so greedily as I do: I often bite my tongue, and sometimes my fingers, for haste f."-I am not aware that any of your English authors are very celebrated for their powers of digestion. Thomson was, certainly, an epicure-an indolent epicure—and would lie in bed till some favourite dish was announced to be on the table. Swift was fond of good-living, but his health would not suffer him to indulge in it. When he had been too fond of eating fruits, and the proverb which he made when walking through a friend's garden, shows some remains of his former taste
“ Pluck a peach,
When it's in your reach.” Unfortunately the Dean, in his boyhood, had plucked 100 many, and the effects of an attack from eating stone-fruit never left him in after-life. Thomson, by the by, used not to pluck the peaches, but would stand with his hands behind him, eating them as they grew
* Symmons's Life of Milton, p. 575.
+ In his Utopia, Sir Thomas More recommends music at meal-times. Lord Herbert of Cherbury tells us he learned music “ to refresh his mind after his studies."