« ElőzőTovább »
as the sea, or ocean. I cannot see the heaving's of this prodigious bulk of waters, even in a calm, without a very pleasing astonishment; but when it is worked up in a tempest, so that the horizon on every side is nothing but foaming billows and floating mountains, it is impossible to describe the agreeable horror that rises from such a prospect. A troubled ocean, to a man who sails upon it, is, I think, the biggest object that he can see in motion, and consequently gives his imagination one of the highest kinds of pleasure that can arise from greatness. I must confess it is impossible for me to sur, vey this world of Auid matter, without thinking on the hand that first poured it out, and made a proper chanel for its reception. Such an object naturally raises in my thoughts the idea of an Almighty Being, and convinces me of his existence as much as a metaphysical demonstration. The imagination prompts the understanding, and, by the greatness of the sensible object, produces in it the idea of a Being who is neither circumscribed by time nor space.
As I have made several voyages upon the sea, I have often been tossed in storms, and on that occasion have frequently reflected on the descriptions of them in ancient poets. I remember Longinus highly recommends one in Homer, because the poet has not amused himself with little fancies upon the occasion, as authors of an inferior genius, whom he mentions, had done, but because he has gathered together those circumstances which are the most apt to terrify the imagination, and which really happen in the raging of a tempest. It is for the same reason that I prefer the following description of a ship in a storm, which the Psalmist has made, before any other I have ever met with. “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waters thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then they are glad, because they be quiet, so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."
"By the way, how much more comfortable, 'as well as rational, is this system of the Psalmist, than the Pagan scheme in Virgil and other poets, where one deity is represented as raising a storm, and another as laying it! Were we only to consider the sublime in this piece of poetry, what can be nobler than the idea it gives us of the Supreme Being thus raising a tumult among the elements, and recovering them out of their confusion; thus troubling and becalming nature ?
Great painters do not only give us landscapes of gardens, groves, and meadows, but very often employ their pencils upon sea-pieces. I could wish you would follow their example. If this small sketch may deserve a place among your works, I shall accompany it with a divine ode made by a gentleman upon the conclusion of his travels.
Made every region please!
How, with affrighted eyes,
In all its horrors rise !
“ Confusion dwelt in ev'ry face,
And fear in ev'ry heart; When waves on waves, and gulfs in gulfs O’ercame the pilot's art.
VI. “ Yet then from all my griefs, O Lord,
Thy mercy set me free,
My soul took hold on thee.
« For though in dreadful whirls we hung
High on the broken wave,
VIII. “ The storm was laid, the winds retird,
Obedient to thy will;
1x “ In midst of dangers, fears, and death,
Thy goodness I'll adore,
Thy sacrifice shall be; .
Shall join my soul to thee.”
N° 490. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 1712.
Domus et placens uxor.
HoR. 2 Od. xiv, 21.
CREECH. I HAVE very long entertained an ambition to make the word wife the most agreeable and delightful name in nature. If it be not so in itself, all the wiser part of mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, has consented in an error. But our unhappiness in England has been, that a few loose men of genius, for pleasure, have turned it all to the gratification of ungoverned desires, in despite of good sense, form, and order; when, in truth, any satisfaction beyond the boundaries of reason is but a step towards madness and folly. But is the sense of joy, and accomplishment of desire, no way to be indulged or attained? And have we appetites given us not to be at all gratified? Yes, certainly. Marriage is an institution calculated for a constant scene of as much delight as our being is capable of. Two persons who have chosen each other out of allthe species, with design to be each other's mutual comfort and entertainment, have in that action bound themselves to be good-humoured, affable, discreet, forgiving, patient, and joyful, with respect to each other's frailties and perfections, to the end of their lives. The wiser of the two(and it always hap. pens one of them is such) will, for her or his own sake, keep things from outrage with the utmost sanctity. When this union is thus preserved (as I have often said), the most indifferent circumstance administers delight. Their condition is an endless. source of new gratifications. The married man can say, “If Į am unacceptable to all the world beside, there is one whom I entirely love, that will receive me with
joy and transport, and think herself obliged to double her kindness and caresses of me from the gloom with which she sees me overcast. I need not dissemble the sorrow of my heart to be agreeable there ; that very sorrow quickens her affection.'
This passion towards each other, when once well fixed, enters into the very constitution, and the kindness flows as easily and silently as the blood in the veins. When this affection is enjoyed in the most sublime degree, unskilful eyes see nothing of it; but when it is subject to be changed, and has an allay in it that may make it end in distaste, it is apt to break into rage, or overflow into fondness, before the rest of the world.
Uxander and Viramira are amorous and young, and have been married these two years; yet do they so much distinguish each other in company, that in your conversation with the dear things, you are still put to a sort of cross-purposes. Whenever you address yourself in ordinary discourse to Viramira, she turns her head another way, and the answer is made to the dear Uxander. If you tell a merry tale, the application is still directed to her dear; and when she should commend you, she says to him, as if he had spoke it, “That is, my dear, so pretty. This puts me in mind of what I have somewhere read in the admired memoirs of the famous Cervantes; where, while honest Sancho Pancha is put ting some necessary humble question concerning Rosinante, his supper, or his lodging, the knight of the sorrowful countenance is ever improving the harmless lowly hints of his squire to poetical conceit, rapture, and flight, in contemplation of the dear Dulcinea of his affections. ,
On the other side, Dictamnus and Moria are ever squabbling: and you may observe them, all the time they are in company, in a state of impatience. As Uxander and Viramirą wish you all gone, that