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vourite of Mars, or to carry on a correspondence between Bellona and the Marshal de Villars, would be downright puerility, and unpardonable in a poet that is past sixteen. It is want of sufficient eleva. tion in a genius to describe realities, and place them in a shining light, that makes him have recourse to such trifling antiquated fables ; as a man may write a fine description of Bacchus or Apollo, that does not know how to draw the character of any of his contemporaries.
In order therefore to put a stop to this absurd practice, I shall publish the following edict, by virtue of that spectatorial authority with which I stand invested.
"WHEREAS, the time of a general peace is, in all appearance, drawing near, being informed that there are several ingenious persons who intend to shew their talents on so happy an occasion, and being willing, as much as in me lies, to prevent that effusion of nonsense, which we have good cause to apprehend; I do hereby strictly require every person, who shall write on this subject, to remember that he is a christian, and not to sacrifice his cate. chism to his poetry. In order to it, I do expect of him in the first place, to make his own poem, with. out depending upon Phoebus for any part of it, or calling out for aid upon any one of the muses by name. I do likewise positively forbid the sending of Mercury with any particular message or dispatch relating to the peace, and shall by no means suffer Minerva to take upon her the shape of any plenipotentiary concerned in this great work. I do further declare, that I shall not allow the destinies to have had a hand in the deaths of the several thousands who have been slain in the late war, being of opi. nion that all such deaths may be very well accounted for by the christian system of powder and
ball. I do therefore strictly forbid the Fates to cut the thread of man's life upon any pretence whatsoever, unless it be for the sake of the rhyme. And whereas I have good reason to fear, that Neptune will have a great deal of business on his hands, in several poems which we may now suppose are upon the anvil, I do also prohibit his appearance, unless it be done in metaphor, simile, or any very short allu. sion, and that even here he be not permitted to enter but with great caution and circumspection. I desire that the same rule may be extended to his whole fraternity of heathen gods, it being my design to condemn every poem to the flames in which Jupiter thunders, or exercises any other act of authority which does not belong to him: in short, I expect that no Pagan agent shall be introduced, or any fact related which a man cannot give credit to with a good conscience. Provided always that nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to several of the female poets in this nation, who shall be still left in full possession of their gods and goddesses in the same manner as if this paper had never been written.'
No. DXXIV. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31.
Nos populo damus........
WHEN I first of all took it in my head to write dreams and visions, I determined to print nothing of that nature, which was not of my own invention. But several laborious dreamers have of late communicated to me works of this nature, which, for their reputations and my own, I have hitherto suppressed. Had I printed every one that came to my hands, my book of speculations would have been little else but a book of visions. Some of my correspondents have indeed been so very modest, as to offer at an excuse for their not being in a capacity to dream better. I have by me, for example, the dream of a young gen. tleman not past fifteen. I have likewise by me the dream of a person of quality, and another called the Lady's dream. In these, and other pieces of the same nature, it is supposed the usual allowances will be made to the age, condition and sex of the dreamer. To prevent this inundation of dreams, which daily flows in upon me, I shall apply to all dreamers of dreams, the advice which Epictetus has couched, after his manner, in a very simple and concise precept. • Never tell thy dream,' says that philosopher, • for though thou thyself mayest take a pleasure in telling thy dream, another will take no pleasure in hearing it. After this short preface, I must do justice to two or three visions which I have lately published, and which I have owned to have been written by other hands. I shall add a dream to these, which comes to me from Scotland, by one who declares himself of that country, and for all I know may be second-sighted. There is, indeed, something in it
of the spirit of John Bunyan ; but at the same time a certain sublime, which the author was never master of. I shall publish it, because I question not but it will fall in with the taste of all my popular readers, and amuse the imaginations of those who are more profound ; declaring at the same time, that this is the last dream which I intend to publish this season.
I WAS last Sunday in the evening led into a serious reflection on the reasonableness of virtue, and great folly of vice, from an excellent sermon I had heard that afternoon in my parish church. Among other observations, the preacher shewed us that the temptations which the tempter proposed, were all on a supposition, that we were either madmen or fools, or with an intention to render us such; that in no other affair we could suffer ourselves to be thus im. posed upon, in a case so plainly and clearly against our visible interest. His illustrations and arguments carried so much persuasion and conviction with them, that they remained a considerable while fresh, and working in my memory ; until at last the mind, fatigued with thought, gave way to the forcible oppressions of slumber and sleep, whilst fancy, unwilling yet to drop the subject, presented me with the following vision.
• Methought I was just awoke out of a sleep, that I could never remember the beginning of; the place where I found myself to be, was a wide and spacious plain, full of people that wandered up and down through several beaten paths, whereof some few were straight, and in direct lines, but most of them winding and turning like a labyrinth ; but yet it appeared to me afterwards, that these last all met in one issue, so that many that seemed to steer quite contrary
courses, did at length meet and face one another, to the no little amazement of many of them.
In the midst of the plain there was a great fountain : they called it the spring of Self-love ; out of it issued two rivulets to the eastward and westward ; the name of the first was Heavenly-wisdom, its water was wonderfully clear, but of a yet more wonderful effect; the other's name was Worldly-wisdom, its water was thick, and yet far from being dormant or stagnating, for it was in a continual violent agitation ; which kept the travellers, whom I shall mention by and by, from being sensible of the foulness and thickness of the water; which had this effect, that it intoxicated those who drunk it, and made them mistake every object that lay before them : both rivulets were parted near their springs into so many others, as there were straight and crooked paths, which they attended all along to their respective issues.
I observed from the several paths many now and then diverting, to refresh and otherwise qualify themselves for their journey, to the respective rivulets that ran near them : they contracted a very observable courage and steadiness in what they were about, by drinking these waters. At the end of the perspective of every straight path, all which did end in one issue and point, appeared a high pillar, all of diamond, casting rays as bright as those of the sun into the paths; which rays had also certain sympathizing and alluring virtues in them, so that whosoever had made some considerable progress in his journey onwards towards the pillar, by the repeated impression of the rays upon him, was wrought into an habitual inclination and conversion of his sight towards it, so that it grew at last in a manner natural to him to look and gaze upon it, whereby he was kept steady in the straight paths, which alone led to that radiant body, the beholding of which was now grown a gratification to his nature.