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our wishes to live, while she lessens our enjoy- serve to bind us closer to earth, and embitter our ments; and, as she robs the senses of every plea-parting. Life sues the young like a new acquaintsure, equips imagination in the spoil ? Life would ance; the companion, as yet unexhausted, is at be insupportable to an old man, who, loaded with once instructive and amusing; its company pleases; intirmities, feared death no more than when in the yet, for all this, it is but little regarded. To us vigour of manhood; the numberless calamities of who are declined in years, life appears like an old decaying nature, and the consciousness of surviv-friend; its jests have been anticipated in former ing every pleasure, would at once induce him, with conversation; it has no new story to make us his own hand, to terminate the scene of misery; smile; no new improvement with which to surbut happily the contempt of death forsakes him, at prise; yet still we love it: destitute of every enjoy. a time when it could be only prejudicial; and life ment, still we love it; husband the wasting treaacquires an imaginary value, in proportion as its sure with increased frugality, and feel all the poig. real value is no more.
nancy of anguish in the fatal separation. Our attachment to every object around us in- Sir Philip Mordaunt was young, beautiful, sincreases, in general, from the length of our acquaint-cere, brave, an Englishman. He had a complete ance with it. "I would not choose," says a French fortune of his own, and the love of the king his philosopher, "to see an old post pulled up, with master, which was equivalent to riches. Life openwhich I had been long acquainted.” A mind long ed all her treasure before him, and promised a long habituated to a certain set of objects, insensibly succession of future happiness. He came, tasted becomes fond of seeing them; visits them from of the entertainment, but was disgusted even in habit, and parts from them with reluctance; from the beginning. He professed an aversion to livhence proceeds the avarice of the old in every kind ing; was tired of walking round the same circle; of possession. They love the world and all that had tried every enjoyment, and found them all grow it produces; they love life and all its advantages; weaker at every repetition. “If life be in youth so not because it gives them pleasure, but because they displeasing,” cried he to himself, "what will it aphave known it long.
pear when age comes on? if it be at present indifChinvang the Chaste, ascending the throne of ferent, sure it will then be execrable.” Thisthought China, commanded that all who were unjustly de-embittered every reflection ; till at last, with all the tained in prison, during the preceding reigns, serenity of perverted reason, he ended the debate should be set free. Among the number who came with a pistol! Had this self-deluded man been to thank their deliverer on this occasion, there ap- apprised, that existence grows more desirable to us peared a majestic old man, who, falling at the em- the longer we exist, he would have then faced old peror's feet, addressed him as follows: "Great age without shrinking, he would have boldly dared father of China, behold a wretch, now eighty-five to live, and served that society by his future assiyears old, who was shut up in a dungeon at the duity, which he basely injured by his desertion. age of twenty-two. I was imprisoned though a Adieu. stranger to crime, or without being even confronted by my accusers. I have now lived in solitude and darkness for more than fifty years, and am grown familiar with distress. As yet, dazzled with
LETTER LXXIV. the splendour of that sun to which you have re- From Lien Chi Allangi, to Fum Hoam, First President of the stored me, I have been wandering the streets to
Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. find some friend that would assist, or relieve, or remember me; but my friends, my family, and rela- In reading the newspapers here, I have reckontions, are all dead, and I am forgotten. Permit me, ed up not less than twenty-five great men, seventhen, 0 Chinvang, to wear out the wretched re-teen very great men, and nine very extraordinary mains of life in my former prison: the walls of my men, in less than the compass of half a-year. dungeon are to me more pleasing than the most " These,” say the gazettes, "are the men that possplendid palace; I have not long to live, and shall terity are to gaze at with admiration; these the be unhappy except I spend the rest of my days names that fame will be employed in holding up where my youth was passed—in that prison from for the astonishment of succeeding ages." Let me which you were pleased to release me.”
see—forty-six great men in half a-year, amount The old man's passion for confinement is simi- just to ninety-two in a year. I wonder how poslar to that we all have for life. We are habituated terity will be able to remember them all, or whether to the prison, we look round with discontent, are the people, in future times will have any other bu. displeased with the abode, and yet the length of siness to mind, but that of getting the catalogue by our captivity only increases our fondness for the heart. cell. The trees we have planted, the houses we Does the mayor of a corporation make a speech? have built, or the posterity we have begotten, all he is instantly set down for a great man. Does a
pedant digest his common-place book into a folio ? | praise; and straight, whether statesman or author, he quickly becomes great. Does a poet string up he is set down in the list of fame, continuing to trite sentiments in rhyme ? he also becomes the be praised while it is fashionable to praise, or great man of the hour. How diminutive soever while he prudently keeps his minuteness conceal. the object of admiration, each is followed by a ed from the public. crowd of still more diminutive admirers. The I have visited many countries, and have been in shout begins in his train, onward he marches to- cities without number, yet never did I enter a town wards immortality, looks back at the pursuing crowd which could not produce ten or twelve of those with self satisfaction; catching all the oddities, the little great men; all fancying themselves known whimsies, the absurdities, and the littleness of con- to the rest of the world, and complimenting each scious greatness, by the way.
other upon their extensive reputation. It is amusI was yesterday invited by a gentleman to din- ing enough when two of those domestic prodigies ner, who promised that our entertainment should of learning mount the stage of ceremony, and give consist of a haunch of venison, a turtle, and a and take praise from cach other. I have been pregreat man. I came according to appointment. sent when a German doctor, for having pronounced The venison was fine, the turtle good, but the great a panegyric upon a certain monk, was thought the man insupportable. The moment I ventured to most ingenious man in the world: till the monk speak, I was at once contradicted with a snap. I soon after divided this reputation by returning the attempted, by a second and a third assault, to re- compliment; by which means they both marched trieve my lost reputation, but was still beat back off with universal applause. with confusion. I was resolved to attack him once The same degree of undeserved adulation that more from intrenchment, and turned the conver-attends our great man while living often also folsation upon the government of China: but even lows him to the tomb. It frequently happens that here he asserted, snapped, and contradicted as be one of his little admirers sits down big with the imfore. “Heavens," thought I, “this man pretends portant subject, and is delivered of the history of to know China even better than myself!" I look- his life and writings. This may properly be called ed round to see who was on my side ; but every the revolutions of a life between the fire-side and eye was fixed in admiration on the great man: I the easy-chair. therefore at last thought proper to sit silent, and In this we learn, the year in which he was act the pretty gentleman during the ensuing con-born, at what an early age he gave symptoms of versation.
uncommon genius and application, together with When a man has once secured a circle of ad- some of his smart sayings, collected by his aunt and mirers, he may be as ridiculous here as he thinks mother, while yet but a boy. The next book inproper; and it all passes for elevation of sentiment, troduces him to the university, where we are inor learned absence. If he transgresses the com- formed of his amazing progress in learning, his mon forms of breeding, mistakes even a tea-pot for excellent skill in darning stockings, and his new a tobacco-box, it is said that his thoughts are fixed invention for papering books to save the covers. on more important objects; to speak and to act like He next makes his appearance in the republic of the rest of mankind, is to be no greater than they. letters, and publishes his folio. Now the colossus There is something of oddity in the very idea of is reared, his works are eagerly bought up by all greatness; for we are seldom astonished at a thing the purchasers of scarce books. The learned sovery much resembling ourselves.
cieties invite him to become a member; he disWhen the Tartars make a Lama, their first putes against some foreigner with a long Latin care is to place him in a dark corner of the tem-name, conquers in the controversy, is complimentple: here he is to sit half concealed from view, to ed by several authors of gravity and importance, is regulate the motion of his hands, lips, and eyes; excessively fond of egg-sauce with his pig, becomes but
, above all, he is enjoined gravity and silence president of a literary club, and dies in the meriThis, however, is but the prelude to his apotheo-dian of his glory. Happy they who thus have sis: a set of emissaries are despatched among the some little faithful attendant, who never forsakes people, to cry up his picty, gravity, and love of them but prepares to wrangle and to praise against raw fiesh; the people take them at their word, ap- every opposer ; at once ready to increase their pride proach the Lama, now become an idol, with the while living, and their character when dead. For most humble prostration ; he receives their address- you and I, my friend, who have no humble ades without motion, commences a god, and is ever mirer thus to attend us, we, who neither are, nor after fed by his priests with the spoon of immor- ever will be, great men, and who do not much tality. The same receipt in this country serves to care whether we are great men or no, at least let make a great man. The idol only keeps close, us strive to be honest men, and to have common sends out his little emissaries to be hearty in his sense. Adieu.
antidote should be changed accordingly-should LETTER LXXV.
still be new. From the Same.
Instead, therefore, of thinking the number of
new publications here too great, I could wish it still There are numbers in this city who live by greater, as they are the most useful instruments of writing new books : and yet there are thousands of reformation. Every country must be instructed volumes in every large library unread and forgot- either by writers or preachers; but as the number ten. This, upon my arrival, was one of those of readers increases, the number of hearers is procontradictions which I was unable to account for. portionably diminished, the writer becomes more " Is it possible,” said I, “that there should be any useful, and the preaching Bonze less necessary. demand for new books, before those already pub- Instead, therefore, of complaining that writers lished are read? Can there be so many employed are overpaid, when their works procure them a bare in producing a commodity with which the mar- subsistence, I should imagine it the duty of a state, ket is already over-stocked: and with goods also not only to encourage their numbers, but their inbetter than any of modern manufacture ?" dustry. A Bonze is rewarded with immense riches
What at first view appeared an inconsistence, is for instructing only a few, even of the most ignoa proof at once of this people's wisdom and refine- rant of the people; and sure the poor scholar should ment. Even allowing the works of their ances- not beg his bread, who is capable of instructing a tors to be better written than theirs, yet those of million. the moderns acquire a real value by being marked Of all rewards, I grant, the most pleasing to a with the impression of the times. Antiquity has man of real merit, is fame; but a polite age, of al been in the possession of others; the present is our times, is that in which scarcely any share of merit own: let us first therefore learn to know what be- can acquire it. What numbers of fine writers in longs to ourselves, and then, if we have leisure, the latter empire of Rome, when refinement was cast our reflections back to the reign of Shonou, carried to the highest pitch, have missed that fame who governed twenty thousand years before the and immortality which they had fondly arrogated creation of the moon.
to themselves! How many Greek authors who wrote The volumes of antiquity, like medais, may very at that period when Constantinople was the refined well serve to amuse the curious; but the works of mistress of the empire, now rest, either not printthe moderns, like the current coin of a kingdom, ed, or not read, in the libraries of Europe! Those are much better for immediate use : the former are who came first, while either state as yet was laroften prized above their intrinsic value, and kept barous, carried all the reputation away. Authors, with care; the latter seldom pass for more than as the age refined, became more numerous and
they are worth, and are often subject to the merci- their numbers destroyed their fame. It is but · less hands of sweating critics and clipping compi- natural, therefore, for the writer, when conscious
lers: the works of antiquity were ever praised, that his works will not procure him fame hereafter, those of the moderns read: the treasures of our to endeavour to make them turn out to his temancestors have our esteem, and we boast the pas- poral interest here. sion: those of contemporary genius engage our Whatever be the motives which induce men to heart, although we blush to own it. The visits we write, whether avarice or fame, the country bepay the former resemble those we pay the great, comes most wise and happy, in which they must the ceremony is troublesome, and yet such as we serve for instructors. The countries where sacerwould not choose to forego ; our acquaintance with dotal instruction alone is permitted, remain in igmodern books is like sitting with a friend, our norance, superstition, and hopeless slavery. In Enpride is not flattered in the interview, but it gives gland, where there are as many new books published more internal satisfaction.
as in all the rest of Europe together, a spirit of freeIn proportion as society refines, new books must dom and reason reigns among the people; they ever become more necessary. Savage rusticity is have been often known to act like fools; they are reclaimed by oral admonition alone: but the elegant generally found to think like men. excesses of refinement are best corrected by the The only danger that attends a multiplicity of still voice of studious inquiry. In a polite age, al- publications is, that some of them may be calculated most every person becomes a reader, and receives to injure rather than benefit society. But where more instruction from the press than the pulpit. writers are numerous, they also serve as a check The preaching Bonze may instruct the illiterate upon each other; and perhaps, a literary inquisipeasant ; but nothing less than the insinuating ad- tion is the most terrible punishment that can be dress of a fine writer can win its way to a heart al- conceived to a literary transgressor. ready relaxed in all the effeminacy of refinement. But to do the English justice, there are but few Books are necessary to correct the vices of the po- offenders of this kind; their publications in general lite; but those vices are ever changing, and the aim at mending either the heart, or improving the
commonweal. The dullest writer talks of virtue, lley of the Graces: the one adorned with all that and liberty, and benevolence, with esteem; tells his luxuriant nature could bestow; the fruits of vatrue story, filled with good and wholesome advice; rious climates adorned the trees, the grove resoundwarns against slavery, bribery, or the bite of a maded with music, the.gale breathed perfume, every dog; and dresses up his little useful magazine of charm that could arise from symmetry and exact knowledge and entertainment, at least with a good distribution were here conspicuous, the whole ofintention. The dunces of France, on the other fering a prospect of pleasure without end. The band, who have less encouragement, are more vi- Valley of the Graces, on the other hand, seemed by cious. Tender hearts, languishing eyes, Leonora no means so inviting; the streams and the groves in love at thirteen, ecstatic transports, stolen blisses, appeared just as they usually do in frequented are the frivolous subjects of their frivolous memoirs. countries: no magnificent parterres, no concert in In England, if an obscene blockhead thus breaks the grove, the rivulet was edged with weeds, and in on the community, he sets his whole fraternity the rook joined its voice to that of the nightingale. in a roar; nor can he escape, even though he should All was simplicity and nature. fly to nobility for shelter.
The most striking objects ever first allure the Thus even dunces, my friend, may make them- traveller. I entered the Region of Beauty with selves useful. But there are others, whom nature increased curiosity, and promised myself endless bas blessed with talents above the rest of mankind; satisfaction in being introduced to the presiding men capable of thinking with precision, and im- goddess. I perceived several strangers, who entered pressing their thought with rapidity; beings who with the same design; and what surprised me not diffuse those regards upon mankind, which others a little, was to see several others hastening to leave contract and settle upon themselves. These deserve this abode of seeming felicity. every honour from that community of which they After some fatigue, I had at last the honour of besre more peculiarly the children; to such I would ing introduced to the goddess who represented give my heart, since to them I am indebted for its Beauty in person. She was seated on a throne, at humanity! Adieu.
the foot of which stood several strangers, lately introduced like me, all regarding her form in ecstasy. “Ah, what eyes! what lips! how clear her com
plexion! how perfect her shape !" At these exclaLETTER LXXVI.
mations, Beauty, with downcast eyes, would en
deavour to counterfeit modesty, but soon again From Hingpo to Lien Chi Altangi, by the way of Moscow.
looking round as if to confirm every spectator in I still remain at Terki, where I have received his favourable sentiments; sometimes she would that money which was remitted here in order to re- attempt to allure us by smiles; and at intervals kease me from captivity. My fair companion still im- would bridle back, in order to inspire us with proses in my esteem; the more I know her mind, respect as well as tenderness. her beauty becomes more poignant; she appears This ceremony lasted for some time, and had so charming, even among the daughters of Circassia. much employed our eyes, that we had forgot all
Yet were I to examine her beauty with the art this while that the goddess was silent. We soon, of a statuary, I should find numbers here that far bowever, began to perceive the defect. “What!" surpass her; nature has not granted her all the said we, among each other, "are we to have nothing bwasted Circassian regularity of feature, and yet but languishing airs, soft looks, and inclinations she greatly exceeds the fairest of the country in the of the head; will the goddess only deign to satisfy art of seizing the affections. “Whence,” have 1 our eyes?” Upon this one of the company stepped often said to myself, “ this resistless magic that at- up to present her with some fruits he had gathered tends even moderate charms? though I regard the by the way. She received the present most sweetly beauties of the country with admiration, every in- smiling, and with one of the whitest hands in the terview weakens the impression, but the form of world, but still not a word escaped her lips. Zelis grows upon my imagination; I never behold I now found that my companions grew weary her without an increase of tenderness and respect. of their homage; they went off one by one, and reWhence this injustice of the mind, in preferring solving not to be left behind, 1 offered to go in my imperfect beauty to that which nature seems to have turn, when, just at the door of the temple, I was finished with care. Whence the infatuation, that called back by a female, whose name was Pride, he whom a comet could not amaze, should be as- and who seemed displeased at the behaviour of the tonished at a meteor?" When reason was thus company. “Where are you hastening ?” said she fatigued to find an answer, my imagination pursu- to me with an angry air; “the Goddess of Beauty ed the subject, and this was the result.
is here."'"I have been to visit her, madam,” reI fancied myself placed between two landscapes, plied I, “and find her more beautiful even than this called the Region of Beauty, and that the Val- report had made her.”_" And why then will you
leave her ?" added the female. "I have seen her called beautiful under any one of these forms, but long enough,” returned I, "I have got all her fea- by combining them all she becomes irresistibly tures by heart. Her eyes are still the same. Her pleasing." Adieu. nose is a very fine one, but it is still just such a nose now as it was half an hour ago: could she throw a little more mind into her face, perhaps I should be for wishing to have more of her company."
LETTER LXXVII. “What signifies," replied my female, "whether From Lien Chi Alangi to Fum Hoam, First President of the she has a mind or not; has she any occasion for a Ceremonial Academy at Pekin, in China. mind, so formed as she is by nature ? If she had a common face, indeed, there might be some reason
The shops of London are as well furnished as for thinking to improve it; but when features are
those of Pekin. Those of London have a picture already perfect, every alteration would but impair hung at their door, informing the passengers what them. A fine face is already at the point of per
they have to sell, as those at Pekin have a board, fection, and a fine lady should endeavour to keep to assure the buyer that they have no intention to
cheat him. it so: the impression it would receive from thought would but disturb its whole economy."
I went this morning to buy silk for a nightcap: To this speech I gave no reply, but made the immediately upon entering the mercer's shop, the best of my way to the Valley of the Graces. Here master and his two men, with wigs plastered with I found all those who before had been my com
powder, appeared to ask my commands. They panions in the Region of Beauty, now upon the were certainly the civilest people alive: if I but same errand.
looked, they flew to the place where I cast my eye; As we entered the valley, the prospect insensibly every motion of mine sent them running round the seemed to improve; we found every thing so na
whole shop for my satisfaction. I informed them tural, so domestic, and pleasing, that our minds,
that I wanted what was good, and they showed me which before were congealed in admiration, now not less than forty pieces, and each was better than relaxed into gaiety and good-humour. We had the former, the prettiest pattern in nature, and the designed to pay our respects to the presiding god- fittest in the world for nightcaps. "My very good dess, but she was no where to be found. One of friend,” said I to the mercer, "you must not preour companions asserted, that her temple lay to the tend to instruct me in silks ; I know these in parright; another, to the left; a third insisted that it ticular to be no better than your mere flimsy Bunwas straight before us; and a fourth, that we had gees.”—“That may be,” cried the mercer
, who left it behind. In short, we found every thing fa- ! afterwards found had never contradicted a man miliar and charming, but could not determine in his life ; "I can not pretend to say but they may; where to seek for the Grace in person.
but, I can assure you, my Lady Trail has had a In this agreeable incertitude we passed several sack from this piece this very morning.”—“But, hours, and though very desirous of finding the god- friend,” said I, “though my lady has chosen a sack dess, by no means impatient of the delay. Every from it
, I see no necessity that I should wear it for part of the valley presented some minute beauty, a nightcap.”—"That may be,” returned he again, which, without offering itself, at once stole upon yet what becomes a pretty lady, will at any time the soul, and captivated us with the charms of our
look well on a handsome gentleman.” This short retreat. Still, however, we continued to search, compliment was thrown in so very seasonably upon and might still have continued, had we not been my ugly face, that, even though I disliked the silk, interrupted by a voice, which, though we could not I desired him to cut off the pattern of a nightcap. see from whence it came, addressed us in this man
While this business was consigned to his journer: “If you would find the Goddess of Grace, neyman, the master himself took down some pieres seek her not under one form, for she assumes a
of silk still finer than any I had yet seen, and thousand. Ever changing under the eye of inspec- spreading them before me, “There,” cries be, tion, her variety, rather than her figure, is pleasing.
" there's beauty; my Lord Snakeskin has hespoke In contemplating her beauty, the eye glides over the fellow to this for the birthnight this very mornevery perfection with giddy delight, and, capable ing; it would look charmingly in waistcoats." — of fixing no where, is charmed with the whole.
“But I don't want a waistcoat,” replied I. "Not She is now Contemplation with solemn look, again want a waistcoat!" returned the mercer, "then I Compassion with humid eye; she now sparkles would advise you to buy one; wben waistcoats are with joy, soon every feature speaks distress; her wanted you may depend upon it they will come dear. looks at times invite our approach, at others repress Always buy before you want, and you are sure our presumption: the goddess can not be properly to be well used, as they say in Cheapside.” There
was so much justice in his advice, that I could not * Vultus nimium lubricus aspici.- Hor.
refuse taking it; besides, the silk, which was really