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going into one of these holy houses on that day, I could not observe any circumstance of devotion in their behaviour : there was, indeed, a man in black who was mounted above the rest, and seemed to utter something with a great deal of vehemence; but as for those underneath him, instead of paying their worship to the deity of the place, they were most of them bowing and curtseying to one another, and a considerable number of them fast asleep.
“The queen of the country appointed two men to attend us, that had enough of our language to make themselves understood in some few particulars. But we soon perceived these two were great enemies to one another, and did not always agree in the same story. We could make a shift to gather out of one of them, that this island was very much infested with a monstrous kind of animals, in the shape of men, called Whigs; and he often told us, that he hoped we should meet with none of them in our way, for that, if we did, they would be apt to knock us down for being kings.
“Our other interpreter used to talk very much of a kind of animal called a Tory, that was as great a monster as the Whig, and would treat us as ill for being foreigners. These two creatures, it seems, are born with a secret antipathy to one another, and engage when they meet as naturally as the elephant and the rhinoceros. But as we saw none of either of these species, we are apt to think that our guides deceived us with misrepresentations and fictions, and amused us with an account of such monsters as are not really in their country.
“ These particulars we made a shift to pick out from the discourse of our interpreters; which we put together as well as we could, being able to understand but here and there a word of what they said, and aftervards making up the meaning of it among ourselves. The men of the country are very cunning and ingenious in handicraft works; but withal so very idle, that we often saw young, lusty, raw-boned fellows carried
and down the streets in little covered rooms by a couple of porters, who are hired for that service. Their dress is likewise very barbarous, for they almost strangle themselves about the neck, and bind their bodies with many ligatures, that we are apt to think are the occasion of several distempers among them, which our country is entirely free from. Instead of those beautiful feathers with which we adorn our heads, they often buy up a monstrous bush of hair, which
covers their heads, and falls down in a large fleece below the middle of their backs; with which they walk up and down the streets, and are as proud of it as if it was of their own growth.
“We were invited to one of their public diversions, where we hoped to have seen the great men of their country running down a stag, or pitching a bar, that we might have discovered who were the persons of the greatest abilities among them ; but instead of that, they conveyed us into an huge room lighted up with abundance of candles, where this lazy people sat still" above three hours to see several feats of ingenuity performed by others, who it seems were paid for it.
As for the women of the country, not being able to talk with them, we could only make our remarks upon them at a distance. They let the hair of their heads grow to a great length; but as the men make a great show with heads of hair that are none of their own, the women, who they say have very fine heads of hair, tie it up in a knot, and cover it from being seen. The women look like angels, and would be more beautiful than the sun, were it not for little black spots that are apt to break out in their faces, and sometimes rise in very odd figures. I have observed that those little blemishes wear off very soon; but when they disappear in one part of the face, they are very apt to break out in another, insomuch that I have seen a spot upon the forehead in the afternoon, which was upon the chin in the morning."
The author then proceeds to show the absurdity of breeches and petticoats, with many other curious observations, which I shall reserve for another occasion. I cannot, however, conclude this paper without taking notice, that amidst these wild remarks, there now and then appears something very reasonable. I cannot likewise forbear observing, that we are all guilty in some measure of the same narrow way of thinking, which we meet with in this abstract of the Indian Journal, when we fancy the customs, dresses, and manners of other countries are ridiculous and extravagant, if they do not resemble those of our own.
No. 55. THURSDAY, MAY 3.
- Intus, et in jecore ægro, Nascuntur Domini
Pers. Most of the trades, professions, and ways of living among mankind, take their original either from the love of pleasure or the fear of want. The former, when it becomes too violent, degenerates into luxury, and the latter into avarice. As these two principles of action draw different ways,
Persius has given us a very humorous account of a young fellow who was roused out of his bed, in order to be sent upon a long voyage by Avarice, and afterwards over-persuaded and kept at home by Luxury. I shall set down at length the pleadings of these two imaginary persons, as they are in the original. with Mr. Dryden's translation of them.
Mane, piger, stertis : surge, inquit Avaritia ; eja
What must I do ? (he cries). What ? (says his lord,)
Resolved for sea, the slaves thy baggage pack,
To be thy lord ? Take one; and one refuse. When a government flourishes in conquests, and is secure from foreign attacks, it naturally falls into all the pleasures of luxury; and as these pleasures are very expensive, they put those who are addicted to them upon raising fresh supplies of money, by all the methods of rapaciousness and corruption; so that avarice and luxury very often become one complicated principle of action, in those whose hearts are wholly set upon ease, magnificence, and pleasure. The most elegant and correct of all the Latin historians observes, that in his time, when the most formidable states of the world were subdued by the Romans, the republic sunk into those two vices of a quite different nature, luxury and avarice; and accordingly describes Catiline as one who coveted the wealth of other men, at the same time that he squandered away his
This observation on the commonwealth, when it was in its height of power and riches, holds good of all governments that are settled in a state of ease and prosperity. At such times men naturally endeavour to outshine one another in pomp and splendour, and having no fears to alarm them from abroad, indulge themselves in the enjoyment of all the pleasures they can get into their possession ; which naturally produces avarice, and an immoderate pursuit after wealth and riches.
As I was humouring myself in the speculation of these two great principles of action, I could not forbear throwing my thoughts into a little kind of allegory or fable, with which I shall here
reader. There were two very powerful tyrants engaged in a perpetual war against each other: the name of the first was Luxury, and of the second Avarice. The aim of each of them was no less than universal monarchy over the hearts of mankind. Luxury had many generals under him, who did him great service, as Pleasure, Mirth, Pomp, and Fashion. Avarice was likewise very strong in his officers, being faithfully served by Hunger, Industry, Care, and Watchfulness: he had likewise a privy-counsellor who was always at his elbow, and whispering something or other in his ear: the name of this privy-counsellor was Poverty. As Avarice conducted himself by the counsels of Poverty, his antagonist was entirely guided by the dictates and advice of Plenty, who was his first counsellor and minister of state, that concerted all his measures for him, and never departed out of his sight. While these two great rivals were thus contending for empire, their conquests were very various. ' Luxury got possession of one heart, and Avarice of another. The father of a family would often range himself under the banners of Avarice, and the son under those of Luxury. The wife and husband would often declare themselves on the two different parties; nay, the same person would very often side with one in his youth, and revolt to the other in his old age. Indeed, the wise men of the world stood neuter: but, alas ! their numbers were not considerable. At length, when these two potentates had wearied themselves with waging war upon one another, they agreed upon an interview, at which neither of their counsellors were to be present. It is said that Luxury began the parley, and after having represented the endless