« НазадПродовжити »
blended with character, deduced from hermitage, where she lived with conduct, and illustrated by incident. Contentment, her handmaid. Her
I have therefore, in an attempt to brother, more vigorous by his sex, discriminate them, adopted the form would not thus be driven from his of a mythological allegory-a form functions. He still preserved his inwhich has been rendered legitimate fluence in every bosom ; but, de by the practice of our ablest essay- prived of the delightful society of ists, and to which the reader will Merit, was seduced into irregular not object, if it serve its intended excesses, in the course of which, purpose, by leaving a general im- Disdain and Folly, two of the occapression of the distinction I wish to sional companions of Vice, became draw, and by gradually separating, objects of his gallantry. Disdain in the course of a fabulous narrative, bore him a son, in whom the graces two ideas, whose shades so insensis of the sire were almost wholly obbly mingle, as to render it difficult to scured by the coarse and forbidding divide them by a sharp and indise features of the mother; he was named putable boundary.
S.O. Pride. Folly had a daughter, a feebly.
improved, but striking image of here
self. Her name was Vanity. She PRIDE AND VANITY, AN ALLEGORY.
was nursed by Adulation, on the In the infancy of Nature, accorde banks of a polar lake, which reflecting to poetic tradition, all was gentle. ed a cold and glaring light. As she ness and gaiety. The harsher pase grew up, and removed to milder resions were not yet unfolded, and the gions, her darling amusements were evils which they create were un- to view her image in the water, when known. Innocence and Cheerfulness tricked out with wreathes of Nar. gambolled in the sunshine of a per- cissus, or to tend the breeding of butpetual spring. Happiness and Hope terflies, and hatching of mock-birds, fed each other with the fruits of the which, without any notes of their forest, or reclined, in mutual em. own, can mimic those of others. braces, upon the flowers of the Even when a child, and before the meadow.
maturity of her passions, she shewed Among the delegated Genii, who that insatiable thirst for admiration were then employed in the superine of which she had caught the signs tendance of human souls, there was from her more adult companions. one whose agency appeared to be uni- Here eyes were blank and unmeanversal. He was named the Genius ing; but, by an acquired and awke of Self-estimation, and his office was ward languishment, like one who to implant and foster the pleasurable parrots phrases from a foreign lane consciousness of being entitled to re- guage, she tried to imitate the exgard and consideration in society. pression of sensibility. Her sallow He had a sister whose name was cheeks she daubed, unskilfully, with Merit: and in that golden age, the vermilion, and bolstered out, by mefraternal alliance was so close and chanical contrivances, her adust and cndearing, that they perpetually ase emaciated form. Without a single sociated together. But when the charm of mind or person, she made world advanced in years, the sweete it her business to observe and mimic ness and serenity of its childhood the qualities which attract and capfled. Characters became refractory tivate, in those who are graced with and diversified. With tumultuous them by nature. She was playful eagerness, they resisted the training without vivacity, talkative without hand of their seraphic guides, and ideas, tender without passion, and sometimes reversed the bent they had sentimental without feeling. Art formerly received. Inequality and was her tutoress, and had the entire Ambition were introduced, and the formation of her character. Gorgon countenance of Vice was seen Her brother was educated by Mise behind them.
anthropy, in a dark and desart cave, This was a scene where the feminine on the highest and most rugged of delicacy of Merit could no longer the Alps, where he delighted to stand dwell. She ceased to accompany her and enjoy his solitary elevation. He brother, and retired to a sequestered walked in the mist, to appear a giant; and exulted, at sunset, to see half the sullen silence, perfectly secure, that, adjoining mountain eclipsed by his without any effort on his part, the shadow. In this seclusion, his fea- fame of so important a personage tures, which were naturally hard and would precede him. The common disagreeable, were never relaxed by expressions of regard or welcome ofa smile ; and as his wish was to be fended him ; for he deemed it an inviewed with dread, rather than de sult to be offered what so many others light, he studied to stiffen them into might equally receive. The custombarshness. His hair and eye-brows ary modes in dress, manners, and opigrew bristly and savage ; and he nions, he affected to despise. Ornaamused himself with terrifying the ment and splendour he rejected. If Chamois kid by the fierceness of his he added ought in his attire to what frown, or in chacing and killing the was barely necessary, it was to give Marmot, and other little animals, to himself an air of austerity and gloom. cherish a consciousness of superiority He adopted the forgotten fashions of and power. He never mingled with a former age, from no other motive the sprightly villagers, unless to damp than to show his contempt for the their pastime by the constraint of his present. By a formal gravity he presence ; and if their mirth proceede sought the praise of wisdom, and by ed, notwithstanding this interrup- depressing others, imagined he was tion, discontent and mortification raising himself. Ile was temperate made him inwardly curse them, and in pleasures-not from principle, but retire. As he could not stoop to that froin a dread of descending, in their openness and familiarity which com- pursuit, to a familiarity with those panionship requires, he passed his around him. He rarely smiled, unyouth without a friend, but solaced less when something ridiculous or himself by interpreting the disgust perplexing happened to another, and with which his society was shunned especially to the disciples of his sisinto the silent acknowledgment of ter, whom he regarded with the most his superiority, and the natural ho- unmitigated scorn. Then a grim mage paid by a lower to a higher smile of cruel enjoyment gleamed aorder of beings.
cross his features. An emblem of The Genius of Self-cstimation, him might be traced in those poisonblinded by a parent's fondness, com- ous vegetables which draw nutrimissioned his children to assist himin tion to their own offensive qualities, his duties. Pride, therefore, in the by withering and mildewing every form of a gnome, took one path ; and herb around them. Varity, in that of a sylph, the op- Vanity, who courted social interposite, for they detested each other. course, was like the green hill, that, Wherever Vanity went, she made her by screening itself among others, had approach be notified by the sound of gained a gloss to its surface which bells, or the flourish of trumpets. the shallow soil was too barren to beHer toilette was regulated by a hand- stow ;-Pride, like the solitary cliff, maid named Fashion, who, every which, bare as it is, grows barer by day, changed the colour or form of standing unsheltered and alone. her dress, to excite a new attention. Though each was entrusted with Her appearance was tawdry and gla- a portion of their sire's authority, ring. She substituted ornament for yet, as they were permitted to employ neatness, and studied what was con- it at their own discretion on the huspicuous, not what was comfortable. man mind, their efforts terminated In every circumstance, she coveted in the formation of characters exthe appearance, without the enjoy- tremely dissimilar. The proud were ment, of pleasure. She sought not to generally convinced that the advanbe the object of love. Her aim was tages on which they plumed themto be noticed. Her emblem might selves were perceived and appreciabe found in one of her own artificial ted as distinctly by others as by flowers, which, with the exterior ap- themselves, and therefore they bepearance of fragrance and bloom, trayed no anxiety to display them. when grasped by the beholders, is But the vain seemed ever to doubt discovered to be a handful of rags. the value or validity of their own Pride advanced on his way, in a pretensions; and, from a desire to
prevent this doubt in others, an suit of pleasure, however gross or incessant eagerness to bring their unnatural. Tenets so flattering to merits obtrusively into view, ran self-love procured a multitude of through all their actions. The proud votaries ; and, to attract them more, man seemed indifferent about please the scene of instruction was a garden, ing any, while secretly feeding on embellished with all the decorations the certainty that he was the object of art, and furnished with every of universal envy. The vain man thing that could minister to the most seemed studious of pleasing all, while unbounded wants of voluptuousness. he only sought to please himself, Pride, on the contrary, instructed by the general admiration. When his disciple to seek celebrity from wealth was the ground of mutual moroseness, contradiction, and ripretension, the former was often be- gour. He inculcated a conduct too trayed into avarice, with a view to severe for human nature to adopt. greater, though procrastinated, en- He interdicted all pleasures, as bejoyment; and the latter into prodi. neath the dignity of man; and, ingality, for that immediate gratifica- stead of exciting and providing for tion of which the absence was in- the indulgence of numerous wants, supportable. When the competition he made a parade of shewing that he was in learning, Pride, more afraid had none, by using rags for clothing, of failure than solicitous of success, and a tub for a house. He affected assumed a pompous and mystical re- a superiority even to the most power. serve, and Vanity a headlong and ful princes, and told them, that, if blundering loquacity. When they they left him the free use of the narested their pretensions on the beauty tural elements, he looked with conof their female votaries, it was found tempt on all they could bestow. that the proud often ended in the From this snarling and malignant solitude and sourness of hoary virgi- deportment, he got the surname of nity ; while the vain fell an easy Dog, on which he valued himself prey to the seducer, or fortune-hun- with equal ostentation as on his rags, ter. When place and precedency through which," said a brother were the subjects of dispute, the vain philosopher, “ I clearly see your were forward in arrogating even pride.” He, too, had numerous folmore than their right; and the proud, lowers, among those who thought the with an affected humility which adoption of incomprehensible tenets made their design more manifest, a proof of wisdom, and every detook the lowest place, that their title parture from common sense an apto the highest might draw a marked proach to something better,—who attention, and a strong, though tacit, mistook singularity for superiority, acknowledgment from the specta- sullenness for dignity, and sordidness tors. Pride, upon the whole, was for independence. admitted to have shewn superior The rival demons next removed to power, in rendering characters dis- Carthage, where wealth was the gusting; and Vanity, in rendering grand object of pursuit. Vanity imthem contemptible.
mediately took possession of a young The struggles of the rival demons merchant, who, by diligence and terminated, at last, in a challenge, to lucky chances, was rising to opumeet and try their strength on the lence ; and as he had no other claim same ground. They accordingly re- to consideration, was hastening to paired, by agreement, to Athens, and shew to others what had hitherto each took possession of one of the po- been known only to himself. Life, pular philosophers of the age. He he thought, was short; and that letwhom Vanity directed was persuad- ting a day pass without an exhibied by her to fashion his doctrines to tion of his wealth, was defrauding the taste of the young, the dissolute, himself of a day of felicity. He and the gay. He taught, that plea- shewed it, therefore, in his dress, his sure is the chief good, and the most house, his equipage, but, above all, important business of life; that there he was careful to set it distinctly beis no Providence,-no future existe fore the eyes of the public on his ence,-no responsibility for conduct, table. Thither he tried to attract, mand therefore no check on the pure by expensive luxuries, the fashionable and accomplished youth, whose ceed, wrap yourself up in a sort of style, topics, and behaviour, he night suffering silence, with sometimes a thus acquire. But while assuming a slight smile, as if at the shallowness splendour which his education and of the speaker, and reserve yourself manners disgraced, he did it by de- for the first interval, shortly and dicgrees; still, from a bashful dread of tatorially to decide the subject, withridicule, leaving some part of his out offering any reasons. Draw, as establishment on its original scale. it were, an arctic circle around you, Like a garden on a morass, where in the centre of which you must reone uncultivated corner is sufficient main as fixed, as cold, and as unto betray the nature of the soil, this approachable as the Pole. Cbeerwant of congruity and completeness fulness and ease will thus be banished destroyed the effect of all his toil and from from your house; and, by expence, and constantly reminded his adopting the pompous discomfort of guests, that he had not been early patricians, you may be allowed a accustomed to the elegancies of life, portion of their repulsive dignity. Be but was struggling to rise above his careful, above all, to associate chiefly native element, on feeble and artific with those whose pretensions are the cial wings. For their own interest, same in kind, though somewhat inhowever, they humoured, while they ferior in degree with your own; and amused themselves with his forward prefer being the first man in a viland awkward imitation of their man- fage to being the second in Carthage." ners. They devoured his dainties, This advice was followed, but withand laughed at the giver, who grati. out success. The constraint of a fied at once their appetite for food forced and counterfeit character and for folly.
could not be uniformly maintained. Pride entered a man of middle age, The phrases of the forum would who had retired from trade, to the sometimes dishonour the saloon: and enjoyment of senatorian dignity, and when the demon was off his guard, thus instructed him :-“ Your busi- his pupil, by relaxing in an evening ness now is, by imitating the nobles, with an old pot-companion, would to keep at a distance those whom you undo all the effects of his painful have hitherto admitted with a fami- self-denial. Like Penelope, he un. liar affability. If you give an en- ravelled by night the web he had tertainment, let the invitations fix a wove by day, and had his labour to distant day, that your guests may commence anew. behold its approach with awful soli- The rivals next met in Rome, citude and preparation. When they when their wish was to try how far arrive, receive them with the same they could diminish the value of the cold and stately condescension which most perfect characters. Vanity you have yourself formerly experie chose a statesman who had rendered enced from the senators and suffetes, himself the most popular orator of and let the same unsocial solemnity his age; and succeeded in tarnishing prevail at your table. Never let it the splendour of his fame, by beappear that one man, by his personal traying him into a constant and disqualities, is more welcome, or can gusting repetition of his services,—by add more to your gratification than inspiring him with such a false sense another. Learn the art of damping of his own importance as led him, in every pleasant sally, by a corrective domestic distress, or political advergravity; and let no man, who is sity, to tire the public ear with his not so rich as yourself, presume to childish whining, -by tempting him feel himself happy in your presence. meanly to solicit a friend to write a Beware of risking the statement of fictitious and flattering account of a comparison in any other point; bis conduct,—and at last, by seducing and, therefore, should a man, dis- him to fawn upon the destroyer of tinguished only for worth or talents, his country, that he might preserve dare to take a lead in conversation, his ears to listen to his flatterers. let a reproving manner instantly Pride took possession of a stubborn, teach him that he is not wealthy intrepid patriot, and urged him to enough to be wise. Should conver- many of those actions which were sation, in spite of every repulse, pro- ascribed to his acknowledged ability
and virtue. He could not stoop to
With the exhibition of these masmodify his conduct to a change of terpieces the contest closed, but as circumstances, but maintained an ob- it left undetermined to whom bestinate inflexibility, when accommo- longed the diabolical praise of havdation would have been more bene- ing added most to human misery, ficial. He would have all, of which the mutual hatred and pretensions of he had once signified his approba- the rival pair were only exasperated tion, or nothing; when pushed to by the inconclusive conflict. the last extremity, with savage im- Desirous of the strongest barrier patience he tore out his bowels; between them, they fixed on the Pyand, to spare himself the personal renean mountains. Pride chose the mortification of meeting a triumphe south side, and Vanity the north, ant rival, he thus deprived the which still continue their favourite state of her ablest citizen. The last resorts. Both make occasional exact of his life robbed the rest of half cursions to a Green Isle in the oppoits glory, and unmasked a selfish- site ocean ; but their influence there, ness which rendered the inotives of though not destroyed, is considerhis public conduct equivocal and sus- ably diminished by the superior popicious.
tency of a benignant Genius called In their next effort, the demons, Common Sense. Through his means shifting the age, but not the scene, the inhabitants are enabled to persought each a subject in whom they ceive objects in their just and natucould exhibit their power under the ral proportions,—to rate themselves, greatest variety of aspects. The male as well as others, at their real value,fiend selected a cardinal, whose brain and to dissipate the vapours breathed he inflamed in equal degrees, and, at around them by the kindred demons, the same time, with the pride of which would present things to their rank, the pride of wealth, the pride of eyes indistinctly swelled into false power, the pride of learning, and the and extravagant forms. pride of sanctity: and the female May the influence of this useful, chose a titled poet, who was vain of though homely household god, be a nobility which he affected to de- strengthened and extended till Astræa spise, of talents which he abused, shall return to the earth, and till the of infidelity which his remorse be- Genius of Self-estimation, disgusted lied, of scorn of mankind, while he with his illicit offspring, shall draw was straining every faculty to win his sister Merlt from her retirement, their plaudits-of indignation against and again make her his only assocruelty, while practising it on those ciate! May the Green Isle of the he had sworn to cherish,-of exces- ocean be their darling abode, and sive sensibility, which was but excess from thence, as from another Delos, of selfishness, -and of love for å may they waft their benign incountry which he laboured to demo- spiration over every corner of the ralise and debauch.
No quaint device adorns his page,
Or Cupids, in resistless rage, With compliments to lovely Nancy. With quiver fill'd, for man's undoing. Methinks I see, around your room, I will not talk of flames and darts,
Lie scatter'd, emblems, am'rous posic3, And other metaphoric fancies ; While each epistle breathes perfume Of wounded souls, and bleeding hearts, Far sweeter than Arcadian roses.
As lovers do who read 'romances. Dear Nancy, may the humble bard Although your beauties please my sight,
Whose artless song comes unadornd, And flattery to the fair is common, One moment meet your kind regard, I will not call you angel quite, Nor be for richer trifles scorn'd !
I think you lovelier as a woman.