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And you, good yeomen,
***BY JOSEPH ADDISON.
JOSEPH ADDISON, an English author, was born in 1672, and died in 1719. He was one of the principal contributors to the “Tatler," “Spectator,” and “Guardian.” His writings stand among the classics of English literature. Dr. Johnson remarks, “Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison."
1. It is a celebrated thought of Socrates, that if all the misfortunes of mankind were cast into a public stock, in order to be equally distributed among the whole species, those who now think themselves the most unhappy would prefer the share they are already possessed of, before that which would fall to them by such a division. Horace has carried this thought a great deal further: he maintains that the hardships or misfortunes we lie under, are more easy to us, than those of any other person would be, in case we could change conditions with him.
2. As I was ruminatiūg on these two remarks, and seated in my elbow-chair, I insensibly fell asleep; when, on a sudden, methought there was a proclamation made by Jupiter, that every mortal should bring in his griefs and calamities and throw them together in a heap. There was a large plain appointed for this purpose. I took my stand in the center of it, and saw, with a great deal of pleasure, the whole human species, marching one after the other, and throwing down their several loads, which immediately grew up into a prodigious mountain, that seemed to rise above the clouds.
3. There was a certain lady, of a thin, airy shape, who was very active in this solemnity. She carried a magnifying-glass in one of her hands, and was clothed in a loose flowing robe, embroidered with several figures of fiends and specters, that discovered themselves in a thousand chimerical shapes as her garment hovered in the wind. There was something wild and distracted in her looks. Her name was Fancy. She led up every mortal to the appointed place, after having very officiously assisted him in making up his.pack and laying it upon his shoulders.
4. My heart melted within me, to see my fellow-creatures groaning under their respective burdens, and to consider that prodigious bulk of human calamities which lay before me. There were, however, several persons who gave me great diversion upon this occasion. I observed one bringing in a fardel very carefully concealed under an old embroidered cloak, which, upon his throwing it into the heap, I discovered to be Poverty. Another, after a great deal of puffing, threw down his luggage, which, upon examining, I found to be his wife.
5. There were multitudes of lovers saddled with very whimsical burdens, composed of darts and flames; but, what was very odd, though they sighed as if their hearts would break under these bundles of calamities, they could not persuade themselves to cast them into the heap, when they came up to it, but, after a few faint efforts, shook their heads, and marched away as heavyladen as they came. I saw multitudes of old women throw down their wrinkles, and several young ones who stripped themselves of a tawny skin.
6. There were very great heaps of red noses, large lips, and rusty teeth. The truth of it is, I was surprised to see the greatest part of the mountain made up of bodily deformities. Observing one advancing toward the heap, with a larger cargo than ordinary upon his back, I found, upon his nearer approach, that it was only a natural hump, which he disposed of with great joy of heart, among this collection of human miseries.
There were likewise distempers of all sorts, though I could not but observe that there were many more imaginary than real.
7. One little pack I could not but take notice of, which was a complication of all the diseases incident to human nature, and was in the hand of a great many fine people. This was called the Spleen. But what most of all surprised me was a remark I made that there was not a single vice or folly thrown into the whole heap; at which I was very much astonished, having concluded within myself that every one would take this opportunity of getting rid of his passions, prejudices, and frailties.
8. I took notice, in particular, of a very profligate fellow, who,
I did not question, came loaded with his crimes; but, upon searching into his bundle, I found that, instead of throwing his guilt from him, he had only laid down his memory. He was followed by another worthless rogue, who flung away his modesty instead of his ignorance.
9. When the whole race of mankind had thus cast off their burdens, the phantom which had been so busy on this occasion, eeing me an idle spectator of what passed, approached toward
I grew uneasy at her presence, when, of a sudden, she held her magnifying-glass full before my eyes. The shortness of my face, which now appeared to me in its utmost aggravation, startled me. The immoderate breadth of the features made me very much out of humor with my own countenance, upon which I threw it from me like a mask.
10. It happened, very luckily, that one who stood by me had just before thrown down his visage, which, it seems, was too long for him. It was indeed extended to a most shameful length; I believe the very chin was, modestly speaking, as long as my whole face. We had, both of us, an opportunity of mending ourselves; and, all the contributions being now brought in, every man was at liberty to exchange his misfortunes for t'íose of
11. I saw, with unspeakable pleasure, the whole species thus delivered from its sorrows; though, at the same time, as we stood round the heap and surveyed the several materials of which it was composed, there was scarce a mortal, in this vast multitude, who did not discover what he thought pleasures and blessings of life, and wondered how the owners of them ever came to look upon them as burdens and grievances.
12. As we were regarding very attentively this confusion of miseries, this chaos of calamity, Jupiter issued a second proclamation, that every one was row at liberty to exchange his afiliction, and to retura to his habitation with any such other bundle as should be delivered to him. Upon this, Fancy began again to bestir herself, and, parceling out the whole heap with incredible activity, recommended to every one his particular packet. The hurry and confusion at this time was not to be expressed. Some observations which I made upon this occasion I will communicate to the public.
13. A venerable, gray-beaded man, who had laid down the colic, and who, I found, wanted an heir to his estate, snatched up an undutiful son, that had been thrown into the heap by an angry father. The graceless youth, in less than a quarter of an Lour, pulled the old gentleman by the beard, and had liked to have knocked his brains out; so that, meeting the true father, who
came toward him with a fit of the gripes, he begged him to take his son again, and give him back his colio; but they were incapable, either of them, to recede from the choice they had made.
A poor galley-slave, who had thrown down his chains, took up the gout in their stead, but made such wry faces that one might easily perceive he was no great gainer by the bargain.
14. It was pleasant enough to see the several exchanges that were made, for sickness against poverty, hunger against want of appetite, and care against pain. The female world was very busy among themselves in bartering for features; one was trucking a lock of gray hairs for a carbuncle; another was making over a short waist for a pair of round shoulders; but there was not one of them who did not think the new blemish, as soon as she had got it into her possession, much more disagreeable than the old
I made the same observation on every other misfortune or calamity, which every one in the assembly brought upon himself, in lieu of what he had parted with : .whether it be that all the evils that befall us are in some measure suited and proportioned to our strength, or, that every evil becomes more supportable by our being accustomed to it, I shall not determine. . 15. I must not omit my own particular adventure.
My friend with a long visage, who had taken upon him my short face, made such a grotesque figure in it, that as I looked upon him I could not forbear laughing at myself, insomuch that I put my own face out of countenance. The poor gentleman was so sensible of the ridicule, that I found he was ashamed of what he had done; on the other side, I found that I myself had no great reason to triumph, for as I went to touch my forehead I missed the place and clapped my finger upon my upper lip. Besides, as my nose was exceedingly prominent, I gave it two or three unlucky knocks as I was playing my hand about my face, and aiming at. some other part of it.
10. I saw two other gentlemen by me, who were in the sanie ridiculous circumstances. These had made a foolish
between a couple of thick, bandy legs, and two long trap-sticks that had no calves to them. One of these looked like a man walking upon stilts, and was so lifted up into the air, above his ordinary hight, that his head turned round with it; while the other made such awkward circles, as he attempted to walk, that he scarcely knew how to move forward upon his new supporters. Observing him to be a pleasant kind of fellow, I stuck my cane in the ground, and told him I would lay him a bottle of wine that he did not march to it, on a line that I drew for him, in a quarter of an hour. 17. The heap was at last distributed among the two sexes,
who made a most piteous sight, as they wandered up
and down under the pressure of their several burdens. The whole plain was filled with murmurs and complaints, groaps and lamentations. Jupiter at length, taking compassion on the poor mortals, ordered them a second time to lay down their loads, with a design to give every one his own again. They discharged themselves with a great deal of pleasure; after which, the phantom who had led them into such gross delusions was commanded to disappear.
18. There was sent in her stead a goddess of a quite different figure: her motions were steady and composed, and her aspect serious but cheerful. She every now and then cast her eyes toward heaven, and fixed them upon Jupiter. Her name was Patience. She had no sooner placed herself by the mount of Sorrows, than the whole heap sunk to such a degree that it did not appear a third part so big as it was before. She afterward returned every man his own proper calamity, and showed him how to bear it in the most commodious manner. He marched off with it contentedly, being very well pleased that he had not been left to his own choice as to the kind of evils that fell to his lot.
19. Besides the several pieces of morality to be drawn out of this vision, I learned from it never to repine at my own misfortunes, or to envy the happiness of another, since it is impossible for any man to form a right judgment of his neighbor's sufferings; for, which reason also I have determined never to think too lightly of another's complaints, but to regard the sorrows of my fellow-creatures with sentiments of humanity and compassion.
BY JOSEPH ADDISON.
1. (p2f8) It must be so': Plato', thou reasonest well!!
Else whence this pleasing hope', this fond desire',