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No. 161. THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 1710.
-Nunquam libertas gratior exstat
From my own Apartment, April 19.
I fancied myself among the Alps, and, as it is natural in a dream, seemed every moment to bound from one summit to another, till at last, after having made this airy progress over the tops of several mountains, I arrived at the very centre of those broken rocks and precipices. I here, methought, saw a prodigious circuit of ħills, that reached above the clouds, and encompassed a large space of ground, which I had a great curiosity to look into. I thereupon continued my former way of travelling through a great variety of winter scenes, till I had gained the top of these white mountains, which seemed another Alps of snow. I looked down from hence into a spacious plain, which was surrounded on all sides by this mound of hills, and which presented me with the most agreeable prospect 1 had ever seen. There was a greater variety of colours in the embroidery of the meadows, a more lively green in the leaves and grass, a brighter crystal in the streams, than what I ever met with in any other region. The light itself had something more ! Better expunge-"the reading of.”
The table of Cebes.] A fine moral allegory, but of a character wholly different from that which follows. This picturesque and sublime dream had been more naturally introduced, if the author of it had fallen asleep over a canto of Spenser.
3 which.) What? “ The being lulled asleep,” carelessly expressed.
• The Alps.] The scenery of this vision, taken from Switzerland.See the author's travels.
shining and glorious in it than that of which the day is made in other places. I was wonderfully astonished at the discovery of such a Paradise amidst the wildness of those cold hoary landscapes which lay about it; but found at length, that this happy region was inhabited by “the goddess of Liberty;" whose presence softened the rigours of the climate, enriched the barrenness of the soil, and more than supplied the absence of the sun. The place was covered with a wonderful profusion of flowers, that without being disposed into regular borders and parterres, grew promiscuously, and had a greater beauty in their natural luxuriancy and disorder, than they could have received from the checks and restraints of art. There was a river that arose out of the south side of the mountain, that, by an infinite number of turns and windings, seemed to visit every plant, and cherish the several beauties of the spring, with which the fields abounded. After having run to and fro in a wonderful variety of meanders, it at last throws itself into the hollow of a mountain, from whence it passes under a long range of rocks, and at length rises in that part of the Alps where the inhabitants think it the first source of the Rhone. This river, after having made its progress through those free nations, stagnates in a huge lake at the leaving of them, and no sooner enters into the regions of slavery, but runs through them with an incredible rapidity, and takes its shortest way to the sea.
I descended into the happy fields that lay beneath me, and in the midst of them beheld the goddess sitting upon a throne. She had nothing to enclose her but the bounds of her own dominions, and nothing over her head but the heavens. Every glance of her eye cast a track of light where it fell, that revived the spring, and made all things smile about her. My heart grew cheerful at the sight of her, and as she looked upon me, I found a certain confidence growing in me, and such an inward resolution as I never felt before that time.
On the left hand of the goddess sat the Genius of a Commonwealth, with the cap of liberty on her head, and in her hand a wand, like that with which a Roman citizen used to give his slaves their freedom. There was something mean and vulgar, but at the same time exceeding bold and daring in her air; her eyes were full of fire, but had in them such
casts of fierceness and cruelty, as made her appear to me rather dreadful than amiable. On her shoulders she wore a mantle, on which there was wrought a great confusion of figures. As it flew in the wind, I could not discern the particular design of them, but saw wounds in the bodies of some, and agonies in the faces of others; and over one part of it could read, in letters of blood, “ The Ides of March.”
On the right hand of the goddess was the Genius of Monarchy. She was clothed in the whitest ermine, and wore a crown of the purest gold upon her head. In her hand she held a sceptre like that which is borne by the British monarchs. A couple of tame lions lay crouching at her feet: her countenance had in it a very great majesty, without any mixture of terror: her voice was like the voice of an angel, filled with so much sweetness, accompanied with such an air of condescension, as tempered the awfulness of her appearance, and equally inspired love and veneration into the hearts of all that beheld her.
. In the train of the goddess of Liberty were the several Arts and Sciences, who all of them flourished underneath her eye. One of them, in particular, made a greater figure than any of the rest, who held a thunder-bolt in her hand, which had the power of melting, piercing, or breaking everything that stood in its way. The name of this goddess was Eloquence.
There were two other dependent goddesses, who made a very conspicuous figure in this blissful region. The first of them was seated upon a hill, that had every plant growing out of it which the soil was in its own nature capable of producing. The other was seated in a little island, that was covered with groves of spices, olives, and orange-trees; and, in a word, with the products of every foreign clime. The name of the first was Plenty, of the second, Commerce. The first leaned her right arm upon a plough, and under her left held a huge horn, out of which she poured a whole autumn of fruits. The other wore a rostral crown upon her head, and kept her eyes fixed upon a compass.
I was wonderfully pleased in ranging through this delightful place, and the more so, because it was not encum
'A compliment to the well-tempered monarchy of his country, so finely conducted, as to be applicable, at the same time, to the personal virtues of its monarch.
bered with fences and enclosures; till at length, methoughts, I sprung from the ground, and pitched upon the top of a hill, that presented several objects to my sight, which I had not before taken notice of. The winds that passed over this flowery plain, and through the tops of trees which were full of blossoms, blew upon me in such a continual breeze of sweets, that I was wonderfully charmed with my situation. I here saw all the inner declivities of that great circuit of mountains, whose outside was covered with snow, overgrown with huge forests of fir-trees, which, indeed, are very frequently found in other parts of the Alps. These trees were inhabited by storks,2 that came thither in great flights from very distant quarters of the world. Methought I was pleased in my dream, to see what became of these birds, when, upon leaving the places to which they make an annual visit, they rise in great flocks so high till they are out of sight; and for that reason have been thought by some modern philosophers to take a flight to the moon.
my eyes were soon di. verted from this prospect, when I observed two great gaps that led through this circuit of mountains, where guards and watches were posted day and night. Upon examination I found, that there were two formidable enemies encamped before each of these avenues, who kept the place in a perpetual alarm, and watched all opportunities of invading it.
Tyranny was at the head of one of these armies, dressed in an Eastern habit, and grasping in her hand an iron sceptre. Behind her was Barbarity, with the garb and complexion of an Æthiopian ; Ignorance with a turban upon her head; and Persecution holding up a bloody flag, embroidered with flower-de-luces. These were followed by Oppression, Poverty, Famine, Torture, and a dreadful train of appearances, that made me tremble to behold them. Among the baggage of this army, I could discover racks, wheels, chains, and gibbets, with all the instruments art could invent to make human nature miserable.
· Fir-trees.] Because this tree thrives best in mountainous countries, i. e. according to the author's idea, “ in free countries."
? Inhabited by storks.] Alluding to the notions that these birds are to be found only in republics. Whence the famous lines,
“Lucretius, with a stork-like fate,
Bred and translated, in a state.” Though by what he says of these birds flying to the moon, he would insinuate, I suppose, that one tradition was just as credible as the other.
Before the other avenue I saw Licentiousness, dressed in a garment not unlike the Polish cassock, and leading up a whole army of monsters, such as Clamour, with a hoarse voice and a hundred tongues ; Confusion, with a mis-shapen body and a thousand heads; Impudence, with a forehead of brass; and Rapine, with hands of iron. The tumult, noise, and uproar in this quarter were so very great, that they disturbed my imagination more than is consistent with sleep, and by that means awaked me.
No. 162. SATURDAY, APRIL 22, 1710.
Tertius è Cælo cecidit Cato. Juv. Sat. 2.
From my own Apartment, April 21. In my younger years I used many endeavours to get a place at court, and indeed continued my pursuits till I arrived at my grand climacteric; but at length altogether despairing of success, whether it were for want of capacity, friends, or due application, I at last resolved to erect a new office, and for my encouragement, to place myself in it. For this reason, I took upon me the title and dignity of Censor of Great Britain, reserving to myself all such perquisites, profits, and emoluments as should arise out of the discharge of the said office. These in truth have not been inconsiderable ; for besides those weekly contributions which I receive from John Morphew, and those annual subscriptions which I propose to myself from the most elegant part of this great island, I daily live in a very comfortable affluence of wine, stale beer, Hungary water, beef, books, and marrow-bones, which I receive from many well-disposed citizens; not to mention the forfeitures which accrue to me from the several offenders that appear before me on court days. Having now enjoyed this office for the
of a twelvemonth, I shall do what all good officers ought to do, take a survey of my behaviour, and consider carefully whether I have discharged my duty, and acted up to the character with which I am invested. For my direction in this particular, I have made a narrow search into the nature of the old Roman Censors, whom I must always regard, not only as my pre