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a translation from Plato, but answers the purpose not only of placing before the reader a specimen of the manner of the Grecian philosopher, but of shewing how admirably the English allegorist has emulated, and perhaps even excelled, his prototype. The Vision of Justice *, which occurs next, presents the genius of Addison in full lustre; the invention, imagery, and humour of this piece, are alike excellent, and the style is as beautiful as the materials. Nothing can be more happily conceived and expressed than the night scene, introductive of this vision. heaven above me," says the author, “ appeared in all its glories, and presented me with such an hemisphere of stars, as made the most agreeable prospect imaginable to one who delights in the study of nature. It happened to be a freezing night, which had purified the whole body of air into such a bright transparent æther, as made every constellation visible; and at the same time gave such a particular glowing to the stars, that I thought it the richest sky I had ever seen. I could not behold a scene so wonderfully adorned and lighted up, if I may be allowed that expression, without suitable meditations on the author of such illustrious and amazing objects; for on these occasions, philosophy suggests motives to religion, and religion adds pleasure to philosophy." The descent of the goddess too, is another picture whose conception and execution cannot be too much admired. « When she had descended,” he observes, " so low as to be seen and heard by mortals, to make the pomp of her appearance more supportable, she threw darkness and clouds about her, that tempered the light into a thousand beautiful shades and colours, and multiplied that lustre, which was before too strong and dazzling, into a variety of milder glories.”
* Tatler, Nos. 100 and 102.
The Vision of Love, and the Vision of Ambition and Avarice*, are carried on with great propriety and force of imagery; and the address to poverty, which concludes the latter, conveys a strain of morality so pure, so just, and at the same time so exquisitely drawn up, that I am induced to believe the insertion of it in my pages, to be a homage due to the cause of virtue and content.
"Oh Poverty !” said I, “ my first petition to thee is, that thou wouldest never appear to me hereafter ; but if thou wilt not grant me this, that then thou wouldest not bear a form more terrible than that in which thou appearest to me at present. Let not thy threats and menaces
* Tatler, No 120, and 123.
betray me to any thing that is ungrateful or unjust. Let me not shut my ears to the cries of the needy. Let me not forget the person that has deserved well of me.
Let me not,
fear of thee, desert my friend, my principles, or my honour. If Wealth is to visit me, and to come with her usual attendants, Vanity and Avarice, do thou, O Poverty! hasten to my rescue, but bring along with thee the two sisters, in whose company thou art always cheerful, Liberty and Innocence."
Two more allegorical pieces by Addison are included in the Tatler; Jupiter and the Destinies *, and the Vision of Liberty t; the former founded on a hint from Homer; the latter occasioned by the perusal of the Tablature of Cebes.
The attributes of the goddess, of whom our author was a fervent but rational worshipper, are painted with characteristic strength; and the valley in which he has placed her abode gives rise to one of those descriptions which exhibit in so pre-eminent a light his taste for picturesque beauty.
The Spectator, though not, considering its extension, so abundant in effusions of this kind as the Tatler, possesses, independent of the oriental * Tatler, No 146.
+ Tatler, No 161.
allegory of Mirza, five productions of this class; the allegory of Luxury and Avarice *, the Vision of Maraton t, the Picture Gallery I, the Balance Ś, and the Mountain of Miseries II.
Of these, the Balance and the Mountain of Miseries are built upon passages of Homer and Plato; but the outline so beautifully filled up, and the imagery and incidents so replete with imagination, blended with the finest strokes of humour, as to charm and interest the most fastidious mind. It is, however, to the Vision of Maraton, that we must give the palm when considering the present series. Than this, and the oriental Vision of Mirza, nothing, I believe, more lovely and engaging, can be found in allegorical composition. The description of the Genius, and the prospect of human life in the one, and the meeting of Maraton and Yaratilda in the other, are pictures whose sweet and simple colouring, whose pathos and morality, will continue to delight and instruct as long as taste and feeling shall exist.
In the Guardian, our author's allegorical vein, which ran with so much depth and richness through his former papers, appears nearly exhausted; the Two Seres * being the only production of this kind, as flowing from his pen, that I can recollect in the work; it is, however, worthy of his talents, and exhibits no small portion of his accustomed ingenuity and fertility of fancy.
* Spectator, No 55.
+ Spectator, No 56.