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great vessels, the one filled with blessings, and the other with misfortunes; out of which he mingles a composition for every man that comes into the world.
This passage so exceedingly pleased me, that as I fell insensibly into my afternoon's slumber, it wrought my imagination into the following dream.
When Jupiter took into his hands the government of the world, the several parts of nature, with the presiding deities,
did homage to him. One presented him with a mountain of 10 winds, another with a magazine of hail, and a third with a
pile of thunder-bolts. The stars offered up their influences, the ocean gave in his trident, the earth her fruits, and the sun his seasons. Among the several deities who came to make their court on this occasion, the Destinies advanced with two great tuns carried before them, one of which they fixed at the right hand of Jupiter as he sat upon his throne, and the other on his left. The first was filled with all the blessings, and the other with all the calamities, of human
life. Jupiter, in the beginning of his reign, finding the 20 world much more innocent than it is in this iron age, poured
very plentifully out of the tun that stood at his right hand; but as mankind degenerated, and became unworthy of his blessings, he set abroach the other vessel, that filled the world with pain and poverty, battles and distempers, jealousy and falsehood, intoxicating pleasures and untimely deaths.
He was at length so very much incensed at the great depravation of human nature, and the repeated provocations which he received from all parts of the earth, that having
resolved to destroy the whole species, except Deucalion and 30 Pyrrha, he commanded the Destinies to gather up the blessings which he had thrown away upon the sons of men,
and lay them up till the world should be inhabited by a more virtuous and deserving race of mortals.
The three sisters immediately repaired to the earth, in search of the several blessings that had been scattered on it; but found the task which was enjoined them to be much more difficult than they had imagined. The first places they resorted to, as the most likely to succeed in, were cities, palaces, and courts ; but instead of meeting with what they looked for here, they found nothing but envy, repining, uneasiness, and the like bitter ingredients of the left-hand vessel. Whereas, to their great surprise, they discovered content, cheerfulness, health, innocence, and other the most substantial blessings of life, in cottages, shades, and solitudes.
There was another circumstance no less unexpected than 10 the former, and which gave them very great perplexity in the discharge of the trust which Jupiter had committed to them. They observed, that several blessings had degenerated into calamities, and that several calamities had improved into blessings, according as they fell into the possession of wise or foolish men. They often found power with so much insolence and impatience cleaving to it, that it became a misfortune to the person on whom it was conferred. Youth had often distempers growing about it, worse than the infirmities of old age : wealth was often united to such a 20 sordid avarice, as made it the most uncomfortable and painful kind of poverty. On the contrary, they often found pain made glorious by fortitude, poverty lost in content, deformity beautified with virtue. In a word, the blessings were often like good fruits planted in a bad soil, that by degrees fall off from their natural relish, into tastes altogether insipid or unwholesome; and the calamities, like harsh fruits, cultivated in a good soil, and enriched by proper grafts and inoculation, till they swell with generous and delightful juices.
30 There was still a third circumstance that occasioned as great a surprise to the three sisters as either of the foregoing, when they discovered several blessings and calamities which had never been in either of the tuns that stood by the throne of Jupiter, and were nevertheless as great occasions of happiness or misery as any there. These were that spurious crop
of blessings and calamities which were never sown by the hand of the Deity, but grow of themselves out of the fancies and dispositions of human creatures. Such are dress, titles, place, equipage, false shame, and groundless fear, with the like vain imaginations that shoot up in trifling, weak, and irresolute minds.
The Destinies finding themselves in so great a perplexity, concluded, that it would be impossible for them to execute the
commands that had been given them according to their first 10 intention ; for which reason they agreed to throw all the
blessings and calamities together into one large vessel, and in that manner offer them up at the feet of Jupiter.
This was performed accordingly, the eldest sister presenting herself before the vessel, and introducing it with an apology for what they had done.
“O Jupiter ! (says she,) we have gathered together all the good and evil, the comforts and distresses of human life, which we thus present before thee in one promiscuous heap.
We beseech thee that thou thyself wilt sort them out for the 20 future, as in thy wisdom thou shalt think fit. For we
acknowledge, that there is none beside thee that can judge what will occasion grief or joy in the heart of a human creature, and what will prove a blessing or a calamity to the person on whom it is bestowed.”
III. THE SOCIAL CONCERT.
April 1, 1710.
Bombalio, Clangor, Stridor, Taratantara, Murmur.–FARN. RHET.
Rend with tremendous sounds your ears asunder,
my own Apartment, March 31. I HAVE heard of a very valuable picture, wherein all the painters of the age in which it was drawn are represented sitting together in a circle, and joining in a concert of music. Each of them plays upon such a particular instrument as is the most suitable to his character, and expresses that style and manner of painting which is peculiar to him. The famous cupola-painter of those times, to show the grandeur 10 and boldness of his figures, hath a horn in his mouth, which he seems to wind with great strength and force. On the contrary, an eminent artist, who wrought up his pictures with the greatest accuracy, and gave them all those delicate touches which are apt to please the nicest eye, is represented as tuning a theorbo. The same kind of humour runs through the whole piece.
I have often from this hint imagined to myself, that different talents in discourse might be shadowed out after the same manner by different kinds of music; and that the 20 several conversable parts of mankind in this great city might be cast into proper characters and divisions, as they resemble several instruments that are in use among the masters of harmony. Of these, therefore, in their order, and first of the drum. Your drums are the blusterers in conve
versation, that with a loud laugh, unnatural mirth, and a torrent for noise, domineer in public assemblies, overbear men of sense, stun their companions, and fill the place they are in with a
rattling sound, that hath seldom any wit, humour, or good breeding in it. The drum, notwithstanding, by this boisterous vivacity, is very proper to impose upon the ignorant; and in conversation with ladies, who are not of the finest taste, often passes for a man of mirth and wit, and for wonderful pleasant company. I need not observe, that the emptiness of the drum very much contributes to its noise.
The lute is a character directly opposite to the drum, that sounds very finely by itself, or in a very small concert. Its 10 notes are exquisitely sweet, and very low, easily drowned in
a multitude of instruments, and even lost among a few, unless you give a particular attention to it. A lute is seldom heard in a company of more than five, whereas a drum will show itself to advantage in an assembly of five hundred. The lutanists, therefore, are men of a fine genius, uncommon reflection, great affability, and esteemed chiefly by persons of a good taste, who are the only proper judges of so delightful and soft a melody.
The trumpet is an instrument that has in it no compass of 20 music or variety of sound, but is notwithstanding very
agreeable, so long as it keeps within its pitch. It has not above four or five notes, which are, however, very pleasing, and capable of exquisite turns and modulations. The gentlemen who fall under this denomination, are your men of the most fashionable education and refined breeding, who have learned a certain smoothness of discourse, and sprightliness of air, from the polite company they have kept; but at the same time have shallow parts, weak judgments, and a short
reach of understanding; a play-house, a drawing-room, a 30 ball, a visiting-day, or a ring at Hyde Park, are the few
notes they are masters of, which they touch upon in all conversations. The trumpet, however, is a necessary instrument about a court, and a proper enlivener of a concert, though of no great harmony by itself.
Violins, are the lively, forward, importunate wits, that distinguish themselves by the flourishes of imagination,