Page images
PDF
EPUB

DON QUIXOTE'S LOVE-MADNESS.

[graphic]

(Cervantes.) RAY, sir," quoth Sancho, “what is it that you mean to do in this fag end of the world ?"

“Have I not already told thee," answered Don Quixote, "that I intend to copy Amadis in his madness, despair, and fury? nay, at the same time I will imitate the valiant Orlando Furioso's extravagance when he ran mad; at which time, in his frantic despair, he tore up trees by the roots, troubled the waters of the clear fountains, slew the shepherds, destroyed their flocks, fired their huts, demolished houses, drove their horses before him, and committed a hundred thousand other extravagances, worthy to be recorded in the eternal register of fame. Not that I intend, however, in all things to imitate Roldan, or Orlando, or Rotoland (for he had all those names), but only to make choice of such frantic effects of his amorous despair, as I shall think most essential and worthy imitation. Nay, perhaps I shall wholiy follow Amadis, who, without launching out into such destructive and fatal ravings, and only expressing his anguish in complaints and lamentations, gained nevertheless a renown equal, if not superior, to that of the greatest heroes.'

“Sir," quoth Sancho, "I dare say the knight who did these penances had some reason to be mad; but what need have you to be mad too? what lady has set you a-packing, or so much as slighted you? when did you ever find that my Lady Dulcinea del Toboso

did otherwise than she should do ?” Why, there is the point,” cried Don Quixote, “in this consists the singular perfection of my undertaking ; for, mark me, Sancho, for a knight-errant to run mad upon any just occasion, is neither strange nor meritorious; no, the rarity is to run mad without a cause, without the least constraint or necessity: there is a refined and exquisite passion for you, Sancho! for thus my mistress must needs have a vast idea of my love."

[ocr errors]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

He grasp'd the mane with both his hands,

And eke with all his might.

His horse, which never in that sort

Had handled been before,
What thing upon his back had got

Did wonder more and more.

Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;

Away went hat and wig; lle little dreamt when he set out

Of running such a rig.

The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,

Like streamer long and gay, Till, loop and button failing both,

At last it flew away.

Then might all people well discern

The bottles he had slung;
A bottle swinging at each side,

As hath been said or sung.

The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,

Up flew the windows all;
And every soul cried out, Well done!

As loud as he could bawl.

Away went Gilpin—who but he ?

His fame soon spread around;
He carries weight! he rides a race !

'Tis for a thousand pound!

[graphic][merged small]

(Addison.) HAVE often imagined to myself, that different talents in discourse might be shadowed out by different kinds of music ; and that the several conversable parts of mankind in this

great city might be cast into proper characters and divisions, as they resemble several instruments that are used among the masters of harmony. Of these, therefore, in their order ;—and first of the Drum.

Your Drums are the blusterers in conversation, that, with a loud laugh, and a torrent of noise, domineer in public assemblies; overbear men of sense ; stun their companions; and fill the place they are in with a rattling sound. 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 finely by itself, or in a very small consort. Its notes are exquisitely sweet, and very low, easily drown in a multitude of instruments, and even lost among a few. The Lutenists 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 music or variety of sound, but is 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 manners, who have learned a certain smoothness of discourse and sprightliness of air, from the polite company they have kept; but have shallow parts, weak judgments, and a short reach of understanding. The Trumpet, however, is a proper enlivener of a consort, though of no great harmony by itself.

Violins are the lively, forward, importunate wits, that distinguish themselves by the flourishes of imagination, sharpness of repartee, glances of satire, and bear away the upper part in every consort.

I cannot but observe, that when a man is not disposed to hear music, there is not a more disagreeable sound in harmony than that of a Violin.

There is another musical instrument, which is more frequent in this nation than any other. I mean the Bass-viol, which grumbles in the bottom of the consort, and with a surly, masculine sound strengthens the harmony and tempers the sweetness of the several instruments that play along with it. The Bass-viol is an instrument of a quite different nature to the Trumpet, and may signify men of rough sense and unpolished parts, who do not love to hear themselves talk, but sometimes break out with an agreeable bluntness, unexpected wit, and surly pleasantries, to the no small diversion of their companions. In short, I look upon every sensible, true-born Briton to be naturally a Bass-viol.

I must not here omit the Bagpipe species, that will entertain you from morning to night with the repetition of a few notes, which are played over and over with the perpetual humming of a drone running underneath them. These are your dull, heavy, tedious story-tellers, the load and burden of conversations, that set up for men of importance, by knowing secret history and giving an account of transactions,

a

« PreviousContinue »