As at the rising of the Sun the Constellations grow thin, and the Stars go out one after another, till the whole Hemisphere is extinguished; such was the vanishing of the Goddess: And not only of the Goddess her self, but of the whole Army that attended her, which sympathized with their Leader, and shrunk into Nothing, in proportion as the Goddess disappeared. At the same time the whole Temple sunk, the Fish betook themselves to the Streams, and the wild Beasts to the Woods: The Fountains recovered their Murmurs, the Birds their Voices, the Trees their Leaves, the Flowers their Scents, and the whole Face of Nature its true and genuine Appearance. Tho’ I still continued asleep, I fancied my self as it were awakened out of a Dream, when I saw this Region of Prodigies restored to Woods and Rivers, Fields and Meadows.
Upon the removal of that wild Scene of Wonders, which had very much disturbed my Imagination, I took a full Survey of the Persons of WIT and TRUTH; for indeed it was impossible to look upon the first, without seeing the other at the same time. There was behind them a strong and compact Body of Figures. The Genius of Heroic Poetry appeared with a Sword in her Hand, and a Lawrel on her Head. Tragedy was crowned with Cypress, and covered with Robes dipped in Blood. Satyr had Smiles in her Look, and a Dagger under her Garment. Rhetorick was known by her Thunderbolt; and Comedy by her Mask. After several other Figures, Epigram marched up in the Rear, who had been posted there at the Beginning of the Expedition, that he might not revolt to the Enemy, whom he was suspected to favour in his Heart. I was very much awed and delighted with the Appearance of the God of Wit; there was something so amiable and yet so piercing in his Looks, as inspired me at once with Love and Terror. As I was gazing on him, to my unspeakable Joy, he took a Quiver of Arrows from his Shoulder, in order to make me a Present of it; but as I was reaching out my Hand to receive it of him, I knocked it against a Chair, and by that means awaked.
[Footnote 1: Scent bags. Ital. Polviglio; from Pulvillus, a little cushion.]
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No. 64. Monday, May 14, 1711. Steele.
Hic vivimus Ambitiosa
Paupertate omnes ...’
The most improper things we commit in the Conduct of our Lives, we are led into by the Force of Fashion. Instances might be given, in which a prevailing Custom makes us act against the Rules of Nature, Law and common Sense: but at present I shall confine my Consideration of the Effect it has upon Men’s Minds, by looking into our Behaviour when it is the Fashion to go into Mourning. The Custom of representing the Grief we have for the Loss of the Dead by our Habits, certainly had its Rise from the real Sorrow