« PredošláPokračovať »
Having thus taken a short view of the unhappy motives that induce men to become hard-drinkers, few perhaps will think such reasons any recommendations to drunkenness. Nor can I imagine they will grow more fond of it, by observing what strange creatures they are during their intoxication. Shakspeare calls it "putting a devil into their mouths, to steal away their brains:" and, indeed, a cup too much turns a man the wrong side out: and wine, at the same time it takes away the power of standing from the legs, deprives the mind of all sense and reflection. It is whimsical enough to consider the different effects, which wine produces on different tempers. Sometimes, like love, it makes a fool sensible, and a wise man an ass; and seems to imbibe a new quality from every different body, as water takes a tincture from the ground it runs through.
Horace has with great pleasantry recapitulated the various effects of wine in a stanza, which I have placed at the head of this paper. One man grows maudlin and weeps; another becomes merry and facetious; a third quarrels, throws a bottle at his companion's head, and could run his dearest friend through the body; a fourth is mad for a girl, and, falls in love with a street-walker; while to a fifth, the liquor serves as an opiate, and lulls him to sleep. Shakspeare has also shewn this variety of characters with great humour. Cassio cries, "let's to business," and immediately begins to hiccup his prayers, and belches out his hopes of salvation: Justice Silence, who does not speak a word while he is sober, has no sooner swallowed his rouzing cup, than he roars out a catch, and grows the noisiest man in the company. It is reported to have been one of the most exquisite entertainments to the choice spirits in the beginning of this century, to get Addison and Steele together in company for the evening. Steele entertained them, till
he was tipsy; when the same wine, that stupified him, only served to elevate Addison, who took up the ball just as Steele dropped it, and kept it up for the rest of the evening. They, who have never been present at a scene of this kind, may see the whole groupe of drunken characters, displayed at one view with infinite humour, in Hogarth's Modern Midnight Con
Thus excess of drinking verifies all the transformations recorded in the fable of Circe's cup: and perhaps the true reason, why Bacchus is always painted with horns, is to intimate, that wine turns men into beasts. Indeed, if none were to indulge themselves in drinking, except those, who (like Steele and Addison) could be witty and agreeable in their cups, the number of hard-drinkers would be very happily diminished. Most men have so little right to plead an excuse of this sort in vindication of their drunkenness, that wine either makes em very rude, very stupid, or very mad. It is a vulgar error to suppose, that liquor only shews ill qualities, since it also frequently creates them; and engenders notions in the mind quite foreign to its natural disposition, which are the mere effects of wine, and break out like blotches and carbuncles on the face. The disgustful appear,ance, which most people make when they are drunk, was what induced the Spartans to intoxicate their slaves, and shew them to their children, in order to deter them from so odious a vice. In like manner let the choice spirit, who is often seen snoring in an armed chair in a tavern, or hanging his head over the pot, reflect what a shocking figure he must have made, when he sees the drunken beggar sleeping on a bulk, or rolling in the kennel!
Whoever thus considers the motives, that generally induce men to give into these excesses, and how ridiculous and unhappy they are often rendered by the
effects, will hardly be tempted by the charms of a bottle and, indeed, hard-drinking is frequently one, among the many evils that arise from want of education. The dull country squire, who has not taste for literary amusements, has nothing, except his dogs and horses, but his bumper to divert him; and the town squire sits soaking for the same reason in a tavern. These are the common herd of Bacchus's swine: but nothing is more shocking than to see a man of sense thus destroying his parts and constitution. It not only makes a terrible innovation in his whole frame and intellects, but also robs him of the society of those like himself, with whom he should associate, and reduces him to the level of a set of wretches; since all may be admitted to his company and conversation, who are able to toss off a bumper.
These considerations are sufficient to convince us of the evils which result from hard-drinking: but it will shock us still more, if we reflect how much it will influence our life and conduct. Whoever is engaged in a profession, will never apply to it with success, while he sticks so close to his bottle; and the tradesman, who endeavours to make business and pleasure compatable, will never be able to make both ends meet. Thus, whether health, fame, or interest is regarded, drunkenness should be avoided: and we may say with Cassio, "Every inordinate cup is unblest, and the "ingredient is a devil." Q
No. XCIII. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6.
.....Heu, Fortuna, quis est crudelior in nos Te Deus! ut semper gaudes illudere rebus Humanis!..
Why, Fortune, serve us such a cruel prank,
I CANNOT but admire the ingenious device prefixed to the advertisement of Hazard's Lottery-office, in which Fortune is represented hovering over the heads of a great number of people, and scattering down all kinds of prizes among them. What Mr. Hazard has here delineated, every adventurer in the late lottery had pictured to himself: the ten thousand constantly floated before his eyes, and each person had already possessed it in imagination. But alas! all our expectations are now at an end: the golden dream is at length vanished; and those, whose heads were kept giddy all the while that the wheel of Fortune was turning round, have now leisure soberly to reflect on their disappointment. How many unhappy tradesmen must now trudge on foot all their lives who designed to loll in their chariots! How many poor maidens, of good family but no fortune, must languish all their days without the comforts of a husband and a coach and six! every loser thinks himself ill used by Fortune: and even Mrs. Betty, the possessor of a single sixteenth, flies to the office, pays her penny, and receives the tidings of her ill luck with surprise; goes to another office, pays her penny, hears the same disagreeable information, and can hardly, very hardly persuade herself, that Fortune should have doomed her, still to wash the dishes, and scrub down the stairs.
Thus the views of every adventurer are directed to the same point, though their motives for engaging in the lottery may be different. One man puts in, because he is willing to be in Fortune's way; another, because he had good luck in the last; and another, because he never got any thing before: this indulges in the prospect of making a fortune; and that comforts himself with the pleasing hope of retrieving his desperate circumstances. Every one, however, thinks himself as sure of the ten thousand, as if he had it in his pocket; and his only concern is, how to dispose of it. We may, therefore, consider every adventurer as having been in actual possession of his treasure; and out of fifty thousand people, who have been blessed within this fortnight with such ideal good fortune, I shall select the following instances, which fell within my own notice.
Joseph Wilkins, of Thames-street, esquire, common-council-man and cheesemonger, got the 10,0001. He could not bear the foggy air and dingy situation of the city he, therefore, resolved to take a house at the St. James's end of the town, and to fit up a snug box at Hampstead in the Chinese taste, for his retirement on Sundays. A chariot was absolutely necessary to carry him to and from 'Change every morning: but he intended to have it made according to the modern fashion, that it might occasionally be converted into a post-chaise, to wheel him every Saturday night to his country seat, and back again on Monday morning. He designed to be chosen alderman the first vacancy; after that to be made sheriff, receive the honour of knighthood, and perhaps get into parliament: and whenever he passed by the Mansion-house, he could not but look upon it with pleasure, as the future residence of his lordship. Nothing was now wanting but a careful plodding partner, who should take upon himself the whole drudgery of the shop; so that the