老いの一筆

Fair is foul, and foul is fair – Macbeth Act 1 SceneⅠ・・・きれいはきたない、きたないはきれい

The Vision of Justiceは随筆か


私の随筆に対して抱いているイメージは、あくまでも現実の域に収まっている作品であります。

想像や架空を扱うのは、随筆でなく、小説や物語と思っていました。

この作品は、眠りに入り、夢を見て、そして目が覚める順序になっています。

これが随筆であれば、漱石の「夢十夜」も随筆でしょう。

言っていることも平凡なので、がっかりしました。

易しい英文がせめてもの救いです。



~~~~~

A Book Of English Essays

The Vision of Justice
Joseph Addison

I WAS last week taking a solitary walk in the garden of Lincoln's Inn, (a favour that is indulged me byseveral of the benchers who are my intimate friends, and grown old with me in this neighbourhood,) when, according to the nature of men in years, who have made but little progress in the advancement of their fortune or their fame, I was repining at the sudden rise of many persons who are my juniors, and indeed at the unequal distribution of wealth, honour, and all other blessings of life. I was lost in this thought, when the night air came upon me, and drew my mind into a far more agreeable contemplation. The heaven above me 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 aether, 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 pleasures to philosophy.

As soon as I had recovered my usual temper and serenity of soul, I retired to my lodgings with the satisfaction of having passed away a few hours in the proper employments of a reasonable creature, and promising myself that my slumbers would be sweet. I no sooner fell into them, but I dreamed a dream, or saw a vision, (for I knew not which to call it,) that seemed to rise out of my evening meditation, and had something in it so solemn and serious, that I cannot forbear communicating it; though I must confess, the wildness of imagination (which in a dream is always loose and irregular) discovers itself too much in several parts of it.

Methought I saw the azure sky diversified with the same glorious luminaries which had entertained me a little before I fell asleep. I was looking very attentively on that sign in the heavens which is called by the name of the Balance, when on a sudden there appeared in it an extraordinary light, as if the sun should rise at midnight. By its increasing in breadth and lustre, I soon found that it approached towards the earth ; and at length could discern something like a shadow hovering in the midst of a great glory, which in a little time after I distinctly perceived to be the figure of a woman. I fancied at first it might have been the Angel or Intelligence that guided the constellation from which it descended; but upon a nearer view, I saw about her all the emblems with which the Goddess of Justice is usually described. Her countenance was unspeakably awful and majestic, but exquisitely beautiful to those whose eyes were strong enough to behold it ; her smiles transported with rapture, her frowns terrified to despair. She held in her hand a mirror endowed with the same qualities as that which the painters put into the hand of Truth.

There streamed from it a light, which distinguished itself from all the splendours that surrounded her, more than a flash of lightning shines in the midst of day-light. As she moved it in her hand, it brightened the heavens, the air, or the earth. When she had descended 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.

In the mean time the world was in an alarm, and all the inhabitants of it gathered together upon a spacious plain; so that I seemed to have all the species before my eyes. A voice was heard from the clouds, declaring the intention of this visit, which was to restore and appropriate to every one living what was his due. The fear and hope, joy and sorrow, which appeared in that great assembly after this solemn declaration, are not to be expressed. The first edict was then pronounced, ' That all titles and claims to riches and estates, or to any parts of them, should be immediately vested in the rightful owner.' Upon this, the inhabitants of the earth held up the instruments of their tenure, whether in parchment, paper, wax, or any other form of conveyance; and as the goddess moved the mirror of truth which she held in her hand, so that the light which flowed from it fell upon the multitude, they examined the several instruments by the beams of it. The rays of this mirror had a particular quality of setting fire to all forgery and falsehood. The blaze of papers, the melting of seals, and crackling of parchments, made a very odd scene. The fire very often ran through two or three lines only, and then stopped though I could not but observe, that the flame chiefly broke out among the interlineations and codicils. The light of the mirror as it was turned up and down, pierced into all the dark corners and recesses of the universe, and by that means detected many writings and records which had been hidden or buried by time, chance, or design. This occasioned a wonderful revolution among the people. At the same time, the spoils of extortion, fraud, and robbery, with all the fruits of bribery and corruption, were thrown together into a prodigious pile, that almost reached to the clouds, and was called the Mount of Restitution; to which all injured persons were invited, to receive what belonged to them.

One might see crowds of people in tattered garments come up, and change clothes with others that were dressed with lace and embroidery. Several who were plums, or very near it, became men of moderate fortunes; and many others, who were overgrown in wealth and possessions, had no more left than what they usually spent. What moved my concern most was, to see a certain street of the greatest credit in Europe from one end to the other become bankrupt.

The next command was, for the whole body of mankind to separate themselves into their proper families: which was no sooner done, but an edict was issued out, requiring all children ' to repair to their true and natural fathers.' This put a great part of assembly in motion; for as the mirror was moved over them, it inspired every one with such a natural instinct, as directed them to their real parents. It was a very melancholy spectacle to see the fathers of very large families become vacant, and batchelors undone by a charge of sons and daughters. You might see a presumptive heir of a great estate ask blessing of his coachman, and a celebrated toast paying her duty to a valet de chambre. Many under vows of celibacy appeared surrounded with a numerous issue. This change of parentage would have caused great lamentation, but that the calamity was pretty common; and that generally those who lost their children, had the satisfaction of seeing them put into the hands of their dearest friends.

Men were no sooner settled in their right to their possessions and their progeny, but there was a third order proclaimed, ' That all posts of dignity and honour in the universe should be conferred on persons of the greatest merit, abilities, and perfection.' The handsome, the strong, and the wealthy, immediately pressed forward; but not being able to bear the splendour of the mirror which played upon their faces, they immediately fell back among the crowd : but as the goddess tried the multitude by her glass, as the eagle does its young ones by the lustre of the sun, it was remarkable, that every one turned away his face from it, who had not distinguished himself either by virtue, knowledge, or capacity in business, either military or civil. This select assembly was drawn up in the centre of a prodigious multitude, which was diffused on all sides, and stood observing them, as idle people use to gather about a regiment that are exercising their arms. They were drawn up in three bodies: in the first, were men of virtue; in the second, men of knowledge; and in the third, the men of business. It was impossible to look at the first column without a secret veneration, their aspects were so sweetened with humanity, raised with contemplation, emboldened with resolution, and adorned with the most agreeable airs, which are those that proceed from secret habits of virtue. I could not but take notice, that there were many faces among them which were unknown, not only to the multitude, but even to several of their own body.

In the second column, consisting of the men of knowledge,there had been great disputes before they fell into the ranks, which they did not do at last without positive command of the goddess who presided over the assembly. She had so ordered it, that men of the greatest genius and strongest sense were placed at the head of the column: behind these were such as had formed their minds very much on the thoughts and writings of others. In the rear of the column, were men who had more wit than sense, or more learning than understanding. All living authors of any value were ranged in one of these classes; but I must confess, I was very much surprised to see a great body of editors, critics, commentators, and grammarians, meet with so very ill a reception. They had formed themselves into a body, and with a great deal of arrogance demanded the first station in the column of knowledge; but the goddess, instead of complying with their request, clapped them all into liveries, and bid them know themselves for no other but lacqueys of the learned.

The third column were men of business, and consisting of persons in military and civil capacities. The former marched out from the rest, and placed themselves in the front, at which the other shook their heads at them, but did not think fit to dispute the post with them. I could not but make several observations upon this last column of people; but I have certain private reasons why I do not think fit to communicate them to the public. In order to fill up all the posts of honour, dignity, and profit, there was a draught made out of each column, of men who were masters of all three qualifications in some degree, and were preferred to stations of the first rank. The second draught was made out of such as were possessed of any two of the qualifications, who were disposed of in stations of a second dignity. Those who were left, and were endowed only with one of them, had their suitable posts. When this was over, there remained many places of trust and profit unfilled, for which there were fresh draughts made out of the surrounding multitude, who had any appearance of these excellencies, or were recommended by those who possessed them in reality.

All were surprised to see so many new faces in the most eminent dignities; and for my own part, I was very well pleased to see that all my friends either kept their present posts, or were advanced to higher.

The male world were dismissed by the Goddess of Justice, and disappeared, when on a sudden the whole plain was covered with women. So charming a multitude filled my heart with unspeakable pleasure; and as the celestial light of the mirror shone upon their faces, several of them seemed rather persons that descended in the train of the goddess, than such were brought before her to their trial. The clack of tongues, and confusion of voices, in this new assembly, was so very great, that the goddess was forced to command silence several times, and with some severity, before she could make them attentive to her edicts. They were all sensible, that the most important affair among womankind was then to be settled, which every one knows to be the point of place. This had raised innumerable disputes among them, and put the whole sex into a tumult. Every one produced her claim, and pleaded her pretensions. Birth, beauty, wit, or wealth, were words that rung in my ears from all parts of the plain. Some boasted of the merit of their husbands ; others, of their own power in governing them. Some pleaded their unspotted virginity; others, their numerous issue. Some valued themselves as they were the mothers, and others as they were the daughters, of considerable persons. There was not a single accomplishment unmentioned, or unpractised. The whole congregation was full of singing, dancing, tossing, ogling, squeaking, smiling, sighing, fanning, frowning, and all those irresistible arts which women put in practice to captivate the hearts of unreasonable creatures. The goddess, to end this dispute, caused it to be proclaimed, ' That every one should take place according as she was more or less beautiful.' This declaration gave great satisfaction to the whole assembly, which immediately bridled up, and appeared in all its beauties. Such as believed themselves graceful in their motion, found an occasion of falling back, advancing forward, or making a false step, that they might show their persons in the most becoming air. Such as had fine necks and bosoms were wonderfully curious to look over the heads of the multitude, and observe the most distant parts of the assembly. Several clapped their hands on their foreheads, as helping their sight to look upon the glories that surrounded the goddess, but in reality to show fine hands and arms. The ladies were yet better pleased when they heard, that in the decision of this great controversy, each of them should be her own judge, and take her place according to her own opinion of herself, when she consulted her looking-glass.

The goddess then let down the mirror of truth in a golden chain, which appeared larger in proportion as it descended and approached nearer to the eyes of the beholders. It was the particular property of this looking-glass to banish all false appearances, and show people what they are. The whole woman was represented, without regard to the usual external features, which were made entirely conformable to their real characters. In short, the most accomplished (taking in the whole circle of female perfections) were the most beautiful; and the most defective, the most deformed. The goddess so varied the motion of the glass, and placed it in so many different lights, that each had an opportunity of seeing herself in it.

It is impossible to describe the rage, the pleasure, or astonishment, that appeared in each face upon its representation in the mirror: multitudes started at their own form, and would have broke the glass if they could have reached it. Many saw their blooming features wither as they looked upon them, and their self-admiration turned into a loathing and abhorrence.

The lady who was thought so agreeable in her anger, and was so often celebrated for a woman of fire and spirit, was frighted at her own image, and fancied she saw a fury in the glass. The interested mistress beheld a harpy, and the subtle jilt a sphinx. I was very much troubled in my own heart, to see such a destruction of fine faces; but at the same time had the pleasure of seeing several improved, which I had before looked upon as the greatest master-pieces of nature. I observed, that some few were so humble, as to be surprised at their own charms; and that many a one, who had lived in the retirement and severity of a vestal, shined forth in all the graces and attractions of a siren. I was ravished at the sight of a particular image in the mirror, which I think the most beautiful object that my eyes ever beheld. There was something more than human in her countenance: her eyes were so full of light, that they seemed to beautify everything they looked upon. Her face was enlivened with such a florid bloom, as did not so properly seem the mark of health, as of immortality. Her shape, her nature, and her mien, were such as distinguished her even there where the whole fair sex was assembled.

I was impatient to see the lady represented by so divine an image, whom I found to be the person that stood at my right hand, and in the same point of view with myself. This was a little old woman, who in her prime had been about five foot high, though at present shrunk to about three quarters of that measure. Her natural aspect was puckered up with wrinkles, and her head covered with grey hairs. I had observed all along an innocent cheerfulness in her face which was now heightened into rapture as she beheld herself in the glass. It was an odd circumstance in my dream, (but I cannot forbear relating it,) I conceived so great an inclination towards her, that I had thoughts of discoursing her upon the point of marriage, when on a sudden she was carried from me; for the word was now given, that all who were pleased with their own images, should separate, and place themselves at the head of their sex.

This detachment was afterwards divided into three bodies, consisting of maids, wives, and widows: the wives being placed in the middle, with the maids on the right, and widows on the left; though it was with difficulty that these two last bodies were hindered from falling into the centre. This separation of those, who liked their real selves, not having lessened the number of the main body so considerably as it might have been wished, the goddess, after having drawn up her mirror, thought fit to make new distinctions among those who did not like the figure which they saw in it. She made several wholesome edicts, which are slipped out of my mind; but there were two which dwelt upon me, as being very extraordinary in their kind and executed with great severity. Their design was, to make an example of two extremes in the female world; of those who are very severe on the conduct of others, and of those who are very regardless of their own. The first sentence, therefore, the goddess pronounced, was, ' That all females addicted to censoriousness and detraction, should lose the use of speech;' a punishment which would be the most grievous to the offender, and (what should be the end of all punishments) effectual for out the crime. Upon this edict, which was as soon executed as published, the noise of the assembly very considerably abated. It was a melancholy spectacle, to see so many who had the reputation of rigid virtue struck dumb. A lady who stood by me, and saw my concern, told me, she wondered how I could be concerned for such a pack of I found, by the shaking of her head, she was going to give me their characters; but by her saying no more, I perceived she had lost the command of her tongue. This calamity fell very heavy upon that part of women who are distinguished by the name of Prudes, a courtly word for female hypocrites, who have a short way to being virtuous, by showing that others are vicious. The second sentence was then pronounced against the loose part of the sex, ' That all should immediately be pregnant, who in any part of their lives had ran the hazard of it.' This produced a very goodly appearance, and revealed so many misconducts, that made those who were lately struck dumb, repine more than ever at their want of utterance, though at the same time (as afflictions seldom come single) many of the mutes were also seized with this new calamity.

This vision lasted till my usual hour of waking, which I did with some surprise, to find myself alone, after having been engaged almost a whole night in so prodigious a multitude. I could not but reflect with wonder at the partiality and extravagance of my vision; which, according to my thoughts, has not done justice to the sex. If virtue in men is more venerable, it is in women more lovely; which Milton has very finely expressed in his Paradise Lost, where Adam, speaking of Eve, after having asserted his own pre-eminence, as being first in creation and internal faculties, breaks out into the following rapture:

— Yet when I approach
Her loveliness, so absolute she seems,
And in herself complete, so well to know
Her own, that what she wills to do, or say,
Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best.
All higher knowledge in her presence falls
Degraded. Wisdom, in discourse with her,
Loses, discountenanced, and like folly shows.
Authority and reason on her wait.
As one intended first, not after made
Occasionally: and, to consummate all.
Greatness of mind, and nobleness, their seat
Build in her loveliest, and create an awe
About her, as a guard angelic placed.


コメント

コメントの投稿


管理者にだけ表示を許可する

FC2Ad