« PreviousContinue »
ters may best represent the faults I would now point at, and the answer to it the temper of mind in a contrary character.
My dear Harriot, IF F thou art the, but oh how fallen, how changed, what
an apoftate! how lost to all that is gay and agreeable! To be married I find is to be buried alive; I cannot conceive it more dismal to be shut up in a vault to converse with the shades of my ancestors, than to be carried down to an old manor-house in the country, and confined to the conversation of a sober husband and an aukward chamber-maid. For variety I suppose you may entertain yourself with madam in her grogram gown, the spouse of your parish vicar, who has by this time I am sure well furnished you with receipts for making falves and poflets, distilling cordial-waters, making fyrups, and applying poultices.
• Bleft folitude! I wish thee joy, my dear, of thy loved • retirement, which indeed you would persuade me is very
agreeable, and different enough from what I have here • described: but, child, I am afraid thy brains are a little • disordered with romances and novels : after six months
marriage to hear thee talk of love, and paint the coun•
try scenes fo foftly, is a little extravagant; one would o think
you lived the lives of fylvan deities, or roved among. the walks of paradise, like the first happy pair. • But pr’ythee leave these whimsies, and come to town in
order to live and talk like other mortals. However, as I am extremely interested in your reputation, I would wil. lingly give you a little good advice at your
appearance under the character of a married woman : it is a • little insolent in me perhaps, to advise a matron; but I
am so afraid you will make fo filly a figure as a fond wife, that I cannot help warning you not to appear in any public places with your husband, and never to faunter about St. James's Park together: if you presume to enter the ring at Hyde-Park together, you are ruined for ever; nor must
you take the least notice of one another at the play-house or opera, unless you would be laughed at for a very loving couple most happily paired in the yoke of wedlock. I would recommend the example of an
' acquaintance of ours to your imitation ; she is the most “ negligent and fashionable wife in the world; she is hardly
ever seen in the same place with her husband, and if they • happen to meet, you would think them perfect stran
gers: she never was heard to name him in his absence, s and takes care he shall never be the subject of any
dif« course she has a share in. I hope you will propose • this lady as a pattern, though I am very much afraid you • will be so filly to think Portia, &c. Sabine and Roman • wives much brighter examples. I wish it may never come • into your head to imitate those antiquated creatures fo • far, as to come into public in the habit as well as air < of a Roman matron. You make already the entertain• ment at Mrs. Modish's tea-table ; she says, she always
thought you a discreet person, and qualified to manage • a family with admirable prudence : The dies to see what • demure and serious airs wedlock has given you, but the
says she shall never forgive your choice of so gallant a
man as Bellamour to transform him to a mere fober • husband; it was unpardonable: you see, my dear, we * all envy your happiness, and no person more than
Your humble servant,
6. Lydia." * B
E not in pain, good madam, for my appearance
in town ; I fall frequent no public places, or • make any visits where the character of a modest wife is • ridiculous. As for your wild raillery on matrimony, it ' is all hypocrisy; you, and all the handsome young wo
men of your acquaintance, shew yourselves to no other purpose than to gain a conquest over fome man of worth, in order to beltow your charms and fortune on him. There is no indecency in the confession, the
design is modest and honourable, and all your affecta* tion cannot disguise it.
• I am married, and have no other concern but to please " the man I love; he is the end of every care I have ; if “I dress it is for him; if I read a poem or a play, it is to
qualify myself for a conversation agreeable to his taste : 6. he is almost the end of my devotions ; half my prayers
for his happiness--I love to talk of him, and never 6. hear him named but with pleasure and emotion. I
. am your friend, and wish you happiness, but am sorry
to see by the air of your letter that there are a set of
women who are got into the common-place raillery • of every thing that is sober, decent, and proper : ma'trimony and the clergy are the topics of people of • little wit and no understanding. I own to you, I have • learned of the vicar's wife all you tax me with: fhe ' is a discreet, ingenious, pleasant, pious woman ; I wish ' she had the handling of you and Mrs. Modish ; you ' would find, if you were too free with her, she would foon make you as charming as ever you were, she would
you blush as much as if you never had been fine 6 ladies. The vicar, madam, is so kind as to visit my
husband, and his agreeable conversation has brought • him to enjoy many sober happy hours when even I am • shut out, and my dear master is entertained only with
his own thoughts. These things, dear madam, will • be lasting satisfactions, when the fine ladies, and the • coxcombs by whom they form themselves, are irreparably ridiculous, ridiculous in old age. I am, madam,
• Your most humble servant,
Mary Home.' "Dear Mr. Spectator, YOU
OU have no goodness in the world, and are not
in earnest in any thing you say that is serious, if you do not send me a plain answer to this: I happened fome days past to be at the play, where during
the time of performance, I could not keep my eyes off ' from a beautiful young creature who fat just before me, 6. and who I have been since informed has no fortune. It • would utterly ruin my reputation for discretion to marry « such a one, and by what I can learn she has a character of great modesty, so that there is nothing to be thought
other way. My mind has ever since been fo wholly bent on her, that I am much in danger of doing • something very extravagant without your speedy advice
« Your most humble servant.'
I am sorry I cannot answer this impatient gentleman, but by another question.
• Dear Correspondent, Would you marry to please other people, or your
Saturday, December 22.
Laudis amore tumes ? sunt certa piacula, que te
Hor. Ep. 1. lib. 1. ver. 36.
IMITATED. Know, there are rhymes, which (fresh and fresh apply'd) Will cure the arrant'st puppy of his pride. POPE.
HE soul, considered abstractedly from its paffions,
solves, and languishing in its exccutions. The use therefore of the passions is to stir it up, and to put it upon action, to awaken the understanding, to enforce the will, and to make the whole man more vigorous and attentive in the prosecution of his designs. As this is tlíe end of the passions in general, so it is particularly of ambition, which pushes the foul to such actions as are apt to procure honour and reputation to the actor. But if we carry our reflexions higher, we may discover farther ends of Providence in implanting this paflion in mankind.
It was necessary for the world, that arts should be invented and improved, books written and transmitted to posterity, nations conquered and civilized: now since the proper and genuine motives to these and the like great actions, would only influence virtuous minds; there would be but small improvements in the world, were there not some cornmon principle of action working equally with all men. And such a principle is ambition or a desire of fame, by which great endowments are not suffered to lie idle and useless to the public, and many. vicious men, over-reached, as it
engaged contrary to their natural inclinations in a glorious od laudable course of action. For we may farther ob
serve, that men of the greatest abilities are most fired with ambition : and that on the contrary, mean and narrow minds are the least actuated by it; whether it be that a man's sense of his own incapacities makes him despair of coming at fame, or that he has not enough range of thought to look out for any good which does not more immediately relate to his interest or convenience, or that Providence, in the very frame of his soul, would not subject him to such a passion as would be useless to the world, and a torment to himself.
Were not this desire of fame very ftrong, the difficulty of obtaining it, and the danger of losing it when obtained, would be sufficient to deter à inan from so vain a pursuit.
How few are there who are furnished with abilities sufficient to recommend their actions to the admiration of the world, and to distinguish themselves from the rest of mankind ? Providence for the most part sets us upon a level, and observes a kind of proportion in its dispensation towards us. If it renders us perfect in one accomplishment, it generally leaves us defective in another, and seems careful rather of preserving every person from being mean and deficient in his qualifications, thian of making any single one eminent or extraordinary.
And among those who are the most richly endowed by nature, and accomplified by their own indufry, how few are there whose virtues are not obscured by tiié ignorance, prejudice or envy of their beholders ? Some men cannot discern between a noble and a mean aition : others are apt to attribute them to some false end or intention; or others purposely misreprefent, or put a wrong interpretation on them.
But the more to enforce this consideration, we may observe that those are generally most unsuccesful in their pursuit after faine, who are most desirous of obtaining it. It is Sallust's remark upon Cato, that the less he coveted glory the more he acquired it.
Men take an ill-natured pleasure in crofing our inclinations, and disappointing us in what our hearts are most set upon. When therefore they have discovered the passionate desire of fame in the ambitious man, as no temper of inind is more apt to shew itself, they be