Page images
[ocr errors]

which melancholy consideration I cannot yet perfectly surmount, but hope your sentiments on this head will make it supportable.

To shew you what a value I have for your dictates, ' these are to certify the persons concerned, that unless *one of them returns to his colours (if I may so call • them now) before the winter is over, i'll voluntarily * confine myself to a retirement, where I'll punish them all * with my needle. I'll be revenged on them by decypher

in;, them on a carpet, humbly begging admittance, myfuiff:errfuliy refusing it. If you disapprove of this, as favouring too niuch of malice, be pleased to acquaint me with a draught you like better, and it shall be faithfully pe:formed By the unfortunate





Monday, Noverriber 1.

Si mihi non animo fixum, immotumque sederet,
Ne cui me vinclo celle 'n fociare jugeli,
Pojfquam primus amor deceptam murte fefellit,
Si non pertsifum thulami, tidaque fuillet;
Huic uni forsan potui fuccumbere culpe.

Virg. Æn. 4. v. 15.
Ilere 1 nat refolu'd against the yoke
Of hapless marriage, never to be curs’d
With second love, so fatal was the first;
To this cile error I might jield again. Dryden,


by the


HE following account hath been transnitted to me

love-caíuilt. « Mr SPECTATOR,

AVING, in some former papers, taken care of the

two states of virginity and r:rriage, and being * willing that all people should be served in thieir turn, I o this day drew out my drawer of widows, where I met

with several cases, to each whereuf I have returned fatisfactory answers by the post. The cases are as follow.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


. Q: WHETHER Amoret be bound by a promise of marriage to Philander made during her husband's life??

"Q WHETHER Sempronia, having faithfully given a promise to two several persons during the last fickness of • her husband, is not thereby left at liberty to chuse which

of them fhe pleases, or to reject them both for the sako 6 of a new lover ?

' CLEORA asks me, whether she be obliged to continue single, according to a vow madle to her husband at the • time of his presenting her with a diamond necklace; the being informed by a very pretty young fellow of a good conscience, that such vows are in their nature finful ?

"ANOTHER inquires, whether she hath not the right of widowhood, to dispose of herself to a gentleman of

great merit, who prefies very hard; her husband being * irrecoverably gone in a consumption ?

An unreasonable creature hath the confidence to ask, - whether it be proper for her to marry a man who is younger than her eldest fon?

' A SCRUPULOus well-spoken matron, 'who gives me a great many good words, only doubts, whether she is

not obliged in conscience to shut up her two marriage » "able daughters, till such time as the hath comfortably disposed of herself?

SOPHRONIA, who seems by her phrase and spell. ing to be a person of condition, sets forth, That where

as the hath a great esiate, and is but a woman, she de-". sires to be informed, whether she would not do prudent<ly to marry Camillus, a very idle tall young fellow, who hath no fortune of his own, and confequerily hath nothing else to do but to manage hers.'

BEFORE I speak of widows, I cannot but obferve one thing, which I do not know how to account for; a widow is always more sought after, than an old maid of the same age. It is common enough aniong ordinary people, for a stale virgin to fet up a shop in a place where she is not known; where the large thumb-ring supposed to be given her by her husband, quickly recommends her to fome, wealthy neighbour, who takes a liking to the jolly widow, that would have overlooked the venerable spinster,

The truth of it is, if we look into this set of women, we find, according to the different characters or circumKOL: VIII.



stances wherein they are left, that widows may be divided into those who raise love, and those who raise compassion.

But not to ramble from this subject, there are two things in which consists chiefly the glory of a widow; the love of her deceased husband, and the care of her children: to which may be added a third, arising out of the former, such a prudent conduct as may do honour to both.

A Widow possessed of all these three qualities, makes not only a virtuous but a sublime character.

There is something so great and so generous in this state of life, when it is accompanied with all its virtues, that it is the subject of one of the finest among our modern tragedies in the person of Andromache ; and hath met with an universal and deserved applause, when introduced upon our English stage by Mr Philips. The most memorable widow in history is queen

Arte-misia, who not only erected the famous Mausoleum, but drank up the ashes of her dead lord; thereby inclosing them in a nobler monument than that which she had built, though deservedly esteemed one of the wonders of architecture,

This last lady seems to have had a better title to a second husband than any I have read of, fince not one dust of her first was remaining. Our modern heroines might think a husband a very bitter draught, and would have good reason to complain, if they might not accept of a fecond partner, till they had taken such a troublesome method of losing the memory of the first.

I SHALL add to these illustrious examples out of ancient story, a remarkable instance of the delicacy of our ancestors in relation to the state of widowhood, as I find it recorded in Cowell's interpreter. “At East and West Enborne, in the county of Berks, if a customary tenant die, in the widow shall have what the law calls 'her free-bench, * in all his copy-hold lands, dum folo et cafta fuerit;

that is, while he lives single and chaste; but if she • commits incontinency, she forfeits her estate: yet if she s will come into the court riding backward upon a black

ram, with his tail in her hand, and fay the words following, the steward is bound by the custom to re-admit - her to her free-bench.


Here I am,
Riding upon a black ram,
Like a whore as I am ;
And, for my Crincum Crancum,
Have lost my Bincum Bancum ;
And, for ny tail's game,
Have done this worldly shame ;
Therefore, I pray you Mr Steward, let me hace:

muy land again.

The like custom there is in the manor of Torre in Devonshire, and other parts of the West.

It is not imposible but I may in a littli time present you with a register of Berkshire ladies, and other westerndames, who rode publicly upon this occafion; and I hope the town will be entertained with a cavalcade of widows,.

N° 615.

Wednesday, November 3.

- Qui deor um
Muneribus fapienter uti,
Duramque cailet pauperiem patia.
Pejufque letho flagitium timet:
Non illo pro caris amicis
Aut patria timidus perire.

Hor. Od. 9. 1. 4. V. 44..

Who spend their treasure freely, as 'twas giv’nı
By the large bounty of indulgent Heav'n 3
Who in a fix'd unalterable flate ·
Smile at the doubtful tide of fate,
And scorn alike her friendship and her hate :

Who poison less than falsehood fear,

Loth to purchase life so dear; But kindly for their friend embrace cold death, And seal their country's love with their departing breath. .

Stepney. IT must be owned that fear is a very powerful paffion,

since it is esteemed one of the greatest of virtues to subdue it. It being implanted in us for our preservation,


[ocr errors]

S 2

it is no wonder that it sticks close to us, as long as we hare any thing we are willing to preserve. But as life, and all its enjoyments, would be scarce worth the keeping, if we were under a perpetual diead of losing them; it is the business of religion and philosophy to free us from all unnecessary anxieties, and direct our fear to its proper object.

If we consider the painfulness of this passion, and the violent effects it produces, we shall see how dangerous it is to give way to it upon flight occasions. Some have frightened themselves into madness, others have given up their lives tɔ these apprehensions. The story of a man who grew grey in the space of one night's anxiety is very famous.

0! nox, quam longa es, qua facis una senen!

A tedious night indeed, that makes a young man old.

[ocr errors]


THESE apprehensions, if they proceed from a consciousness of guilt, are the fad warnings of reason; and may excite our pity, but admit of no remedy. When the hand of the Almighty is visibly lifted against the impious, the heart of mortai man cannot uitiitand him. We have this palion sublimely represented in the punishment of the Egyptians, tormented with the plague of darkness, in the a pocryphal book of Wifilom, ascribed to Solomon.

'For when ưnrighteous men thought to oppress the holy nation; they being shut up in their houses, the prisoners of darkness, and fettered with the bonds of a long night, lay there exiled from the eternal providence. * For while they supposed to lie hid in their secret sins, they ' were scattered under a dark veil of forgetfulness, being horribly astonished and troubled with strange appari* tions. For wickedness, condemned by her own witness,

is very timorous, and being oppressed with conscience, * always forecasteth grievous things. For fear is nothing

else but a betraying of the succours which reason offer6 eth. For the whole world shined with clear light, and none were hindered in their labour. Over them only was spread a heavy night, an image of that darkness • which should afterwards receive them ; but yet were they unto themselves more grievous than the darkness.?

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »