Page images

her. But such is man's unhappy condition, that though the weakness of the heart has a prevailing power over the strength of the head, yet the strength of the head has but small force against the weakness of the heart. Osmyn therefore struggled in vain to revive departed desire ; and for that reason resolved to retire to one of his estates in. the country, and pass away his hours of wedlock in the noble diversions of the field; and in the fury of a disappointed lover, made an oath to leave neither stag, fox, or hare living, during the days of his wife. Besides that country-sports would be an amusement, he hoped also, that his spouse would be half killed by the very sense of seeing this town no more, and would think her life ended as soon as Ihe left it. He communicated his design to Elmira, who received it, as now stie did all things,, like a person too unhappy to be relieved or afflicted by the circumstance of place. This unexpected resignation made Osmyn resolve to be as obliging to her as possible; and if he could not prevail upon himself to be kind, he took a resolution at least to act sincerely, and communicate frankly to her the weakness of his temper, to excuse the indifference of his behaviour. He disposed hia houstiold in the way to Rutland, so as he and his lady travelled only in the coach for the conveniency of discourse. They had not gone many miles out of town, when Osmyn spoke to this purpose 1

"My Dear, I believe I look quite as silly now I am

"8°'ng t0 te" you I d° notve you, as when I first

"told you I did. We are now going into the country

"together, with only one hope for making this life

"agreeable, survivorship : Desire is not in our power;

"mine is all gone for you. What (hall we do to carry

"it with decency to the world, and hate one another

*« with discretion i"

The Lady answered, without the least observation on, the extravagance of the speech:

"My Dear, you have lived most of your days in. a *• Court, and I have not been wholly unacquainted with "that sort of life. In Courts, you fee good-will is

*' spokea. *' spoken with great warmth, ill-will covered with great "civility. Men are long in Civilities to those they "hate, and short in expressions of kindness to those they "love. Therefore, my Dear, let us be well-bred still; ** and it is no matter, as to all who fee us, whether we "love or hate: And to let you fee how much you are *' beholding to me for my conduct, I have both hated "and despised you, my Dear, this half year; and yet "neither in language or behaviour has it been visible but that I loved you tenderly. Therefore, as I know "you go out of town to divert life in pursuit of beasts, '« and conversation with men just above them; so, my ** Life, from- this moment, I shall read all the learned •* cooks who have ever writ; study broths, plaisters, and *' conserves, until from a fine lady I become a notable "woman. We must take our minds a note or two "lower, or we shall be tortured by jealousy or anger. "Thus I am resolved to kill all keen passions by em*' ploying my mind on little subjects, and lessening the "uneasiness of my spirit; while you, my Dear, with "much ale, exercise, and ill company, are so good as *• to endeavour to be as comtemptible, as it is necessary 41 for my quiet I should think you."

At Rutland they arrived, and lived with great, but secret, impatience for many successive years until Osmyn thought of an happy expedient to give their affairs a new turn. One day he took Elmira aside, and spoke as follows:

"My Dear, you fee here the air is so temperate and "serene; the rivulets, the groves, and soil, so ex"tremely kind to Nature, that we are stronger and "firmer in our health since we left the town ; so that "there is no hope of a release in this place: But if you "will be so kind as to go with me to my estate in the "Hundreds of EJsex, it is possible some kind damp may "one day or other relieve us. If you will condescend "to accept of this offer, I will add that whole estate to 44 your jointure in this county."


Elmira, who was all goodness, accepted the offer, reHioved accordingly, and has left her spouse in that place to rest with his fathers.

This is the real figure in which Elmira ought to be beheld in this town; and not thought guilty of an Indecorum, in not professing the fense, or bearing the habit of sorrow, for one who robbed her of all the endearment ©f life, and gave her only common Civility, instead of complacency of manners,, dignity of passion, and that constant assemblage of soft desires and affections which* all feel' who love, but none can express.

Will's Coffee-house, August icv

Mr. Truman, who is a mighty admirer of Dramatic Poetry, and knows I am about a tragedy, never meets Bie, but he is giving admonitions and hints for my conduct. Mr. Bickerstajf, said he, I was reading last night your second Act you were so kind to lend me: but I find you depend mightily upon the retinue of your hero to make him magnificent. You make guards, and usliers^ and courtiers, and commons, and nobles, march before;, and then enters your Prince, and fays, they cannot defend him from his love. Why, prithee Isaac, who everthought they could f Place me your loving monarch in a solitude; let him have no fense at all of his grandeur, but let it be eaten up with his paSion. He must value himself as the greatest of lovers, not as the first of princes:. And then let him fay a more tender thing than ever man? said before—For his feather and eagle's beak are nothing at all. The man is to be expressed by his sentimentsand affections, and not by his fortune or equipage. You are also to take care, that at his first entrance he feys something, which may give us an idea of what we are to expect in a person of his way of thinking. Shakespear is your pattern. In the tragedy of Cæsar he introduces his Hero in his night-gown. He had at that time all the power of Rome: deposed Consuls, subordinate Generals, and captive Princes might have preceded him; but his genius was above such mechanic methods of shewing greatness. Therefore he rather presents- that great Soul debating upon the subject of Use and death;

with his intimate friends, without endeavouring to prepossess his audience with empty shew and pomp. When those who attend talk of him the many omens which had appeared that day, he answers:

Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The valiant never taste of death but once.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,

It seems to me most strange that men should fear;

Seeing that death, a necessary end,

Will come, when it will come.

When the Hero has spoken this sentiment, there is nothing that is great, which cannot be expected from one, whose first position is the contempt of death to so high a degree, as to make his Exit a thing wholly indifferent, and not a part of his care, but that of Heaven and fate.

St. James's Coffee-house, Auguft 10.

Letters from Brussels of the fifteenth instant, N. S. fay, that Major-general Ramignan returned on the eighth, with the French King's answer to the intended capitulation from the citadel of Teurnay; which is, That he does not think fit to sign that capitulation, except the Allies will grant a cessation of arms in general, during the time in which all acts of hostility were to have ceased between the citadel and the besiegers. Soon after the receipt of this news, the cannon on each fide began to play. There are two attacks against the citadel, commanded by General Lottum and General Schuylemberg, which are both carried on with great success; and it is not doubted but the citadel will be in the hands of the Allies before the last day of this month. Letters from Jpres fay, that on the ninth instant part of the garrison in that place had mutined in two bodies, each consisting of two hundred; who being dispersed the same day, a body of eight hundred appeared in the market-place at nine the night following, and seised all manner of provisions, but were with much difficulty quieted. The governor has not punished any of the offenders, the dissatisfaction satisfaction being universal in that place; and it i» thought the officers foment those disorders, that the ministry may be convinced of the necessity of paying those troops, and supplying them with provisions. These advices add, that,on the fourteenth the Marquis d'EJie passed express through Brujsch from the Duke of Savoy, with advice that the army of his Royal Highness had forced the retrenchments of the enemy in Savoy, and defeated that body of men which guarded those passes under the command of the Marquis dt Thouy.

N° 54. Saturday, August 13, 1709.

Wbitit Chocolate-house, August x a.
Of the government of Affection.

WHEN labour was pronounced to be the portion of man, that doom reached the Affections of his mind, as well as his person, the matter on which he was to feed, and all the animal and vegetable world about him. There is therefore an assiduous care and cultivation to be bestowed upon our passions and Affections; for they, as they are the excrescencies of our Souls, like our hair and beards, look horrid or becoming, as we cut or let them grow. All this grave preface is meant to assign a reason in nature for the unaccountable behaviour of Duumvir, the husband and keeper. Ten thousand follies had this unhappy man escaped, had he made a compact with himself to be upon his guard, and not permitted his vagrant eye to let in so many different inclinations upon him, as all his days he has been perplexed with. But indeed, at present, he has brought himself to be confined only to one prevailing mistress; between whom and his wife, Duumvir passes his hours in all the vicissitudes which attend passion and Affection,


« PreviousContinue »