« PreviousContinue »
into one place: when they were so, and all thought there was an alliance between them, they immediately drew upon them the business of the whole Exchange. But their affairs soon increased to such an unwieldy bulk, that Alethes took his leave, and said, he would not engage further than he had an immediate fund to answer. Verisimilis pretended that, though he had revenues large enough to go on his own bottom, yet it was below one of his family to condescend to trade in his own name; therefore he also retired. I was extremely troubled to see the glorious mart of London left with no other guardian but him of credit. But Pacolet told me, that traders had nothing to do with the honour or conscience of their correspondents, provided they supported a general behaviour in the world, which could not hurt their credit or their purses : for,' said he, you may, in this one tract of building of London and Westminster, see the imaginary motives on which the greatest affairs move, as well as in rambling over the face of the earth. For though Alethes is the real governor, as well as legislator of mankind, he has very little business but to make up quarrels; and is only a general referee, to whom every man pretends to appeal, but is satisfied with his determinations no further than they promote his own interest. Hence it is, that the soldier and the courtier model their actions according to Verisimilis's manner, and the merchant according to that of Umbra. Among these men, honour and credit are not valuable possessions in themselves, or pursued out of a principle of justice; but merely as they are serviceable to ambition and to commerce. But the world will never be in any manner of order or tranquillity, until men are firmly convinced, that conscience, honour, and credit, are all in one interest; and that, without the concurrence of the former, the latter are but impositions upon ourselves and others. The force these delusive words have, is not seen in the transaco, tions of the busy world only, but they have also their tyranny over the fair sex. Were you to ask the unhappy Lais, what pangs of reflection preferring the consideration of her honour to her conscience has given her; she could tell you, that it has forced her to drink up half a gallon this winter of Tom Dassapas's potions: that she still pines away for fear of being a mother; and knows not but, the moment she is such, she shall be a murderess : but if conscience had as strong a force upon the mind as honour, the first step to her unhappy condition had never been made; she had still been innocent, as she is beautiful. Were men so enlightened and studious of their own good, as to act by the dictates of their reason and reflection, and not the opinion of others, conscience would be the steady ruler of human life; and the words truth, law, reason, equity, and religion, would be but synonimous terms for that only guide which makes us pass our days in our own favour and approbation. cordingly rank their followers. Aspasia must, therefore, be allowed to be the first of the beauteous order of love, whose unaffected freedom, and conscious innocence, give her the attendance of the Graces in all her actions. That awful distance which we bear toward her in all our thoughts of her, and that cheerful familiarity with which we approach her, are certain instances of her being the truest object of love of any of her sex. In this accomplished lady, love is the constant effect, because it is never the design. Yet, though her mien carries much more invitation than command, to behold her is an immediate check to loose behaviour; and to love her is a liberal education; for, it being the nature of all love to create an imitation of the beloved person in the lover, a regard for Aspasia naturally produces decency of manners, and good conduct of life, in her admirers. If, therefore, the giggling Leucippe could but see her trains of fops assembled, and Aspasia move by them, she would be mortified at the veneration with which she is beheld, even by Leucippe's own unthinking equipage, whose passions have long taken leave of their understandings. - As charity is esteemed a conjunction of the good
N° 49. TUESDAY, AUGUST 2, 1709.
Quicquid agunt homines
nostri est sarrago libelli.
JUV. Sat. i. 85, 86.
White's Chocolate-house, August 1. The imposition of honest names and words upon improper subjects, has made so regular a confusion anong us, that we are apt to sit down with our errors, well enough satisfied with the methods we are fallen into, without attempting to deliver ourselves from the tyranny under which we are reduced by such innovations. Of all the laudable motives of human life, none have suffered so much in this kind as love; under which revered name a brutal desire called lust is frequently concealed and admitted; though they differ as much as a matron from a prostitute, or a companion from a buffoon. Philander the other day was bewailing this misfortune with much indignation, and upbraided me for having some time since quoted those excellent lines of the satirist :
" To an exact perfection they have brought
• How could you,' said he, leave such a hint so coldly? How could Aspasia and Sempronia enter into
See No 5, and 33.
your imagination at the same time, and you never declare to us the different receptions you gave them?'
The figures which the ancient mythologists and poets put upon love and lust in their writings are very instructive. Love is a beauteous blind child, adorned with a quiver and a bow, which he plays with, and shoots around him, without design or direction; to intimate to us, that the person beloved has no intention to give us the anxieties we meet with, but that the beauties of a worthy object are like the charms of a lovely infant; they cannot but attract your concern and fondness, though the child so regarded is as insensible of the value you put upon it, as it is that it deserves your benevolence. On the other side, the sages figured lust in the form of a satyr; of shape, part human, part bestial; to signify that the followers of it prostitute the reason of a man to pursue the appetites of a beast. This satyr is made to haunt the paths and coverts of the woodnymphs and shepherdesses, to lurk on the banks of rivulets, and watch the purling streams, as the resorts of retired virgins ; to shew, that lawless desire tends chiefly to prey upon innocence, and has something so unnatural in it, that it hates its own make, and shuns the object it loved, as soon as it has made it like itself. Love, therefore, is a child that complains and bewails its inability to help itself, and weeps for assistance, without an immediate reflection or knowledge of the food it wants : lust, a watchful thief, which seizes its prey, and lays snares for its own relief; and its principal object being innocence, it ne ver robs, but it murders at the same time.
From this idea of a cupid and a satyr, we may settle our notions of these different desires, and ac VOL. I.
qualities necessary to a virtuous man, so love is the happy composition of all the accomplishments that make a fine gentleman. The motive of a man's life is seen in all his actions; and such as have the beauteous boy for their inspirer have a simplicity of behaviour, and a certain evenness of desire, which burns like the lamp of life in their bosoms; while they who are instigated by the satyr are ever tor
2 Lady Elizabeth Hastings.