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lady, who came forward with a regular composed carriage, and running up to him, accosted him after the following manner:
“My dear Hercules,' says she, “I find you are very much divided in your own thoughts, upon the way of life that you ought to choose. Be my friend, and follow me; I will lead you into the possession of pleasure, and out of the reach of pain, and remove you from all the noise and disquietude of business. The affairs of either war or peace shall have no power to,
Your whole employment shall be, to make your life easy, and to entertain every sense with its proper gratification. Sumptuous tables, beds of roses, clouds of perfumes, consorts of music, crowds of beauties, are all in a readiness to receive you. Come along with me into this region of delights, this world of pleasure, and bid farewell forever to care, to pain, to business.'
Hercules, hearing the lady talk after this manner, desired to know her name; to which she answered, My friends, and those who are well acquainted with me, call me Happiness; but my enemies, and those who would injure my reputation, have given me the name of Pleasure.'
By this time the other lady was come up, who addressed herself to the young hero in a very different manner.
Hercules,' says she, 'I offer myself to you, because I know you are descended from the gods, and give proofs of that descent by your love to virtue, and application to the studies proper for your age. This makes me hope you will gain both for yourself and me an immortal reputation. But, before I invite you into my society and friendship, I will be open and sincere with you, and must lay
this down as an established truth, That there is nothing truly valuable, which can be purchased without pains and labour. The gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure. If you would gain the favour of the Deity, you must be at the pains of worshipping him; if the friendship of good men, you must study to oblige them ; if you would be honoured by your country, you must take care to serve it. In short, if you would be eminent in war or peace, you must become master of all the qualifications that can make you so. These are the only terms and conditions upon which I can propose happiness. The goddess of Pleasure here broke in upon her discourse. • You see,' said she, • Hercules, by her own confession, the way to her pleasure is long and difficult, whereas that which I propose is short and easy.' - Alas !' said the other lady, whose visage glowed with a passion made up of scorn and pity, 'what are the pleasures you propose? To eat before you are hungry, drink before you are a-thirst, sleep before you are tired, to gratify appetites before they are raised, and raise such appetites as nature never planted. You never heard the most delicious music, which is the praise of one's self; nor saw the most beautiful object, which is the work of one's own hands. Your votaries pass away their youth in a dream of mistaken pleasures, while they are hoarding up anguish, torment, and remorse for old age.
• As for me, I am the friend of the gods and of good men, an agreeable companion to the artisan, an household guardian to the fathers of families, a patron and protector of servants, an associate in all true and generous friendships. The banquets of my votaries are never costly, but always delicious ; for none eat or drink at them who are not invited
by hunger and thirst. Their slumbers are sound,
We know by the life of this memorable hero, to which of these two ladies he gave up his heart; and I believe every one who reads this will do him the justice to approve his choice.
I very much admire the speeches of these ladies, as containing in them the chief arguments for a life of virtue, or a life of pleasure, that could enter into the thoughts of an heathen; but am particularly pleased with the different figures he gives the two goddesses. Our modern authors have represented Pleasure or Vice with an alluring face, but ending in snakes and monsters. Here she appears in all the charms of beauty, though they are all false and borrowed ; and by that means composes a vision entirely natural and pleasing.
I have translated this allegory for the benefit of the youth of Great Britain; and particularly of those who are still in the deplorable state of nonexistence, and whom I most earnestly entreat to come into the world. Let my embryos show the least inclination to any single virtue, and I shall allow it to be a struggling towards birth. I do not expect of them that, like the hero in the foregoing story, they should go about as soon as they are born, with a club in their hands, and a lion's skin on their shoulders, to root out monsters, and destroy tyrants; but, as the finest author of all antiquity
has said upon
this very occasion, though a man has not the abilities to distinguish himself in the most shining parts of a great character, he has certainly the capacity of being just, faithful, modest, and temperate.
No. 98. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1709.
FROM MY OWN APARTMENT, NOVEMBER 23. I READ the following letter, which was left for me this evening, with very much concern for the lady's condition who sent it, who expresses the state of her mind with great frankness, as all people ought who talk to their physicians.
MR. BICKERSTAFF, “ Though you are stricken in years, and have had great experience in the world, I believe you will say, there are not frequently such difficult occasions to act in with decency, as those wherein I am entangled. I am a woman in love, and that you will allow to be the most unhappy of all circumstances in human life. Nature has formed us with a strong reluctance against owning such a passion, and custom has made it criminal in us to make advances. A gentleman, whom I will call Fabio, has the entire possession of my heart. I am so intimately acquainted with him, that he makes no scruple of communicating to me an ardent affection he has for Cleora, a friend of mine, who also
makes me her confidant. Most part of my
life I am in company with the one or the other, and am always entertained with his passion, or her triumph. Cleora is one of those ladies, who think they are virtuous, if they are not guilty; and, without any delicacy of choice, resolves to take the best offer which shall be made to her. With this prospect she puts off declaring herself in favour of Fabio, till she sees what lovers will fall into her snares, which she lays in all public places, with all the art of gesture and glances. This resolution she has herself told me. Though I love him better than life, I would not gain him by betraying Cleora ; or committing such a trespass against modesty, as letting him know myself that I love him. You are an astrologer, what shall I do?
" DIANA DOUBTFUL.”
This lady has said very justly, that the condition of a woman in love is of all others the most miserable. Poor Diana ! how must she be racked with jealousy, when Fabio talks of Cleora! how with indignation, when Cleora makes a property of Fabio ! A female lover is in the condition of a ghost, that wanders about its beloved treasure, without power to speak, till it is spoken to. I desire Diana to continue in this circumstance ; for I see an eye of comfort in her case, and will take all proper measures to extricate her out of this unhappy game of crosspurposes. Since Cleora is upon the catch with her charms, and has no particular regard for Fabio, I shall place a couple of special fellows in her way, who shall both address to her, and have each a better estate than Fabio. They are both already taken with her, and are preparing for being of her retinue the ensuing winter.