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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 down this 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 athirst, 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 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, and 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, and their wakings cheerful. My young men have the pleasure of hearing themselves praised by those who are in years; and those who are in years, of being honoured by those who are young. In a word, my followers are favoured by the gods, beloved by their acquaintance, esteemed by their coun
try and (after the close of their labours) honoured by posterity."
We know, by the life of this honourable 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 goddeses. 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 non-existence, 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. 100. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 1709.
Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna. VIRG.
Sheer Lane, November 28.
I WAS last week taking a solitary walk in the garden of Lincoln's Inn, (a favour that is indulged me by several of the benchers who are my intimate friends, and grown old
This whole paper, on a subject which the author had much at heart, is well and accurately written.
with me in this neighbourhood,) when, according to the nature of men in years, who have made but little progress in the advancement of their fortune or their fame, I was repining at the sudden rise of many persons who are my juniors, and indeed at the unequal distribution of wealth, honour, and all other blessings of life. I was lost in this thought, when the night came upon me, and drew my mind into a far more agreeable contemplation. The heaven above me appeared in all its glories, and presented me with such an hemisphere of stars, as made the most agreeable prospect imaginable to one who delights in the study of nature. happened to be a freezing night, which had purified the whole body of air into such a bright, transparent æther, as made every constellation visible; and at the same time gave such a particular glowing to the stars, that I thought it the richest sky I had ever seen. I could not behold a scene so wonderfully adorned and lighted up, (if I may be allowed that expression,) without suitable meditations on the Author of such illustrious and amazing objects. For on these occasions, philosophy suggests motives to religion, and religion adds pleasures to philosophy.
As soon as I had recovered my usual temper and serenity of soul, I retired to my lodgings with the satisfaction of having passed away a few hours in the proper employments of a reasonable creature, and promising myself that my slumbers would be sweet. I no sooner fell into them, but I dreamed a dream, or saw a vision, (for I know not which to call it,) that seemed to rise out of my evening meditation, and had something in it so solemn and serious, that I cannot forbear communicating it; though I must confess, the wildness of imagination (which in a dream is always loose and irregular) discovers itself too much in several parts of it.
Methought I saw the azure sky diversified with the same glorious luminaries which had entertained me a little before I fell asleep. I was looking very attentively on that sign in the heavens which is called by the name of the Balance, when on a sudden there appeared in it an extraordinary light, as if the sun should rise at midnight. By its increasing in breadth and lustre, I soon found that it approached towards the earth; and at length could discern something like a shadow hovering in the midst of a great glory, which in a little time after I distinctly perceived to be the figure of a woman. I
fancied at first it might have been the Angel or Intelligence that guided the constellation from which it descended; but upon a nearer view, I saw about her all the emblems with which the Goddess of Justice is usually described. Her countenance was unspeakably awful and majestic, but exquisitely beautiful to those whose eyes were strong enough to behold it; her smiles transported with rapture, her frowns terrified to despair. She held in her hand a mirror endowed with the same qualities as that which the painters put into the hand of Truth.
There streamed from it a light, which distinguished itself from all the splendours that surrounded her, more than a flash of lightning shines in the midst of day-light. As she moved it in her hand, it brightened the heavens, the air, or the earth. When she had descended so low as to be seen and heard by mortals, to make the pomp of her appearance more supportable, she threw darkness and clouds about her, that tempered the light into a thousand beautiful shades and colours, and multiplied that lustre, which was before too strong and dazzling, into a variety of milder glories.
In the mean time the world was in an alarm, and all the inhabitants of it gathered together upon a spacious plain; so that I seemed to have all the species before my eyes. A voice was heard from the clouds, declaring the intention of this visit, which was to restore and appropriate to every one living what was his due. The fear and hope, joy and sorrow, which appeared in that great assembly after this solemn declaration, are not to be expressed. The first edict was then pronounced," That all titles and claims to riches and estates, or to any parts of them, should be immediately vested in the rightful owner." Upon this, the inhabitants of the earth held up the instruments of their tenure, whether in parchment, paper, wax, or any other form of conveyance; and as the goddess moved the mirror of truth which she held in her hand, so that the light which flowed from it fell upon the multitude, they examined the several instruments by the beams of it. The rays of this mirror had a particular quality of setting fire to all forgery and falsehood. The blaze of papers, the melting of seals, and crackling of parchments, made a very odd scene. The fire very often ran through two or three lines only, and then stopped; though I could not but observe, that the flame chiefly broke out among the
interlineations and codicils. The light of the mirror, as it was turned up and down, pierced into all the dark corners and recesses of the universe, and by that means detected many writings and records which had been hidden or buried by time, chance, or design. This occasioned a wonderful revolution among the people. At the same time, the spoils of extortion, fraud, and robbery, with all the fruits of bribery and corruption, were thrown together into a prodigious pile, that almost reached to the clouds, and was called the Mount of Restitution; to which all injured persons were invited, to receive what belonged to them.
One might see crowds of people in tattered garments come up, and change clothes with others that were dressed with lace and embroidery. Several who were plums, or very near it, became men of moderate fortunes; and many others, who were overgrown in wealth and possessions, had no more left than what they usually spent. What moved my concern most was, to see a certain street of the greatest credit in Europe from one end to the other become bankrupt.
The next command was, for the whole body of mankind to separate themselves into their proper families which was no sooner done, but an edict was issued out, requiring all children "to repair to their true and natural fathers." This put a great part of the assembly in motion; for as the mirror was moved over them, it inspired every one with such a natural instinct, as directed them to their real parents. It was a very melancholy spectacle to see the fathers of very large families become vacant, and bachelors undone by a charge of sons and daughters. You might see a presumptive heir of a great estate ask blessing of his coachman, and a celebrated toast paying her duty to a valet de chambre. Many under vows of celibacy appeared surrounded with a numerous issue. This change of parentage would have caused great lamentation, but that the calamity was pretty common; and that generally those who lost their children, had the satisfaction of seeing them put into the hands of their dearest friends. Men were no sooner settled in their right to their possessions and their progeny, but there was a third order proclaimed, "That all the posts of dignity and honour in the universe should be conferred on persons of the greatest merit, abilities, and perfection." The handsome, the strong, and the wealthy, immediately pressed for