Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tions to her, she married a captain of dragoons who happenea to be beating up for recruits in those parts.

This unlucky accident has given me an aversion to pretty fellows ever since, and discouraged me from trying my fortune with the fair sex. The observations which I made in this conjuncture, and the repeated advices which I received at that time from the good old man above-mentioned, have produced the following Essay upon Love and Marriage.

The pleasantest part of a man's life is generally that which passes in courtship, provided his passion be sincere, and the party beloved kind with discretion. Love, desire, hope, all the pleasing motions of the soul, rise in the pursuit. It is easier for an artful man, who is not in love, to

perbuade his mistress he has a passion for her, and to succeed in his pursuits, than for one who loves with the greatest violence. True love hath ten thousand griefs, impatiences, and resentments, that render a man unamiable in the eyes

of the person whose affection he solicits ; besides that, it sinks his figure, gives him fears, apprehensions, and poorness of spirit, and often makes him appear ridiculous where he has a mind to recommend himself.

Those marriages generally abound most with love and constancy, that are preceded by a long courtship. The passion should strike root and gather strength before marriage be grafted on it. A long course of hopes and expectations fixes the idea in our minds, and habituates us to a fondness of the person beloved.

There is nothing of so great importance to us, as the good qualities of one to whom we join ourselves for life; they do not only make our present state agreeable, but often determine our happiness to all eternity. Where the choice is left to friends, the chief point under consideration is an estate: where the parties choose for themselves, their thoughts turn most upon

the person. They have both their reasons. The first would procure many conveniences and pleasures of life to the party whose interests they espouse; and at the same time may hope that the wealth of their friend will turn to their own credit and advantage. The others are preparing for themselves a perpetual feast. A good person does not only raise, but continue love, and breeds a secret pleasure and complacency in the beholder, when the first heats of desire are extinguished. It puts the wife or husband in coin

a

tenance both among friends and strangers, and generally fills the family with a healthy and beautiful race of children.

I Ahould prefer a woman that is agreeable in my own eye, and not deformed in that of the world, to a celebrated beauty. If you marry one remarkably beautiful, you must have a violent passion for her, or you have not the proper taste of her charms; and if you have such a passion for her, it is odds but it will be imbittered with fears and jealousies.

Good-nature, and evenness of temper, will give you an easy companion for life; virtus and good sense, an agreeable friend; love and constancy, a good wife or husband. Where we meet one person with all these accomplishments, we find an hundred without any one of them. The world, notwith, standing, is more intent on trains and equipages, and all the showy parts of life; we love rather to dazzle the multitude, than consult our proper interest; and, as I have elsewhere observed, it is one of the most unaccountable passions of human nature, that we are at greater pains to appear easy and happy to others, than really to make ourselves so. Of all disparities, that in humour makes the most unhappy mar. riages, yet scarce enters into our thoughts at the contracting of them.

Several that are in this respect unequally yoked, and uneasy for life, with a person of a particular character, might have been pleased and happy with a person of a contrary one, notwithstanding they are both perhaps equally virtuous and laudable in their kind.

Before marriage we cannot be too inquisitive and discerning in the faults of the person beloved, nor after it too dimsighted and superficial. However perfect and accomplished the person appears to you at a distance, you will find many blemishes and imperfections in her humour, upon a more intimate acquaintance, which you never discovered or per. haps suspected. Here, therefore, discretion and good-nature are to show their strength; the first will hinder your thoughts from dwelling on what is disagreeable; the other will raise in you all the tenderness of compassion and humanity, and by degrees soften those very imperfections into beauties.

Marriage enlarges the scene of our happiness and miseries. A marriage of love is pleasant; a marriage of interest easy; and a marriage where both meet happy. A happy marriage has in it all the pleasures of friendship, all the enjoyments of sense and reason, and indeed, all the sweets of lire. Nothing is a greater mark of a degenerate and vicious age, than the common ridicule which passes on this state of life. It is, indeed, only happy in those who can look down with scorn or neglect on the impieties of the times, and tread the paths of life together in a constant, uniform course of virtue.

No. 262. MONDAY, DECEMBER 31.

a

Nulla venenato littera mista joco est. OVID. I THINK myself highly obliged to the public for their kind acceptance of a paper which visits them every morning, and has in it none of those seasonings that recommend so many of the writings which are in vogue among us.

As, on the one side, my paper has not in it a single word of news, a reflection in politics, nor a stroke of party; so, on the other, there are no fashionable touches of infidelity, no obscene ideas, no satires upon priesthood, marriage, and the like popular topics of ridicule; no private scandal, nor anything that may tend to the defamation of particular persons, families, or societies.

There is not one of these above-mentioned subjects that would not sell a very indifferent paper, could I think of gratifying the public by such mean and base methods ; but, notwithstanding I have rejected everything that savours of party, everything that is loose and immoral, and everything that might create uneasiness in the minds of particular per. sons, I find that the demand of my papers has increasea every month since their first appearance in the world. This does not, perhaps, reflect so much honour upon myself, as on my readers, who give a much greater attention to discourses of virtue and morality, than ever I expected, or indeed could hope.

When I broke loose from that great body of writers who have employed their wit and parts in propagating' of vice and irreligion, I did not question but I should be treated as an odd kind of fellow that had a mind to appear singular in my way of writing: but the general reception I have found,

When a participle is used instead of a substantive, the particle the should precede it. We may either say. in propagating vice, or, in the propaguting of vice; but not, in propagating of vice.

ti

a

a

convinces me that the world is not so corrupt as we are apt to imagine; and that if those men of parts who have been employed in vitiating the age bad endeavoured to rectify and amend it, they needed not have sacrificed their good sense and virtue to their fame and reputation. No man is 80 sunk in vice and ignorance, but there are still some hidden seeds of goodness and knowledge in him; which give him a relish of such reflections and speculations as have an aptness to improve the mind, and to make the heart better.

I have shown in a former paper, with how much care I have avoided all such thoughts as are loose, obscene, or immoral; and I believe my reader would still think the better of me, if he knew the pains I am at in qualifying what I write after such a manner,

that nothing may

be interpreted as aimed at private persons. For this reason, when I draw any faulty character, I consider all those persons to whom the malice of the world may possibly apply it, and take care to dash it with such particular circumstances as may prevent all such ill-natured applications. If I write anything on a black man, I run over in my mind all the eminent persons in the nation who are of that complexion : when I place an imaginary name at the head of a character, I examine every syllable and letter of it, that it may not bear any resemblance to one that is real. I know very well the value which every man sets upon his reputation, and how painful it is to be exposed to the mirth and derision of the public, and should therefore scorn to divert my reader at the expense

of

any private man.

As I have been thus tender of every particular person's reputation, so I have taken more than ordinary care not to give offence to those who appear in the higher figures of life. I would not make myself merry even with a piece of paste board that is invested with a public character; for which reason I have never glanced upon the late designed proces. sion of his Holiness and his attendants, notwithstanding it might have afforded matter to many ludicrous speculations. Among those advantages which the public may reap from this

paper, it is not the least, that it draws men's minds off from the bitterness of party, and furnishes them with sub

Men's minds.] Men's for the genitive plural of man, is not allowable.We say, a man's mind, but we can only say, the minds of men, as Mr. Addison should have done here.

[ocr errors]

1

jects of discourse that may be treated without warmth or passion. This is said to have been the first design of those gentlemen who set on foot the Royal Society; and had then a very good effect, as it turned many of the greatest geniuses of that age to the disquisitions of natural knowledge, who, if they had engaged in politics with the same parts and application, might have set their country in a flame. The airpump, the barometer, the quadrant, and the like inventions, were thrown out to those busy spirits, as tubs and barrels are to a whale, that he may let the ship sail on without disturbance, while he diverts himself with those innocent amusements.

I have been so very scrupulous in this particular of not kurting any man's reputation, that I have forborne mentioning eren such authors as I could not name with honour. This I must confess to have been a piece of very great selfdenial : for as the public relishes nothing better than the ridicule which turns upon a writer of any eminence, so there is nothing which a man that has but a very ordinary talent in ridicule may execute with greater ease. One might raise laughter for a quarter of a year together upon the works of a person who has published but a very few volumes. For which reason I am astonished, that those who have appeared against this paper have made so very little of it. The criti- . cisms which I have hitherto published, have been made with an intention rather to discover beauties and excellencies in the writers of my own time, than to publish any of their faults and imperfections. In the mean while, I should take it for a very great favour from some of my underhand detractors, if they would break all measures with me so far, as to give me a pretence for examining their performances with an impartial eye; nor shall I look upon it as a breach of charity to criticise the author, so long as I keep clear of the person.

In the mean while, till I am provoked to such hostilities, I shall from time to time endeavour to do justice to those who have distinguished themselves in the politer parts of

[ocr errors]

| This looks as if the author had a political aim, even in this moral paper. But it is to be remembered, that the party in power could only profit by this expedient, and not the party in opposition, whose cause he favoured ; which sets the purity of his intentions, and the merit of his work, i: the clearest light.

1

« AnteriorContinuar »