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would be the nature of an infant that was to have its original from two such parents. At the last, the child appears; and who should it be but Love. This infant grew up, and proved in all his behaviour what he really was, a compound of opposite beings. As he is the son of Plenty, (who was the offspring of Prudence,) he is subtle, intriguing, full of stratagems and devices; as the son of Poverty, he is fawning, begging, serenading, delighting to lie at a threshold, or beneath a window. By the father he is audacious, full of hopes, conscious of merit, and therefore quick of resentment: by the mother, he is doubtful, timorous, mean-spirited, fearful of offending, and abject in submission. In the same hour you may see him transported with raptures, talking of immortal pleasures, and appearing satisfied as a god; and immediately after, as the mortal mother prevails in his composition, you behold him pining, languishing, despairing, dying."
I have been always wonderfully delighted with fables, allegories, and the like inventions, which the politest and the best instructors of mankind have always made use of: they take off from the severity of instruction, and enforce it at the same time that they conceal it: the supposing Love to be conceived immediately after the birth of Beauty, the parentage of Plenty, and the inconsistency of this passion with itself so naturally derived to it, are great master-strokes in this fable; and if they fell into good hands, might furnish out a more pleasing canto than any in Spencer.
No. 93. SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1709.
I BELIEVE this is the first letter that was ever sent you from the middle region, where I am at this present writing. Not to keep you in suspense, it comes to you from the top of the highest mountain in Switzerland, where I am now shivering among the eternal frosts and snows. I can scarce forbear dating it in December, though they call it the first of August at the bottom of the mountain. I assure you, I can hardly keep my ink from freezing in the middle of the dogdays. I am here entertained with the prettiest variety of snow. prospects that you can imagine, and have several pits of it
before me that are very near as old as the mountain itself; for in this country, it is as lasting as marble. I am now upon a spot of it, which they tell me fell about the reign of Charlemain or King Pepin. The inhabitants of the country are as great curiosities as the country itself: they generally hire themselves out in their youth, and if they are musquetproof till about fifty, they bring home the money they have got, and the limbs they have left, to pass the rest of their time among their native mountains. One of the gentlemen of the place, who is come off with the loss of an eye only, told me by way of boast, that there were now seven wooden legs in his family; and that for these four generations, there had not been one in his line that carried a whole body with him to the grave. I believe you will think the style of this letter a little extraordinary; but the rehearsal will tell you, that people in clouds must not be confined to speak sense; and I hope, we that are above them, may claim the same privilege. Wherever I am, I shall always be,
Sir, your most obedient,
From my own Apartment, November 11.
I had several hints and advertisements from unknown hands, that some, who are enemies to my labours, design to demand the fashionable way of satisfaction for the disturbance my lucubrations have given them. I confess, as things now stand, I do not know how to deny such inviters, and am preparing myself accordingly: I have bought pumps and files, and am every morning practising in my chamber. My neighbour, the dancing-master, has demanded of me, why I take this liberty, since I would not allow it him? But I answered, his was an act of an indifferent nature, and mine of necessity. My late treatises against duels have so far disobliged the fraternity of the noble science of defence, that I can get none of them to show me so much as one pass. am therefore obliged to learn my book, and have accordingly several volumes, wherein all the postures are exactly delineated. I must confess, I am shy of letting people see me at this exercise, because of my flannel waistcoat, and my spectacles, which I am forced to fix on, the better to observe the posture of the enemy.
I have upon my chamber-walls, drawn at full length, the
figures of all sorts of men, from eight foot to three foot two inches. Within this height I take it, that all the fighting men of Great Britain are comprehended. But as I push, I make allowances for my being of a lank and spare body, and have chalked out in every figure my own dimensions; for I scorn to rob any man of his life, or to take advantage of his breadth: therefore I press purely in a line down from his nose, and take no more of him to assault than he has of me: for to speak impartially, if a lean fellow wounds a fat one in any part to the right or left, whether it be in carte or in tierce, beyond the dimensions of the said lean fellow's own breadth, I take it to be murder, and such a murder as is below a gentleman to commit. As I am spare, I am also very tall, and behave myself with relation to that advantage with the same punctilio; and I am ready to stoop or stand, according to the stature of my adversary. I must confess, I have had great success this morning, and have hit every figure round the room in a mortal part, without receiving the least hurt, except a little scratch by falling on my face, in pushing at one at the lower end of my chamber; but I recovered so quick, and jumped so nimbly into my guard, that if he had been alive, he could not have hurt me. It is confessed, I have writ against duels with some warmth: but in all my discourses, I have not ever said, that I knew how a gentleman could avoid a duel if he were provoked to it ; and since that custom is now become a law, I know nothing but the legislative power, with new animadversions upon it, can put us in a capacity of denying challenges, though we are afterwards hanged for it. But no more of this at present. As things stand, I shall put up no more affronts; and I shall be so far from taking ill words, that I will not take ill looks. I therefore warn all young hot fellows, not to look hereafter more terrible than their neighbours; for if they stare at me with their hats cocked higher than other people, I won't bear it. Nay, I give warning to all people in general to look kindly at me; for I'll bear no frowns, even from ladies; and if any woman pretends to look scornfully at me, I shall demand satisfaction of the next of kin of the masculine gender.
[Sir Richard Steele assisted in this paper.1 T.]
It may be so; but I believe his share in it was very small.
No. 97. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1709.
Illud maxime rarum genus est eorum, qui aut excellente ingenii magnitudine, aut præclarâ eruditione atque doctrinâ, aut utrâque re ornati, spatium deliberandi habuerunt, quem potissimum vitæ cursum sequi vellent. TUL. OFFIC.
From my own Apartment, November 21.
HAVING Swept away prodigious multitudes in one of my late papers, and brought a great destruction upon my own species, I must endeavour in this to raise fresh recruits, and, if possible, to supply the places of the unborn and the deceased. It is said of Xerxes, that when he stood upon a hill, and saw the whole country round him covered with his army, he burst out in tears, to think' that not one of that multitude would be alive a hundred years after. For my part, when I take a survey of this populous city, I can scarce forbear weeping, to see how few of its inhabitants are now living. It was with this thought that I drew up my last bill of mortality, and endeavoured to set out in it the great number of persons who have perished by a distemper (commonly known by the name of idleness) which has long raged in the world, and destroys more in every great town than the plague has done at Dantzic. To repair the mischief it has done, and stock the world with a better race of mortals, I have more hopes of bringing to life those that are young than of reviving those that are old. For which reason, I shall here set down that noble allegory which was written by an old author called Prodicus, but recommended and embellished by Socrates. It is the description of Virtue and Pleasure, making their court to Hercules under the appearances of two beautiful women.
"When Hercules (says the divine moralist) was in that part of his youth in which it was natural for him to consider what course of life he ought to pursue, he one day retired into a desert, where the silence and solitude of the place very much favoured his meditations. As he was musing on his present condition, and very much perplexed in himself on the state of life he should choose, he saw two women of a larger stature than ordinary approaching towards him. 1 In tears to think.] Better,—" into tears on reflecting.”
One of them had a very noble air and graceful deportment; her beauty was natural and easy, her person clean and unspotted, her eyes cast towards the ground with an agreeable reserve, her motion and behaviour full of modesty, and her raiment as white as snow. The other had a great deal of health and floridness' in her countenance, which she had helped with an artificial white and red, and endeavoured to appear more graceful that ordinary in her mien, by a mixture of affectation in all her gestures. She had a wonderful confidence and assurance in her looks, and all the variety of colours in her dress that she thought were the most proper to show her complexion to an advantage. She cast her eyes upon herself, then turned them on those that were present, to see how they liked her, and often looked on the figure she made in her own shadow. Upon her nearer approach to Hercules, she stepped before the other 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 you ought to choose: be my friend, and follow me; I'll 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 disturb you. 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 à readiness to receive you. Come along with me into this region of delights, this world of pleasure, and bid farewell for ever 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
1 Health and floridness.] Better, perhaps,--" a great deal of fiorid health."