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this affection is enjoyed in the most sublime degree, unskilful eyes see nothing of it; but when it is subject to be changed, and has an allay in it that may make it end in distaste, it is apt to break into rage, or overflow into fondness, before the rest of the world.
Uxander and Viramira are amorous and young, and have been married these two years; yet do they so much distinguish each other in company, that in your conversation with the dear things you are still put to a sort of cross-purposes. Whenever you address yourself in ordinary discourse to Viramira, she turns her head another way, and the answer is made to the dear Uxander. If you tell a merry tale, the application is still directed to her dear; and when she should commend you, she says to him, as if he had spoke it, “That is, my dear, so pretty." - This puts me in mind of what I have somewhere read in the admired memoirs of the famous Cervantes; where, while honest Sancho Pança is putting some necessary humble question concerning Rosinante, bis supper, or his lodging, the knight of the sorrowful countenance is ever improving the harmless lowly hints of his squire to poetical conceit, rapture, and flight, in contemplation of the dear Dulcinea of his affections.
On the other side, Dictamnus and Moria are ever squabbling; and you may observe them, all the time they are in company, in a state of impatience. As Uxander and Viramira wish you all gone, that they may be at freedom for dalliance; Dictamnus and Moria wait your absence, that they may speak their barsh interpretations on each other's words and actions, during the time you were with them,
It is certain that the greater part of the evils attending this condition of life arises from fashion. Prejudice in this case is turned the wrong way: and, instead of expecting more happiness than we shall meet with in it, we are laughed into a prepossession, that we shall be disappointed if we hope for lasting satisfactions. With all persons who have made good sense the rule
of action, marriage is described as the state capable of the highest human felicity. Tully has epistles full of affectionate pleasure, when he writes to his wife, or speaks of his children. But, above all the hints of this kind I have
met with in writers of ancient date, I am pleased with an epigram of Martial, in honour of the beauty of his wife Cleopatra. Commentators say it was written the day after his wedding-night. When his spouse was retired to the bathing-room in the heat of the day, he, it seems, came in upon her when she was just going into the water. To her beauty and carriage on this occasion we owe the following epigram, which I shewed my friend Will Honeycomb in French, who has translated it as follows, without understanding the original. I expect it will please the English better than the Latin reader:
When my bright consort, now nor wife nor maid,
Kisses I snatch'd-the waves prevented more. My friend would not allow that this luscious account could be given of a wife, and therefore used the word consort; which, he learnedly said, would serve for a mistress as well, and give a more gentlemanly turn to the epigram. But, under favour of him and all other such fine gentlemen, I cannot be persuaded but that the passion a bridegroom has for a virtuous young woman, will, by little and little, grow into friendship, and then it is ascended to a higher pleasure than it was in its first fervour. Without this happens, he is a very unfortunate man who has entered into this state, and left the habitudes of life he might have enjoyed with a faithful friend. But [when the wife proves capable of filling serious as well as joygus hours, she brings happiness unknown to friendship itself) Spenser speaks of each kind of love with great justice, and attributes the highest praise to friendship; and indeed there is no disputing that point, but by making that friendship take its place between two married persons.
Hard is the doubt, and difficult to deem,
Or raging fire of love to womankind;
N° 491. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1712.
-Digna satis fortuna revisit.— Virg. Æn. iii. 318. A just reverse of fortune on him waits. T is common with me to run from book to book to ex
ercise my mind with many objects, and qualify myself for my daily labours. After an hour spent in this loitering way of reading, something will remain to be food to the imagination. The writings that please me most on such occasions are stories, for the truth of which there is good authority. The mind of man is naturally a lover of justice ; and when we read a story wherein a criminal is overtaken, in whom there is no quality which is the object of pity, the soul enjoys a certain revenge for the offence done to its nature, in the wicked actions committed in the preceding part of the history. This will be better understood by the reader from the following narration itself, than from any thing which I can say to introduce it.
When Charles Duke of Burgundy, surnamed The Bold, reigned over the spacious dominions now swallowed up by the power of France, he heaped many favours and honours upon Claudius Rhynsault, a German, who had served him in his wars against the insults of his neighbours. A great part of Zealand was at that time in subjection to that dukedom. The prince himself was a person of singular humanity and justice. Rhynsault, with no other real quality than courage, had dissimulation enough to pass upon his generous and unsuspicious mas
ter for a person of blunt honesty and fidelity, without any vice that could bias him from the execution of justice. His highness, prepossessed to his advantage, upon the decease of the governor of his chief town of Zealand, gave Rhynsault that command. He was not long seated in that government, before he cast his eyes upon Sapphira, a woman of exquisite beautya the wife of Paul Danvelt, a wealthy merchant of the city under his protection and government. Rhynsault was a man of a warm constitution, and violent inclination to women, and not unskilled in the soft arts which win their favour. He knew what it was to enjoy the satisfactions which are reaped from the possession of beauty, but was an utter stranger to the decencies, honours, and delicacies that attend the passion towards them in elegant minds. However, he had so much of the world, that he had a great share of the language which usually prevails upon the weaker part of that sex; and he could with his tongue utter a passion with which his heart was wholly untouched. He was one of those brutal minds which can be gratified with the violation of innocence and beauty, without the least pity, passion, or love, to that with which they are so much delighted. Ingratitude is a vice inseparable to a lustful man; and the possession of a woman by him, who has no thought but allaying a passion painful to himself, is necessarily followed by distaste and aversion. Rhynsault, being resolved to accomplish his will on the wife of Danvelt, left no arts untried to get into a familiarity at her house; but she knew his character and disposition too well, not to shun all occasions that might insnare her into his conversation. The governor, despairing of success by ordinary means, apprehended and imprisoned her husband, under pretence of an information, that he was guilty of a correspondence with the enemies of the duke to betray the town into their possession. This design had its desired effect; and the wife of the unfortunate Danvelt, the day before that which was appointed for his execution, presented herself in the hall of the governor's house, and, as he passed through the apartment, threw herself at his feet, and, holding
his knees, beseeched his mercy. Rhynsault beheld her with a dissembled satisfaction; and, assuming an air of thought and authority, he bid her arise,
and told her she must follow him to his closet; and, asking her whether she knew the hand of the letter he pulled out of his pocket, went from her, leaving this admonition aloud “If
husband, you must give me an account of all you know without prevarication; for every body is satisfied he was too fond of you to be able to hide from you the names of the rest of the conspirators, or any other particulars whatsoever.” He went to his closet, and soon after the lady was sent for to an audience. The servant knew his distance when matters of state were to be debated; and the governor, laying aside the air with which he had appeared in public, began to be the supplicant, to rally an affliction, which it was in her power easily to remove, and relieve an innocent man from his imprisonment. She easily perceived his intention; and bathed in tears, began to deprecate so wicked a design. Lust, like ambition, takes all the faculties of the mind and body into its service and subjection. Her becoming tears, her honest anguish, the wringing of her hands, and the many changes of her posture and figure in the vehemence of speaking, were but so many attitudes in which he beheld her beauty, and farther incentives of his desire, All humanity was lost in that one appetite, and he signified to her in so many plain terms, that he was unhappy till he had possessed her, and nothing less should be the price of her husband's life; and she must, before the following noon, pronounce the death, or enlargement, of Danvelt. After this notification, when he saw Sapphira enough again distracted, to make the subject of their discourse to common eyes appear different from what it was, he called servants to conduct her to the gate. Loaded with insupportable affliction, she immediately repairs to her husband; and having signified to his jailers that she had a proposal to make to her husband from the governor, she was left alone with him, revealed to him all that had passed, and represented the endless conflict she was in between love to his person and fidelity to his bed. It is easy to imagine the sharp affliction this honest pair was in upon such an incident, in lives not used to any but ordinary occurrences. The man was bridled by shame from speaking what his fear prompted, upon so near an approach of death; but let fall words that signified to