..Si sapis

Neque præterquam quas ipse amor molestias
· Habet addas; & illas, quas habet, rectè feras.


If you are wise, neither add to the troubles, which attend

the passion of love, and bear patiently those which are inseparable from it.

I WAS the other day driving in a hack through Gerrard-street, when my eye was immediately catched with the prettiest object imaginable, the face of a very fair girl, between thirteen and fourteen, fixed at the chin to a painted sash, and made part of the landskip. It seemed admirably done, and upon throwing myself eagerly out of the coach to look at it, it laughed and Aung from the window. This amiable figure dwelt upon me; and I was considering the vanity of the girl, and her pleasant coquetry in acting a picture until she was taken notice of, and raised the admiration of the beholders. This little circumstance made me run into reflections upon the force of beauty, and the wonderful influence the female sex has upon the other part of the species. Our hearts are seized with their enchantments, and there are few of us, but brutal men, who by that hardness lose the chief pleasure in them, can resist their insinuations, though never so much against our own interests and opinion. It is common with women to destroy the good effects a man's following his own way and inclination might have upon his honour and fortune, by interposing their power over him, in matters wherein they cannot influence him, but to his loss and disparagement. I do not know therefore a task so difficult in human life, as to be proof against the importunities of a woman a man loves. There is certainly no armour

against tears, sullen looks, or at best constrained familiarities, in her whom you usually meet with transport and alacrity. Sir Walter Raleigh was quoted in a letter (of a very ingenious correspondent of mine) upon this subject. That author, who had lived in courts, camps, travelled through many countries, and seen many men under several climates, and of as various complexions, speaks of our impotence to resist the wiles of women in very severe terms. His words are as follows:

What means did the devil find out, or what instruments did his own subtlety present him, as fittest and aptest to work his mischief by ? Even the unquiet vanity of the woman; so as by Adam's hearkening to the voice of his wife, contrary to the express commandment of the living God, mankind by that her incantation became the subject of labour, sorrow and death ; the woman being given to man for a comforter and companion, but not for a counsellor. It is also to be noted by whom the woman was tempted; even by the most ugly and unworthy of all beasts, into whom the devil entered and persuaded. Secondly, what was the motive of her disobedience ? even a desire to know what was most unfitting her know ledge; an affection which has ever since remained in all the posterity of her sex. Thirdly, what was it that moved the man to yield to her persuasions ? even the same cause which hath moved all men since to the like consent, namely an unwillingness to grieve her or make her sad, lest she should pine, and be overcome with sorrow. But if Adam in the state of perfection, and Solomon the son of David, God's cho. sen servant, and himself a man endued with the greatest wisdom, did both of them disobey their Creator by the persuasion and for the love they bare to a woman, it is not so wonderful as lamentable, that other men in succeeding ages have been allured to

so many inconvenient and wicked practices by the persuasion of their wives, or other beloved darlings, who cover over and shadow many malicious purpo. şes with a counterfeit passion of dissimulate sorrow and unquietness.'

The motions of the minds of lovers are no where so well described, as in the works of skilful writers for the stage. The scene between Fulvia and Curius, in the second act of Johnson's Cataline, is an excellent picture of the power of a lady over her gallant. The wench plays with his affections; and as a man, of all places in the world, wishes to make a good figure with his mistress, upon her upbraiding him with want of spirit, he alludes to enterprises which he cannot reveal but with the hazard of his life. When he is worked thus far, with a little flattery of her opinion of his gallantry, and desire to know more of it out of her overflowing fondness to him, he brags to her until his life is in her disposal.

When a man is thus liable to be vanquished by the charms of her he loves, the safest way is to determine what is proper to be done, but to avoid all expostulation with her before he executes what he has resolved. Women are ever too hard for us upon a treaty, and one must consider how senseless a thing it is to argue with one whose looks and ges, tures are more prevalent with you, than your reasons and arguments can be with her. It is a most miserable slavery to submit to what you disapprove, and give up a truth for no other reason, but that you had not fortitude to support you in asserting it. A man has enough to do to conquer his own unreasonable wishes and desires ; but he does that in vain, if he has those of another to gratify. Let his pride be in his wife and family, let him give them all the conveniences of life in such a manner as if he were proud of them ; but let it be his own innocent pride, and not their exorbitąnt desires, which are indulged by him.

In this case, all the little arts imaginable are used to soften a man's heart, and raise his passion above his understanding. But in all concessions of this kind, a man should consider whether the present he makes flows from his own love, or the importunity of his beloved : if from the er, he is her slave ; if from the former, her friend. We laugh it off, and do not weigh this subjection to women with that seriousness which so important a circumstance deserves. Why was courage given to man, is his wife's fears are to frustrate it? When this is once indulged, you are no longer her guardian and protector, as you were designed by nature, but in compliance to her weaknesses, you have disabled yourself from avoiding the misfortunes into which they will lead you both, and you are to see the hour in which you are to be reproached by herself for that very compliance to her.

It is indeed the most difficult mastery over ourselves we can possibly attain, to resist the grief of her who charms us; but let the heart ache, be the anguish never so quick and painful, it is what must be suffered and passed through, if you think to live like a gentleman, or be conscious to yourself that you are a man of honesty. The old argument, that you do not love me if you deny me this,' which first was used to obtain a trifle, by habi. tual success will oblige the unhappy man who gives way to it, to resign the cause even of his country and his honour.



Quis non invenit turba quod amaret in illa ?


.......Who could fail to find,
In such a crowd, a mistress to his mind ?


· FINDING that my last letter took, I do intend to continue my epistolary correspondence with thee, on those dear confounded creatures, women. Thou knowest, all the little learning I am master of is upon that subject; I never looked in a book, but for their sakes. I have lately met with two pure stories for a Spectator, which I am sure will please mightily, if they pass through thy hands. The first of them I found by chance in an English book, called Herodotus, that lay in my friend Dapperwit's window, as I visited him one morning. It luckily opened in the place where I met with the following account. He tells us that it was the manner among the Persians to have several fairs in the kingdom, at which all the young unmarried women were annually exposed to sale. The men who wanted wives came hither to provide themselves : every woman was given to the highest bidder, and the money which she fetched laid aside for the public use, to be employed thou shalt hear by and by. By this means the richest people had the choice of the market, and culled out all the most extraordinary beauties. As soon as the fair was thus picked, the refuse was to be distributed among the poor, and among those who could not go to the price of a beauty. Several of these married the agreeables, without paying a farthing for them, unless somebody chanced to think it worth his while to bid for them, in which case the best bidder was always the purchaser. But now you must know,



« ElőzőTovább »