« السابقةمتابعة »
her female friends, who were her dearest and most intimate acquaintance.
“ Amongst her highest imperfections, I still dwelt upon her baseness of mind and ingratitude, that made her triumph in the pain and anguish of the man who loved her, and of one who in those days, without vanity be it spoken, was thought to deserve her love.
« To shorten my story, she was married to another, · which would have distracted me, had he proved a good husband: but to my great pleasure, he used her at first with coldness, and afterwards with contempt. I hear he still treats her very ill; and am informed, that she often says to her woman, this is a just revenge for my falsehood to my first love: what a wretch am 1, that might have been married to the famous Mr. Bickerstaff!”.
My patient looked upon me with a kind of melancholy pleasure, and told me, “ He did not think it was possible for a man to live to the age I am now of, who in his thirtieth year had been tortured with that passion in its violence. For my part,” said he, “ I can neither eat, drink, nor sleep in it; nor keep company with any body, but two or three friends who are in the same condition.”
“ There," answered I, “ you are to blame; for as you ought to avoid nothing more than keeping company with yourself, so you ought to be particularly cautious of keeping company with men like yourself. As long as you do this, you do but indulge your distemper.
" I'must not dismiss you without further instructions. If possible, transfer your passion from the woman you are now in love with to another; or, if you cannot do that, change the passion itself into some other passion, that is to speak more plainly,
. find out some other agreeable woman; or if you cannot do this, grow covetous, ambitious, litigious; turn your love of woman into that of profit, preferment, reputation; and for a time give up yourself entirely to the pursuit.
“ This is a method we sometimes take in physic, when we turn a desperate disease into one we can more easily cure.”'
He made little answer to all this, but crying out, “ Ah, Sir!” for his passion reduced his discourse to interjections.
« There is one thing," added I, “ which is present death to a man in your condition, and, therefore, to be avoided with the greatest care and caution: that is, in a word, to think of your mistress and rival together, whether walking, discoursing, dallying—” « The devil!” he cried out, " who can bear it?”. To compose him, for, I pitied him very much, “ The time will come,” said I, “ when you shall not only bear it, but laugh at it. As a preparation to it, ride every morning, an hour at least, with the wind full in your face. Upon your return, recollect the several precepts which I have now given you, and drink upon them a bottle of Spawwater. Repeat this every day for a inonth successively, and let me see you at the end of it.” He was taking his leave with many thanks, and some appearance of consolation in his countenance, when I called him back to acquaint him, “ that I had private information of a design of the coquettes to buy up all the true Spaw-water in town:" upon which he took his leave in haste, with a resolution to get all things ready for entering upon his regimen the next morning:
No 108. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 17, 1709.
Pronaque cum spectent unimalia cætera terram,
OVID. Met. I. 85.
Sheer-lane, December 16. It is not to be imagined how great an effect welldisposed lights, with proper forms and orders in assemblies, have upon some tempers. I am sure I feel it in so extraordinary a manner, that I cannot in a day or two get out of my imagination any very beautiful or disagreeable impression which I receive on such occasions. For this reason I frequently look in at the play-house, in order to enlarge my thoughts, and warm my mind with some new ideas, that may be serviceable to me in my lucubrations.
In this disposition I entered the theatre the other day, and placed myself in a corner of it very convenient for seeing, without being myself observed. I found the audience hushed in a very deep attention; and did not question but some noble tragedy was just then in its crisis, or that an incident was to be unravelled, which would determine the fate of a hero. While I was in this suspense, expecting every moment to see my old friend Mr. Betterton appear in all the majesty of distress, to my unspeakable amazement there came up a monster with a face between his feet; and as I was looking
on, he raised himself on one leg in such a perpendicular posture, that the other grew in a direct line above his head. It afterwards twisted itself into the motions and wreathings of several different animals, and after a great variety of shapes and transformations, went off the stage in the figure of a human creature. The admiration, the applause, the satisfaction of the audience, during this strange entertainment, is not to be expressed. I was very much out of countenance for my dear countrymen, and looked about with some apprehension, for fear any foreigner should be present. Is it possible, thought I, that human nature can rejoice in its disgrace, and take pleasure in seeing its own figure turned to ridicule, and distorted into forms that raise horror and aversion? There is something disingenuous and immoral in the being able to bear such a sight. Men of elegant and noble minds are shocked at seeing the characters of persons who deserve esteem for their virtue, knowledge, or services to their country, placed in wrong lights, and by misrepresentation made the subject of buffoonery. Such a nice abhorrence is not indeed to be found among the vulgar; but methinks it is wonderful, that those who have nothing but the outward figure to distinguish them as men, should delight in seeing humanity abused, vilified, and disgraced,
I must confess, there is nothing that more pleases me, in all that I read in books, or see among mankind, than such passages as represent human nature in its proper dignity. As man is a creature made up of different extremes, he has something in him very great and very mean. A skilful artist may draw an excellent picture of him in either of these views. The finest authors of antiquity have taken him on the more advantageous side. They cultivate the
natural grandeur of the soul, raise in her a generous ambition, feed her with hopes of immortality and perfection, and do all they can to widen the partition between the virtuous and the vicious, by making the difference betwixt them as great as between gods and brutes. In short, it is impossible to read a page in Plato, Tully, and a thousand other ancient moralists, without being a greater and a better man for it.. On the contrary, I could never read any of our modish French authors, or those of our own country, who are the imitators and admirers of that trifling nation, without being for some time out of humour with myself and at every thing about me. Their business is, to depreciate human nature, and consider it under its worst appearances. They give mean interpretations and base motives to the worthiest actions: they resolve virtue and vice into constitution. In short, they endeavour to make no distinction between man and man, or between the species of men and that of brutes. As an instance of this kind of authors, among many others, let any one examine the celebrated Rochefoucault, who is the great philosopher for administering of consolation to the idle, the envious, and worthless part of mankind. ?!.
I remember a young gentleman of moderate understanding, but great vivacity, who by dipping into many authors of this nature, had got a little șmattering of knowledge, just enough to make an atheist or a free-thinker, but not a philosopher or a man of sense. With these accomplishments, he went to visit his father in the.country, who was a plain, rough, honest man, and wise, though not learned. The son, who took all opportunities to show his learning, began to establish a new religion in the family, and to enlarge the narrowness of their country notions; in which he succeeded so well, that