صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

erwise. These, and the like considerations, rather silence than satisfy a man. They may shew him that his discontent is unreasonable, but are by no means sufficient to relieve it. They rather give despair than consolation. In a word, a man might reply to one of these comforters, as Augustus did to his friend, who advised him not to grieve for the death of a person whom he loved, because his grief could not fetch him again : "It is for that very reason," said the emperour,

" that I grieve." On the contrary, religion bears a more tender regard to human nature. It prescribes to every miserable man the means of bettering his condition: Nay, it shows him that the bearing of his afflictions as he ought to do, will naturally end in the removal of them. It makes him easy here, because it can make happy hereafter.

[ocr errors]

XI-Needlework recommended to the Ladies.-IB. 56 I HAVE a couple of nieces under my direction, who so often run gadding abroad, that I do not know where to to have them. Their dress, their tea, and their visits take up all their time, and they go to bed as tired with doing nothing, as I am after quilting a whole underpetticoat. The whole time they are not idle, is while they read your Spectators; which being dedicated to the interests of vir. tue, I desire you to recommend the long neglected art of needlework Those hours which, in this age, are thrown away in dress, play, visits, and the like, were employed in my time in writing out receipts, or working beds, chairs, and hangings for the family. For my pari, I have plied my needle these fifty years, and by my good will would never have it out of my hand. It grieves my heart to see a couple of proud idle Pirts sipping their tea, for a whole afternoon, in a great room hung iound with the industry of their great grandmother. Pray sir, take the laudable mystery of embroidery into your serious consideration, and as you have a great deal of the virtue of the last age in you continue your endeavours to reform the present.”

I am, &c.

IN obedience to the commands of my venerable corre spondent, I have duly weighed this important subject, and promise myself from the arguments here laid down, that

all the fine ladies in England will be ready, as soon as their mourning is over, to appear covered with the work of their own hands.

What a delightful entertainment must it be to the fair sex, whom their native modesty, and the tenderness of men towards them, exempts from public business, to pass their hours in imitating fruits and flowers, and transplanting all the beauties of nature into their own dress, or raising a new creation in their clothes and apartments. How pleasing is the amusement of walking among the shades and groves planted by themselves, in surveying heroes slain. by their needles, or little Cupids which they have brought into the world without pain.

This is, methinks, the most proper way wherein a lady can show a fine genius, and I cannot forbear wishing that several writers of that sex, had chosen rather to apply themselves lo tapestry than rhyme. Your pastoral poetesses may vent their fancy in rural landscapes, and place despairing shepherds under silken willows, or drown them in a stream of mohair The heroic writers may work up battles as successfully, and inflame them with gold or stain them with crimson. Even those who have only a turn to a song, or an epigram, may put many valuable stitches into a purse, and crowd a thousand graces into a pair of garters.

If I may without breach of good manners, imagine that any pretty creature is void of genius, and would perform her part herein but very awkwardly, I must nevertheless insist upon her working, if it be only to keep her out of

harm's way:

Another arguinent for busying good women in works of fancy, is, because it takes them off from scandal, the usu: al aitendant of teatables, and all other inactive scenes of life. While they are forining their birds and beasts, their neighbours will be allowed to be the fathers of their own children ; and Whig and Tory will be but seldom mentioned, where the great dispute is whether blue or red is the more proper colour. How much greater glory would Sophronia do the general, if she would choose rather to work the baitle of Blenheimn in tapestry, than signalise herself, with so much vehemence, against those who are French men in their hearts.

A third reason that I shall mention, is the profit that is brought to the family where these pretty arts are encouraged. It is manifest, ihat this way of life not only keeps fair ladies from running out into expences, but it is at the same time, an actual improvement. How memorable would that matron be, who shall have it inscribed upon ber mon. ument, "that she wrote out the whole Bible in tapestry, and died in a good old age, after having covered three hundred yards of wall in the mansion house :"

These premises being considered, I liumbly submit the following proposals to all mothers in Great-Britain.

I. That no young virgin whatsoever, be allowed to receive the addresses of her first lover but in a suit of her own embroidering,

II. That before every fresh servant she be obliged to appear with a new stomacher at the least.

III. That no one be actually married until she hath the childbed, pillows, &c. ready stitched, as likewise the man tle for the boy quite finished.

These laws, if I mistake not, would effectually restore the decayed art of needlework, and make the virgins of Great-Britain, exceedingly nimble fingered in their busi, pess.

XII.- On Pride.-GUARDIAN. IF there be any thing that makes human nature appear ridiculous to beings of superiour faculties, it must be pride, They know so well the vanity of those imaginary perfections that swell the heart of man, and of those little sus pernumerary advantages, whether in birth, fortune or tiile, which one man enjoys above another, that it must certainly very much astonish, if it does not very much divert them, when they see a mortal puffed up, and valuing himself above his neighbours, on any of these accounts, at the sarne time that he is obnoxious to all the common calamities of the species.

To set this thought in its true light, we will fancy, if you please, that yonder molehill. is inhabited by reasonable creatures, and that every pismire (his shape and way of life only excepted) is endowed with human passions. How should we smile to hear one give us an account of the ped, igrees, distinctions and titles that reign among them ? Observe how the whole swarm divide, and make way for the pismire that passes through them ; you must understand he is an emmet of quality, and has better blood in his veins than any pismire in the inolehill. Don't you see how sensible lie is of it, how slow he marches forward, how the whole rabble of ants keep their distance ? Here you may observe one placed upon a little eminence, and looking down on a long row of labourers. He is the richest insect on this side the hilloek, lie has a walk of half a yard in length, and a quarter of an inch in breadth, he keeps an hundred menial servants, and has at least fifteen barley corns in his granary. He is now chiding and beslaving the emmet that stands before him, and who for all that we can discover, is as good an emmet as himself.

But here comes an insect of figure ! Don't you take notice of a little white straw he carries in his mouth? That straw, you must understand, he would not part with for the longest tract about the inolehill : Did you but know what he has undergone to purchase it ! See how the ants of all qualities and conditions swarm about him.-Should this straw drop out of his mouth, you would see all this numerous circle of attendants follow the next that took it up, and leave the discarded insect, or run over his back to come at its successor.

If now you have a mind to see all the ladies of the molehill, observe first the pismire that listens to the emmet on her left hand, at the same time that she seems to turn away her head from him. He tells this poor insect'she is a goddess, that her eyes are brighter than the sun, that life and death are at her disposal. She believes him, and gives herself a thousand little airs upon it. Mark the vanity of the pismire on your left hand. She can scarce crawl with age, but you must know she values herself up. on her birth; and if you mind, spurns at every one that comes within her reach. The little nimble coquette that is running along by the side of her is a wit. She has broke many a pismire's heart. Do but observe what a drove of lovers are running after her.

We will here finish this imaginary scene; but first of all to draw the parallel closer, will suppose, if you please, that death comes upon the molehill, in the shape of a cock sparrow, wlio picks up, without distinction, the pismire of quality and his flatterers, the pismire of substance and his

day labourers, the whitestraw officer and his sycophants, with all the goddesses, wits, and beauties of the molehill.

May we not imagine, that beings of superiour natures and perfections regard all the instances of pride and vanity, among our own species in the same kind of view, when they take a survey of those who inhabit the earth, or in the language of an ingenious French poet, of those pismires that people this leap of dirt, which human vanity has divided into climates and regions.

[ocr errors]

XIII.-- Journal of the life of Alexander Severus.-

GIBBON. ALEXANDER rose early. The first moments of the day were consecrated to private devotion : But as he deemed the service of mankind the most acceptable worship of the gods, the greatest part of his morning hours were employed in council; where he discussed public affairs, and determined private causes, with a patience and discretion above his years. The dryness of business was enlivened by the charms of literature; and a portion of time was always set apart for his favourite studies of poetry, history, and philosophy. The works of Virgil and Horace, the republics of Plato and Cicero, formed his taste, enlarged his understanding, and gave him the noblest ideas of man and of government. The exercises of the body succeeded to those of the mind; and Alexander, who was tall, active, and robust, surpassed most of his equals in the gymnastic arts. Refreshed by the use of his bath, and a slight dinner, he resumed, with new vig. our,

the business of the day : And till the hour of supper, the principal meal of the Romans, he was attended by his secretaries, with whom he read and answered the multitude of letters, memorials, and petitions, that must have been addressed to the master of the greatest part of the world. His table was served with the most frugal simplicity; and whenever he was at liberty to consult his own inclination, the company consisted of a few select friends, men of learning and virtue. His dress was plain and modest : his demeanor courteous and affable. the proper hours, his palace was open to all his subjects ; but the voice of a crier was heard, as in the Eleusinlan mysteries, pronouncing the same salutary admonition.


« السابقةمتابعة »