Слике страница
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

and hath writ a whole book of letters to his wife. They are not so full of turns as those translated out of the former author, who writes very much like a modern; but are full of that beautiful simplicity which is altogether natural, and is the distinguishing character of the best ancient writers. The author I am speaking of, is Cicero; who, in the following passages, which I have taken out of his letters, shows, that he did not think it inconsistent with the politeness of his manners, or the greatness of his wisdom, to stand upon record in his domestic character.

These letters were written in a time when he was banished from his country, by a faction that then prevailed at Rome.

Cicero to Terentia,


'I learn from the letters of my friends, as well as from common report, that you give incredible proofs of virtue and fortitude, and that you are indefatigable in all kinds of good offices. How unhappy a man am I, that a woman of your virtue, constancy, honour, and good-nature, should fall into so great distresses upon my account! and that my dear Tulliola should be so much afflicted for the sake of a father, with whom she had once so much reason to be pleased! How can I mention little Cicero, whose first knowledge of things began with the sense of his misery? If all this had happened by the decrees of fate, as you would kindly persuade me, I could have borne it: But, alas! it is all befallen me by my own indiscretion, who thought I was beloved by those that envied me, and did not join with them -At present, who sought my friendship.since my friends bid me hope, I shall take care of my health, that I may enjoy the benefit of your affectionate services. Plancius hopes we may some time or other come together into Italy. If I ever live to see that day; if I ever return to your dear embraces; in short, if I ever again recover you and myself, I shall think our conjugal piety very well rewarded.— As for what you write to me about selling your estate, consider, my dear Terentia, consider, alas! what would be the event of it.. If our present fortune continues to oppress us, what will become of our poor boy! My tears flow so fast, that I am not able to write any further; and I would not willingly make you


From my own Apartment, April 14. THE, wits of this island, for above fifty years past, instead of correcting the vices of the age, have done all they could to inflame them. Marriage has been one of the common topics of ridicule that every stage scribbler hath found his account in; for, whenever there is an occasion for a clap, an impertinent jest upon matrimony is sure to raise it. This hath been attended with very pernicious consequences. Many a country esquire, upon his setting up for a man of the town, has gone home in the gayety of his heart, and beat his wife. A kind husband hath been looked upon as a clown, and a good wife as a domestic animal unfit for the company or conversation of the beau monde. In short, separate beds, silent tables, and solitary homes, have been introduced by your men of wit and pleasure of the age,

As I shall always make it my business to stem the torrents of prejudice and vice, I shall take particular care to put an honest father of a family in countenance; and endeavour to remove all the evils out of that state of life, which is either the most happy or most miser-weep with me.▬▬ able that a man can be placed in. In order to this, let us, if you please, consider the wits and well-bred persons of former time. I have shown, in another paper, that Pliny, who was a man of the greatest genius, as well as of the first quality of his age, did not think it below him to be a kind husband, and to treat his wife as a friend, companion, and counsellor. I shall give the like instance of another, who in all respects was a much greater man than Pliny,

Let us take care not to undo the child that is already undone if we can leave him any thing, a little virtue will keep him from want, and a little fortune raise him in the world. Mind your health, and let me know frequently what you are doing.—~ Remember me to Tulliola and Cicero,'


Do not fancy that I write longer letters to any one than to yourself, unless when I chance

to receive a longer letter from another, which with grief, but with shaine. I am ashamed I am indispensibly obliged to answer in every that I did not do my utmost for the best of particular. The truth of it is, I have no sub-wives, and the dearest of children. You are ject for a letter at present; and, as my affairs ever present before my eyes, in your mourning. now stand, there is nothing more painful to your affliction, and your sickness. Amidst all me than writing. As for you, and our dear which, there scarce appears to me the least Tulliola, I cannot write to you without abun-glimmering of hope. However, as long as you hope, I will not despair will do what you advise me. I have returned my thanks to those friends whom you mentioned, and have let them know, that you have acquainted me with their good offices. I am sensible of Piso's extraordinary zeal and endeavours to serve me. Ob. would the gods grant that you and I might live together in the enjoyment of such a son-in-law, and of our dear children !-As for what you write of your coming to me, if I desire it, I would rather you should be where you are, because I know you are my principal agent at Rome. If you succeed, I shall come to you: if not-But I need say no more.

dance of tears; for I see both of you miserable, whom I always wished to be happy, and whom I ought to have made so.--I must acknowledge, you have done every thing for me with the utmost fortitude, and the utmost affection; nor indeed is it more than I expected from you; though, at the same time, it is a great aggravation of my ill fortune, that the afflictions I suffer can be relieved only by those which you undergo for my sake. For honest Valerius has written me a letter, which I could not read without weeping very bitterly; wherein he gives me an account of the public procession which you have made for me at Rome. Alas! my dearest life, must then Terentia, the dar-Be careful of your health; and be assured, that nothing is, or ever was, so dear to me as yourself. Farewell, my Terentia! I fancy that I see you, and therefore cannot command my weakness so far as to refrain from tears.'

ling of my soul, whose favour and recommendations have been so often sought by others; must my Terentia droop under the weight of sorrow, appear in the habit of a mourner, pour out floods of tears, and all this for my sake; for my sake, who have undone my family, by consulting the safety of others?--As for what you write about selling your house, I am very much afflicted, that what is laid out upon my account may any way reduce you to misery and want. If we can bring about our design, we may indeed recover every thing; but if fortune persists in persecuting us, how can I think of your sacrificing for me the poor remainder of your possessions? No, my dearest life, let me beg you to let those bear my expenses who are able, and perhaps willing to do it; and if you would show your love to me, do not injure your health, which is already too much impaired. You present yourself before my eyes day and night; I see you labour amidst innumerable difficulties; I am afraid lest you should sink under them; but I find in you all the qualifications that are necessary to support you be sure therefore to cherish your health, that you may compass the end of your hopes and your endeavours.--Farewell, my Terentia, my heart's desire, farewell.'


'Aristocritus hath delivered to me three of your letters, which I have almost defaced with my tears. Oh! my Terentia, I am consumed with grief, and feel the weight of your sufferings more than of my own. I am more miserable than you are, notwithstanding you are very much so; and that for this reason, berause, though our calamity is common, it is my fault that brought it upon us. I ought to have died rather than have been driven out of the city: I am therefore overwhelmed, not only


'I do not write to you as often as I might; because, notwithstanding I am afflicted at all times, I am quite overcome with sorrow whilst I am writing to you, or reading any letters that I receive from you.If these evils are not to be removed, I must desire to see you, my dearest life, as soon as possible, and to die in your embraces; since neither the gods, whom you always religiously worshipped, nor the men, whose good I always promoted, have rewarded us according to our deserts.--What a distressed wretch am I! Should I ask a weak woman, oppressed with cares and sickness, to come and live with me; or, shall I not ask her? Can I live without you? But I find I must. If there be any hopes of my return, help it forward, and promote it as much as you are able. But if all that is over, as I fear it is, find out some way or other of coming to me. This you may be sure of, that I shall not look upon myself as quite undone whilst you are with me. But what will become of Tulliola? You must look to that; I must confess, I am entirely at a loss about her. Whatever happens, we must take care of the reputatior and marriage of that dear unfortunate girl As for Cicero, he shall live in my bosom, and in my arms. I cannot write any further, my sorrows will not let me--Support yourself, my dear Terentia, as well as you are able. We have lived and flourished together amidst the greatest honours; it is not our crimes, but our -Take more virtues, that have distressed us.———— than ordinary care of your health; I am more afflicted with your sorrows than my own.

Farewell, my Terentia, thou dearest, faithful- | other town, which I found she had dropped lest, and best of wives!' by the way.

As much as I love to be informed of the success of my brave countrymen, I do not care for hearing of a victory before day; and wai therefore very much out of humour at this unseasonable visit. I had no sooner recovered my temper, and was falling asleep, but I was immediately startled by a second rap; and upon my maid's opening the door, heard the same voice ask her, if her master was yet up? and at the same time bid her tell me, that he was come on purpose to talk with me about a piece of home news, which every body in town will be full of two hours hence. I ordered my maid, as soon as she came into the room, without hearing her message, to tell the gentleman,


Methinks it is a pleasure to see this great man in his family, who makes so different a figure in the Forum, or Senate of Rome. Every one admires the orator and the consul; but for my part, I esteem the husband and the father. His private character, with all the little weaknesses of humanity, is as amiable, as the figure he makes in public is awful and majestic. But at the same time that I love to surprise so great an author in his private walks, and to survey him in his most familiar lights, I think it would be barbarous to form to ourselves any idea of mean-spiritedness from these natural openings of his heart, and disburdening of his thoughts to a wife. He has written several other letters to the same person, but none with so great passion as these of which I have given the foregoing ex


It would be ill-nature not to acquaint the English reader, that his wife was successful in her solicitations for this great man; and saw her husband return to the honours of which he had been deprived, with all the pomp and acclamation that usually attended the greatest triumph.

No. 160.] Tuesday, April 18, 1710.

From my own Apartment, April 17.

A COMMON civility to an impertinent fellow often draws upon one a great many unforeseen troubles; and, if one doth not take particular care, will be interpreted by him as an overture of friendship and intimacy. This I was very sensible of this morning. About two hours before day, I heard a great rapping at my door, which continued some time, until my maid could get herself ready to go down and see what was the occasion of it. She then brought me up word, that there was a gentleman who seemed very much in haste, and said he must needs speak with me. By the description she gave me of him, and by his voice, which I could hear as I lay in my bed, I fancied him to be my old acquaintance the upholsterer, whom I met the other day in St. James's-park. For which reason, I bid her tell the gentleman, whoever he was, that I was indisposed; that I could see nobody; and that, if he had any thing to say to me, I desired he would leave it in writing.' My maid, after having delivered her message, told me, that the gentleman said he would stay at the next coffee-house until I was stirring; and bid her be sure to tell me, that the French were driven from the scarp, and that Douay was invested.' He gave her the name of an


that whatever his news was, I would rather hear it two hours hence than now; and that I persisted in my resolution not to speak with any body that morning.' The wench delivered my answer presently, and shut the door. It was impossible for me to compose myself to sleep after two such unexpected alarms; for which reason, I put on my clothes in a very peevish humour. I took several turns about my chamber, reflecting with a great deal of anger and contempt on these volunteers in politics, that undergo all the pain, watchfulness, and disquiet of a first minister, without turning it to the advantage either of themselves or their country; and yet it is surprising to consider how numerous this species of men is. There is nothing more frequent than to find a tailor breaking his rest on the affairs of Europe, and to see a cluster of porters sitting upon the ministry. Our streets swarm with politicians, and there is scarce a shop which is not held by a statesman. As I was musing after this manner, I heard the upholsterer at the door delivering a letter to my maid, and begging her, in a very great hurry, to give it to her master as soon as ever he was awake; which I opened, and found as follows:


'I was to wait upon you about a week ago, to let you know that the honest gentlemen whom you conversed with upon the bench, at the end of the Mall, having heard that I had received five shillings of you, to give you a hundred pounds upon the great Turk's being driven out of Europe, desired me to acquaint you, that every one of that company would be willing to receive five shillings, to pay a bun dred pounds on the same condition. Our last advices from Muscovy making this a fairer bet than it was a week ago, I do not question but you will accept the wager.

'But this is not my present business. If you remember, I whispered a word in your ear, as we were walking up the Mall; and you see what has happened since. If I had see:

you this morning, I would have told you in your ear another secret. I hope you will be recovered of your indisposition by to-morrow morning, when I will wait on you at the same hour as I did this; my private circumstances being such, that I cannot well appear in this quarter of the town after it is day.

I have been so taken up with the late good news from Holland, and expectation of further particulars, as well as with other transactions, of which I will tell you more to-morrow morning, that I have not slept a wink these three nights.

I have reason to believe that Picardy will soon follow the example of Artois, in case the enemy continue in their present resolution of flying away from us. I think I told you the last time we were together my opinion about

the Deulle.

The bonest gentlemen upon the bench bid me tell you, that he would be glad to see you often among them. We shall be there all the warm hours of the day during the present pos

ture of affairs,

This happy opening of the campaign will, I hope, give us a very joyful summer; and I propose to take many a pleasant walk with you, if you will sometimes come into the Park; for that is the only place in which I can be free from the malice of my enemies. Farewell, until three of the clock to-morrow morning!


'I am, your most humble servant, &c. 'P. S. The king of Sweden is still at Bender.'

[blocks in formation]


I thought you would never have descended from the censor of Great Britain, to become a match-maker. But pray, why so severe upon the Kit? Had I been a Jew's-harp, that is nothing but tongue, you could not have used me worse. Of all things, a Bass-viol is my aversion. Had you married me to a Bag-pipe or a Passing-bell, I should have been better pleased. Dear father Isaac, either choose me a better husband, or I will live and die a Dulcimer. In hopes of receiving satisfaction from you, I am yours, whilst


The pertness which this fair lady hath shown in this letter, was one occasion of my joining her to the Bass-viol, which is an instrument that wants to be quickened by these little vivacities; as the sprightliness of the Kit ought to be checked and curbed by the gravity of the Bass-viol.

My next letter is from Tom Folio, who, it seems, takes it amiss that I have published a character of him so much to his disadvantage, SIR,

'I suppose you mean Tom Fool, when you called me Tom Folio in a late trifling paper of yours; for I find, it is your design to run down all useful and solid learning. The tobaccopaper on which your own writings are usually printed, as well as the incorrectness of the press, and the scurvy letter, sufficiently show but you look upon John Morphew to be as the extent of your knowledge. question not great a man as Elzevir; and Aldus to have been such another as Bernard Lintot. If you would give me my revenge, I would only desire of you to let me publish an account of your

library, which, I dare say, would furnish out

an extraordinary catalogue.

[blocks in formation]

From my own Apartment, April 19.


I WAS walking two or three days ago in a very pleasant retirement, and amusing myself with the reading of that ancient and beautiful allegory, called The Table of Cebes,' I was at last so tired with my walk, that I sat down to rest myself upon a bench that stood in the midst of an agreeable shade. The music of the birds, that filled all the trees about me, lulled me asleep before I was aware of it; in some measure to the foregoing author, who which was followed by a dream. that I impute? had made an impression upon my imagination, and put me into his own way of thinking.

I fancied myself among the Alps, and, as it is natural in a dream, seemed every moment to bound from one summit to another, until at last, after having made this airy progress over the tops of several mountains, I arrived at the very centre of those broken rocks and precipices. I here, methought, saw a prodigious


On the left hand of the goddess sat the genius of a commonwealth, with the cap of Liberty on her head, and, in her hand, a wand like that with which a Roman citizen used to give his slaves their freedom. There was something mean and vulgar, but at the same time exceeding bold and daring, in her air; her eyes were full of fire; but had in them such casts of fierceness and cruelty, as made her appear to me rather dreadful than amiable. On her shoulders she wore a mantle, on which there was wrought a great confusion of figures. As it flew in the wind, I could not discern the particular design of them, but saw wounds in the bodies of some, and agonies in the faces of others; and over one part of it could read in letters of blood, The Ides of March.'


eircuit of hills, that reached above the clouds, and encompassed a large space of ground, which I had a great curiosity to look into. I thereupon continued my former way of travelling through a great variety of winter scenes, until I had gained the top of these white mountains, which seemed another Alps of snow. looked down from hence into a spacious plain, which was surrounded on all sides by this mound of hills, and which presented me with the most agreeable prospect I had ever seen. There was a greater variety of colours in the embroidery of the meadows, a more lively green in the leaves and grass, a brighter crystal in the streams, than what I ever met with in any other region. The light itself had something more shining and glorious in it than that of which the day is made in other places. I was wonderfully astonished at the discovery of such a paradise amidst the wildness of those cold, hoary landscapes which lay about it; but found at length, that this happy region was inhabited by the goddess of Liberty; whose presence softened the rigours of the climate, enriched the barrenness of the soil, and more than supplied the absence of the sun. The place was covered with a wonderful profusion of flowers, that, without being disposed into regular borders and parterres, grew promiscuously; and had a greater beauty in their natural luxuriancy and disorder, than they could have received from the checks and restraints of art. There was a river that arose out of the south side of the mountain, that, by an infinite number of turnings and windings, seemed to visit every plant, and cherish the several beauties of the spring, with which the fields abounded. After having run to and fro in a wonderful variety of meanders, as unwilling to leave so charming a place, it at last throws itself into the hollow of a mountain; from whence it passes under a long range of rocks, and at length rises in that part of the Alps where the inhabitants think is the first source of the Rhône. This river, after having made its progress through those free nations, stag-of it, which the soil was in its own nature ca

On the right-hand of the goddess was the genius of monarchy. She was clothed in the whitest ermine, and wore a crown of the purest gold upon her head. In her hand, she held a sceptre like that which is born by the British monarchs. A couple of tame lions lay crouching at her feet. Her countenance had in it a very great majesty without any mixture of terror. Her voice was like the voice of an angel, filled with so much sweetness, accompanied with! such an air of condescension, as tempered the awfulness of her appearance, and equally inspired love and veneration into the hearts of all that beheld her.

In the train of the goddess of Liberty were the several Arts and Sciences, who all of them flourished underneath her eye. One of them in particular made a greater figure than any of the rest, who held a thunderbolt in her hand, which had the power of melting, piercing, or breaking every thing that stood in its way. The name of this goddess was Eloquence.

There were two other dependant goddesses, who made a very conspicuous figure in this blissful region. The first of them was seated upon a hill, that had every plant growing out

nates in a huge lake* at the leaving of them; and no sooner enters into the regions of slavery, but it runs through them with an incredible rapidity, and takes its shortest way to the


I descended into the happy fields that lay beneath me, and, in the midst of them, beheld the goddess sitting upon a throne. She had nothing to enclose her but the bounds of her own dominions, and nothing over her head but the heavens. Every glance of her eye cast a track of light where it fell, that revived the spring, and made all things smile about her. My heart grew cheerful at the sight of her; and, as she looked upon me, I found a certain

pable of producing. The other was seated in a little island that was covered with groves of spices, olives, and orange trees; and, in a word, with the products of every foreign clime. The name of the first was Plenty, of the second, Commerce. The first leaned her right arm upon a plough, and under her left held a huge horn, out of which she poured a whole autumn of fruits. The other wore a rostral crown upon her head, and kept her eyes fixed upon a compass.

The lake of Geneva

confidence growing in me, and such an inward resolution as I never felt before that time.

I was wonderfully pleased in ranging through this delightful place, and the more so, because it was not incumbered with fences and inclosures; until at length, methought I sprung from the ground, and pitched upon the top of a hill, that presented several objects to my

[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »