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MARRIAGE OF HYMEN ÆUS AND TRANQUILLA.
Candida perpetuo reside concordia lecto,
Tamque pari, semper sit Venus æqua jugo
Tum quoque cum fuerit, non videatur anus.
Their nuptial bed may smiling concord dress,
W!En you read of the marriage of your correspondents HYMENÆUS and TRANQUILLA, we trust you will join your wishes to those of their other friends, for the happy event of a union in which caprice and selfishness had so little part.
There is at least this reason why we should be less de. ceived in our connubial hopes than many others who enter into the same state, that we have allowed ourselves to form no unreasonable expectations, nor vitiated our fancies in the soft hours of courtship, with visions of felicity which human power cannot bestow, or of perfection which human virtue cannot attain. That impartiality with which we al. ways endeavoured to inspect the manners of those with whom we have conversed, has not been so much overpow. ered by our passion, but that we have discovered some faults and weaknesses in each other; and joined our hands in conviction, that as there are some advantages to be enjoyed in marriage, there are some inconveniences likewise to be endured, and that, together with confederate intellects and auxiliar virtues, we must find different opinions and opposite inclinations.
We did not pass the weeks of courtship like those who consider themselves as taking the last draught of pleasure, and therefore resolve not to quit the bowl without a surfeit; or who know themselves about to set happiness to hazard, and endeavour to lose their sense of danger in the ebriety of perpetual amusement, and whirl round the gulf before they sink.
We rejoice in the reflection, that we have stores of novelty yet unexhausted, which may be opened when repletion shall call for change; and gratifications yet untasted, by which life, when it shall become vapid or bitter, may be restored to its former sweetness and sprightliness, and again irritate the appetite, and again sparkle in the cup.
Our life will, perhaps, be less tasteless than that of those whom the despotic authority or avarice of parents unites al. most without their consent in their early years, when they have accumulated no fund of reflection, nor collected any materials for mutual entertainment. Such we have often seen rising in the morning to cards, and retiring in the afternoon to doze; whose happiness was celebrated by their neighbours, because they happened to grow rich by avarice, and to be kept quiet by insensibility.
We have both mingled with the world, and are therefore no strangers to the faults and virtues, the designs and competitions, the hopes and fears, of our cotemporaries. We have bo:h amused our leizure with books, and can therefore recount the events of former times, or cite the dictates of ancient wisdom. Every occurrence furnishes us with some hint which one or the other can improve ; and if it should happen that both memory and imagination fail us, we can retire to no idle or unimproving solitude.
Though our characters, beheld at a distance, exhibit this general resemblance, yet a nearer inspection discovers such a dissimilitude of our habits and sentiments, as leaves each
some peculiar advantages, and affords that “ concordia discors,” that suitable disagreement, which is always neces. sary to intellectual harmony. There may be a total diver. sity of ideas which admits no participation of the same de. light; and there may likewise be such a conformity of notions, as leaves neither any thing to add to the dec sions of the other. With such contrariety there can be no peace, ' with such similarity there can be no pleasure. Our reasonings, though often formed upon different views, terminate generally in the same conclusion. Our thoughts, like rivu. lets issuing from distant springs, each impregnated in its course with various mixtures, and tinged by infusions unknown to the other, yet at last easily unite into one stream, and purify themselves by the gentle effervescence of contrary qualities.
These benefits we receive in a greater degree as we con. verse without reserve, because we have nothing to conceal. We have no debts to be paid by imperceptible deductions from our avowed expenses, no habits to be indulged by the private connivance of a favoured servant, no private interviews with needy relations, no intelligence with spies placed upon each other.
We considered marriage as the most solemn league of perpetual friendship, a state from which artifice and concealment are to be banished for ever, and in which every act of dissimulation is a breach of faith.
The impetuous vivacity of youth, and that ardour of desire which the first sight of pleasure naturally produces, has long ceased to hurry us into irregularity and vehemence, and experience has shown us that gratifications are too valuable to be sacrificed to complaisance. We have long thought it convenient to rest from the fatigue of pleasure, and now only continue that course of life into which we had before entered, confirmed in our choice by mutual encouragement, and assisted in our efforts by mutual exhortation.
Such, sir, is our prospect of life ; a prospect :which, as it is beheld with more attention, seems to open more ex. tensive happiness, and spreads by degrees into the boundless regions of eternity, But if all our prudence has been vain, if we are doomed to give another instance of the un. certainty of human discernment, we shall comfort ourselves amidst our disappointments, that we were not betrayed but by such delusions as caution could not escape, since we sought happiness only in the arms of virtue.
MARRIAGE A BLESSING OR A CURSE, AS IT IS WRONGLY OR
Marriage, or wrong or rightly understood,
WHEN a marriage is completed that takes rise from good sense, inclination and equality of age, dignity, and fortune, the joy is diffused through every branch of the family. The parents, the relations, the friends, taste the sweet effects of the happy union, and the whole scene is a representation of heaven as near as the state of mortality can come up to it; but when we turn our eyes towards the other side of matrimony, towards the black, the melancholy, and the tempestuous part of it, the objects are too hideous to be looked at, and the subject too dismal to be delineated.
Those who lay aside the vain desire of wealth, equipage, and honours, and make virtue the main article in their treaty of marriage, take the most proper methods to secure mutual felicity, and are generally blessed with unenvied and unprecarious joys. Too few indeed are the instances of domestic happiness; and many persons, of fashion think they answer all the purposes of matrimony, if they can be well bred enough to keep conjugal discord within the cold decencies of a malicious civility.
I am perfectly convinced that nothing hinders the constant agreement of persons in the conjugal state but vanity, a