Page images
PDF
EPUB

mind is not sufficiently attentive to avoid giving an offence which it has often received.

I shall conclude this paper, as I did my last on the same subject, with a general remark. As they who possess less than they expected cannot be happy, to expatiate in chi. merical prospects of felicity is to insure the anguish of disappointment, and to lose the power of enjoying whatever may be possessed. Let not youth, therefore, imagine, that with all the advantages of nature and education, marriage will be a constant reciprocation of delight, over which externals will have little influence, and which time will rather change than destroy. There is no perpetual source of delight but Hope: so imperfect is the utmost temporal happiness, that to possess it all, is to lose it. We enjoy that which is before us; but when nothing more is possible, all that is attained is insipid. Such is the condition of this life: but let us not, therefore, think it of no value ; for to be placed in this life, is to be a candidate for a better,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

OF LOVE.

CHARACTERS OF VARIOUS LOVERS.

Scorn me not, Chloe; me, whose faith well tried,
Long years approve, and honest passions guide ;
My spotless soul no foul affections move,
But chaste simplicity, and modest love :
Nor I, like shallow fops, from fair to fair
Roving at random, faithless passion swear,
But thou alone shall be my constant care.

[ocr errors]

Almost every man is, or has been, or at least thinks that he is or has been, a lover. I have lately taken a survey of the numerous tribe of Enamoratos ; and, after having observed the various shapes they wear, think

may safely pronounce, that though all profess to have been in love, there are very few who are really capable of it. It is a maxim of Rochefoucault, that 6

many men would never have been in love, if they had never heard of love." The justice of this remark is equal to its shrewdness. The ridiculous prate of a family has frequently great influence on young minds, who learn to love, as they do every thing else, by imitation. Young creatures, almost mere children, have been consumed with this second-hand flame.

That vast heap of volumes, filled with love, and sufficient in number to make a library, are great inflamers, and seldom fail to produce that kind of passion described by Rochefoucault. The

student reads of the emotions of love, till he imagines that he feels them throbbing and fluttering in his little breast ; as valetudinarians study the history of a disease, till they fancy themselves affected with every symptom of it. For this reason I am always sorry to see any of this trash in the hands of young people ; and I am obliged to consider many romances and novels as no better than bawds or arrant pimps.

young

Platonism, which dotes on the mind alone of its mistress, and would fain see her naked soul divested of its material incumbrances, is in these days very scarce ; and there is another class, infinitely more numerous, whom we may justly distinguish by the title of Epicureans. The principles of this sect are diametrically opposite to those of the Plato. nics. They think no more of the soul of their mistress than a Mussulman, but they are in raptures with her person.

A lover of this sort is in perpetual ecstacies : his passion is so violent, that he even scorches you with his flame ; and he runs over the perfections of his mistress in the same style that a jockey praises his horse : “Such limbs ! such eyes ! such a neck and breast ! such—0, she's a rare piece !" Their ideas go no farther than mere external accomplishments; and as their wounds may be said to be only skin deep, we cannot allow their breasts to be smitten with love, though perhaps they may rankle with a much grosser passion. Yet it must be owned, that nothing is more common, than for gentlemen of this cast to be involved in what is called a love-match.

Other gentlemen, of a gay disposition and warm consti. tution, who go in the catalogue for lovers, are adorers of al. most every woman they see.

The flame of love is as easily kindled in them, as the sparks are struck out of a flint; and it also expires as soon.

A lover of this sort dances one day with a lady at a ball, and loses his heart to her in a minuet ; the next, another carries it off in the Mall; and the next day perhaps he goes out of town, and lodges it in the possession of all the country beauties successively, till at last he brings it back to town with him, and presents it to the first woman he meets. This class is very nume. rous, but ought by no means to hold a place among the tribe of true lovers ; since a gentleman, who is thus in love with every body, may fairly be said not to be in love at all.

Love is universally allowed to be whimsical ; and, if whim be the essence of love, none can be accounted truer lovers than those who admire their mistress for some par. ticular charm, which enchains them, though it would singly never captivate any body else. Some gentlemen have been won by a pair of fine arms; others have been held fast by an even white set of teeth ; and I know a very good scholar, who was ensnared by a set of golden tresses, be. cause it was the taste of the ancients, and the true classical hair. Those ladies, whose lovers are such piece-meal ad. mirers, are in perpetual danger of losing them.

A rash or a pimple may abate their affection. All those, the object of whose adoration is merely a pretty face, or a fine person, are in the power of the like accidents ; and the small-pox has occasioned many a poor lady the loss of her beauty and her lover at the same time.

But, after all these spurious Enamoratos, there are some few whose passion is sincere and well founded. True, genuine love is always built upon esteem: not that I would mean that a man can reason and argue himself into love ; but that a constant intercourse with an amiable woman will lead him into a contemplation of her excellent qualities, which will insensibly win his heart, before he is himself aware of it, and beget those hopes and fears which are the natural attendants on a true passion.

Love has been described ten thousand times : but that I may be sure that the little picture I would draw of it is taken from nature, I will conclude this paper with the story of honest Will Easy and his amiable wife,

Will Easy and Miss became very early acquainted and, from being familiarly intimate with the whole family, Will might almost be said to live there. Will and the lady were both universally allowed to have sense, and their frequent conversations together gave them undoubted proofs

of the goodness of each other's disposition. They delighted in the company, and admired the perfections of each other, and gave a thousand little indications of a growing passion, not unobserved by others, even whilst it was yet un. known and unsuspected by themselves. However, after some time, Will, by mutual agreement, demanded the lady of her father in marriage. But, alas ! “ the course of true love never yet run smooth :" the ill-judged ambition of a parent induced the father, out of mere love to his daughter, to refuse her hand to the only man in the world with whom she could live happily, because he imagined, that he might, as the phrase is, do better for her. But love, grounded on just principles, is not easily shaken ; and, as it appeared that their mutual passion had taken too deep root ever to be extirpated, the father at last, reluctantly half consented to their union. They enjoy a genteel competency ; and Will, by his integrity and abilities, is an honour to a learned profes. sion, and a blessing to his wife ; whose greatest praise is, that her virtues deserved such a husband. She is pleased with having left “ dress to duchesses ;" he considers her happi. ness as his main interest ; and their example every day gives fresh conviction to the father, that where two persons of strong sense and good hearts conceive a reciprocal affec. tion for each other, their passion is genuine and lasting, and their union is perhaps the truest state of happiness under the

sun.

« PreviousContinue »