« PreviousContinue »
forward with a regular composed carriage; and running up to him, accosted him after the following manner :—
'My dear Hercules," says she, "I find you are very much divided in your thoughts, upon the way of life that you ought to choose; be my friend, and follow me; I will lead you into the possession of pleasure, and out of the reach of pain, and remove you from all the noise and disquietude of business. The affairs of either peace or war, shall have no power to disturb you. Your whole employment shall be to make your life easy, and to entertain every sense with its proper gratifications. Sumptuous tables, beds of roses, clouds of perfumes, concerts of music, crowds of beauties, are all in readiness to receive you. Come along with me into this region of delights, this world of pleasure, and bid farewell for ever, to care, to pain, to business."
Hercules, hearing the lady talk after this manner, desired to know her name; to which she answered, My friends, and those who are well acquainted with me, call me Happiness; but my enemies, and those who would injure my reputation have given me the name of Pleasure."
By this time the other lady came up, who addressed herself to the young hero in a very different manner.
Hercules," says she, "I offer myself to you, because I know you are descended from the gods, and give proofs of that descent by your love to virtue, and application to the studies proper for your age. This makes me hope you will gain, both for yourself and me, an immortal reputation. But, before I invite you into my society and friendship, I will be open and sincere with you, and must lay down this, as an established truth, that there is nothing truly valuable The which can be purchased without pains and labour. gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure. If you would gain the favour of the Deity, you must be at the pains of worshipping him: if the friendship of good men, you must study to oblige them: if you would be honoured by your country, you must take care to serve it. In short, if you would be eminent in war or peace, you must become master of all the qualifications that can make you which upon SO. These are the only terms and conditions I can propose happiness." The goddess of Pleasure here broke in upon her discourse: "You see," said she, "Hercules, by her own confession, the way to her pleasures is long and difficult; whereas, that which I propose is short and easy." Alas!" said the other lady, whose visage
glowed with passion, made up of scorn and pity, "what are the pleasures you propose? To eat before you are hungry, drink before you are athirst, sleep before you are tired; to gratify your appetites before they are raised, and raise such appetites as nature never planted. You never heard the most delicious music, which is the praise of one's own self; nor saw the most beautiful object, which is the work of one's own hands. Your votaries pass away their youth in a dream of mistaken pleasures, while they are hoarding up anguish, torment, and remorse, for old age.
As for me, I am the friend of gods and of good men, an agreeable companion to the artisan, a household guardian to the fathers of families, a patron and protector of servants, as associate in all true and generous friendships. banquets of my votaries are never costly, but always delicious; for none eat and drink at them, who are not invited by hunger and thirst. Their slumbers are sound, and their wakings cheerful. My young men have the pleasure of hearing themselves praised by those who are in years; and those who are in years, of being honored by those who are young. In a word, my followers are favoured by the gods, beloved by their acquaintance, esteemed by their country, and after the close of their labours, honoured by posterity."
We know by the life of this memorable hero, to which of these two ladies he gave up his heart; and I believe every one who reads this, will do him the justice to approve his choice.
XX.-Will Honeycomb's Spectator.
MY friend, Will Honeycomb, has told me, for above this half year, that he had a great mind to try his hand at a Spectator, and that he would fain have one of his writings in my works. This morning I received from him the following letter; which, after having rectified some little orthographical mistakes, I shall make a present to the public.
"Dear Spec-I was about two nights ago in company with very agreeable young people, of both sexes, where, talking of some of your papers, which are written on conjugal love, there arose a dispute among us, whether there were not more bad husbands in the world than bad wives. A gentleman, who was advocate for the ladies, took this occasion to tell us the story of a famous siege in Germany, which I have since found related in my historical dictionary, after the following manner. When the emperor Conrad III. had besieged Guelphus, duke of Bavaria, in the city of
Hensberg, the women, finding that the town could not possibly hold out long, petitioned the emperor that they might depart out of it, with so much as each of them could carry. The emperor, knowing they could not convey away many of their effects, granted them their petition; when the wo men, to his great surprise, came out of the place, with every one her husband upon her back. The emperor was so moved at the sight, that he burst into tears; and after having very much extolled the women for their conjugal affection, gave the men to their wives, and received the duke into his favour.
The ladies did not a little triumph at this story; asking us at the same time, whether in our consciences, we believed that the men in any town of Great Britain would, upon the same offer, and at the same conjuncture, have loaded themselves with their wives? Or rather, whether they would not have been glad of such an opportunity to get rid of them? To this my very good friend, Tom Dapperwit, who took upon him to be the mouth of our sex, replied, that they would be very much to blame, if they would not do the same good office for the women, considering that their strength would be greater, and their burdens lighter. As we were amusing ourselves with discourses of this nature, in order to pass away the evening, which now began to grow tedious, we fell into that laudable and primitive diversion of questions and commands. I was no sooner vested with the regal authority, but I enjoined all the ladies, under pain of my displeasure, to tell the company ingenuously, in case they had been in the siege above-mentioned, and had the same offers made them as the good women of that place, what every one of them would have brought off with her, and have thought most worth the saving There were several merry answers made to my question, which entertained us till bed-time. This filled my mind with such a huddle of ideas, that upon my going to sleep, I fell into the following dream :
"I saw a town of this island, which shall be nameless, invested on every side, and the inhabitants of it so straitened as to cry for quarter. The general refused any other terms than those granted to the above-mentioned town of Hensberg; namely, that the married women might come out, with what they could bring along with them. Immediately the city gates flew open, and a female procession appeared, multitudes of the sex following one another in a
row, and staggering under their respective burdens. I took my stand upon an eminence, in the enemy's camp, which was appointed for the general rendezvous of these female carriers, being very desirous to look into their several ladings. The first of them had a huge sack upon her shoulders, which she set down with great care : upon the opening of it, when I expected to have seen her husband shoot out of it, I found it was filled with China-ware. The next appeared in a more decent figure, carrying a handsome young fellow upon her back: I could not forbear commending the young woman for her conjugal affection, when, to my great surprise, I found that she had left the good man at home, and brought away her gallant. I saw a third at some distance, with a little withered face peeping over her shoulder, whom I could not suspect for any other but her spouse, till upon her setting him down, I heard her call him dear pug, and found him to be her favourite monkey. A fourth brought a huge bale of cards along with her; and the fifth a Bologna lapdog; for her husband, it seems, being a very bulky man, she thought it would be less trouble for her to bring away little cupid. The next was the wife of a rich usurer, loaded with a bag of gold: she told us that her spouse was very old, and by the course of nature, could not expect to live long; and that to show her tender regard for him, she had saved that which the poor man loved better than his life. The next came towards us with her son upon her back, who we were told was the greatest rake in the place, but so much the mother's darling, that she left her husband behind, with a large family of hopeful sons and daughters, for the sake of this graceless youth.
It would be endless to mention the several persons, with their several loads, that appeared to me in this strange vision. All the place about me was covered with packs of ribands, broaches, embroidery, and ten thousand other materials, sufficient to have furnished a whole street of toyshops. One of the women, having a husband who was none of the heaviest, was bringing him off upon her shoulders, at the same time that she carried a great bundle of Flanders lace under her arm; but finding herself so overladen that she could not save both of them, she dropped the good man, and brought away the bundle. In short, I found but one husband among this great mountain of baggage, who was a lively cobbler, that kicked and spurred all the while his wife was carrying him off, and, as it was said, had scarce passed a
day in his life, without giving her the discipline of the strap. "I cannot conclude my letter, dear Spec, without telling thee one very odd whim in this my dream. I saw, thought, a dozen women employed in bringing off one man: fcould not guess who it should be, till, upon his nearer approach, I discovered thy short phiz. The women all declared that it was for the sake of thy works, and not thy person, that they brought thee off, and that it was on condition that thou shouldest continue the Spectator. If thou thinkest this dream will make a tolerable one, it is at thy service, from, dear Spec, thine, sleeping and waking,
The ladies will see, by this letter, what I have often told them, that Will is one of those old fashioned men of wit and pleasure of the town, who show their parts by raillery on marriage, and one who has often tried his fortune in that way without success. I cannot, however, dismiss this letter, without observing, that the true story, on which it is built, does honour to the sex; and that, in order to abuse them, the writer is obliged to have recourse to dream and fiction.
XXI-On Good Breeding.
A FRIEND of yours and mine has very justly defined good breeding to be the result of much good sense, some good nature, and a little self-denial, for the sake of others, and with a view to obtain the same Tulgence from them.' Taking this for granted (as it cannot be disputed) it is astonishing to me, they body, who has good sense and good nature, can essentially fail in good breeding. As to the modes of it, indeed, they vary, according to persons, places, and circumstances, and are only to be acquired by observation and experience; but the substance of it is every where and eternally the same. Good manners are, to particular societies, what good morals are to society in general, -their cement and their security. And as laws are enacted to enforce good morals, or at least to prevent the ill effects of bad ones; so there are certain rules of civility, universally implied and received, to enforce good manners, and punish bad ones. And indeed there seems to me to be less difference both between the crimes and punishments, than at first one would imagine. The immoral man, who invades another's property, is justly hanged for it; and the ill-bred man, who by his ill manners, invades and disturbs the quiet and comforts of private life, is by common consent, as justly