« PředchozíPokračovat »
how different a style must the wise Benevolus, who converses with that good sense and good humour among all his friends, write to a wife who is the worthy object of his utmost affection? Benevolus, both in public and private, and all occasions of life, appears to have every good quality and desirable ornament. Abroad he is reverenced and esteemed; at home beloved and happy. The satisfaction he enjoys there settles into an habitual complacency, which shines in his countenance, enlivens his wit, and seasons his conversation. Even those of his acquaintance, who have never seen him in his retirement, are sharers in the happiness of it; and it is very much owing to his being the best and best beloved of husbands, that he is the most stedfast of friends, and the most agreeable of companions.
There is a sensible pleasure in contemplating such beautiful instances of domestic life. The happiness of the conjugal state appears heightened to the highest degree it is capable of when we see two persons of accomplished minds not only united in the same interests and affections, but in their taste of the same improvements and diversions. Pliny, one of the finest gentlemen and politest writers of the age in which he lived, has left us, in his letter to Hispulla, his wife's aunt, one of the most agreeable family pieces of this kind I have ever met with. I shall end this discourse with a translation of it; and I believe the reader will be of my opinion, that conjugal love is drawn in it with a delicacy which makes it appear to be, as I have represented it, an ornament as well as a virtue.
'PLINY TO HISPULLA.
'As I remember the great affection which was between you and your excellent brother, and know you love his daughter as your own, so as not only to express the tenderness of the best of aunts, but even to supply that of the best of fathers; I am sure it will be a pleasure to you to hear that she proves worthy of her father, worthy of you, and of your and her ancestors. Her ingenuity is admirable; her frugality extraordinary. She loves me, the surest pledge of her virtue; and adds to this a wonderful disposition to learning, which she has acquired from her affection to me. She reads my writings, studies them, and even gets them by heart. You would smile to see the concern she is in when I have a cause to plead, and the joy she shows when it is over. She finds means to have the first news brought her of the success I meet with in court, how I am heard, and what decree is made. If I recite any thing in public, she cannot refrain from placing herself privately in some corner to hear, where, with the utmost delight, she feasts upon my applauses. Sometimes she sings my verses, and accompanies them with the lute, without any master except love, the best of instructors. From these instances I take the most certain omens of our perpetual and increasing happiness; since her affection is not founded on my youth. and person, which must gradually decay, but she is in love with the immortal part of me, my glory and reputation. Nor indeed could less be expected from one who had the happiness to receive her education from you, who in your house was accustomed to every thing that was virtuous and decent, and even began to love me by your recommendation. For, as you had always the greatest
respect for my mother, you were pleased from my infancy to form me, to commend me, and kindly to presage I should be one day what my wife fancies I am. Accept therefore our united thanks; mine, that you have bestowed her on me; and hers, that you have given me to her, as a mutual grant of joy and felicity.
No. 526. MONDAY, NOV. 3, 1712.
-Fortius utere loris.
Keep a stiff rein.
OVID. Met. ii. 127.
I AM very loth to come to extremities with the young gentlemen mentioned in the following letter, and do not care to chastise them with my own hand, until I am forced by provocation too great to be suffered without the absolute destruction of my spectatorial dignity. The crimes of these offenders are placed under the observation of one of my chief officers, who is posted just at the entrance of the pass between London and Westminster. As I have great confidence in the capacity, resolution, and integrity, of the person deputed by me to give an account of enormities, I doubt not but I shall soon have before me all proper notices which are requisite for the amendment of manners in public, and the instruction of each in dividual of the human species in what is due from him in respect to the whole body of mankind. The present paper shall consist only of the abovementioned letter, and the copy of a deputation
which I have given to my trusty friend Mr. John Sly; wherein he is charged to notify to me all that is necessary for my animadversion upon the delinquents mentioned by my correspondent, as well as all others described in the said deputation.
· TO THE SPECTATOR GENERAL OF GREAT
'I GRANT it does look a little familiar, but I must call you
BEING got again to the further end of the Widow's coffee-house, I shall from hence give you some account of the behaviour of our hackney-coachmen since my last. These indefatigable gentlemen, without the least design, I dare say, of self interest or advantage to themselves, do still ply as volunteers day and night for the good of their country. I will not trouble you with enumerating many particulars, but I must by no means omit to inform you of an infant about six foot* high, and between twenty and thirty years of age, who was seen in the arms of a hackney-coachman, driving by Will's coffeehouse in Covent-garden, between the hours of four and five in the afternoon of that very day wherein you published a memorial against them. This impudent young cur, though he could not sit int a coach-box without holding, yet would venture his neck to bid defiance to your spectatorial authority, or to any thing that you countenanced. Who he was I know not, but I heard this relation this morning from a gentleman who was an eye witness of this his impudence; and I
†Intended it seems for on
was willing to take the first opportunity to inform you of him, as holding it extremely requisite that you should nip him in the bud. But I am myself most concerned for my fellow templars, fellow students, and fellow labourers in the law, I mean such of them as are dignified and distinguished under the denomination of hackney-coachmen. Such aspiring minds have these ambitious young men, that they cannot enjoy themselves out* of a coach-box. It is, however, an unspeakable comfort to me that I can now tell you that some of them are grown so bashful as to study only in the night-time or in the country. The other night I spied one of our young gentlemen very diligent at his lucubrations in Fleet-street; and, by the way, I should be under some concern lest this hard student should one time or other crack his brain with studying, but that I am in hopes nature has taken care to fortify him in proportion to the great undertaking she was designed for. Another of my fellow templars on Thursday last was getting up into his study at the bottom of Gray'sinn-lane, in order, I suppose, to contemplate in the fresh air. Now, sir, my request is, that the great modesty of these two gentlemen may be recorded as a pattern to the rest, and if you would but give them two or three touches with your own pen, though you might not perhaps prevail with them to desist entirely from their meditations, yet I doubt not but you would at least preserve them from being public spectacles of folly in our streets. I say, two or three touches with your own pen; for I have already observed, Mr. Spec, that those Spectators which are so prettily laced down the sides with little c's, how instruc
* See the preceding note.