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as I had drank a little of it again, I felt a very sensible effect in my head; methought it distracted and disordered all there; this made me stop of a sudden, suspecting some charm or enchantment. As I was casting about within myself what I should do, and whom to apply to in this case, I spied at some distance off me a man beckoning, and making signs to me to come over to him. I cried to him, I did not know the way. He then called to me audibly, to step at least out of the path I was in; for if I stayed there any longer I was in danger to be catched in a great net that was just hanging over me, and ready to catch me up; that he wondered I was so blind, or so distracted, as not to see so imminent and visible a danger; assuring me, that as soon as I was out of that way, he would come to me to lead me into a more secure path. This I did, and he brought me his palm full of the water of Heavenly-Wisdom, which was of very great use to me, for my eyes were straight cleared, and I saw the great black tower just before me: but the great net which I spied so near me cast me in such a terror, that I ran back as far as I could in one breath, without looking behind me. Then my benefactor thus bespoke me; "You have made the wonderfullest escape in the world: the water you used to drink is of a bewitching nature, you would else have been mightily shocked at the deformities and meanness of the place; for besides the set of blind fools in whose company you was, you may now behold many others who are only bewitched after another no less dangerous manner. Look a little that way, there goes a crowd of passengers; they have indeed so good a head as not to suffer themselves to be blinded by this bewitching water; the black tower is not vanished out of their sight,
they see it whenever they look up to it: but see how they go sideways, and with their eyes downwards, as if they were mad, that they thus may rush into the net, without being beforehand troubled at the thought of so miserable a destruction. Their wills are so perverse, and their hearts so fond of the pleasures of the place, that rather than forego them they will run all hazards, and venture upon all the miseries and woes before them.
"See there that other company; though they should drink none of the bewitching water, yet they take a course bewitching and deluding. See how they choose the crookedest paths, whereby they have often the black tower behind them, and sometimes see the radiant column sideways, which gives them some weak glimpse of it! These fools content themselves with that, not knowing whether any other have any more of its influence and light than themselves: this road is called that of Superstition or Human Invention: they grossly overlook that which the rules and laws of the place prescribe to them, and contrive some other scheme, and set off directions and prescriptions for themselves, which they hope will serve their turn." He showed me many other kinds of fools, which put me quite out of humour with the place. At last he carried me to the right paths, where I found true and solid pleasure, which entertained me all the way, until we came in closer sight of the pillar, where the satisfaction increased to that measure that my faculties were not able to contain it; in the straining of them I was violently waked, not a little grieved at the vanishing of so pleasing a dream.'
Glasgow, Sept. 29,'
No. 525. SATURDAY, NOV. 1, 1712.
Ὅ δ ̓ εἰς τὸ σῶφρον ἐπ ̓ ἀρετὴν τ ̓ ἀγὼν ἔρως,
That love alone which virtue's laws control
It is my custom to take frequent opportunities of inquiring from time to time what success my speculations meet with in the town. I am glad to find, in particular, that my discourses on marriage have been well received. A friend of mine gives me to understand, from Doctor's-commons, that more licenses have been taken out there of late than usual. I am likewise informed of several pretty fellows, who have resolved to commence heads of families by the first favourable opportunity. One of them writes me word that he is ready to enter into the bonds of matrimony, provided I will give it him under my hand (as I now do,) that a man may show his face in good company after he is married, and that he need not be ashamed to treat a woman with kindness who puts herself in his power for life.
I have other letters on this subject which say that I am attempting to make a revolution in the world of gallantry, and that the consequence of it will be that a great deal of the sprightliest wit and satire of the last age will be lost; that a bashful fellow, upon changing his condition, will be no longer puzzled how to stand the raillery of his facetious companions; that he need not own he married only to plunder an heiress of her fortune, nor pretend that he uses her ill, to avoid the ridiculous name of a fond husband.
Indeed, if I may speak my opinion of great part of the writings which once prevailed among us under the notion of humour, they are such as would tempt one to think there had been an association among the wits of those times to rally legitimacy out of our island. A state of wedlock was the common mark of all the adventures in a farce and comedy, as well as the essayers in lampoon and satire, to shoot at; and nothing was a more standing jest, in all clubs of fashionable mirth and gay conversation. It was determined among those airy critics, that the appellation of a sober man should signify a spiritless fellow. And I am apt to think it was about the same time that good-nature, a word so peculiarly elegant in our language, that some have affirmed it cannot well be expressed in any other, came first to be rendered suspicious, and in danger of being transferred from its original sense to so distant an idea as that of folly.
I must confess it has been my ambition, in the course of my writings, to restore, as well as I was able, the proper ideas of things. And as I have attempted this already on the subject of marriage in several papers, I shall here add some further observations which occur to me on the same head.
Nothing seems to be thought, by our fine gen tlemen, so indispensable an ornament in fashionable life, as love. 'A knight errant,' says Don Quixote, without a mistress, is like a tree without leaves;' and a man of mode among us who has not some fair one to sigh for, might as well pretend to appear dressed without his perriwig. We have lovers in prose innumerable. All our pretenders to rhyme are professed inamoratoes; and there is scarce a poet, good or bad, to be heard of,
who has not some real or supposed Saccharissa to improve his vein.
If love be any refinement, conjugal love must be certainly so in a much higher degree. There is no comparison between the frivolous affectations of attracting the eyes of women with whom you are only captivated by way of amusement, and of whom perhaps you know nothing more than their features, and a regular and uniform endeavour to make yourself valuable, both as a friend and lover, to one whom you have chosen to be the companion of your life. The first is the spring of a thousand fopperies, silly artifices, falsehoods, and perhaps barbarities; or at best rises no higher than to a kind of dancing-school breeding, to give the person a more sparkling air. The latter is the parent of substantial virtues and agreeable qualities, and cultivates the mind while it improves the behaviour. The passion of love to a mistress, even where it is most sincere, resembles too much the flame of a fever: that to a wife is like the vital heat.
I have often thought, if the letters written by men of good-nature to their wives were to be compared with those written by men of gallantry to their mistresses, the former, notwithstanding any inequality of style, would appear to have the advantage. Friendship, tenderness, and constancy dressed in a simplicity of expression, recommend themselves by a more native elegance, than passionate raptures, extravagant encomiums, and slavish adoration. If we were admitted to search the cabinet of the beautiful Narcissa, among heaps of epistles from several admirers, which are there preserved with equal care, how few should we find but would make any one sick in the reading, except her who is flattered by them? But in