Abbildungen der Seite

desire of thein. I bave therefore been inclined to think that there are greater men who lie concealed among the species, than those who come out and draw upon themselves the eyes and admiration of mankind. Virgil would never have been heard of, had not his domestic misfortunes driven him out of his obscurity, and brought him to Rome.

If we suppose that there are spirits, or angels, who look into the ways of men, as it is highly probable there are, both from reason and revelation, how different are the notions which they entertain of us, from those which we are apt to form of one another! Were they to give us in their catalogue of such worthies as are now living, how different would it be from that which any of our own spe. cies would draw up.

We are dazzled with the splendour of titles, the ostentation of learning, the noise of victories; they, on the contrary, see the philosopher in the cottage, who possesses his soul in patience and thankfulness, under the pressures of what little minds call poverty and distress. They do not look for great men at the head of armies, or among the pomps of a court, but often find them out in shades and solitudes, in the private walks and by-paths of life. The even ing's walk of a wise man is more illustrious in their sight than the march of a general at the head of a hundred thousand men. A contemplation of God's works; a voluntary act of justice to our own dea' triment; a generous concern for the good of man. kind; tears that are shed in silence for the misery of others; a private desire or resentment broken and subdued ; in short, an unfeigned exercise of hu.

or any other virtue, are such actions as are glorious in their sight, and denominate men great and reputable.

The most famous among us are often looked upon with pity, with contempt, or with


indignation; whilst those who are most obscure among their own specics are regarded with love, with approbation, and esteem.

The moral of the present speculation amounts to this; that we should not be led away by the cen. sures and applauses of men, but consider the figure that every person will make at that time when 6 Wisdom shall be justified of her children,' and no. thing pass for great or illustrious which is not an or. nament and perfection to human nature.

The story of Gyges, the rich Lydian monarch, is a memorable instance to our present purpose. The oracle, being asked by Gyges, who was the happiest man, replied, Aglais. Gyges, who ex. pected to have heard himself named on this occa. sion, was much surprised, and very curious to know who this Aglaüs should be. After much in. quiry, he was found to be an obscure countryman, who employed all his time in cultivating a garden, and a few acres of land about his house.

Cowley's agreeable relation of this story shall close this day's speculation.

• Thus Aglaüs (a man unknown to men,
But the gods knew, and therefore lov'd him thea,
Thus liv'd obscurely then without a name,
Aglaüs, now consign'd t'eternal fame.
For Gyges, the rich king, wicked and great,
Presum'd at wise Apollo's Delphic seat,
Presum'd to ask, O thou the whole world's eye.,
Seest thou a man that happier is than I?
The god, who scorn'd to flatter man, reply'd,
Aglaüs happier is. But Gyges cry'd,
In a proud rage, Who can that Aglaüs be?
We've heard as yet of no such king as he.
And true it was, through the whole earth around,
No king of such a name was to be found.
Is some old hero of that name alive,
Who his high race does from the gods derive!

Is it some mighty gen'ral that has done
Wonders in fight, and Godlike honours won?
Is it some man of endless wealth ? said he.
None, none of these. Who can this Aglaus be?
After long search, and vain enquiries past,
In an obscure Arcadian vale at last,
(Th’ Arcadian life has always shady been)
Near Sopho's town, which he but once had seen,
This Aglaus, who monarchs' envy drew,
Whose happiness the gods stood witness to,
This mighty Aglaus, was lab’ring found,
With his own hands, in his own little ground.

• So, gracious God, if it may lawful be
Among those foolish gods to mention thee,
So let me act, on such a private stage,
The last dull scenes of my declining age;
After long toils and voyages in vain,
This quiet port let my tost vessel gain ; :
Of heav'nly rest this earnest to me lend,
Let my life sleep, and learn to love her end.'

N 611. MONDAY, OCTOBER 25, 1714.

Perfide ! sed duris genuit te cautibus horrens
Caucasus, Hyrcanæque admôrunt ubera tigres.

VIRG. Æn, vi. 366.

Perfidious man! thy parent was a rock,
And fierce Hyrcanian tigers gave thee suck.

I am willing to postpone cvery thing, to do any the least service for the deserving and unfortunate. Accordingly I have caused the following letter to be inserted in my paper the moment that it came to my hands, without altering one title in an account which the lady relates so handsomely herself.

[ocr errors]


I FLATTER mpself you will not only pity, but, if possible, redress a misfortune myself and several others of my sex lie under. I hope you will not be offended, nor think I mean by this to justify my own imprudent conduct, or expect you should. No: I am sensible how severely, of your former papers, you have reproved persons guilty of the like mismanagement. I was scarce sixteen, and I may say without vanity, handsome, when courted by a false perjured man; who, upon promise of marriage, rendered me the most un. happy of women. After he had deluded me from my parents, who were people of very good fashion, in less than three months he left me. My parents would not see nor hear from me; and, had it not been for a servant who had lived in our family, I must certainly have perished for want of bread. However, it pleased Providence, in a very short time, to alter my miserable condition. A gentleman saw me, liked me, and married me. My parents were reconciled ; and I might be as happy in the change of my condition, as I was before miserable, but for some things, that you shall know, which are insupportable to me; and I am sure you have so much honour and compassion as to let those persons know, in some of your papers, how much they are in the wrong. I have been married near five years, and do not know that in all that time I ever went abroad without my husband's leave and approbation. I am obliged, through the importunities of several of my relations, to go abroad oftener than suits my temper. Then it is I labour under insupportable agonies.


or rather monster, haunts every place I go to. Base villain ! by reason I will not admit his nauseous wicked visits and ap

That man,



pointments, he strives all the ways he can to ruin

He left me destitute of friend or money, nor ever thought me worth inquiring after, until he unfortunately happened to see me in a front-box sparkling with jewels. Then his passion returned. Then the hypocrite pretended to be a penitent. Then he practised all those arts that helped before to undo me. I am not to be deceived a second time by him. I hate and abhor his odious passion; and as he plainly perceives it, either out of spite or diversion he makes it his business to expose me. •

I never fail seeing him in all public company, where he is always most industriously spiteful. He hath, in short, told all his acquaintance of our unhappy affair ; they tell theirs; so that it is no secret among his companions, which are

They to whom he tells it, think they have a title to be very familiar. If they bow to me, and I out of good manners return it, then I am pestered with freedoms that are no way agreeable to myself or company. If I turn mine eyes from them, or seem displeased, they sour upon it, and whisper the next person; he his next; until I have at last the eyes of the whole company upon me. Nay, they report abomivable falsehoods, under that mistaken notion, “She that will grant favours to one man will to a hundred.” I beg you will let those who are guilty know how ungenerous this way of proceeding is. I am sure he will know himself the person aimed at, and perhaps put a stop to the insolence of others. Cursed is the fate of unhappy women! that men may boast and glory in those things that we must think of with shame and horror! You have the art of making such odious customs appear detestable. For my sake, and, I am sure, for the sake of several others who dare not own it, but, like me, lie under the same

« ZurückWeiter »