Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

apartments, where he found Vice and Folly well re. ceived before him. He joined the train ; recommended himself very quickly to his landlord; and entered into fuch familiarity with Vice, that he was inlisted in the fame company with Folly. They were frequent guests to Wealth, and from that mo. ment inseparable. Diffidence, in the meantime, not daring to approach the great house, accepted of an invitation from Poverty, one of the tenants; and entering the cottage, found Wisdom and Virtue, who being repulsed by the landlord, had retired thither. Virtue took compassion of her, and Wisdorn found, from her temper, that she would easily improve: fo they admitted her into their society. Ac. cordingly, by their means, she altered in a little time fomewhat of her manner, and becoming much more amiable and engaging, was now known by the name of Modesty. As ill company has a greater effect than good, Confidence, though more refractory to counsel and example, degenerated so far by the fociety of Vice and Folly, as to pass by the name of IMPUDENCÉ. Mankind, who saw these societies as Jupiter first joined them, and know nothing of thefe mutual defertions, are thereby led into strange mistakes ; and, wherever they fee Impudence, make account of finding Virtue and Wisdom ; and whereever they observe . Modesty, call her attendants Viče

and Folly,

ESSAY

No. 1.

ESSAY II.

OF LOVE AND MARRIAGE.

I KNOW not whence it proceeds, that women are so apt to take amiss every thing which is said in disparagement of the married state; and always confider a satire upon matrimony as a fatire upon themselves. Do they mean, that they are the parties principally concerned, and that if a backwardness to enter into that state should prevail in the world, they would be the greatest fufferers? or, are they sensible, that the misfortunes and miscarriages of the married state are owing more to their sex than to ours? I hope they do not intend to confefs either of these two particulars, or to give such an advantage to their adversaries the men, as even to allow them to fufpect it.

“ I have often had thoughts of complying with this humour of the fair sex, and of writing a pánegyric upon marriage; but in, looking around for materials they seemed to be of so mixed a nature, that at the conclusion of my reflections, I found that I was as much disposed to write a satire, which might be placed on the opposite pages of the panegyric; and I am afraid, that as satire is, on most oc

casions,

Bb 4

casions, more read than panegyric, I should have done their caufe more harm than good by this expedient. To misrepresent facts is what, I know, they will not require of me. I must be more a friend to truth, than even to them, where their interests are opposite.

I shall tell the women what it is our sex com plains of most in the married state; and if they be disposed to satisfy us in this particular, all the other differences will easily be accommodated. If I be not mistaken, 'tis their love of dominion which is the ground of the quarrel ; though it is very likely, that they will think it an unreasonable love of it in us, which makes us infist so much upon that point. However this may be, no paflion seems to have more influence on female minds than this for

power: and there is a remarkable instance in history of its prevailing above another passion, which is the only one that can be supposed a proper counterpoise for it. We are told, that all the women in Scythia once conspired against the men, and kept the secret so well that they executed their design before they were suspected. They surprised the men in drink, or asleep; bound them all fast in chains; and hav. ing called a solemn council of the whole sex, it was debated what expedient should be used to improve the present advantage, and prevent their falling again into slavery. To kill all the men did not seem to be the relish of any part of the assembly, notwithstanding the injuries formerly received; and they were afterwards pleased to make a grea; merit

of

of this lenity of theirs. It was, therefore, agreed to put out the eyes of the whole male sex, and thereby resign in all future time the vanity which they could draw from their beauty, in order to secure their authority. We must no longer pretend to dress and show, said they ; but then we shall be free from flavery. We shall hear no more tender sighs, but in return we shall hear no more imperious commands. Love must for ever leave us ; but he will carry subjection along with him.

It is regarded by some as an unlucky circumstance, since the women were resolved to maim the men, and deprive them of some of their fenses, in order to render them humble and dependent, that the sense of hearing could not serve their purpose, since it is probable the females would rather have attacked that than the fight; and, I think, it is agreed among the learned, that, in a married state, it is not near so great an inconvenience to lose the former sense as the latter. However this may be, we are told by modern anecdotes, that some of the Scythian women did secretly spare their husbands' eyes; presuming, I suppose, that they could govern them as well by means of that sense as without it. But fo incorrigible and untractable were these men, that their wives were all obliged, in a few years, as their youth and beauty decayed, to imitate the example of their sisters; which it was no difficult matter to do in a state where the female sex had once got the superiority.

thing

I know not if our Scottish ladies derive

any of this humour from their Scythian ancestors; but I must confess, that I have often been surprised to see a woman very well pleased to take a fool for her mate, that she might govern with the less controul; and could not but think her sentiments, in this respect, still more barbarous than those of the Scythian women above mentioned; as much as the eyes of the understanding are more valuable than those of the body.

But to be just, and to lay the blame more equally, I am afraid it is the fault of our sex, if the women be fo fond of rule; and that if we did not abuse our authority, they would never think it worth while to dispute it. Tyrants, we know, produce rebels ; and all history informs us, that 'rebels, when they prevail, are apt to become tyrants in their turn. For this reason I could wish there were no pretensions to authority on either side, but that every thing was carried on with perfect equality, as between two equal members of the fame body. And to induce both parties to embrace those amicable sentiments, I shall deliver to them Plato's account of the origin of Love and Marriage.

Mankind, according to that fanciful philosopher, were not, in their origin, divided into male and fcmale, as at present; but each individual perfon was a compound of both sexes, and was in himself both husband and wife, melted down into one living

creature.

« ZurückWeiter »