Abbildungen der Seite

rits for the various duties of rearing and providing for an offspring; and may afford such parents the great happiness of beholding their own, and even their childrens' children, earning their bread by meritorious labour; and not like those, who, in the evening of life become parents, whose children are, for the greater part, puny and diseased, are probably left in distress and misery, while their parents are gone down with grey hairs and with sorrow to the grave! Time, therefore, which always ought to be precious, should not in this instance be disregarded.

· In the selection of a partner, a less sacrifice of time than is usually made, might very safely be practised; for though the sexes demand suitable qualifications; yet the main ones confessedly are, personal beauty, mental acquirements, the distinctions of family, and the independency of fortune; from these stores,


either separately or collectively, men and women make their choice.

We will inquire into each of them. With respect to person, she, indeed it must be confessed, is the fair orator which charms, and often erects her tribunal above the empire of reason, she disdains to argue, to threaten, or beseech; it is only to behold this fascinating tyrant, and the citadel is surrendered. .


What love really is, may be difficult to explain; Men feel its dominion, but cannot analyze its essence: Poets, who have interested themselves on that subject, will have it pass for a God! and lest men should blame its violence, by an affected piety strive to conceal its fury. The Platonics give love a spirit, and an absolute power over the passions; the Stoics term love a fury, and judging of its nature by

effects, effects, they cannot suppose, that the soul is well ordered, while under the dominion of such a passion.

Some Philosophers have affirmed, *** That love is a pleasing wound, which man hath received from a fair object, that it is the beam of a Sun which warms him, that it is a charm, whose virtue is attraction,”

All the passions seem to be set in motion from the impulse of love; which kindles desires, excites hopes, braves dangers, inspires courage, and like the heart, gives warmth, vigour, and animation to the whole frame: after all, however, it must be admitted, that love is more a matter of feeling than of argument, the subtilty of this passion remains a secret, but the operations of it are certain ; nevertheless, the dictates of reason, the claims of duty, and a regard to posterity ought, in their single or collective force, in various

.: E% : instances,

instances, to be resolutely opposed to the furiousness of desire: but to the important considerations of personal health, so frequently disregarded in matrimonial alliances, it is seriously to be wished that more attention was paid.

“One great source of the diseases of children is, the unhealthiness of Parents. It would be as reasonable to expect a rich crop from a barren soil, as that strong and healthy children should be born of parents whose constitutions have been worn out with intemperance or disease. *

“What a dreadful inheritance is the gout, the scurvy, or 'the King's evil, to transmit to our offspring! how happy had it been for the heir of many a great estate, had he been born å beggar, rather than to inherit his father's

. . fortunes

[ocr errors][merged small]

fortunes at the expense of inheriting his diseases! : .

* A person labouring under any incurablo malady ought not to marry. He'thereby not only shortens his own life, but transmits misery to others : but when both parties are deeply tainted with the scrophula, the scurvy, or the like, the effects must be still worse. If such have any issue, they must be miserable indeed. Want of attention to these things, in forming connexions for life, has rooted out more families than plague, 'famine, or' the sword; and as long as these connexions are formed from mercenary views, the evil will be continued.*

" In our matrimonial contracts, it is amazing so little regard is had to the health and

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

The Lacedemonians condemned their king Archidamus for having married a weak, puny woman; because, said they, instead of propagating a race of heroes, you will fill the throne with a progeny of changelings, in

« ZurückWeiter »