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to me, have at his eyes.* I hope, however, the critics will let me be at peace: for though I do not much fear their skill or strength, I am a little afraid of myself; and would not willingly feel so much ill-will in my bosom as literary quarrels are apt to excite. I am in great want of Crescimbeni, which you may have again when you please. There is nothing considerable done or doing among us here: we are not perhaps as innocent as villagers, but most of us as idle. I hope, however, you are busy; and should be glad to know what you are doing.
I am, dear Sir,
Yours, &c. 1785, March
From a Noble Lord to a Young Lady on the eve of
Hanover Square, April 20. I SEND you a copy of a letter, written some years ago, by the late Lord to the Hon. Miss
on the eve of her marriage. It was not intended for publication; but it may be of use: the pen it came from will be easily known.
6. My Dear Miss IT is not in my power to add any thing to the good sense and solidity of the reflections contained in your letter to my wife. The rational plan you have there laid out, for your future conduct, will not fail to secure to you the esteem, love, and respect of a man, too well acquainted with the world, to undervalue so much prudence and discretion in a young wife. I believe, however, that most of your sex, on the eve of matrimonial engagements, mean and intend to act well; but, few having the advantage of your understanding, many are soon misled by misconception, levity, or, the worst of bad counsellors, those of your own sex. To resolve well, is nothing; the difficulty is to persevere; or, as Lee the poet much better expresses it, to be obsti
* But Polypheme surely was monoculous. And so, we are told, was the literary Ulysses. E. VOL. III.
nately good. The word obstinately contains alone more meaning, energy, and pith, than half the volumes which have been written on the subject. I repeat it, little can be added to what your own foresight has already suggested to you; but, as the engagement you are contracting is of the utmost importance to your future welfare, I will, since you do me the honour to ask my advice, subjoin a few remarks, the fruit of long experience and some observation.
Let respectability be your aim and object; be respectable in your connections, in your acquaintance, in the management of your family; but, above all, in the choice of your intimates. The world, in general, will be guided in their opinion of your character by the characters of those you select as objects of your friendship and confidence; your husband, moreover, will respect and consider you, in proportion as he perceives you considered and respected by others. Airs, haughtiness, and pride, are not unfrequently mistaken for dignity; as roughness, ill manners, and brutality, in our sex, often claim as frankness, courage, and manliness-you will not mistake them—you have a friend in the world, and a very sincere one, who possesses the happy gift of assimilating this respectability with the best nature and the most winning affability: I need not name her.
What I have been saying seems to me very important, and deserves your serious consideration; but what relates immediately to your husband is still more so.
Let me intreat you to consider the first year after your marriage as a year of probation, a time of trial, of noviceship; every action, every step, nay, every word, will have its weight in the scale of your husband's future trust and confidence in you. Consider, in this interval he will nearly have settled his opinion of your prudence, your discretion, and your worth. I would by no means be understood to recommend cunning :-cunning stands in the same relation to prudence, as hypocrisy to religion. Cunning, like hypocrisy, implies a sordid meanness of soul; and I both hope and believe, that you have an elevation of mind which would spurn at duplicity, at every kind of trick.
From these great outlines in the picture of a valuable wife, let me now proceed to the nicer touches of it, to the lights and shades, to those minute strokes of the pencil, without which the picture remains unfinished, but which require all the patience, all the attention, all the perseverance of the artist. You are the artist; you are to draw this sublime picture—but you must do more-you must be a
heroine and a philosopher. Assure yourself, that your husband, being a man, has his foibles, his caprices, his humours: are you possessed of magnanimity sufficient to bear those, without repining, without peevishness, without retaliation ?-have you philosophy enough to scratch your ribbon,* and smile good-humouredly, when your mighty lord struts in all his dignity across the room, and gobbles his importance like an angry turkey-cock?-have you temper enough to compel him, on his cooler recollection, to call himself a fool, and you the best of women ?-have you considered the importance of avoiding silly disputes about silly triffles ? it is well worth your consideration. I myself knew a man and wife, the two fondest and best-natured of creatures, who, after a long and wise investigation, whether we have ten fingers, or only eight fingers and two thumbs, complained bitterly of each other's monstrous ill ysage, and concluded, by proposing a separation, the wife from the worst of husbands, the husband from the worst of wives. Luckily their heads were sound, as their hearts were good; both were struck with the dangerous tendency of such foolish altercations, and resolved in future to avoid them. Are you capable of checking a rising Alush?-of swallowing a provoking word ready to burst froin your lips ? If you be equal to such fortitude, to such heroism, you are, in my estimation, a great philosopher ;-in that of your turkeycock, you will be an angel.
More fortitude still may possibly require your exertions, if ever it should so happen (and this may happen to the most virtuous woman) that you perceive your mind too much employed in favour of another man; yourself too much disposed to dwell on his good qualities, on the gentleness, the amiableness of his manners, on his disinterested attentions to you; if you feel such a man insensibly creeping into your affections—no hesitation-fly, if possible, from him, as far as from pole to pole—no confidante; more particularly no female one-bury the secret in the remotest recess of your soul: and let your virtue and honour alone watch over it;conceal your weakness, not only from the object of it, but from the whole world; nay, endeavour to conceal it from yourself—indulge not yourself, under pretence of fortifying your virtue, in gloomy thoughts about your supposed misery;
* Lady - the writer's wife, when she saw her husband angry, was used to scratch her hat with both hands, or the ribbon of her cap, crying out" Mlord I don't hear-I don't hear!"
that will not fail to increase the evil. On the contrary, amuse, dissipate yourself; laugh at your own folly; treat it cavalierly, and the illusion will soon cease-one serious resolve, however, must be firmly made, resolutely kept, and which no consideration must forego, the determined, fixed, unalterable resolution, of never, never, never trusting yourself alone with the man of whom you feel yourself afraid.
I perceive that this letter is spun out to a considerable length; the warmth of my wishes for your happiness would dictate a great deal more, but it is time to conclude it. One thing, however, I must mention; it is of a delicate nature from a man to a woman, but my age and my motives will be a sufficient apology for the liberty I take. This important advice shall be conveyed in as few words as possible. Be nicely and scrupulously clean; deficiency in this respect will unavoidably create disgust in a well-bred man. I fear, in our country especially, this is not always sufficiently attended to; and a fatal experience has often a woman's eyes when the evil was irreparable.
Thus, my dear Miss -, I have hastily thrown on paper şuch thoughts as have occurred to me; they bave no pretension to novelty, elegance, or even order; they are written solely with a view of being of some little advantage to you. May you deserve, by your prudent conduct, to be happy: this is my ardent wish! I have the honour to be, with great respect, dear Madam,” &c.
XLIV. To Springett Penn.
Springetto Pennio,* Liberalium Artium studioso, Gulielmus
Sevelius, S. T. P. TUAM, qua te in patria reducem factum significasti, juvenis ornatissime, accepi; et libens reditum tuum incolumem intellexi, non autem nuntium de matris tuæ ægritudine, cui meliorem valetudinem ex animo precor, et quam æstimo licet ignotam, satis superque persuasus, ex his quæ subinde audivi, singularis exempli eam esse matronam.
* This amiable young man was the eldest son of William Penn, proprietor and governor of Pennsylvania. He died about three years after the date of this letter, in the 21st year of his age.
At ecquis Italicæ, Belgicæque linguæ amor tibi etiamnum durat? ecquid in iis profecisti? an potius Latinæ eloquentiæ adhuc operam das? Si postremum præcipue tibi cordi sit, macte tua virtute; nam nihil tam alte natura constituit, teste Curtio, quod virtus non possit eniti.
Quæ cum ita sint, cur non gnaviter studiis incumberes ad assequendum intellectum eorum qui non solum nitide, sed et stylo paulo abstrusiore scripserunt. Cum enim prima fundamenta jam satis firmiter tibi jacta sunt, haud desperandum, sed strenue adnitendum, præsertim dum viret ætas, viget memoria, et vires florent, ut integram tandem soli, damque linguæ Latinæ notitiam nanciscaris. At hoc sine frequenti, imo pene assidua præstantissimorum auctorum lectione haud comparatur, ideoque quandam quasi molese tiam habere videtur. Verum quid refert! Juvenis es, firmus es, et
Dulcia non meruit qui non gustavit amara. Omnem ergo laborem sperne, et tunc invenies postrema prioribus multo jucundiora. Scilicet habent literarum studia, seu musæ (quas virgines esse aiunt) nescio quod incentivum, quo ad altiora non segniter, sed summa cum alacritate impellimur. Hic tamen spectandum, quod semper et ubique expedit, ne quid nimis; quippe, quod caret alterna requie durabile non est, et quæ nimium diligimus, ea tandem efflictim deperimus, et pene insanientis instar extollimus. Sic igitur bonæ literæ amandæ, ut eas potius per vices pro oblectamento habeamus, quam totam ætatem in iis agendo eo demum pervadere, ut aliorum quæ maximi momenti sunt, nobis sordeat cura et prorsus vilescat; quod vereor utique ne multis in sortem ceciderit.
At quid ego hæc ad te, cui parens est pius sane et prudens, qui bona virtutum semina tibi ingerendo, eximio suo exemplo præire tibi non desinit. Perge igitur ut cæpisti, et Latinissimorum scriptorum lectioni te assuescas, ut studiorum tuorum messem reportare denique possis non contemnendam. Vale.
Amstelodami, vi kalend. Novemb. clɔlɔcxcm. 1785, July.
XLV. From Bishop Atterbury. * MR. URBAN, THE following letter fell accidentally into my hands. It is written in the autography of Dr. Atterbury, the famous