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light. But when Demosthenes had awaked his audience with that one hint of judging by the general tenor of his life towards them, his services bore down his opponent before him, who fled to the covert of his mean arts, till some more favourable occasion should offer, against the superior merit of Demosthenes.
It were to be wished, that love of their country were the first principle of action in men of business, even for their own sakes, for when the world begins to examine into their conduct, the generality, who have no share in, or hopes of any part in power or riches, but what is the effect of their own labour or property, will judge of them by no other method, than that of how profitable their administration has been to the whole. They who are out of the influence of men's fortune or favour, will let them stand or fall by this one only
and men who can bear being tried by it, are always. popular in their fall : those who cannot suffer such a scrutiny, are contemptible in their advancement.
But I am here running into shreds of maxims from reading Tacitus this morning, which has driven me from my recommendation of public spirit, which was the intended purpose of this lucubration. There is not a more glorious instance of it, than in the character of Regulus. This same Regulus was taken prisoner by the Carthaginians, and was sent by them to Rome, in order to demand some Punic noblemen, who were prisoners, in exchange for himself, and was bound by an oath, that he would return to Carthage, if he failed in his commission. He proposes this to the senate, who were in suspense upon it, which Regulus observing, (without having the least notion of putting the care of his own life in competition with the public good) desired them to consider that he was old, and almost useless; that those demanded in exchange were men of daring tempers, and great merit in military affairs, and wondered they would make any doubt
of permitting him to go back to the short tortures pres pared for him at Carthage, where he should have the advantage of ending a long life both gloriously and usefully. This generous advice was consented to, and he took leave of his country, and his weeping friends, to go to certain death, with that cheerful composure, as a man, after the fatigue of business in a court or city, retires to the next village for the air.
No. CLXXXIV. THURSDAY, JUNE 13.
Una de multis face nuptiali
From my own Apartment, June 12. THERE are certain occasions of life which give propitious omens of the future good conduct of it, as well as others which explain our present inward state, according to our behaviour in them.' Of the latter sort are funerals; of the former, weddings. The manner of our carriage when we lose a friend, shews very much our temper, in the humility of our words and actions, and a general sense of our destitute condition, which runs through all our deportment. This gives a solemn testimony of the generous affection we bore our friends, when we seem to disrelish every thing now we can no more enjoy them, or see them partake in our enjoyments. It is very proper and humane to put ourselves, as it were, in their livery after their decease, and wear a habit unsuitable to prosperity, while those we loved and honoured are mouldering in the grave. As this is laudable on the sorrowful side, so on the other, incidents of success may no less justly be represented and acknowledged in our outward figure and carriage. Of all such occasions,
the great change of a single life into marriage is the most important, as it is the source of all relations, and from whence all other friendship and commerce do principally arise. The general intent of both sexes is to dispose of themselves happily and honourably in this state; and as all the good qualities we have are exerted to make our way into it, so the best appearance, with regard to their minds, their persons, and their fortunes, at the first entrance into it, is a due to each other in the married pair, as well as a compliment to the rest of the world. It was an instruction of a wise law-giver, that unmarried women should wear such loose habits, which, in the flowing of their garb, should incite their beholders to a desire of their persons; and that the ordinary motion of their bodies might display the figure and shape of their limbs in such a manner, as at once to preserve the strictest decency, and raise the warmest inclinations.
This was the economy of the legislator for the increase of the people, and at the same time for the preservation of the genial bed. She who was the admiration of all who beheld her while unmarried, was to bid adieu to the pleasure of shining in the eyes of many, as soon as she took upon her the wedded condition. However there was a festival of life allowed the new-married, a sort of intermediate state between celibacy and matrimony, which continued certain days. During that time, entertainments, equipages, and other circumstances of rejoicing, were encouraged, and they were permitted to exceed the common mode of living, that the bride and bridegroom might learn from such freedoms of conversation to run into a general conduct to each other, made out of their past and future state, so to temper the cares of the man and the wife with the gaiety of the lover and the mistress.
In those wise ages the dignity of life was kept up, and on the celebration of such solemnities there were
no impertinent whispers, and senseless interpretations put upon the unaffected cheerfulness or accidental seriousness of the bride: but men turned their thoughts upon their general reflections, upon what issue might probably be expected from such a couple in the succeeding course of their life, and felicitated them accordingly upon such prospects.
I must confess, I cannot, from any ancient manuscripts, sculptures, or medals, deduce the rise of our celebrated custom of throwing the stocking; but have a faint memory of an account a friend gave me of an original picture in the palace of Aldobrandini in Rome. This seems to shew a sense of this affair
very different from what is usual among us. It is a Grecian wedding, and the figures represented are, a person offering sacrifice, a beautiful damsel dancing, and another playing on the harp. The bride is placed in her bed, the bridegroom sits at the feet of it, with an aspect which intimates his thoughts were not only entertained with the joys with which he was surrounded, but also with a noble gratitude, and divine pleasure in the offering, which was then made to the gods to invoke their influence on his new condition. There appears in the face of the woman a mixture of fear, hope, and modesty ; in the bridegroom a wellgoverned rapture. As you see in great spirits, grief which discovers itself the more by forbearing tears and complaints, you may observe also the highest joy is too big for utterance, the tongue being of all the organs the least capable of expressing such a circumstance. The nuptial torch, the bower, the marriagesong, are all particulars which we meet with in the allusions of the ancient writers; and in every one of them something is to be observed, which denotes their industry to aggrandize and adorn this occasion above 'all others.
With us all order and decency in this point is perverted, by the insipid mirth of certain animals we
usually call wags. These are a species of all men the most insupportable. One cannot without some reflection say, whether their flat mirth provokes us more to pity or to scorn; but if one considers with how great affectation they utter their frigid conceits, commiseration immediately changes itself into contempt.
A wag is the last order even of pretenders to wit and good humour. He has generally his mind prepared to receive some occasion of merriment, but is of himself too empty to draw any out of his own set of thoughts, and therefore laughs at the next thing he meets, not because it is ridiculous, but because he is under a necessity of laughing. A wag is one that never in his life saw a beautiful object, but sees, what it does see, in the most low, and most inconsiderable light it can be placed. There is a certain ability necessary to behold what is amiable and worthy of our approbation, which little minds want, and attempt to hide by a general disregard to every thing they behold above what they are able to relish. Hence it is that a wag in an assembly is ever guessing, how well such a lady slept last night, and how much such a young fellow is pleased with himself. The wag's gaiety consists in a certain professed ill-breeding, as if it were an excuse for committing a fault, that a man knows he does so. Though all public places are full of this order, yet, because I will not allow impertinence and affectation to get the better of native innocence, and simplicity of manners, I have, in spite of such little disturbers of public entertainments, persuaded my brother Tranquillus, and his wife my sister Jenny, in favour of Mr. Wilks, to be at the play to-morrow evening.
They, as they have so much good sense as to act naturally, without regard to the observations of others, will not, I hope, be discomposed if any of the fry of wags should take upon them to make themselves merry upon the occasion of their coming, as they in