« AnteriorContinuar »
he never intimated to his nearest friends. He was, it seems, a passionate lover in his youth of which a large parcel of letters he left behind him are a witness. I send you a copy of the last he ever wrote upon that subject, by which you will find that he concealed the true name of his mistress un. der that of Zelinda.
“ A Lone month's absence would be insupportable to me, if the business I am employed in were not for the service of my Zelinda, and of such a nature as to place her every moment in my mind. I have furnished the house exactly according to your fancy, or if you please, my own; for I have long since learned to like nothing but what you do. The apartment designed for your use is so exact a copy of that which you live in, that I often think myself in your house when I step into it, but sigh when I find it without its proper inhabitant. You will have the most delicious prospect from your closet win. dow that England affords: I am sure I should think it so, if the landscape that shows such va. riety did not at the same time suggest to me the greatness of the space that lies between us.
“ The gardens are laid out very beautifully ; I haye dressed up every hedge in woodbines, sprin. kled bowers and arbours in every corner, and made a little paradise around me: yet I am still like the first man in his solitude, but half blessed without a partner in my happiness. I have directed one walk to be made for two persons, where I promise ten thousand satisfactions to myself in your conversa, tion. I already take my evening's turn in it, and have worn a path upon the edge of this little alley, while I soothed myself with the thought of your walking by my side. I have held many imaginary discourses with you in this retirement; and when I have been weary hare sat down with you in the midst of a row of jessamines. The many, expres. sions of joy and rapiure I use in these silent conversations have made me for some time the talk of the parish; but a neighbouring young fellow, who makes love to the farmer's daughter, hath found me out, and made my case known to the whole neighbourhood.
" In planting of the fruit-trees, I have not forgot the reach you are so fond of. I have made a walk of elms along the river side, and intend to sow all the place about with cowslips, which I hope you will like as well as that I have heard you talk of by your father's house in the country.
6 Oh! Zelinda, what a scheme of delight have I drawn up in my imagination! What day-dreams do I indulge myself in! When will the six weeks be at an end, that lie between me and my promised happiness! 66 How could you break off so abruptly in
your last, and tell me you must go and dress for the play? If
you loved as I do, you would find no more com. pany in a crowd than I have in my solitude. I fam, &c."..
On the back of this letter is written, in the hand of the deceased, the following piece of his. 'tory :
is Mem. Having waited a whole week for an answer to this letter; I hurried to town, where I found the perfidious creature married to my rival. I will bear it as becomes a man, and endeavour to find out happiness for myself in that retirement which I had y repared in vain for a false, ungrateful woman."
- I am, &c.'
N° 628. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1714.
Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum.
HOR. I. Ep. ii, 43.
THERE are none of your speculations which please me more than those upon infinitude and eternity. You have already considered that part of eternity which is past, and I wish you would give us your thoughts upon that which is to come.
• Your readers will perhaps receive greater plea. sure from this view of eternity than the former, since we have every one of us a concern in that which is to come; whereas a speculation on that which is past is rather curious than useful.
• Besides, we can easily conceive it possible for successive duration never to have an end ; though, as you have justly observed, that eternity which never had a beginning is altogether incomprehensible; that is, we can conceive an eternal duration which may be, though we cannot an eternal dura. tion which hath been; or, if I may use the philoso. phical terms, we may apprehend a potential though not an actual eternity.
This potion of a future eternity, which is na, tural to the mind of man, is an unanswerable argu. ment that he is a being designed for it; especially if we consider that he is capable of being virtuous or vicious here; that he hath faculties improvable to all eternity; and, by a proper or wrong employment of them, may be happy or miserable throughout that infinite duration. Our idea indeed of this eternity is not of an adequate or fixed natare, but is perpe
tually growing and enlarging itself toward the ob. *pct, which is too big for human comprehension. As we are now in the beginnings of existence, so shall we always appear to ourselves as if we were for ever entering upon it. After a million or two of centuries, some considerable things, already past, may slip out of our memory, which, if it be not s'rengthened in a wonderful manner, may possibly forget that ever there was a sun or planets; and yet, notwithstanding the long race that we shall then have run, we shall still imagine ourselves just starting from the goal, and find no proportion be. tween that space which we know had a beginning, and what we are sure will never have an end.
• But I shall leave this subject to your manage. ment, and question not but you will throw it into such lights as shall at once improve and entertain your reader.
I have, enclosed, sent you a translation * of the speech of Cato on this occasion, which hath acci. dentally fallen into my hands, and which, for con. cizeness, purity, and elegance of phrase, cannot be suficiently admired.
ACT. V. SCEN. I.
Cato solus, &c.
Cur torrita in se refugit anima, cur tremit * This translation was by Mr. afterwards Dr. Bland, once skoolmaster, then provost of Eton, and dean of Durhain.
Attonita, quoties, morte ne pereat, ti net?
Quæ demigrabitur alia binc in corpora ?
(Ensi manum adnovees.