Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

and Assurance. But this is by Fits and Starts: And, in the Lives of those Heroes of Times past, there are fometimes miraculous Sallies, and such as seem infinitely to exceed our natural Strength, but they are indeed Sallies ; and 'tis hard to believe, that these so elevated Qualities can be fo thoroughly imprinted on the Mind, that they should become common, and, as it were, natural to it: It accidentally happens, even to us, who are the most imperfect of Men, that soinetimes our Mind gives a Spring, when roused by the Discourses or Examples of others, much beyond its ordinary Stretch ; but 'tis a kind of Passion, which pushes and pricks it on, and, in some sort, ravishes it from itself: But, this Whirlwind once blown over, we fee, that it insensibly flags and Nackens itself, if not to the lowest Degree, at least so as to be no more the same ; infomuch as that, upon every trivial Occasion, the losing of a Bird, or the breaking of a Glass, we suffer ourselves to be moved little less than one of the common People. I am of Opinion, that, Order, Moderation, and Constancy excepted, all Things are to be done by a Man that is, in general, very deficient. Therefore, say the

Sages, in order to make a right Judgment of a Man, { you are chiefly to pry into his common Actions, and surprise him in his every-day Habit.'

Pyrrho, he who erected so pleasant a System of Knowledge upon Ignorance, endeavoured, as all

Pyrrho tried, the rest, who were really Philosophers did, in vain, to to make his Life correspond with his Doc- conform bis trine: And because he maintained the Im- Life to his

Doctrine. becillity of human Judgment to be so extreme, as to be incapable of any Choice or Inclination, and would have it perpetually wavering and suspending, considering and receiving all Things as indifferent, 'tis said, “That he always comported himself after the same · Manner and Countenance ? : If he had begun a Dis? course, he would always end what he had to say ”, tho

the P Diog. Lacrt. in Pyrrho's Life, lib. ix. fect. 63.

1 Yet Montaigne says, in the 12th Chapter of this Volume, That they who represent Pyrrko in this Light, extend his Doctrine beyond what it really was; and that, like a rational Man, he made Use of all his corporeal and Spiritual Faculties as Rule and Reason.

(the Person he was speaking to was gone away : And, if « he walked, he never turned out of his Way for any Im• pediment, being preserved from Precipices, the Joftle • of Carts, and other like Accidents, by the Care of his • Friends ; for, to fear, or to avoid any Thing, had been • to contradict his own Propositions, which deprived the • Senses themselves of all Certainty and Choice : Some• times he suffered Incisions and Cauteries with so great ? Constancy, as never to be seen so much as to wink his

Eyes.' 'Tis something to bring the Soul to these Imaginations ; more to join the Effects to it, and yet not impossible ; but to conjoin them with such Perseverance and Constancy as to make them habitual, is certainly, in Attempts so remote from the common Usance, almost incredible to be done. Therefore it was, that being, one

Day, found at his House terribly scolding at his Sister,

and being reproached, that he therein transgressed his • own Rules of Indifference :' What, said be, must this « foolish Woman also serve for a Testimony to my Rules ?' Another Time, being to defend himself against a Dog : • It is, said he, very hard totally to put off Man; and

we must endeavour and force ourselves to encounter Things, first by Effects, but at the worst by Reason and Argument.'

About seven or eight Years since, a Countryman, yet Extraordinary living, at a Village but two Leagues from

my House, having been long tormented with duced by a fud- his Wife's Jealousy, coming, one Day, home den Resolution. from his Work, and she welcoming him with her accustomed' Railing, he entered into fo great a Fury, • that, with a Sickle he had yet in his Hand, he totally

cut off all those Parts that she was jealous of, and threw « them in her Face.' And, 'tis said, “That a young • Gentleman of our Nation, brisk and amorous, having,

by his Perseverance, at last mollified the Heart of a fair

Mistress, enraged, that, upon the Point of Fruition, he $ found himself unable to perform, and that,

non viriliter Iners senile penis extulit caput",

fo Tib. lib. iv. Eleg. pen. ad Priapum in Veterum Poet. Catalectis.

Notions pro

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• fo foon as ever he came Home he deprived himself of it, 6 and sent it to his Mistress; a cruel and bloody Victim • for the Expiation of his Offence. If this had been done upon a mature Consideration, and upon the Account of Religion, as the Priests of Cybele did, what should we have said of so choleric an Action ?

• A few Days since, at Bergerac, within five Leagues of my House, up the River Dordogne, a Wo

A Woman that man having, over-night, been abused and drowned berbeaten by her Husband, a peevish ill-con- felf for being ditioned Fellow, resolved to escape from beat by her

Husband. - his ill Usage at the Hazard of her Life ; 6. and going, so soon as she was up the next Morning, to s visit her Neighbours, as she was wont to do, she dropped

a Hint of the Recommendation of her Affairs, she took a Sister of hers by the Hand, led her to a Bridge, and af. s ter having taken Leave of her, as it were in Jelt, without

any manner of Alteration or Change in her Countenance, • The threw herself headlong into the River, and was • there drowned. That which is the most remarkable, sis, that this Resolution was a whole Night forming in her Head.'

But it is quite another Thing with the Indian Women ;
for it being the Custom there for the Men to Voluntary
have many Wives, and for the best beloved Death of the
of them to kill herself at her Husband's De- Indian Wives.
cease, every one of them makes it the Business of her
whole Life to obtain this Privilege, and gain this Advan-
tage over her Companions; and the good Offices they do
their Husbands, aim at no other Recompence, but to be
preferred in accompanying them in Death.
Ubi mortifero jacta est fax ultima lecto,

Uxorum fufis stąt pia turba comis :
Et certamen habent lethi, quæ viva sequatur

Conjugium, pudor est non licuisse mori,
Ardent vi&rices, et flammæ pectora præbent,
Imponuntque suis ora perusta viris,

i.e. • Propert. lib. jii, Eleg. 13. V. 17. &c.

[ocr errors]

i. e. When to the Pile they throw the kindling Brand, The pious Wives with Hair dishevellid stand, Striving which living shall accompany Her Spouse, and are alham'd they may not die ; Those thus preferr'd, their Breasts to Flame expose, And their scorch'd Lips to their dead Husband's close.

A certain Author, of our Times, reports, that he has seen this Custom in those Oriental Nations, that not only the Wives bury themselves with their Husbands, but even the Slaves he has enjoyed also ; which is done after this manner : · The Husband being dead, the Widow may, if · she will (but few do it) demand two or three Months

to order her Affairs. The Day being come, she mounts

on Horseback, dressed as fine as at her Wedding, and, ! with a chearful Countenance, says, she is going to Neep « with her Spouse, holding a Looking-glass in her Left• hand, and an Arrow in the other. Being thus con• ducted in Pomp, accompanied with her Kindred and • Friends, and a great Concourse of People, with great

Joy, she is at last brought to the public Place appoint• ed for such Spectacles : This is a spacious Place, in the « midst of which is a Pit full of Wood, and, adjoining ta

it, a Mount raised four or five Steps, to which she is • led, and served with a magnificent Repast; which be

ing done, the falls to dancing and singing, and gives Order, when she thinks fit, to kindle the Fire; which

being performed, she descends, and, taking the nearest • of her Husband's Relations by the Hand, they walk

together to the River close by, where she strips herself • stark naked, and, having distributed her Cloaths and

Jewels to her Friends, plunges herself into the Water,

as if to cleanse herself from her Sins ; coming out " thence, she wraps herself in a yellow Linen Robe,

five and twenty Ells long, and again giving her Hand • to her said Husband's Relations, they return back to - the Mount, where she makes a Speech to the People, 6 and recommends her Children to them, if she have any.

6 Betwixt

[ocr errors]

Betwixt the Pit and the Mount, there is commonly a Curtain drawn, to skreen the burning Furnace from their Sight; which some of them, to manifest the great

er Courage, forbid. Having ended what she has to say, ' a Woman presents her with a Veffel of Oil, wherewith

to anoint her Head, and her whole Body; which hav

ing done with, she throws it into the Fire, and, in an • Instant, leaps in after it : Immediately the People throw . a great many Logs upon her, that she may not be long

in dying, and convert all their Joy into Sorrow and Mourning. If they are Persons of mean Condition, the Body of the Deceased is carried to the Place of Sepul

ture, and there placed fitting, the Widow kneeling be· fore him, and embracing him, while a Wall is built - round them, which so soon as it is raised to the Height ,of the Woman's Shoulders, some of her Relations come · behind her, and, taking hold of her Head, twist her

Neck, and, so soon as she is dead, the Wall is presently raised up, and closed, where they remain entombed.'

There was, in this fame Country, something like it in their Gymnosophifts ; for, not by Constraint of

The Resolution others, nor by the Impetuosity of a sudden

of the GymHumour, but by the express Profession of nofophists, their Order, their Custom was, So ' soon as who voluntathey arrived at a certain Age, or saw them- rily burn them

selves. · selves threatened by any Disease, to cause

a funeral Pile to be erected for themselves, and on the Top a neat Bed, where, after having joyfully feasted

their Friends and Acquaintance, they laid them down (with such Resolution, that, when the Fire was applied

to it, they were never seen to ftir Hand or Foot; and • after this manner one of them, Calanus by Name, ex• pired in the Presence of the whole Army of Alexander The Great;' and he was neither reputed Holy, nor Happy amongst them, that did not thus destroy himself; dirmissing his Soul, purged and purified by the Fire, after having consumed all that was Earthly and Mortal. This constant Premeditation of the whole Life is that which makes the Wonder.

Amonga Strabo, lib. xv. p. 1043. Tome 2. Amsterdam, 1707,

« AnteriorContinuar »