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In To Marry or not to Marry, by the author of Such things Arë, on the reconciliation of Sir Oswin Mortland and Lavesforth, Wild
" And is it possible that such a reconciliation has taken place!
Sir Oswin. Can you ask the question in a Christian country? To forgive is the peculiar virtue, the supreme criterion of our sacred religion. We, once, were deadly foes ;-This embrace (Embraces Ladensforth) is the confession, the bold confession of our faith.” A. V. S. 2.
There is, however, a passage in A. I. S. 2. where Sir Oswin is speaking of Lavensforth's impeachment, his attempt upon his life, and the quarrel between them, in which his change of opinion towards him, I think, ought to be expressly attributed to the same cause, religion. It now stands,
“ Youthful ardour made me then pronounce with decision. Years of studious application, and more matured experience, have lessened my confidence in my own opinions.”
In The School of Reform, A. I. S. 2. where Frederick is giving an account of his origin, he says,
In me you behold the son of a criminal. Julia. A criminal !
Frederick. Even so: my father's name is not known to me; for in my earliest infancy he was, for his crimes, banish'd his native land.
Julia. And were you left to meet the desertion of an unfeeling world?
Frederick. No, lady. I was left to meet the special protection of Heaven ; for by those generous men--those guardians of infant virtue I was snatched from infamy, and placed at the Philanthropic School; there, soon as the dawn of reason chased away the dreams of childhood, I endeavoured to repay the blessings bestowed on me by diligence, emulation, and gratitude.
General. Bravo!- why, they made you a philosopher.
Frederick. Sir, I am indebted to them for a nobler title ; for they made me A CHRISTIAN.
In The School for Friends, A. IV. S. 1. Mrs. Hamilton says, Sir,
you behold me abandoned by my husband ; my soul fired with indignation at his unnatural desertion of me;-torn with conAicting agonies for the fate of my beloved child ;--but, my lord, you
behold me a wife, as such I am accountable to the world for my conduct ;- you behold me a mother, as such I am accountable for my example to mothers ;-above all, Şir, you behold me a Christian; in the holy precepts of my religion, I have hitherto sought for counsel, and in following its divine instructions, I have found the sweetest consolation. Sir, I will trust to it still.”
With these excellent passages, I, with pleasure, close the Notes to this discourse, which, though they have far exceeded my original intention, yet I trust they will not have proved either uninteresting or uninstructive to the reader.
Note A. page 58.
“ Wit, like salt, should excite an appetite, not provoke disgust; cleanse wounds, not create them; be used to recommend and preserve that which is sound, not be thrown away upon that which is already rotten.
Wit, without wisdom, is salt without meat, and that is but a comfortless dish to set a hungry man down to. Wit, employed to disguise and prejudice truth, is salt thrown into a man's eyes.
Nothing is more absurd than to divert a man who wants to be comforted; for salt, though an excellent relisher, is a miserable cordial.
Jocularity should not be intruded upon company, when they are not in the humour for it; as a well bred man would no more force salt than pepper upon his guests, whose constitutions it might not suit."
It is said of that truly great genius, and eminently pious man, BOERHAAVE, that, “ He would sometimes give his Discourses a lively turn with raillery; but his raillery was refined and ingenious, and it enlivened the subject he treated of, without carrying with it any thing severe or satirical. A declared foe to all excess, he considered decent mirth as the salt of life." See his Life in the Encyclopedia Britannica.
YOUNG, in his Night Thoughts, N. VIII. 1. 1232, expresses himself to the same effect :
Wit, how delicious to man's dainty taste!
Tis precious, as the vehicle of sense ;
But wisdom, awful wisdoms! which imspects,
Sense is our helmet, wit is but the plume;
60. Of this kind of ridicule may be mentioned Bisllop Hall's and Dr. Donne's Satires,-those of Pope and of Young ; Young's Centaur rot Fabulous, even Laro's Scrious Call possesses much genuine ridicule and humolf , --and some of the papers in the Spectator, Tatler, and Guardian. There is much excellent ridicule in the poems of Cowper. The Bath Guide is an excellent and goodbumoured satire, but exceptionable in some respects. The Pursuits. of Literature is a Satire of the highest kind, as are the several pieres fix the Poetry of the Anti-Jacobin, particularly The Progress of Man, The Loves of the Triangles, The Rovers, and New Morality. ?.
Notwithstanding the fault which has been found with the MSERIES OF HUMAN LIFE, I must confess, that I consider it myself, what the author professes it to be, A Moral Jest Book. It
* The Widow Placid, a Quaker lady, in that very pleasing little book, AN ANTIDOTE to the Miseries of Human Life, is represented a thus giving her opinion respecting wita
* De't imagine, friend (replied the widow) that our sect are averse to decent mirth and innocent humour. For myself, though I can say that I am decidedly of the poet's opinion, that
btw Sense is the diamond, weighty, solid, sound; Yet I also think with him, that
When cut by wit, it casts a brighler beam ;"* Therefore if thoa can'st entertain us with some innocent lively sallies of this agreeable quality, I do assure thee I shall be as well pleased as ans
in the coach." R. 113.. Hvad Ft
appears to me, that the object of this work has been greatly maisunderstood. Many persons have considered it as a gloomy book, making miseries of trifles, and that it is calculated to put persons out of humour with the world. Whereas the object of the author is 10 ridicule those who drake miseries of trifles, the Testy and the Sersitive, and to induce them to laugh then of when Uiey occur.
I have repeatedly known it to have had this effect. There is much genuine wit in the work: the application of some of the quotations is admiTable. Nevertheless, as there are some who take it in a worse light: the little work, mentioned in the Note in the former page, may be read with great pleasure and profit. It seems, however, as if the author, by making the principal character a Quaker, intended to make Quukerism the Antidote to impatience. That truly respectable Seciety certainly, I believe, * possess their souls in patience (Luke xxi, 19.) as much as any body of men; but where religion (I mean the genuine principle of the Gospel) prevails, there will the soul be filled witii a placid content
Of Dramatic Satires, one of the best I know is the Provok'd Husband, which exposes the folly of those wrong-headed persons, who witivout knowledge of the world, or talents for the pursuit, leavę the quiet station, in which they might have been useful and happy, to seek after preferment, which they cannot attain, and which would not conduce to their bappiness, if they could.
In the Clandestine Marriage, the folly of Wealth seeking an alliance with Greatness, without ever considering what are the real sources of honour and happiness, and of Greatness seeking an alliance with Wealth, which it despises, are admirably exposed. In this play, the character of the Old Beau, the vulgar and purse-proud Woman pretending to gentility, the wealthy Citizen centering all his thoughts in the acquisition of properly, and the pert and proud Daughter, are drawn with the hand of a master.
The Heiress presents some colouring nearly as good; and The Jeclous Wife exhibits a picture of the perverseness and the folly of those females, who render themselves and their partners iniserable by groundless jealousies.
In the farce of High Life below Stairs, the impertinent folly of servants assuming the names and manners of their masters and misa tresses is happily exposed.
Bon Tor, or High Life above Stairs, appears to me to ridicule