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INVECTIVE AGAINST BACHELORS.
Dum potuit, solita gemitum virtute repressit.
With wonted fortitude she bore the smart,
"I AM a woman loaded with injuries, and the ag
nours to the former, but he told the latter, that is to say, sir, he told the Bachelors, That their lives and actions had been so peculiar, that he knew not by what name to call them; not by that of men, for they performed nothing that was manly; not by that of citizens, for the city might perish notwithstanding their care; nor by that of Romans, for they designed to extirpate the Roman name.' Then proceeding to show his tender care and hearty affection for his people, he further told them, That their course of life was of such pernicious consequence to the glory and grandeur of the Romau nation, that he could not choose but tell them, that all other crimes put together could not equalize theirs: for they were guilty of murder, in not suffering those to be born which should proceed from them; of impiety, in causing the names and honours of their ancestors to cease; and of sacrilege, in destroying their kind, which proceeded from the immortal gods, and human nature, the principal thing consecrated to them: therefore in this respect they dissolved the government, in disobeying its laws; betrayed their country, by making it barren and waste; nay, and demolished their city, in depriving it of inhabitants. And he was sensible that all this proceeded not from any kind of virtue or abstinence, but from a looseness and wantonness, which ought never to be encouraged in any civil government.' There are no particulars dwelt upon that let us into the conduct of these young worthies, whom this great Emperor treated with so much justice and indignation; but any one who observes what passes in this town, may very well frame to himself a notion of their riots and debaucheries all night, and their apparent preparations for them all day. It is not to be doubted but these Romans never passed any of their time innocently but when they were asleep, and never slept but when they were weary and heavy with excesses, and slept only to prepare themselves for the repetition of them. I have not patience to proceed gravely on this abomi
nable libertinism; for I cannot but reflect, as I am writing to you, upon a certain lascivious manner which all our young gentlemen use in public, and examine our eyes with a petulancy in their own, which is a downright affront to modesty. A disdainful look on such an occasion is returned with a countenance rebuked, but by averting their eyes from the woman of honour and decency to some flippant creature, who will, as the phrase is, be kinder. I must set down things as they come into my head, without standing upon order. Ten thousand to one but the gay gentle. man who stared, at the same time is an housekeeper; for you must know they have got into a humour of late of being very regular in their sins, and a young fellow shall keep his four maids and three footmen with the greatest gravity imaginable. There are no less than six of these venerable housekeepers of my acquaintance. This humour among young men of condition is imitated by all the world below them, and a general dissolution of manners arises from this one source of libertinism, without shame or reprehension in the male youth. It is from this one fountain that so many beautiful helpless young women are sacrificed and given up to lewdness, shame, poverty, and disease. It is to this also that so many excellent young women, who might be patterns of conjugal affection, and parents of a worthy race, pine under unhappy passions for such as have not attention enough to observe, or virtue enough to prefer them to their common wenches. Now, sir, I must be free to own to you, that I myself suffer a tasteless insipid being, from a consideration I have for a man who would not, as he has said in my hearing, resign his liberty as he calls it, for all the beauty and wealth the whole sex .is possessed of. Such calamities as these would not happen, if it could possibly be brought about, that by fining Bachelors as Papists convict, or the like, they were distinguished to their disadvantage from the rest
of the world, who fall in with the measures of civil societies. Lest you should think I speak this as being, according to the senseless rude phrase, a malicious old maid, I shall acquaint you I am a woman of condition, not now three-and-twenty, and have had proposals from at least ten different men, and the greater number of them have upon the upshot refused me. Something or other is always amiss when the lover takes to some new wench: a settlement is easily excepted against; and there is very little recourse to avoid the vicious part of our youth, but throwing one's self away upon some lifeless blockhead, who, though he is without vice, is also without virtue. Now-a-days we must be contented if we can get creatures which are not bad, good are not to be expected. I hope you'll take notice of these evils, and print this memorial, dictated from the disdainful heavy heart of,
"Your most obedient
JOURNAL OF A SOBER CITIZEN.
-fruges consumere nati.
Born to drink and eat.
AUGUSTUS, a few moments before his death,
asked his friends who stood about him, if they thought he had acted his part well; and upon receiving such an answer as was due to his extraordinary merit, Let me then, says he, go off the stage with your applause; using the expression with which the Roman actors made their exit at the conclusion of a dramatic piece. I could wish that men, while they are in
health, would consider well the nature of the part they are engaged in, and what figure it will make in the minds of those they leave behind them: whether it was worth coming into the world for; whether it be suitable to a reasonable being; in short, whether it appears graceful in this life, or will turn to an advantage in the next. Let the sycophant or buffoon, the satirist or the good companion, consider with himself, when his body shall be laid in the grave, and his soul pass into another state of existence, how much it will redound to his praise to have it said of him, that no man in England ate better, that he had an admirable talent at turuing his friends into ridicule, that nobody out-did him at an ill-natured jest, or that he never went to bed before he had dispatched his third bottle. These are, however, very common funeral orations and eulogiums on deceased persons who have acted among mankind with some figure and reputation.
But if we look into the bulk of our species, they are such as are not likely to be remembered a moment after their disappearance. They leave behind them no traces of their existence, but are forgotten as though they had never been. They are neither wanted by the poor, regretted by the rich, nor celebrated by the learned. They are neither missed in the commonwealth, nor lamented by private persons. Their actions are of no significancy to mankind, and might have been performed by creatures of much less dignity than those who are distinguished by the faculty of reaAn eminent French author speaks somewhere to the following purpose: I have often seen from my chamber window two noble creatures, both of them of an erect countenance, and endowed with reason, These two intellectual beings are employed from morning to night, in rubbing two smooth stones one upon another; that is, as the vulgar phrase is, in polishing marble.
My friend, Sir Andrew, gave me an account of a