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Is it not rather impious to say that he is fated to despair, and to call his Anna heaven?
II. Under my second head I shall adduce passages which I conceive to militate with legitimate preceptive rules of conduct, or to be violations of just moral sentiment, and which are sometimes even profane.
No. 8. p. 7. We are told as a general thing that women are trothless, and flote in an houre.” and p. 8. The Lover says of “the willow garland,” “ it doth bid to despair and to dye,” and desires to have
“ these words engraven, as epitaph meet,” “ Here lyes one, drank poyson for potion most sweet." P. 10. We have a very unfavourable and unjust picture of Age and Youth, by Shakspeare, called here “ Crabbed Age and Youth”, in which the writer says “ Age, I do abhor thee, Youth, I do adore thee". Very different are, the precepts contained in Scripture upon this subject: “ Thou shall rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God.” (Levit. xix. 32.) “ The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." (Prov. xvi. 31.) “ Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.” (Do. xxiii. 22.) The following Parody is given as setting the subject in a juster light.
AGE AND YOUTH.
Well may live together ;
Age more full of sooth;
Age like autumn weather,
Youth is hot and bold,
Age more temperate cold,
Age, I do admire thee,
Youth, I do desire thee!
Thou wilt in turn be Age;
Age, I thy heart engage
J. P. P. 44. In the Nut-brown Maid, “Be it ryght or wrong, these men among”, the Lover, in trying his Mistress, (p. 53.) says that when he is banished and lives in the wood, he has a maid, whom he loves more than the one to whom he is speaking. She replies
Tho' in the wode I undyrstode
Ye had a paramour,
But that I wyll be your:
And she shall fynde me soft and kynde,
And courteys every hour;
Commaunde me to my power:
• Of them I wolde be one',
I love but you alone. The want of morality and delicacy of sentiment here is very great.
In “ Shall I wasting in despair”, p. 57. the poet says,
If she be not fit for me
What care I for whom she be. This is but a selfish, and consequently immoral, sentiment. This Song I have noticed before,
In The Lye, by Sir Walter Raleigh. p. 63.
Goe, soule, the bodies guest,” are the following general expressions :
Goe tell the court, it glowes
Tell zeale, it lacks derotion;
Tell Wisdome, sbe entangles
Tell physicke of her boldnesse ;
Tell fortune of her blindoesse ; &c.
Deserves no less than stabbing, &c. In The Wounded Fawn, « The wanton troopers riding by,” the Lady is dying for the loss of her fawn (p. 84.)
O do not run too fast, for I
For I so truly thee bemoan,
At p. 84. is the Ballad of The Wanton Wife of Bath, a composition which I think should have been consigned to oblivion; but, as it is given in this work with the recommendation that " Mr. Addison has pronounced it an excellent Ballad: see the Spectator, no. 247.” it is but too well known, and there is no alternative but to examine and expose it. The story appears to be grounded on the following passage of Scripture, Luke xiii. 24-30.
66 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the Master of the house is risen
up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer
and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are : then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall
But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from
all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last."
The Soul of the wanton wife of Bath is represented after her death knocking at Heaven gate; when Adam and various other characters mentioned in scripture object to admitting her into Heaven, on account of her sins, upon which she reproaches them, in very coarse and disrespectful terms, with the sins which they themselves had committed, and sends them all away in their turns, till at length our Saviour comes and admits her, On this it may be observed, first, that, in the scripture account, the Master himself only is represented as keeping the door; and, in the next place, that we