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acquaintance, esteemed by their country, and, after the close of their labours, honoured by posterity.”
We know by the life of this memorable hero, to which of these two ladies he gave up his heart; and I believe, every one who reads this will do him the justice to approve his choice.
I very much admire the speeches of these ladies, as containing in them the chief arguments for a life of virtue, or a life of pleasure, that could enter into the thoughts of an heathen; but am particularly pleased with the different figures he gives the two goddesses.
Our modern authors have represented Pleasure or Vice with an alluring face, but ending in snakes and monsters. Here she appears in all the charms of beauty, though they are all false and borrowed; and by that means composes a vision entirely natural and pleasing.
I have translated this allegory for the benefit of the youth of Great-Britain; and particularly of these who are still in the deplorable state of non-existence, and whom I most earnestly entreat to come into the world. Let my embrios show the least inclination to any single virtue, and I shall allow it to be a struggling towards birth. I do not expect of them that, like the hero in the foregoing story, they should go about as soon as they are born, with a club in their hands, and a lion's skin on their shoulders, to root out monsters, and destroy tyrants ; but, as the finest author of all antiquity has said upon this very occasion, though a man has not the abilities to distinguish himself in the most shining parts of a great character, he has certainly the capacity of being just, faithful, modest, and temperate.
N°98. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1709.
From my own Apartment, November 23. I READ the following letter, which was left for me this evening, with very much concern for the lady's condition who sent it, who expresses the state of her mind with great frankness, as all people ought who talk to their physicians.
- MR. BICKERSTAFF,
Though you are stricken in years, and have had great experience in the world, I believe you will say, there are not frequently such difficult occasions io act in with decency, as those wherein I am entangled. I am a woman in love, and that you will allow to be the most unhappy of all circumstances in human life. Nature has formed us with a strong reluctance against owning such a passion, and custom has made it criminal in us to make advances. A gentleman, whom I will call Fabio, has the entire possession of my heart. I am so intimately acquainted with him, that he makes no scruple of communicating to me an ardent affection he has for Cleora, a friend of mine, who also makes me her confident. Most part of my life I am in company with the one or the other, and am always entertained with his passion, or ber triumph. Cleora is one of those ladies, who think they are virtuous, if they are not guilty; and, without any delicacy of choice, resolves to take the best offer which shall be made to her. With this prospect she puts off de. claring herself in favour of Fabio, until she sees what lovers will fall into her snares, which she lays
in all public places, with all the art of gesture and glances. This resolution she has herself told me. Though I love him better than life, I would not gain him by betraying Cleora; or committing such a trespass against modesty, as letting him know myself that I love him. You are an astrologer, what shalt do?
This lady has said very justly, that the condition of a woman in love is of all others the most miserable. Poor Diana! how must she be racked with jealousy, when Fabio talks of Cleora! how with indignation, when Cleora makes a property of Fabio! A female lover is in the condition of a ghost, that wanders about its beloved treasure, without power to speak, until it is spoken to. I desire Diana to continue in this circumstance; for I see an eye of comfort in her case, and will take all proper mea. sures to extricate her out of this unhappy game of cross-purposes. Since Cleora is upon the catch with her charms, and has no particular regard for Fabio, I shall place a couple of special fellows in her way, who shall both address to her, and have each a better estate than Fabio. They are both already taken with her, and are preparing for being of her retinue the ensuing winter.
To women of this worldly turn, as I apprehend Cleora to be, we must reckon backward in our com. putation of merit; and when a fair lady thinks only of making her spouse a convenient doinestic, the notion of worth and value is altered, and the lover is the more acceptable, the less he is considerable. The two I shall throw into the way of Cleora are, Orson Thicket and Mr. Walter Wisdom. Orson is a huntsman, whose father's death, and some difficulties about legacies, brought him out of the
woods to town låst November. He was at that time one of those country savages, who despise the softness they meet in town and court; and professedly show their strength and roughness in every motion and gesture, in scorn of our bowing and cringing. He was, at his first appearance, very remarkable for that piece of good breeding peculiar to natural Britons, to wit, defiance; and showed every one he met he was as good a man as he. But, in the midst of all his fierceness, he would sometimes attend the, discourse of a man of sense, and look at the charms of a beauty, with his eyes and mouth open. He was in this posture when, in the beginning of last December, he was shot by Cleora from a side-box. From that moment he softened into humanity, forgot his dogs and horses, and now moves and speaks with civility and address.
Wat. Wisdom, by the death of an elder brother, came to a great estate, when he had proceeded just far enough in his studies to be very impertinent, and at the years when the law gives him possession of his fortune, and his own constitution is too warm for the management of it. Orson is learning to fence and dance, to please and fight for his mistress; and Walter preparing fine horses, and a jingling chariot to encbant her. All persons concerned will appear at the next opera, where will begin the wild-goose chace; and I doubt Fabio will see himself so overlooked for Orson or Walter, as to turn his eyes on the modest passion and becoming languor in the countenance of Diana; it being my
de sign to supply with the art of love, all those who preserve the sincere passion of it.
Will's Coffee-house, November 23. An ingenious and worthy gentleman, my ancient friend, fell into discourse with me this evening
upon the force and efficacy which the writings of good poets have on the minds of their intelligent readers; and recommended to me his sense of the matter, thrown together in the following manner, which he desired me to communicate to the youth of Great-Britain in my Essays. I choose to do it in his own words.
I have always been of opinion,” says he, " that virtue sinks deepest into the heart of man, when it comes recommended by the powerful charms of poetry. The most active principle in our inind is the imagination: to it a good poet makes his court perpetually, and by this faculty takes care to gain it first. Our passions and inclinations come next; and our reason surrenders itself with pleasure in the end. Thus the whole soul is insensibly betrayed into morality, by bribing the fancy with beautiful and agreeable images of those' very things that in the books of the philosophers appear austere, and have at the best but a kind of forbidding aspect. In a word, the poets do, as it were, strew the rough paths of virtue so full of flowers, that we are not sensible of the uneasiness of them; and imagine ourselves in the midst of pleasures, and the most bewitching allurements, at the time we are making progress in the severest duties of life.
" All men agree, that licentious poems do, of all writings, soonest corrupt the heart.
And why should we not be as universally persuaded, that the grave and serious performances of such as write in the most engaging inanner, by a kind of divine impulse, must be the most effectual persuasives to goodness? If, therefore, I were blessed with a son, in order to the forming of his manners, which is making him truly my son, I should be continually putting into his hand some fine poet. The graceful sentences, and the manly sentiments, so frequently