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of the finest allegories which I think I have ever read. It is invented by the divine Plato, and, to shew the opinion he himself had of it, ascribed by him to his admired Socrates, whom he represents as discoursing with his friends, and giving the history of love in the following manner : “ Át the birth of beauty, says he, there was a great
feaft made, and many guests invited: among the rest, was the god Plenty, who was the son of the goddess Prudence, and inherited many of his mother's virtues. After a full entertainment he retired into the garden of Jupiter, which was hung with a great variety of ambrosial fruits, and seems to have been a very proper retreat for such a guest. In the mean time an unhappy female called Poverty having heard of this great feast, repaired to it in hopes of finding relief. The first place The lights upon was Jupiter's garden, which generally stands open to people of all conditions. Poverty enters, and by chance finds the god Plenty asleep in it
. She was immediately fired with his charms, laid herself down by his side, and managed matters so well, that she conceived a child by him. The world was very much in suspense upon the occasion, and could not imagine to themselves what would be the nature of an infant that was to have its original from two such parents, At the last the child appears; and who should it be but Love. This infant grew up, and proved in all his behaviour what he really was, a compound of opposite beings. As he is the fon of Plenty (who was the offspring of Prudence), he is subtle, intriguing, full of stratagems and devices; as the son of Poverty, he is fawning, begging, serenading, delighting to lie at a threshold or beneath a window. By the father, he is audacious, full of hopes, conscious of merit, and therefore quick of resentment: by the mother, he is doubtful, timorous, mean-spirited, fearful of offending, and abject in submissions ; in the same hour you may see him transported with raptures, talking of immortal pleasures, and appearing satisfied as a god; and immediately after, as the mortal mother prevails in his composition, you behold him pining, languishing, despairing, dying."
I have been always wonderfully delighted with fables, allegories, and the like inventions, which the politest and the best instructors of mankind have always made use of: they take off from the severity of instruction, and enforce it at the same time that they conceal it. The supposing Love to be conceived immediately after the birth of Beauty, the parentage of Plenty, and the inconsistency of this passion with itself so naturally derived to it, are great master-Itrokes in this fable; and, if they fell into good hands, might furnish out a more pleasing canto than any in Spencer,
MR. BICKERSTAFF IS CONSULTED BY AN UNFORTUATE LOVER
-HIS ADVICE, AND CONFESSION OF HIS OWN EXPERIENCE.
BOUT four this afternoon, which is the hour I usually put myself in a readiness to receive company, there entered a gentleman who I believed at first came upon some ordinary question ; but as he
approached nearer to me, I saw in his countenance a deep forrow, mixed with a certain ingenuous complacency that gave me sudden goodwill towards him. He stared, and betrayed an absence of thought as he was going to communicate his business to me. But at last, recovering himself, he said, with an air of great respect, "Sir, it would be an injury to your knowledge in the occult sciences to tell you what is my distress;
I dare say you read it in my countenance: I therefore beg your advice to the most unhappy of all men. Much experience has made me particularly fagacious in the discovery of distempers, and I soon faw that his was love. I then turned to my common-place book, and found his case under the word coquet; and reading over the catalogue which I have collected out of this great city of all under that character, I saw at the name of Cynthia his fit came upon him. I repeated the name thrice after a musing manner, and immediately perceived his pulse quicken two-thirds; when his eyes, instead of the wildness with which they appeared at his entrance, looked with all the gentleness imaginable upon me, not without tears. “Oh, sir," said he, “ you know not the
unworthy usage I have met with from the woman my soul doats on.
I could gaze at her to the end of my being; yet when I have done so, for some time past, I have found her eyes fixed on another. She is now two-and-twenty, in the full tyranny of her charms, which she once acknowledged she rejoiced in, only as they made her choice of me, out of a crowd of admirers, the more obliging. But in the midst of this happiness (so it is, Mr. Bickerstaft), that young Quicksett, who is just come to town, without any other recommendation than that of being tolerably handsome and excessively rich, has won her heart in fo shameless a manner that she dies for him. In a word, I would consult you how to cure myself of this passion for an ungrateful woman, who triumphs in her falsehood, and can make no man happy, because her own fatisfaction consists chiefly in being capable of giving distress. I know Quicksett is at present considerable with her, for no other reason but that he can be without her, and feel no pain in the loss. Let me therefore desire you, fir, to fortify my reason against the levity of an inconstant, who ought only to be treated with neglect."
All this time I was looking over my receipts, and asked him if he had any good winter boots ? “Boots, fir," said my patient I went on : you may easily reach Harwich in a day, so as to be there when the packet goes off. “Sir," faid the lover, “I find you design me for travelling; but alas ! I have no language; it will be the same thing to me as solitude to be in a strange country. I have,” continued he, sighing, “ been many years in love with this creature, and have almost lost even my English, at least to speak such as anybody else does. I asked a tenant of ours, who came up to town the other day with rent, whether the flowery mead near my father's house in the country had any shepherd in it? I have called a cave a grotto these three years, and must keep ordinary company and frequent busy people for some time, before I can recover my common words.” I smiled at his railler upon himself, though I well saw it came from a heavy heart. “ You are,” said I, “ acquainted to be sure with some of the
general officers : suppose you made a campaign ?” “If I did,” said he, “ I should venture more than any man there, for I should be in danger of starving; my father is such an untoward old gentleman, that he would tell me he found it hard enough to pay his taxes towards the war, without making it more expensive by an allowance to me. With all this, he is as fond as he is rugged, and I am his only fon."
I looked upon the young gentleman with much tenderness, and not like a physician, but a friend; for I talked to him so largely, that if I had parcelled my discourse into distinct prefcriptions, I am confident I gave him two hundred pounds' worth of advice. He heard me with great attention, bowing, smiling, and shewing all other instances of that natural good breeding which ingenuous tempers pay to those who are elder and wiser than themselves. I entertained him to the following purpose. “I am sorry, sir, that your passion is of so long a date, for evils are much more curable in their beginnings; but at the same time must allow that you are not blamed, since your youth and merit has been abused by one of the most charming, but the most unworthy sort of women, the coquets. A coquet is a chaste jilt, and differs only from a common one, as a soldier who is perfect in exercise does from one that is actually in service. This grief, like all others, is to be cured only by time; and although you are convinced this moment as much as you will be ten years hence, that she ought to be scorned and neglected, you see you must not expect your remedy from the force of reason. The cure, then, is only in time; and the hastening of the cure only in the manner of employing that time. You have answered me as to travel and a campaign, so that we have only Great Britain to avoid her in. Be then yourself, and listen to the following rules, which only can be of use to you in this unaccountable distemper, wherein the patient is often averse even to his recovery. It has been of benefit to some to apply themselves to business; but as that may not lie in your way, go down to your estate, mind your fox-hounds, and venture the life you are weary
of over every hedge and ditch in the country. These are whole