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but without any of those circumstances of stolen happiness or forbidden endearment. His wife was chosen from that rank of life immediately beneath his own; she was a farmer's daughter, had a little money, and a hearty blessing from her father. She was neither very handsome, nor extremely sensible; and their amours would by no means have served as the subject of romance.
Both brothers had not been long married, when a lawsuit called them over to Ireland; and, unwilling to leave their wives behind, they all embarked from Parkgate on their passage to Dublin. They had not been at sea an hour when a violent storm arose; the ship was old, and the mariners but few: she was therefore driven at the mercy of the waves, and at length approached a rocky shore, where nothing but instant death was expected, especially to those who could not swim. In this terrible situation the captain desired the passengers to prepare for death, as the ship could not hold it a quarter of an hour longer; but at the same time encouraged those who were skilled in swimming to save themselves as well as they could.
Thomas, who, as we have already observed, had married for love, now shewed the whole extent of his passion. Clasping his lovely bride in his arms, he cried out that he disdained to live without her; that as they had lived with the utmost passion, so he was resolved to die with it; and no intreaties could prevail upon him to attempt saving his life, though even his wife joined in the request.
It was very different between the prudent James and his spouse: "My dear," said he, "I would live with you if I could; but my death can give you no satisfaction: and as it is impossible for me to save you, I must endeavour to save myself: " so saying, he plunged into the sea, and had the good fortune to swim on shore.
The danger, however, was not so great as the captain
had represented it; the ship held together longer than had been expected, and a calm immediately succeeding, the whole crew were safely landed, and the joyful couple, who had discovered such tenderness, had now an opportunity of reflecting upon the greatness of each other's love.
I wish the story had ended here; but truth demands the rest should be related. For a week or two the enamoured couple enjoyed happiness without allay; but soon, they expected too much from each other, both began to retrench their mutual liberty. First, slight jealousies, proceeding from too much love, brought on complaints, complaints produced coolness, and this was carried at last into sullen silence. From thence it proceeded to recrimination: soon the quarrel was made up; the same circumstances, however, again were repeated, and again produced the same effects: continual recrimination at last brought on studied constraint, and this settled at last in downright hatred. In short, they parted, heartily tired of each other; while the contented James and his wife rubbed through life with much content, and now and then some sparring; entertained their friends comfortably enough, and provided very prettily for a numerous family, which for many years continued increasing.
VISIT TO ELYSIUM.-MANSIONS OF POETRY AND TASTE.
The follies of mankind are an unexhausted fund, which can ever supply a writer with materials. They may be said to be even sterile from their fertility; and an embarrassment in the choice has the same effects with an absence of invention.
Possessed with the truth of such a maxim, I retired to rest, in order to dissipate the chagrin which such reflections naturally produce; but a dream brought the whole train of thought more strongly to my imagination, and by a regular succession of images exhibited the dead for the instruction of the living.
I fancied myself in the Elysian Fields, and ran over in a short time a variety of mansions, in which souls, habituated in life to virtue, had prepared themselves thus for a happy immortality. I shall abridge the account of what I saw which did not deserve particular attention, and shall only remark what particularly struck me in those charming retreats, where kings repose from those labours which in life they endured from a love of their people, and a passion for true glory.
Scarcely did I meet there with any of those great men who owe their immortality to flattery, and unjustly imputed merit. Achilles, Theseus, Hercules, Alexander, Cæsar, Anthony, were names entirely unknown in these happy mansions. Minos, the judge, had wisely considered, that men, whose whole happiness in life consisted in troubling the repose of others, would be incapable of enjoying eternal repose themselves in those happy retreats, where a great part of the pleasure consisted in tranquillity. The infernal judges therefore granted those regions only to princes, many of whom were entirely unknown to the rest of mankind, who by a life of innocence and peace had prepared themselves for eternal repose below.
Such, instead of endeavouring to extend the bounds of their dominion, only endeavoured to dispel those storms which threatened their country; being rather better pleased with softening the vanity of conquerors by a few trifling submissions, than of raising their resentment by a resistance often vain, always pernicious, even though such resistance should happen to be crowned with success.
Not to those, the true fathers of their people, are we indebted for those new systems of government, and those refined laws, which vain-glory has introduced into states with so little necessity; on the contrary, fond of a rational simplicity, they only cultivated the dictates of truth, observed such laws as experience gave a sanction to, and made their own example the first servant to every institution. In a word, men whose modesty was equal to their other virtues, and who gave up glory to others, content with the pleasing consciousness of having deserved it.
From this most beautiful of all retreats there lies an immense journey to the mansions of Poetry and Taste; yet by that facility of travelling which is natural to a person who dreams, I soon perceived myself among them. I here found a wide difference between the manner of the poet's treatment below and above. Those who while in life had no other lodging than a garret, were here fitted with very genteel apartments; and those who once were the servants of the great, were now attended by some of the deceased nobility, who served them as footmen, valets de chambre, and flatterers. Their city was divided into several compartments, adapted to their peculiar tastes or dispositions; while at stated intervals they all met together, in order to settle disputes, and weigh their reputations, as several had been found to receive a large share of fame immediately after their decease, which, in a succession of ages, evaporated quite away.
Orpheus was the first poet who caught my attention, who sat weeping by the side of a stream, that seemed to murmur back his complaints. His lyre was responsive to his sorrow, and drew round him numbers of enchanted hearers. I own that I was not a little surprised at his complaint, as I saw the beautiful Eurydice, for whom
he died, sitting beside him. "Alas!” cried I to a ghost that stood near me, "what can now induce him thus to weep, as he has found the lovely object of all his concern ?"
-"Fool,” replied the spirit, who was wiser than I, “he weeps now because he has found her; for it seems in less than a twelvemonth's acquaintance she became a shrew, and he now feels the same desire to part with her that he had once to find her."
Pindar was next attempting to climb all the sign-posts: sometimes he would sit astride, and call the mob from below to look on; at other times, when he had just reached the top, he would fall headlong down; nor yet seemed very much hurt by the fall, but, like the celebrated Anteus, appeared to gain fresh vigour to rise.
Horace stood gazing among the crowd at this literary rope-dancer, and at intervals would burst out into fits of applause; would, with a great degree of good sense, assure his friends that Pindar fell merely through design, and engaged a large party in his favour. From admiration he soon began to strive at imitation, and began to climb; but when he had got halfway up the post, his strength and spirits failed him; there he stuck, and could get neither up nor down. He looked most pitifully round on the crowd that was laughing below, and begged that some one would lend him a shoulder; when a meagre tall figure, whom I knew to be Scaliger, appearing, took the little man in his arms, and brought him off unhurt before the faces of all the spec
As I was pleasing myself with this escape, and following the critic, who was carrying him to a place of safety, I happened to meet Anacreon, who was now turned politician, and settling the balance of hell. I was surprised to find him so very much altered from what he had been on earth. "Where," cries I, "O Teian, are those agreeable sallies of