Imatges de pÓgina

direction of her undertaker. Her mind, as weak as her body, is absurdly adorned; she talks politics and metaphysics, mangles the terms of each, and, if there be sense in either, most infallibly puzzles it; adding intricacy to politics, and darkness to mysteries, equally ridiculous in this world and the next.

I shall not now enter into an examination of the lesser affectations (most of them are pardonable, and many of them are pretty, if their owners are so), but confine my present animadversions to the affectation of ill-suited characters; for I would by no means deprive my fair countrywomen of their genteel little terrors, antipathies, and affections. The alternate panics of thieves, spiders, ghosts, and thunder, are allowable to youth and beauty, provided they survive them. But what I mean is, to prevail with them to act their own natural parts, and not other people's; and to convince them, that even their own imperfections will become them better than the borrowed perfections of others.

Should some lady of spirit, unjustly offended at these restrictions, ask what province I leave their sex? I answer, that I leave them whatever has not been peculiarly assigned by nature to ours. I leave them a mighty empire-Love. There they reign absolute, and by unquestioned right, while beauty supports their throne. They have all the talents requisite for that soft empire, and the ablest of our sex cannot contend with them in the profound knowledge and conduct of those arcana. But then, those who are deposed by years or accidents, or those who by nature were never qualified to reign, should content themselves with the private care and economy of their families, and the diligent discharge of domestic duties.

I take the fabulous birth of Minerva, the goddess of arms, wisdom, arts, and sciences, to have been an allegory of the ancients, calculated to shew, that women of natural

and usual births must not aim at those accomplishments. She sprung armed out of Jupiter's head, without the cooperation of his consort Juno, and, as such only, had those great provinces assigned her.

I confess one has read of ladies, such as Semiramis, Thalestris, and others, who have made very considerable figures in the most heroic and manly parts of life; but considering the great antiquity of those histories, and how much they are mixed up with fables, one is at liberty to question either the facts, or the sex. Besides that, the most ingenious and erudite Conrad Wolfang Laboriosus Nugatorius, of Hall, in Saxony, has proved to a demonstration, in the 14th volume, page 2891, of his learned treatise De Hermaphroditis, that all the reputed female heroes of antiquity were of this epicene species, though, out of regard to the fair and modest part of my readers, I dare not quote the several facts and reasonings with which he supports this assertion; and as for the heroines of modern date, we have more than suspicions of their being at least of the epicene gender. The greatest monarch that ever filled the British throne (till very lately) was queen Elizabeth, of whose sex we have abundant reason to doubt, history furnishing us with many instances of the manhood of that princess, without leaving us one single symptom or indication of the woman; and thus much is certain, that she thought it improper for her to marry a man. The great Christina, queen of Sweden, was allowed by every body to be above her sex; and the masculine was so predominant in her composition, that she even conformed, at last, to its dress, and ended her days in Italy.(1) I there

(1) [Christina, daughter of Gustavus the Great, succeeded her father in 1633, and abdicated the crown in 1654. On quitting the kingdom, she dismissed her female attendants, and laid by the habit of her sex : "I would become a man," said she, "yet I do not love men because they are men, but because they are not women." Having abjured Protestantism, she retired to Rome, where she died in 1689, at the age of sixty-three.]

fore require that those women who insist upon going beyond the bounds allotted to their sex, should previously declare themselves hermaphrodites, and be registered as such in their several parishes; till when, I shall not suffer them to confound politics, perplex metaphysics, and darken mysteries.

How amiable may a woman be! what a comfort and delight to her acquaintance, her friends, her relations, her lover, or her husband, in keeping strictly within her character! She adorns all female virtues with female softness. Women, while untainted by affectation, have a natural cheerfulness of mind, tenderness and benignity of heart, which justly endear them to us, either to animate our joys, or soothe our sorrows; but how are they changed, and how shocking do they become, when the rage of ambition, or the pride of learning, agitates and swells those breasts, where only love, friendship, and tender care should dwell!

Let Flavia be their model, who though she could support any character, assumes none; never misled by fancy or vanity, but guided singly by reason, whatever she says or does is the manifest result of a happy nature, and a good understanding; though she knows whatever women ought, and it may be, more than they are required to know, she conceals the superiority she has, with as much care, as others take to display the superiority they have not she conforms herself to the turn of the company she is in, but in a way of rather avoiding to be distanced, than desiring to take the lead. Are they merry, she is cheerful; are they grave, she is serious; are they absurd, she is silent. Though she thinks and speaks as a man would do, still it is as a woman should do; she effeminates (if I may use the expression) whatever she says, and gives all the graces of her own sex to the strength of ours; she is well-bred, without the troublesome ceremonies and frivolous forms of those

who only affect to be so. As her good breeding proceeds jointly from good-nature and good sense, the former inclines her to oblige, and the latter shews her the easiest and best way of doing it. Woman's beauty, like men's wit, is generally fatal to the owners, unless directed by a judgment which seldom accompanies a great degree of either; her beauty seems but the proper and decent lodging for such a mind; she knows the true value of it, and far from thinking that it authorizes impertinence and coquetry, it redoubles her care to avoid those errors that are its usual attendants. Thus she not only unites in herself all the advantages of body and mind, but even reconciles contradictions in others, for she is loved and esteemed, though envied by all.



An Eastern Tale.

In the early ages of the world, all the inhabitants of earth were subject to Firnaz, the genius of pleasure. He was a good spirit, and favourite of the Most High. The air, the mountains, the woods, the rivers, the seas, and the subterranean abyss obeyed his commands; the nymphs, the sylphs, and groves, acknowledged his jurisdiction. To do services to mankind was his greatest satisfaction; and no sooner was an infant brought into the world, than he appointed proper guardians to incite the rising mortal to virtue or turn him from vice.

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But, of all his favourites, none shared a greater degree of his affections than Zenim and Galhinda, two children descended from the race of kings, one the most sensible youth, the other the fairest girl of all Circassia. As they surpas

sed their companions in merit, the genius was resolved to supply them with an adequate proportion of happiness, and mutually bless them with each other. He inspired Zenim, as yet but a boy, with sentiments of courage, justice, and virtue. He adorned Galhinda with charms, that none could behold without the most ardent sensibility.

But, in order to render the education of both still more complete, the genius separated the young prince at the earliest period from the breast of his fond mother, to where he could have no commerce with the bewitching beauty of the opposite sex. A forest, remote from the habitations of men, became his retreat. Instructors, the most celebrated, were appointed both for his morals, exercises, and amusements. His mind was formed by the most prudent counsels, and tintured with every science, without its vain subtleties, that only serve to discourage and perplex. Two sages, whose songs had often engaged the attention even of the genius of the woods, were particularly dear to him: those he heard with pleasure, while in the intervals of more serious study, they sung the actions of heroes, and the distresses of suffering virtue. Thus was his understanding formed by precepts, while the manly exercises gave strength and grace to his limbs, and in all these none could dispute with him the victory.

In every gesture, every look, something noble might be discovered, and all his conversation announced the hero. Sixteen years were expired, and as yet he was ignorant that there was a more beautiful part of the creation hitherto concealed from his view. Firnaz had imposed silence in this respect upon all his attendants; neither the voice of friendship, nor the love-breathing lyre, had yet told him any thing of the happiness of mutual love.

While Zenim, thus unconscious of the power of beauty, grew up in solitude, and advanced in wisdom, Galhinda

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