« AnteriorContinua »
vice and folly, had not Emilia's prudent conduct won him over to the government of his reason. Her ingenuity has been constantly employed in humanizing his passions, and refining his pleasures. She has shewed him by her own example, that virtue is consistent with decent freedoms and good-humour, or rather, that it cannot subsist without them. Her good sense readily instructed her, that a silent example, and an easy unrepining behaviour, will always be more persuasive than the severity of lectures and admonitions; and that there is so much pride interwoven into the make of human nature, that an obstinate man must only take the hint from another, and then be left to advise and correct himself. Thus by an artful train of management and unseen persuasions, having at first brought him not to dislike, and at length to be pleased with that which otherwise he would not have bore to hear of, she then knew how to press and secure this advantage, by approving it as his thought, and seconding it as his proposal. By this means she has gained an interest in some of his leading passions, and made them accessary to his reformation.
There is another particular of Emilia's conduct which I cannot forbear mentioning: to some perhaps it may at first sight appear but a trifling, inconsider. able circumstance; but, for my part, I think it highly worthy of observation, and to be recommended to the fair sex. I have often thought wrapping gowns and dirty linen, with all that huddled economy of dress which passes under the general name of a mob, the bane of conjugal love, and one of the readiest means imaginable to alienate the affection of a husband, especially a fond one. I have heard some ladies, who have been surprised by company in such a dishabille, apologize for it after this manner; “ Truly I am ashamed to be caught in this pickle ; " but my husband and I were sitting all alone by our
“ selves, and I did not expect to see such good company:
.This by the way is a fine compliment to the good man, which it is ten to one but he returns in dogged answers and a churlish behaviour, without knowing what it is that puts him out of humour.
Emilia's observation teaches her, that, as little inadvertencies and neglects cast a blemish upon a great character, so, the neglect of apparel, even among the most intimate friends, does insensibly lessen their regards to each other, by creating a familiarity too low and contemptible. She understands the importance of those things which the generality account trifles ; and considers every thing as a matter of consequence, that has the least tendency towards keeping up or abating the affection of her husband ; him she esteems as a fit object to employ her ingenuity in pleasing, because he is to be pleased for life.
By the help of these, and a thousand other name. less arts, which it is easier for her to practise than for another to express, by the obstinacy of her goodness and unprovoked submission, in spite of all her afflictions and ill-usage, Bromius has become a man of sense and a kind husband, and Emilia a happy wife.
Ye guardian angels, to whose care heaven has entrusted its dear Emilia, guide her still forward in the paths of virtue, defend her from the insolence and wrongs of this undiscerning world ; at length, when we must no more converse with such purity on earth, lead her gently hence, innocent and unreprovable, to a better place, where by an easy tran. sition from what she now is, she may shine forth an angel of light.
No. CCCIII. SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16.
volet haec sub luce videri,
I HAVE seen in the works of a modern philo. sopher a map of the spots in the sun. My last paper of the faults and blemishes in Milton's Paradise Lost, may be considered as a piece of the same nature. To pursue the allusion : as it is observed that among the bright parts of the luminous body above-mentioned, there are some which glow more intensely, and dart a stronger light than others, so, notwithstanding I have already shown Milton's poem to be very beautiful in general, I shall now proceed to take gotice of such beauties as appear to me more exquisite than the rest. Milton has proposed the subject of his poem in the following verses.
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Sing heav'nly muse!.............
His invocation to a work which turns in a great measure upon the creation of the world, is very properly made to the muse who inspired Moses in those books from whence our author drew his subject, and to the Holy Spirit who is therein represented as operating after a particular manner in the first produc
tion of nature. This whole exordium rises very happily into noble language and sentiment, as I think the transition to the fable is exquisitely beautiful and natural.
The nine days astonishment, in which the angels lay entranced after their dreadful overthrow and fall from heaven, before they could recover either the use of thought or speech, is a noble circumstance, and very finely imagined. The division of hell into seas of fire, and into firm ground impregnated with the same furious element, with that particular circumstance of the exclusion of hope from those infernal regions, are instances of the same great and fruitful invention.
The thoughts in the first speech and description of Satan, who is one of the principal actors in this poem, are wonderfully proper to give us a full idea of him. His pride, envy and revenge, obstinacy, despair, and impenitence, are all of them very artfully interwoven. In short, his first speech is a complication of all those passions which discover themselves separately in several other of his speeches in the poem. The whole part of this great enemy of mankind is filled with such incidents as are very apt to raise and terrify the reader's imagination. Of this nature, in the book now before us, is his being the first that awakens out of the general trance, with his posture on the burning lake, his rising from it, and the description of his shield and spear.
Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate,
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air
his pond'rous shield,
To which we may add his call to the fallen angels that lay plunged and stupified in the sea of fire.
He call's so loud, that all the hollow deep
of hell resounded, But there is no single passage in the whole poem worked up to a greater sublimity, than that wherein his person is described in those celebrated lines :
.............. He above the rest
His sentiments are every way answerable to his character, and suitable to a created being of the most exalted and most depraved nature. Such is that in which he takes possession of his place of torments.
.............. Hail horrors! hail
A mind not to be chang'd by place or time.
.........., Here at last