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magine the fancy exalted by vernal breezes, and the reason invigorated by a bright calm.
If men who have given up themselves to fanciful credulity would confine their conceits in their own minds, they might regulate their lives by the barometer, with inconvenience only to themselves; but, to fill the world with accounts of intellects subject to ebb and flow, of one genius that awakened in the spring, and another that ripened in the autumn, of one mind expanded in the summer, and of another concentrated in the winter, is no less dangerous than to tell children of bugbears and goblins. Fear will find every house haunted ; and idleness will wait for ever for the moment of illumination,
This distinction of seasons is produced only by imagination operating on luxury. To temperance every day is bright, and every hour is propitious to diligence. He that shall resolutely excite his faculties, or exert his virtues, will soon make himself superior to the seasons, and may set at defiance the morning mist, and the evening damp, the blasts of the east, and the clouds of the south.
It was the boast of the Stoick philosophy, to make man unshaken by calamity, and unelated by success, incorruptible by pleasure, and invulnerable by pain ; these are heights of wisdom which none ever attained, and to which few can aspire: but there are lower de. grees of constancy necessary to common virtue; and every man, however he may distrust himself in the ex, tremes of good or evil, might at least struggle against the' tyranny of the climate, and refuse to enslave his virtue or his reason to the most variable of all varia, tions, the changes of the weather,
scessesseeeeeeeeees No, 12. SATURDAY, JULY 1, 1758.
That every man is important in his own eyes, is a pó, sition of which we all either voluntarily or unwarily at least once an hour confess the truth; and it will una. voidably follow, that every man believes himself im. portant to the publick.
The right which this importance gives us to general notice and visible distinction, is one of those disputable privileges which we have not always courage to assert; and which we therefore suffer to lie dormant till some elation of mind, or vicissitude of fortune, incites us to declare our pretensions and enforce our demands. And, hopeless as the claim of vulgar characters may seem to the supercilious and severe, there are few who do not at one time or other endeavour to step forward beyond their rank, who do not make some struggles for fame, and show that they think all other con. veniencies and delights imperfectly enjoyed without a name. · To get a name, can happen but to few. A name, even in the most commercial nation, is one of the few things which cannot be bought. It is the free gift of mankind, which must be deserved before it will be granted, and is at last unwillingly bestowed. But this unwillingness only increases desire in him who believes his merit sufficient to overcome it. : There is a particular period of life, in which this fondness for a name seems principally to predominate in both sexes. Scarce any couple comes together but the nuptials are declared in the newspapers with encomiums on each party. Many an eye, ranging over the page with eager curiosity in quest of statesmen and heroes, is stopped by a marriage celebrated between Mr. Buckram, an eminent salesman in Threadneedle-street, and Miss Dolly Juniper, the only daughter of an emi. nent distiller, of the parish of St. Giles's in the Fields, a young lady adorned with every accomplishment that can give happiness to the married state. Or we are told, amidst our impatience for the event of a battle, that on · a certain day Mr. Winker, a tide-waiter at Yarmouth,
was married to Mrs. Cackle, a widow lady of great accomplishments, and that as soon as the ceremony was performed, they set out in a post-chaise for Yarmouth.
Many are the inquiries which such intelligence must undoubtedly raise, but nothing in this world is lasting,
When the reader has contemplated with envy, or with gladness, the felicity of Mr. Buckram and Mr. Winker, and ransacked his memory for the names of Juniper and Cackle, his attention is diverted to other thoughts, by finding that Mirza will not cover this season ; or that a spaniel has been lost or stolen, that answers to the name of Ranger.
Whence it arises that on the day of marriage all agree to call thus openly for honours, I am not able to discover. Some, perhaps, think it kind, by a publick declaration, to put an end to the hopes of rivalry and the fears of jealousy, to let parents know that they may set their daughters at liberty whom they have locked up for fear of the bridegroom, or to dismiss to their counters and their offices the amorous youths that had been used to hover round the dwelling of the bride.
These connubial praises may have another cause. It may be the intention of the husband and wife to dignify themselves in the eyes of each other, and, according to their different tempers or expectations, to win affection, or enforce respect. • It was said of the family of Lucas, that it was noble, for all the brothers were valiant, and all the sisters were virtuous. What would a stranger say of the English nation, in which on the day of marriage all the men are eminent, and all the women beautiful, accomplished, and
How long the wife will be persuaded of the eminence of her husband, or the husband continue to believe that his wife has the qualities required to make marriage happy, may reasonably be questioned. I am afraid that much time seldom passes before each is convinced that praises are fallacious, and particularly those praises which we confer upon ourselves.
I should therefore think, that this custom might be omitted without any loss to the community; and that the sons and daughters of lanes and alleys might go hereafter to the next church, with no witnesses of their worth or happiness but their parents and their friends; but if they cannot be happy on the bridal day without some gratification of their vanity, I hope they will be
willing to encourage a friend of mine who proposes to devote his powers to their service.
Mr. Settle, a man whose emirence was once allowed by the eminent, and whose accomplishments were confessed by the accomplished, in the latter part of a long life supported himself by an uncommon expedient. He had a standing elegy and epithalamium, of which only the first and last were leaves varied occasionally, and the intermediate pages were, by general terms, left applicable alike to every character. When any marriage became known, Settle ran to the bridegroom with his epithalamium; and, when he heard of any death, ran to the heir with his elegy.
Who can think himself disgraced by a trade that was practised so long by the rival of Dryden, by the poet whose Empress of Morocco was played before princes by ladies of the court? - My friend purposes to open an office in the Fleet for matrimonial panegyricks, and will accommodate all with praise who think their own powers of expression ina." dequate to their merit. He will sell any man or wow man the virtue or qualification which is most fashiona. ble or most desired; but desires his customers to remember, that he sets beauty at the highest price, and riches at the next, and, if he be well paid, throws in virtue for nothing.
No. 13. SATURDAY, JULY 8, 1758.
TO THE IDLER.
DEAR MR. IDLER, .. Though few men of prudence are much inclined to in terpose in disputes between man and wife, who commonly make peace at the expense of the arbitrator; yet
I will venture to lay before you a controversy, by which the quiet of my house has been long disturbed, and which, unless you can decide it, is likely to produce lasting evils, and embitter those hours which nature seems to have appropriated to tenderness and repose.
I married a wife with no great fortune, but of a fa. mily remarkable for domestick prudence and elegant frugality. I lived with her at ease, if not with happiness, and seldom had any reason of complaint. The house was always clean, the servants were active and regular, dinner was on the table every day at the same minute, and the ladies of the neighbourhood were frightened when I invited their husbands, lest their own economy should be less esteemed.
During this gentle lapse of life, my dear brought me three daughters. I wished for a son, to continue the family; but my wife often tells me, that boys are dirty things, and are always troublesome in a house ; and declares that she has hated the sight of them ever since she saw lady Fondle's eldest son ride over a carpet with his hobby-horse all mire.
I did not much attend to her opinion, but knew that girls could not be made boys; and therefore composed myself to bear what I could not remedy, and resolved to bestow that care on my daughters, to which only the sons are commonly thought entitled.
But my wife's notions of education differ widely from mine. She is an irreconcileable enemy to idleness, and considers every state of life as idleness, in which the hands are not employed, or some art acquired, by which she thinks money may be got or saved.
In pursuance of this principle, she calls up her daughters at a certain hour, apnd apoints them a task of needle-work to be performed before breakfast. They are confined in a garret, which has its window in the roof, both because work is best done at a skylight, and because children are apt to lose time by looking about them.
They bring down their work to breakfast, and as they deserve are commended or reproved : they are then sent up with a new task till dinner: if no company is expected, their mother sits with them the whole afterVol. V.