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for no cause, I know it is said, in justification of this hollow kind of conversation, that there is no harm, no real deceit in compliment, but the matter is well enough, so long as we understand one another; et verba valent ut nummi,' words are like money;' and when the current value of them is generally understood, no man is cheated by them. This is something, if such words were any thing; but being brought into the account, they are mere ciphers. However, it is still a just matter of complaint, that sincerity and plainness are out of fashion, and that our language is running into a lie; that men have ali ost quite perverted the use of speech, and made words to signify nothing; that the greatest part of the conversation of mankind is liule else but driving a trade of dissimulation; insomuch that it would make a man heartily sick and weary of the world, to see the little sincerity that is in use and practice among men."
When the vice is placed in this contemptible light, he argues upanswerably against it, in words and thoughts so natural, that any man who reads them would imagine he himself could have been the author of them.
“ If the show of any thing be good for any thing, I am sure sincerity is better: for why does any man dissemble, or seem to be that which he is not, but be. cause be thinks it good to have such a quality as he pretends to? For to counterfeit and dissemble, is to put on the appearance of some real excellency. Now the best way in the world to seem to be any thing, is really to be what he would seem to be. Besides, that it is many tiines as troublesonie to make good the pretence of a good quality, as to liave it; and if a man have it not, it is ten to one but he is discovered to want it; and then all his pains and labour to seem to have it, is lost.”
In another part of the same discourse he goes on to show, that all artifice must naturally tend to the disap. pointment of bin that practises it.
“ Whatsoever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and dissimulation, it is soon over; but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because it brings a man under an everlasting jealousy and suspicion, so that he is not believed when he speaks the truth, por trusted when perbaps he means honestly. When a man hath once forfeited the repntation of his integrity, he is set fast, and nothing will then serve his turn, nei. ther truth nor falsehood.”
A FEMALE DEVOTEE.
Cum magnis virtutibus affers Grande supercilium.
JUV. Sat. 5. v. 168.
We own thy virtues; but we blame beside
A DEVOTEE is one of those who disparage religion
by their indiscreet and unseasonable introduction of the mention of virtue on all occasions; she professes she is what nobody ought to doubt she is; and betrays the labour she is put to, to be what she ought to be with cheerfulness and alacrity. She lives in the world, and denies herself none of the diversions of it, with a constant declaration how insipid all things in it are to her. She is never herself but at church; there she displays her virtue, and is so fervent in her devotions, that I have frequently seen her pray herself out of breath. While other young ladies in the house are dancing, or playing at questions and commands, she reads aloud in her closet. She says, all love is ridicu. lous escept it be celestial; but she speaks of the passion of one mortal to another, with too much bitter. ness, for one that had 10 jealousy mixed with her con. tempt of it. If at any time she sees a man warm in
his addresses to his mistress, she will lift up
eyes to heaven, and cry, What nonsense is that fool talking? Will the bell never ring for prayers? We have an eminent lady of this stamp in our country, who pretends to amusements very much ahove the rest of her sex. She never carries a white shock-dog with bells under her arm, nor a squirrel or dorniouse in her pocket, but always an abridged piece of morality to steal out when she is sure of being observed. When she went to the famous ass-race, (which I must confess was but an odd diversion to be encouraged by people of rank and figure) it was not, like other ladies, to hear those poor animals bray, nor to see fellows run naked, or to hear country squires in bob wigs and white girdles make love at the side of a coach, and cry, Madam, this is dainty weather.' Thus she described the diversion; for she went only to pray heartily that nobody might be hurt in the crowd, and 10 see if the poor fellow's face, which was distorted with grivning, might any way be brought to itself again. She never chats over her tea, but covers her face, and is supposed in an ejaculation before she tastes a sup. This ostentatious behaviour is such an offence to true sanctity, that it disparages it, and makes virtue not only unamiable, but also ridiculous. The sacred writings are full of reflections which abhor this kind of conduct; and a devotee is so far from promoting goodness, that she deters others by her example. Folly and vanity in one of these ladies, is like vice in a clergymau; it does not only debase him, but makes the inconsiderate part of the world think the worse of religion.
EULOGY ON NEEDLE WORK.
longum cantu solata laborem Arguta conjux percurrit pectine telus.
VIRG. mean time at home The good wife singing plies the various loom.
WHAT a delightful entertainment must it be to the
fair sex, whom their vative modesty and the tenderness of men towards them, exempt from public business, to pass their hours in imitating fruits and flowers, and transplanting all the beauties of nature into their own dress, or raising a new creation in their closets and apartments. How pleasing is the amnisement of walking among the shades and groves planted by themselves, in surveying heroes slain by their needle, or little Cupids which they bave brought into the world without pain!
This is, methinks, the most proper way wherein a lady can show a fine genius, and I cannot forbear wishing, that several writers of that sex had chosen to apply themselves rather to tapestry than rhyme. Your pastoral poetesses may vent their fancy in rural land. scapes, and place despairing shepherds under silken willows, or drown them in a stream of mohair. The heroic writers may work up battles as successfully, and inflame them with gold or stain them with crim
Even those who have only a turn to a song or an epigram, may put many valuable stitches into a p!ırse, and crowd a thousand graces into a pair of garters. If I may,
without breach of good manners, imagine that any pretty creature is void of genius, and would perform her part therein but very awkwardly, I must nevertheless insist upon her working, if it be only to keep her out of harm's way.
Another argument for basying good women in
works of fancy, is, because it takes them off from scan. dal, the usual attendant of tea-tables, and all other unactive scenes of life. While they are forming their birds and beasts, their neighbours will be allowed to be fathers of their own children: and Whig and Tory will be but seldom inentioned, where the great dispute is, whether blue or red is the more proper color. How much greater glory would Sophronia do the general, if she would choose rather to work the Battle of Blenheim in tapestry, than signalize herself with so much vehemence against those who are Frenchmen in their hearts.
A third reason that I shall mention, is the profit that is brought to the family where these pretty arts are encouraged. It is manifest that this way of life not only keeps fair ladies from running out into expenses, but is at the same time an actual improvement. How memorable would that matron be, who shall have it subscribed upon her monument, “ That she wrought out the whole Bible in tapestry, and died in a good old age, after having covered three hundred yards of wall in the mansion house."
The premises being considered, I humbly subnit the following proposals to all mothers in Great Britain.
I. That no young virgin whatsoever be allowed to receive the addresses of her first lover, but in a suit of her own embroidering.
II. That before every fresh humble servant, she be obliged to appear with a new stomacher at the least.
III. That no one be actually married until she hath the child-bed, pillows, &c. ready slitched, as likewise the mantle for the boy quite finished.
These laws, if I mistake not, would effectually restore the decayed art of needle-work, and make the virgins of Great Britain exceedingly nimble-fingered in their business.
There is a memorable castom of the Grecian ladies in this particular, preserved in Homer, which I hope will have a good effect with my country-women. A