Page images

overwhelmed by fome refiftlefs paffion. We then foon difcover, that difficulty is, for the most part, the daughter of idlenefs, that the obftacles with which our way feemed to be obftructed were only phantoms, which we believed real, because we durst not advance to a clofe examination; and we learn that it is impoffible to determine without experience how much conftancy may endure, or perseverance perform.

But, whatever pleasure may be found in the review of diftreffes when art or courage has furmounted them, few will be perfuaded to wish that they may be awakened by want or terrour to the conviction of their own abilities. Every one fhould therefore endeavour to invigorate himself by reafon and reflection, and determine to exert the latent force that nature may have repofed in him, before the hour of exigence comes upon him, and compulfion fhall torture him to diligence. It is below the dignity of a reasonable being to owe that strength to neceffity which ought always to act at the call of choice, or to need any other motive to industry than the defire of performing his duty.

Reflections that may drive away despair, cannot be wanting to him who confiders how much life is now advanced beyond the `ftate of naked, undif ciplined, uninftructed nature. Whatever has been effected for convenience or elegance, while it was yet unknown, was believed impoffible; and therefore would never have been attempted, had not fome, more daring than the reft, adventured to bid defiance

defiance to prejudice and cenfure. Nor is there yet any reafon to doubt that the fame labour would be rewarded with the fame fuccefs. There are qualities in the products of nature yet undiscovered, and combinations in the powers of art yet untried. It is the duty of every man to endeavour that fomething may be added by his industry to the hereditary aggregate of knowledge and happiness. To add much can indeed be the lot of few, but to add fomething, however little, every one may hope; and of every honest endeavour, it is certain, that, however unfuccefsful, it will be at laft rewarded.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

NUMB. 130.

SATURDAY, June 15, 1751.

Non fic prata novo vere decentia
Eftatis calida difpoliat vapor,
Sevit folftitio cum medius dies ;-
Ut fulgor teneris qui radiat genis
Momento rapitur, nullaque non dies
Formofi fpolium corporis abftulit.
Res eft forma fugax. Quis fapiens bono
Confidat fragili?

Not fafter in the fummer's ray
The fpring's frail beauty fades away,
Than anguish and decay confume
The fmiling virgin's rofy bloom.
Some beauty's fnatch'd each day, each hour;

For beauty is a fleeting flow'r :
Then how can wisdom e'er confide
In beauty's momentary pride?





You have very lately obferved that in the nu-
merous fubdivifions of the world, every class
and order of mankind have joys and forrows of their
own; we all feel hourly pain and pleafure from
events which pass unheeded before other eyes, but
can scarcely communicate our perceptions to minds
pre-occupied by different objects, any more than the
delight of well-difpofed colours or harmonious founds
can be imparted to fuch as want the fenfes of hearing
or of fight.

[ocr errors]

I am fo ftrongly convinced of the juftnefs of this remark, and have on fo many occafions difcovered with how little attention pride looks upon calamity of which the thinks herself not in danger, and indolence liftens to complaint when it is not echoed by her own remembrance, that though I am about to lay the occurrences of my life before you, I question whether you will condefcend to peruse my narrative, or, without the help of fome female fpeculatist, be able to understand it.

I was born a beauty. From the dawn of reason I had my regard turned wholly upon myself, nor can recollect any thing earlier than praise and admiration. My mother, whofe face had luckily advanced her to a condition above her birth, thought no evil fo great as deformity. She had not the power of imagining any other defect than a cloudy complexion, er difproportionate features; and therefore contemplated me as an affemblage of all that could raise envy or defire, and predicted with triumphant fondness the extent of my conquests, and the number of my flaves.

She never mentioned any of my young acquaintance before me, but to remark how much they fell below my perfection; how one would have had a fine face, but that her eyes were without luftre; how another ftruck the fight at a diftance, but wanted my hair and teeth at a nearer view; another difgraced an elegant shape with a brown fkin; fome had fhort fingers, and others dimples in a wrong place.

As the expected no happiness nor advantage but from beauty, the thought nothing but beauty worthy of her care; and her maternal kindness was chiefly



exercifed in contrivances to protect me from any accident that might deface me with a fcar, or ftain me with a freckle fhe never thought me fufficiently fhaded from the fun, or fcreened from the fire. She was fevere or indulgent with no other intention than the preservation of my form; fhe excufed me from work, left I fhould learn to hang down my head, or harden my finger with a needle; fhe fnatched away my book, becaufe a young lady in the neighbour. hood had made her eyes red with reading by a candle; but fhe would fcarcely fuffer me to eat, left I fhould fpoil my fhape, nor to walk, left I fhould fwell my ancle with a sprain. At night I, was accurately furveyed from head to foot, left I fhould have fuffered any diminution of my charms in the adventures of the day; and was never permitted to fleep till I had paffed through the cofmetick difcipline, part of which was a regular luftration performed with bean-flower water and May-dews; my hair was perfumed with variety of unguents, by fome of which it was to be thickened, and by others to be curled. The foftness of my hands was fecured by medicated gloves, and my bofom rubbed with a pomade prepared by my mother, of virtue to difcufs pimples, and clear difco lorations.


I was always called up early, because the morning air gives a freshness to the cheeks; but I was placed behind a curtain in my mother's chamber, because the neck is easily tanned by the rifing fun. I was then dreffed with a thoufand precautions, and again heard my own praises, and triumphed in the compliments and prognoftications of all that approached



« PreviousContinue »