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University of Adelaide
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My Two former Volumes of Novels having met with a favourable Reception, (much beyond their Desert) encourages me to perform my Promise in pursuing The Sequel of Galesia's Story.
But I doubt my Reader will say, Why so long about it? And why a History reduc'd into Patches? especially since Histories at Large are so Fashionable in this Age; viz. Robinson Crusoe, and Moll Flanders; Colonel Jack, and Sally Salisbury; with many other Heroes and Heroines? Why, truly, as to the First, I had lost my Galesia, she being gone from St. Germains, and I retir'd into an obscure Corner of the World. As to the Second, you'll find in the following Pages, by what Steps and Means it was framed into this Method. And now, having given you this Account, I think I ought to say something in Favour of Patch-Work, the better to recommend it to my Female Readers, as well in their Discourse, as their Needle-Work: Which I might do with Justice, if my Genius were capable: But indeed, I am not much of an Historian; but in the little I have read, I do not remember any thing recorded relating to Patch-Work, since the Patriarch Joseph, (whose Garment was of sundry Colours) by which means it has not been common in all Ages; and 'tis certain, the Uncommonness of any Fashion, renders it acceptable to the Ladies.
And I do not know but this may have been the chief Reason why our Ladies, in this latter Age, have pleas'd themselves with this sort of Entertainment; for, whenever one sees a Set of Ladies together, their Sentiments are as differently mix'd as the Patches in their Work: To wit, Whigs and Tories, High-Church and Low-Church, Jacobites and Williamites, and many more Distinctions, which they divide and sub-divide, 'till at last they make this Dis-union meet in an harmonious Tea-Table Entertainment. This puts me in mind of what I have heard some Philosophers assert, about the Clashing of Atoms, which at last united to compose this glorious Fabrick of the Universe.
Forgive me, kind Reader, for carrying the Metaphor too high; by which means I am out of my Sphere, and so can say nothing of the Male Patch-Workers; for my high Flight in Favour of the Ladies, made a mere Icarus of me, melted my Wings, and tumbled me Headlong down, I know not where. Nevertheless my Fall was amongst a joyful Throng of People of all Ages, Sexes, and Conditions! who were rejoycing at a wonderful Piece of Patch-Work they had in Hand; the Nature of which was such, as was to compose (as it were) a New Creation, where all Sorts of People were to be Happy, as if they had never been the Off-spring of fallen Adam.
I was greatly rejoyc'd at this my Fall, when I found my self amongst these happy Undertakers, and hop'd to unite my-self in their Confraternity; but they finding some Manuscript Ballads in my Pocket, rejected me as one of that Race of Mortals who live on a certain barren Mountain 'till they are turn'd into Camelions; so I was forc'd to get away, every one hunching and pushing me, with Scorn and Derision. However, as the Sequel prov'd, I had no small Reason to rejoice at being thus used; for soon after, their Patch-Work Scheme, by carrying the Point too high, was blown up about their Ears, and vanish'd into Smoke and Confusion; to the utter Ruin of many Thousands of the Unhappy Creatures therein concern'd.
When I was got out of this Throng into the open Field, I met with the poor Galesia, walking to stretch her Legs, having been long sitting at her Work. With her I renew'd my Old Acquaintance; and so came to know all this Story of her Patch-Work: Which if you like, I will get the remaining Part of the Screen; for they are still at Work: And, upon my Word, I am glad to find the Ladies of This Age, wiser than Those of the Former; when the working of Point and curious Embroidery, was so troublesome, that they cou'd not take Snuff in Repose, for fear of soiling their Work: But in Patch-Work there is no Harm done; a smear'd Finger does but add a Spot to a Patch, or a Shade to a Light-Colour: Besides, those curious Works were pernicious to the Eyes; they cou'd not see the Danger themselves and their Posterity might be in, a Thousand Years hence, about I know not what — But I will inquire against the next Edition; therefore, be sure to buy these Patches up quickly, if you intend to know the Secret; thereby you'll greatly oblige the Bookseller, and, in some degree, the Author. Who is,
Your humble Servant,
When we parted from Galesia last, it was in St. Germain's Garden; and now we meet with her in England, travelling in a Stage-Coach from London Northward; where she had the Luck to meet with good Company, who entertained each other agreeably with Things indifferent, suitable to the Times; thereby beguiling the Tediousness of the Way, and the tiresome Rocking of the Vehicle they were in, 'till they came where the Road extended it-self between Two Woods, a Place well known for the many Robberies which had been there committed.
Here our Passengers began to fear it was now their Turn to be rifled of what they had, especially when they saw divers Horsemen, well mounted, crossing the Way backward and forward, in and out of the Woods, whooping and hollowing to one another; 'till the Sight of a Huntsman with his Horn, and a Pack of Hounds rushing out of the Wood, in Pursuit of a Hare which was gone a little while before, eas'd them of their Apprehensions, and convinc'd them, That the Horsemen they had seen, were only some of the Gentry of that Neighbourhood, diverting themselves with their Dogs. However, this Accident put them in Mind of many criminal Adventures and Robberies, which they related, one Story bringing on another, as is usual amongst Company; some of which, perhaps, will not be disagreeable to the Reader; and therefore I shall insert them here; beginning with the following, as related by one of the Gentlemen.
A certain Robber that lived in Wales, knowing the Day of Shrewsbury-Fair, came down from the Mountains in the Night, that he might be at the Town early enough to slip no Opportunity that might be to his Advantage; the Graziers-Fair beginning early in most Places, and it being the Business of Cheats and Robbers to watch who buys, and who sells, who receives Money, and where they carry or deposite it.
When he was got within Eight or Ten Miles of Shrewsbury, he saw grazing in a Farmer's Ground a Yoke or two of large Fat Oxen; these he thought would be ready Money at the Fair, and accordingly drove them away, 'till he came to a Publick House in the Road, near the Town, where he called to drink, and asked the Landlord, If he had any Pasturage, where he might graze his Oxen a while, to plump them so as to make them appear better at the Fair? Hereupon the Landlord put them in a very good Pasture just by his House; and then our Mountainier went into the Fair, amongst the Farmers and Graziers, and met with a Chapman, who was buying from one Farmer to another, in order to make up his Droves; so our Thief told him, That he had some very good Oxen feeding just without the Town-Gate, where he had left them to rest a while, they being heavy and weary. The Grazier went readily along with him, and, in few Words, bargained for the Beasts, paid down the Money, and, finding the Pasture good, desired the Landlord to let them rest there, and he would send more to them, 'till he had compleated his Drove: So both went their Way, one about his Honest Calling, the other to pursue his Wicked Projects.
What other Advantage this Thief made at the Fair, is not come to our Knowledge: But having taken Notice of a very pretty Mare that ran in the same Ground with the Oxen, he thought he would not miss that Booty, and went in the Evening to the same House, ordering a good Supper, and treated himself and his Landlord very well. In the Night he got up, and having remarked where a Bridle and Saddle hung, he went into the Ground, took the Mare, and away he rode, 'till he arrived pretty near the Place where he had taken the Oxen. He there met the Owner of them, who inquir'd of him concerning his Beasts, (as he had done all about those Parts, of every one he met) describing to him their Age, Shape, and Marks. To which our Thief reply'd, That in such a Ground, belonging to such a Man, near Shrewsbury, there were just such Oxen as he described. The Farmer, overjoy'd to hear of his Cattle, began to lament that his Horse was so ridden down, that he fear'd, he would not be able to carry him to Shrewsbury. Ah me! said he, if I had my good Horse I was bid Money for t'other Day, he would have done my Business. The Mountainier presently formed another Cheat in his Head, and seem'd to pity the good Man, telling him, He would lend him that Mare on which he rode, provided he would give him some Mark or Token, by which he might have the Horse he mentioned. The Farmer, much rejoyced hereat, told him, That he should go to his Wife, and give her that tired Horse, and bid her deliver the bald Horse which was in the Stable; by the same Token, That he was bid Ten Guineas for him such a Day, she being by, making up her Batter. By these punctual Tokens, the Thief got the good Horse, and away he rode to the Mountains with his Booty.
And now let us follow the Farmer; who soon arrived at the Place where his Oxen were grazing; and challenging them, the Landlord refus'd to deliver them, as not being put there by him; and, on the other Hand, seiz'd his Mare, and the Farmer for the Thief that stole her. This created a great deal of Trouble between the Landlord, the honest Farmer, and the Grazier who had bought the Beasts; and, one may suppose, took up much Time and Money before the Right could be understood. But, in Conclusion,
From whence, I suppose, said the Gentleman, arose that Proverb.
The Gentleman having thus finish'd his Proverbial-Story, another of the Company was incited thereby to call to Mind a Proverbial-Story of later Date; but first asked the Company, If they knew how ill-dress'd Perukes came to be called Kaxtons? To whom all answering No; he began his Story as follows.
There is, said he, a good Farm-House just by the Road near Kaxton; the honest Master of which, having, at some Market or Fair, received Money for Goods he had sold, was telling it over on Saturday Night, and put up in a Bag as much as would pay his Half-Year's Rent, telling his Man, That on Monday he should carry it to his Landlord; and, at the same Time, ordered his Labourer, (who was then receiving his Wages) to be sure to come early on Monday-Morning to take Care of the Yard, while his Man was out.
Next Day, being Sunday, the Young Man went, in the Afternoon, to visit and divert himself amongst his Friends and Companions; and coming home a little late, he found the Gates shut fast, that he could not get in; and knowing that his Mistress Lay-in, he would not make a Noise by knocking, lest it should disturb or fright her, but went quietly away, and lay with some of his Companions.
Next Morning he came again, thinking to go about his Business, but found all fast shut still; and though he knock'd often and loud, could make No body hear: He saunter'd about 'till towards Noon, and still it was the same; no Noise was to be heard but the Herds lowing in the Yard for Fodder. Hereupon he went to the Town, and informed several People of the Matter, who all agreed to take a Constable and some of the best of the Parish, and if they could make No-body hear by knocking, e'en to break open the Gates and Doors, and see what should be the Matter; some conjecturing one thing, some another; but most concluding with the Servant, That the good Man was gone to carry his Rent, and the good Woman fallen into some grievous Fit, if not dead.
In short, They broke open the Gates, and while some went to force the House-Doors, others proceeded to the Barn for Straw to throw into the Cribs, and there they beheld the most amazing Sight imaginable; the Good Man and his Wife both murder'd on the Floor, and two Forks broken! Hereupon, they went towards the House, and passing cross the Yard, they saw the Child's Swath dropt, and when they came into the House, found the Babe in the Cradle, with its Neck wrung behind it. They proceeded then to search the House; The Goods all remain'd; but the Money, and divers Silver Things, as Spoons, Porringers, Cups, and the like, were gone.
Upon due Consideration, they suspected the Labourer, he being no where to be found; Hereupon Hue-and-Cries were sent forth, every way describing his Person, Age, and Cloaths: But all in vain; no News could be heard. The Manner of the Murder, they conjectur'd, was on this wise: That the Labourer was in the Barn, and when the good Man went to give his Beasts Fodder, the Villain fell upon him, and he resisting, caus'd the two Forks to be broke. The poor Woman sitting in the House with her Child on her Lap, hearing the Noise in the Barn, rose hastily, and clapping the Child in the Cradle, with its Clouts hanging loose about it, ran to the Barn, and dropt the Swath; which was found as aforesaid: And so met her poor Husband's Fate.
Thus Things pass'd without Discovery for Seven Years, all which Time the Villain liv'd beyond Sea. At the Seven Years End, thinking the Matter might be forgot, he came into England, and being a North-country Man, directed his Journey towards Kaxton; And calling at an Alehouse in a Village near that Town to drink and rest himself, it so happen'd, that the Master of the House was Constable at the Time he fled, when the Hue-and Cries were after him; and now, in Seven Years Time, the Office having been round the Village, was come to him again. By what Spirit or Genius this Constable was inspired, cannot be guess'd; but so it was, he thought this Man answer'd the Character of the Hue-and-Cry which came to his Hands Seven Years before, of which, perhaps, he had the Copy by him; Wherefore, by Virtue of his Office, he seiz'd him, and carry'd him before a Justice, who examin'd and committed him: But the Crime of which he was suspected being committed Southward, near Kaxton, he was conveyed thither to be Try'd; At what Time, there were many Witnesses appear'd to testify that he was the Labourer in that Farmyard, when this Murder was committed; all which he most stedfastly deny'd, protesting, that he never was there in his Life, nor knew the Place. At last, the Servant of that Farm, who knew him very well by his Face and Speech, added one Circumstantial more, saying, That the Man who then thrash'd in the Barn, had a Running-Sore on his Side; which, said he, I have divers times help'd him to dress; so that if the Sore should be heal'd, there must needs be a Scar. Hereupon the Part being search'd, and the Scar plainly appearing, he could no longer oppose or deny so manifest a Truth. He was hang'd in Chains by the Road-side near Kaxton; an Example of the most vile Cruelty that could be committed.
There happen'd to pass some Cambridge Scholars that Way to visit some Friends thereabouts; and the Weather being a little turbulent, the Wind and Wet so discompos'd their Wiggs, that when they came in, they fancy'd them to look like that on the Head of the Hang'd Man. This Fancy they carry'd back with them to Cambridge, and there broach'd it amongst the Youth of their Time; which, by Degrees, spread over the Nation. Afterwards, by reason of many of our young Gentlemen going into the Wars in divers and distant Countries, this Fancy was carried with them, so that in most Parts of Europe, to this Day, an ill-dress'd Wigg is call'd
According to the usual Proverb as aforesaid, One Story begets another, so it happen'd amongst this Company: The next Gentleman said, That forasmuch as the two former had embellish'd their Stories by Proverbs, he would not offer to the Company a Relation but what he knew to be Truth.
There was, said he, a certain Gentleman of Distinction, who at his Death, left three Daughters Coheiresses, under the Guardianship of their Uncle his Brother. The Gentleman being dead, the young Ladies, by Advice of their Uncle, broke up House, and sold their Goods, in order to put themselves into Places of polite Education, thereby to improve themselves before they entred into a Married State.
In order to which, their Family was retrench'd, Servants paid off, and Goods sold; And every Thing being thus dispos'd, and they ready to leave the House, there came one Evening, a Gentleman that had lost his Way, and, driven by ill Weather, begg'd Refuge at this House. The young Ladies were fearful to receive him, their Family being small, and the Situation distant from Neighbours: But Commiseration of the Gentleman's distrest Condition moving them, at last they entertain'd him very kindly, made a handsome Supper, and lodg'd him in a good Room; but withal, took Care to fasten his Door, and all Passages that led to it, in order to secure themselves from any wicked Intention he might possibly have to let in any Gang of Villains to destroy or disturb them: And, for their better Security, they resolv'd not to go to Bed that Night; but sate up, often descanting on their Folly, in having admitted this Stranger, which was the Cause of their Discomposure. Then would they reflect on his Horse, Pistols, and Accoutrements, all which, they fancy'd, had more the Air of an Highway-man, than a solitary unfortunate Traveller. Then again, they would reflect on the Genteelness of his Person and Behaviour; the Honesty and Integrity of his Countenance; the Agreeableness of his Discourse, all tending to Vertue and Honesty, and adorn'd with Wit and good Humour.
Thus, Pro and Con, they entertain'd and rejected their Fears, 'till after Midnight; and then their wavering Apprehensions were turn'd into a substantial thorow Fright; for they heard at the Drawing-room Door, which open'd into the Garden, a Noise of breaking open; which made them presently conclude it to be some of the Traveller's Companions, who, because he could not let 'em in, being fast lock'd up, had betaken themselves to this forcible Entry.
Thus being frighted, distressed, and distracted; they went to see what was become of the Traveller; but they peeping and listening at the Door, could perceive nothing, but that he was fast asleep; Whereupon they took Courage, enter'd his Chamber, awak'd him, and told him their Distress. He immediately got up, took his Sword and Pistols, went with them to the Drawing-Room, and found the Door almost ready to give the Villains Entrance: The Door and the Jaumb being shatter'd, the Gentleman had the better Opportunity to let fly at them; which he did, and with such Success, that one of them fell down dead, or sore wounded; and the others had enough to do to get him away, and themselves off clear.
We may imagine how they spent the rest of the Night; the least Part of which, we may suppose, pass'd in Sleep. Next Morning, they earnestly invited the Traveller to stay with them the coming Day, to prevent any farther Frights, though, we may reasonably suppose, they provided themselves of Assistance for the ensuing Night. The Gentleman was too Generous to refuse their Request, at least for a Day, hoping their Spirits, which were greatly disorder'd by the Night's Distractions, might be restored in that Time.
They had scarce din'd, when a Messenger came from their Uncle, who liv'd about Four Miles off, to invite them to his Son's Funeral the next Day. They were greatly surprized at this sudden and unexpected News; and divers Questions they ask'd the Messenger; testified much Grief for the Death of their dear Cousin; promis'd to go and pay that last Respect to his Memory; and with many dutiful and compassionate Services to their Uncle, dismiss'd the Messenger.
Then they desir'd the Traveller to go along with them on the Morrow, that they might present him to their Uncle, as the Author of their Safety. He was not hard to be persuaded to defer his Journey, or suspend his Business; Beauty and Fortunes being always most powerful Rhetoricians.
In short, he went along with them; where, we will suppose, they found all the Desolation suitable to such an Occasion. The Ladies desired to see their Cousin, e'er he was interr'd; but he was fasten'd up before they came: This increas'd the Gentleman's Suspicion, who having laid many Ends together, began greatly to believe there was some foul Play. Wherefore, without saying a Word, he went to some Officers of Justice, which he brought along with him, and commanded the Coffin to be open'd, and the Corps search'd: In so doing, they found a Wound in the Body, which had been his Death; upon which surprizing Spectacle, the whole Family was seized; And now, being in the Hands of Justice, the old Man's Grief and Remorse would not permit him to conceal any-thing; but he freely and openly own'd, That he and his Son design'd to murder the young Ladies, and so become Lords of their Inheritance.
This free Confession soon put a Period to his Afflictions, by the Help of a Shameful Death; and the young Gentleman, who was a younger Brother, made his Fortune and himself Happy in the Marriage of one of the Ladies. And thus, according to the Proverb,
The Company having return'd the Gentleman Thanks, told Galesia, That they hop'd she had some Story or Adventure wherewith to oblige them. To which she reply'd, That, truly, she had pass'd so many Years out of England, that she should be obliged to conduct their Attention as far as Paris. And so proceeded.
I suppose, said she, you all know there is a great Fair, in the Fauxbourgh Saint Germains at Paris, kept at a certain Time of the Year; wherein there are, besides all sorts of Merchandize, Shews, Games, and Raffling, & c.
Hither it was that a Gentlewoman and I were going, a little to divert ourselves amongst other Holy-day Fools, and passing through Luxembourg-Garden, we sate down on a Bench, a-while to rest ourselves: Where, regarding the well-built House of Luxembourg, wherein lived the Princess Madamoiselle de Monpensier, we began to reflect on the Folly of that Lady, for adhering to the Rebels in the King's Minority, and how unfortunate she had made herself in having lost his Majesty's Favour for so doing. Whilst we were in this Discourse, a Gentleman of our own Country came to us, and asked, If we were design'd for the Fair? We told him Yes. There has been, said he, a great Bustle in the Fair to Day. Whereupon we desired him to sit down, and tell us what was the Occasion.
Last Night, said he, there were Gentlemen raffled in a Booth 'till it was pretty late. At last, the Losers having pretty well emptied their Pockets, departed. He that was the chief Winner, was also about to go; but the Master of the Booth dissuaded him, telling him, That there were many Spies about the Fair, taking Notice of those that were Winners; and when they went away, took Opportunity to rob, and sometimes murder them: And you, Sir, continued he, having won considerable, will be in Danger; wherefore, I beg you to remain here 'till Day-light. The Gentleman found the Advice very reasonable, and sate himself down in an Easy-Chair, and bid them make him a Pot of Chocolate, and he would there get a little Sleep.
So said, so done; but in the Chocolate, they put a good Dose of Opium; and when he was fallen into a sound Sleep, they murder'd him, cut him in Pieces, and carry'd him out to a Common Shore, into which they threw him.
In the Morning, a Foot of him was seen by Passengers, who calling Officers of Justice, got out the Body Piece-meal as it was, as also the Head; and amongst all this, a Plate, which was writ on, belonging to such a Cook.
The Cook and his Family were hereupon seiz'd and examined, who knew nothing of the Matter, but call'd to Mind to whom they had sent out Meat that Day, and who had, or had not return'd the Plates. At last the People of the foresaid Booth were seiz'd and examin'd: Conscience, which flew in their Faces, would not permit them to deny it much: The Maid own'd, that she carried the Head out upon a Plate, which Plate slipp'd out of her Hands when she threw the Head into the Common Shore.
Thus Four of our Passengers told their melancholy Stories, which the Danger of the Road had first brought into their Memories. There was a Fifth, a young Lady Daughter to one of the Gentlemen: so they ask'd, If she had not a Story wherewith to oblige the Company? To which she reply'd, That she had no Story of that kind; being but, lately come out of a Nunnery, (where her Father had plac'd her for a safe Education, Death having depriv'd her of her Mother); but she would relate a Transaction which happen'd in the said Convent.
There was a beautiful young Lady said she, and a Gentleman, suitable in Years, Quality, and all other Accomplishments of Mind and Person, who contracted a mutual Affection for each other; but the Gifts of Fortune were not such as could probably make them happy; for which Reason, the Parents on both Sides oppos'd their Espousals.
The young Lady, finding that she could not give her Person to him to whom she had surrender'd her Affections, implored the Favour of her Parents, to let her enter into a Convent, where, amongst those holy Votaries, she might endeavour to overcome her Passion. Her Friends consented to the Proposal, concluding that Time and perpetual Absence might give her that Tranquility which could not be had otherwise.
Our young Lady being in the Convent, began to be charm'd with that devout and heavenly Way of Living: Such Regularity and Exactitude in their Religious Performances: Such Patience; such Obedience: Such Purity of Manners; by which those holy Souls climb to Heaven; that, considering the Difficulty, or rather, Impossibility of ever possessing her Cavalier, she resolved to bury all Thoughts of him, together with her own Beauty, under a holy Veil: To which her Friends giving Consent, though very unwillingly, she betook herself to a Religious Habit, in order to perform her Time of Probation. In the mean time, our Cavalier was ingaged in the Army far distant, both performing their Duties according to their Stations.
And now, behold the Vicissitude of Human Affairs: Our Cavalier, by his valiant and noble Atchievements, was advanc'd to great Honours in the Army, and at the same Time he had an Uncle dy'd, who left him an Estate that seem'd to put him above the Reach of adverse Fortune; and not knowing the Fate of his Beloved Mistress, he returned Home, not fearing any Obstacle in his Addresses, (after such Acquisitions of Glory and Fortune) either from the young Lady or her Parents.
But, alas! when he came and found his dear Mistress ingaged in a Religious Order, how great his Affliction was, is hard to describe. Ah! said he, had she been taken Prisoner by the Turk, one might hope, by Valour or Money, for her Inlargement: or had she been married to some old unworthy Rival, Time or Death might provide her a Release; or was she confin'd or forbidden by the Caprice of humoursome Parents, Respect, Duty, and Indearments to them, might gain not only their Consent, but their Affections. But, as it is, (O wretched as I am! unfortunate and miserable!) I am not only deprived of all Hopes of injoying her, but of ever seeing her; Nor can so much as the least Line from me reach her Hands; Nay, so unhappy I am, that it is said to be a Crime in me even to complain to my-self. Unhappy that I am! to have mov'd and acted in Showers of Bullets untouch'd, and now to sink under the most incurable of all Wounds! I coveted the Glory of Conquest, and the Riches of Reward, for no other End, but to render me more acceptable to her, and her Parents. I have no Taste of the Glory of Victory, or the Pleasure of Plenty, since she is not to be Copartner in my Glory or Abundance.
These and a thousand such Lamentations he utter'd when alone, or only in the hearing of a little pretty Hugonot-Page, which he had taken whilst in the Army, who hearing his Complaints, took the Liberty to speak to his Master, telling him, That he doubted not but by his Means he might find a way to correspond with this his Religious Mistress, and know, at least, whether she had thus sequester'd her self from him out of real Devotion, or the Persuasions of her Parents, or Despair of the Continuation of his Kindness; for the last of which he thought she had no Reason; for though he was long absent, and far distant, yet he had not fail'd to give her perpetual Assurances in Writing, not reflecting how difficult, if not impossible, it is in those Places for Letters to come to the Hands of the Beloved. But to return to our Page:
The Master and he agreed, that he should be dress'd like a Girl, and put into that Convent, to be educated in good Manners, and instructed in Religion. This they contriv'd with the utmost Dexterity, and executed with Success. And now behold our Page-Damsel is got into the Convent with full Instructions from his Master, to the young Nun, or rather Novice; for, as Luck was, she was not yet profess'd, though she had been there above a Year; the Order of that House requiring Two Years Probation.
And here the young Gentlewoman who related the Story, read to us the following Letter, which the Cavalier intrusted to the young Hugonot, which, she said, she had procured a Copy of.
I cannot tell whether Grief or Surprize have the greatest Share in my Breast, to find you ingaged in a State so absolutely destructive to my Happiness; but both exceed all Degrees of Comparison. Ah! my fair and dear Creature, how could you be so cruel to your self and me! For I flatter my-self, it was and is a Cruelty to You as well as to Me your fond Lover: I say, How could you abandon me to Despair? In which I would say (if I durst) that you are not only Unkind, but Criminal: For you ought not thus to have given yourself away without my Consent or Knowledge. Recollect, how often you have assured me of your Affections, and everlasting Love; and that the only Objection you or your Parents had against our Espousals, was Narrowness of Fortune. But that Objection being remov'd, you ought to be wholly Mine; You ought not to give away that which is not your own. Stollen Goods are an unworthy, nay, an impious Offering to Heaven. King Saul sav'd that which was none of his, to sacrifice to the Lord, and how unacceptable it was, I desire you to consider, and make the Application.
Think on these Things, my Bright, my Fair, my Dear Charmer: And think what Injustice you do me, every Moment you deprive me of your Person. And, believe it, you are but a Murderer, as long as you seclude yourself from me, who cannot live without you: Therefore, bethink yourself of the Injury you do me; and repair all, by the Surrender of your Person to me, who have the True and Real, though not the common Legal Right to alledge.
The young Lady that gives you this, will take Measures with you; Take Courage then, my dearest Life! to put in Practice what is so well contrived; and so make Happy the most Faithful of Lovers, even
Your Constant and Passionate,
This Letter our young Hugonot found an Opportunity, to deliver, though with great Difficulty; for in those Houses they correspond very little, but live in Solitude and Silence, nor ever go into each other's Cells, those Places being the Recesses for solitary Meditation: But more especially the Religious Dames converse not with the young Ladies who are there for Education, except those that are placed over them, as Teachers and Governesses. Nevertheless, our fair Messenger, found some lucky Moment to deliver the Letter, and recount to her the Griefs her Cavalier suffer'd for her sake, the many Sighs he breath'd, the many Tears he shed, and Groans he utter'd, with continual Languishing in Discontent and Despair; All which so touch'd our Novice, that she began to regret what she had done, and to wish she could find a Way, handsomely and without Contempt, to undo what she had done.
Millions of Things she revolved in her Mind, discuss'd the Matter between the poor State of a Religious Life, destitute of all Comforts, and those Pleasures which are to be found in a Plentiful Fortune, with a noble young Husband, honour'd with Wreaths of martial Glory; In all which she made her own Inclinations Arbitrator between Heaven and Earth, God and the World, & c. — After many Debates with herself, she wrote to her Cavalier as follows.
Your Letter has so ruffled my whole Interior, that I know not how to write common Sense: Therefore, if my Answer be unintelligible, blame me not, for I am utterly lost in an Abyss of Confusion: The Thoughts of breaking my holy Resolutions on one Hand, and the Sufferings which the keeping them, makes us both undergo, on the other, distracts me. My dear Chevalier! change your Reproaches into Pity: I will endeavour to repair my Faults: Faults! did I say? Ah me! it is a Crime, to call this my Religious Enterprize a Fault! My Thoughts, Words, Writings, on this Occasion, are Faults! The very Corresponding with the young Lady you placed here, is a Fault! Yet, a Fault so sweet, so delicious, that I cannot refrain, because she recounts a thousand tender Things of you; repeats your Sighs and Grief in such soft and melting Words and Accents, as would soften the most obdurate Heart.
Then, what Effect, think you, must it have on Mine, which is prepared to be set on Fire by the least Spark struck from your dear Assurances, which she most industriously blows into a Flame, not to be suppress'd by any devout Sighs, Tears, or other Religious Mortifications; by which I suffer a perpetual Martyrdom, and see no Way of Delivery, but by adhering to your Advice sent by her, and come to your Arms: Those dear glorious Arms! those Arms, that have honoured your Family, Friends, and Native Country! Those Arms, that have crown'd the Hero with Lawrels, and the Lover with Myrtles. Those Arms, that have greatly help'd to subdue the Enemies of France, and built Trophies in the Hearts of the Fair.
O! can I refuse my Hero? Can I refuse my Lover? Can I refuse my dear Chevalier? Indeed, I cannot! No, no, I cannot! I will not! The Temptation is too great to be resisted by frail Mortality.
Wherefore, my beloved Chevalier, I will comply with those Measures you and your young Hugonot have taken.
This Letter being writ, our Two young Ladies were greatly embarrass'd how to get it to the Cavalier's Hands: At last, they thought on the following Means. The Hugonot work'd a curious fine Purse, and begg'd Leave of the Abbess to present it to her Patron the Cavalier. So between the Lining and the Out-side they plac'd this Letter, writ on fine Paper and in a small Character, and so convey'd it to the Cavalier.
Now the Way, contriv'd to extricate the Fair Novice from the Convent, was thus; That the Cavalier should be present at the Altar, when she should come to take her Religious Vows; At what Time, she declar'd before the whole Congregation, That all the Vow she meant to take, should be in Holy Marriage to that Gentleman, taking him by the Hand. This surpriz'd the whole Congregation; in particular, her Parents, and the Quire of Nuns. Some blam'd the Boldness of that Proceeding, saying she might have gone out quietly and privately: Others prais'd the generous open Way she had taken. The Clergy, which were there assembled, all told her Parents, That they could not refuse their Consent, since she had demanded him at the Altar of God. All the Quality there (which were many, who came to assist and grace the Ceremony) said the same. The Parents were very well content, only wish'd she had proceeded otherwise, and not made herself the Publick Subject of a Nine Days Wonder.
In short, all were pleas'd, and the Marriage was accomplished to every Body's Satisfaction, except to that of the young Hugonot; Who came forth, and, on her Knees, begg'd Pardon for having deluded her Master; For, indeed, said she, I am not a Boy, as I pretended to be, but a foolish Girl, that took that Disguise upon me to be near your Person; that illustrious Person, which not only dazled the Eyes of me, an unthinking Maid, but which, joyn'd with your Noble Actions, made all Hearts rejoice. But when I came to be Witness of your Grief for this Lady, Pity and Generosity supplanted Affection, and made me undertake this Enterprize; for which, I humbly beg Pardon of all these holy Votaries; and that they will receive me a Member of their Pious Society; in which Station, I shall offer my daily Prayers for the Happiness and Prosperity of this Noble Couple.
This Discovery was a Surprize greater than the other; But there being many of the dignified Clergy as well as Quality, all interceded so, that, in short, the Nuns received the Hugonot; the Couple was married; and Things were brought to a happy Conclusion.
The Company return'd Thanks to the young Lady, for her diverting Story: And by this Time, the Coach was got to the Town, where the Company were all to alight, except Galesia, who was to go alone in the Coach to the End of the Stage. It happen'd, that there was another Stage-Coach stopp'd at the same Place, and set out at the same Time with hers; and whether the Bounty of the Passengers had over-filled the Heads of the Coachmen, or what other Freak, is unknown; but they drove the Two Coaches full Gallop, 'till they came to a Bridge, and there one Coach jostled the other so, that that in which was our Galesia, fell, together with its Horses, off the Bridge into the River.
By good Luck, this Bridge was at the Entry of a little Village, so that People hastened to their Assistance; some helping the Horses, some the Coach, and some with Difficulty getting out Galesia; Who however, when she was got out, found no Hurt, only was very wet: She was much pity'd by the good People; amongst whom there was a poor Woman took her under the Arm, and told her, she would conduct her to a House, where she might be accommodated with all Manner of Conveniences.
All wet and dropping, she got to this House, which was a poor Village-Ale-house; and a poor one indeed it was; It being Evening, the Woman of the House was gone out a Milking, so that the good Man could come at no Sheets, that she might have got rid of her wet Cloaths, by going to Bed; However, he laid on a large Country Faggot; so she sat and smoaked in her wet Cloaths, 'till the good Woman came; who hasten'd and got the Bed Sheeted, into which she gladly laid herself; but the poorest that her Bones ever felt, there being a few Flocks that stank; and so thin of the same, that she felt the Cords cut through. The Blankets were of Thread-bare Home-spun Stuff, which felt and smelt like a Pancake fry'd in Grease; There were Four Curtains at the Four Corners, from whence they could no more stir, than Curtains in a Picture; for there were neither Rods nor Ropes for them to run upon; no Testern, but the Thatch of the House; A Chair with a Piece of a Bottom, and a brown Chamberpot, furr'd as thick as a Crown Piece.
However, all this was a better Lodging than the Bottom of the River; and great and many Thanks were due to God for it. The good Woman was kind, and brought Galesia a good wooden Dish-full of boil'd Milk, well crumb'd with brown Barley-Bread; which she persuaded her to eat, to drive out the Cold. She took Care to get her Cloaths dry, and brought them to her, e'er she went a Milking. And notwithstanding all these Hardships, she got no Cold, Cough or Lameness; but arose well-refresh'd; took Leave of her Landlord and departed, directing her Steps and Intentions towards the Town were the Stage-Coach'd Inn'd.
But it so happen'd, in this her Journey, that she lost her Way, and got, she knew not how, into a fine Park, amongst Trees, Firs, Thickets, Rabbet-burrows, and such like; nor knew she where she was, nor which Way to go; but standing still a little while to consider, she heard a Tomtit sing in a Tree, as her musing Fancy made her imagine,
Sit thee down, sit thee down, sit thee down, sit.
At the same time looking on one Side, she saw a handsome Seat at a very little Distance, to which she went, and obey'd the threefold Advice. As she sat there to rest herself, revolving divers Thoughts, a little Hedge-Sparrow in a Bush, sung, Chear-up, Chear-up; Ah! poor Bird! said she, thou givest me good Counsel; but that is all thou hast to give; and bare Words help little to a hungry Stomach, and I know not where to fill mine, unless I could eat Grass like the Four-footed Beasts.
As she was in these Thoughts, a Crow sitting in a Tree, with a hoarse Voice, seem'd to say Good-Luck, Good-Luck! If thou art a true Prophet, said Galesia, the Birds of thy Colour, shall no more be counted Birds of Ill Omen, but the Painters shall put a long Tail to you, and the Poets shall call you Birds of Paradise.
As she was thus musing on the Language of the Birds, she heard a Noise of Hunting in the Park, Horns winding, Men hollowing, and calling Ringwood, Rockwood, ho! Boman! Blossom, ho. She then began to reflect how necessary this Diversion was: Alas! said she, if it was not for this, we might all lodge as bad as I did last Night. We are beholden to Ringwood and Jowler, for many a Dainty Morsel which Reynard would deprive us of, if it were not for this Pack of Allies, who oppose his Tyranny; Who otherwise would not only over-run the Woods, and Farmers Yards, 'till there is neither Cocks nor Hens, but would also ravage the Fens and Islands, the Habitations of Ducks and Geese; Then long live Ringwood, Rockwood, Boman and Jowler, by whose Industry we eat good Bits, and lie on good Beds.
Whilst Galesia was in these Cogitations, the Dogs and Hunters came very near where she was sitting; amongst whom, was a Lady, mounted on a beautiful Steed, who beginning to grow weary of the Chace, order'd her Servants to stop, and help her off her Horse, resolving to walk home over the Park, it being a fine smooth Walk betwixt two Rows of Lime trees, planted and grown in exact Form, agreeable to the Eye, pleasing to the Smell, and making a most delightful Shade. The Lady directing her Eyes and Steps towards this Walk, she saw Galesia sitting in the disconsolate Posture aforesaid, and being not a little surpriz'd to see a Gentlewoman all alone in that desolate Place, could not avoid interrogating her thereupon.
Galesia, in few and respectful Words, inform'd the Lady of her Disaster of being overthrown into the River the Day before, and her bad Lodging at Night, and her losing her Way that Morning, all which made her betake herself to that Seat. The Lady most courteously and charitably took her along with her to her House, which was a Noble Structure, situate in the midst of that Park. Here she entertain'd her very kindly; assuring her of all Assistance to convey her to the Place to which she was design'd, when she had rested and recover'd her Fatigue. In the mean Time, she diverted her, by shewing Galesia her Gardens, House, and glorious Appartments, adorn'd with rich Furniture of all Sorts; some were the Work of hers and her Husband's Ancestors, who delighted to imploy poor Gentlewomen, thereby to keep them from Distress, and evil Company, 'till Time and Friends could dispose Things for their better Settlement.
At last, the Lady shew'd her an Appartment embellish'd with Furniture of her own making, which was Patch-Work, most curiously compos'd of rich Silks, and Silver and Gold Brocades: The whole Furniture was compleated excepting a Screen, which the Lady and her Maids were going about. Her Ladyship told Galesia, She would take it kindly if her Affairs would permit her to stay with her some time, and assist her in her Screen. Which Invitation Galesia most gladly accepted, begging the Lady to send to the next Stage of the Coach and Carrier, for her Trunks and Boxes, which contained her Wearing-Cloaths. The Lady forthwith sent for the Things, hoping that therein they might find some Bits of one thing or other, that might be useful to place in the Screen. But when the Trunks and Boxes came, and were opened, alas! they found nothing but Pieces of Romances, Poems, Love-Letters, and the like: At which the good Lady smil'd, saying, She would not have her Fancy balk'd, and therefore resolved to have these ranged and mixed in due Order, and thereof compose a SCREEN.
And thus it came to pass, that the following SCREEN was compos'd.
The good Lady and Galesia being thus sate down to their Work, and the Trunks open'd, the first Thing they laid their Hands on, was a Piece of a Farce, which the Lady would have put by, for another Opportunity; and desired Galesia to begin where Lucasia and she broke off in St. Germains-Garden: To which Galesia readily comply'd without Hesitation.
HAVING disingag'd my Thoughts from Bosvil, said she, I had nothing to disturb my Tranquility, or hinder me from being Happy, but the Absence of my dear Brother, who was gone a second Time beyond Sea, to study at the University of Leyden, that being the Third Place where he endeavour'd to inrich his Mind; having before gathered a Treasure of Learning from those Two inexhaustible Fountains, Oxford and Paris: thereby to inable him to perform, what he shortly intended to practise, the Cure of Human Maladies; in which he began already to be known and esteemed.
It would be too tedious to give your Ladyship a Character of this excellent Man, whose Learning grac'd his natural Parts, and his vertuous Life was an Honour to his Learning. His Philosophy and Medicinal Science did not supplant Civility, but cultivated and inrich'd his natural pleasant Humour. He was in every thing a Gentleman and a Christian, so that Envy herself could not find a feeble Side whereon to plant her Batteries, to attack or deface that Esteem his Merits had rais'd in the Hearts of all that knew him; which serv'd to make me more sensible of his Absence.
However, I comforted my self with the Hopes of his Return; and in the mean time, corresponded as often as I cou'd in Writing, passing the rest of my Time in my shady Walks, Fields, and Rural Affairs. The Pleasure of which was greatly improv'd by reading Mrs. Phillips. I began to emulate her Wit, and aspir'd to imitate her Writings; in doing of which, I think, I deserv'd Arachne's Fate, or at least to be transform'd into one of the lowest of Mack-Fleckno's Followers: Her noble Genius being inimitable; especially in Praise of a Country-Life, and Contempt of human Greatness; all which I swallow'd as Draughts of rich Cordial, to enliven the Understanding. Her Poetry I found so interwoven with Vertue and Honour, that each Line was like a Ladder to climb, not only to Parnassus, but to Heaven: which I (poor Puzzle as I was!) had the Boldness to try to imitate, 'till I was dropp'd into a Labyrinth of Poetry, which has ever since interlac'd all the Actions of my Life. Amongst other Fancies, I took into my Head, to draw a Landskip in Verse, beginning with a Grove.
Well might the Ancients deem a Grove to be
The sacred Mansion of some Deity;
Its pleasing Shades, and gloomy Terrors, move
Our Souls at once to pious Fears and Love:
Betwixt these Passions, rightly understood,
Lies the streight Road to everlasting Good.
Fear frights from Hell, and Love exalts to Heav'n;
Happy the Soul to whom these Two are giv'n!
Beside the Pleasure of the Present Time,
To walk and muse, describe its Sweets in Rhime;
Where nought but Peace and Innocence obtrude,
The worst that can be said of it, 'tis rude.
Yet Nature's Culture is so well express'd,
That Art herself would wish to be so dress'd.
Lo! here the Sun conspires with ev'ry Tree,
To deck the Earth in Landskip-Tapistry:
Then thro' some Space his brightest Beams appear,
Erecting a bright golden Pillar there.
Here a close Canopy of Boughs is made;
There a soft grassy Cloth of State is spread;
With Gems and gayest Flow'rs imbroider'd o'er,
Fresh as those Beauties honest Swains adore.
Here Nature's Hand, for Health and Pleasure, sets
Cephalick Cowslips, Cordial Violets.
The cooling Diuretick Woodbine grows,
Supported by th' Scorbutick Canker-Rose.
Splenetick Columbines their Heads hang down,
As if displeas'd their Vertue should be known.
Pinks, Lillies, Daisies, Bettony, Eye bright,
To purge the Head, strengthen or clear the Sight.
Some mollify, some draw, some Ulcers clear,
Some purify, and some perfume the Air.
Of which some gentle Nymph the fairest takes,
And for her Coridon a Garland makes:
Whilst on her Lap the happy Youth's Head lies,
Gazing upon the Aspects of her Eyes;
The most unerring, best Astronomy,
Whereby to calculate his Destiny.
Whilst o'er their Heads a Pair of Turtles coo,
Which with less Constancy and Passion wooe.
The Birds around, thro' their extended Throats,
In careless Consort, chant their pleasing Notes;
Than which no sweeter Musick charms the Ear,
Except when Lovers Sighs each other hear;
Which are more soft than austral Breeses bring,
Altho' 'tis said, they're Harbingers o'th' Spring.
Methinks, I pity much the busy Town,
To whom these Rural Pleasures are not known.
But more I pity those whom Fate inthralls,
Who can't retire when Inclination calls,
By Business, Families, and Fortune ty'd;
Beset, besieg'd, attack'd on ev'ry Side,
By Friends & Foes; Wit, Beauty, Mirth & Wine,
Piques, Parties, Policies, and Flatterers join
To storm one's Quiet, Vertue undermine.
'Tis hard we must, the World's so vicious grown,
Be complaisant in Crimes, or live alone!
For those who now with Vertue are indu'd,
Do live alone, tho' in a Multitude.
Then fly, all ye whom Fortune don't oblige
To suffer the Distresses of a Siege;
Fly to some calm Retreat, and there retrieve
Your squander'd Time; 'Tis ne'er too late to live.
Free from all Envy, and the tiresome Noise
Of prating Fools, and Wits that ne'er were wise:
Free from Ambition, and from base Design,
Which equally our Vertue undermine,
In Plenty here, without Excess, we dine.
If we in wholsome Exercise delight,
Our Sleep becomes more sound & sweet at Night;
Or if one's Mind to Contemplation leads,
Who has the Book of God and Nature, needs
No other Object to imploy his Thought,
Since in each Leaf such Mysteries are wrought,
That whoso studies most, shall never know
Why the strait Elm's so tall, the Moss so low.
I farther cou'd inlarge upon this Theme,
But that I'm, unawares, come to the Stream,
Which at the Bottom of this Grove doth glide:
And now I'll rest me by its flow'ry Side.
Thus, Madam, I have given you the first Taste of my Country-Poetry, which to your Ladyship (who is furnish'd with all the fine Pieces that come out) must needs be as insipid as Water-gruel to breakfast, of those that are us'd to Chocolate and rich Jellies.
It will do very well, reply'd the Lady, a Landskip in a Screen, is very agreeable; therefore let me have the rest.
The next Madam (reply'd Galesia) is the Rivulet at the Bottom of the Grove, which I try'd to mould into Pindarick: I suppose, out of Curiosity; for I neither love to read nor hear that kind of Verse. Methinks, it is to the Ear like Virginal Jacks to the Eye; being all of irregular Jumps, and Starts, sudden Disappointments, and long-expected Periods, which deprives the Mind of that Musick, wherewith the good Sense would gratify it, if in other Measures. But since your Ladyship commands, be pleas'd to take it as it is; next to Blank Verse disagreeable: (at least, to my Ear) one sort spoils good Verse, the other good Prose; whereas the regular Chime of other Verse, helps to make amends for indifferent Sense: Wherefore, fit to be courted by me; whose Fingers ought to have been imploy'd rather at the Needle and the Distaff, than to the Pen and Standish, and leave these Enterprizes to the Learned, who know how to compose all Measures, thereby to please all Palates. However, at present, I shall sacrifice this Aversion to the Obedience due to your Ladyship's Commands.
Ah! lovely Stream, how fitly may'st thou be,
By thy Immutability,
Thy gentle Motion and Perennity,
To us the Emblem of Eternity?
And, to us, thou dost no less
A kind of Omnipresence, too, express,
For always at the Ocean, thou
Art ever here, and at thy Fountain too;
Always thou go'st thy proper Course,
Most willingly, and yet by Force,
Each Wave forcing its precursor on;
Yet each one freely runs, with equal haste,
As if each fear'd to be the last;
With mutual Strife, void of Con-ten-ti-on,
In Troops they march, 'till thousand, thousand's past,
Yet, gentle Stream, art still the same,
Always going, never gone:
Yet do'st all Constancy disclaim,
Wildly dancing to thine own murmuring tuneful Song,
Old as Time, as Love and Beauty young.
But chiefly thou to Unity lay'st claim,
For though in Thee
Innumerable Drops there be,
Yet still thou art but One,
Th' Original of which, from Heav'n came;
Whose purest Transcript we
I'th' Church may wish, but never hope to see,
Whilst each Pretender thinks himself alone
To be the True Church Militant:
Nay, well it is, if such will grant,
That there is one elsewhere Triumphant.
Ah, gentle Stream! ah, happy we!
Cou'd we but learn of thee,
As thou dost Nature, we our God obey;
Gently rolling on our Way:
And as we pass, like thee do good,
Benign to all our Neighbourhood;
To God and Man, our Love and Duty pay:
Then at our Ocean we Repose shall find,
The Ocean Grave, which swallows all Mankind!
Thus, Madam, I trifled my Time, 'till the Return of my Brother from Leyden, which was to me like the Return of Spring to Northern Climes. His drooping Presence rais'd my Spirits, and dispers'd those Clouds of Sorrow gather'd in my Heart by Bosvil's Falshood. I began to delight myself in Dressing, Visiting, and other Entertainments, befitting a young Gentlewoman; nevertheless, did not omit my Study, in which my Brother continued to oblige my Fancy, and assisted me in Anatomy and Simpling, in which we took many a pleasing Walk, and gather'd many Patterns of different Plants, in order to make a large natural Herbal. I made such Progress in Anatomy, as to understand Harvey's Circulation of the Blood, and Lower's Motion of the Heart. By these and the like Imployments, I began to forget and scorn Bosvil. If I thought on him at all, it was with Contempt; and I wonder'd how it came to pass that I ever lov'd him, and thought myself secure the rest of my Days from that Weakness.
As I thus betook myself to an Amusement different from my Sex and Years, my other young Companions, began to look grave upon me; or I, perhaps, look'd so upon them. Our little Follies of telling our Dreams; laying Things under each other's Heads to dream of our Amours; counting Specks on our Nails, who should have the most Presents from Friends or Lovers; tying Knots in the Grass; pinning Flowers on our Breasts, to know the Constancy of our Pretenders; drawing Husbands in the Ashes; St. Agnes's Fast; and all such childish Auguries, were now no more any Diversion to me; so that I became an useless Member in our Rural Assemblies. My Time and Thoughts were taken up in Harvey, Willis, and such-like Authors, which my Brother help'd me to understand and relish, which otherwise might have seemed harsh or insipid: And these serv'd to make me unfit Company for every body; for the Unlearned fear'd, and the Learned scorn'd my Conversation; at least, I fancy'd so: A Learned Woman, being at best but like a Forc'd-Plant, that never has its due or proper Relish, but is wither'd by the first Blast that Envy or Tribulation blows over her Endeavours. Whereas every Thing, in its proper Place and Season, is graceful, beneficial, and pleasant. However, my dear Brother humouring my Fancy, I pass'd my Time in great Satisfaction. His Company was my Recreation, and his wise Documents my Instruction; even his Reproofs were but as a poignant Sauce, to render his good Morals the more savoury, and easier digested. Thus we walk'd and talk'd; we laugh'd and delighted our-selves; we dress'd and visited; we received our Friends kindly, and by them were generously treated in their turn: all which was to the Satisfaction of our endearing tender Parents. But, alas! short was the Continuance of this Happiness; for my dear Brother died. And now, Madam, forgive these flowing Tears, which interrupt my Discourse.
Galesia having discharg'd a Torrent of Tears, the usual Effect of any Discourse for so great a Loss, she endeavoured to compose her self, dry'd her Eyes, and return'd to her Story.
This, Madam, was such a Grief as I had never felt; for though I had suffer'd much in the Transactions of Bosvil; yet those Sorrows were allay'd, in some degree, by the Mixture of other Passions, as Hope, Fear, Anger, Scorn, Revenge, & c. But this was Grief in Abstract, Sorrow in pure Element. I griev'd without ceasing; my Sighs alternatively blew up my Tears, and my Tears allay'd my Sighs, 'till fresh Reflections rais'd new Gusts of Sorrow. My Solitude was fill'd with perpetual Thoughts of Him; and Company was entertain'd with nothing but Discourses of this my irreparable Loss. My sleeping, as well as waking Hours, were fill'd with Ideas of him! Sometimes I dream'd I saw his Ghost, come to visit me from the other World; sometimes I thought I assisted him in his Sickness; sometimes attending at his Funeral; then awake in a Flood of Tears; when, waking, I cou'd form no Thought or Idea, but what Grief suggested. In my Walks and Studies, it was still the same, the Remembrance of some wise Documents, or witty Entertainment, roused up my Grief, by reflecting on my great Loss. No Book or Paper cou'd I turn over, but I found Memorandums of his Wisdom and Learning, which served to continue and augment my Grief; and so far transported me sometimes, that I even wish'd for that which is the Horror of Nature, that I might see his Ghost. I experienced what the Philosophers assert, That much reflecting on Death, is the way to make it less terrible; and 'tis certain, I reflected so much on his, that I wish'd for nothing more; wish'd to be with him; wish'd to be in that happy State, in which I assur'd my self his Vertues had plac'd him. But in vain I wish'd for Death; I was ordain'd to struggle with the Difficulties of Life; which were to be many, as I have since experienced; Heaven having taken away from me, Him, who seem'd by Nature ordain'd to conduct me through the Labyrinth of this World, when the Course of Nature should take my dear indulgent Parents from me, to their Repose in Elysium. And now, instead of being a Comfort to them in this their great Affliction, my Griefs added Weight to theirs, such as they could hardly sustain.
I read those Books he had most studied, where I often found his Hand-writing, by way of Remarks, which always caus'd a new Flux of Tears. I often call'd upon Death; but Death was deaf, or his Malice otherwise imploy'd on more worthy Prey; leaving me a useless Wretch; useless to the World; useless to my Friends, and a Burden to myself: Whilst he that was necessary to his Friends, an Honour to his Profession, and beneficial to Mankind, (but chiefly to me) the Tyrant Death had seiz'd and convey'd away for ever! — O that Word Ever! that Thought Ever! The Reflection of Ever and Never, devour'd all that cou'd be agreeable or pleasing to me: Ever to want his wise Instructions! Never to injoy his flowing Wit! Ever to regret this my irreparable Loss! Never to have his dear Company in my shady Walks! This Ever and Never, star'd in my Thoughts like Things with Saucer-Eyes in the Dark, serving to fright me from all Hopes of Happiness in this World.
In these and the like anxious and melancholy Amusements, I pass'd my woeful Days, 'till Length of Time, which changes and devours all Things, began a little to abate my Grief, and the Muses began to steal again into my Breast; and having, as I said before, affected to study those Books, on which I had seen my Brother most intent, I at last resolv'd to begin with a Body of Anatomy, and between whiles, to reduce it into Verse: Perhaps, reflecting on what is said of Ovid, that he writ Law in Verse: And Physick being as little reducible to that Softness as Law, I know not what Emulation or Fancy excited me; but thus I began:
Come, gentle Muse! assist me now,
A double Wreath plait for my Brow,
Of Poetry and Physick too. Teach me in Numbers to rehearse
Hard Terms of Art, in smooth, soft Verse,
And how we grow, and how decrease. Teach me to sing Apollo's Sons,
The Ancient and the Modern-ones,
And sing their Praise in gentle Tones. But chiefly sing those Sons of Art,
Which teach the Motion of the Heart,
Nerves, Spirits, Brains, and every Part.
Now Bartholine, the first of all this Row,
Does to me Nature's Architecture show;
How the Foundation, first, of Earth is laid;
Then, how the Pillars of Strong-Bones are made.
The Walls consist of Carneous-Parts within,
The Out-side pinguid, overlay'd with Skin;
The Fret-work, Muscles, Arteries and Veins,
With their Implexures; and how from the Brains
The Nerves descend; and how 'tis they dispense
To every Member Motive-Power, and Sense.
He shews the Windows in this Structure fix'd,
How trebly glaz'd, and Curtains drawn betwixt
Them & Earth's Objects: All which prove in vain
To keep out Lust, or Innocence retain.
For 'twas the Eye, that first discern'd the Food,
As pleasing to itself, for eating good,
Then was persuaded, that it wou'd refine
The half-wise Soul, and make it all Divine.
But O how dearly Wisdom's bought with Sin,
Which shuts out Grace; lets Death & Darkness in.
And 'cause our Sex precipitated first,
To Pains, and Ignorance we since are curs'd.
Desire of Knowledge, cost us very dear;
For Ignorance, e'er since, became our Share.
But as I was inlarging on this Theme,
Willis and Harvey bid me follow them.
They brought me to the a first & largest Court
Of all this Building, where, as to a Port,
All Necessaries are brought from afar,
For Susentation, both in Peace and War.
For War b this Common-wealth, doth oft insest,
Which pillages one Part, and storms the rest.
We view'd the Kitchen call'd Ventriculus;
Then pass'd we through the Space call'd Pylorus;
And to the Dining-Room we came at last,
Where the Lacteals take their sweet Repast.
From thence we thro' a Drawing-room did pass,
And came where Jecur very busie was:
c Sanguificating the whole Mass of Chyle,
And severing the Crural Parts from Bile:
And when she's made it tolerably good,
She pours it forth to mix with other Blood.
This & much more we saw; from thence we went
Into the d next Court by a small Ascent.
Bless me! said I; what Rarities are here!
A e Fountain like a Furnace did appear,
Still boiling o'er, and running out so fast,
That one wou'd think its Eflux, cou'd not last:
Yet it sustain'd no Loss, as I cou'd see,
Which made me think it a strange Prodigy.
Come on, says Harvey, don't stand gazing here,
But follow me, and I thy Doubts will clear.
Then we began our Journey with the Blood,
Trac'd the Meanders of its Purple Flood.
Thus we thro' many Labyrinths did pass,
In such, I am sure, old Dædalus ne'er was.
Sometimes ith' Out-works, sometimes the First-Court,
Sometimes i'th' Third these winding Streams would sport.
Such Rarities we found in this Third Place,
As put ev'n Comprehension to disgrace.
Here's Cavities, said one; And here, says He,
Is th' Seat of Fancy, Judgment, Memory.
Here, says another, is the fertile Womb,
From whence the Spirits-Animal do come:
Which are mysteriously ingender'd here,
Of Spirits, from arterial Blood and Air.
Here, says a third, Life made her first approach,
Moving the Wheels of her triumphant Coach.
But Harvey that Hypothesis deny'd,
Say'ng 'twas the Deaf-Ear on the Dexter-side.
Then there arose a trivial small Dispute,
Which he by Fact and Reason did confute.
This being ended, we began again
Our former Progress, and forsook the Brain;
And after some small Traverses about,
Came to the Place where we before set out:
Then I perceiv'd, how Harvey all made good,
By th' Circles of the Circulating Blood,
As Fountains have their Water from the Sea,
To which again they do themselves convey.
And here we found great Lower, with much Art,
Surveying the whole Structure of the Heart.
Welcome said he, dear Cousin! Are you here?
Sister to Him, whose Worth we all revere:
But ah, alas! So short was his Life's Date,
As makes us since, almost, our Practice hate;
Since we cou'd find out nought in all our Art,
That cou'd prolong the Motion of his Heart.
This latter Line, Madam, was, and is, and ever will be, my great Affliction. So dear a Friend, shining with such Brightness of Parts, cut off in his Bloom! Ah Me! I cannot think or speak of him without weeping; which if I did not in abundance, I shou'd not be just to his Memory; I shou'd be unworthy of that Fraternal Love he express'd to me on all Occasions; so that it is fit I should weep on all Occasions; especially when I reflect how much I want him in every Circumstance of Life. The only Comfort I have, is, when I think on the Happiness he enjoys by Divine Vision; All Learning and Science, All Arts, and Depths of Philosophy, without Search or Study; whilst we in this World, with much Labour, are gropeing, as it were, in the Dark, and make Discoveries of our own Ignorance. Which Thoughts wou'd sometimes fold themselves in these or the like Words.
Thou know'st, my Dear, now, more than Art can!
Thou know'st the Essence of the Soul of Man!
And of its Maker too, whose powerful Breath
Gave Immortality to sordid Earth!
What Joys, my Dear, do Thee surround,
As no where else are to be found?
Love, Musick, Physick, Poetry,
Mechanicks, grave Philosophy;
And in each Art, each Artist does abound;
Whilst All's converted to Divinity.
No drooping Autumn there,
Nor chilling Winter, does appear;
Nor scorching Heat, nor budding Spring,
Nor Sun does Seasons there divide;
Yet all Things do transcend their native Pride;
Which fills, but does not nauseate;
No Change nor Want of any Thing,
Which Time to Periods, or Perfections, bring.
But yet Diversity of State,
And Soul's Felicity There has no Date.
Shou'dst Thou, my Dear, look down on us below,
To see how busie we
Are in Anatomy,
Thou woud'st despise our Ignorance,
Who most Things miss, and others hit by chance,
For we, at best, do but in Twilight go:
Whilst Thou see'st all by most transcendant Light;
Compar'd to which, the Sun's bright Rays are Night.
Yet so Celestial are thine Eyes,
That Light can neither dazle nor surprize;
For all Things There
Most perfect are,
And freely their bless'd Quality dispense,
Without the Mixture of Terrestrial Dross,
Or without Hazard, Harm or Loss.
O Joys eternal, satiating Sense!
And yet the Sense, the smallest Part ingross!
Thus, Madam, my worthless Muse help'd me to discharge my Griefs. The writing them in this my lonely State, was like discoursing, or disburthening one's Heart to a Friend. Whether your Ladyship will like to have them plac'd in your Screen, you yourself must determine.
By all means, reply'd the Lady, these melancholy dark Patches, set off the light Colours; making the Mixture the more agreeable. I like them all so well, I will not have One lay'd aside. Therefore, pray, go on with your Story.
Madam, said Galesia, It was at this Time, that I had a Kinsman a Student at the University; who at certain Times, frequented our House; and now and then brought some of his young Companions with him; whose youthful and witty Conversation, greatly help'd to divert my Chagrin. Amongst these vertuous young Gentlemen, there was one, whose Merit ingaged my particular Esteem, and the Compassion he had for my Griefs, planted a Friendship, which I have ever since cultivated with my best Endeavours. When he was thus become my Friend, I unbosom'd my self to him, acquainted him with the Story of Bosvil, not concealing the least Weakness in all that Transaction, which was an Indiscretion I can hardly forgive my self; and I doubt not, but I shall stand condemn'd in your Ladyship's Judgment: For a young Gentleman is certainly a very unfit Confidant of a young Gentlewoman's Amours: The best she can expect from such a Discovery, is his Pity, which is one Step towards Contempt; and that is but a poor sort of Consolation, or Return of that Confidence she reposes. However, his generous Soul, gave it another Turn; and instead of despising my Foible, valued my Frankness, and abhorr'd Bosvil's Unworthiness, continuing to divert me with his Wit, whist my Kinsman and he joyn'd to consolate me with repeated Proofs of their Friendship; all which my dear Parents approv'd; and promoted their Visits to our House by a generous and kind Reception at our Country Retreat; where they came now and then, a little to relax their College Discipline, and unbend the Streightness of their Study; bringing with them little Books, new Pamphlets, and Songs; and in their Absence, convers'd with me by Writing; sometimes Verse, sometimes Prose, which ingaged my Replies in the same manner. And here, amongst these Papers, appear several of them; out of which, perhaps, your Ladyship may chuse some Patches for your Screen.
If, Friends, you wou'd but now this Place accost,
E'er the Young Spring that Epithet has lost,
And of my Rural Joys participate,
You'd change your learn'd Harangues for Country Chat,
And thus with me salute this lonely State:
Hail Solitude! where Peace and Vertue shroud
Their unvail'd Beauties, from the censuring Croud;
Let us but have their Company, and we
Shall never envy this World's Gallantry.
Tho' to few Objects here we are confin'd,
Yet we have full Inlargement of the Mind.
From varying Modes, which oft our Minds inslave,
Lo! here, a full Immunity we have:
For here's no Pride, but in the Sun's bright Beams,
Nor murmuring, but in the Crystal-Streams.
No Avarice, but in the hoarding Bees,
Nor is Ambition found, but in the Trees.
No Emulations ever interpose,
Except betwixt the Tulip and the Rose.
No Wantonness, but in the frisking Lambs;
Nor Luxury, but when they suck their Dams.
No politick Contrivances of State,
Only each Bird contrives to please its Mate.
No Shepherd here of scornful Nymph complains,
Nor are the Nymphs undone by faithless Swains.
Narcissus only, is that sullen He,
That can despise his amorous, talking She.
But all Things here, conspire to make us bless'd;
Whilst true Content is Musick to the Feast.
Then hail sweet Solitude! all hail again,
All hail to every Field, and Wood, and Plain;
To every beauteous Nymph, and faithful Swain.
Then join with me; come, join with me, and give
This Salutation; or at least believe,
'Tis such a kind of Solitude, as yet
Romance ne'er found where happy Lovers met.
Yea, such a kind of Solitude it is,
Not much unlike to that of Paradise;
Where Nature does her choicest Goods dispense,
And I, too, here, am plac'd in Innocence.
I should conclude that such it really were,
But that the Tree of Knowledge won't grow here.
Though in its Culture I have spent some Time,
Yet it disdains to grow in our cold Clime,
Where it can neither Fruit nor Leaves produce,
Good for its Owner, or the publick Use.
Whilst God and Nature for You constitute,
Luxurious Banquets of this dainty Fruit.
Whose Tree most fresh and flourishing is found,
E'er since 'twas planted in your fertile Ground.
Whilst you in Wit, grow, as its Branches, high,
Deep as its Root, too, in Philosophy.
Large as its spreading Arms, your Reasons show;
Close as its Shade, your well-knit Judgments grow;
Fresh as its Leaves, your sprouting Fancies are;
Your Vertues like its Fruit, are bright and fair.
This my Invitation they all accepted, plain and innocent as it was, like those Cates, wherewith they were treated; for we search'd not Air, Earth, and Water to gratify our Palates with Dainties, nor ravag'd Spain, France, and the Indies, for Diversity of Liquors: Our own Product, in a cleanly wholsome manner, contented our Appetites; such as serv'd the Conveniency of Life, not superfluous Luxury. Our Correspondence was of the same Piece, vertuous and innocent: No Flear or Grimace tending to Lewdness, or cunning Artifice, out of the Way of Rural Simplicity: But pure and candid, such as might be amongst the Celestial Inhabitants. In this manner it was, that these vertuous Youths relieved my Solitude, and, in some Degree, dissipated that Melancholy wherewith I was oppress'd: And in their Absence (as I said before) visited me with Letters, and little Presents of the newest Pieces of Diversion that came to their Hands. And some of them having complimented me with an Epistle, I wrote the following Answer.
In cautious Youth! why dost thou so misplace
Thy fine Encomiums, on an o'er-blown Face?
Which after all the Varnish of thy Quill,
Defects and Wrinkles shew conspicuous still;
Nor is it in the Power of Youth, to move
An age-chill'd Heart, to any Strokes of Love.
Then chuse some budding Beauty, which in Time,
May crown thy Wishes, in thy blooming Prime.
For nought can make a more prepost'rous Show,
Than April Flow'rs, stuck on St. Michael's Bough
To consecrate thy first-born Sighs to me,
A super-annuated Deity,
Makes that Idolatry and deadly Sin,
Which otherwise had only venial been.
This, and some other such, obtain'd of them a friendly Rebuke, for making my self Old, when I was but little more than Twenty. The Truth is, I believe Grief made me think the Time tedious, every Day of Sorrow seeming a Year; insomuch that, according to that Account, I was as old as the Patriarchs before the Flood. I believe it is in this as in other things; we judge according to our Passions, and imagine others should do the same. The fearful Man thinks he sees Spirits, Thieves, and Murderers: The angry Man, if he sees a Straw lie in his Way, believes his Enemy laid it to affront him: The jealous Man mistrusts, and misconstrues even his Wife's Kindness and Caresses: And so it is on all Occasions of Passion and Fancy. So that when I was out of my Teens, I thought all the Days of Youth were past, and those that could write Twenty, ought to lay all Things youthful and gay aside. But it seems these my young Friends were not of the same Sentiment; but treated me in their eloquent Letters and poetical Epistles, like a very young and beautiful Lady, equal in Years to themselves. Which caus'd me to make this following Reply to one of their Epistles.
To praise, sweet Youth, do thou forbear,
Where there is no Desert;
For, alas! Encomiums here,
Are Jewels thrown i'th' Dirt. For I no more deserve Applause,
Now Youth and Beauty's fled,
Than does a Tulip or a Rose,
When its fair Leaves are shed. Howe'er, I wish thy Praises may,
Like Prayers to Heaven borne,
When holy Souls, for Sinners pray,
Upon Thy-self return.
These, Madam, were the little Adventures of my Country Life; not fit Entertainments for your Ladyship, but that your Commands stamp the Character, and make current the meanest Metal, and render that acceptable, which otherwise would hardly be excusable. The Compassion your Ladyship seem'd to have for my Griefs, encourag'd me to let you know by what Steps I climbed out of the deepest Gulph of Sorrow; and how this my mournful Tragedy was chang'd into a kind of innocent Pastoral; as appears by the Ballad I sent to these my young Friends to Sturbridge-Fair.
I Wonder what Alexis ails,
To sigh and talk of Darts;
Of Charms which o'er his Soul prevails,
Of Flames and bleeding Hearts.
I saw him Yesterday alone,
Walk crossing of his Arms;
And Cuckow-like, was in a Tone,
Ah, Celia! ah, thy Charms!
Why, sure thou'rt not so ignorant,
As thou wou'd'st seem to be:
Alas! the Cause of his Complaint,
Is all our Destiny.
'Tis mighty Love's all-pow'rful Bow,
Which has Alexis hit;
A powerful Shaft will hit us too,
E'er we're aware of it.
Why, Love! — Alas! I little thought
There had been such a Thing;
But that for Rhime it had been brought,
When Shepherds us'd to sing.
And, sure, whate'er they talk of Love,
'Tis but Conceit at most;
As Fear i'th' Dark our Fancies move
To think we see a Ghost.
I know not; but the other Day,
A wanton Girl there were,
Which took my Stock-Dove's Eggs away,
And Black-bird's Nest did tear.
Had it been Thee, my dearest Boy,
Revenge I should have took;
But She my Anger did destroy,
By the Sweetness of her Look.
So t'other Day, a wanton Slut,
As I slept on the Ground,
A Frog into my Bosom put,
My Hands and Feet she bound:
She hung my Hook upon a Tree;
Then, laughing bid me wake;
And though she thus abused me,
Revenge I cannot take.
Let's wish these Overtures of Fate,
Don't luckless Omens prove;
For those who lose the Power to Hate,
Are soon made Slaves to Love.
The young Gentlemen receiv'd it kindly, and return'd me Thanks in these Words.
We all return you Thanks for your Ballad; to which our Friend Sam Setwell, put a Tune, and we sung it in a Booth merrily, 'till the Proctor had like to have spoil'd the Harmony. But he finding no Female amongst us, drank the innocent Author's Health, and departed. The whole Chorus salute you, with the Assurance of being
Your Humble Servants.
This Conversation, and Correspondence, Madam, infused into me some Thoughts, befitting my Sex and Years, rendering me fit for Company, and to live like the rest of my Fellow-Creatures; so that being one Day where there was a young Gentleman, who did not think me so much a Stoick as I thought myself, he so far lik'd my Person and Humour, that altho' he had been a very loose Liver, he began to think he could endure to put on Shackles, and be confin'd to one: But being perfectly a Stranger, and knowing not well how to introduce himself into my farther Acquaintance, he took this odd Method.
There was a certain Gossip in those Parts, that used to go between the Ladies and Gentlewomen, with Services, and How-d'ye's; always carrying with her the little prattling News of Transactions where she frequented. This Woman coming to our House, was receiv'd with a good Mien, and the best Chear our Larder would afford, which was my Office to perform. She took the Opportunity to tell me, that her coming at that Time was particularly to Me, from Mr. Bellair, who had seen me the other Day at such a Place, since which time he had had no Repose, nor none could have, 'till I gave him Leave to make me a Visit, which he begg'd most earnestly. To which I reply'd, That though Mr. Bellair had seen me, he was perfectly a Stranger to me, otherwise he had not sent such a Message; he knowing that I lived in my Father's House, not in my own; therefore had no right to invite or receive any-body unknown to my Parents, much less young Gentlemen; that being an Irregularity misbecoming my Sex and Station, and the Character of a dutiful Daughter: This I desir'd her to tell him, with my Service; which Answer I utter'd with a little Sharpness, that the Woman could not but see her Errand was disobliging, as it was, and ought to be; such a Message looking more like a dishonourable Intrigue, than an Address to a vertuous Maiden-Gentlewoman. The Truth is, I always had an Aversion to those secret Addresses, as all vertuous Maids ought, and was resolved as carefully to avoid them as Mariners do Rocks; for 'tis certain, that Parents are naturally willing to promote their Childrens Happiness; and therefore, that Lover who desires to keep the Parents in the Dark, is conscious to himself of something that has need to shun the Light; for his Concealing his Pretentions from the Mother, looks as if he meant an unworthy Conquest on the Daughter; and especially those of Mr. Bellair's Character.
However, I mistook my young Gentleman, his Intentions being more sincere than I expected: For upon that Answer to my Gossip, he took the first Occasion to discover his Sentiments to his Father; who did not only approve, but rejoyced there at, hoping that he was in a Disposition to reclaim himself from his loose Way of Living; and that the Company of a Wife, and Care of a Family, wou'd totally wean him from those wild Companions, in whom he too much delighted: Not but that his Father had divers times offered, and earnestly persuaded him, to dispose himself for a Married Life, having no Son but him, to inherit his Riches, and continue his Family. To which the young Man was ever averse; counting Marriage as Fetters and Shackles, a Confinement not to be borne by the Young and the Witty; a Wife being suppos'd to be the Destruction of all Pleasure and good Humour, and a Death to all the Felicities of Life; only good in the Declension of Years, when Coughs and Aches oblige a Man to his own Fire-side: then a Nurse is a most necessary Utensil in a House. These and the like, us'd to be the wild Notions, wherewith he oppos'd his Father's indulgent Care, whenever he went about to provide for his happy Establishment: So the good old Gentleman was overjoy'd at his Son's own Proposal, and took the first Opportunity with my Father, over a Bottle, to deliver his Son's Errand. To which my Father answer'd, like a plain Country Gentleman, as he was (who never gilded his Actions with fraudulent Words, nor painted his Words with deceitful or double Meanings;) and told him, "That he was very sensible of the Honour he did him in this Proposal; but that he cou'd not make his Daughter a Fortune suitable to his Estate: For, continued he, that becoming Way in which we live, is more the Effect of prudent Management, than any real Existence of Riches." To which the old Gentleman reply'd, "That Riches were not what he sought in a Wife for his Son; Fortune having been so propitious to him, that he needed not to make that his greatest Care: A prudent, vertuous Woman, was what he most aim'd at, in his Son's Espousals, hoping that such an one, would reclaim and wean him from all those wild Excursions to which Youth and Ill-Company had drawn him, to his great Affliction. But, methinks, continu'd he, I spy a Dawn of Reformation in the Choice he has made of your Daughter; who, amongst all the young Gentlewomen of these Parts, I value, she having a distinguishing Character for Prudence and Vertue, capable to command Respect and Esteem from all the World; as well as does her amiable Person ingage my Son's Affections. Wherefore, said he, I hope you will not refuse your Concurrence, thereby to make my Son happy." My Father making him a grateful Acknowledgment, told him, "He wou'd propose it to my Mother and me; and added, That his Daughter having been always dutiful and tenderly observant, he resolv'd to be indulgent, and impose nothing contrary to her Inclinations. Her Mother also, continu'd he, has been a Person of that Prudence and Vertue, that I should not render the Justice due to her Merit, if I did any thing of this kind, without her Approbation."
This my Father related to me, with an Air full of Kindness, telling me, That he wou'd leave the Affair wholly to my Determination; adding, That there was an Estate, full Coffers, and a brisk young Gentleman; So that I think (said he) I need say no more to a Person of common Sense, to comply with what is so advantageous.
To which I reply'd, "That these or any of these, were above my Desert; and your Recommendations, Sir, redouble the Value; upon whose Wisdom and paternal Care I ought wholly to depend: But his particular loose Way of Living, I hope will justify me, when I lay that before you, as a Cause of Hesitation." To which my Mother reply'd, "That it must be my Part, with Mildness and Sweetness, to reclaim him: That he having now sow'd his wild Oats, (according to the Proverb) wou'd see his Folly; and finding there is nothing to be reap'd but Noise, Vanity, and Disgrace, in all Probability, wou'd apply himself to another Way of Living; especially having made the Proposal to his Father of settling with a Person of his own choosing, where no Interest nor Family-Necessity had any Hand in the Election."
These and the like Discourses and Considerations, pass'd among us; we having his Father's serious Proposal for our Foundation; which, join'd with the Message he himself had sent me by the Gossip, we had Reason to believe the Superstructure would not be defective.
Nevertheless, though I was but an innocent Country Girl, yet I was not so ignorant of the World, but to know or believe, that often those Beau Rakes, have the Cunning and Assurance to make Parents on both sides, Steps to their Childrens Disgrace, if not Ruin: For very often, good Country Ladies, who reflect not on the Vileness of the World, permit their Daughters to give private Audiences, to their Lovers, in some obscure Arbour or distant Drawing-room; where the Spark has Opportunity to misbehave himself to the Lady; which, if she resent, there is a ready Conveniency for him to bespatter her with Scandal. And I did not know but Bellair might have some such thing in his Thoughts, out of Malice for my having rejected his Intrigue by the Gossip. For I could not fancy my-self endow'd with Charms sufficient to hold fast such a Volage; however, I knew my self safe under my Mother's Prudence, and my own Resolution.
And thus I expected my pretended Lover some Days; But instead of his personal Appearance, News came, That he was taken in a Robbery on the High-way, and committed to the County-Gaol: And all this out of a Frolick; for tho' he had all Things necessary, both for Conveniency and Diversion, nevertheless, this detestable Frolick must needs be put in Practice, with some of his lewd Companions; for which at the next Assizes, he receiv'd the Reward of his Crimes at the Place of publick Execution.
I have told you this Transaction, that your Ladyship may not be ignorant of any thing that appertains to me, though this was an Affair utterly unknown to all the World; I mean his Proposal of Marriage; nor does any of my Poems take the least Notice, or give any Hint of it; for there was no Progress made by any personal Correspondence, nor can I persuade my-self he meant any thing but Mischief.
I cou'd recount to your Ladyship another Story or two of odd Disappointments; but, they will take up too great a Place in your Screen, and render the View disagreeable.
It was not long after these Turns of Fortune, that I had the real Affliction of losing my dear and indulgent Father; and so was left the only Consolation of my widow'd Mother. I shall not mention the Grief, Care, and Trouble which attended this great Change; these Things being natural and known to every-body: Therefore, I shall pass them over in Silence, as I was forced to undergo it with Submission.
When our Griefs were a little compos'd, and our Affairs adjusted, so that the World knew what Fortune I had to depend upon, and that in my own Power, there wanted not Pretenders to my Person; so that now was the Time to act the Coquet, if I had lik'd the Scene; but that never was my Inclination; for as I never affected the formal Prude, so I ever scorn'd the impertinent Coquet. Amongst this Train of Pretenders, (some of which address'd to my Mother, and some privately to me) I think there is nothing worth Remark, but what your Ladyship may guess, by a Copy or two of Verses writ on these Occasions.
You'd little Reason to complain of me,
Or my Unkindness, or Indifferency,
Since I, by many a Circumstance, can prove,
That Int'rest was the Motive of your Love.
But Heav'n it-self despises that Request,
Whose sordid Motive's only Interest.
No more can honest Maids endure to be
The Objects of your wise Indifferency.
Such wary Courtship only shou'd be shown
To cunning, jilting Baggages o'th' Town.
'Tis faithful Love's the Rhetorick that persuades,
And charms the Hearts of silly Country Maids.
But when we find, your Courtship's but Pretence,
Love were not Love in us, but Impudence.
At best, I'm sure, to us it needs must prove,
What e'er you think on't, most injurious Love.
For had I of that gentle Nature been,
As to have lov'd your Person, Wit, or Mien,
How many Sighs & Tears it wou'd have cost,
And fruitless Expectations by the Post?
Saying, He is unkind. — O no! his Letter's lost;
Hoping him sick, or lame, or gone to Sea;
Hop'd any thing but his Inconstancy.
Thus, what in other Friends, cause greatest Fear,
To desperate Maids, their only Comforts are.
This I through all your Blandishments did see,
Thanks to Ill-Nature, that instructed me.
Thoughts of your Sighs, sometimes wou'd plead for you;
But Second Thoughts again wou'd let me know,
In gayest Serpents strongest Poysons are,
As sweetest Rose-trees, sharpest Prickles bear.
And so it proves, since now it does appear,
That all your Flames and Sighs only for Money were.
As Beggars for their Gain, turn blind and lame,
On the same score, a Lover you became.
Yet there's a Kindness in this feign'd Amour,
It teaches me, ne'er to believe Man more:
Thus blazing Comets are of good Portent,
When they excite the People to repent.
These Amours affected me but little, or rather not at all; For the Troubles of the World lighting upon me, a thousand Disappointments attended me, when deprived of my Father. Alas! we know not the real Worth of indulgent, tender Parents, 'till the Want of them teach us by a sad Experience: And none experienc'd this more than myself: deceitful Debtors, impatient Creditors, distress'd Friends, peevish Enemies, Law-suits, rotten Houses, Eye-servants, spightful Neighbours, impertinent and interested Lovers, with a thousand such Things to terrify and vex me, nothing to consolate or assist me, but Patience and God's Providence.
When my Mother and I had accommodated our Affairs, we endeavour'd to make ourselves easy, by putting off our Country Incumbrance, and so went to live at London.
Here I was, as if I was born again: This was a new Life to me, and very little fitted the Shape of my Rural Fancy; for I was wholly form'd to the Country in Mind and Manners; as unfit for the Town, as a Tarpaulin for a States-man; the Town to me was a Wilderness, where, methought, I lost my self and my Time; and what the World there calls Diversion, to me was Confusion. The Park, Plays, and Operas, were to me but as so much Time thrown away. I was a Stranger to every-body, and their Way of Living; and, I believe, my stiff Air and awkard Mien, made every-body wish to remain a Stranger to me. The Assemblèes, Ombre, and Basset-Tables, were all Greek to me; and I believe my Country Dialect, to them, was as unintelligible; so that we were neither serviceable nor pleasant to each other. Perhaps some or other of the Company, either out of Malice to expose me, or Complaisance to entertain me in my own Way, would enter into the Praise of a Country Life, and its plentiful Way of Living, amongst our Corn, Dairies, and Poultry, 'till by Degrees, these bright Angels would make the Ass open its Mouth, and upon their Demand, tell how many Pounds of Butter a good Cow would make in a Week; or how many Bushels of Wheat a good Acre of Land would produce; Things quite out of their Sphere or Element: And amongst the rest, the Decay of the Wooll-Trade is not to be omitted; and, like a true Country Block-head, grumble against the Parliament, for taking no better Care of the Country-Trade, by prohibiting Cane-Chairs and Wainscot; by which means, the Turkey-work, Tapistry, and Kidderminster Trades were quite lost; and in them the great Manufacture of the Nation; and not only so, but perpetual Fires intail'd on the City of London. Thus I, one of the free-born People of England, thought I had full Privilege to rail at my Betters. Sometimes, and in some Places, perhaps, Part of the Company, who knew a little of my Bookish Inclinations, would endeavour to relieve that Silence which the Ignorance of the Town laid upon me; and enter into a Discourse of Receipts, Books, and Reading. One ask'd me, If I lik'd Mrs. Phillips, or Mrs. Behn best? To whom I reply'd, with a blunt Indignation, That they ought not to be nam'd together: And so, in an unthinking, unmannerly Way, reproach'd the Lady that endeavour'd to divert and entertain me; she having that Moment been pleased to couple them. By this Blunder, Madam, said Galesia, you see how far one is short, in Conversation acquired only by Reading; for the many Plays and pretty Books I had read, stood me in little stead at that Time, to my great Confusion; for though Reading inriches the Mind, yet it is Conversation that inables us to use and apply those Riches or Notions gracefully.
At the Toilet, I was as ignorant a Spectator as a Lady is an Auditor at an Act-Sermon in the University, which is always in Latin; for I was not capable to distinguish which Dress became which Face; or whether the Italian, Spanish, or Portugal Red, best suited such or such Features; nor had I a Catalogue of the Personal or Moral Defects of such or such Ladies, or Knowledge of their Gallantries, whereby to make my Court to the Present, at the Cost of the Absent; and so to go the World round, 'till I got thereby the Reputation of ingaging and agreeable Company. However, it was not often that the whole Mystery of the Toilet, was reveal'd to my Country Capacity; but now and then some Aunt, or Governess, would call me to a Dish of Chocolate, or so; whilst the Lady and her officious Madamoiselle, were putting on those secret Imbellishments which illustrated her Beauties in the Eyes of most of the fine bred Beholders. But some petulant, antiquated Tempers, despised such Ornaments, as not having been used in good Queen Bess's Days; nor yet in the more Modern Court of Oliver Cromwel. As to myself, I was like a Wild Ass in a Forest, and liv'd alone in the midst of this great Multitude, even the great and populous City of London.
When Duty and good Days call'd me to Church, I thought I might find there some Compeeresses, or Persons of my own Stamp, and amongst the Congregation behave my self like others of my Sex and Years; But, alas! there were Locks and Keys, Affronts from Pew-keepers, crowding and pushing by the Mob, and the gathering Congregation gazing upon me as a Monster; at least I fancied so. When patient waiting, and Pocket opening to the Pewkeeper, had got me a Place, I thought to exercise the Duty that call'd me thither: But, alas! the Curtesies, the Whispers, the Grimaces, the Pocket Glasses, Ogling, Sighing, Flearing, Glancing, with a long &c. so discompos'd my Thoughts, that I found I was as unfit for those Assemblies, as those others before nam'd, where a verbal Conversation provided against those mute Entertainments; which my Clownish Breeding made me think great Indecencies in that Sacred Place; where nothing ought to be thought on, much less acted, but what tended to Devotion, and God's Glory; so that I was here likewise alone in the midst of a great Congregation. Thus you see, Madam, how an Education, purely Country, renders one unfit to live in the great World, amongst People of refin'd and nice Breeding; and though I had bestow'd Time and Pains in Book-Acquests, a little more than usual; yet it was but lost Labour to say the best of it: However, I did not repent; for though it had suppress'd and taken Place of that nice Conversation belonging to the Ladies, yet it furnish'd me with Notions above the Trifles of my Sex, wherewith to entertain my self in Solitude; and likewise, when Age and Infirmities confin'd my dear Mother within-doors, and very much to her Chamber, I paid my Duty to her with Pleasure, which otherwise might have seem'd a Constraint, if not in some Degree omitted, had my Thoughts been levell'd at those gaudy Pleasures of the Town, which intangle and intoxicate the greater Part of Woman-kind. Now, I believe, it was this retired Temper which pleas'd a certain Person a little in Years, so as to make his Addresses to me, in order to an Espousal. This was approv'd of by my Friends and Relations; amongst the rest, my young Kinsman, whom I mention'd to your Ladyship, a Student at the University, writ me a very fine persuasive Copy of Verses on the Subject of Marriage, which I have lost; but the Answer to those Verses appear here amongst the other Paper-Rubbish.
When Friends Advice with Lovers Forces joyn,
They conquer Hearts more fortified than mine.
Mine open lies, without the least Defence;
No Guard of Art; but its own Innocence;
Under which Fort it could fierce Storms endure:
But from thy Wit I find no Fort secure.
Ah! why would'st thou assist mine Enemy,
Whose Merits were almost too strong for me?
For now thy Wit makes me almost adore,
And ready to pronounce him Conqueror:
But that his Kindness then would grow, I fear,
Too weighty for my weak Desert to bear:
I fear 'twou'd even to Extreams improve;
For Jealousy, they say's th' Extream of Love.
Even Thou, my dear Exilius, he'd suspect;
If I but look on thee, I him neglect.
Not only Men, as innocent as thou,
But Females he'd mistrust, and Heaven too.
Thus best things may be turn'd to greatest Harm,
As the Lord's Prayer said backward, proves a Charm.
Or if not thus, I'm sure he wou'd despise,
And under-rate the easy-gotten Prize,
Forgetting the Portent o'th' willing Sacrifice.
These and a thousand Fears my Soul possess;
But most of all my own Unworthiness:
Like dying Saints, that wish for coming Joys,
But humble Fears their forward Wish destroys.
What shall I do, then? Hazard the Event?
You say, old Damon's All that's excellent.
If I miss him, the next some 'Squire may prove,
Whose Dogs and Horses, shall have all his Love.
Or some debauch'd Pretender to lewd Wit,
Or covetous, conceited, unbred Cit.
As the brave Horse, who late in Coach did neigh,
Is forc'd at last to tug a nasty Dray.
I suppose, I need not desire your Ladyship to believe, that what seems here to be said in Favour of Damon, is rather Respect to my Kinsman's Persuasions, than any real Affection for him; who being a little in Years, was not much capable of raising a Passion in a Heart not hospitable enough to receive a Guest of this kind; especially having found so much Trouble with those that had lodg'd there heretofore. Wherefore this Affair pass'd by, with Indifferency on both Sides: And my Mother and I remain'd at Quiet, we not thinking of any-body; nor any-body thinking of us: And thus we liv'd alone (at least in our Actions) in the midst of Multitudes.
Our Lodging was near Westminster-Abbey, for the Benefit of those frequent and regular Services there performed. For my own Part, I chose the early Prayers, as being free from that Coquettry, too much appearing at the usual Hour: Besides, there one has the Opportunity, to offer all the Accitions of the Day to Heaven, as the First-fruits, which heretofore was a most acceptable Sacrifice. By this, methought, all the Actions of the following Day were sanctified; or, at least, they seem'd to be agitated by a Direction from Heaven. The Comers thither appear'd to me to resort really there about what they pretended; and the Service of God seem'd to be the true Motive of their Actions. But, good Heaven! how was I surpriz'd at a Transaction I will relate, though not appertaining to my-self or my Story.
There was an elderly Man, in a graceful comely Dress suitable to his Years, who seem'd to perform his Devotions with Fervor and Integrity of Heart; nevertheless, this wicked Wight, pick'd up a young Girl in order to debauch her; which was in this manner. Immediately when they came out of the Chapel, he began to commend the young People he saw there, for leaving their Morning-Slumbers, to come and serve God in his Sanctuary: "In particular, You, Sweet-heart, (addressing to one lately come out of the Country) have hardly yet any Acquaintance, to ingage you to meet upon an Intrigue or Cabal; (at least I guess so by your Mien and Garb) but come hither purely for God's Worship, which is extremely commendable, and ought to be encourag'd. Come, pretty Maid, come along with me, and I will give you a Breakfast, together with good Instructions how to avoid the Vices of the Town, of which I am convinced you are thoroughly ignorant." Thus this old Whorson play'd the Devil for God's sake, according to the Proverb, and took this young Innocent into a House of very ill Repute.
It was not long e'er this poor Wretch began to find herself ill and out of Order: She came to me, hearing that I had some Skill in Physick; but I perceiving her Distemper to be such as I did not well understand, nor cared to meddle withal, recommended her to a Physician of my Acquaintance, who was more used to the immodest Harangues necessary on such Occasions. I calling to mind, that this was she, who had been seduced at the early Prayers, was a little curious to know the Manner of her Undoing.
She told me, That the Person who misled her, was a Goldsmith, living in good Repute in that Quarter of the Town. He gave her a great deal of good Counsel to avoid the Beaus and Gallants of the Town; which if she did, and behav'd herself modestly and discreetly, he said, she should want for nothing; for he would be a Father to her: bad her meet him again on the Morrow, and he would bring a Ring, and therewith espouse her. Which accordingly he did, and put the Ring on the Wedding Finger, and took her for his Left-hand Wife. By this Fallacy, was this silly Girl ruin'd. They continued this their Commerce for some time; he giving her many Treats and Presents; 'till, by degrees, he grew weary, diminished his Favours, met her but seldom, and at last took no Notice of her. Whether she was lewd with any other Person, and got the Venereal Distemper, and so disoblig'd him, or what other Reason, I know not; but she being abandon'd by her Gallant, and disabled by her Illness, was reduc'd to great Distress, and from Time to Time was forced to sell what she had to relieve her Necessities. The Ring she kept 'till the last, that being the Pledge of his Love, and pretended Constancy; but then was forc'd to seek to make Money of that vile Treasure, the Snare that had intangled both Body and Souls Now this silly Creature never knew directly where this her Gallant liv'd. I suppose his Cunning conceal'd that from her; whether by Sham or directly refusing to tell her, I know not: But she ignorantly stumbled on his Shop to sell this Ring; where finding an elderly Matron, she address'd herself to her to buy it. The good Gentlewoman seeing her Husband's Mark on the Ring, and calling to mind, that she had miss'd such a one some time ago, seiz'd the Girl, in order to carry her before a Justice to make her prove where, and how, she came by that Ring. The poor Wretch, all trembling, told her, That a Gentleman had given it her; but indeed, she did not know where he lived. Whereupon the Gentlewoman reply'd, That if she could not produce the Person that gave it her, she must be prosecuted as a Felon, and as such, undergo what the Course of Law should allot her; and accordingly order'd her immediately into the Hands of a Constable, to have her before a Justice. At this Moment, it so happen'd, that the Master of the Shop came in; at which the poor trembling, frighted Creature, cry'd out, O Madam! this is the Gentleman that gave me the Ring. You impudent Slut, reply'd he, I know you not; get you gone out of my Shop! and so push'd her out. She being glad to get thus quit, hasted away, leaving the Man and his Wife to finish the Dispute between themselves.
Behold, Madam, what an odd Piece of Iniquity was here. That a Man in Years shou'd break his Morning's Rest, leave his Wife, House, and Shop at Random, and expose himself to the chill Morning Air, to act the Hypocrite and Adulterer; ruin an innocent young Creature, under the Pretence of a ridiculous Sham-Marriage, and at the same Time exhaust that Means which should support his Family and his Credit, is to me wonderful to conceive. At last the poor Creature was abandon'd to all Misery, even Hunger and a nauseous Disease; between which she must have inevitably perish'd, a loathsome Example of Folly and Lewdness; but that the Doctor to whom I had recommended her, got her into an Hospital, from whence, after her Cure, she went away to the Plantations, those great Receptacles of such scandalous and miserable Miscreants.
Pardon, Madam, this long Digression, which is not out of an Inclination to rake in such Mud, which produces nothing but Offence to the Senses of all vertuous Persons; but it came into my Way to shew how much I was mistaken, in the Vertue and Piety of some of those early Devotees. Not that I mean by this or the like Example, to condemn all who there daily make their Addresses to Heaven: But to shew you, that in all Places, and at all Times, my Country Innocence render'd me a kind of a Solitary in the midst of Throngs and great Congregations. But though I found my self thus alone in Morals, yet I no where found a personal Solitude; but all Places full; all Persons in a Hurry; suitable to what that great Wit, Sir John Denham, says;
— With equal Haste they run,
Some to undo, and some to be undone.
At home, at our own Lodging, there was as little Quiet, between the Noise of the Street, our own House, with Lodgers, Visiters, Messages, Howd'ye's, Billets, and a Thousand other Impertinencies; which, perhaps, the Beau World wou'd think Diversion, but to my dull Capacity were mere Confusion. Besides which, several People came to me for Advice in divers sorts of Maladies, and having tolerable good Luck, I began to be pretty much known. The Pleasure I took in thus doing good, much over-balanced the Pains I had in the Performance; for which benign kind Disposition, I most humbly bless my great Creator (the free Disposer of all Blessings) for having compos'd me of such a Temper, as to prefer a vertuous or a charitable Action, before the Pomps or Diversions of the World, though they shou'd be accompanied with Riches and Honours; which, indeed, I did not injoy, nor expect; therefore happy, that my Inclinations corresponded with my Circumstances. The Truth is, I know not but that Pride and Vanity might, in some Degree, be united to this Beneficence; for I was got to such a Pitch of helping the Sick, that I wrote my Bills in Latin, with the same manner of Cyphers and Directions as Doctors do; which Bills and Recipes the Apothecaries fil'd amongst those of the Doctors: And this being in particular one of my Sex, my Muse wou'd needs have a Finger in the Pye; and so a Copy of Verses was writ on the Subject; which, perhaps, your Ladyship may like so as to put them in your Screen. They are as follow:
I hope I sha'n't be blam'd, if I am proud
To be admitted in this learned Croud.
For to be proud of Fortune so sublime,
Methinks, is rather Duty than a Crime.
Were not my Thoughts exalted in this State,
I should not make thereof due Estimate:
And, sure, one Cause of Adam's Fall, was this,
He knew not the just Worth of Paradise.
But with this Honour I'm so satisfy'd,
The Ancients were not more, when Deify'd.
'Tis this makes me a fam'd Physician grow,
As Saul 'mongst Prophets turn'd a Prophet too.
The Sturdy Gout, which all Male-Power withstands,
Is overcome by my soft Female Hands.
Not Deb'rah, Judith, or Semiramis,
Cou'd boast of Conquest half so great as this;
More than they slew, I save, in this Disease.
Now Blessings on you All, you Sons of Art,
Who what your selves ne'er knew, to me impart,
Thus Gold, which by th' Sun's Influence does grow,
Does that i'th' Market, Phoebus cannot do.
Bless'd be the Time, and bless'd my Pains & Fate,
Which introduc'd me to a Place so great!
False Strephon too, I almost now cou'd bless,
Whose Crimes conduc'd to this my Happiness.
Had he been true, I'd liv'd in sottish Ease,
Ne'er study'd ought, but how to love and please;
No other Flame, my Virgin Breast had fir'd,
But Love and Life together had expir'd.
But when, false Wretch! he his forc'd Kindness pay'd,
With less Devotion than e'er Sexton pray'd,
Fool that I was! to sigh, weep, almost dye,
Little fore-thinking of this present Joy;
Thus happy Brides shed Tears, they know not why.
Vainly we praise this Cause, or laugh at that,
Whilst the Effect, with its How, Where, & What,
Lies Embrio in the Womb of Time or Fate.
Of future Things we very little know,
And 'tis Heav'ns Kindness, that it should be so;
Were not our Souls, with Ignorance so buoy'd,
They'd sink with Fear, or overset with Pride.
So much for Ignorance there may be said,
That large Encomiums might thereof be made.
But I've digress'd too far; so must return,
To make the Medick-Art my whole Concern,
Since by its Aid, I've gain'd this honour'd Place,
Amongst th' immortal Æsculapian-Race:
That if my Muse, will needs officious be,
She must to this become a Votary.
In all our Songs, its Attributes rehearse,
Write Recipes, as Ovid Law, in Verse.
To Measure we'll reduce Febrific-Heat,
And make the Pulses in true Numbers beat.
Asthma and Phthisick chant in Lays most sweet;
The Gout and Rickets too, shall run on Feet.
In fine, my Muse, such Wonders we will do,
That to our Art, Mankind their Ease shall owe;
Then praise and please our-selves in doing so.
For since the Learn'd exalt and own our Fame,
It is no Arrogance to do the same,
But due Respects, and Complaisance to them.
Thus, Madam, as People before a Looking-glass, please themselves with their own Shapes and Features, though, perhaps, such as please no-body else; just so I celebrated my own Praise, according to the Proverb, for want of good Neighbours to do it for me; or rather, for want of Desert to ingage those good Neighbours. However, I will trouble your Ladyship with relating one Adventure more, which happen'd in this my Practice.
There came to me a Person in Quality of a Nurse who, though in a mean servile Station, had something in her Behaviour and Discourse, that seem'd above her Profession: For her Words, Air, and Mien, appeared more like one entertaining Ladies in a Drawing-Room, than a Person whose Thoughts were charg'd with the Care of her sick Patients, and Hands with the Pains of administring to her own Necessities. As we were in Discourse of the Business she came about, we were interrupted by a certain Noise in the Street, a little more than usual; which call'd our Curiosity to the Window; where pass'd by a noble fine Coach, with many Foot-men running bare-headed on each side, with all other Equipage and Garniture suitable; which made a splendid Figure, deserving the Regards of People the least curious. The Coach being pass'd, I turn'd me about, and found the good Nurse sunk in a fainting Fit, which was a little surprizing; but calling my Maid, with a little Endeavour, we brought her to herself; we ask'd her the Cause of this sudden Disorder? Whether she was accustom'd to those Fits? or, Whether any sudden Surprize or Reflection had seiz'd her? She reply'd, That indeed it was a sudden Surprize: The Sight of that great Coach, had affected her Spirit, so as to cause in her that Disorder. Whereupon I told her, I should be oblig'd to her, if she thought fit to inform me what Person or Occasion had caus'd in her so violent an Effect. To which she reply'd, That a Person of his Grandeur who was in the Coach, ought not to be nam'd with one of her mean Condition: Nevertheless, said she, you appearing to be a Gentlewoman of Prudence and Vertue, I will tell you my Story, without the least Disguise.
My Father, said she, was the younger Son of a Country Gentleman, and was a Tradesman of Repute in the City: He gave me a Gentlewoman-like Education, as became his Family, and the Fortune he was able to bestow upon me; for he had no Child but my self, which, perhaps, was the Cause that I was more taken Notice of than I should have been otherwise. Amongst many that cast their Eyes upon me, a certain young Clerk of the Inns of Court, of a piercing Wit, graceful Mien, and flowing Eloquence, found Opportunity to make an Acquaintance with me, and as soon to make his Addresses to me. Alas! my unguarded Heart soon submitted to the Attacks of his Wit and ingaging Behaviour; and all this without the Knowledge of my Father; which was the easier accomplish'd, I having no Mother. I will not repeat to you, continu'd she, the many Messages, Letters, and little Presents, which attended this secret Amour, there being therein no more than ordinary on such an Occasion.
Now though we had been careful and cunning enough to keep this from the Knowledge of my Father, yet Jealousy soon open'd the Eyes of a Lover; for the Foreman of my Father's Shop, designing me for himself, found out our Correspondence, and discovered the same to my Father: At which he was very much displeas'd, knowing that the young Gentleman had little or no Foundation, but his own Natural Parts, and his Education, to recommend him for a Husband to a City Heiress. Hereupon my Father forbad me his Company, charging me to have no manner of Correspondence with him, upon pain of his utmost Displeasure. But, alas! my Affections were too far ingag'd, to let Duty have the Regency; and not only my Affections, but my faithful Word given in Promise of Marriage to this young Gentleman; which I kept from my Father, assuring him of a ready Obedience to his Commands.
Thus things pass'd some time in Silence and Secrecy, 'till my Father had an Opportunity to marry me to a wealthy Citizen; wherewith he press'd me very earnestly to comply. But his Trade was none of the Genteelest, neither his Education nor Person at all polite, nor was he very suitable in Years: These Things were disagreeable in themselves; but worst of all, my Word given to my young Lawyer, render'd the Difficulty almost unsurmountable. I had not Courage to let my Father know the Truth; which if I had, perhaps, I had been never the better; for the more I seem'd to dislike this other Proposal, the more my Father's Aversion grew towards my young Lawyer, as supposing him to be the Obstacle that barr'd me from my Duty, as he really was, in a great degree. But Things did not hold long in this Posture; for my Father press'd on the Marriage with the utmost Earnestness, using Promises and Threatnings, 'till at last my Weakness (for I cannot call it Obedience) made me comply. After I was married, I lived in plenty enough for some Years. In the mean Time, my Father married a young Wife, by whom he had many Children, which depriv'd me of all future Hopes of receiving any Benefit by his Bounty. But to shorten my Story, by such time as I had liv'd a Wife about Seven Years, my Father dy'd, and my Husband broke, by which I was reduc'd to a low Ebb of Fortune; and he being a Man of no Family, had no Friends to assist or raise him; and with this Fall of Fortune, his Spirit sunk withal, so that he had not Courage to strive or grapple, or turn any thing about, 'till he had spent the utmost Penny. Whether this Ruin proceeded from Losses by Sea and Land, to which great Dealers are obnoxious, or from the immediate Hand of Heaven, for my Breach of Vow to my young Lawyer, I know not; but our Distress grew greater and greater, 'till I was forc'd to betake my self to the Imployment of a Nurse; and my Husband to be Labourer at St. Paul's, which is his present Occupation. In the mean time, my young Lawyer grew into Fame, by his acute Parts, which he imploy'd in serving the Royal-Cause, 'till he is become that great Man you saw pass by: which sudden Sight gave me such Confusion, that I cou'd no longer support my self, but sunk into the Chair next the Place where I stood.
Thus ended she her Story; which is indeed not a little extraordinary, though scarcely sufficient to merit your Ladyship's Attention. Nevertheless, the good Woman's Humility, Patience, and Industry, are greatly to be commended, and ought to be an Example to many, even her Superiors as well as her Inferiors; she being so true a Pattern of Patience, humble Condescension, and Diligence, that I think I may apply to her a Couplet I wrote on a particular Occasion, amongst some of my Poems:
Where Fortune wou'd not with her Wish comply,
She made her Wish bear Fortune Company.
Thus, Madam, I rubb'd on, in the midst of Noise and Bustle, which is every where to be found in London; but Quiet and Retreat scarce any where. At last I found out a Closet in my Landlady's Back-Garret which I crept into, as if it had been a Cave on the Top of Parnassus; the Habitation of some unfortunate Muse, that had inspir'd Cowley, Butler, Otway, or Orinda, with Notions different from the rest of Mankind; and for that Fault, were there made Prisoners. Here I thought I found my own poor despicable Muse given to Orinda as her Waiting-maid; and it was, perhaps, some of the worst Part of that great Lady's Punishment, to be constrain'd to a daily Correspondence with so dull a Creature. However, this Hole was to me a kind of Paradise; where I thought I met with my old Acquaintance as we hope to do in the other World. Here I tumbled over Harvey and Willis at Pleasure: My impertinent Muse here found me; and here we renew'd our old Acquaintance. Sometimes I wou'd repel her Insinuations; and sometimes again accept her Caresses; as appears by the following Invocation.
Cease, prithee, Muse, thus to infest
The barren Region of my Breast,
Which never can an Harvest yield,
Since Weeds of Noise o'er-run the Field.
If Interest wont oblige thee to it,
At least let Vengeance make thee do it;
'Cause I thy Sweets and Charms oppose,
In bidding Youth become thy Foes.
But nought, I see, will drive thee hence,
Threats, Business, or Impertinence.
But still thou dost thy Joys obtrude
Upon a Mind so wholly rude,
As can't afford to entertain
Thee, with the Welcome of one Strain.
Few Friends, like thee, wou'd be so kind,
To come where Interest does not bind;
And fewer yet return again,
After such Coldness and Disdain.
But thou, kind Friend, art none of those;
Thy Charms thou always do'st oppose
Against Inquietude of Mind;
If I'm displeas'd, still thou art kind;
And with thy Spells driv'st Griefs away,
Which else wou'd make my Heart their Prey.
And fill'st their empty Places too,
With Thoughts of what we ought to do.
Thou'rt to my Mind so very good,
Its Consolation, Physick, Food.
Thou fortify'st it in Distress;
In Joy augment'st its Happiness:
Inspiring me with harmless Rhimes,
To praise good Deeds, detest all Crimes.
Then, gentle Muse, be still my Guest;
Take full Possession of my Breast.
Thus, Madam, in my Garret-Closet, my Muse again took Possession of me: Poetry being one of those subtle Devils, that if driven out by never so many firm Purposes, good Resolutions, Aversion to that Poverty it intails upon its Adherents; yet it will always return and find a Passage to the Heart, Brain, and whole Interior; as I experienced in this my exalted Study: Or, to (use the Phrase of the Poets) my Closet in the Star-Chamber; or the Den of Parnassus.
Out of this Garret, there was a Door went out to the Leads; on which I us'd frequently to walk to take the Air, or rather the Smoke; for Air, abstracted from Smoke, is not to be had within Five Miles of London. Here it was that I wish'd sometimes to be of Don Quixote's Sentiments, that I might take the Tops of Chimneys, for Bodies of Trees; and the rising Smoke for Branches; the Gutters of Houses, for Tarras-Walks; and the Roofs for stupendous Rocks and Mountains. However, though I could not beguile my Fancy thus, yet here I was alone, or, as the Philosopher says, never less alone. Here I entertain'd my Thoughts, and indulg'd my solitary Fancy. Here I could behold the Parliament-House, Westminster-Hall, and the Abbey, and admir'd the Magnificence of their Structure, and still more, the Greatness of Mind in those who had been their Founders; one Place for the establishing good Laws; another for putting them in Practice; the Third for the immediate Glory of God; a Place for the continual singing his Praise, for all the Blessings bestow'd on Mankind. But with what Amazement did I reflect, how Mankind had perverted the Use of those Places design'd for a general Benefit: and having been reading the Reign of King Charles the First, I was amaz'd, to think how those Law-Makers cou'd become such Law-Confounders, as the History relates. Was it Ambition, Pride or Avarice? For what other wicked Spirit entred amongst them, we know not; but something infernal sure it was, that push'd or persuaded them to bring so barbarous an Enterprize to so sad a Conclusion. Ambition sure it cou'd not be, for every one cou'd not be King, nor indeed cou'd any one reasonably hope it. Neither cou'd it be Pride, because in this Action they work'd their own Disgrace. It must certainly therefore be Covetousness; for they hop'd to inrich themselves by the Ruins of the Church and State, as I have heard; though the Riches were of small Durance. These kind of Thoughts entertained me; some of which, I believe, are in Writing, amongst my other Geer.
Covetousness we may truly call, The Dropsie of the Mind, it being an insatiable Thirst of Gain: The more we get, the more we desire, and the more we have, the less willing are we to part with any. It was a wise Remark of him that said, A Poor Man wants Many things, but the Covetous Man wants All things; for a covetous Man will want Necessaries, rather than part with his Gold; and unless we do part with it, it is of no use to us; since we can't eat, drink, or warm ourselves by it: And, as of itself it can neither feed, warm, nor cloath us, so neither can it make us Ploughshares, Pruning-hooks, Weapons of Defence, or other Utensils worthy the Value we set upon it. Yet this shining Earth commands this Lower-Orb, and for it we often sell our Friends, King, Country, Laws, and even our eternal Happiness. Thus Avarice brings many to that Region where the Coveting of Thirty Pieces of Silver brought the most abominable of all Traitors.
Then I turn'd my Eyes on Westminster-Hall, that noble Structure, which contains the several Courts of Justice, where those good Laws, made in the other High Court, are put in practise. But how far this Intention is perverted, God knows, and the World daily informs us. For Truth is too often disguised, and Justice over-ballanced, by means of false Witnesses, slow Evidences to Truth, avaritious Lawyers, poor Clients, Perjury, Bribery, Forgery, Clamour, Party, Mistakes, Misapprehensions, ill-stating the Case, Demurrs, Reverses, and a thousand other Shifts, Querks and Tricks, unknown to all but Lawyers.
From hence I turn'd my Eyes on the Abbey, and wondred to behold it standing; when so many stately Edifices and stupendous Piles were demolished. Whether its Revenues were too small to be coveted, or too large to be hop'd for, I could not tell; but I believe the Stones were neither more nor less Criminal than those of their Fellow-Dilapidations. So I concluded these Considerations, with a Couplet of Sir John Denham's.
Is there no temp'rate Region to be known,
Betwixt their torrid and our frigid Zone?
I return'd into my Closet, or rather my Den of Dulness, for the Retreat of such a Student deserves not the Name of a Study. Here I cast mine Eyes on a very fine Epistle in Verse from my Friends at Cambridge; whereupon I sat me down to answer it, which was to dissuade them from Poetry, notwithstanding their great Genius towards it, express'd even in that Epistle. Which Answer be pleas'd to take as follows.
Dear Friends, if you'll be rul'd by me,
Beware the Charms of Poetry;
And meddle with no fawning Muse,
They'll but your harmless Love abuse.
Tho' Cowley's Mistress had a Flame,
As pure and lasting as his Fame;
And to Orinda they were ty'd,
That nought their Friendship cou'd divide;
Yet now they're all grown Prostitutes,
And wantonly admit the Suits
Of any Fop, that will pretend
To be their Lover, or their Friend.
Tho' they to Wit, no Homage pay,
Nor can the Laws of Verse obey,
But ride poor Six-foot out of Breath,
And rack a Metaphor to Death;
Yet still, as little as they know,
Are Fav'rites of the Muses now.
Then who wou'd honour such a She,
Where Fools their happier Rivals be?
We surely may conclude there's none,
Unless they're drunk with Helicon;
Which is a Liquor that can make
A Dunce set up for Rhyming Quack;
A Liquor of so strange a Temper,
As all our Faculties does hamper;
That whoso drinks thereof is curs'd
To a continu'd Rhyming Thirst.
Unknown to us, like Spell of Witch,
It strikes the Mind into an Itch;
Which being scrubb'd by Praise, thereby
Becomes a spreading Leprosy;
As hard to cure, as Dice or Whore,
And makes the Patient, too, as poor:
For Poverty as sure attends
On Poets, as on Rich-Mens Friends:
Wherefore I'd banish it my Breast.
Rather than be to Fools a Jest,
I'd to old Mammon be a Bride,
Be ugly as his Ore untry'd;
Do every Thing for sordid Ends,
Caress my Foes, betray my Friends;
Speak fair to all; do good to none;
Not care who's happy, who's undone;
But run where Int'rest pushes one;
Do any thing to quench poetick Flame,
And beg my Learned Friends to do the same.
Looking over what I had wrote, I remember I did not like it; for instead of praising what they had sent me, as it deserv'd, giving them Thanks, begging them to continue the same Favour to me and the World, I, in an uncouth, disobliging Manner, oppos'd their Ingenuity; by which I very little deserved any more such agreeable Entertainments. Moreover, casting an Eye on the other Poem, which I had wrote but a Day or two before, in which I had kindly treated and cajol'd my Muse; and then again on my Friends witty Epistle; so that between these Three, my Thoughts danc'd the Hay, like the Sun and Moon in the Rehearsal, and thereby made an Eclipse in my Resolution. But as I have heard, that in some Countries they go with Pans and Kettles, and therewith make a Noise; whether to wake the Sun out of his imagin'd Sleep, or raise him from the Dead, I know not: But, in like manner, a hasty Knocking at the Door of the Leads; disappointed this my Ecliptick Dance. I speedily open'd the Door, and there found a Gentlewoman of a graceful Mien and genteel Dress: She hastily rush'd in, and begg'd me to fasten the Door, and then to introduce her to the Gentlewoman of the House: To which I consented, and so descended with her to my Landlady's Apartment, where we found her, together with my Mother. After I had inform'd them of the Adventure of her coming over the Leads, in at the Garret-Door, they courteously receiv'd her, and desir'd to know wherein they cou'd be further serviceable.
She told them, That although her Crimes render'd her too confus'd to relate her Story; yet, her distressed Condition obliged her to an undisguised Recital.
I am, said she, Daughter to a worthy Country Gentleman, of an ancient Family and large Possessions; who lived suitable to the Rank and Station in which Heaven had plac'd him. He and my Mother were esteemed by Persons of all Ranks, as indeed they deserv'd; for they were beneficent to every body; Neighbours, Relations, Servants, Poor and Rich, all had a Share in their Generosity, Kindness, or Charity. Their Tenants gather'd Estates under them; Their Servants gain'd wherewith to become Masters in their Old Age; Their Table and Cellar were always free and open to the Freeholders, and Tradesmen, who came to pay their Respects to them; Their Park and Gardens were at the Service of any of the neighbouring Gentry, that were not Masters of such Conveniencies: Their Persons were amiable, and their Discourse agreeable and entertaining. Thus they pass'd their Days in Plenty and Honour, 'till their unhappy Off-spring gave a new Byass to their Bowl of Life, which had hitherto rolled on with such Evenness, as testified the steady Hand of those that gave the Cast . My Brother being grown to Years of Maturity, listed himself in all the Lewdness of the Age; by which he contracted so many and such gross Infirmities, that a thorough Recovery of his Health is despaired of.
Now my Parents, who had been always affectionate towards me, became extreamly fond, humouring me even to a Fault, especially since I made such ill Use of their Tenderness: For by means of this extra-ordinary Indulgence, I grew troublesome to Servants, impertinent to my Betters, rude and disobliging to my Equals, harsh and insulting to my Inferiors; in short, I behav'd my self, as if all the World were created for me only, and my Service. In the mean Time, Fondness so blinded my Parents, that they saw no Fault in me, nor I in my self, which was my great Misfortune.
Now, whether this humoursome, impertinent way made me disagreeable to Young Gentlemen, I know not; but though my Fortune was considerable, and my Person such as you see, not contemptible, yet nobody made any Overtures of Marriage to me, or to my Parents on my behalf; at least, that I know of.
Amongst, many whom my Father's Quality and Munificence brought to our House, there was a certain fine Gentleman cast his Eyes on me, with a Tenderness unbefitting my Youth, and his Circumstances, he being a married Man; but notwithstanding that, I suffered his Insinuations to penetrate my Soul. His Looks and Gestures demonstrated a violent Passion; but his Words were always dress'd up in Vertue and Honour; and the frequent Theme of his Discourse was on Platonick Love, and the happy State any Two might injoy, that lived together in such a chaste Affection. In these kind of Discourses we pass'd many Hours; sometimes in Walks, sometimes in Arbours, and oftentimes in my Chamber, 'till very late Hours. At last, the Mask of Platonick Love was pull'd off, and a personal Injoyment concluded the Farce, compos'd of many deceitful Scenes, and wicked Contrivances. In a little Time I began to perceive my self pregnant, to that degree, that I daily fear'd others should take notice of it. There was no way left to escape the Fury of my Parents and his Wife, but by Flight, which we put in Execution; pretending to go beyond-Sea, the better to avoid Search. But instead thereof, he brought me to a House in your Neighbourhood; and there left me. What is become of him, I know not, nor dare inquire. The Officers of the Parish being inform'd of my being here, in this Condition, came to inquire into the Matter; but my Landlady being aware thereof, convey'd me through her Garret over the Leads of Westminster Hall, and so into your Garret.
And now, Gentlewomen, behold what a miserable Creature is before you. I cannot bear being carried before a Justice on this Account; I shall sooner lay violent Hands on my self; which I pray God forbid. Therefore, dear Ladies, advise me what to do, or how to proceed.
After a little Consideration, my Landlady, with much Goodness, sent for the Officers of the Parish, to ingage on her behalf; that they might leave her in Repose, 'till Time should find out the Gentleman; or get some Accommodation with her Parents; after which she sent her Maid with her to her Lodging; recommending her to the Care of her Landlady, with Assurance of Payment.
She being gone, we began to descant on the poor miserable Creature's Distress; withal much applauding the Charity of our good Landlady, to a Person so wholly a Stranger. No, indeed, reply'd the good Gentlewoman, she is not quite a Stranger to me, for I was heretofore very well acquainted with her Parents, who were really worthy good People; but since the Birth of this Girl, her Father has chang'd his generous beneficent Temper; and as she grew up in Beauty, he grew the more Niggardly; of which I could give you a particular Instance, but shall reserve it to another Opportunity; and always wish, that Parents would never set their Hearts so much on great Provisions for their Children, as to refuse Charity to any miserable Object that addresses them, as did this Gentleman; but rely on God's Providence for their Posterity, as well as their own Riches, Frugality or Industry.
This Adventure, Madam, as it prov'd a Consolation to this distressed Creature; so it prov'd a Misfortune to me; for hereupon my Mother prohibited me my Garret-Closet, and my Walk on the Leads; lest I should encounter more Adventures, not only like this, but perhaps more pernicious: So that being depriv'd of my solitary Retreat, your Ladyship cannot expect much of Verse or Poetick Fancies whereof to make Patches at present.
Methinks, reply'd the Lady, I should expect some doleful Ditty, upon being depriv'd of this your beloved Solitude. On this Occasion I fancy you like Ovid, when banish'd from all his Pleasures and Injoyments in the glorious City of Rome; you being depriv'd of what you preferr'd before all them; which shews, there is no Possibility of making People happy against their Will. Some are happy in a Cottage; others can scarce endure Life but in a Palace. Some take great Delight in Fields, Woods, and Rural Walks: others again, in lofty Buildings, glorious Apartments, sumptuous Entertainments, Balls, Dancings, Shows, and Masquerades.
'Tis true, Madam, reply'd Galesia; and this makes me reflect, how useless, or rather pernicious, Books and Learning are to our Sex. They are like Oatmeal or Charcoal to the deprav'd Appetites of Girls; for by their Means we relish not the Diversions or Imbellishments of our Sex and Station; which render us agreeable to the World, and the World to us; but live in a Stoical Dulness or humersome Stupidity. However, I comply'd with my Mother, and made Inclination submit to Duty; and so endeavour'd to make a Vertue of this Necessity, and live like others of my Rank, according to Time, Place and Conveniency.
My dear Mother now growing aged, began to be very desirous to see me established in a married State; daily inculcating to me, That we, in a manner, frustrate the End of our Creation, to live in that uncouth kind of Solitude, in which she thought I too much delighted, and which she believed would grow upon me, when God should take her away: At what Time, I should then have no body to consolate, protect or assist me; urging, That I ought not to pass my Time in idle Dreams on Parnassus, and foolish Romantick Flights, with Icarus; whose waxen Wings fail'd him so as to let him fall into the Sea; which indeed purchas'd him a Name, but became the perpetual Record of his Folly: And such a Name, such a Record, I should be glad, said she, you would avoid, by becoming a good Mistress of a Family; and imploy your Parts in being an obedient Wife, a discreet Governess of your Children and Servants; a friendly Assistant to your Neighbours, Friends, and Acquaintance: This being the Business for which you came into the World, and for the Neglect of this, you must give an Account when you go out of it. These were Truths which Reason would not permit me to oppose; but my Reflections on Bosvil's Baseness, gave me a secret Disgust against Matrimony. However, her often repeated Lectures, call'd for Compliance, especially Fortune seeming at that Time to concur with my Mother's Counsel, in the following manner.
There was a certain Widow-Gentlewoman, who had but one only Son, who should have been the Staff of her Age. This Son she had educated to the Law, and placed him in handsome Chambers in the Temple. But the young Gentleman, instead of studying the Laws of his Country, practis'd the Mode of the Times, and kept the Wife of an unhappy Citizen, made so partly by her Vanity and Coquettry, 'till he was forced to seek his Fortune in the Plantations, whilst she found hers in the wicked Embraces of this young Gentleman; who hired a very handsome House for her, furnished it genteely, and when he pleas'd, there pass'd his Time, making her his Study, Practice and Diversion. In this guilty Correspondence, they had Children; in particular one, who grew a great Girl, and was put to a Boarding-School, amongst young Gentlewomen of Vertuous Descent.
Now this kind of Life was very grievous to his good Mother, and as it caus'd her to shed many Tears, so it obliged her, from Time to Time, to use many Reprehensions suitable to her maternal Affection; sometimes sharp, sometimes soft, sometimes persuasive, sometimes menacing: But all in vain; for he still went on in the same Road, supporting this Adultress in all her Extravagancies, humouring her in all her Whimsies and Caprices, 'till the Diminution of his Circumstance, began to call on him for a Retrenchment of his Expences. His Lands were mortgaged, his Houses decay'd, his Debts increased, his Credit diminished, Duns attack'd him in every Quarter, Writs and Bayliffs follow'd him, Vexations of all Sorts met and overtook him: Nevertheless, her Riot, Vanity, and chargeable Diversions must not be abated; so great an Ascendant she had got over him, that (according to the Proverb) He scarce durst say his Soul was his own.
One time, being under an Arrest for some Debt contracted by means of her Extravagancy; he sent to her to come and lay down the Money, which he knew she could do with Ease, she having Cash by her, or at least he knew she could raise it speedily, out of those rich Presents he had made her from Time to Time; but she boggled, and made many frivolous Excuses, which would not hold Water: At last she plainly refused, unless he would grant her a Judgment of all that he had, Real and Personal, Body and Goods, alledging (no doubt) That it was the safest Way to secure to himself a Livelihood, and balk his Creditors. He depending on the Belief of her Affection, and the manifold Obligations she lay under, comply'd with this Proposal, thinking it a proper Blind or Sham, to secure himself, and defraud others.
This being done, the gay Serpent began to shew her Sting, and treated him with less Respect and Complaisance. Those Caresses and Endearments, which hitherto had shone in her Looks and Actions, began to be overcast with cold Clouds and a careless Behaviour; and, by Degrees, to a disdainful Neglect; scarce containing herself sometimes within the Bounds of common Civility. This Treatment awaken'd him out of his Lethargick Slumber, opened his Eyes, and made him see all at once the many false Steps he had taken in his Life's Travels: In particular, The Griefs he had given his Mother; the Disgrace to his Education and Profession; and, in short, the total Ruin of his Family, which was like to be extinct in him; and himself become a miserable Dependant on the Charity of an insolent Strumpet. Alas! what Charity, what Kindness can be expected from such a Creature? For when a Man's Fortune fails, that he can no longer bribe her Pride or Luxury, there is no more Kindness to be hop'd for, than a poor Client, when Fees fail, can hope from an avaritious Lawyer. And now he begins to consider how he shall repair or stave off his utter Ruin; which he concluded was no way to be done, but by closing with his dear Mother's Advice, in betaking himself to some vertuous Woman in Marriage. Being thus resolved, he took the first Opportunity to communicate his Thoughts to his Mother, making a Merit of this Necessity, by a pretended Obedience to her often-repeated Counsel; assuring her, that he would submit his Inclinations to her wise Election.
The good Gentlewoman was transported at this hopeful Change in her Son, and casting about in her Thoughts, at last pitch'd upon this your Servant Galesia; a Person not worthy such Esteem, only favour'd by the Opinion she had of my Vertue and Innocence. When she propos'd it to her Son, he seem'd as much pleas'd with his Mother's Choice, as she was at his seeming Reformation; and ingaged her to agree upon a Day to come along with her to make me a Visit.
The Day appointed, he dined with his Mother, in order to wait on her to our Lodging in the Afternoon: But e'er they had well din'd, a Messenger came to him from a Tavern over-the-way, bringing word, that there were Gentlemen had Business of Consequence, and desired to speak with him: Which Gentlemen were only this Adultress, who having got Intelligence of this design'd Visit, came to disappoint it with her alluring Cajoleries; making him send Word to his Mother, that he would wait on her another Day; pretending, that the Gentlemens Business ingag'd his Attendance at that Time. Behold in this Transaction what Power these Creatures have over Men! Notwithstanding those Reasons he had to abhor and detest this his false Dalilah, was he again deluded by her; so that one may truly say with the wise Man, Whosoever is fetter'd by a lewd Woman, is led like a Beast to the Slaughter, never to return.
Thus Things pass'd quietly for a while: At last he found an Opportunity to come along with his Mother to make me a Visit or two; of which by the Treachery of his Man, and her Vigilance, she (I mean the Harlot) got Notice, and quarrell'd with him about it very sharply, and then again wheedled, courted and caress'd him, and sometimes with Smiles, sometimes with Tears, besought his Constancy, sometimes with Fits, and melancholy Vapours, ingag'd his Pity: Then again, with opprobrious and violent Words reproach'd his Falshood, reviling him for all his broken Vows; alledging, That her Ruine, Life and Health would all lie at his Door; That for his sake she had cast herself out of the Protection of her Friends, and forfeited their Favour and Kindness: That for his sake she had disgrac'd herself in the Face of the World, offended God, and greatly wrong'd her Husband; in all which, she had affronted Heaven and Earth, and flown in the Face of her Family, abus'd her Birth and vertuous Education, and wasted her Youth in the Embraces of a perjur'd Wretch, who now abandon'd her to Grief, Shame and Poverty; with many such grating Reflections, and violent Speeches, wherewith from time to time she persecuted him. Which sometimes he endeavoured to moderate by Arguments, sometimes alledging Religion, sometimes Reason, sometimes Necessity, and the Impossibility of doing otherwise: Now cajoling her with the Pretence of Sorrow and Regret, and buoying her up with Hopes that he found himself not able to leave her; and then again plunging her into Despair, by alledging his Duty to his Mother, and the Anxiety of a tormented Conscience. Thus they argued this Way and that, from side to side, like a Ship that goes to fetch a Wind, which never sails directly to the Point.
At last the Gentleman resolv'd to be thoroughly plain with her, and accordingly told her, without any Varnish of Words or Shadow of Disguise, that he was fully resolv'd to marry; but that he would not abandon her to Misery or Distress; but would settle such a Pension on her, as might support her in a decent, honest Way of Living; and that he would likewise take Care to provide for her Daughter, in giving her such a Portion as might marry her to some honest Tradesman in a good Station of Life; and with this he charged her to be content, without meddling with him in his married State, but live retir'd, vertuously and modestly, and it should be the better for her and her Daughter.
The Creature being thus provoked, fell into violent Words and Actions; told him, That he shew'd his Falshood and Baseness too late, he having put his Person and Fortune out of his own Power, and into hers; wherefore she would take care of herself, by securing both to her own Advantage. Being thus stung to the Quick, he left her House in great Vexation of Spirit: And in the midst of his Fury, went forthwith and shot himself.
This was the fatal End which his Lewdness and Folly brought upon him! This was the Conclusion of his guilty Embraces! Thus a filthy Strumpet shewed herself in her Colours! And thus was he bullied out of his Estate, Life, and Honour; his Life lost, his Debts unpaid, his Estate devour'd by a lewd Harlot! A very fatal Warning to all unwary Gentlemen.
I suppose, Madam, you cannot imagine, that his Death affected me much as a Lover, there being but little of that in the Story; but one must have been without Humanity, to be unconcern'd at such an Accident, and not have borne some part in his Mother's Affliction; especially since the good Gentlewoman had pitch'd upon me amongst all her Acquaintance, for so near an Alliance. I could not omit reflecting on Job and Tobit, as if the Almighty had permitted some Satan, or Asmodas to persecute me in the Persons of all that pretended to love or like me. Which way soever it was, I endeavour'd to be resign'd; this being the Duty of a Christian in all Conditions. However, it contributed to make me the more despise the World, with all its gaudy Trappings: or, perhaps, with the Fox, thought the Grapes sowre, because I could not reach them. The Truth is, I had found so many Disappointments, that I began to be displeas'd at my-self, for hoping or expecting any thing that tended to Happiness: I thought with Mrs. Phillips,
If with some Pleasure we our Griefs betray,
It costs us dearer than we can repay:
For Time or Fortune, all Things so devours,
Our Hopes are cross'd,
Or else the Object lost,
E'er we can call it ours.
Which indeed was always so with me, not only in this, but in all other Enterprizes and Transactions of Life: I could hope nothing, propose nothing, but I was cross'd or disappointed therein, e'er I could arrive at Accomplishment. Therefore, Madam, you need not think it strange that I began to believe Providence had ordain'd for me a Single Life. Began, did I say? No, rather continued in that Sentiment ever since the Disappointment of Bosvil. And I think here are a few Lines something tending to that Subject:
Since, O good Heavens! you have bestow'd on me
So great a Kindness for Virginity,
Suffer me not to fall into the Powers
Of Man's almost Omnipotent Amours.
But let me in this happy State remain,
And in chaste Verse my chaster Thoughts explain;
Fearless of Twenty-five, and all its Rage,
When Time with Beauty lasting Wars ingage.
When once that Clock has struck, all Hearts retire,
Like Elves from Day-break, or like Beasts from Fire,
'Tis Beauty's Passing-Bell; no more are slain;
But dying Lovers all revive again.
Then every Day some new Contempt we find,
As if the Scorn and Lumber of Mankind.
These frightful Prospects, oft our Sex betray;
Which to avoid, some fling themselves away;
Like harmless Kids, who when pursu'd by Men,
For Safety, run into a Lyon's Den.
Ah! happy State! how strange it is to see,
What mad Conceptions some have had of Thee!
As if thy Being was all Wretchedness,
Or foul Deformity, in vilest Dress:
Whereas thy Beauty's pure Celestial,
Thy Thoughts Divine, thy Words Angelical:
And such ought all thy Votaries to be,
Or else they're so but for Necessity.
A Virgin bears the Impress of all Good,
Under that Name, all Vertue's understood.
So equal all her Looks, her Mien, her Dress,
That nought but Modesty is in Excess;
The Business of her Life to this extends,
To serve her God, her Neighbour and her Friends.
Indeed, said the Lady, the Transactions of thy Life hitherto seem a perfect Chain of Disappointments. However, the Almighty has been gracious in giving thee a Mind submissive and resign'd; for which thou art bound to glorify his Goodness, and hope for more prosperous Days for the Time to come. As they were about to proceed in their Discourse, and look for more Patches to carry on their Work, the Lady's Butler came from his Master, saying, He was about to make a Bowl of Punch, and sent to the Stranger-Gentlewoman for her Receipt, which she was talking of the Night before; which Galesia readily rehears'd:
Take Three Bottles from Spain, and one from France,
Two from the Rhine, and one from Nance:
No Water at all, but a little from Roses;
A red-nos'd Sea-Captain, to mingle the Doses;
Limons, Nutmeg, and Sugar, with a Toast to float on it;
And a Knot of good Fellows, that will not shrink from it.
With these Instructions, the Butler made his Exit, making a low Bow according to the old Fashion.
The Butler being gone, the Lady desired Galesia to return to her Discourse: To which she readily accorded, saying, After this unexpected Accident of the said unhappy Gentleman, my Mother began to think that Heaven had design'd me for a Single Life, and was a little more reconcil'd to my studious Way; saying, with the Proverb, It is in vain to strive against the Stream; or oppose Providence. Sometimes she regretted that ever she had promoted, or consented to that Proposal, the Business having prov'd so fatal both to the Gentleman and his good Mother, whose Griefs, said she, methinks I feel; which Reflection would sometimes draw Tears from her Eyes. And one Day, my Compassion uniting with hers, caus'd me to take out my Handkerchief, and with it fell the following Verses.
In vain, in vain it is, I find,
To strive against our Fate;
We may as well command the Wind,
The Sea's rude Waves, to gentle Manners bind,
Or to Eternity prescribe a Date;
As frustrate ought that Fortune has design'd:
For when we think we're Politicians grown,
And live by Methods of our own,
We then obsequiously obey
Fate's Dictates, and a blindfold Homage pay.
Were it not so, I surely could not be
Still Slave to Rhime, and lazy Poetry:
I, who so oft have strove
My Freedom to regain;
And sometimes too, for my Assistance took
Obedience, and sometimes a Book;
Company, and sometimes Love:
All which, still proves in vain;
For I can only shake, but not cast off my Chain.
All this, my Fate, all this thou didst foreshow,
Ev'n when I was a Child,
When in my Picture's Hand,
My Mother did command,
There should be drawn a Lawrel Bough.
Lo! then my Muse sat by, and smil'd,
To hear how some the Sentence did oppose,
Saying an Apple, Bird, or Rose,
Were Objects which did more befit
My childish Years, and no less childish Wit.
For then my Muse well knew, that constant Fate
Her Promise would compleat:
For Fate at my Initiation
Into the Muses Congregation,
As my Responsor promis'd then for me,
I should forsake those Three,
Soaring Honours, vain Persuits of Pleasure,
And vainer Fruits of worldly Treasure,
All for the Muses melancholy Tree,
E'er I knew ought of its great Mystery.
Since, O my Fate! thou needs wilt have it so,
Let thy kind Hand exalt it to my Brow.
To which my Mother reply'd, I think, Fate would be more kind to set a Basket, or a Milk-pail, on thy Head; thereby to suppress those foolish Vapours that thus intoxicate thy Brain: But if there be a fatal Necessity that it must be so, e'en go on, and make thyself easy with thy fantastick Companions the Muses: I remember, continued she, I have been told, that one of the ancient Poets says:
Thrust Nature off, with Fork, by Force,
She'll still return to her old Course:
And so I find it in the whole Course of thy Life. And, as thou sayest in this Poem, thou hast tryed divers means to chase away this unlucky Genius that attends thee; and, I am sensible, out of a true design'd Obedience to me: But since it will not do, I shall no more oppose thy Fancy, but comply and indulge so innocent a Diversion. As I was about to return her my Thanks, a Gentleman that had married our Kinswoman, came in.
As Galesia was about to proceed, the Lady rang for a Servant; and bad him go to her House-keeper, and tell her to get a Dish of the Welsh Flummery ready, which Galesia had taught her last Night, and set it in an Arbour; and when 'tis cool, said she, to call us. And now, continued the Lady, give me the Receipt, for it shall make a Patch in the Screen, as well as does that of the Punch. To which Galesia readily agreed.
Take Jelly of Harts-horn, with Eggs clarify'd,
Three good Pints at least; of Cream, one beside.
Fine Sugar and Limons, as much as is fit
To suit with your Palate, that you may like it.
Three Ounces of Almonds, with Orange Flow'r-Water,
Well beaten: Then mix 'em all up in a Platter
Of China or Silver; for that makes no matter.
The Lady was pleas'd with the Receipt, and bad Galesia return to her Story, of the Gentleman that had married her Kinswoman.
This Gentleman, said Galesia, had married a young Gentlewoman of Distinction, against the Consent of her Friends; which she accomplish'd by the Help of her Mother's Maid-Servant. To say the Truth, though her Birth was very considerable, yet her Person was not at all agreeable; and her Fortune but indifferent: her Parents, I suppose, thinking, that more than just enough to support her, would but betray her to an unhappy Marriage. In short, married she was to the foresaid young Man, whose Person was truly handsome; and with Part of her Fortune he plac'd himself in the Army, bestow'd another Part in furnishing her a House, and so liv'd very decently; and notwithstanding her indifferent Person, he had Children by her, though they did not live long. Thus they made a pretty handsome Shift in the World, 'till a vile Wretch, her Servant, overturn'd all; as follows. This Servant, whether she was a Creature of her Master's before she came to her Mistress, is not known; but she became very fruitful, and had every Year a Child; pretending that she was privately married to an Apprentice. Whether the Wife knew the whole of the Matter, or was impos'd upon, is uncertain; but which way soever it was, she was extremely kind to this Woman, to a Degree unheard of; became a perfect Slave to her, and, as if she was the Servant, instead of the Mistress, did all the Household-Work, made the Bed, clean'd the House, wash'd the Dishes; nay, farther than so, got up in the Morning, scour'd the Irons, made the Fire, &c. leaving this vile Strumpet in Bed with her Husband; for they lay all Three together every Night. All this her Friends knew, or at least suspected; but thought it Complaisance, not Choice in her; and that she consider'd her own Imperfections, and Deformity; and therefore, was willing to take no Notice of her Husband's Fancy in the Embraces of this Woman her Servant. But the Sequel opens quite another Scene: And now I come to that Part of the Story, where he came to my Mother. His Business was, to desire her to come to his Wife, and endeavour to persuade her to part with this Woman; For, said he, she has already Three Children living, and God knows how many more she may have: Which indeed, Madam, said he, is a Charge my little Substance is not able to sustain; and I have been using all Endeavours to persuade my Wife to part with her, but cannot prevail: Wherefore I beg you, as a Friend, Relation, and her Senior in Years, to come, and lay before her the Reasonableness of what I desire, and the Ridiculousness of her proceeding. Good Heaven! said my Mother, can you think thus to bore my Nose with a Cushion? Can you imagine me so stupid, as to believe your Wife can persist in such a Contradiction of Nature? It is impossible a Wife should oppose her Husband's Desire in parting with such a Woman. Madam, reply'd he, I beg you once more to be so good as to come to my Wife, and then condemn me if I have advanc'd a Falshood. Well, reply'd my Mother, I will come; though I doubt not but upon due Inspection, the whole, will prove a Farce compos'd amongst you, in which your Wife is to act her Part just as you between you think fit to teach her; which she, out of Fear, or some other Delusion, is to perform. But he averr'd again and again, that, without Fraud or Trick, the Thing was as he said. In short, my Mother went; and there she found the Servant sitting in a handsome Velvet Chair, dress'd up in very good lac'd Linnen, having clean Gloves on her Hands, and the Wife washing the Dishes. This Sight put my Mother into such a violent Passion, that she had much ado to refrain from laying Hands on her. However, she most vehemently chid the Mistress; telling her, That she offended God, disgrac'd her Family, scandaliz'd her Neighbours, and was a Shame to Woman-kind. All which she return'd with virulent Words; amongst other Things, she stood Buff in Favour of that Woman; saying, That she had been not only a faithful Servant, but the best of Friends, and those that desir'd to remove such a Friend from her, deserved not the Name of Friends, neither did she desire they should come into her House: All which she utter'd with such an Air of Vehemency, that there was no Room left to doubt of the Sincerity of her Words; but that all proceeded from an Interiour thoroughly degenerated. All which my Mother related to me with great Amazement: But withal, told me, that she would have me go to her on the Morrow; and with calm and friendly Words, endeavour to persuade her to Reason; for, said she, I was in a Passion at the disagreeable View; but you, who have naturally more Patience than my-self, pray put on the best Resolutions you can to keep your Temper, whatsoever Provocations shall occur. Thus instructed, thus resolved, I went next Day, hoping that a Night's Repose would calm the Storm my Mother's Anger might have rais'd. But when I came, I found it all the same: Though I took her apart, and with the utmost Mildness, persuaded her, and us'd the best Reasons I could think on to inforce those Persuasions, yet all was in vain; and she said, We all join'd with her Husband to make her miserable, by removing from her, the only Friend she had in the World; and passionately swore by Him that made her, that if we combin'd to send the Woman away, she would go with her. I would try that, reply'd I, were I in your Husband's Place: At which her Passion redoubled; and she, with violent Oaths, repeated her Resolution; desiring, that her Friends would meddle with their own Business, and let her alone, to remain in Quiet in her House, and not come to give her Disturbance. After these uncouth Compliments, I left her, carrying with me the greatest Amazement possible. After this, the Husband came to us, and ask'd, If we did not find true what he had told us? Indeed, replied I, true, and doubly true; such a Truth as I believe never was in the World before, nor never will be again. In this Case, said he, What would you counsel me to do? Truly, said my Mother, it is hard to advise; for to let the Woman live there still, is not proper; nor can your Circumstances undergo the Charge: And if your Wife should do as she says, and go with her; I should in some Degree be accessary to the parting Man and Wife. I would venture, said I, for when it comes to the Push, I warrant her she will not go. Hereupon the Man said he would try; and accordingly, hired a Place in a Waggon to carry the Creature into her own Country; hoping, as I suppose, that his Wife would have rested herself contented with him, when the Woman had been gone; but instead thereof, she acted as she said, and went along with her.
This Transaction was so extraordinary, that every-body was amazed at it; and when they had been gone some time, there arose a Murmuring, amongst Friends, Neighbours and Acquaintance, as if he had made his Wife away; and when he told them the Manner of her Departure, they would not believe him, the thing in itself being so incredible.
But we will leave him to make his Party good, as well as he can, amidst the Censure of his Neighbours, the Threats of her Friends, and the Ridicule of his Acquaintance; and follow the Travellers, into the Country whither they were gone.
They arrived safe at the Woman's Father's, where they found as kind a Reception as a poor Cottage could afford; and a very poor one it was, there being no Light but what came in at the Door, no Food but from the Hands of Charity, nor Fewel but what they pilfer'd from their Neighbours Hedges.
Now what this unaccountable Creature thought of this kind of Being, is unknown, or what Measures she and her Companion thought to take, or what Schemes they form'd to themselves, is not conceivable: But whatever they were, the discreet Neighbourhood put a Period to their Projects; for they got a Warrant to have them before a Justice, in order to prevent a Parish Charge; there being two Children there already, which they had sent some time before; and now two helpless Women being come, they knew not where the Charge might light, and therefore proceeded as aforesaid. It happen'd as the Constable was conducting them to the Justice, with a Mob at their Heels, that they pass'd by the House of a Lady of Quality, who looking out of her Window, saw in the midst of this Throng, this unfortunate Wife, whom she immediately knew to be the Daughter of her Friend; knew to be the Child of an honourable Family. It is impossible to describe what Amazement seiz'd her: She call'd out to the Constable and other Neighbours there, bidding them bring that Gentlewoman to her, which they immediately did. This good Lady, out of Respect to her old Friends, a worthy Family, bid them discharge her, telling them, That her-self would be bound that she should be no Parish Charge; so took her into her House, treated her kindly, and offer'd her all she could do on such an Occasion: For all which she return'd the Lady but cold Thanks, and begg'd her Ladyship's Assistance to convey her to London along with the other Woman, who, she said, was the truest Friend in the World. The Lady knowing nothing of her Story, with much Goodness provided for her Departure, together with her Companion. In this manner, loaden with Disgrace, they came back to London, to her Husband, from whom, no doubt, she found Reproaches suitable to her Folly.
Long it was not, e'er Death made a true and substantial Separation, by carrying the Husband into the other World. Now was the Time to make manifest, whether Promises, Flatteries or Threatnings had made her act the foresaid Scene: But it appear'd all voluntary; for when he was dead, her Friends and Relations invited and persuaded her to leave that Creature and her Children, and come to live with them, suitable to her Birth and Education. But all in vain; she absolutely adher'd to this Woman and her Children, to the last Degree of Folly; insomuch, that being reduc'd to Poverty, she begg'd in the Streets to support them. At last, some Friend of her Family told the Queen of the distressed way she was in; and in some Degree, how it came to pass, that neither her dead Husband nor her Relations might be blameable. The Queen, with much Goodness, told her Friend, That if she would leave that Woman, and go live with some Relation, she would take Care she should not want; and withal sent her Five Guineas, as an Earnest of a Monthly Pension; but notwithstanding, this infatuated Creature refus'd the Queen's Favour, rather than part with this Family: And so, for their Support, begg'd in the Streets, the Remainder of her Days.
Sure, said the Lady, This poor Creature was under some Spell or Inchantment, or she could never have persisted, in so strange a manner, to oppose her Husband, and all her nearest Friends, and even her Sovereign. As they were descanting on this Subject, a Servant came and told them, that all was ready in the Arbour; and that the Gentlemen having finish'd their Bowl of Punch, were attending their coming, to share with them in a Dish of Tea, and Welsh Flummery.
Accordingly, the Ladies went thither, where they were saluted with a most pleasant Consort of chirping Musicians, whose wild Notes, in different Strains, set forth the Glory of their great Creator, exciting the whole Company to certain Acts of Joy and Thanksgiving: Amongst which Quire, none seem'd so harmonious as the soft Strains of the delightful Philomel, whose various Notes ingag'd every one's Attention; insomuch that the Lady call'd to her Page, to sing that old Song, the Words of which held due Measure with the Tunes and different Changes of the Nightingale.
It was on a Day,
When the Nymphs had leave to play,
As I walk'd unseen,
In a Meadow green,
I heard a Maid in an angry Spleen,
Complaining to her Swain,
To leave his toiling Vein,
And come and sport with her upon the Plain.
But the silly Clown
Lay delving of the Ground,
Regardless of her Moan,
When she cry'd,
Come away, bonny Boy, come away.
"I cannot come, I will not come;
"I cannot leave my Work undone."
And that was all, this silly Clown could say.
Thus vexed in her Mind,
To see him so unkind,
To Venus she went,
In a Discontent,
To get her Boy, with his Bow ready bent,
To take a nimble Dart,
And to strike him to the Heart,
For disobeying her Commandement.
Gave the Boy such a Bang,
As made him to gang
With the bonny Lass along.
When she cry'd,
Come away, bonny Boy; come hither.
"I come, I come, I come."
And so they gang'd along together.
The Company were all pleas'd with the Lad's Performance, in which he imitated the Nightingale to Admiration. Thus they diverted themselves, 'till Chariots came to carry them out to take the Evening Air.
The Ladies having pass'd their Evening's Diversion, and their Night's Repose, dispos'd themselves in the Morning to go on with their Patch-work; the Lady ordering Galesia to resume her Story. Which she was about to do, when the Cook came to inquire, what shou'd be for Dinner; telling her Ladyship, That Two of the South-Sea Directors had sent his Master Word they wou'd dine with him to Day. They think themselves Great-Men, said the Lady, that they did not suppose we had a Dinner worth their eating, without sending us Word. But since they have taken Care to give us this Notice, we will do the best we can; therefore, if you can tell my Cook how to make a very good French Soup, prithee do.
Take a large Barn-door Cock, and all his Bones break;
Of Mutton and Veal, each one a good Neck: may make;
Of these, then, Two Quarts of strong Broth you take;
Next, another full Quart of good Beef Gravey
Of right Vermicelli, a Quartern at least:
Then season all these as best likes your Taste:
A Fowl in the Middle, to swim like a Toast,
It matters not whether it boil'd be or roast.
With Bacon and Balls, then garnish it well.
Add Toasts fry'd in Marrow, and Sweet-breads of Veal,
And what else you please: for I cannot tell.
This is a chargeable Soup, said the Lady, but one wou'd not stick at Expence to obtain the Favour of one of these Directors. My Husband is about to lay a Debt upon his Estate, to put into this profitable Fund: He has, with much ado, got the Promise of a Subscription for 10,000l. for this Purpose. Madam, reply'd Galesia, I beg you to use your utmost Endeavours to prevent this Proceeding: I beg you for God's Sake, your own Sake, your Childrens Sake, and for the Sake of all the Poor, that depend upon your Charity, to endeavour to disappoint this Design. I know not what to say (reply'd the Lady) to these your earnest Entreaties; but for the Sake of this your Solicitation, I shall consider very well upon it, together with my Husband. And now we are alone and quiet, turn over your Papers, and look out some Patches. Accordingly Galesia went about it, and, lo! the first thing she laid her Fingers upon, was a Prophesy, which she read, after the Lady had discharg'd her Cook with due Orders about the Dinner.
When a Noise in the South
Shall fill ev'ry one's Mouth,
Then England beware of Undoing,
Your Sins shall be scourged,
Your Pockets well purged,
And, ev'ry one seek his own Ruin.
I suppose, said the Lady, this Prophesy gives you so great an Aversion to the South-Sea. I cannot deny, said Galesia, but it strikes my Thoughts so far, that if I had never so much to spare, I wou'd not put a Shilling into that or any other Bubble. I will not inquire into your Reasons, said the Lady; it will but hinder our Diversion: So pray go on with your Story.
Alas! said Galesia, the next is so melancholy, that I care not how long I keep from it; for now it was that the Death of King Charles II. put a Stop to the Wheel of all Joy and Happiness in England: And it more particularly affected me, because the Death of this our Gracious Sovereign, seiz'd my dear aged Mother with such a Storm of Grief, that she fell into a languishing State, in which she continu'd for many Weeks, e'er Death releas'd her. During her Illness, whilst I watch'd her Slumbers, divers Reflexions accosted me, some of one kind, some of another; in particular, What a new Face the World had at present: It was but t'other Day, said I to myself, that all the World was in Gaiety, and the English-Court in Splendor. The King reverenc'd; the Courtiers belov'd; the Nation seeking after them for Places and Preferments: Glittering Coaches crowding before White-hall-Gate, discharging out of their sides Beaus and Belles, in the most sumptuous Apparel, as if they meant to vie with Phoebus in his Meridian. And now, behold how wonderful is the Change! as if Dooms-day had discharg'd it self of a Shower of black walking Animals; whose Cheeks are bedew'd with Tears, and whose Breasts are swollen with Sighs! Amongst these, none griev'd more sincerely than my Mother, for the Death of this her Royal Lord, for whose dear Sake, and that of his Father, so many Heroes of her Family had shed their dearest Blood. Then wou'd she remark upon, and recite the Villainies of those Times, 'till Faintness call'd her Spirits to some reviving Slumbers. In the mean time my Pen wou'd discharge itself of one sort of Scribble or other; and I think here is one appears:
To trace but out the Follies of Mankind,
Whether in the Common-Mass, or else disjoyn'd,
Is an Abyss, wherein to drown the Mind:
A Lab'rinth wild, obscure, to lose one's Sense,
A Wilderness of thick Impertinence.
Tho' we pretend we'ave Reason for our Guide,
When Passions get the Reins, they drive aside,
O'er dang'rous Ways, and Precipices run,
'Till Reason is by Passion overthrown.
No Animals such Bubbles are, as Man;
They strive to save themselves, in all they can;
But we in our own Snares, our selves trapan.
We're Heav'n's Clock-work, too, too finely wrought,
Seldom strike true, in Deed, in Word or Thought.
But clash and clatter, contradict and prove,
Then say and unsay, as our Fancies move.
Sometimes we glory of Immortal Souls,
Whilst every Action, every Word controuls.
Above all Sense, we of our Reason boast,
Whilst by our Deeds, we shou'd think both were lost,
Some, with Respect to God, their Words will place,
Whilst some again, his Entity disgrace,
And All, in Deeds, affront him to his Face.
Then to excuse ourselves of all these Crimes,
We lay the Fault on Devils or the Times.
When false Ideas, our frail Minds persuade,
And Lust or other Crimes our Wills invade,
The Devils are aspers'd, and Panders made.
'Tis true, e'er since the Fall, we are his Fools,
He plots our Ruin, and make us his Tools.
For oft'ner we betray ourselves than he
(Deforming th' Image of the Deity);
And so make Brutes, much happier than we.
Than 'tis not strange, if we this Being hate,
Since brutal Happiness is more compleat.
After a little Reflection, recollecting my scatter'd Thoughts, I broke out into the following Contemplations:
Whither, O whither! do my Thoughts ramble! — Into what strange, unfrequented Desarts does my Imagination wander! — Desarts, never trodden but by one Wild Passenger. He, indeed, has told the World of one Fowler, a Happy Creature. But I dare ingage, if it were in Fowler's Power, he would most readily change with the most contemptible of Human Creatures, (setting a happy Immortality aside). I have heard say, That a Butcher's Dog, and a Brewer's Hog, are the Happiest of Brute Animals: But which of us wou'd change with either of them, if Transmigration were in our Power? Not one I dare answer; no, not even of those who daily make themselves in Fact, what those Animals are in Form; and by their repeated Excesses, become of so deprav'd a Nature, that they are scarce distinguishable (at least in their Actions) from those poor Brutes. And tho' these are Vices which all the World explode in Words, yet very few do in Acts. And what is more detestable, (if true) I have heard that our Women begin to be Practitioners in this Vice; which is but lately, if at all; for 'till now, their Manners never suffer'd the least Blemish of that kind, but were as perfect, as to any such Taint, as an untouch'd Plumb, or Grape, in a fair Summer's Morning; Pride having been the only Vice imputed to the Fair Sex. And indeed at some Times, and on some Occasions, is so far from being a Vice, that it is a Vertue of great Magnitude, shining in the Horizon of their Affairs. However, I dare ingage, there is not one of either Sex wou'd injoy the utmost Pleasures, attending the Perpetration of these Crimes, at the Price of their Humanity.
A Crime most laid at the Ladies Door; 'Tis said, they love Dressing, gaudy Apparel, Preference of Place, Title, Equipage, &c. But which of them wou'd be a Peacock for the sake of his Plumes? a Lark for its high flying? or an Owl for the sake of the great Equipage of Birds that fly after him? Alas! not one. The meanest Servant in a Family, wou'd not change her Station, to be the Happiest of these Animals. Then let us value our Humanity, and endeavour to imbellish it with vertuous Actions; by which means we shall be far from seting our-selves on the Level with mere Animals, much less giving them the Preference. But e'er I leave this Reflection on Pride, we must remember, That there is a great Difference between the Use and Abuse of those Things, which seem the Concomitants of Pride; for Cloaths, Place, Equipage, &c. in some Cases, and to some Persons, are Necessaries almost to a Necessity; as the Gospel testifies, Soft Rayment is for King's Houses: For God is pleas'd to place different Persons in different Stations; and every one is to accommodate themselves according to their Station; it wou'd as ill befit a Hedger to wear a Velvet Coat, as a Courtier to wear a Leathern one; for if over-doing our Condition, may ascend to Pride, under-doing may descend to Sloth or Slovenliness: Therefore, with Care, we are to chuse the Medium. I doubt not but Diogenes was as proud in his Tub, as Alexander in his Palace. To find a right Medium, is sometimes hard; for very often Vice dresses her self in the Apparel of Vertue; and, in a special manner, Pride puts on the Mask of Honour: And though one be a direct Vice, and the other a Vertue, yet they are not distinguishable to every Capacity, but often one passes for the other. Lucifer, the Author of this Sin, having taken Care to gild it over double and treble, with the refulgent Brightness of Honour, Magnanimity, and Generosity: Which so dazles our Interiour, that we are not always able to distinguish between the Crime of this Apostate Angel, and the Vertue of Seraphims; the one by his Pride having thrown himself into utter Darkness, and eternal Misery; the other, by their Obedience, maintaining their Seraphick Glory in the highest Heavens. By mistaking these, we often deprive ourselves of the Benefit of our well-form'd Intentions. Again, sometimes, the beauteous Face of Vertue presents her-self in an obscure Light, without the Sun-shine of happy Circumstances. We then let her pass unregarded, and so lose the Opportunity of making our-selves happy in her Embraces. Which puts me in mind of a Distich or two.
If Chance or Fore-cast, some small Good produce,
We slip it by unknown, or spoil it in the Use.
When many Years in Toils and Cares are pass'd,
To get of Happiness some small Repast,
Our Crimes or Follies always spoil the Taste.
Now these Oversights and Mistakes, are not only in the Case of Pride and its opposite Vertues; but in other Cases, a false Light or a false Appearance deceives us; we mistake Cunning for Wisdom, and a mean Selfishness, for a discreet Precaution; Fury and Rashness for Valour; Vain-glory for Charity; and a thousand Things of the like Nature. But having mention'd Charity, here appears a little Slip of Verse; which, I think, refers rather to the forgiving, than the giving Part of Charity. However it will make a Patch.
This Vertue does above all others climb;
To give is Noble, to forgive Sublime.
The Giving, one may call Religion's Heart;
The Pardoning, the Animating Part.
These Two conjoyn'd, make Charity complete,
By which our Souls of Heav'n participate.
A Vertue kind, soft, gentle, debonair,
As Guardian Angels to their Pupils are,
Or faithful Swains, to their lov'd, faithful-Fair.
To chast Affection, 'tis as Oyl to Fire,
But Ice and Water to all foul Desire.
Of Friendship and fraternal Love the Source,
And Marriage Vows, it waters with its Course;
Like Aqua-fortis, graving on the Mind,
The Character of all good Deeds and kind.
But otherwise it does a Lethe prove,
And makes us quite forget forgiving Love.
These Blessings are th' Effects of Charity;
But nought compar'd to Heav'n's unbounded Joy,
Surpassing Sense! which those participate,
Who shar'd this Virtue in their Earthly State.
Joys! not only surpassing Sense! but too high for Humane Thought! O the transcendant Joys of a bless'd Eternity! How inconceivable to our weak Capacities, are the ineffable Pleasures of the bright Regions of Eternity! Eternity of Time, and Infinity of Space, who can comprehend? Reason can climb high, and Thought can extend far; but neither Reason nor Thought can reach the Altitude of Heaven, nor the Extent of the Almighty's Dominions: To say nothing of His Justice, Mercy and Wisdom, and His Power to execute whatsoever His Wisdom determines from and to all Eternity: Where the Righteous injoy all Happiness, and the Wicked all Misery. All this we risque, for a little Shining Earth, or, what is less worthy, a little empty Fame; the one being the Aim of the Covetous, the other of the Ambitious Man; of which the latter is the worst, because his Vice affects whole Countries and Kingdoms; whereof we have but too pregnant an Example at this Time, in the Person of the Duke of Monmouth. Unhappy Young Prince! to be possess'd with this Devil of Ambition, which makes him become the Phaeton of our Age; to set these Kingdoms in a Combustion. [For it was at this Time, Madam, added Galesia, that the Duke of Monmouth's Enterprize began to be talk'd of.] Whether Ambition be a Branch of Pride, or Pride a Branch of Ambition, I know not: They both partake of the same Quality; so which is Root, or which is Branch, it matters not; since it may be determin'd, that the Tree produces the worst of Fruit.
As I was going on in these wandring Thoughts, during the Intervals of my grieved Mother's Slumbers, I heard a little mumbling Noise in the next House, in a Room joyning to ours; which mumbling at last ended in a Hymn: Then I concluded it to be the Prayer of an Old Gentlewoman who lodg'd on the same Floor in the next House. But the Hymn being distinct, I cou'd hear the Words perfectly; which are these:
Preserve thy Holy Servant Monmouth, Lord,
Who carries for his Shield thy Sacred Word:
Preserve him from the Lyon and the Bear:
From Foxes and from Wolves, who daily tear
Thy little Flock: and for him whet thy Sword,
That we may be Thy People, Thou our Lord.
Do thou the Red-Coats to Confusion bring,
The Surplices, Lawn-Sleeves, and eke their King;
Whilst in thy Sion we thy Praises sing.
Wicked Song! said I; and wicked Wretch that sings it; in which she curses the Lord's Anointed, and all his Adherents, the Church and all her Children. Graceless Woman! that dares lift up Hands, Eyes, and Voice to Heaven with such Maledictions! But sure, it is her Ignorance; Nobody can be so designedly wicked. Happy had such been to have died in their Infancy, before the Baptismal Water was dry'd off their Face! But, ah! if I think on that, who is there so Righteous, but that they may wish they had dyed in the State of Innocency?
In these Reflections, a certain drousy Summons to Sleep seiz'd me; and having watch'd long with my dear sick Mother, I comply'd with my Weakness, and fell fast asleep; and having been just before reflecting on Baptismal Innocence, I fell into the following Dream.
Methought I pass'd thro' that Elysian Plain,
Which to the Catechumens appertain;
And is to those, likewise, the soft Abode,
Who ignorantly serve the Unknown God.
Lo! here the Souls live in eternal Peace,
Almost tir'd out with everlasting Ease;
Exempt from Griefs, but no true Joys possess;
Which is, at best, but half true Happiness.
When in my Dream, I thought I enter'd here,
All that was charming struck my Eye and Ear;
Large Walks, tall Trees, Groves, Grots, and shady Bow'rs,
Streams in Meanders, Grass, and lovely Flow'rs,
Babes unbaptiz'd (like Birds from Tree to Tree)
Chirp here, and sing in pleasing Harmony.
Long Walks of Roses, Lilies, Eglantines,
Pinks, Pansies, Violets and Columbines,
Which always keep their perfect Beauty here,
Not subject to the Changes of the Year.
In fine; Here's all Things that can Fancy please,
Rooms of Repose, and Canopies of Ease;
Towers, Terrasses, arch'd Roofs, and Theatres,
Well-built Piazzas, lofty Pillasters;
Statues, and Stories of terrestrial Pride,
Of such who follow'd Virtue for their Guide;
At last, against their Wills, were Deify'd.
Sumptuous Apparel, Musick, Mirth and Balls,
Exceeding Londoners in Festivals,
The Temple-Revels; foreign Carnivals.
The Swains, too, had their Country-Wakes and Chear,
Th' Apprentices Shrove-Tuesday all the Year,
And every one was happy in his Sphere:
That is to say, if Happiness can be,
Without th' Enjoyment of a Deity.
Small Joy can Immaterial Beings find,
'Till with their Immaterial Center joyn'd.
The Soul of Man is a Celestial Flame,
Without true Joy, 'till it goes whence it came.
As Fire ascends, and Earth and Water fall,
So must we join with our Original.
This Truth poor mortal Lovers represent,
Whom nought but the lov'd Object can content.
In these Reflections, many a Path I trod,
And griev'd to think they ne'er must see their God.
This melancholy Reflection awaked me; when I was in Amaze to find my self in my Mother's Chamber; having had such an absolute and perfect Idea of that happy Place, where, amongst the rest, I thought I had seen my Mother; that I wonder'd to find her asleep in her Bed, and I in a Chair by her; and some little Time it was, e'er I cou'd believe that I had Dream'd and was now Awake. But at last, convincing my-self, I compos'd these Verses upon the Occasion.
A dream to me seems a Mysterious Thing,
Whate'er the Naturalists for Causes bring.
Whilst Sleep's dull Fetters, our frail Bodies tye,
The Soul, inlarg'd, finds pleasant Company.
With Comrade-Spirits, midnight Revels make,
And see Things pass'd, and Things to come forespeak.
Sometimes in merry Jigs and Gambols, they
Present th' Events of the approaching Day:
Sometimes they mount e'en to the Place of Bliss;
Then sink again into the deep Abyss;
With such Agility and Ease they go,
The piercing Lightning seems to move more slow,
Yet as they pass, all Things they See and Know.
But as a Country Lady, after all
The Pleasures of th' Exchange, Plays, Park, and Mall,
Returns again to her old Rural Seat,
T' instruct her Hinds, and make 'em earn their Meat,
So comes the Soul home to her coarse Retreat.
A coarse Retreat indeed! Where Sin, Sorrow, and Sufferings, of all Kinds, and from all Quarters, accost and attack her, and from which she is perpetually wishing to be delivered; and yet is loth to quit this her Earthly Mansion: Which Fondness for this transitory Life, and Fear to imbark for a Better in the Ocean of Eternity, must surely proceed from a Deficiency of Faith, and the Want of a firm Belief of Future Happiness.
As I was going on with these Reflections, my Mother, with a most piercing Groan, awaked, and faintly calling me to her Bed-side, I had the inexpressible Affliction to see her last Moments drawing on:— Pardon, said Galesia, wiping her Eyes, these briny Ebullitions: The next most shocking Grief was now approaching to torture my labouring Spirits. — To be short — for who can dwell on such a Subject! — My dear Mother, in the midst of her Blessings poured on me, and Prayers for me, recommending her Soul to Divine Mercy, was interrupted by Death, and looking wistfully upon me, and grasping my Hand, expired! —
Hereupon Galesia fell into a Flood of Tears, which suspended her Discourse. And the good Lady, being unwilling to press her any farther on that melancholy Theme, took her by the Hand, saying, Come, my Galesia, we will go and inquire how forward Dinner is; and whether the Gentlemen who have invited themselves, are yet come, or not.
Accordingly, they went out together; but Galesia rising from her Seat, dropp'd the following Verses; which the Lady took up, saying, Well! Here I see, is Matter for another Patch, which we will peruse on our Return.
O wretched World! but Wretched above All,
Is Man; the most unhappy Animal!
Not knowing to what State he shall belong,
He tugs the heavy Chain of Life along.
So many Ages pass, yet no Experience shows
From whence Man comes, nor, after, where he goes.
We are instructed of a Future State,
Of Just Rewards, and Punishments in That;
But ign'rant How, or Where, or When, or What.
I'm shew'd a Book, in which these Things are writ;
And, by all Hands, assur'd, all's True in it;
But in this Book, such Mysteries I find,
Instead of healing, oft corrode the Mind.
Sometimes our Faith must be our only Guide,
Our Senses and our Reason laid aside:
Again to Reason we our Faith submit,
This spurs, that checks, we curvet, champ the Bit,
And make our future Hopes uneasy sit!
Now Faith, now Reason, now Good-works, does All;
Betwixt these Opposites our Virtues fall,
Each calling each, False and Heretical.
And, after all; What Rule have we to show,
Whether these Writings Sacred be, or no?
If we alledge, The Truths that we find there,
Are to themselves a Testimony clear,
By the same Rule, such all good Morals are.
Thus we by Doubts, & Hopes, & Fears, are tost,
And in the Lab'rinth of Disputes are lost.
Unhappy! who with any Doubts are curst!
But of all Doubts, Religious Doubts are worst!
Wou'd I were dead! or wou'd I had no Soul!
Had ne'er been born! or else been born a Fool!
Then future Fears, wou'd not my Thoughts annoy,
I'd use what's truly mine, the present Joy.
Ah! happy Brutes! I envy much your State,
Whom Nature, one Day, shall Annihilate;
Compar'd to which, wretched is Human Fate!
Dinner not being quite ready, the good Lady conducted Galesia again into her Appartment, and they being seated, she read the foregoing Verses, which; she said, should serve for another Patch in her Screen: And as she was laying it by for that Purpose, she cast her Eye on the Backside of the same Paper, and there found the following Lines, which seemed, by the Tenor of them, as well as by the Writing, to be the Product of the same melancholy Frame of Mind with the former, as well as to be written at the same Time. After a sort of Chasm, they began thus.
But what does most of all my Spirit grieve,
Is, That I must my Dear Fidelius leave!
My Dear Fidelius! Witty, Young, and Gay,
To whose Embraces Virtue chalks the Way.
In loving Him, I answer Heaven's Call;
For Love's allow'd, for Virtuous Ends, to All:
And Heav'n, perhaps, has rais'd him up Express,
By Force of Love, to prop my Feebleness,
And stop my Fall into this Precipice.
But how know I, he's not set on by Hell,
To stop the Progress of my doing well?
Thus I'm, alas! by diff'rent Passions mov'd,
And hope, and fear, and love, and am belov'd.
Yet if I own I love, I ruin Him,
And to deny the Truth, is, sure, a Crime.
My Sufferings are great: Heav'n pity me!
But whatsoe'er I bear, let him go free!
Hereupon the Lady looking over the Work, and finding there was enough to make Four Folds of a Screen, she said, she would have it made up, and fram'd, to see how it would look before they proceeded any farther. And now, said she, the Players are come into the Country, and the Assembleès and Horse-Races will begin; so we will defer our Work 'till those Diversions are over. But, however, continued she, since I have received so many Favours from you, my dear Galesia, in this Way, and that I may contribute a little to divert you in your melancholy Hours, when the Remembrance of so sad an Occasion as your Mother's Death, crouds too heavily upon your Thoughts, I will shew you a Poem that was presented me on New-Year's Day last, by an Excellent Hand, in Commemoration of the Nativity of our Blessed Saviour; Which, added the good Lady, I question not, but will give you as much Pleasure and Consolation, as it has frequently done me.
Magnus ab Integro Sæc'lorum nascitur ordo.
Well dost thou do, my Muse;
Ne'er envy Tuneful Bards, whoe'er they be,
That Vain and Earthly Subjects chuse,
Yet vainly hope for Immortality.
Some sooth, with Magick Sounds, the Virgin's Breast,
Which self-bewitching Thoughts before possest;
Adore the transient Pageant of a Day,
And Idolize a Piece of Painted Clay.
Another lifts some Hero to the Skies,
And a Man-slaughterer Deifies,
Sent in God's Vengeance, when, by his Command,
Tempests of War invade a Guilty Land.
Another tunes his Mercenary Strings,
To act that Worst of Witchcraft, flatter Kings.
But Thou yield'st all thy Praise, and offer'st all thy Love,
Where it is only due, ABOVE!
Yet, O thou Virgin! O thou Vestal-Muse!
That won't profane thy Voice, with Things below,
One Theme, as Low as Earth can yield, I chuse,
And yet as High as Heav'n can e'er bestow.
Therefore, begin from Earth: But know, Thy Flight
Shall tow'r beyond Day's blazing Orb of Light.
The Lark so flickering o'er its Grounded Nest,
First ope's its little Lungs, exerts its Breast,
Then rising on its Saily Wings,
It meditates the Sky;
As still it rises, still it sings,
'Till its small Body leaves the Eye;
And when it does near Heav'n appear,
Its finest Notes desert the Human Ear.
Say, Wouldst thou know this Happy Theme,
That thus shall wing thee above mortal Fame?
Sing thou the Child, that seem'd like Mankind's Scorn,
At Depth of Winter in a Stable born;
Born among Beasts, and in a Manger laid:
Yet if that Child will thee, inspiring, aid,
The lovely Theme, exalting, shalt thou raise,
Above the Kings and Heroes others praise.
Let each King's Bard reap, as he gives, Renown,
While Flatt'rers, like himself, with short-liv'd Fame,
His Lawrel hail, as he the Regal Crown,
Giving each Toy what neither Toy can claim;
Myriads of Spirits, that e'er Men were made,
E'er the Foundations of the Earth were laid,
Far brighter had, for Ages, shone
Than a vain Monarch on a Birth-day shines,
Whose Forms outdo the Day-bestowing Sun,
And shall, when Nature, sunk in Years, declines;
Shall, when that Sun is blotted from the Sky,
When the Blue Æther, reddning, melts in Flame;
When all Created Worlds are bid to die,
Shine on for all Eternity the same:
All these bright Spirits, whose each Single Voice,
Can make Spheres dance, make Heav'n and Earth rejoyce;
These shall thy Song upon this Babe refine,
Shall All in One great Chorus join;
Humbly they too shall own
Him the Immortal Heir of David's Throne,
And that to Him their Song is Low as thine.
For, know, That Infant, poorly as it lies,
In Spirit treads the Stars, and walks the whirling Skies!
That Babe, on Earth expos'd in this Abode,
Is now in Heaven — He is the Almighty God.
Yes, Mortals, Yes, who deigns thus Mean to be,
Mysterious Change, O Man! But 'tis, 'tis He,
To whom the Thought-transcending Being said,
The Being that his Angels Spirits made,
That made his Ministers a Flame of Fire,
"Thou art than all these Angels Higher,
"Thou my Son, and I thy Sire:
"To me a Son for Ever shalt thou be,
"And I for Ever Sire to Thee."
Still farther, Heaven's High King proceeded on,
And thus to his Coequal Son
The Son's Coequal Father spake,
"O God! for Ever is thy Throne,
"Thy Foes thy Footstool will I make:
"Be seated here at my Right Hand;
"Where'er there's Light, Air, Sea, or Land,
"Thou Always shalt and All Command."
This said, Choirs that fill'd the bright Abode,
Worshipp'd, at his Command, this Babe, and worshipp'd him a God.
And is it thus, thou Mighty Helpless Thing!
Thou less than Beggar, and thou more than King!
Canst Thou yon Starry Region term thy Throne?
Claim, as thy Footstool, this vast Globe of Earth?
Call all the spacious Globe contains, Thy own?
Thou! Cradled in a Manger at thy Birth,
As feeble Man, can't tow'r a God. How can
The God of Nature sink to feeble Man?
Oh Wondrous! Oh Mysterious Change!
Yet as Eternal Truth no Wrong can know,
Strange as it seems, it is as true as strange;
It is — It must be so.
Long e'er this World the World's Redeemer blest,
Old Prophets, Sign delivering after Sign,
His Coming, and his Acts, when come, exprest,
That all might know the Man who was Divine.
When this was made, beyond disputing, plain,
Then Endless Woes were doom'd, by God's Award,
To be the stubborn Unbeliever's Pain,
And Endless Joys Believers great Reward:
These, by his Prophets Mouths, the Father swore,
That, trusting in his Son, obey'd his Lore,
These He, His Sacred Oath confirming, said,
Should Uncorrupted at the fatal Day,
Which shall the World itself in Ashes lay,
From the Corrupted Regions of the Dead,
Rise and Immortalize their Mortal Clay.
But those, in Bitterness of Wrath, He vow'd,
Whom no Rewards could win, or Threats could awe,
To take the Paths, propounded for their Good,
But, heedless, stubbornly would spurn his Law,
Should be condemn'd to wander round the Earth,
And when they dy'd, be doom'd to go,
To Endless Gulphs of Fire below.
O LORD! who meditates what Thou hast wrought,
That Man is God, and God is Man;
Who knows, if he believes not what You taught,
Tho' more than bounded Reason e'er can scan,
He shall the Object of thy Wrath remain,
Immortal made to feel Eternal Pain.
But if, confiding in the Word
Of Truth, Itself's ne'er-failing Lord,
He own'd this Wonder, he should be
Heir to a bless'd Eternity.
O Lord! who meditates what thou hast wrought,
Is lost at first in pleasing, dreadful Thought;
But feels a Particle within, that tells,
His Soul is lasting as his God reveals:
From thence he does the boundless Pow'r confess,
May do what he can't think, as what he can't express;
And owns the Greater Wonder from the Less:
Thus when he finds, that the Immortal Son
Grew Mortal, to make Men Immortal grow;
Straight does his grateful Breast with Ardor glow,
His Fears are vanish'd, and his Terrors gone.
The Man who thus conceives
Christ's Goodness, and this Mystery believes,
Nor menac'd Pains, nor promis'd Joys controul;
Fix'd by Affections rooted in his Soul,
He his Redeemer views, with Joy, Above,
And, swallow'd in the Ocean of his Love,
Needs nothing else his working Faith to move.
'Tis in this Light, O Saviour! that we view,
We, who are honour'd with the Christians Name,
The wondrous Acts that You vouchsafe to do,
To pay our Forfeit, and redeem our Claim.
Then we recount the Wonders of that Age,
When Heav'ns High Lord trod on this Earth's Low Stage.
We read, How Men, quite Lame, did Christ pursue,
Ran, by one Miracle, to see a New.
When straight Blind Mortals feel the visual Ray,
And the First Man they see, is Author of the Day.
The Dumb, lamenting Silence, this behold,
When straight their Loosening Tongues new Miracles unfold.
Doemoniacks foam'd and curst to see the Deed,
But blest the Author when from Doemons freed.
Up from the Dead a Carcass newly rais'd,
Join'd with the Living, and Death's Victor prais'd.
Man's Union hence with God ev'n Reason can,
Tho' but by Consequence and faintly, scan:
Enough, howe'er, to lead to Faith's true Road,
Since this we find was done by Man,
And could not but by God:
By these Reflections, which thy Preachers raise,
Those that were Dumb, sing out aloud thy Praise;
Those seek Thee that were in Devotion Lame,
Like bounding Roes, that, thirsty, seek the Stream.
Those that were Blind, here get the Eye of Faith,
And, pressing forward to Salvation's Path,
The stubborn Jews they, left behind, invite
To follow them from Error's foggy Night:
Bid them from obstinate Delusions fly,
Who most are Proofs of what they most deny:
Curs'd by the Lord, they live on Earth by Stealth,
Thro' the Wide World, like Vagabonds, they roam,
Princes and Lords in Wealth,
But Lords without a Home:
Tho' suff'ring still, they still thy Laws despise,
Since Seventeen Cent'ries cannot make them wise:
Since from their rooted Sin they cannot part;
Melt (for Thou canst!) the hardest Heart,
And open Blindest Eyes:
Make All on Earth, as All in Heav'n, join,
Since All in Heav'n and Earth alike are Thine.
This web edition published by:
The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005