Abbildungen der Seite

being mentioned as important circumstances in his warfare), but against thrones, dominations, and powers; against a vicious world, and the legions led forth by the prince of darkness; against lusts and passions, against pleasures more formidable than danger, and more insinuating than the wiles of the most refined statesman. How much greater is his fortitude, how much more exalted his principles of honour!

Is it justly believed that honour is amiably and nobly exerted, when the innocent and beautiful virgin preserves by unshaken resolution the native innocence of her heart; when neither persuasion nor deceit, neither force nor negligence, can influence her to violate the unspotted temple of her bosom ?-More, much more justly should that principle of religion be applauded, which preserves that original purity of the soul in which she delights; which flourishes against more than a lover or a ravisher; against every corrupt inclination, against the depraved appetites which nature herself implants; against even the appearance of vice; and which is itself the parent and cause of every virtue which she defends.

Is Apicius esteemed a man of strict honour, because he is punctual to his promises; because he is scrupulous in paying his debts, and rigo

rously just in discharging the duties of his station? The pious man certainly has a much greater claim to that character in so diligently acting the part he owes to creation, and in the most refined sense paying his debts to nature, while he considers that the universe has a claim to the industry of each individual, and that he was sent into the world to advance the felicity of it.

The duke De la Rochefoucault calls Honour the good sense of pride. But it surely is giving it a much higher encomium to say it is the picture of Religion; a transcript of her excellences without her name affixed, and whose value is alone derived from its resemblance to that original ;-a beam of her light which will penetrate into hearts not purified enough to imbibe all her rays; a polish which prepares the human breast for reflecting her power more strongly when it shall be more enlarged.—That Honour, in a word, is a well-cut jewel which exhibits different dyes, but all beautiful, in different positions; but that religion is the sun which gives every one of them its colour and radiancy.

STUDENT, vol. i. p. 46.

No. LII.

An allegory should be like a veil over a beautiful face, so fine and transparent as to shew the very charms it covers.


In that infancy of the world, which the poets have styled the golden age; when every meadow wore a perpetual verdure, and honey dropped from every oak; when the language of each swain was constancy and love, and the eyes of his shepherdess spoke nothing but compliance; when, like the trees under which they sat, the blossoms of benevolence budded in all their looks, and, at the same time, the fruits of it ripened in all their actions; the gods themselves would often condescend to visit the earth, and share with mankind that happiness which they gave them. Apollo then would have thought it no punishment to tend the herds of Admetus; nor would Vulcan, though banished from heaven, have regretted any thing but his lameness. One evening, as the former of these deities was wandering through Cyprus, he met by chance with the goddess of the place; when, the season and the country inspiring him with love, he eloquently urged his amorous suit. She, being under no engagements to the latter, heard him

[ocr errors]

not undelighted; and, as she was utterly unacquainted with the artful coyness and reluctant delays of the moderns,

to a myrtle bower

He led her nothing loth.


The fruits of this interview were two girls; the eldest of whom inheriting the vivacity, sprightliness, and sense of Apollo, was called Wit. When the youngest grew up, the resemblance she bore to Venus was so striking, that it was difficult to distinguish them; and her bloom was so fresh, her complexion so clear, and all her features so completely regular, that, in a full assembly of the gods, it was unanimously. agreed to call her Beauty. After what has been said, it may be needless to add, that Wit was the father's favourite, and Beauty the mother's. Wit, by her ready jokes and innocent pleasantry,would frequently extort a smile from Jupiter himself; not but that she would sometimes carelessly play with her father's arrows, to the no small hazard of wounding herself and those that were near her. This, joined to a mischievous disposition, made her narrowly watched by her parents, and Venus was often obliged to confine her to her own dressing-room; which however was no great punishment to her, as she there enjoyed

the company of Beauty, these sisters being no less twins by inclination than by birth; for it was observed that Beauty was always most agreeable and shone to greatest advantage when Wit was by; and Wit herself found her pleasantry much more relished when it was uttered in the presence of Beauty. of Beauty. The latter (as we hinted before) was always in waiting at her mother's toilet, as none of her attendants were so skilled in the fashions, or knew so well what head-dress suited her best, or where a patch would be most becoming. Wit, on the contrary, was so entirely ignorant of all these essentials, as sometimes to appear in a gown of her great grand-mother Cybele's; was, in short, a very sloven, and had so little regard to the female minutiæ or delicacies of dress, that Venus used often to tell her, Nature had mistaken her sex.

Thus Beauty and Wit led for many years a life of tranquillity and happiness among the gods; not but that sometimes the charms of a mortal would induce them to visit the earth. But at last Beauty grew so vain and conceited of her charms, as openly to jeer at the other goddesses, and once proceeded so far as to call Diana a homely prude. Wit too was so flippant with her tongue, as to transgress the bounds which Pallas (who had taken a sort of fancy to

« ZurückWeiter »