congratulatory letter, or, if you pleafe, an epithalamium, upon this occafion.

Mrs. Martha's and yours eternally,


In order to banish an evil out of the world, that does not only produce great uneafinefs to private perfons, but has also a very bad influence on the publick, I fhall endeavour to fhew the folly of demurrage from two or three reflections which I earneftly recommend to the thoughts of my fair readers.

First of all I would have them feriously think on the fhortnefs of their time. Life is not long enough for a coquette to play all her tricks in. A timorous woman drops into her grave before fhe has done deliberating.. Were the age of man the fame that it was before the flood, a lady might facrifice half a century to a fcruple,. and be two or three ages in demurring. Had the nine hundred years good, the might hold cut to the converfion of the Jews before the thought fit to be prevailed upon. But, alas! fhe ought to play her part in haste, when the confiders that she is fuddenly to quit the stage, and make room for others.

In the fecond place, I would defire my female readers. to confider, that as the term of life is fhort, that of beauty is much fhorter. The finest skin wrinkles in a few years, and lofes the ftrength of its colourings fo foon, that we have fcarce time to admire it. I might embellish this fubject with rofes and rainbows, and feveral other ingenious conceits, which I may poffibly referve for another opportunity.

There is a third confideration which I would likewife recommend to a demurrer, and that is the great danger of her falling in love when he is about threescore, if he cannot fatisfy her doubts and fcruples before that time. There is a kind of latter pring, that fometimes gets into the blood of an old woman, and turns her into a very odd fort of an animal. I would therefore have the demurrer confider what a ftrange figure fhe will make, if the chances to get over all difficulties, and comes to a final refolution, in that unseasonable part of her life.. I would


I would not however be understood, by any thing I have here faid, to difcourage that natural modefty in the fex, which renders a retreat from the first approaches of a lover both fashionable and graceful: All that I intend, is, to advise them, when they are prompted by reafon and inclination, to demur only out of form, and fo far as decency requires. A virtuous woman fhould reject the firft offer of marriage, as a good man does that of a bishoprick; but I would advife neither the one nor the other to perfift in refufing what they fecretly approve. I would in this particular propofe the example of Eve to all her daughters, as Milton has reprefented her in the following paffage, which I cannot forbear tranfcribing entire, tho' only the twelve laft lines are to my prefent purpose.

The rib he form'd and fashion'd with his hands;
Under his forming hands a creature grew,
Man-like, but diff'rent fex; fo lovely fair,
That what feem'd fair in all the world, feem'd now
Mean, or in her fumm'd up, in her contain'd,
And in her looks; which from that time infus'd
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before:
And into all things from her air infpir'd
The Spirit of love and amorous delight.

She difappear'd, and left me dark! I wak'd
To find her, or for ever to deplore
Her lofs, and other pleasures all abjure;
When out of hope, behold her, not far off,
Such as I faw her in my dream, adorn'd
With what all earth or heaven could bestow
To make her amiable. On fhe came,
Led by her heav'nly Maker, tho' unfeen,
And guided by his voice, nor uninform'd
Of nuptial fanctity and marriage rites :
Grace was in all her steps, heav'n in hèr eyes
In every gefture dignity and love.

overjoy'd, could not forbear aloud.

This turn hath made amends; thou haft fulfill'd
Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign!
Giver of all things fair; but faireft this
Of all thy gifts, nor enviest. I now fee


Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, my felf...
She heard me thus, and tho' divinely brought,
Let innocence and virgin modefty,

Her virtue, and the confcience of her worth,
That would be woo'd, and not unfought be won,
Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retir'd
The more defirable; or, to say all,
Nature berfelf, tho' pure of finful thought,
Wrought in her fo, that seeing me she turn'd.
I follow'd ber: She what was honour knew,
And with obfequious majefly approved

My pleaded reafon. To the nuptial bower.
I led her blufbing like the morn

N° 90


Wednesday, June 13.

-Magnus fine viribus ignis

Incaffum furit


Virg. Georg. 3. V. 99..

In vain he burns like hafty stubble fires.



HERE is not, in my opinion, a confideration more effectual to extinguish inordinate defires in the foul of man, than the notions of Plato and. his followers upon that fubject. They tell us, that every paffion which has been contracted by the foul during her refidence in the body, remains with her in a feparate state; and that the foul in the body, or out of the body, differs no more than the man does from himself when he is in his houfe, or in open air. When therefore the obfcene paffions in particular have once taken root, and fpread themfelves in the foul, they cleave to her infeparably, and remain in her for ever, after the body is caft off and thrown' afide. As an argument to confirm this their doctrine they obferve, that a lewd youth who goes on in a continued courfe of voluptuoufnefs, advances by degrees into a libidinous old man; and that the paffion furvives in the mind when it is altogether


dead in the body; nay, that the defire grows more violent, and (like all other habits) gathers ftrength by age, at the fame time that it has no power of executing its own purposes. If, fay they, the foul is the most fubject to thefe paffions at a time when it has the leaft inftigations from the body, we may well fuppofe fhe will ftill retain them when she is entirely divested of it. The very fubftance of the foul is fefter'd with them, the gangrene is gone too far to be ever cured; the inflammation will rage to all eternity.

In this therefore (fay the Platonifts) confifts the punishment of a voluptuous man after death: He is tormented with defires which it is impoffible for him to gratify, folicited by a paffion that has neither objects nor organs adapted to it: He lives in a state of invincible defire and impotence, and always burns in the pursuit of what he always defpairs to poffefs. It is for this reafon (fays Plato) that the fouls of the dead appear frequently in cœemeteries, and hover about the places where their bodies are buried, as ftill hankering after their old brutal pleasures, and defiring again to enter the body that gave them an opportunity of fulfilling them.

Some of our most eminent divines have made ufe of this Platonick notion, fo far as it regards the fubfiftence of our paffions after death, with great beauty and ftrength of reafon. Plato indeed carries the thought very far, when he grafts upon it his opinion of ghofts appearing in places of burial. Though, I must confefs, if one did believe that the departed fouls of men and women wan dered up and down these lower regions, and entertained themselves with the fight of their fpecies, one could not devife a more proper hell for an impure spirit than that which Plato has touched upon.

The ancients feem to have drawn fuch a state of torments in the defcription of Tantalus, who was punished with the rage of an eternal thirft, and fet up to the chin in water that fled from his lips whenever he attempted to drink it.

Virgil, who has caft the whole fyftem of Platonick philofophy, fo far as it relates to the foul of man in beautiful allegories, in the fixth book of his Æneid gives us


the punishment of a voluptuary after death, not unlike
that which we are here speaking of.
Lucent genialibus altis

Aurea fulcra toris, epulæque ante ora parata
Regifico luxu: Furiarum maxima juxta
Accubat, & manibus prohibet contingere menfas;
Exurgitque facem attollens, atque intonat ore.

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Æn. 6. v. 604.

They lie below on golden beds difplay'd, And genial feafts with regal pomp are made: The queen of furies by their fide is fet,

And fnatches from their mouths th' untafted meat; . Which if they touch, her hifing fnakes the rears, Toffing her torch and thund'ring in their ears.

DRYDEN. That I may a little alleviate the feverity of this my fpeculation (which otherwife may lofe me feveral of my polite readers) I fhall tranflate a story that has been quoted upon another occafion by one of the most learned men of the prefent age, as I find it in the original. The reader will fee it is not foreign to my present subject, and I dare fay will think it a lively reprefentation of a perfon lying under the torments of fuch a kind of tantalism, or Platonick hell, as that which we have now under confideration. Monfieur Pontignan speaking of a loveadventure that happened to him in the country, gives the following account of it.

When I was in the country laft fummer, I was often in company with a couple of charming women, who had all the wit and beauty one could defire in female companions, with a dash of coquetry, that from time to time gave me a great many agreeable • torments. I was, after my way, in love with both of them, and had fuch frequent opportunities of pleading my paffion to them when they were afunder, ⚫ that I had reafon to hope for particular favours from each of them. As I was walking one evening in my chamber with nothing about me but my nightgown, they both came into my room and told me, They had a very pleafant trick to put upon a gen⚫tleman that was in the fame houfe, provided I would bear a part in it. Upon this they told me fuch a

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