Page images
PDF
EPUB

all his fires, in seeking after sensual pleasures. Such a position bears upon its front so very broad a stamp of absurdity, that to attempt to refute, by reasoning, what is so ridiculous as to elude all argumentation, would be, nearly as foolish, as to advance such an outrageous and monstrous assertion.

But there are some people who wish to do what is right, and to avoid even the semblance of evil ; that think, or fancy that they think, the pure delights of abstracted and intellectual pursuits are lowered and debased by sensual gratification. Yet, it will be found by those who take the trouble to examine this subject, that the senses lend charms to the imagination, and that they heighten all the joys of abstracted felicity.

In love, and in friendship, for instance, are not all the delights which the fancy can pourtray in contemplating the virtues and the excellencies of the beloved object, heightened by the presence of that object ? Does not the countenance, beaming with benignity and affection, the tones of the voice uttering the sounds of attachment and of kindness, the embrace of ardent, unfeigned, unutterable love, all, immediately applied to the senses of sight, of hearing, and of touch;do they not all impart a happiness superior to the felicity which we can derive, by dwelling, with rapture, on the recollection of these endeared beings which the imagination calls up in their absence ?

In good truth, the delights of the imagination are, in this instance, blended with, and heightened by, the most pure and refined pleasures of sense. If sensual gratification only lowered and obstructed the abstracted joy of the imagination, we should never desire to see, or to hear, or to embrace the objects of our affection, but should love them the better for their never appearing before us ;-which is absurd, because it is contradicted by fact, every day and every hour of our lives.

The best method, then, of ensuring to ourselves the greatest quantity of bliss in our pilgrimage through the vale of mortality, is to temper all sensual gratification by the intervention of intellectual pleasures, and to bind upon the brows of both the never-fading garland of religion and of moral obligation.

From all that has been said, therefore, we would infer, that as the senses are the inlets of all physical pleasure to the virtuous and the upright, that author cannot, justly, be deemed licentious in his mode of writing, who, occasionally indulges in descriptions of the ecstatic happiness which arises from the honourable intercourse of persons bound to each other by the tie of pure and of exalted affection. For, surely, he, who paints scenes of domestic bliss; who pourtrays the faithful husband and the loving wife ; who sketches in glowing colours the picture of ardent and of lasting attachment, strengthens, and more closely unites all the bands of society, by representing virtue as adorned with all the graces in her train.

Let the brand of licentiousness and of infamy, therefore, be for ever stamped on all those writers who endeavour to destroy the community ;-by breaking down every barrier which separates moral obligation from profligacy ;-by placing the hardened and the abandoned daughter of impudence and of guilt upon the same level with that exalted and dignified being who fulfils the great and the hallowed duties of mother and of wife ; by delivering over the helpless and much abused sex to all the horrors of contempt, and shame, and scorn, and penury, and disease, and despair, and death.

But, never, will we suffer Folly, while she shakes her many coloured cap, and jingles her tinkling bells, with an idiotlaugh, to impute the crime of licentiousness to him whose writings strive to win men over to the side of virtue, by always arraying the domestic charities, and the kindred relations of life, in the garb of beauty, and by gracing them with the winning smiles of happiness and love ;-while, at the same time, he pursues vice with interminable hostility, never, for a moment, relaxing in the ardour of his chace, till he has compelled her to slink, scowling, back into the cave of her own deformity, and has taught her to tremble at her own

murmurs.

SECOND SECTION.

MEN AND WOMEN:

A MORAL TALE; BY THE WANDERER.

(Continued from Vol. 2. No. 4. page 222.)

ber, that they dignified every one who traded in any commodities to the amount of half a farthing, with the appellaof merchant; he, therefore, looked about, and, after a minute search, discovered, that a board, once, perhaps, painted blue, and whose area was half an inch by three fourths of an inch, meant to tell, but most of the letters were obliterated by the depredations of time and circumstance, that snuff, tobacco, and farthing candles, were sold in this merchant's house.

Upon this discovery, Edward pulled off his hat, bowed lowly towards the ground, humbly begged the good old lady's pardon, and declared, that he had unwittingly offended her, owing to his having been directed to her house as an inn. This apology, delivered, with his head uncovered, and in a soothing tone withal, pacified the venerable matron ; and she pointed out to him a place so very much worse than her own hut, that he had already past it, under the notion of its being a heap of mud thrown up for the purpose of manuring the fields, and not affording a habitation for any human being

To this inn Edward repaired, and the land-lord, a little dirty, white-faced, sodden complexioned, elderly man, who stood at the door, denied him entrance. Edward-why will you not allow to me enter your house ?-Host-Because, five years ago, two Dutchmen stole a silver spoon from me after they had sate in my room, and drank some whisky.-Edward--But I am no Dutchman, and I never drink whisky; I only want to rest myself half an hour, in your room, and to have a bowl of

ve

milk set before me, for which I will pay you now, whatever you demand.-Host-No, I will not let another foreigner come into my house again.--Edward—But I am not a foreigner. I am an Englishman.-Host-I care not what you are, you shall not come into my house ; and so you had better go along about your business ;-Saying which, he went into the house and shut the door.

Edward, finding that it was in vain to seek admittance there, crawled slowly forward; for he was much exhausted by fatigue, and want of rest, not having been in bed for two nights. He had not travelled onward more than a mile from Inch-ker, when he was hailed by a female voice behind him, desiring him to halt awhile. Edward turned round, and beheld trotting after him a little, active, clean, elderly woman, who, as soon as she came up with him, said—Where are you ganging ? --Edward—To Perth.-Old woman -Are

you ry tired. Edward—Yes. Old woman—But are you an American ?-Edward-Yes. Old woman--Then come, and sit down upon this bank, and rest yourself. Edward sate himself down by the side of the old woman.

Old woman—You are a very young laddy, and quite faint and pale ; I pity you with all my heart ; I am, myself, a poor lone widow-body of Perth, and have lost my husband, who was as honest a man and as good a thresher as any in the kingdom of Fife; and, while he lived, we kept ourselves from starving, by his industry. But he is gone-said she, wiping her eyes with her canvass apron,--and so are all my ten bairns, six sons and four daughters; four of my sons were killed in the army, and the two youngest perished at sea; my daughters, poor creatures, died, absolutely for want of nourishment; for, after their father was dead, and he died four years ago, come October next, we could not earn enough to maintain us; and they, being young and tender, were brought to the grave before me, who am stouter and more hardened ; but I shall soon follow ; for altho' I could do pretty well, as I am only fifty-eight years of age, and, by working early and late, can earn four pence a day, at my spinning-wheel, yet my house-rent, which is eighteen shillings a year, now every thing is so very dear, is more than I can pay, and distresses me sorely:

Here she heaved a sigh, which, God knows, Edward answered from the bottom of his heart, while she proceeded,And my goods, I suppose, will be seized on the next quarterday, to satisfy the demands of my land-lord, who is a huge rich gentleman, a mason in Perth, and who says, that he will not let his house for nothing. Nor can I blame him ; for, surely, he has a right to do what he pleases with his own property ; only I am unable to help myself; for, though I work from day light to dark, I can earn but four pence; which is not more than enough, in these scarce and hard times, to provide me with food and clothes; it is not sufficient to enable me to pay so much as four shillings and sixpence a quarter for house rent; so that I have nothing to look forward to, on this side of the grave, but misery, and starving to death; but God's will be done ; for what pleases Him must be right.

This plain and artless tale of the poor woman, related with the utmost simplicity and gentleness, without the least appearance of art or of bitterness, raised in Edward's heart emotions, which he could not very well conceal; and notwithstanding he affected to contemplate the country from the summit of the verdant bank, where he was sitting, she discovered that all was not right within him, and immediately attributing his apparent concern to the reflection

upon

his own misery, she, in the most tender and sympathizing tones, compassionated his situation, and said-But why should I dwell upon my own sorrows, when you, poor laddy, are so much worse off? You are all alone, and very young, and lame, and worn out with weariness ; you shall have from this can taking off the lid of a tin vessel, resembling, in shape, those, in which milk is carried about the streets of London, as she spoke) some new cow's milk, which has just been given me by a neighbour about two miles off; here is a plenty, nearly a quart, and a hearty draught will refresh you, and enable you to go on with your journey.

Edward thanked her for her kindness, took the can, and drank some of the milk, and, then, proceeded to put a guinea into her hand; but she drew back, and staring, said-what! a golden guinea for two bawbies worth of milk! and where

« PreviousContinue »