페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

« better than my self, bur ftill-lived in hopes that some Jums • &túre or other would make me happy in the Man whom, o in my Heart, I preferred to all the World ; being deter «mined if I could not have him, to have no Body else, . ! About three Months ago I received a Letter froin him, o acquainting me, that by the Death of an Uncle he had a 6 considerable Estate left him, which he said was welcome * to him upon no other Account, but as he hoped it would “ remove all Difficulties that lay in the way to our mutual • Happiness. You may well suppose, Sir, with how much .-Joy I received this Letter, which was followed by feye. • ralothers filled with those Expressions of Love and Joy, • which I verily believe no Body felt more sincerely; nor • knew better how to describe, than the Gentleman I

am speaking of. But, Sir, how shall I be able to tell it. « you! by the last week's Poft I received a Letter from an • intimate Friend of this unhappy Gentleman, acquainting

me, that as he had just settled his Affairs, and was pre. 6 paring for his Journey, he fell sick of a Fever and died, • It is impossible to express to you the Distress I am in up' on this Occasion. I can only have recourse to my De. « vctions, and to the reading of good Books for my Con

folation; and as I always take a particular Delight in • those frequent Advices and Admonitions which you give. • the Publick, it would be a very great Pieco of Charity • in you to lend me your Affistance in this Conjuncture. If • after the reading of this Letter you find your self in a : • Humour, rather to Rally and Ridicule, than to Comfort • me, I desire you would throw it into the Fire, and think . no more of it; but if you are touched with my Misa « fortune, which is greater than I know how to bear, • your Counsels may very much Support, and will infi• nitely Oblige the afflicted

· LEONORA,

A Disappointment in Love is more hard to get over than any other; the Passion it self so sofrens and subdues the Heart, that it disables it from struggling or bearing up against the Woes and Distresses which befalit, The Mind meets with other Misfortunes in her whole Srength; she ftands collected within her self, and sustains the Shock with all the Force which is natural to her ; but a Heart:

in Love has its Foundations fapped, and immediately Links under the Weight of Accidents that are disagreeable to its Favourite Pallion. .'

IN Afflictions Men generally draw their Consolations out of Books of Morality, which indeed are of great use to fortifie and strengihen the Mind against the Impressions of Sorrow. Monsieur St. Evremont, who does not approve of this Method, recommends Authors who are apt to ftir up Mirth in the Mind of the Readers, and fancies Don Quixote can give more Relief to an heavy Heart than Plus tarch or Seneca, as it much easier to divert Grief than to conquer it. This doubtless inay have its Effects on some Tempers. I should rather have recourse to Authors of a quite contrary kind, that give us Instances of Calamities and Mir. fortunes, and shew human Nature in its greatest Distresses.

I F the AMiction we groan under be very heavy, we shall find some Consolation in the Society of as great Sufa ferers as our selves, especially when we find our Companions Men of Virtue and Merit. If our Afflictions are light, we shall be comforted by the Comparison we make between our selves, and our Fellow-Sufferers. A Loss at Sea, a Fit of Sickness, or the Death of a Friend, are such Trifes when we consider whole Kingdoms laid in Alhes, Families put to the Sword, Wretches shut up in Dungeons, and the like Calamities of Mankind, that we are out of Countenance for our own Weakness, if we sink under such little Strokes of Fortune.

LET the Disconfolate Leonora consider, that at the very time in which she languishes for the Loss of her des cealed Lover, there are Persons in several parts of the World just perishing in a Shipwreck; others crying out for Mercy in the Terrors of a Death-bed Repentance; others lying under the Tortures of an infamous Execution, or the like dreadful Calamities; and she will find her Sorrows vanilh at the Appearance of those which are so much greater and more astonishing....

I would further propose to the Consideration of my afAi&ted Disciple, that possibly what she now looks upon as the greatest Misfortune, is not really such init self. For my own part, I question not but our Souls in a separate State will look back on their Lives in quite another View, than what they had of them in the Body; and that what they

nome

now consider as Misfortunes and Disappointments, will very often appear to have been Escapes and Blessings.

THE Mind that hath any Caft towards Devotion, na.. turally Aies to it in its Afictions.

WHEN I was in France I heard a very remarkable Story of two Lovers, which I shall relate at length in my To-morrow's Paper, not only because the Circumstances of it are extraordinary, but because it may serve as an IlluAtration to all that can be said on this last Head, and shew the Power of Religion in abating that particular Anguish which seems to lye so heavy on Leonora. The Story was told me by a Priest, as I travelled with him in a StageCoach. I shall give it my Reader, as well as I can remember, in his own Words, after having premised, that if Consolations may be drawn from a wrong Religion and a misguided Devotion, they cannot but Aow much more naturally from those which are founded upon Reason, and established in good Sense.

No 164. Friday, September 7.
Illa ; Quis e me, inquit, miseram, e te perdidit, Orpheu?
Jamque vale : feror ingenti circumdata notte,
Invalidasque tibi tendens, heu ! non tua, palmas.. Virg.
TONSTANTIA was a Woman of extraordinary

Wit and Beauty, but very unhappy in a Father, who

having arrived at great Riches by his own Industry, took Delight in nothing but his Money. Theodosius was the younger Son of a decayed Family, of great Parts and Learning, improved by a genteel and virtuous Education. When he was in the twentieth Year of his Age he became acquainted with Constantia, who had not then passed her fifa teenth. As he lived but a few Miles distance from her Father's Houle, he had frequent Opportunities of seeing her; and by the Advantages of a good Person and a pleasing Conversation, made such an Impression in her Heart as it was impossible for time to efface: He was himself no less smitten with Conftantia. Along Acquaintance made them still discover new Beauties in each other, and by Degrees raised in them that mutual Pallion which had an Influence on their following Lives. It unfortunately happened, that in the midst of this Intercourse of Love and Friendship between Theodofius and Conftantia, there broke out an irrepas rable Quarrel between their Parents, the one valuing hiinself too much upon his Birth, and the other upon his Polo feflions. The Father of Conftantia was so incensed at the Father of Theodofius, that he contracted an unreasonable Aversion towards his Son, insomuch that he forbad him his : House, and charged his Daughter upon her Duty never to see him more. In the mean tiine to break off all Commu« nication between the two Lovers, who he knew entertained secret Hopes of some favourableOpportunity that should bring them together, he found out a young Gentleman of a good Fortune and an agreeable Person, whom he pitched upon asa Husband for his Daughter. He foon concerted this Affair so well, that he told Constantia it was his Design to marry her to such a Gentleman, and that her Wedding fhould be celebrated on such a Day, Constantia, who was over-awed with the Authority of her Father, and unable to object any thing against so advantagious a March, received the Proposal with a profound Silence, which her Father commended in her, as the most decent manner of a Virgin's giving her Consent to an Overture of that kind, The Noise of this intended Marriage soon reached Theodofius, who after a long Tumult of Paslions which naturally rise in a Lover's Heart on such an Occasion, writ the fol. lowing Letter to Constantia. " THE Thought of my Conftantia, which for some - 1 Years has been my only Happiness, is now be. • come a greater Torment to me than I am able to bear, - Must I then live to see you another's? The Streams, the • Fields and Meadows, where we have so often talked to « gether, grow painful to me; Life it felf is become a Bur. «den. May you long be happy in the World, but forget « that there was ever such a Man in it as

: THEODOSIUS, - THIS Letter was conveyed to Conftantia that very Evening, who fainted at the reading of it; and the next Morning she was much more alarmed by two or three Meffen. gers, that came to her father's House one after another to enquire if they had heard any thing of Theodofius, who it: feems had left his Chamber about Midnight, and could no

where

where be found. The deep Melancholy which had hung upon his Mind some time before, made them apprehend the worst that could befall him. Conftantia, who knew that nothing but the Report of her Marriage could have driven him to such Extremities, was not to be conforted : She now accused her self for having fo tamely given an Ear to the Proposal of a Husband, and looked upon the new Lover as the Murderer of Theodosius: In short, she resolved to suffer the utmost Effects of her Father's Displeasure, rather than comply with a Marriage which appeared to her so full of Guilt and Horror. The Father seeing himself entirely rid of Theodosius, and likely to keep a considerable Portion in his Family, was not very much concerned at the obstinate Refusal of his Daughter; and did not find it very difficult to excuse himself upon that Account to his intended Son-in-Law, who had all along regarded this Alliance rather as a Marriage of Convenience than of Love, Constan. tia had now no Relief but in her Devotions and Exercises of Religion, to which her Afflictions had lo entirely sub. jected her Mind, that after some Years had abated the Vio. lence of her Sorrows, and sercled her Thoughts in a kind of Tranquility, she refolved to pass the Remainder of her Days in a Convent. Her father was not displeased with a Resolution, which would save Money in his Fainily, and readily complied with his Daughter's Intentions. Accord. ingly in the Twenty fifth Year of her' Age,while her Beauty was yet in all its Height and Bloom, he carried her to a: neighbouring City, in order to look out a Sisterhood of Nunns among whom to place his Daughter. There was in this place à Father of a Convent who was very much renowned for his Piety and exemplary Life ; and as it is usual in the Romish Church for thofe who are under any great Affliction, or Trouble of Mind, to apply themselves to the most eminent Confessors for Pardon and Consola-tion, our beautiful Vorary took the Opportunity of confefsing her self to this celebrated Father. • We must now return to Theodosius, who the very Morn. ing that the above-mentioned Enquiries had been made af. ter him, arrived at a religious House in the City, where now Constantia resided; and defiring that Secrecy and Conceal- . ment of the Fathers of the Convent, which is very usual upon any extraordinary Occasion, he made himself one of

the

« 이전계속 »