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all my Plaintiffs of this Nature, I molt pity the unfortunate Philander, a Man of a constant Passion and plentiful Fortune, who sets forth that the timorous and irresolute Sylvia has demurred till she is past Child-bearing. Strephon appears by his Letter to be a very cholerick Lover, and irrevocably smitten with one that demurrs out of Self-Inte. reft. He tells me with great Passion that she has bubbled him out of his Youth; that she drilled him on to five and fifty, and that he verily believes she will drop him in his old Age, if she can find her Account in another. I shall conclude this Narrative with a Letter from honeft S AM. HOPE WELL, a very pleasant Fellow, who it seems has at last married a Demurrer : I must only premise, that SAM, who is a very good Bottle-Companion, has been the Diversion of his Friends, upon account of his Passion, ever since the Year one thousand six hundred and eighty one,
: Dear Sir, VOU know very well my Passion for Mrs. Martha,
T and what a Dance she has led me: She took me out at the Age of Two and Twenty, and dodged ' with me above Thirty Years. I have loved her till she is • grown as grey as a Cat, and am with much ado become
the Master of her Person, such as it is at present. She
is however in my Eye a very charming old Woman. • We often lament that we did not marry sooner, but she ! has no Body to blame for it but her self: You know : very well that she would never think of me whilft she I had a Tooth in her Head. I have put the Date of my • Pallion ( Anno Amoris Trigefimo primo) instead of a Pory, • on my Wedding-Ring. I expect you should send me a • Congratulatory Letter, or, if you please, an Epithala. : mium, upon this Occasion.
Mrs. Martha's and yours eternally,
SAM, HOPE WELL,
IN order to banish an Evil out of the World, that does not only produce great Uneasiness to private Persons, but has also a very bad Influence on the Publick, I shall endeavour to shew she Folly of Demurrage from two or three
Reflections,which I earnestly recoinmend to the Thoughts of my fair Readers.
FIRST of all I would have them seriously think on the Shortness of their Time. Life is not long enough for a Coquet to play all her Tricks in. A timorous Wo. man drops into her Grave before she has done deliberating. Were the Age of Man the same that it was before the Flood, a Lady might sacrifice half a Century to a Scruple, and be two or thee Ages in demurring. Had the Nine hundred Years good, the might hold out to the Conversion of the Jews before she thought fit to be preyailed upon. But, alas! she ought to play her Part in bafte, when she considers that she is suddenly to quit the Stage, and make Room for others.
IN the second Place, I would defire my Female Readers to consider, that as the Term of Life is short, that of Beauty is much shorter. The finest Skin wrinkles in a few Years, and loses the Strength of its Colouring so soon, that we have scarce Time to admire it. I miglot
embellish this Subject with Roses and Rainbows, and re· veral other ingenious Conceits, which I may possiby re. serve for another Opportunity.
THERE is a third Conlíderation which I would likewise recommend to a Demurrer, and that is the great Danger of her falling in Love when she is about Threescore, if she cannot satisfie her Doubts and Scruples be.. fore that Time. There is a kind of latter Spring, that sometimes gets into the Blood of an old woman and turns her ino a very odd sort of an Animal. I would therefore have the Demurrer consider what a strange Figure she will make, if the chances to get over all Difficulties, and comes to a final Resolution, in that unseasonable Part of her Life.
I would not however be understood, by any thing I have here said, to discourage that natural Modesty in the Sex, which renders a Retreat from the first Approaches of a Lover both fashionable and graceful: All that I intend, is, to advile them, when they are prompted by Reason and Inclination, to demurr only out of Form, and fo far as Decency requires. A virtuous Woman should reject the first Offer of Marriage, as a good Man does that of a Bishoprick; but I would advise neither the one
nor the other to persist in refusing what they fecretly approve. I would in this particular propofe the Example of Eve to all her Daughters, as Milton has represented her in the following Passage, which I cannot forbear transcribing entire, tho' only the twelve last Lines are to my present Purpose.. ·
THE Rib he form’d and fashion'd with his Hands;.
SHE disappear'd, and left me dark! I wakid
THIS Turn hath made Amends; thou haft fulfilled
SHE heard me thus, and tho' divinely brought;
I followed her: She what was Honour knew,
Magnus fine viribus Ignis.
Virg. THERE is not, in my opinion, a Consideration
more effectual to extinguish inordinate. Desires
.. in the Soul of Man, than the Notions of Plato and his Followers upon that Subject. They tell us, that e. very Pallion wbich has been contracted by the Soul during her Relidence in the Body, remains with her in a le.. parate State, and that the Soul in the Body, or out of the Body, differs no more than the Man does from himself: when he is in his House, or in open Air. When there. · fore the obscene Passions in particular have once taken: Root, and spread themselves in the Soul, they cleave to. ber inseparably, and remain in her for ever, after the Body: is cast off and thrown aside. As an Argument to confirm tbis their Doctrine they observe, that a lewd Youth who. goes on in a continued Course of Voluptuousness, advan... ces by Degrees into a libidinous old Man; and that the Passion survives in the Mind when it is altogether dead in. the Body; nay, that the Defire grows inore violent, and (like all other Habits) gathers Strength by Age, at the same time that it has no Power of executing its own Purposes. If, say they, the Soul is the most subject to these : Passions at a Tiine when it has the least Instigations from the Body, we may well suppose she will still retain them when she is entirely divested of it. The very Substance of the Soul is feftered with them, the Gangrene is gone too far to be ever cured, the Inflammation will rage to all Eternity..
In this therefore (say the Platonists) consists the Punishment of a voluptuous Man after Death: He is tormented with Desires which it is impossible for him to gratifie, sollicited by a Passion that has neither Objects nor Organs adapted to it : He lives in a State of invincible Delire and Impotence, and always burns in the Pursuit of what he always despairs to poflefs. It is for this Reason (says Plato) that the Souls of the Dead appear frequently in Cæmiteries, and hover about the Places where their Bodies are buried, as still 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 use of this Platonick Notion, so far as it regards the Subsi. stence of our Passions after Death, with great Beauty and Strength of Reason. Plato indeed carries the Thought very far, when he grafts upon it his Opinion of Ghosts appearing in Places of Burial. Though, I must confess, if one did believe that the departed Souls of Men and Women wandered up and down these lower Regions, and entertained themselves with the Sight of their Species, one could not devise a more proper Hell for an impure Spirit than that which Plato has touched upon.
THE Ancients seem to have drawn such a State of Torments in the Description of Tantalus, who was punished with the Rage of an eternal Thirst, and fer up to the Chin in Water that fled from his Lips whenever he attempted to drink it. :
VIRGIL, who has cast the whole System of platenick Philosophy, so far as it relates to the Soul of Man, into beautiful Allegories, in the sixth 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
They lie below on Golden Beds display'd,