페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

If you knew what I suffer since she has been caught
(On the husband's poor head ever falls the wife's fault),
You would lend a kind hand to the contraband jade,

For true as 'tis said since the first Eve undid 'em,
Frail woman will long for the fruit that's forbidden;
And husbands are taught nowaday, spite of struggles,
Politely to pardon a wife, though she smuggles.
If their honours, or you, when the sex go astray
Have sometimes inclined to go with them that way,
We hope to her wishes you will not say-nay.
'Tis said that all judges this maxim do keep,
Not their justice to tire, but at times let it sleep. .
If more by the Scriptures their honours are moved,
The overmuch righteous are then disapproved.
Thus true to the Gospel, and kind as they're wise,
Let their mercy restore what their justice denies.

GENERAL CHARLES LEE TO THE EARL OF

CHARLEMONT.

MY DEAR LORD,

Warsaw, June 1st, 1765. A LETTER which I sometime ago wrote to Lord Thanet, I hope you considered as in part intended for you, otherwise I must appear a prodigy of ingratitude; I desired him to communicate it to you, and as it contained the whole history of my perigrination and success, I thought it would be rather troublesome than an instance of my duty and affection, to scrawl out another to you at the same time; I therefore waited, in hopes that something might turn up here, which might probably amuse you, but as I might wait until doomsday, and this never happen (for Warsaw, if the wine

and climate were better, is absolutely the court of Alcinous, nothing to do with the affairs of this bustling world, nor do I think whatever passes, good or bad, gives her the least concern); I say, my lord, therefore, as I despair of any thing stirring worth your hearing, I can no longer defer paying my tribute, so long due, of duty and affection; but I should begin with asking a thousand pardons, for having so long kept in my hands the enclosed, from Prince Zartoryski, to your lordship; but, as I knew it included no business, I put it off from day to day for the aforesaid reasons. The longer I am acquainted with this man the more I like him, the more I admire his talents ; a retentive memory, solid judgment, and quickness are seldom united in the same person, yet they are so superlatively in him. To be master of several languages, and possess likewise an extensive knowledge of things, is miraculous, yet he is possessed of one and the other. It is a pity that he bas not a better theatre to act on; but really this country is a wretched one; nor do I think there is the least chance of bettering her situation, for any attempt either on the part of the king, of the leading men, or the common gentry, to mend the constitution, are protested against by her kind neighbours, through a tenderness for her interests; though, it must be confessed that, were her neighbours to interfere, there would be no great probability of a reform, for the general run of their gentry who have such an insurmountable negative power (as a single veto dissolves the diet), are, if possible, more ignorant, obstinate, and bigoted than the Hidalgos of Portugal; and VOL. V.

Y Y

those few who are better informed than the herd, whether it is from despair, or their natural disposition, pass their hours in such consummate idleness and dissipation, that our Macaroni club, or Betty's loungers, are, comparatively speaking, men of business and application. Were I to call the common people brutes, I should injure the quadruped creation, they are such mere moving clods of stinking earth. This certainly must be the effect of slavery; there cannot be so monstrous a physical difference betwixt man and man. I would to God that our Tory writers, with David Hume at their head, and the favourers of our damnable administration, were to join this noble community, that they might reap the fruits which their blessed labours entitle them to, and that the effects might not fall on harmless posterity. I have, if possible, since my passage through Germany and my residence here, a greater horror of slavery than ever. For God's sake, you patriot few at home, principiis obstate ; for absolute power is a serpent of that wriggling penetrating kind, that, if it can but introduce its head, it is in vain to pull at the tail. It is curious to hear me converse on these subjects with the king (Stanislaus); to hear me advance my doctrines, not the most favourable to monarchy, to defend even the beheading the martyr Charles; but it is still more curious to hear his opinions, which are singular for a crowned head; in short, he is as warm an advocate for the natural rights of mankind as was Algernon Sidney himself. It is not to give you a specimen of my proficiency in the trade of a courtier, when I assure you, that this king is

really an accomplished person; he is competently conversant with books, his notions are just, his intentions honest, and his temper not to be ruffled. What he is most faulty in is, that he passes too much time with the women; but that is the vice of the place. Italy is nothing to this country in cicisbeism; the men and women are ever together taking snuff, yawning, groaning with ennui, without a syllable to utter, but cannot separate. You may be assured, therefore, my dear lord, that I, who think that dangling should be punished with the pillory, pass, if possible, for a more odd fellow than I have done in other countries ; but I am not satisfied with appearing absurd myself, I have broke into their parties by prevailing upon Wroughton, our resident here, who was as determined a yawner as the rest, sometimes to mount a horse, and look into a book. In a few weeks I set out for Breslaw, to be present at an antiyawning party, a review of the king of Prussia's, where I may possibly collect materials for a letter to you, somewbat less dull than the present. In the mean time, my dear lord, if you have a spare half hour, dispose of it charitably in preparing me the smallest dish of politics ; but chiefly inform me of your health and welfare, which cannot be more devoutly wished for by any man than by your most obliged and humble servant,

CHARLES LEE.

JOHN WILKES, ESQ. TO A FRIEND.

Geneva, August 6th, 1765. I TRAVELLED through very difficult and dangerous roads from Grenoble to the Grande Chartreuse, the chief monastery of the rigid order of the Chartreux. The general chapter of these monks is held there once in every year. It lies about eight leagues north of Grenoble, and is built near the summit of a very high, romantic, and steep mountain, among deep and gloomy woods of pine trees, and rugged, savage rocks. Nature sits here indeed in great gravity, on a sublime, craggy throne; but the situation, I think, inspires horror rather than pensiveness. As you ascend, a variety of cascades precipitating down among the fragments of the broken rocks, fill the ear with a wild kind of melody. When you have nearly gained the summit, the clouds are under your feet, a solemn deathlike silence reigns, and overhanging rocks and tremendous precipices alarm the imagination with real dangers. Horror ubique animos, simul ipsa silentia terrent, and this silence is never interrupted but by the hideous crush of the fragments of the splitting rock. The present convent is not quite on the summit. There is a very old chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, called St. Bruno's chapel, still nearer the summit of the highest rocks. It is a strange old building, not to be classed in any order of architecture. The old convent stood there, but large fragments of the rock falling, and crushing several of the fathers, forced the survivors to remove and to

« 이전계속 »