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Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then they are glad, because they be quiet, so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.'*
“By the way; how much more comfortable, as well as rational, is this system of the Psalmist, than the Pagan scheme in Virgil, and other poets, where one deity is represented as raising a storm, and another as laying it? Were we only to consider the sublime in this piece of poetry, what can be nobler than the idea it gives us of the Supreme Being thus raising a tumult among the elements, and recovering them out of their confusion, thus troubling and becalming nature?
“ Great painters do not only give us landscapes of gardens, groves, and meadows, but very often employ their pencils upon sea-pieces. I could wish you would follow their example. If this small sketch may deserve a place among your works, I shall accompany it with a divine ode, made by a gentleman upon the conclusion of his travels.
“How are thy servants blest, O Lord ;
How sure is their defence !
Their help, Omnipotence.
Supported by thy care,
And breath'd in tainted air.
Made ev'ry region please :
And smooth'd the Tyrrhene seas.
How, with affrighted eyes,
In all its horrors rise !
And fear in ev'ry heart;
O'ercame the pilot's art.
Thy mercy set me free,
My soul took hold on thee.
High on the broken wave,
• Psal. cvii, 23, et seq.
The storm was laid, the winds retir'd,
Obedient to thy will;
At thy command was still.
Thy goodness I'll adore,
And humbly hope for more.
Thy sacrifice shall be ;
Shall join my soul to thee.”
ADVERTISEMENT. The author of THE SPECTATOR having received the pastoral hymn in bis 441st paper, set to music by one of the most eminent composers of our own country, and by a foreigner who has not put his name to his ingenious letter, thinks himself obliged to return his thanks to these gentlemen for the honour they have done him.
No. 490. MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 1712.
Domus et placeus uxor.
HOR. 2 OD. XIV. 21. Thy house and pleasing wife.
CREECH. I HAVE very long entertained an ambition to make the word wife the most agreeable and delightful name in nature. If it te not so in itself, all the wiser part of mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, has consented in an error. But our unhappiness in England has been, that a few loose men of genius for pleasure have turned it all to the gratification of ungoverned desires, in despite of good sense, form, and order; when, in truth, any satisfaction beyond the boundaries of reason is but a step towards madness and folly. But is the sense of joy and accomplishment of desire no way to be indulged, or attained ? And have we appetites given us to be at all gratified? Yes, certainly. Marriage is an institution calculated for a constant scene of as much delight, as our being is capable of. Two persons, who have chosen each other out of all the species, with design to be each other's mutual comfort and entertainment, bave in that action bound themselves to be good humoured, affable, discreet, forgiving, patient, and joyful, with respect to each other's frailties and perfections, to the end of their lives. The wiser of the two (and it always happens one of them is such) will, for her or his own sake, keep things from out. rage with the utmost sanctity. When this union is thus preserved (as I have often said) the most indifferent circumstance administers delight. Their condition is an endless source of new gratifications. The married man can say, “If I am unacceptable to all the world beside, there is one whom I entirely love, that will receive me with joy and transport, and think herself obliged to double her kindness and caresses of me from the gloom with which she sees me overcast. I need not dissémble the sorrow of my heart to be agreeable there; that very sorrow quickens her affection."
This passion towards each other, when once well fixed, enters into the very constitution, and the kindness flows as easily and silently as the blood in the veins, When this affection is enjoyed in the most sublime degree, unskilful eyes see nothing of it; but when it is subject to be changed, and has an alloy in it that may make it end in distaste, it is apt to break into rage, or overflow into fondness, before the rest of the world.
Uxander and Viramira are amorous and young, have been married these two years; yet do they so much distinguish each other in company, that in your conversation with the dear things you are still put to a sort of cross purposes. Whenever you address yourself in ordinary discourse to Viramira, she turns her head another way, and the answer is made to the dear Uxander. If you tell a merry tale, the application is still directed to her dear; and when she should commend you, she says to him, as if he had spoke it, “That is, my dear, so pretty.”—This puts me in mind of what I have somewhere read in the admired memoirs of the famous Cervantes; where, while honest Sancho Pança is putting some necessary humble question concerning Rozinante, his supper, or his lodgings, the knight of the sorrowful countenance is ever improving the harmless lowly hints of his 'squire to the poetical conceit, rapture, and flight in contemplation of the dear Dulcinea of his affections.
On the other side, Dictamnus and Moria are ever squabbling; and you may observe them all the time they are in company in a state of impatience. As Uxander and Viramira wish you all gone, that they may be at freedom for dalliance; Dictamnus and Moria wait your absence, that they may speak their harsh interpretations on each other's words and actions during the time you were with them.
It is certain that the greater part of the evils attending this condition of life arises from fashion. Prejudice in this case is turned the wrong way; and, instead of expecting more happiness than we shall meet with in it, we are laughed into a prepossession that we shall be disappointed if we hope for lasting satisfactions. .
With all persons who have made good sense the rule of action, marriage is described as the state capable of the highest human felicity. Tully has epistles full of affectionate pleasure, when he writes to his wife, or speaks of his children. But above all the hints of this kind I have met with in writers of ancient date, I am pleased with an epigram of Martial,* in honour of the beauty of his wife, Cleopatra. Commentators say it was written the day after his wedding-night. When his spouse was retired to the bathing-room in the heat of the day, he, it seems, came in upon her when she was just going into the water. To her beauty and carriage on this occasion, we owe the following epigram, which I showed my friend WILL HONEYCOMB in French, who has translated it as follows, without understanding the original. I expect it will please the English better than the Latin reader.
“When my bright consort, now nor wife nor maid,
Asham'd and wanton, of embrace afraid,
Kisses I snatch'd—the waves prevented more.” My friend would not allow that this luscious account could be given of a wife, and therefore used the word consort; which he learnedly said, would serve for a mistress as well, and give a more gentlemanly turn to the epigram. But, under favour of him, and all other such fine gentlemen, I cannot be persuaded but that the passion a bridegroom has for a virtuous young woman, will by little and little, grow into friendship, and then it is ascended to a higher pleasure than it was in its first fervour. Without this happens he is a very unfortunate man who has entered into this state, and left the habitudes of life he might have enjoyed with a faithful friend. But when the wife proves capable of filling serious as well as joyous hours, she brings happiness unknown to friendship itself. Spenser speaks of each kind of love with great justice, and attributes the highest praise to friendship; and indeed there is no disputing that point, but by making that friendship take place between two married persons.
“Hard is the doubt, and difficult to deem,
* Lib. iv. 21. VOL. IV.
But faithful friendship doth them both suppress,
No. 491. TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1712.
- Digna satis fortuna revisit. VIRG. ÆN. III. 318.
A just reverse of fortune on him waits. It is common with me to run from book to book, to exercise my mind with many objects, and qualify myself for my daily labours. After an hour spent in this loitering way of reading, something will remain to be food to the imagination. The writings that please me most on such occasions are stories, for the truth of which there is good authority. The mind of man is naturally a lover of justice; and when we read a story wherein a criminal is overtaken, in whom there is no quality which is the object of pity, the soul enjoys a certain revenge for the offence done to its nature, in the wicked actions committed in the preceding part of the history. This will be better understood by the reader from the following narration itself, than from anything which I can say to introduce it.
When Charles duke of Burgundy, surnamed The Bold, reigned over spacious dominions now swallowed up by the power of France, be heaped many favours and honours upon Claudius Rhynsault, a German, who had served him in his wars against the insults of his neighbours. A great part of Zealand was at that time in subjection to that dukedom. The prince himself was a person of singular humanity and justice. Rhynsault, with no other real quality than courage, had dissimulation enough to pass upon his generous and unsuspicious master for a person of blunt honesty and fidelity, without any vice that could bias him from the execution of justice. His highness, prepossessed to his advantage, upon the decease of the governor of his chief town of Zealand, gave Rhynsault that command. He was not long seated in that government, before he cast his eyes upon Sapphira, a woman of exquisite beauty, the wife of Paul Danvelt, a wealthy merchant of the city under his protection and government. Rhynsault was a man of a warm constitution, and violent inclination to women, and not unskilled in the soft arts whicb win their favour. He knew what it was to enjoy the satisfactions which are reaped from the possession of beauty, but was an utter stranger to the decencies, honours, and delicacies,