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No. 181 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

The Man therefore who, notwithstanding any Passion or Resentment, can overcome this powerful Instinct, and extinguish natural Affection, debases his Mind even below Brutality, frustrates, as much as in him lies, the great Design of Providence, and strikes out of his Nature one of the most Divine Principles that is planted in it.

Among innumerable Arguments [which [3]] might be brought against such an unreasonable Proceeding, I shall only insist on one. We make it the Condition of our Forgiveness that we forgive others. In our very Prayers we desire no more than to be treated by this kind of Retaliation. The Case therefore before us seems to be what they call a Case in Point; the Relation between the Child and Father being what comes nearest to that between a Creature and its Creator. If the Father is inexorable to the Child who has offended, let the Offence be of never so high a Nature, how will he address himself to the Supreme Being under the tender Appellation of a Father, and desire of him such a Forgiveness as he himself refuses to grant?

To this I might add many other religious, as well as many prudential Considerations; but if the last mentioned Motive does not prevail, I despair of succeeding by any other, and shall therefore conclude my Paper with a very remarkable Story, which is recorded in an old Chronicle published by Freher, among the Writers of the German History. [4]

Eginhart, who was Secretary to Charles the Great, became exceeding popular by his Behaviour in that Post. His great Abilities gain’d him the Favour of his Master, and the Esteem of the whole Court. Imma, the Daughter of the Emperor, was so pleased with his Person and Conversation, that she fell in Love with him. As she was one of the greatest Beauties of the Age, Eginhart answer’d her with a more than equal Return of Passion. They stifled their Flames for some Time, under Apprehension of the fatal Consequences that might ensue. Eginhart at length resolving to hazard all, rather than be deprived of one whom his Heart was so much set upon, conveyed himself one Night into the Princess’s Apartment, and knocking gently at the Door, was admitted as a Person [who [5]] had something to communicate to her from the Emperor. He was with her in private most Part of the Night; but upon his preparing to go away about Break of Day, he observed that there had fallen a great Snow during his Stay with the Princess. This very much perplexed him, lest the Prints of his Feet in the Snow might make Discoveries to the King, who often used to visit his Daughter in the Morning. He acquainted the Princess Imma with his Fears; who, after some Consultations upon the Matter, prevailed upon him to let her carry him through the Snow upon her own Shoulders. It happened, that the Emperor not being able to sleep, was at that time up and walking in his Chamber, when upon looking through the Window he perceived his Daughter tottering under her Burden, and carrying his first Minister across the Snow; which she had no sooner done, but she returned again with the utmost Speed to her own Apartment. The Emperor was extreamly troubled and astonished at this Accident; but resolved to speak nothing of it till a proper Opportunity. In the mean time, Eginhart knowing that what he had done could not be long a Secret, determined to retire from Court; and in order to it begged the Emperor that he would be pleased to dismiss him, pretending a kind of Discontent at his not having been rewarded for his long Services. The Emperor would not give a direct Answer to his Petition, but told him he would think of it, and [appointed [6]] a certain Day when he would let him know his Pleasure. He then called together the most faithful of his Counsellors, and acquainting them with his Secretary’s Crime, asked them their Advice in so delicate an Affair. They most of them gave their Opinion, that the Person could not be too severely punished who had thus dishonoured his Master. Upon the whole Debate, the Emperor declared it was his Opinion, that Eginhart’s Punishment would rather encrease than diminish the Shame of his Family, and that therefore he thought it the most adviseable to wear out the Memory of the Fact, by marrying him to his Daughter. Accordingly Eginhart was called in, and acquainted by the Emperor, that he should no longer have any Pretence of complaining his Services were not rewarded, for that the Princess Imma should be given [him [7]] in Marriage, with a Dower suitable to her Quality; which was soon after performed accordingly.


[Footnote 1: those]

[Footnote 2: that]

[Footnote 3: that]

[Footnote 4: Marquard Freher, who died at Heidelberg in 1614, aged 49, was Counsellor to the Elector Palatine, and Professor of Jurisprudence at Heidelberg, until employed by the Elector (Frederick IV) as his Minister in Poland, and at other courts. The chief of many works of his were, on the Monetary System of the Ancient Romans and of the German Empire in his day, a History of France, a collection of Writers on Bohemian History, and another of Writers on German History, Rerum Germanicarum Scriptores, in three volumes. It is from a Chronicle of the monastery of Lorsch (or Laurisheim), in Hesse Darmstadt, under the year 805, in the first volume of the last-named collection, that the story about Eginhart was taken by Bayle, out of whose Dictionary Addison got it. Bayle, indeed, specially recommends it as good matter for a story. Imma, the chronicle says, had been betrothed to the Grecian Emperor.]

[Footnote 5: that]

[Footnote 6: fixed on]

[Footnote 7: to him]