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No. 142 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 142

Monday, August 13, 1711.

‘… Irrupta tenet Copula …’


The following Letters being Genuine, [1] and the Images of a Worthy Passion, I am willing to give the old Lady’s Admonition to my self, and the Representation of her own Happiness, a Place in my Writings.

August 9, 1711.


‘I am now in the sixty seventh Year of my Age, and read you with Approbation; but methinks you do not strike at the Root of the greatest Evil in Life, which is the false Notion of Gallantry in Love. It is, and has long been, upon a very ill Foot; but I, who have been a Wife Forty Years, and was bred in a way that has made me ever since very happy, see through the Folly of it. In a Word, Sir, when I was a young Woman, all who avoided the Vices of the Age were very carefully educated, and all fantastical Objects were turned out of our Sight. The Tapestry Hangings, with the great and venerable Simplicity of the Scripture Stories, had better Effects than now the Loves of Venus and Adonis or Bacchus and Ariadne in your fine present Prints. The Gentleman I am married to made Love to me in Rapture, but it was the Rapture of a Christian and a Man of Honour, not a Romantick Hero or a Whining Coxcomb: This put our Life upon a right Basis. To give you an Idea of our Regard one to another, I inclose to you several of his Letters, writ Forty Years ago, when my Lover; and one writ t’other Day, after so many Years Cohabitation.’

Your Servant,

August 7, 1671.


‘If my Vigilance and ten thousand Wishes for your Welfare and Repose could have any force, you last Night slept in Security, and had every good Angel in your Attendance. To have my Thoughts ever fixed on you, to live in constant Fear of every Accident to which Human Life is liable, and to send up my hourly Prayers to avert ’em from you; I say, Madam, thus to think, and thus to suffer, is what I do for Her who is in Pain at my Approach, and calls all my tender Sorrow Impertinence. You are now before my Eyes, my Eyes that are ready to flow with Tenderness, but cannot give relief to my gushing Heart, that dictates what I am now Saying, and yearns to tell you all its Achings. How art thou, oh my Soul, stoln from thy self! How is all thy Attention broken! My Books are blank Paper, and my Friends Intruders. I have no hope of Quiet but from your Pity; To grant it, would make more for your Triumph. To give Pain is the Tyranny, to make Happy the true Empire of Beauty. If you would consider aright, you’d find an agreeable Change in dismissing the Attendance of a Slave, to receive the Complaisance of a Companion. I bear the former in hopes of the latter Condition: As I live in Chains without murmuring at the Power which inflicts ’em, so I could enjoy Freedom without forgetting the Mercy that gave it.’


Your most devoted, most obedient Servant.

Tho’ I made him no Declarations in his Favour, you see he had Hopes of Me when he writ this in the Month following.

Madam, September 3, 1671.

‘Before the Light this Morning dawned upon the Earth I awaked, and lay in Expectation of its return, not that it cou’d give any new Sense of Joy to me, but as I hoped it would bless you with its chearful Face, after a Quiet which I wish’d you last Night. If my Prayers are heard, the Day appeared with all the Influence of a Merciful Creator upon your Person and Actions. Let others, my lovely Charmer, talk of a blind Being that disposes their Hearts, I contemn their low Images of Love. I have not a Thought which relates to you, that I cannot with Confidence beseech the All-seeing Power to bless me in. May he direct you in all your Steps, and reward your Innocence, your Sanctity of Manners, your Prudent Youth, and becoming Piety, with the Continuance of his Grace and Protection. This is an unusual Language to Ladies; but you have a Mind elevated above the giddy Motions of a Sex insnared by Flattery, and misled by a false and short Adoration into a solid and long Contempt. Beauty, my fairest Creature, palls in the Possession, but I love also your Mind; your Soul is as dear to me as my own; and if the Advantages of a liberal Education, some Knowledge, and as much Contempt of the World, join’d with the Endeavours towards a Life of strict Virtue and Religion, can qualify me to raise new Ideas in a Breast so well disposed as yours is, our Days will pass away with Joy; and old Age, instead of introducing melancholy Prospects of Decay, give us hope of Eternal Youth in a better Life. I have but few Minutes from the Duty of my Employment to write in, and without time to read over what I have writ, therefore beseech you to pardon the first Hints of my Mind, which I have expressed in so little Order.