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Title: Essays on Various Subjects - Principally Designed for Young Ladies
Author: More, Hannah, 1745-1833
Language: English
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ESSAYS
FOR
YOUNG LADIES.



ESSAYS
ON
VARIOUS SUBJECTS,
Principally designed for
YOUNG LADIES.

     AS for you, I shall advise you in a few words: aspire only to
     those virtues that are PECULIAR TO YOUR SEX; follow your natural
     modesty, and think it your greatest commendation not to be talked
     of one way or the other.

     _Oration of Pericles to the Athenian Women._



LONDON:
Printed for J. WILKIE, in St. Paul's Church-Yard;
and T. CADELL, in the Strand.
MDCCLXXVII.



TO
MRS. MONTAGU.


MADAM,

IF you were only one of the finest writers of your time, you would
probably have escaped the trouble of this address, which is drawn on
you, less by the lustre of your understanding, than by the amiable
qualities of your heart.

AS the following pages are written with an humble but earnest wish, to
promote the interests of virtue, as far as the very limited abilities
of the author allow; there is, I flatter myself, a peculiar propriety in
inscribing them to you, Madam, who, while your works convey instruction
and delight to the best-informed of the other sex, furnish, by your
conduct, an admirable pattern of life and manners to your own. And I can
with truth remark, that those graces of conversation, which would be the
first praise of almost any other character, constitute but an inferior
part of yours.

        I am, MADAM,
  With the highest esteem,
    Your most obedient
      Humble Servant,

_Bristol_,         HANNAH MORE.
_May 20, 1777._



CONTENTS.


INTRODUCTION                   Page 1
ON DISSIPATION                     15
ON CONVERSATION                    37
ON ENVY                            63
ON SENTIMENTAL CONNEXIONS          77
ON TRUE AND FALSE MEEKNESS        107
ON EDUCATION                      123
ON RELIGION                       158
MISCELLANEOUS THOUGHTS ON WIT     178



INTRODUCTION.


IT is with the utmost diffidence that the following pages are submitted
to the inspection of the Public: yet, however the limited abilities of
the author may have prevented her from succeeding to her wish in the
execution of her present attempt, she humbly trusts that the uprightness
of her intention will procure it a candid and favourable reception. The
following little Essays are chiefly calculated for the younger part of
her own sex, who, she flatters herself, will not esteem them the less,
because they were written immediately for their service. She by no means
pretends to have composed a regular system of morals, or a finished plan
of conduct: she has only endeavoured to make a few remarks on such
circumstances as seemed to her susceptible of some improvement, and on
such subjects as she imagined were particularly interesting to young
ladies, on their first introduction into the world. She hopes they will
not be offended if she has occasionally pointed out certain qualities,
and suggested certain tempers, and dispositions, as _peculiarly
feminine_, and hazarded some observations which naturally arose from the
subject, on the different characters which mark the sexes. And here
again she takes the liberty to repeat that these distinctions cannot be
too nicely maintained; for besides those important qualities common to
both, each sex has its respective, appropriated qualifications, which
would cease to be meritorious, the instant they ceased to be
appropriated. Nature, propriety, and custom have prescribed certain
bounds to each; bounds which the prudent and the candid will never
attempt to break down; and indeed it would be highly impolitic to
annihilate distinctions from which each acquires excellence, and to
attempt innovations, by which both would be losers.

WOMEN therefore never understand their own interests so little, as when
they affect those qualities and accomplishments, from the want of which
they derive their highest merit. "The _porcelain_ clay of human kind,"
says an admired writer, speaking of the sex. Greater delicacy evidently
implies greater fragility; and this weakness, natural and moral, clearly
points out the necessity of a superior degree of caution, retirement,
and reserve.

IF the author may be allowed to keep up the allusion of the poet, just
quoted, she would ask if we do not put the finest vases, and the
costliest images in places of the greatest security, and most remote
from any probability of accident, or destruction? By being so situated,
they find their protection in their weakness, and their safety in their
delicacy. This metaphor is far from being used with a design of placing
young ladies in a trivial, unimportant light; it is only introduced to
insinuate, that where there is more beauty, and more weakness, there
should be greater circumspection, and superior prudence.

MEN, on the contrary, are formed for the more public exhibitions on the
great theatre of human life. Like the stronger and more substantial
wares, they derive no injury, and lose no polish by being always
exposed, and engaged in the constant commerce of the world. It is their
proper element, where they respire their natural air, and exert their
noblest powers, in situations which call them into action. They were
intended by Providence for the bustling scenes of life; to appear
terrible in arms, useful in commerce, shining in counsels.

THE Author fears it will be hazarding a very bold remark, in the opinion
of many ladies, when she adds, that the female mind, in general, does
not appear capable of attaining so high a degree of perfection in
science as the male. Yet she hopes to be forgiven when she observes
also, that as it does not seem to derive the chief portion of its
excellence from extraordinary abilities of this kind, it is not at all
lessened by the imputation of not possessing them. It is readily
allowed, that the sex have lively imaginations, and those exquisite
perceptions of the beautiful and defective, which come under the
denomination of Taste. But pretensions to that strength of intellect,
which is requisite to penetrate into the abstruser walks of literature,
it is presumed they will readily relinquish. There are green pastures,
and pleasant vallies, where they may wander with safety to themselves,
and delight to others. They may cultivate the roses of imagination, and
the valuable fruits of morals and criticism; but the steeps of
Parnassus few, comparatively, have attempted to scale with success.
And when it is considered, that many languages, and many sciences, must
contribute to the perfection of poetical composition, it will appear
less strange. The lofty Epic, the pointed Satire, and the more daring
and successful flights of the Tragic Muse, seem reserved for the bold
adventurers of the other sex.

NOR does this assertion, it is apprehended, at all injure the
interests of the women; they have other pretensions, on which to value
themselves, and other qualities much better calculated to answer their
particular purposes. We are enamoured of the soft strains of the
Sicilian and the Mantuan Muse, while, to the sweet notes of the
pastoral reed, they sing the Contentions of the Shepherds, the
Blessings of Love, or the innocent Delights of rural Life. Has it ever
been ascribed to them as a defect, that their Eclogues do not treat of
active scenes, of busy cities, and of wasting war? No: their simplicity
is their perfection, and they are only blamed when they have too little
of it.

ON the other hand, the lofty bards who strung their bolder harps to
higher measures, and sung the _Wrath_ of _Peleus' Son_, and _Man's first
Disobedience_, have never been censured for want of sweetness and
refinement. The sublime, the nervous, and the masculine, characterise
their compositions; as the beautiful, the soft, and the delicate, mark
those of the others. Grandeur, dignity, and force, distinguish the one
species; ease, simplicity, and purity, the other. Both shine from their
native, distinct, unborrowed merits, not from those which are foreign,
adventitious, and unnatural. Yet those excellencies, which make up the
essential and constituent parts of poetry, they have in common.

WOMEN have generally quicker perceptions; men have juster
sentiments.--Women consider how things may be prettily said; men how
they may be properly said.--In women, (young ones at least) speaking
accompanies, and sometimes precedes reflection; in men, reflection is
the antecedent.--Women speak to shine or to please; men, to convince or
confute.--Women admire what is brilliant; men what is solid.--Women
prefer an extemporaneous sally of wit, or a sparkling effusion of
fancy, before the most accurate reasoning, or the most laborious
investigation of facts. In literary composition, women are pleased with
point, turn, and antithesis; men with observation, and a just deduction
of effects from their causes.--Women are fond of incident, men of
argument.--Women admire passionately, men approve cautiously.--One sex
will think it betrays a want of feeling to be moderate in their
applause, the other will be afraid of exposing a want of judgment by
being in raptures with any thing.--Men refuse to give way to the
emotions they actually feel, while women sometimes affect to be
transported beyond what the occasion will justify.

AS a farther confirmation of what has been advanced on the different
bent of the understanding in the sexes, it may be observed, that we have
heard of many female wits, but never of one female logician--of many
admirable writers of memoirs, but never of one chronologer.--In the
boundless and aërial regions of romance, and in that fashionable species
of composition which succeeded it, and which carries a nearer
approximation to the manners of the world, the women cannot be excelled:
this imaginary soil they have a peculiar talent for cultivating, because
here,

    Invention labours more, and judgment less.

THE merit of this kind of writing consists in the _vraisemblance_ to
real life as to the events themselves, with a certain elevation in the
narrative, which places them, if not above what is natural, yet above
what is common. It farther consists in the art of interesting the tender
feelings by a pathetic representation of those minute, endearing,
domestic circumstances, which take captive the soul before it has time
to shield itself with the armour of reflection. To amuse, rather than to
instruct, or to instruct indirectly by short inferences, drawn from a
long concatenation of circumstances, is at once the business of this
sort of composition, and one of the characteristics of female
genius[1].

IN short, it appears that the mind in each sex has some natural kind of
bias, which constitutes a distinction of character, and that the
happiness of both depends, in a great measure, on the preservation and
observance of this distinction. For where would be the superior pleasure
and satisfaction resulting from mixed conversation, if this difference
were abolished? If the qualities of both were invariably and exactly the
same, no benefit or entertainment would arise from the tedious and
insipid uniformity of such an intercourse; whereas considerable
advantages are reaped from a select society of both sexes. The rough
angles and asperities of male manners are imperceptibly filed, and
gradually worn smooth, by the polishing of female conversation, and the
refining of female taste; while the ideas of women acquire strength and
solidity, by their associating with sensible, intelligent, and
judicious men.

ON the whole, (even if fame be the object of pursuit) is it not better
to succeed as women, than to fail as men? To shine, by walking
honourably in the road which nature, custom, and education seem to have
marked out, rather than to counteract them all, by moving awkwardly in a
path diametrically opposite? To be good originals, rather than bad
imitators? In a word, to be excellent women, rather than indifferent
men?


[1] THE author does not apprehend it makes against her GENERAL position,
that this nation can boast a female critic, poet, historian, linguist,
philosopher, and moralist, equal to most of the other sex. To these
particular instances others might be adduced; but it is presumed, that
they only stand as exceptions against the rule, without tending to
invalidate the rule itself.



ON
DISSIPATION.

    DOGLIE CERTE, ALLEGREZZE INCERTE!
    PETRARCA.


AS an argument in favour of modern manners, it has been pleaded, that
the softer vices of Luxury and Dissipation, belong rather to gentle
and yielding tempers, than to such as are rugged and ferocious: that
they are vices which increase civilization, and tend to promote
refinement, and the cultivation of humanity.

BUT this is an assertion, the truth of which the experience of all
ages contradicts. Nero was not less a tyrant for being a fiddler: He[2]
who wished the whole Roman people had but one neck, that he might
dispatch them at a blow, was himself the most debauched man in Rome; and
Sydney and Russel were condemned to bleed under the most barbarous,
though most dissipated and voluptuous, reign that ever disgraced the
annals of Britain.

THE love of dissipation is, I believe, allowed to be the reigning evil
of the present day. It is an evil which many content themselves with
regretting, without seeking to redress. A dissipated life is censured
in the very act of dissipation, and prodigality of time is as gravely
declaimed against at the card table, as in the pulpit.

THE lover of dancing censures the amusements of the theatre for their
dulness, and the gamester blames them both for their levity. She, whose
whole soul is swallowed up in "_opera extacies_" is astonished, that her
acquaintance can spend whole nights in preying, like harpies, on the
fortunes of their fellow-creatures; while the grave sober sinner, who
passes her pale and anxious vigils, in this fashionable sort of
pillaging, is no less surprised how the other can waste her precious
time in hearing sounds for which she has no taste, in a language she
does not understand.

IN short, every one seems convinced, that the evil so much complained of
does really exist somewhere, though all are inwardly persuaded that it
is not with themselves. All desire a general reformation, but few will
listen to proposals of particular amendment; the body must be restored,
but each limb begs to remain as it is; and accusations which concern
all, will be likely to affect none. They think that sin, like matter, is
divisible, and that what is scattered among so many, cannot materially
affect any one; and thus individuals contribute separately to that evil
which they in general lament.

THE prevailing manners of an age depend more than we are aware, or are
willing to allow, on the conduct of the women; this is one of the
principal hinges on which the great machine of human society turns.
Those who allow the influence which female graces have, in contributing
to polish the manners of men, would do well to reflect how great an
influence female morals must also have on their conduct. How much then
is it to be regretted, that the British ladies should ever sit down
contented to polish, when they are able to reform, to entertain, when
they might instruct, and to dazzle for an hour, when they are candidates
for eternity!

UNDER the dispensation of Mahomet's law, indeed, these mental
excellencies cannot be expected, because the women are shut out from all
opportunities of instruction, and excluded from the endearing pleasures
of a delightful and equal society; and, as a charming poet sings, are
taught to believe, that

                For their inferior natures
    Form'd to delight, and happy by delighting,
    Heav'n has reserv'd no future paradise,
    But bids them rove the paths of bliss, secure
    Of total death, and careless of hereafter.

    IRENE.

THESE act consistently in studying none but exterior graces, in
cultivating only personal attractions, and in trying to lighten the
intolerable burden of time, by the most frivolous and vain amusements.
They act in consequence of their own blind belief, and the tyranny of
their despotic masters; for they have neither the freedom of a present
choice, nor the prospect of a future being.

BUT in this land of civil and religious liberty, where there is as
little despotism exercised over the minds, as over the persons of women,
they have every liberty of choice, and every opportunity of improvement;
and how greatly does this increase their obligation to be exemplary in
their general conduct, attentive to the government of their families,
and instrumental to the good order of society!

SHE who is at a loss to find amusements at home, can no longer apologize
for her dissipation abroad, by saying she is deprived of the benefit
and the pleasure of books; and she who regrets being doomed to a state
of dark and gloomy ignorance, by the injustice, or tyranny of the men,
complains of an evil which does not exist.

IT is a question frequently in the mouths of illiterate and dissipated
females--"What good is there in reading? To what end does it conduce?"
It is, however, too obvious to need insisting on, that unless perverted,
as the best things may be, reading answers many excellent purposes
beside the great leading one, and is perhaps the safest remedy for
dissipation. She who dedicates a portion of her leisure to useful
reading, feels her mind in a constant progressive state of
improvement, whilst the mind of a dissipated woman is continually
losing ground. An active spirit rejoiceth, like the sun, to run his
daily course, while indolence, like the dial of Ahaz, goes backwards.
The advantages which the understanding receives from polite literature,
it is not here necessary to enumerate; its effects on the moral
temper is the present object of consideration. The remark may perhaps be
thought too strong, but I believe it is true, that next to religious
influences, an habit of study is the most probable preservative of the
virtue of young persons. Those who cultivate letters have rarely a
strong passion for promiscuous visiting, or dissipated society;
study therefore induces a relish for domestic life, the most desirable
temper in the world for women. Study, as it rescues the mind from an
inordinate fondness for gaming, dress, and public amusements, is an
oeconomical propensity; for a lady may read at much less expence than
she can play at cards; as it requires some application, it gives the
mind an habit of industry; as it is a relief against that mental
disease, which the French emphatically call _ennui_, it cannot fail of
being beneficial to the temper and spirits, I mean in the moderate
degree in which ladies are supposed to use it; as an enemy to indolence,
it becomes a social virtue; as it demands the full exertion of our
talents, it grows a rational duty; and when directed to the knowledge of
the Supreme Being, and his laws, it rises into an act of religion.

THE rage for reformation commonly shews itself in a violent zeal for
suppressing what is wrong, rather than in a prudent attention to
establish what is right; but we shall never obtain a fair garden merely
by rooting up weeds, we must also plant flowers; for the natural
richness of the soil we have been clearing will not suffer it to lie
barren, but whether it shall be vainly or beneficially prolific, depends
on the culture. What the present age has gained on one side, by a more
enlarged and liberal way of thinking, seems to be lost on the other, by
excessive freedom and unbounded indulgence. Knowledge is not, as
heretofore, confined to the dull cloyster, or the gloomy college, but
disseminated, to a certain degree, among both sexes and almost all
ranks. The only misfortune is, that these opportunities do not seem to
be so wisely improved, or turned to so good an account as might be
wished. Books of a pernicious, idle, and frivolous sort, are too much
multiplied, and it is from the very redundancy of them that true
knowledge is so scarce, and the habit of dissipation so much
increased.

IT has been remarked, that the prevailing character of the present age
is not that of gross immorality: but if this is meant of those in the
higher walks of life, it is easy to discern, that there can be but
little merit in abstaining from crimes which there is but little
temptation to commit. It is however to be feared, that a gradual
defection from piety, will in time draw after it all the bad
consequences of more active vice; for whether mounds and fences are
suddenly destroyed by a sweeping torrent, or worn away through gradual
neglect, the effect is equally destructive. As a rapid fever and a
consuming hectic are alike fatal to our natural health, so are flagrant
immorality and torpid indolence to our moral well-being.

THE philosophical doctrine of the slow recession of bodies from the
sun, is a lively image of the reluctance with which we first abandon
the light of virtue. The beginning of folly, and the first entrance on a
dissipated life cost some pangs to a well-disposed heart; but it is
surprising to see how soon the progress ceases to be impeded by
reflection, or slackened by remorse. For it is in moral as in natural
things, the motion in minds as well as bodies is accelerated by a nearer
approach to the centre to which they are tending. If we recede slowly at
first setting out, we advance rapidly in our future course; and to have
begun to be wrong, is already to have made a great progress.

A CONSTANT habit of amusement relaxes the tone of the mind, and renders
it totally incapable of application, study, or virtue. Dissipation not
only indisposes its votaries to every thing useful and excellent, but
disqualifies them for the enjoyment of pleasure itself. It softens the
soul so much, that the most superficial employment becomes a labour, and
the slightest inconvenience an agony. The luxurious Sybarite must have
lost all sense of real enjoyment, and all relish for true gratification,
before he complained that he could not sleep, because the rose leaves
lay double under him.

LUXURY and dissipation, soft and gentle as their approaches are, and
silently as they throw their silken chains about the heart, enslave it
more than the most active and turbulent vices. The mightiest conquerors
have been conquered by these unarmed foes: the flowery setters are
fastened, before they are felt. The blandishments of Circe were more
fatal to the mariners of Ulysses, than the strength of Polypheme, or
the brutality of the Læstrigons. Hercules, after he had cleansed the
Augean stable, and performed all the other labours enjoined him by
Euristheus, found himself a slave to the softnesses of the heart; and
he, who wore a club and a lion's skin in the cause of virtue,
condescended to the most effeminate employments to gratify a criminal
weakness. Hannibal, who vanquished mighty nations, was himself overcome
by the love of pleasure; and he who despised cold, and want, and danger,
and death on the Alps, was conquered and undone by the dissolute
indulgences of Capua.

BEFORE the hero of the most beautiful and virtuous romance that ever was
written, I mean Telemachus, landed on the island of Cyprus, he
unfortunately lost his prudent companion, Mentor, in whom wisdom is so
finely personified. At first he beheld with horror the wanton and
dissolute manners of the voluptuous inhabitants; the ill effects of
their example were not immediate: he did not fall into the commission
of glaring enormities; but his virtue was secretly and imperceptibly
undermined, his heart was softened by their pernicious society; and the
nerve of resolution was slackened: he every day beheld with diminished
indignation the worship which was offered to Venus; the disorders of
luxury and prophaneness became less and less terrible, and the
infectious air of the country enfeebled his courage, and relaxed his
principles. In short, he had ceased to love virtue long before he
thought of committing actual vice; and the duties of a manly piety were
burdensome to him, before he was so debased as to offer perfumes, and
burn incense on the altar of the licentious goddess[3].

"LET us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they be withered," said
Solomon's libertine. Alas! he did not reflect that they withered in the
very gathering. The roses of pleasure seldom last long enough to adorn
the brow of him who plucks them; for they are the only roses which do
not retain their sweetness after they have lost their beauty.

THE heathen poets often pressed on their readers the necessity of
considering the shortness of life, as an incentive to pleasure and
voluptuousness; lest the season for indulging in them should pass
unimproved. The dark and uncertain notions, not to say the absolute
disbelief, which they entertained of a future state, is the only apology
that can be offered for this reasoning. But while we censure their
tenets, let us not adopt their errors; errors which would be infinitely
more inexcusable in us, who, from the clearer views which revelation has
given us, shall not have their ignorance or their doubts to plead. It
were well if we availed ourselves of that portion of their precept,
which inculcates the improvement of every moment of our time, but not
like them to dedicate the moments so redeemed to the pursuit of sensual
and perishable pleasures, but to the securing of those which are
spiritual in their nature, and eternal in their duration.

IF, indeed, like the miserable[4] beings imagined by Swift, with a view
to cure us of the irrational desire after immoderate length of days, we
were condemned to a wretched earthly immortality, we should have an
excuse for spending some portion of our time in dissipation, as we
might then pretend, with some colour of reason, that we proposed, at a
distant period, to enter on a better course of action. Or if we never
formed any such resolution, it would make no material difference to
beings, whose state was already unalterably fixed. But of the scanty
portion of days assigned to our lot, not one should be lost in weak
and irresolute procrastination.

THOSE who have not yet determined on the side of vanity, who, like
Hercules, (before he knew the queen of Lydia, and had learnt to spin)
have not resolved on their choice between VIRTUE and PLEASURE, may
reflect, that it is still in their power to imitate that hero in his
noble choice, and in his virtuous rejection. They may also reflect with
grateful triumph, that Christianity furnishes them with a better guide
than the tutor of Alcides, and with a surer light than the doctrines of
pagan philosophy.

IT is far from my design severely to condemn the innocent pleasures of
life: I would only beg leave to observe, that those which are criminal
should never be allowed; and that even the most innocent will, by
immoderate use, soon cease to be so.

THE women of this country were not sent into the world to shun society,
but to embellish it; they were not designed for wilds and solitudes, but
for the amiable and endearing offices of social life. They have useful
stations to fill, and important characters to sustain. They are of a
religion which does not impose penances, but enjoins duties; a religion
of perfect purity, but of perfect benevolence also. A religion which
does not condemn its followers to indolent seclusion from the world, but
assigns them the more dangerous, though more honourable province, of
living uncorrupted in it. In fine, a religion, which does not direct
them to fly from the multitude, that they may do nothing, but which
positively forbids them to follow a multitude to do evil.


[2] The Emperor Caligula.

[3] NOTHING can be more admirable than the manner in which this allegory
is conducted; and the whole work, not to mention its images, machinery,
and other poetical beauties, is written in the very finest strain of
morality. In this latter respect it is evidently superior to the works
of the ancients, the moral of which is frequently tainted by the
grossness of their mythology. Something of the purity of the Christian
religion may be discovered even in Fenelon's heathens, and they catch a
tincture of piety in passing through the hands of that amiable prelate.

[4] The Struldbrugs. See Voyage to Laputa.



THOUGHTS
ON
CONVERSATION.


IT has been advised, and by very respectable authorities too, that in
conversation women should carefully conceal any knowledge or learning
they may happen to possess. I own, with submission, that I do not
see either the necessity or propriety of this advice. For if a young
lady has that discretion and modesty, without which all knowledge is
little worth, she will never make an ostentatious parade of it, because
she will rather be intent on acquiring more, than on displaying what she
has.

I AM at a loss to know why a young female is instructed to exhibit, in
the most advantageous point of view, her skill in music, her singing,
dancing, taste in dress, and her acquaintance with the most fashionable
games and amusements, while her piety is to be anxiously concealed, and
her knowledge affectedly disavowed, lest the former should draw on her
the appellation of an enthusiast, or the latter that of a pedant.

IN regard to knowledge, why should she for ever affect to be on her
guard, lest she should be found guilty of a small portion of it? She
need be the less solicitous about it, as it seldom proves to be so very
considerable as to excite astonishment or admiration: for, after all the
acquisitions which her talents and her studies have enabled her to make,
she will, generally speaking, be found to have less of what is called
_learning_, than a common school-boy.

IT would be to the last degree presumptuous and absurd, for a young
woman to pretend to give the _ton_ to the company; to interrupt the
pleasure of others, and her own opportunity of improvement, by talking
when she ought to listen; or to introduce subjects out of the common
road, in order to shew her own wit, or expose the want of it in others:
but were the sex to be totally silent when any topic of literature
happens to be discussed in their presence, conversation would lose
much of its vivacity, and society would be robbed of one of its most
interesting charms.

HOW easily and effectually may a well-bred woman promote the most useful
and elegant conversation, almost without speaking a word! for the modes
of speech are scarcely more variable than the modes of silence. The
silence of listless ignorance, and the silence of sparkling
intelligence, are perhaps as separately marked, and as distinctly
expressed, as the same feelings could have been by the most
unequivocal language. A woman, in a company where she has the least
influence, may promote any subject by a profound and invariable
attention, which shews that she is pleased with it, and by an
illuminated countenance, which proves she understands it. This obliging
attention is the most flattering encouragement in the world to men of
sense and letters, to continue any topic of instruction or entertainment
they happen to be engaged in: it owed its introduction perhaps to
accident, the best introduction in the world for a subject of ingenuity,
which, though it could not have been formally proposed without pedantry,
may be continued with ease and good humour; but which will be frequently
and effectually stopped by the listlessness, inattention, or
whispering of silly girls, whose weariness betrays their ignorance, and
whose impatience exposes their ill-breeding. A polite man, however
deeply interested in the subject on which he is conversing, catches at
the slightest hint to have done: a look is a sufficient intimation, and
if a pretty simpleton, who sits near him, seems _distraite_, he puts an
end to his remarks, to the great regret of the reasonable part of the
company, who perhaps might have gained more improvement by the
continuance of such a conversation, than a week's reading would have
yielded them; for it is such company as this, that give an edge to each
other's wit, "as iron sharpeneth iron."

THAT silence is one of the great arts of conversation is allowed by
Cicero himself, who says, there is not only an art but even an eloquence
in it. And this opinion is confirmed by a great modern[5], in the
following little anecdote from one of the ancients.

WHEN many Grecian philosophers had a solemn meeting before the
ambassador of a foreign prince, each endeavoured to shew his parts by
the brilliancy of his conversation, that the ambassador might have
something to relate of the Grecian wisdom. One of them, offended, no
doubt, at the loquacity of his companions, observed a profound silence;
when the ambassador, turning to him, asked, "But what have you to say,
that I may report it?" He made this laconic, but very pointed reply:
"Tell your king, that you have found one among the Greeks who knew how
to be silent."

THERE is a quality infinitely more intoxicating to the female mind than
knowledge--this is Wit, the most captivating, but the most dreaded of
all talents: the most dangerous to those who have it, and the most
feared by those who have it not. Though it is against all the rules, yet
I cannot find in my heart to abuse this charming quality. He who is
grown rich without it, in safe and sober dulness, shuns it as a disease,
and looks upon poverty as its invariable concomitant. The moralist
declaims against it as the source of irregularity, and the frugal
citizen dreads it more than bankruptcy itself, for he considers it as
the parent of extravagance and beggary. The Cynic will ask of what use
it is? Of very little perhaps: no more is a flower garden, and yet it is
allowed as an object of innocent amusement and delightful recreation. A
woman, who possesses this quality, has received a most dangerous
present, perhaps not less so than beauty itself: especially if it be not
sheathed in a temper peculiarly inoffensive, chastised by a most
correct judgment, and restrained by more prudence than falls to the
common lot.

THIS talent is more likely to make a woman vain than knowledge; for as
Wit is the immediate property of its possessor, and learning is only
an acquaintance with the knowledge of other people, there is much more
danger, that we should be vain of what is our own, than of what we
borrow.

BUT Wit, like learning, is not near so common a thing as is imagined.
Let not therefore a young lady be alarmed at the acuteness of her own
wit, any more than at the abundance of her own knowledge. The great
danger is, lest she should mistake pertness, flippancy, or imprudence,
for this brilliant quality, or imagine she is witty, only because she
is indiscreet. This is very frequently the case, and this makes the name
of wit so cheap, while its real existence is so rare.

LEST the flattery of her acquaintance, or an over-weening opinion of her
own qualifications, should lead some vain and petulant girl into a false
notion that she has a great deal of wit, when she has only a redundancy
of animal spirits, she may not find it useless to attend to the
definition of this quality, by one who had as large a portion of it, as
most individuals could ever boast:

      'Tis not a tale, 'tis not a jest,
      Admir'd with laughter at a feast,
    Nor florid talk, which can that title gain,
    The proofs of wit for ever must remain.
      Neither can that have any place,
      At which a virgin hides her face;
    Such dross the fire must purge away; 'tis just,
    The author blush there, where the reader must.

    COWLEY.

BUT those who actually possess this rare talent, cannot be too
abstinent in the use of it. It often makes admirers, but it never makes
friends; I mean, where it is the predominant feature; and the
unprotected and defenceless state of womanhood calls for friendship more
than for admiration. She who does not desire friends has a sordid and
insensible soul; but she who is ambitious of making every man her
admirer, has an invincible vanity and a cold heart.

BUT to dwell only on the side of policy, a prudent woman, who has
established the reputation of some genius will sufficiently maintain
it, without keeping her faculties always on the stretch to say _good
things_. Nay, if reputation alone be her object, she will gain a more
solid one by her forbearance, as the wiser part of her acquaintance will
ascribe it to the right motive, which is, not that she has less wit, but
that she has more judgment.

THE fatal fondness for indulging a spirit of ridicule, and the injurious
and irreparable consequences which sometimes attend the _too prompt
reply_, can never be too seriously or too severely condemned. Not to
offend, is the first step towards pleasing. To give pain is as much an
offence against humanity, as against good breeding; and surely it is as
well to abstain from an action because it is sinful, as because it is
impolite. In company, young ladies would do well before they speak, to
reflect, if what they are going to say may not distress some worthy
person present, by wounding them in their persons, families, connexions,
or religious opinions. If they find it will touch them in either of
these, I should advise them to suspect, that what they were going to say
is not so _very_ good a thing as they at first imagined. Nay, if even it
was one of those bright ideas, which _Venus has imbued with a fifth part
of her nectar_, so much greater will be their merit in suppressing it,
if there was a probability it might offend. Indeed, if they have the
temper and prudence to make such a previous reflection, they will be
more richly rewarded by their own inward triumph, at having suppressed
a lively but severe remark, than they could have been with the
dissembled applauses of the whole company, who, with that complaisant
deceit, which good breeding too much authorises, affect openly to admire
what they secretly resolve never to forgive.

I HAVE always been delighted with the story of the little girl's
eloquence, in one of the Children's Tales, who received from a friendly
fairy the gift, that at every word she uttered, pinks, roses, diamonds,
and pearls, should drop from her mouth. The hidden moral appears to be
this, that it was the sweetness of her temper which produced this pretty
fanciful effect: for when her malicious sister desired the same gift
from the good-natured tiny Intelligence, the venom of her own heart
converted it into poisonous and loathsome reptiles.

A MAN of sense and breeding will sometimes join in the laugh, which has
been raised at his expence by an ill-natured repartee; but if it was
very cutting, and one of those shocking sort of truths, which as they
can scarcely be pardoned even in private, ought never to be uttered in
public, he does not laugh because he is pleased, but because he wishes
to conceal how much he is hurt. As the sarcasm was uttered by a lady, so
far from seeming to resent it, he will be the first to commend it; but
notwithstanding that, he will remember it as a trait of malice, when the
whole company shall have forgotten it as a stroke of wit. Women are so
far from being privileged by their sex to say unhandsome or cruel
things, that it is this very circumstance which renders them more
intolerable. When the arrow is lodged in the heart, it is no relief to
him who is wounded to reflect, that the hand which shot it was a fair
one.

MANY women, when they have a favourite point to gain, or an earnest wish
to bring any one over to their opinion, often use a very disingenuous
method: they will state a case ambiguously, and then avail themselves of
it, in whatever manner shall best answer their purpose; leaving your
mind in a state of indecision as to their real meaning, while they
triumph in the perplexity they have given you by the unfair conclusions
they draw, from premises equivocally stated. They will also frequently
argue from exceptions instead of rules, and are astonished when you are
not willing to be contented with a prejudice, instead of a reason.

IN a sensible company of both sexes, where women are not restrained by
any other reserve than what their natural modesty imposes; and where the
intimacy of all parties authorises the utmost freedom of communication;
should any one inquire what were the general sentiments on some
particular subject, it will, I believe, commonly happen, that the
ladies, whose imaginations have kept pace with the narration, have
anticipated its end, and are ready to deliver their sentiments on it as
soon as it is finished. While some of the male hearers, whose minds were
busied in settling the propriety, comparing the circumstances, and
examining the consistencies of what was said, are obliged to pause and
discriminate, before they think of answering. Nothing is so
embarrassing as a variety of matter, and the conversation of women is
often more perspicuous, because it is less laboured.

A MAN of deep reflection, if he does not keep up an intimate commerce
with the world, will be sometimes so entangled in the intricacies of
intense thought, that he will have the appearance of a confused and
perplexed expression; while a sprightly woman will extricate herself
with that lively and "rash dexterity," which will almost always please,
though it is very far from being always right. It is easier to confound
than to convince an opponent; the former may be effected by a turn that
has more happiness than truth in it. Many an excellent reasoner, well
skilled in the theory of the schools, has felt himself discomfited by a
reply, which, though as wide of the mark, and as foreign to the
question as can be conceived, has disconcerted him more than the most
startling proposition, or the most accurate chain of reasoning could
have done; and he has borne the laugh of his fair antagonist, as well as
of the whole company, though he could not but feel, that his own
argument was attended with the fullest demonstration: so true is it,
that it is not always necessary to be right, in order to be applauded.

BUT let not a young lady's vanity be too much elated with this false
applause, which is given, not to her merit, but to her sex: she has not
perhaps gained a victory, though she may be allowed a triumph; and it
should humble her to reflect, that the tribute is paid, not to her
strength but her weakness. It is worth while to discriminate between
that applause, which is given from the complaisance of others, and that
which is paid to our own merit.

WHERE great sprightliness is the natural bent of the temper, girls
should endeavour to habituate themselves to a custom of observing,
thinking, and reasoning. I do not mean, that they should devote
themselves to abstruse speculation, or the study of logic; but she who
is accustomed to give a due arrangement to her thoughts, to reason
justly and pertinently on common affairs, and judiciously to deduce
effects from their causes, will be a better logician than some of those
who claim the name, because they have studied the art: this is being
"learned without the rules;" the best definition, perhaps, of that sort
of literature which is properest for the sex. That species of
knowledge, which appears to be the result of reflection rather than of
science, sits peculiarly well on women. It is not uncommon to find a
lady, who, though she does not know a rule of Syntax, scarcely ever
violates one; and who constructs every sentence she utters, with more
propriety than many a learned dunce, who has every rule of Aristotle by
heart, and who can lace his own thread-bare discourse with the golden
shreds of Cicero and Virgil.

IT has been objected, and I fear with some reason, that female
conversation is too frequently tinctured with a censorious spirit, and
that ladies are seldom apt to discover much tenderness for the errors of
a fallen sister.

    If it be so, it is a grievous fault.

NO arguments can justify, no pleas can extenuate it. To insult over the
miseries of an unhappy creature is inhuman, not to compassionate them
is unchristian. The worthy part of the sex always express themselves
humanely on the failings of others, in proportion to their own
undeviating goodness.

AND here I cannot help remarking, that young women do not always
carefully distinguish between running into the error of detraction, and
its opposite extreme of indiscriminate applause. This proceeds from the
false idea they entertain, that the direct contrary to what is wrong
must be right. Thus the dread of being only suspected of one fault makes
them actually guilty of another. The desire of avoiding the imputation
of envy, impels them to be insincere; and to establish a reputation for
sweetness of temper and generosity, they affect sometimes to speak of
very indifferent characters with the most extravagant applause. With
such, the hyperbole is a favourite figure; and every degree of
comparison but the superlative is rejected, as cold and inexpressive.
But this habit of exaggeration greatly weakens their credit, and
destroys the weight of their opinion on other occasions; for people very
soon discover what degree of faith is to be given both to their judgment
and veracity. And those of real merit will no more be flattered by that
approbation, which cannot distinguish the value of what it praises, than
the celebrated painter must have been at the judgment passed on his
works by an ignorant spectator, who, being asked what he thought of such
and such very capital but very different pieces, cried out in an
affected rapture, "All alike! all alike!"

IT has been proposed to the young, as a maxim of supreme wisdom, to
manage so dexterously in conversation, as to appear to be well
acquainted with subjects, of which they are totally ignorant; and this,
by affecting silence in regard to those, on which they are known to
excel.--But why counsel this disingenuous fraud? Why add to the
numberless arts of deceit, this practice of deceiving, as it were, on a
settled principle? If to disavow the knowledge they really have be a
culpable affectation, then certainly to insinuate an idea of their
skill, where they are actually ignorant, is a most unworthy artifice.

BUT of all the qualifications for conversation, humility, if not the
most brilliant, is the safest, the most amiable, and the most feminine.
The affectation of introducing subjects, with which others are
unacquainted, and of displaying talents superior to the rest of the
company, is as dangerous as it is foolish.

There are many, who never can forgive another for being more agreeable
and more accomplished than themselves, and who can pardon any offence
rather than an eclipsing merit. Had the nightingale in the fable
conquered his vanity, and resisted the temptation of shewing a fine
voice, he might have escaped the talons of the hawk. The melody of his
singing was the cause of his destruction; his merit brought him into
danger, and his vanity cost him his life.


[5] Lord Bacon.



ON
ENVY.

    Envy came next, Envy with squinting eyes,
    Sick of a strange disease, his neighbour's health;
    Best then he lives when any better dies,
    Is never poor but in another's wealth:
      On best mens harms and griefs he feeds his fill,
      Else his own maw doth eat with spiteful will,
    Ill must the temper be, where diet is so ill.

    FLETCHER'S PURPLE ISLAND.


"ENVY, (says Lord Bacon) has no holidays." There cannot perhaps be a
more lively and striking description of the miserable state of mind
those endure, who are tormented with this vice. A spirit of emulation
has been supposed to be the source of the greatest improvements; and
there is no doubt but the warmest rivalship will produce the most
excellent effects; but it is to be feared, that a perpetual state of
contest will injure the temper so essentially, that the mischief will
hardly be counterbalanced by any other advantages. Those, whose progress
is the most rapid, will be apt to despise their less successful
competitors, who, in return, will feel the bitterest resentment against
their more fortunate rivals. Among persons of real goodness, this
jealousy and contempt can never be equally felt, because every
advancement in piety will be attended with a proportionable increase of
humility, which will lead them to contemplate their own improvements
with modesty, and to view with charity the miscarriages of others.

WHEN an envious man is melancholy, one may ask him, in the words of
Bion, what evil has befallen himself, or what good has happened to
another? This last is the scale by which he principally measures his
felicity, and the very smiles of his friends are so many deductions from
his own happiness. The wants of others are the standard by which he
rates his own wealth, and he estimates his riches, not so much by his
own possessions, as by the necessities of his neighbours.

WHEN the malevolent intend to strike a very deep and dangerous stroke of
malice, they generally begin the most remotely in the world from the
subject nearest their hearts. They set out with commending the object of
their envy for some trifling quality or advantage, which it is scarcely
worth while to possess: they next proceed to make a general
profession of their own good-will and regard for him: thus artfully
removing any suspicion of their design, and clearing all obstructions
for the insidious stab they are about to give; for who will suspect them
of an intention to injure the object of their peculiar and professed
esteem? The hearer's belief of the fact grows in proportion to the
seeming reluctance with which it is told, and to the conviction he has,
that the relater is not influenced by any private pique, or personal
resentment; but that the confession is extorted from him sorely
against his inclination, and purely on account of his zeal for truth.

ANGER is less reasonable and more sincere than envy.--Anger breaks out
abruptly; envy is a great prefacer--anger wishes to be understood at
once: envy is fond of remote hints and ambiguities; but, obscure as its
oracles are, it never ceases to deliver them till they are perfectly
comprehended:--anger repeats the same circumstances over again; envy
invents new ones at every fresh recital--anger gives a broken, vehement,
and interrupted narrative; envy tells a more consistent and more
probable, though a falser tale--anger is excessively imprudent, for it
is impatient to disclose every thing it knows; envy is discreet, for it
has a great deal to hide--anger never consults times or seasons; envy
waits for the lucky moment, when the wound it meditates may be made the
most exquisitely painful, and the most incurably deep--anger uses more
invective; envy does more mischief--simple anger soon runs itself out of
breath, and is exhausted at the end of its tale; but it is for that
chosen period that envy has treasured up the most barbed arrow in its
whole quiver--anger puts a man out of himself: but the truly malicious
generally preserve the appearance of self-possession, or they could
not so effectually injure.--The angry man sets out by destroying his
whole credit with you at once, for he very frankly confesses his
abhorrence and detestation of the object of his abuse; while the envious
man carefully suppresses all his own share in the affair.--The angry
man defeats the end of his resentment, by keeping _himself_ continually
before your eyes, instead of his enemy; while the envious man artfully
brings forward the object of his malice, and keeps himself out of
sight.--The angry man talks loudly of his own wrongs; the envious of his
adversary's injustice.--A passionate person, if his resentments are
not complicated with malice, divides his time between sinning and
sorrowing; and, as the irascible passions cannot constantly be at
work, his heart may sometimes get a holiday.--Anger is a violent act,
envy a constant habit--no one can be always angry, but he may be always
envious:--an angry man's enmity (if he be generous) will subside when
the object of his resentment becomes unfortunate; but the envious man
can extract food from his malice out of calamity itself, if he finds his
adversary bears it with dignity, or is pitied or assisted in it. The
rage of the passionate man is totally extinguished by the death of his
enemy; but the hatred of the malicious is not buried even in the grave
of his rival: he will envy the good name he has left behind him; he will
envy him the tears of his widow, the prosperity of his children, the
esteem of his friends, the praises of his epitaph--nay the very
magnificence of his funeral.

"THE ear of jealousy heareth all things," (says the wise man) frequently
I believe more than is uttered, which makes the company of persons
infected with it still more dangerous.

WHEN you tell those of a malicious turn, any circumstance that has
happened to another, though they perfectly know of whom you are
speaking, they often affect to be at a loss, to forget his name, or to
misapprehend you in some respect or other; and this merely to have an
opportunity of slily gratifying their malice by mentioning some unhappy
defect or personal infirmity he labours under; and not contented "to
tack his every error to his name," they will, by way of farther
explanation, have recourse to the faults of his father, or the
misfortunes of his family; and this with all the seeming simplicity and
candor in the world, merely for the sake of preventing mistakes, and to
clear up every doubt of his identity.--If you are speaking of a lady,
for instance, they will perhaps embellish their inquiries, by asking if
you mean her, whose great grandfather was a bankrupt, though she has the
vanity to keep a chariot, while others who are much better born walk on
foot; or they will afterwards recollect, that you may possibly mean
her cousin, of the same name, whose mother was suspected of such or
such an indiscretion, though the daughter had the luck to make her
fortune by marrying, while her betters are overlooked.

TO _hint at a fault_, does more mischief than speaking out; for whatever
is left for the imagination to finish, will not fail to be overdone:
every hiatus will be more then filled up, and every pause more than
supplied. There is less malice, and less mischief too, in telling a
man's name than the initials of it; as a worthier person may be involved
in the most disgraceful suspicions by such a dangerous ambiguity.

IT is not uncommon for the envious, after having attempted to deface the
fairest character so industriously, that they are afraid you will begin
to detect their malice, to endeavour to remove your suspicions
effectually, by assuring you, that what they have just related is only
the popular opinion; they themselves can never believe things are so bad
as they are said to be; for their part, it is a rule with them always to
hope the best. It is their way never to believe or report ill of any
one. They will, however, mention the story in all companies, that they
may do their friend the service of protesting their disbelief of it.
More reputations are thus hinted away by false friends, than are openly
destroyed by public enemies. An _if_, or a _but_, or a mortified look,
or a languid defence, or an ambiguous shake of the head, or a hasty word
affectedly recalled, will demolish a character more effectually, than
the whole artillery of malice when openly levelled against it.

IT is not that envy never praises--No, that would be making a public
profession of itself, and advertising its own malignity; whereas the
greatest success of its efforts depends on the concealment of their end.
When envy intends to strike a stroke of Machiavelian policy, it
sometimes affects the language of the most exaggerated applause; though
it generally takes care, that the subject of its panegyric shall be a
very indifferent and common character, so that it is well aware none of
its praises will stick.

IT is the unhappy nature of envy not to be contented with positive
misery, but to be continually aggravating its own torments, by comparing
them with the felicities of others. The eyes of envy are perpetually
fixed on the object which disturbs it, nor can it avert them from it,
though to procure itself the relief of a temporary forgetfulness. On
seeing the innocence of the first pair,

                      Aside the devil turn'd,
    For Envy, yet with jealous leer malign,
    Eyed them askance.

As this enormous sin chiefly instigated the revolt, and brought on the
ruin of the angelic spirits, so it is not improbable, that it will be a
principal instrument of misery in a future world, for the envious to
compare their desperate condition with the happiness of the children of
God; and to heighten their actual wretchedness by reflecting on what
they have lost.

PERHAPS envy, like lying and ingratitude, is practised with more
frequency, because it is practised with impunity; but there being no
human laws against these crimes, is so far from an inducement to commit
them, that this very consideration would be sufficient to deter the wise
and good, if all others were ineffectual; for of how heinous a nature
must those sins be, which are judged above the reach of human
punishment, and are reserved for the final justice of God himself!



ON THE
DANGER
OF
SENTIMENTAL OR ROMANTIC
CONNEXIONS.


AMONG the many evils which prevail under the sun, the abuse of words is
not the least considerable. By the influence of time, and the perversion
of fashion, the plainest and most unequivocal may be so altered, as to
have a meaning assigned them almost diametrically opposite to their
original signification.

THE present age may be termed, by way of distinction, the age of
sentiment, a word which, in the implication it now bears, was unknown to
our plain ancestors. Sentiment is the varnish of virtue to conceal the
deformity of vice; and it is not uncommon for the same persons to make a
jest of religion, to break through the most solemn ties and engagements,
to practise every art of latent fraud and open seduction, and yet to
value themselves on speaking and writing _sentimentally_.

BUT this refined jargon, which has infested letters and tainted morals,
is chiefly admired and adopted by _young ladies_ of a certain turn, who
read _sentimental books_, write _sentimental letters_, and contract
_sentimental friendships_.

ERROR is never likely to do so much mischief as when it disguises its
real tendency, and puts on an engaging and attractive appearance. Many a
young woman, who would be shocked at the imputation of an intrigue, is
extremely flattered at the idea of a sentimental connexion, though
perhaps with a dangerous and designing man, who, by putting on this mask
of plausibility and virtue, disarms her of her prudence, lays her
apprehensions asleep, and involves her in misery; misery the more
inevitable because unsuspected. For she who apprehends no danger, will
not think it necessary to be always upon her guard; but will rather
invite than avoid the ruin which comes under so specious and so fair a
form.

SUCH an engagement will be infinitely dearer to her vanity than an
avowed and authorised attachment; for one of these sentimental lovers
will not scruple very seriously to assure a credulous girl, that her
unparalleled merit entitles her to the adoration of the whole world, and
that the universal homage of mankind is nothing more than the
unavoidable tribute extorted by her charms. No wonder then she should be
easily prevailed on to believe, that an individual is captivated by
perfections which might enslave a million. But she should remember, that
he who endeavours to intoxicate her with adulation, intends one day most
effectually to humble her. For an artful man has always a secret design
to pay himself in future for every present sacrifice. And this
prodigality of praise, which he now appears to lavish with such
thoughtless profusion, is, in fact, a sum oeconomically laid out to
supply his future necessities: of this sum he keeps an exact estimate,
and at some distant day promises himself the most exorbitant interest
for it. If he has address and conduct, and, the object of his pursuit
much vanity, and some sensibility, he seldom fails of success; for so
powerful will be his ascendancy over her mind, that she will soon adopt
his notions and opinions. Indeed, it is more than probable she
possessed most of them before, having gradually acquired them in her
initiation into the sentimental character. To maintain that character
with dignity and propriety, it is necessary she should entertain the
most elevated ideas of disproportionate alliances, and disinterested
love; and consider fortune, rank, and reputation, as mere chimerical
distinctions and vulgar prejudices.

THE lover, deeply versed in all the obliquities of fraud, and skilled to
wind himself into every avenue of the heart which indiscretion has left
unguarded, soon discovers on which side it is most accessible. He
avails himself of this weakness by addressing her in a language
exactly consonant to her own ideas. He attacks her with her own weapons,
and opposes rhapsody to sentiment--He professes so sovereign a
contempt for the paltry concerns of money, that she thinks it her duty
to reward him for so generous a renunciation. Every plea he artfully
advances of his own unworthiness, is considered by her as a fresh
demand which her gratitude must answer. And she makes it a point of
honour to sacrifice to him that fortune which he is too noble to regard.
These professions of humility are the common artifice of the vain, and
these protestations of generosity the refuge of the rapacious. And among
its many smooth mischiefs, it is one of the sure and successful frauds
of sentiment, to affect the most frigid indifference to those external
and pecuniary advantages, which it is its great and real object to
obtain.

A SENTIMENTAL girl very rarely entertains any doubt of her personal
beauty; for she has been daily accustomed to contemplate it herself, and
to hear of it from others. She will not, therefore, be very solicitous
for the confirmation of a truth so self-evident; but she suspects, that
her pretensions to understanding are more likely to be disputed, and,
for that reason, greedily devours every compliment offered to those
perfections, which are less obvious and more refined. She is persuaded,
that men need only open their eyes to decide on her beauty, while it
will be the most convincing proof of the taste, sense, and elegance of
her admirer, that he can discern and flatter those qualities in her. A
man of the character here supposed, will easily insinuate himself into
her affections, by means of this latent but leading foible, which may be
called the guiding clue to a sentimental heart. He will affect to
overlook that beauty which attracts common eyes, and ensnares common
hearts, while he will bestow the most delicate praises on the beauties
of her mind, and finish the climax of adulation, by hinting that she is
superior to it.

    And when he tells her she hates flattery,
    She says she does, being then most flatter'd.

BUT nothing, in general, can end less delightfully than these sublime
attachments, even where no acts of seduction were ever practised, but
they are suffered, like mere sublunary connexions, to terminate in the
vulgar catastrophe of marriage. That wealth, which lately seemed to be
looked on with ineffable contempt by the lover, now appears to be the
principal attraction in the eyes of the husband; and he, who but a few
short weeks before, in a transport of sentimental generosity, wished her
to have been a village maid, with no portion but her crook and her
beauty, and that they might spend their days in pastoral love and
innocence, has now lost all relish for the Arcadian life, or any other
life in which she must be his companion.

ON the other hand, she who was lately

    An angel call'd, and angel-like ador'd,

is shocked to find herself at once stripped of all her celestial
attributes. This late divinity, who scarcely yielded to her sisters of
the sky, now finds herself of less importance in the esteem of the man
she has chosen, than any other mere mortal woman. No longer is she
gratified with the tear of counterfeited passion, the sigh of
dissembled rapture, or the language of premeditated adoration. No
longer is the altar of her vanity loaded with the oblations of
fictitious fondness, the incense of falsehood, or the sacrifice of
flattery.--Her apotheosis is ended!--She feels herself degraded from the
dignities and privileges of a goddess, to all the imperfections,
vanities, and weaknesses of a slighted woman, and a neglected wife.
Her faults, which were so lately overlooked, or mistaken for virtues,
are now, as Cassius says, set in a note-book. The passion, which was
vowed eternal, lasted only a few short weeks; and the indifference,
which was so far from being included in the bargain, that it was not so
much as suspected, follows them through the whole tiresome journey of
their insipid, vacant, joyless existence.

THUS much for the _completion_ of the sentimental history. If we trace
it back to its beginning, we shall find that a damsel of this cast had
her head originally turned by pernicious reading, and her insanity
confirmed by imprudent friendships. She never fails to select a beloved
_confidante_ of her own turn and humour, though, if she can help it, not
quite so handsome as herself. A violent intimacy ensues, or, to speak
the language of sentiment, an intimate union of souls immediately takes
place, which is wrought to the highest pitch by a secret and voluminous
correspondence, though they live in the same street, or perhaps in the
same house. This is the fuel which principally feeds and supplies the
dangerous flame of sentiment. In this correspondence the two friends
encourage each other in the falsest notions imaginable. They represent
romantic love as the great important business of human life, and
describe all the other concerns of it as too low and paltry to merit the
attention of such elevated beings, and fit only to employ the daughters
of the plodding vulgar. In these letters, family affairs are
misrepresented, family secrets divulged, and family misfortunes
aggravated. They are filled with vows of eternal amity, and
protestations of never-ending love. But interjections and quotations are
the principal embellishments of these very sublime epistles. Every
panegyric contained in them is extravagant and hyperbolical, and every
censure exaggerated and excessive. In a favourite, every frailty is
heightened into a perfection, and in a foe degraded into a crime. The
dramatic poets, especially the most tender and romantic, are quoted in
almost every line, and every pompous or pathetic thought is forced to
give up its natural and obvious meaning, and with all the violence of
misapplication, is compelled to suit some circumstance of imaginary woe
of the fair transcriber. Alicia is not too mad for her heroics, nor
Monimia too mild for her soft emotions.

FATHERS _have flinty hearts_ is an expression worth an empire, and is
always used with peculiar emphasis and enthusiasm. For a favourite topic
of these epistles is the groveling spirit and sordid temper of the
parents, who will be sure to find no quarter at the hands of their
daughters, should they presume to be so unreasonable as to direct their
course of reading, interfere in their choice of friends, or interrupt
their very important correspondence. But as these young ladies are
fertile in expedients, and as their genius is never more agreeably
exercised than in finding resources, they are not without their secret
exultation, in case either of the above interesting events should
happen, as they carry with them a certain air of tyranny and persecution
which is very delightful. For a prohibited correspondence is one of the
great incidents of a sentimental life, and a letter clandestinely
received, the supreme felicity of a sentimental lady.

NOTHING can equal the astonishment of these soaring spirits, when their
plain friends or prudent relations presume to remonstrate with them on
any impropriety in their conduct. But if these worthy people happen to
be somewhat advanced in life, their contempt is then a little softened
by pity, at the reflection that such very antiquated poor creatures
should pretend to judge what is fit or unfit for ladies of their great
refinement, sense, and reading. They consider them as wretches utterly
ignorant of the sublime pleasures of a delicate and exalted passion;
as tyrants whose authority is to be contemned, and as spies whose
vigilance is to be eluded. The prudence of these worthy friends they
term suspicion, and their experience dotage. For they are persuaded,
that the face of things has so totally changed since their parents were
young, that though they might then judge tolerably for themselves, yet
they are now (with all their advantages of knowledge and observation) by
no means qualified to direct their more enlightened daughters; who, if
they have made a great progress in the sentimental walk, will no more
be influenced by the advice of their mother, than they would go abroad
in her laced pinner or her brocade suit.

BUT young people never shew their folly and ignorance more
conspicuously, than by this over-confidence in their own judgment, and
this haughty disdain of the opinion of those who have known more days.
Youth has a quickness of apprehension, which it is very apt to mistake
for an acuteness of penetration. But youth, like cunning, though very
conceited, is very short-sighted, and never more so than when it
disregards the instructions of the wife, and the admonitions of the
aged. The same vices and follies influenced the human heart in their
day, which influence it now, and nearly in the same manner. One who
well knew the world and its various vanities, has said, "The thing which
hath been, it is that which shall be, and that which is done is that
which shall be done, and there is no new thing under the sun."

IT is also a part of the sentimental character, to imagine that none but
the young and the beautiful have any right to the pleasures of society,
of even to the common benefits and blessings of life. Ladies of this
turn also affect the most lofty disregard for useful qualities and
domestic virtues; and this is a natural consequence: for as this sort of
sentiment is only a weed of idleness, she who is constantly and usefully
employed, has neither leisure nor propensity to cultivate it.

A SENTIMENTAL lady principally values herself on the enlargement of her
notions, and her liberal way of thinking. This superiority of soul
chiefly manifests itself in the contempt of those minute delicacies and
little decorums, which, trifling as they may be thought, tend at once to
dignify the character, and to restrain the levity of the younger part of
the sex.

PERHAPS the error here complained of, originates in mistaking
_sentiment_ and _principle_ for each other. Now I conceive them to be
extremely different. Sentiment is the virtue of _ideas_, and principle
the virtue of _action_. Sentiment has its seat in the head, principle in
the heart. Sentiment suggests fine harangues and subtile distinctions;
principle conceives just notions, and performs good actions in
consequence of them. Sentiment refines away the simplicity of truth and
the plainness of piety; and, as a celebrated wit[6] has remarked of his
no less celebrated contemporary, gives us virtue in words and vice in
deeds. Sentiment may be called the Athenian, who _knew_ what was right,
and principle the Lacedemonian who _practised_ it.

BUT these qualities will be better exemplified by an attentive
consideration of two admirably drawn characters of Milton, which are
beautifully, delicately, and distinctly marked. These are, Belial, who
may not improperly be called the _Demon of Sentiment_; and Abdiel, who
may be termed the _Angel of Principle_.

SURVEY the picture of Belial, drawn by the sublimest hand that ever held
the poetic pencil.

    A fairer person lost not heav'n; he seem'd
    For dignity compos'd, and high exploit,
    But all was false and hollow, tho' his tongue
    Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
    The better reason, to perplex and dash
    Maturest counsels, for his thoughts were low,
    To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
    Tim'rous and slothful; yet he pleas'd the ear.

    PARADISE LOST, B. II.

HERE is a lively and exquisite representation of art, subtilty, wit,
fine breeding and polished manners: on the whole, of a very accomplished
and sentimental spirit.

NOW turn to the artless, upright, and unsophisticated Abdiel,

                           Faithful found
    Among the faithless, faithful only he
    Among innumerable false, unmov'd,
    Unshaken, unseduc'd, unterrified;
    His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal.
    Nor number, nor example with him wrought
    To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
    Though single.

    BOOK V.

BUT it is not from these descriptions, just and striking as they are,
that their characters are so perfectly known, as from an examination of
their conduct through the remainder of this divine work: in which it is
well worth while to remark the consonancy of their actions, with what
the above pictures seem to promise. It will also be observed, that the
contrast between them is kept up throughout, with the utmost exactness
of delineation, and the most animated strength of colouring. On a
review it will be found, that Belial _talked_ all, and Abdiel _did_ all.
The former,

      With words still cloath'd in reason's guise,
    Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
    Not peace.

    BOOK II.

IN Abdiel you will constantly find the eloquence of action. When tempted
by the rebellious angels, with what _retorted scorn_, with what honest
indignation he deserts their multitudes, and retreats from their
contagious society!

    All night the dreadless angel unpursued
    Through heaven's wide champain held his way.

    BOOK VI.

NO wonder he was received with such acclamations of joy by the celestial
powers, when there was

                                But one,
    Yes, of so many myriads fall'n, but one
    Return'd not lost.

    IBID.

AND afterwards, in a close contest with the arch fiend,

        A noble stroke he lifted high
    On the proud crest of Satan.

    IBID.

WHAT was the effect of this courage of the vigilant and active seraph?

                      Amazement seiz'd
    The rebel throne, but greater rage to see
    Thus foil'd their mightiest.

ABDIEL had the superiority of Belial as much in the warlike combat, as
in the peaceful counsels.

             Nor was it ought but just,
    That he who in debate of truth had won,
    Shou'd win in arms, in both disputes alike
    Victor.

BUT notwithstanding I have spoken with some asperity against sentiment
as opposed to principle, yet I am convinced, that true genuine
sentiment, (not the sort I have been describing) may be so connected
with principle, as to bestow on it its brightest lustre, and its most
captivating graces. And enthusiasm is so far from being disagreeable,
that a portion of it is perhaps indispensably necessary in an engaging
woman. But it must be the enthusiasm of the heart, not of the senses. It
must be the enthusiasm which grows up with a feeling mind, and is
cherished by a virtuous education; not that which is compounded of
irregular passions, and artificially refined by books of unnatural
fiction and improbable adventure. I will even go so far as to assert,
that a young woman cannot have any real greatness of soul, or true
elevation of principle, if she has not a tincture of what the vulgar
would call Romance, but which persons of a certain way of thinking will
discern to proceed from those fine feelings, and that charming
sensibility, without which, though a woman may be worthy, yet she can
never be amiable.

BUT this dangerous merit cannot be too rigidly watched, as it is very
apt to lead those who possess it into inconveniencies from which less
interesting characters are happily exempt. Young women of strong
sensibility may be carried by the very amiableness of this temper into
the most alarming extremes. Their tastes are passions. They love and
hate with all their hearts, and scarcely suffer themselves to feel a
reasonable preference before it strengthens into a violent attachment.

WHEN an innocent girl of this open, trusting, tender heart, happens to
meet with one of her own sex and age, whose address and manners are
engaging, she is instantly seized with an ardent desire to commence a
friendship with her. She feels the most lively impatience at the
restraints of company, and the decorums of ceremony. She longs to be
alone with her, longs to assure her of the warmth of her tenderness,
and generously ascribes to the fair stranger all the good qualities she
feels in her own heart, or rather all those which she has met with in
her reading, dispersed in a variety of heroines. She is persuaded, that
her new friend unites them all in herself, because she carries in her
prepossessing countenance the promise of them all. How cruel and how
censorious would this inexperienced girl think her mother was, who
should venture to hint, that the agreeable unknown had defects in her
temper, or exceptions in her character. She would mistake these hints of
discretion for the insinuations of an uncharitable disposition. At first
she would perhaps listen to them with a generous impatience, and
afterwards with a cold and silent disdain. She would despise them as the
effect of prejudice, misrepresentation, or ignorance. The more
aggravated the censure, the more vehemently would she protest in secret,
that her friendship for this dear injured creature (who is raised much
higher in her esteem by such injurious suspicions) shall know no bounds,
as she is assured it can know no end.

YET this trusting confidence, this honest indiscretion, is, at this
early period of life as amiable as it is natural; and will, if wisely
cultivated, produce, at its proper season, fruits infinitely more
valuable than all the guarded circumspection of premature, and therefore
artificial, prudence. Men, I believe, are seldom struck with these
sudden prepossessions in favour of each other. They are not so
unsuspecting, nor so easily led away by the predominance of fancy. They
engage more warily, and pass through the several stages of acquaintance,
intimacy, and confidence, by slower gradations; but women, if they are
sometimes deceived in the choice of a friend, enjoy even then an higher
degree of satisfaction than if they never trusted. For to be always clad
in the burthensome armour of suspicion is more painful and inconvenient,
than to run the hazard of suffering now and then a transient injury.

BUT the above observations only extend to the young and the
inexperienced; for I am very certain, that women are capable of as
faithful and as durable friendship as any of the other sex. They can
enter not only into all the enthusiastic tenderness, but into all the
solid fidelity of attachment. And if we cannot oppose instances of equal
weight with those of Nysus and Euryalus, Theseus and Pirithous, Pylades
and Orestes, let it be remembered, that it is because the recorders of
those characters were men, and that the very existence of them is merely
poetical.


[6] See Voltaire's Prophecy concerning Rousseau.



ON
TRUE AND FALSE
MEEKNESS.


A LOW voice and soft address are the common indications of a well-bred
woman, and should seem to be the natural effects of a meek and quiet
spirit; but they are only the outward and visible signs of it: for they
are no more meekness itself, than a red coat is courage, or a black one
devotion.

YET nothing is more common than to mistake the sign for the thing
itself; nor is any practice more frequent than that of endeavouring to
acquire the exterior mark, without once thinking to labour after the
interior grace. Surely this is beginning at the wrong end, like
attacking the symptom and neglecting the disease. To regulate the
features, while the soul is in tumults, or to command the voice while
the passions are without restraint, is as idle as throwing odours into
a stream when the source is polluted.

THE _sapient king_, who knew better than any man the nature and the
power of beauty, has assured us, that the temper of the mind has a
strong influence upon the features: "Wisdom maketh the face to shine,"
says that exquisite judge; and surely no part of wisdom is more likely
to produce this amiable effect, than a placid serenity of soul.

IT will not be difficult to distinguish the true from the artificial
meekness. The former is universal and habitual, the latter, local and
temporary. Every young female may keep this rule by her, to enable her
to form a just judgment of her own temper: if she is not as gentle to
her chambermaid as she is to her visitor, she may rest satisfied that
the spirit of gentleness is not in her.

WHO would not be shocked and disappointed to behold a well-bred young
lady, soft and engaging as the doves of Venus, displaying a thousand
graces and attractions to win the hearts of a large company, and the
instant they are gone, to see her look mad as the Pythian maid, and all
the frightened graces driven from her furious countenance, only because
her gown was brought home a quarter of an hour later than she expected,
or her ribbon sent half a shade lighter or darker than she ordered?

ALL men's characters are said to proceed from their servants; and this
is more particularly true of ladies: for as their situations are more
domestic, they lie more open to the inspection of their families, to
whom their real characters are easily and perfectly known; for they
seldom think it worth while to practise any disguise before those,
whose good opinion they do not value, and who are obliged to submit to
their most insupportable humours, because they are paid for it.

AMONGST women of breeding, the exterior of gentleness is so uniformly
assumed, and the whole manner is so perfectly level and _uni_, that it
is next to impossible for a stranger to know any thing of their true
dispositions by conversing with them, and even the very features are so
exactly regulated, that physiognomy, which may sometimes be trusted
among the vulgar, is, with the polite, a most lying science.

A VERY termagant woman, if she happens also to be a very artful one,
will be conscious she has so much to conceal, that the dread of
betraying her real temper will make her put on an over-acted softness,
which, from its very excess, may be distinguished from the natural, by a
penetrating eye. That gentleness is ever liable to be suspected for the
counterfeited, which is so excessive as to deprive people of the
proper use of speech and motion, or which, as Hamlet says, makes them
lisp and amble, and nick-name God's creatures.

THE countenance and manners of some very fashionable persons may be
compared to the inscriptions on their monuments, which speak nothing but
good of what is within; but he who knows any thing of the world, or of
the human heart, will no more trust to the courtesy, than he will depend
on the epitaph.

AMONG the various artifices of factitious meekness, one of the most
frequent and most plausible, is that of affecting to be always equally
delighted with all persons and all characters. The society of these
languid beings is without confidence, their friendship without
attachment, and their love without affection, or even preference. This
insipid mode of conduct may be safe, but I cannot think it has either
taste, sense, or principle in it.

THESE uniformly smiling and approving ladies, who have neither the noble
courage to reprehend vice, nor the generous warmth to bear their honest
testimony in the cause of virtue, conclude every one to be ill-natured
who has any penetration, and look upon a distinguishing judgment as want
of tenderness. But they should learn, that this discernment does not
always proceed from an uncharitable temper, but from that long
experience and thorough knowledge of the world, which lead those who
have it to scrutinize into the conduct and disposition of men, before
they trust entirely to those fair appearances, which sometimes veil the
most insidious purposes.

WE are perpetually mistaking the qualities and dispositions of our own
hearts. We elevate our failings into virtues, and qualify our vices into
weaknesses: and hence arise so many false judgments respecting
meekness. Self-ignorance is at the root of all this mischief. Many
ladies complain that, for their part, their spirit is so meek they can
bear nothing; whereas, if they spoke truth, they would say, their spirit
is so high and unbroken that they can bear nothing. Strange! to plead
their meekness as a reason why they cannot endure to be crossed, and
to produce their impatience of contradiction as a proof of their
gentleness!

MEEKNESS, like most other virtues, has certain limits, which it no
sooner exceeds than it becomes criminal. Servility of spirit is not
gentleness but weakness, and if allowed, under the specious appearances
it sometimes puts on, will lead to the most dangerous compliances. She
who hears innocence maligned without vindicating it, falsehood
asserted without contradicting it, or religion prophaned without
resenting it, is not gentle but wicked.

TO give up the cause of an innocent, injured friend, if the popular cry
happens to be against him, is the most disgraceful weakness. This was
the case of Madame de Maintenon. She loved the character and admired the
talents of Racine; she caressed him while he had no enemies, but
wanted the greatness of mind, or rather the common justice, to protect
him against their resentment when he had; and her favourite was
abandoned to the suspicious jealousy of the king, when a prudent
remonstrance might have preserved him.--But her tameness, if not
absolute connivance in the great massacre of the protestants, in whose
church she had been bred, is a far more guilty instance of her weakness;
an instance which, in spite of all her devotional zeal and incomparable
prudence, will disqualify her from shining in the annals of good women,
however she may be entitled to figure among the great and the
fortunate. Compare her conduct with that of her undaunted and pious
countryman and contemporary, Bougi, who, when Louis would have prevailed
on him to renounce his religion for a commission or a government,
nobly replied, "If I could be persuaded to betray my God for a marshal's
staff, I might betray my king for a bribe of much less consequence."

MEEKNESS is imperfect, if it be not both active and passive; if it
will not enable us to subdue our own passions and resentments, as well
as qualify us to bear patiently the passions and resentments of
others.

BEFORE we give way to any violent emotion of anger, it would perhaps be
worth while to consider the value of the object which excites it, and to
reflect for a moment, whether the thing we so ardently desire, or so
vehemently resent, be really of as much importance to us, as that
delightful tranquillity of soul, which we renounce in pursuit of it. If,
on a fair calculation, we find we are not likely to get as much as we
are sure to lose, then, putting all religious considerations out of the
question, common sense and human policy will tell us, we have made a
foolish and unprofitable exchange. Inward quiet is a part of one's self;
the object of our resentment may be only a matter of opinion; and,
certainly, what makes a portion of our actual happiness ought to be too
dear to us, to be sacrificed for a trifling, foreign, perhaps imaginary
good.

THE most pointed satire I remember to have read, on a mind enslaved by
anger, is an observation of Seneca's. "Alexander (said he) had two
friends, Clitus and Lysimachus; the one he exposed to a lion, the other
to himself: he who was turned loose to the beast escaped, but Clitus was
murdered, for he was turned loose to an angry man."

A PASSIONATE woman's happiness is never in her own keeping: it is the
sport of accident, and the slave of events. It is in the power of her
acquaintance, her servants, but chiefly of her enemies, and all her
comforts lie at the mercy of others. So far from being willing to learn
of him who was meek and lowly, she considers meekness as the want of a
becoming spirit, and lowliness as a despicable and vulgar meanness. And
an imperious woman will so little covet the ornament of a meek and
quiet spirit, that it is almost the only ornament she will not be
solicitous to wear. But resentment is a very expensive vice. How dearly
has it cost its votaries, even from the sin of Cain, the first offender
in this kind! "It is cheaper (says a pious writer) to forgive, and save
the charges."

IF it were only for mere human reasons, it would turn to a better
account to be patient; nothing defeats the malice of an enemy like a
spirit of forbearance; the return of rage for rage cannot be so
effectually provoking. True gentleness, like an impenetrable armour,
repels the most pointed shafts of malice: they cannot pierce through
this invulnerable shield, but either fall hurtless to the ground, or
return to wound the hand that shot them.

A MEEK spirit will not look out of itself for happiness, because it
finds a constant banquet at home; yet, by a sort of divine alchymy, it
will convert all external events to its own profit, and be able to
deduce some good, even from the most unpromising: it will extract
comfort and satisfaction from the most barren circumstances: "It will
suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock."

BUT the supreme excellence of this complacent quality is, that it
naturally disposes the mind where it resides, to the practice of every
other that is amiable. Meekness may be called the pioneer of all the
other virtues, which levels every obstruction, and smooths every
difficulty that might impede their entrance, or retard their progress.

THE peculiar importance and value of this amiable virtue may be farther
seen in its permanency. Honours and dignities are transient, beauty and
riches frail and fugacious, to a proverb. Would not the truly wise,
therefore, wish to have some one possession, which they might call
their own in the severest exigencies? But this wish can only be
accomplished by acquiring and maintaining that calm and absolute
self-possession, which, as the world had no hand in giving, so it
cannot, by the most malicious exertion of its power, take away.



THOUGHTS
ON THE
CULTIVATION
OF THE
HEART AND TEMPER
IN THE
EDUCATION OF DAUGHTERS.


I HAVE not the foolish presumption to imagine, that I can offer any
thing new on a subject, which has been so successfully treated by many
learned and able writers. I would only, with all possible deference,
beg leave to hazard a few short remarks on that part of the subject of
education, which I would call the _education of the heart_. I am well
aware, that this part also has not been less skilfully and forcibly
discussed than the rest, though I cannot, at the same time, help
remarking, that it does not appear to have been so much adopted into
common practice.

IT appears then, that notwithstanding the great and real improvements,
which have been made in the affair of female education, and
notwithstanding the more enlarged and generous views of it, which
prevail in the present day, that there is still a very material defect,
which it is not, in general, enough the object of attention to remove.
This defect seems to consist in this, that too little regard is paid to
the dispositions of the _mind_, that the indications of the _temper_ are
not properly cherished, nor the affections of the _heart_ sufficiently
regulated.

IN the first education of girls, as far as the customs which fashion
establishes are right, they should undoubtedly be followed. Let the
exterior be made a considerable object of attention, but let it not be
the principal, let it not be the only one.--Let the graces be
industriously cultivated, but let them not be cultivated at the expence
of the virtues.--Let the arms, the head, the whole person be carefully
polished, but let not the heart be the only portion of the human
anatomy, which shall be totally overlooked.

THE neglect of this cultivation seems to proceed as much from a bad
taste, as from a false principle. The generality of people form their
judgment of education by slight and sudden appearances, which is
certainly a wrong way of determining. Music, dancing, and languages,
gratify those who teach them, by perceptible and almost immediate
effects; and when there happens to be no imbecillity in the pupil, nor
deficiency in the matter, every superficial observer can, in some
measure, judge of the progress.--The effects of most of these
accomplishments address themselves to the senses; and there are more who
can see and hear, than there are who can judge and reflect.

PERSONAL perfection is not only more obvious, it is also more rapid; and
even in very accomplished characters, elegance usually precedes
principle.

BUT the heart, that natural seat of evil propensities, that little
troublesome empire of the passions, is led to what is right by slow
motions and imperceptible degrees. It must be admonished by reproof, and
allured by kindness. Its liveliest advances are frequently impeded by
the obstinacy of prejudice, and its brightest promises often obscured by
the tempests of passion. It is slow in its acquisition of virtue, and
reluctant in its approaches to piety.

THERE is another reason, which proves this mental cultivation to be more
important, as well as more difficult, than any other part of education.
In the usual fashionable accomplishments, the business of acquiring them
is almost always getting forwards, and one difficulty is conquered
before another is suffered to shew itself; for a prudent teacher will
level the road his pupil is to pass, and smooth the inequalities which
might retard her progress.

BUT in morals, (which should be the great object constantly kept in
view) the talk is far more difficult. The unruly and turbulent desires
of the heart are not so obedient; one passion will start up before
another is suppressed. The subduing Hercules cannot cut off the heads
so often as the prolific Hydra can produce them, nor fell the stubborn
Antæus so fast as he can recruit his strength, and rise in vigorous and
repeated opposition.

IF all the accomplishments could be bought at the price of a single
virtue, the purchase would be infinitely dear! And, however startling
it may sound, I think it is, notwithstanding, true, that the labours of
a good and wise mother, who is anxious for her daughter's most important
interests, will _seem_ to be at variance with those of her instructors.
She will doubtless rejoice at her progress in any polite art, but she
will rejoice with trembling:--humility and piety form the solid and
durable basis, on which she wishes to raise the superstructure of the
accomplishments, while the accomplishments themselves are frequently of
that unsteady nature, that if the foundation is not secured, in
proportion as the building is enlarged, it will be overloaded and
destroyed by those very ornaments, which were intended to embellish,
what they have contributed to ruin.

THE more ostensible qualifications should be carefully regulated, or
they will be in danger of putting to flight the modest train of
retreating virtues, which cannot safely subsist before the bold eye of
public observation, or bear the bolder tongue of impudent and audacious
flattery. A tender mother cannot but feel an honest triumph, in
contemplating those excellencies in her daughter which deserve applause,
but she will also shudder at the vanity which that applause may excite,
and at those hitherto unknown ideas which it may awaken.

THE master, it is his interest, and perhaps his duty, will naturally
teach a girl to set her improvements in the most conspicuous point of
light. SE FAIRE VALOIR is the great principle industriously inculcated
into her young heart, and seems to be considered as a kind of
fundamental maxim in education. It is however the certain and effectual
seed, from which a thousand yet unborn vanities will spring. This
dangerous doctrine (which yet is not without its uses) will be
counteracted by the prudent mother, not in so many words, but by a
watchful and scarcely perceptible dexterity. Such an one will be more
careful to have the talents of her daughter _cultivated_ than
_exhibited_.

ONE would be led to imagine, by the common mode of female education,
that life consisted of one universal holiday, and that the only contest
was, who should be best enabled to excel in the sports and games that
were to be celebrated on it. Merely ornamental accomplishments will but
indifferently qualify a woman to perform the _duties_ of life, though it
is highly proper she should possess them, in order to furnish the
_amusements_ of it. But is it right to spend so large a portion of life
without some preparation for the business of living? A lady may speak a
little French and Italian, repeat a few passages in a theatrical tone,
play and sing, have her dressing-room hung with her own drawings, and
her person covered with her own tambour work, and may, notwithstanding,
have been very _badly educated_. Yet I am far from attempting to
depreciate the value of these qualifications: they are most of them not
only highly becoming, but often indispensably necessary, and a polite
education cannot be perfected without them. But as the world seems to be
very well apprised of their importance, there is the less occasion to
insist on their utility. Yet, though well-bred young women should learn
to dance, sing, recite and draw, the end of a good education is not that
they may become dancers, singers, players or painters: its real object
is to make them good daughters, good wives, good mistresses, good
members of society, and good christians. The above qualifications
therefore are intended to _adorn_ their _leisure_, not to _employ_ their
_lives_; for an amiable and wise woman will always have something better
to value herself on, than these advantages, which, however captivating,
are still but subordinate parts of a truly excellent character.

BUT I am afraid parents themselves sometimes contribute to the error of
which I am complaining. Do they not often set a higher value on those
acquisitions which are calculated to attract observation, and catch the
eye of the multitude, than on those which are valuable, permanent, and
internal? Are they not sometimes more solicitous about the opinion of
others, respecting their children, than about the real advantage and
happiness of the children themselves? To an injudicious and superficial
eye, the best educated girl may make the least brilliant figure, as she
will probably have less flippancy in her manner, and less repartee in
her expression; and her acquirements, to borrow bishop Sprat's idea,
will be rather _enamelled than embossed_. But her merit will be known,
and acknowledged by all who come near enough to discern, and have taste
enough to distinguish. It will be understood and admired by the man,
whose happiness she is one day to make, whose family she is to govern,
and whose children she is to educate. He will not seek for her in the
haunts of dissipation, for he knows he shall not find her there; but
he will seek for her in the bosom of retirement, in the practice of
every domestic virtue, in the exertion of every amiable accomplishment,
exerted in the shade, to enliven retirement, to heighten the endearing
pleasures of social intercourse, and to embellish the narrow but
charming circle of family delights. To this amiable purpose, a truly
good and well educated young lady will dedicate her more elegant
accomplishments, instead of exhibiting them to attract admiration, or
depress inferiority.

YOUNG girls, who have more vivacity than understanding, will often make
a sprightly figure in conversation. But this agreeable talent for
entertaining others, is frequently dangerous to themselves, nor is it by
any means to be desired or encouraged very early in life. This
immaturity of wit is helped on by frivolous reading, which will produce
its effect in much less time than books of solid instruction; for the
imagination is touched sooner than the understanding; and effects are
more rapid as they are more pernicious. Conversation should be the
_result_ of education, not the _precursor_ of it. It is a golden fruit,
when suffered to grow gradually on the tree of knowledge; but if
precipitated by forced and unnatural means, it will in the end become
vapid, in proportion as it is artificial.

THE best effects of a careful and religious education are often very
remote: they are to be discovered in future scenes, and exhibited in
untried connexions. Every event of life will be putting the heart into
fresh situations, and making demands on its prudence, its firmness, its
integrity, or its piety. Those whose business it is to form it, can
foresee none of these situations; yet, as far as human wisdom will
allow, they must enable it to provide for them all, with an humble
dependence on the divine assistance. A well-disciplined soldier must
learn and practise all his evolutions, though he does not know on what
service his leader may command him, by what foe he shall be attacked,
nor what mode of combat the enemy may use.

ONE great art of education consists in not suffering the feelings to
become too acute by unnecessary awakening, nor too obtuse by the want
of exertion. The former renders them the source of calamity, and totally
ruins the temper; while the latter blunts and debases them, and produces
a dull, cold, and selfish spirit. For the mind is an instrument, which,
if wound too high, will lose its sweetness, and if not enough strained,
will abate of its vigour.

HOW cruel is it to extinguish by neglect or unkindness, the precious
sensibility of an open temper, to chill the amiable glow of an ingenuous
soul, and to quench the bright flame of a noble and generous spirit!
These are of higher worth than all the documents of learning, of dearer
price than all the advantages, which can be derived from the most
refined and artificial mode of education.

BUT sensibility and delicacy, and an ingenuous temper, make no part of
education, exclaims the pedagogue--they are reducible to no class--they
come under no article of instruction--they belong neither to languages
nor to music.--What an error! They _are_ a part of education, and of
infinitely more value,

    Than all their pedant discipline e'er knew.

It is true, they are ranged under no class, but they are superior to
all; they are of more esteem than languages or music, for they are the
language of the heart, and the music of the according passions. Yet
this sensibility is, in many instances, so far from being cultivated,
that it is not uncommon to see those who affect more than usual
sagacity, cast a smile of supercilious pity, at any indication of a
warm, generous, or enthusiastic temper in the lively and the young; as
much as to say, "they will know better, and will have more discretion
when they are older." But every appearance of amiable simplicity, or of
honest shame, _Nature's hasty conscience_, will be dear to sensible
hearts; they will carefully cherish every such indication in a young
female; for they will perceive that it is this temper, wisely
cultivated, which will one day make her enamoured of the loveliness of
virtue, and the beauty of holiness: from which she will acquire a taste
for the doctrines of religion, and a spirit to perform the duties of it.
And those who wish to make her ashamed of this charming temper, and
seek to dispossess her of it, will, it is to be feared, give her
nothing better in exchange. But whoever reflects at all, will easily
discern how carefully this enthusiasm is to be directed, and how
judiciously its redundances are to be lopped away.

PRUDENCE is not natural to children; they can, however, substitute art
in its stead. But is it not much better that a girl should discover the
faults incident to her age, than conceal them under this dark and
impenetrable veil? I could almost venture to assert, that there is
something more becoming in the very errors of nature, where they are
undisguised, than in the affectation of virtue itself, where the reality
is wanting. And I am so far from being an admirer of prodigies, that I
am extremely apt to suspect them; and am always infinitely better
pleased with Nature in her more common modes of operation. The precise
and premature wisdom, which some girls have cunning enough to assume,
is of a more dangerous tendency than any of their natural failings can
be, as it effectually covers those secret bad dispositions, which, if
they displayed themselves, might be rectified. The hypocrisy of
assuming virtues which are not inherent in the heart, prevents the
growth and disclosure of those real ones, which it is the great end of
education to cultivate.

BUT if the natural indications of the temper are to be suppressed and
stifled, where are the diagnostics, by which the state of the mind is to
be known? The wise Author of all things, who did nothing in vain,
doubtless intended them as symptoms, by which to judge of the diseases
of the heart; and it is impossible diseases should be cured before
they are known. If the stream be so cut off as to prevent communication,
or so choked up as to defeat discovery, how shall we ever reach the
source, out of which are the issues of life?

THIS cunning, which, of all the different dispositions girls discover,
is most to be dreaded, is increased by nothing so much as by fear. If
those about them express violent and unreasonable anger at every trivial
offence, it will always promote this temper, and will very frequently
create it, where there was a natural tendency to frankness. The
indiscreet transports of rage, which many betray on every slight
occasion, and the little distinction they make between venial errors and
premeditated crimes, naturally dispose a child to conceal, what she does
not however care to suppress. Anger in one will not remedy the faults of
another; for how can an instrument of sin cure sin? If a girl is kept in
a state of perpetual and slavish terror, she will perhaps have artifice
enough to conceal those propensities which she knows are wrong, or those
actions which she thinks are most obnoxious to punishment. But,
nevertheless, she will not cease to indulge those propensities, and to
commit those actions, when she can do it with impunity.

GOOD _dispositions_, of themselves, will go but a very little way,
unless they are confirmed into good _principles_. And this cannot be
effected but by a careful course of religious instruction, and a
patient and laborious cultivation of the moral temper.

BUT, notwithstanding girls should not be treated with unkindness, nor
the first openings of the passions blighted by cold severity; yet I am
of opinion, that young females should be accustomed very early in life
to a certain degree of restraint. The natural cast of character, and the
moral distinctions between the sexes, should not be disregarded, even in
childhood. That bold, independent, enterprising spirit, which is so much
admired in boys, should not, when it happens to discover itself in the
other sex, be encouraged, but suppressed. Girls should be taught to
give up their opinions betimes, and not pertinaciously to carry on a
dispute, even if they should know themselves to be in the right. I do
not mean, that they should be robbed of the liberty of private judgment,
but that they should by no means be encouraged to contract a contentious
or contradictory turn. It is of the greatest importance to their future
happiness, that they should acquire a submissive temper, and a
forbearing spirit: for it is a lesson which the world will not fail to
make them frequently practise, when they come abroad into it, and they
will not practise it the worse for having learnt it the sooner. These
early restraints, in the limitation here meant, are so far from being an
effect of cruelty, that they are the most indubitable marks of
affection, and are the more meritorious, as they are severe trials of
tenderness. But all the beneficial effects, which a mother can expect
from this watchfulness, will be entirely defeated, if it is practised
occasionally, and not habitually, and if it ever appears to be used to
gratify caprice, ill-humour, or resentment.

THOSE who have children to educate ought to be extremely patient: it is
indeed a labour of love. They should reflect, that extraordinary talents
are neither essential to the well-being of society, nor to the
happiness of individuals. If that had been the case, the beneficent
Father of the universe would not have made them so rare. For it is as
easy for an Almighty Creator to produce a Newton, as an ordinary man;
and he could have made those powers common which we now consider as
wonderful, without any miraculous exertion of his omnipotence, if the
existence of many Newtons had been necessary to the perfection of his
wise and gracious plan.

SURELY, therefore, there is more piety, as well as more sense, in
labouring to improve the talents which children actually have, than in
lamenting that they do not possess supernatural endowments or angelic
perfections. A passage of Lord Bacon's furnishes an admirable
incitement for endeavouring to carry the amiable and christian grace of
charity to its farthest extent, instead of indulging an over-anxious
care for more brilliant but less important acquisitions. "The desire of
power in excess (says he) caused the angels to fall; the desire of
knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity is no excess,
neither can men nor angels come into danger by it."

A GIRL who has docility will seldom be found to want understanding
enough for all the purposes of a social, a happy, and an useful life.
And when we behold the tender hope of fond and anxious love, blasted by
disappointment, the defect will as often be discovered to proceed from
the neglect or the error of cultivation, as from the natural temper; and
those who lament the evil, will sometimes be found to have occasioned
it.

IT is as injudicious for parents to set out with too sanguine a
dependence on the merit of their children, as it is for them to be
discouraged at every repulse. When their wishes are defeated in this or
that particular instance, where they had treasured up some darling
expectation, this is so far from being a reason for relaxing their
attention, that it ought to be an additional motive for redoubling it.
Those who hope to do a great deal, must not expect to do every thing. If
they know any thing of the malignity of sin, the blindness of prejudice,
or the corruption of the human heart, they will also know, that that
heart will always remain, after the very best possible education, full
of infirmity and imperfection. Extraordinary allowances, therefore, must
be made for the weakness of nature in this its weakest state. After much
is done, much will remain to do, and much, very much, will still be left
undone. For this regulation of the passions and affections cannot be
the work of education alone, without the concurrence of divine grace
operating on the heart. Why then should parents repine, if their efforts
are not always crowned with immediate success? They should consider,
that they are not educating cherubims and seraphims, but men and women;
creatures, who at their best estate are altogether vanity: how little
then can be expected from them in the weakness and imbecillity of
infancy! I have dwelt on this part of the subject the longer, because I
am certain that many, who have set out with a warm and active zeal, have
cooled on the very first discouragement, and have afterwards almost
totally remitted their vigilance, through a criminal kind of despair.

GREAT allowances must be made for a profusion of gaiety, loquacity, and
even indiscretion in children, that there may be animation enough left
to supply an active and useful character, when the first fermentation of
the youthful passions is over, and the redundant spirits shall come
to subside.

IF it be true, as a consummate judge of human nature has observed,

    That not a vanity is given in vain,

it is also true, that there is scarcely a single passion, which may
not be turned to some good account, if prudently rectified, and
skilfully turned into the road of some neighbouring virtue. It cannot be
violently bent, or unnaturally forced towards an object of a totally
opposite nature, but may be gradually inclined towards a correspondent
but superior affection. Anger, hatred, resentment, and ambition, the
most restless and turbulent passions which shake and distract the
human soul, may be led to become the most active opposers of sin, after
having been its most successful instruments. Our anger, for instance,
which can never be totally subdued, may be made to turn against
ourselves, for our weak and imperfect obedience--our hatred, against
every species of vice--our ambition, which will not be discarded, may be
ennobled: it will not change its name, but its object: it will despise
what it lately valued, nor be contented to grasp at less than
immortality.

THUS the joys, fears, hopes, desires, all the passions and affections,
which separate in various currents from the soul, will, if directed into
their proper channels, after having fertilised wherever they have
flowed, return again to swell and enrich the parent source.

THAT the very passions which appear the most uncontroulable and
unpromising, may be intended, in the great scheme of Providence, to
answer some important purpose, is remarkably evidenced in the character
and history of Saint Paul. A remark on this subject by an ingenious old
Spanish writer, which I will here take the liberty to translate, will
better illustrate my meaning.

"TO convert the bitterest enemy into the most zealous advocate, is the
work of God for the instruction of man. Plutarch has observed, that the
medical science would be brought to the utmost perfection, when poison
should be converted into physic. Thus, in the mortal disease of Judaism
and idolatry, our blessed Lord converted the adder's venom of Saul
the persecutor, into that cement which made Paul the chosen vessel.
That manly activity, that restless ardor, that burning zeal for the law
of his fathers, that ardent thirst for the blood of Christians, did the
Son of God find necessary in the man who was one day to become the
defender of his suffering people.[7]"

TO win the passions, therefore, over to the cause of virtue, answers a
much nobler end than their extinction would possibly do, even if that
could be effected. But it is their nature never to observe a neutrality;
they are either rebels or auxiliaries, and an enemy subdued is an ally
obtained. If I may be allowed to change the allusion so soon, I would
say, that the passions also resemble fires, which are friendly and
beneficial when under proper direction, but if suffered to blaze without
restraint, they carry devastation along with them, and, if totally
extinguished, leave the benighted mind in a state of cold and
comfortless inanity.

BUT in speaking of the usefulness of the passions, as instruments of
virtue, _envy_ and _lying_ must always be excepted: these, I am
persuaded, must either go on in still progressive mischief, or else be
radically cured, before any good can be expected from the heart which
has been infected with them. For I never will believe that envy, though
passed through all the moral strainers, can be refined into a
virtuous emulation, or lying improved into an agreeable turn for
innocent invention. Almost all the other passions may be made to take
an amiable hue; but these two must either be totally extirpated, or be
always contented to preserve their original deformity, and to wear their
native black.


[7] Obras de Quevedo, vida de San Pablo Apostol.



ON THE
IMPORTANCE OF RELIGION
TO THE
FEMALE CHARACTER.


VARIOUS are the reasons why the greater part of mankind cannot apply
themselves to arts or letters. Particular studies are only suited to the
capacities of particular persons. Some are incapable of applying to
them from the delicacy of their sex, some from the unsteadiness of
youth, and others from the imbecillity of age. Many are precluded by the
narrowness of their education, and many by the straitness of their
fortune. The wisdom of God is wonderfully manifested in this happy and
well-ordered diversity, in the powers and properties of his creatures;
since by thus admirably suiting the agent to the action, the whole
scheme of human affairs is carried on with the most agreeing and
consistent oeconomy, and no chasm is left for want of an object to
fill it, exactly suited to its nature.

BUT in the great and universal concern of religion, both sexes, and all
ranks, are equally interested. The truly catholic spirit of christianity
accommodates itself, with an astonishing condescension, to the
circumstances of the whole human race. It rejects none on account of
their pecuniary wants, their personal infirmities, or their intellectual
deficiencies. No superiority of parts is the least recommendation, nor
is any depression of fortune the smallest objection. None are too wise
to be excused from performing the duties of religion, nor are any too
poor to be excluded from the consolations of its promises.

IF we admire the wisdom of God, in having furnished different degrees of
intelligence, so exactly adapted to their different destinations, and in
having fitted every part of his stupendous work, not only to serve its
own immediate purpose, but also to contribute to the beauty and
perfection of the whole: how much more ought we to adore that goodness,
which has perfected the divine plan, by appointing one wide,
comprehensive, and universal means of salvation: a salvation, which all
are invited to partake; by a means which all are capable of using; which
nothing but voluntary blindness can prevent our comprehending, and
nothing but wilful error can hinder us from embracing.

THE Muses are coy, and will only be wooed and won by some
highly-favoured suitors. The Sciences are lofty, and will not stoop to
the reach of ordinary capacities. But "Wisdom (by which the royal
preacher means piety) is a loving spirit: she is easily seen of them
that love her, and found of all such as seek her." Nay, she is so
accessible and condescending, "that she preventeth them that desire
her, making herself first known unto them."

WE are told by the same animated writer, "that Wisdom is the breath of
the power of God." How infinitely superior, in grandeur and sublimity,
is this description to the origin of the _wisdom_ of the heathens, as
described by their poets and mythologists! In the exalted strains of the
Hebrew poetry we read, that "Wisdom is the brightness of the everlasting
light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his
goodness."

THE philosophical author of _The Defence of Learning_ observes, that
knowledge has something of venom and malignity in it, when taken without
its proper corrective, and what that is, the inspired Saint Paul
teaches us, by placing it as the immediate antidote: _Knowledge puffeth
up, but charity edifieth._ Perhaps, it is the vanity of human wisdom,
unchastised by this correcting principle, which has made so many
infidels. It may proceed from the arrogance of a self-sufficient pride,
that some philosophers disdain to acknowledge their belief in a being,
who has judged proper to conceal from them the infinite wisdom of his
counsels; who, (to borrow the lofty language of the man of Uz) refused
to consult them when he laid the foundations of the earth, when he shut
up the sea with doors, and made the clouds the garment thereof.

A MAN must be an infidel either from pride, prejudice, or bad education:
he cannot be one unawares or by surprise; for infidelity is not
occasioned by sudden impulse or violent temptation. He may be hurried by
some vehement desire into an immoral action, at which he will blush in
his cooler moments, and which he will lament as the sad effect of a
spirit unsubdued by religion; but infidelity is a calm, considerate act,
which cannot plead the weakness of the heart, or the seduction of the
senses. Even good men frequently fail in their duty through the
infirmities of nature, and the allurements of the world; but the infidel
errs on a plan, on a settled and deliberate principle.

BUT though the minds of men are sometimes fatally infected with this
disease, either through unhappy prepossession, or some of the other
causes above mentioned; yet I am unwilling to believe, that there is in
nature so monstrously incongruous a being, as a _female infidel_. The
least reflexion on the temper, the character, and the education of
women, makes the mind revolt with horror from an idea so improbable, and
so unnatural.

MAY I be allowed to observe, that, in general, the minds of girls seem
more aptly prepared in their early youth for the reception of serious
impressions than those of the other sex, and that their less exposed
situations in more advanced life qualify them better for the
preservation of them? The daughters (of good parents I mean) are often
more carefully instructed in their religious duties, than the sons, and
this from a variety of causes. They are not so soon sent from under the
paternal eye into the bustle of the world, and so early exposed to the
contagion of bad example: their hearts are naturally more flexible,
soft, and liable to any kind of impression the forming hand may stamp
on them; and, lastly, as they do not receive the same classical
education with boys, their feeble minds are not obliged at once to
receive and separate the precepts of christianity, and the documents of
pagan philosophy. The necessity of doing this perhaps somewhat weakens
the serious impressions of young men, at least till the understanding
is formed, and confuses their ideas of piety, by mixing them with so
much heterogeneous matter. They only casually read, or hear read, the
scriptures of truth, while they are obliged to learn by heart, construe
and repeat the poetical fables of the less than human gods of the
ancients. And as the excellent author of _The Internal Evidence of the
Christian Religion_ observes, "Nothing has so much contributed to
corrupt the true spirit of the christian institution, as that partiality
which we contract, in our earliest education, for the manners of pagan
antiquity."

GIRLS, therefore, who do _not_ contract this early partiality, ought to
have a clearer notion of their religious duties: they are not obliged,
at an age when the judgment is so weak, to distinguish between the
doctrines of Zeno, of Epicurus, and of Christ; and to embarrass their
minds with the various morals which were taught in the _Porch_, in the
_Academy_, and on the _Mount_.

IT is presumed, that these remarks cannot possibly be so
misunderstood, as to be construed into the least disrespect to
literature, or a want of the highest reverence for a learned education,
the basis of all elegant knowledge: they are only intended, with all
proper deference, to point out to young women, that however inferior
their advantages of acquiring a knowledge of the belles-lettres are to
those of the other sex; yet it depends on themselves not to be
surpassed in this most important of all studies, for which their
abilities are equal, and their opportunities, perhaps, greater.

BUT the mere exemption from infidelity is so small a part of the
religious character, that I hope no one will attempt to claim any merit
from this negative sort of goodness, or value herself merely for not
being the very worst thing she possibly can be. Let no mistaken girl
fancy she gives a proof of her wit by her want of piety, or that a
contempt of things serious and sacred will exalt her understanding, or
raise her character even in the opinion of the most avowed male
infidels. For one may venture to affirm, that with all their profligate
ideas, both of women and of religion, neither Bolingbroke, Wharton,
Buckingham, nor even _Lord Chesterfield himself_, would have esteemed a
woman the more for her being irreligious.

WITH whatever ridicule a polite freethinker may affect to treat religion
himself, he will think it necessary his wife should entertain
different notions of it. He may pretend to despise it as a matter of
opinion, depending on creeds and systems; but, if he is a man of sense,
he will know the value of it, as a governing principle, which is to
influence her conduct and direct her actions. If he sees her
unaffectedly sincere in the practice of her religious duties, it will be
a secret pledge to him, that she will be equally exact in fulfilling the
conjugal; for he can have no reasonable dependance on her attachment to
_him_, if he has no opinion of her fidelity to GOD; for she who neglects
first duties, gives but an indifferent proof of her disposition to fill
up inferior ones; and how can a man of any understanding (whatever his
own religious professions may be) trust that woman with the care of
his family, and the education of his children, who wants herself the
best incentive to a virtuous life, the belief that she is an accountable
creature, and the reflection that she has an immortal soul?

CICERO spoke it as the highest commendation of Cato's character, that he
embraced philosophy, not for the sake of _disputing_ like a philosopher,
but of _living_ like one. The chief purpose of christian knowledge is to
promote the great end of a christian life. Every rational woman should,
no doubt, be able to give a reason of the hope that is in her; but this
knowledge is best acquired, and the duties consequent on it best
performed, by reading books of plain piety and practical devotion, and
not by entering into the endless feuds, and engaging in the unprofitable
contentions of partial controversialists. Nothing is more unamiable than
the narrow spirit of party zeal, nor more disgusting than to hear a
woman deal out judgments, and denounce vengeance against any one, who
happens to differ from her in some opinion, perhaps of no real
importance, and which, it is probable, she may be just as wrong in
rejecting, as the object of her censure is in embracing. A furious and
unmerciful female bigot wanders as far beyond the limits prescribed to
her sex, as a Thalestris or a Joan d'Arc. Violent debate has made as few
converts as the sword, and both these instruments are particularly
unbecoming when wielded by a female hand.

BUT, though no one will be frightened out of their opinions, yet they
may be persuaded out of them: they may be touched by the affecting
earnestness of serious conversation, and allured by the attractive
beauty of a consistently serious life. And while a young woman ought to
dread the name of a wrangling polemic, it is her duty to aspire after
the honourable character of a sincere Christian. But this dignified
character she can by no means deserve, if she is ever afraid to avow her
principles, or ashamed to defend them. A profligate, who makes it a
point to ridicule every thing which comes under the appearance of formal
instruction, will be disconcerted at the spirited yet modest rebuke of a
pious young woman. But there is as much efficacy in the manner of
reproving prophaneness, as in the words. If she corrects it with
moroseness, she defeats the effect of her remedy, by her unskilful
manner of administring it. If, on the other hand, she affects to defend
the insulted cause of God, in a faint tone of voice, and studied
ambiguity of phrase, or with an air of levity, and a certain
expression of pleasure in her eyes, which proves she is secretly
delighted with what she pretends to censure, she injures religion much
more than he did who publickly prophaned it; for she plainly indicates,
either that she does not believe, or respect what she professes. The
other attacked it as an open foe; she betrays it as a false friend. No
one pays any regard to the opinion of an avowed enemy; but the desertion
or treachery of a professed friend, is dangerous indeed!

IT is a strange notion which prevails in the world, that religion only
belongs to the old and the melancholy, and that it is not worth while to
pay the least attention to it, while we are capable of attending to any
thing else. They allow it to be proper enough for the clergy, whose
business it is, and for the aged, who have not spirits for any business
at all. But till they can prove, that none except the clergy and the
aged _die_, it must be confessed, that this is most wretched
reasoning.

GREAT injury is done to the interests of religion, by placing it in a
gloomy and unamiable light. It is sometimes spoken of, as if it would
actually make a handsome woman ugly, or a young one wrinkled. But can
any thing be more absurd than to represent the beauty of holiness as the
source of deformity?

THERE are few, perhaps, so entirely plunged in business, or absorbed in
pleasure, as not to intend, at some future time, to set about a
religious life in good earnest. But then they consider it as a kind of
_dernier ressort_, and think it prudent to defer flying to this
disagreeable refuge, till they have no relish left for any thing else.
Do they forget, that to perform this great business well requires all
the strength of their youth, and all the vigour of their unimpaired
capacities? To confirm this assertion, they may observe how much the
slightest indisposition, even in the most active season of life,
disorders every faculty, and disqualifies them for attending to the most
ordinary affairs: and then let them reflect how little able they will be
to transact the most important of all business, in the moment of
excruciating pain, or in the day of universal debility.

WHEN the senses are palled with excessive gratification; when the eye
is tired with seeing, and the ear with hearing; when the spirits are so
sunk, that the _grasshopper is become a burthen_, how shall the blunted
apprehension be capable of understanding a new science, or the worn-out
heart be able to relish a new pleasure?

TO put off religion till we have lost all taste for amusement; to refuse
listening to the "voice of the charmer," till our enfeebled organs can
no longer listen to the voice of "singing men and singing women," and
not to devote our days to heaven till we have "no pleasure in them"
ourselves, is but an ungracious offering. And it is a wretched sacrifice
to the God of heaven, to present him with the remnants of decayed
appetites, and the leavings of extinguished passions.



MISCELLANEOUS
OBSERVATIONS
ON
GENIUS, TASTE, GOOD
SENSE, &c.[8]


GOOD _sense_ is as different from _genius_ as perception is from
invention; yet, though distinct qualities, they frequently subsist
together. It is altogether opposite to _wit_, but by no means
inconsistent with it. It is not science, for there is such a thing as
unlettered good sense; yet, though it is neither wit, learning, nor
genius, it is a substitute for each, where they do not exist, and the
perfection of all where they do.

Good sense is so far from deserving the appellation of _common sense_,
by which it is frequently called, that it is perhaps one of the rarest
qualities of the human mind. If, indeed, this name is given it in
respect to its peculiar suitableness to the purposes of common life,
there is great propriety in it. Good sense appears to differ from taste
in this, that taste is an instantaneous decision of the mind, a sudden
relish of what is beautiful, or disgust at what is defective, in an
object, without waiting for the slower confirmation of the judgment.
Good sense is perhaps that confirmation, which establishes a suddenly
conceived idea, or feeling, by the powers of comparing and reflecting.
They differ also in this, that taste seems to have a more immediate
reference to arts, to literature, and to almost every object of the
senses; while good sense rises to moral excellence, and exerts its
influence on life and manners. Taste is fitted to the perception and
enjoyment of whatever is beautiful in art or nature: Good sense, to the
improvement of the conduct, and the regulation of the heart.

YET the term good sense, is used indiscriminately to express either a
finished taste for letters, or an invariable prudence in the affairs of
life. It is sometimes applied to the most moderate abilities, in which
case, the expression is certainly too strong; and at others to the
most shining, when it is as much too weak and inadequate. A sensible man
is the usual, but unappropriated phrase, for every degree in the scale
of understanding, from the sober mortal, who obtains it by his decent
demeanor and solid dullness, to him whose talents qualify him to rank
with a Bacon, a Harris, or a Johnson.

GENIUS is the power of invention and imitation. It is an incommunicable
faculty: no art or skill of the possessor can bestow the smallest
portion of it on another: no pains or labour can reach the summit of
perfection, where the seeds of it are wanting in the mind; yet it is
capable of infinite improvement where it actually exists, and is
attended with the highest capacity of communicating instruction, as well
as delight to others.

IT is the peculiar property of genius to strike out great or beautiful
things: it is the felicity of good sense not to do absurd ones. Genius
breaks out in splendid sentiments and elevated ideas; good sense
confines its more circumscribed, but perhaps more useful walk, within
the limits of prudence and propriety.

    The poet's eye in a fine frenzy rolling,
    Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
    And, as imagination bodies forth
    The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
    Turns them to shape, and gives to airy nothing
    A local habitation and a name.

THIS is perhaps the finest picture of human genius that ever was drawn
by a human pencil. It presents a living image of a creative imagination,
or a power of inventing things which have no actual existence.

WITH superficial judges, who, it must be confessed, make up the
greater part of the mass of mankind, talents are only liked or
understood to a certain degree. Lofty ideas are above the reach of
ordinary apprehensions: the vulgar allow those who possess them to be
in a somewhat higher state of mind than themselves; but of the vast gulf
which separates them, they have not the least conception. They
acknowledge a superiority, but of its extent they neither know the
value, nor can conceive the reality. It is true, the mind, as well as
the eye, can take in objects larger than itself; but this is only true
of great minds: for a man of low capacity, who considers a consummate
genius, resembles one, who seeing a column for the first time, and
standing at too great a distance to take in the whole of it, concludes
it to be flat. Or, like one unacquainted with the first principles of
philosophy, who, finding the sensible horizon appear a plain surface,
can form no idea of the spherical form of the whole, which he does not
see, and laughs at the account of antipodes, which he cannot comprehend.

WHATEVER is excellent is also rare; what is useful is more common. How
many thousands are born qualified for the coarse employments of life,
for one who is capable of excelling in the fine arts! yet so it ought
to be, because our natural wants are more numerous, and more
importunate, than the intellectual.

WHENEVER it happens that a man of distinguished talents has been drawn
by mistake, or precipitated by passion, into any dangerous
indiscretion; it is common for those whose coldness of temper has
supplied the place, and usurped the name of prudence, to boast of their
own steadier virtue, and triumph in their own superior caution; only
because they have never been assailed by a temptation strong enough to
surprise them into error. And with what a visible appropriation of the
character to themselves, do they constantly conclude, with a cordial
compliment to _common sense_! They point out the beauty and usefulness
of this quality so forcibly and explicitly, that you cannot possibly
mistake whose picture they are drawing with so flattering a pencil. The
unhappy man whose conduct has been so feelingly arraigned, perhaps acted
from good, though mistaken motives; at least, from motives of which his
censurer has not capacity to judge: but the event was unfavourable, nay
the action might be really wrong, and the vulgar maliciously take the
opportunity of this single indiscretion, to lift themselves nearer on a
level with a character, which, except in this instance, has always
thrown them at the most disgraceful and mortifying distance.

THE elegant Biographer of Collins, in his affecting apology for that
unfortunate genius, remarks, "That the gifts of imagination bring the
heaviest task on the vigilance of reason; and to bear those faculties
with unerring rectitude, or invariable propriety, requires a degree of
firmness, and of cool attention, which does not always attend the higher
gifts of the mind; yet difficult as Nature herself seems to have
rendered the task of regularity to genius, it is the supreme consolation
of dullness, and of folly to point with gothic triumph to those
excesses which are the overflowing of faculties they never enjoyed."

WHAT the greater part of the world mean by common sense, will be
generally found, on a closer enquiry, to be art, fraud, or selfishness!
That sort of saving prudence which makes men extremely attentive to
their own safety, or profit; diligent in the pursuit of their own
pleasures or interests; and perfectly at their ease as to what becomes
of the rest of mankind. Furies, where their own property is concerned,
philosophers when nothing but the good of others is at stake, and
perfectly resigned under all calamities but their own.

WHEN we see so many accomplished wits of the present age, as remarkable
for the decorum of their lives, as for the brilliancy of their writings,
we may believe, that, next to principle, it is owing to their _good
sense_, which regulates and chastises their imaginations. The vast
conceptions which enable a true genius to ascend the sublimest heights,
may be so connected with the stronger passions, as to give it a
natural tendency to fly off from the strait line of regularity; till
good sense, acting on the fancy, makes it gravitate powerfully towards
that virtue which is its proper centre.

ADD to this, when it is considered with what imperfection the Divine
Wisdom has thought fit to stamp every thing human, it will be found,
that excellence and infirmity are so inseparably wound up in each other,
that a man derives the soreness of temper, and irritability of nerve,
which make him uneasy to others, and unhappy in himself, from those
exquisite feelings, and that elevated pitch of thought, by which, as the
apostle expresses it on a more serious occasion, he is, as it were,
out of the body.

It is not astonishing, therefore, when THE spirit is carried away by the
magnificence of its own ideas,

    Not touch'd but rapt, not waken'd but inspir'd,

that the frail body, which is the natural victim of pain, disease, and
death, should not always be able to follow the mind in its aspiring
flights, but should be as imperfect as if it belonged only to an
ordinary soul.

BESIDES, might not Providence intend to humble human pride, by
presenting to our eyes so mortifying a view of the weakness and
infirmity of even his best work? Perhaps man, who is already but a
little lower than the angels, might, like the revolted spirits, totally
have shaken off obedience and submission to his Creator, had not God
wisely tempered human excellence with a certain consciousness of its own
imperfection. But though this inevitable alloy of weakness may
frequently be found in the best characters, yet how can that be the
source of triumph and exaltation to any, which, if properly weighed,
must be the deepest motive of humiliation to all? A good-natured man
will be so far from rejoicing, that he will be secretly troubled,
whenever he reads that the greatest Roman moralist was tainted with
avarice, and the greatest British philosopher with venality.

IT is remarked by Pope, in his Essay on Criticism, that,

    Ten censure wrong for one who writes amiss.

But I apprehend it does not therefore follow that to judge, is more
difficult than to write. If this were the case, the critic would be
superior to the poet, whereas it appears to be directly the contrary.
"The critic, (says the great champion of Shakespeare,) but fashions the
body of a work, the poet must add the soul, which gives force and
direction to its actions and gestures." It should seem that the reason
why so many more judge wrong, than write ill, is because the number of
readers is beyond all proportion greater than the number of writers.
Every man who reads, is in some measure a critic, and, with very common
abilities, may point out real faults and material errors in a very well
written book; but it by no means follows that he is able to write any
thing comparable to the work which he is capable of censuring. And
unless the numbers of those who write, and of those who judge, were more
equal, the calculation seems not to be quite fair.

A CAPACITY for relishing works of genius is the indubitable sign of a
good taste. But if a proper disposition and ability to enjoy the
compositions of others, entitle a man to the claim of reputation, it is
still a far inferior degree of merit to his who can invent and produce
those compositions, the bare disquisition of which gives the critic no
small share of fame.

THE president of the royal academy in his admirable _Discourse_ on
_imitation_, has set the folly of depending on unassisted genius, in
the clearest light; and has shewn the necessity of adding the
knowledge of others, to our own native powers, in his usual striking and
masterly manner. "The mind, says he, is a barren soil, is a soil soon
exhausted, and will produce no crop, or only one, unless it be
continually fertilized, and enriched with foreign matter."

YET it has been objected that study is a great enemy to originality; but
even if this were true, it would perhaps be as well that an author
should give us the ideas of still better writers, mixed and
assimilated with the matter in his own mind, as those crude and
undigested thoughts which he values under the notion that they are
original. The sweetest honey neither tastes of the rose, the
honeysuckle, nor the carnation, yet it is compounded of the very
essence of them all.

IF in the other fine arts this accumulation of knowledge is necessary,
it is indispensably so in poetry. It is a fatal rashness for any one to
trust too much to their own stock of ideas. He must invigorate them by
exercise, polish them by conversation, and increase them by every
species of elegant and virtuous knowledge, and the mind will not fail to
reproduce with interest those seeds, which are sown in it by study and
observation. Above all, let every one guard against the dangerous
opinion that he knows enough: an opinion that will weaken the energy and
reduce the powers of the mind, which, though once perhaps vigorous and
effectual, will be sunk to a state of literary imbecility, by cherishing
vain and presumptuous ideas of its own independence.

FOR instance, it may not be necessary that a poet should be deeply
skilled in the Linnæan system; but it must be allowed that a general
acquaintance with plants and flowers will furnish him with a delightful
and profitable species of instruction. He is not obliged to trace Nature
in all her nice and varied operations, with the minute accuracy of a
Boyle, or the laborious investigation of a Newton; but his _good sense_
will point out to him that no inconsiderable portion of philosophical
knowledge is requisite to the completion of his literary character. The
sciences are more independent, and require little or no assistance
from the graces of poetry; but poetry, if she would charm and instruct,
must not be so haughty; she must be contented to borrow of the sciences,
many of her choicest allusions, and many of her most graceful
embellishments; and does it not magnify the character of true poesy,
that she includes within herself all the scattered graces of every
separate art?

THE rules of the great masters in criticism may not be so necessary to
the forming a good taste, as the examination of those original mines
from whence they drew their treasures of knowledge.

THE three celebrated Essays on the Art of Poetry do not teach so much
by their laws as by their examples; the dead letter of their rules is
less instructive than the living spirit of their verse. Yet these rules
are to a young poet, what the study of logarithms is to a young
mathematician; they do not so much contribute to form his judgment, as
afford him the satisfaction of convincing him that he is right. They do
not preclude the difficulty of the operation; but at the conclusion of
it, furnish him with a fuller demonstration that he has proceeded on
proper principles. When he has well studied the masters in whose
schools the first critics formed themselves, and fancies he has caught a
spark of their divine Flame, it may be a good method to try his own
compositions by the test of the critic rules, so far indeed as the
mechanism of poetry goes. If the examination be fair and candid, this
trial, like the touch of Ithuriel's spear, will detect every latent
error, and bring to light every favourite failing.

GOOD taste always suits the measure of its admiration to the merit of
the composition it examines. It accommodates its praises, or its
censure, to the excellence of a work, and appropriates it to the nature
of it. General applause, or indiscriminate abuse, is the sign of a
vulgar understanding. There are certain blemishes which the judicious
and good-natured reader will candidly overlook. But the false sublime,
the tumour which is intended for greatness, the distorted figure, the
puerile conceit, and the incongruous metaphor, these are defects for
which scarcely any other kind of merit can atone. And yet there may be
more hope of a writer (especially if he be a a young one), who is now
and then guilty of some of these faults, than of one who avoids them
all, not through judgment, but feebleness, and who, instead of deviating
into error is continually falling short of excellence. The meer absence
of error implies that moderate and inferior degree of merit with which a
cold heart and a phlegmatic taste will be better satisfied than with the
magnificent irregularities of exalted spirits. It stretches some minds
to an uneasy extension to be obliged to attend to compositions
superlatively excellent; and it contracts liberal souls to a painful
narrowness to descend to books of inferior merit. A work of capital
genius, to a man of an ordinary mind, is the bed of Procrustes to one of
a short stature, the man is too little to fill up the space assigned
him, and undergoes the torture in attempting it: and a moderate, or low
production to a man of bright talents, is the punishment inflicted by
Mezentius; the living spirit has too much animation to endure patiently
to be in contact with a dead body.

TASTE sesms to be a sentiment of the soul which gives the bias to
opinion, for we feel before we reflect. Without this sentiment, all
knowledge, learning and opinion, would be cold, inert materials, whereas
they become active principles when stirred, kindled, and inflamed by
this animating quality.

THERE is another feeling which is called Enthusiasm. The enthusiasm of
sensible hearts is so strong, that it not only yields to the impulse
with which striking objects act on it, but such hearts help on the
effect by their own sensibility. In a scene where Shakespeare and
Garrick give perfection to each other, the feeling heart does not merely
accede to the delirium they occasion: it does more, it is enamoured of
it, it solicits the delusion, it sues to be deceived, and grudgingly
cherishes the sacred treasure of its feelings. The poet and performer
concur in carrying us

    Beyond this visible diurnal sphere,

they bear us aloft in their airy course with unresisted rapidity, if
they meet not with any obstruction from the coldness of our own
feelings. Perhaps, only a few fine spirits can enter into the detail of
their writing and acting; but the multitude do not enjoy less acutely,
because they are not able philosophically to analyse the sources of
their joy or sorrow. If the others have the advantage of judging, these
have at least the privilege of feeling: and it is not from complaisance
to a few leading judges, that they burst into peals of laughter, or melt
into delightful agony; their hearts decide, and that is a decision from
which there lies no appeal. It must however be confessed, that the
nicer separations of character, and the lighter and almost imperceptible
shades which sometimes distinguish them, will not be intimately
relished, unless there be a consonancy of taste as well as feeling in
the spectator; though where the passions are principally concerned,
the profane vulgar come in for a larger portion of the universal
delight, than critics and connoisseurs are willing to allow them.

YET enthusiasm, though the natural concomitant of genius, is no more
genius itself, than drunkenness is cheerfulness; and that enthusiasm
which discovers itself on occasions not worthy to excite it, is the mark
of a wretched judgment and a false taste.

NATURE produces innumerable objects: to imitate them, is the province of
Genius; to direct those imitations, is the property of Judgment; to
decide on their effects, is the business of Taste. For Taste, who sits
as supreme judge on the productions of Genius, is not satisfied when she
merely imitates Nature: she must also, says an ingenious French writer,
imitate _beautiful_ Nature. It requires no less judgment to reject than
to choose, and Genius might imitate what is vulgar, under pretence that
it was natural, if Taste did not carefully point out those objects which
are most proper for imitation. It also requires a very nice discernment
to distinguish verisimilitude from truth; for there is a truth in Taste
nearly as conclusive as demonstration in mathematics.

GENIUS, when in the full impetuosity of its career, often touches on the
very brink of error; and is, perhaps, never so near the verge of the
precipice, as when indulging its sublimest flights. It is in those
great, but dangerous moments, that the curb of vigilant judgment is most
wanting: while safe and sober Dulness observes one tedious and insipid
round of tiresome uniformity, and steers equally clear of eccentricity
and of beauty. Dulness has few redundancies to retrench, few
luxuriancies to prune, and few irregularities to smooth. These, though
errors, are the errors of Genius, for there is rarely redundancy without
plenitude, or irregularity without greatness. The excesses of Genius
may easily be retrenched, but the deficiencies of Dulness can never be
supplied.

THOSE who copy from others will doubtless be less excellent than those
who copy from Nature. To imitate imitators, is the way to depart too far
from the great original herself. The latter copies of an engraving
retain fainter and fainter traces of the subject, to which the earlier
impressions bore so strong a resemblance.

IT seems very extraordinary, that it should be the most difficult thing
in the world to be natural, and that it should be harder to hit off the
manners of real life, and to delineate such characters as we converse
with every day, than to imagine such as do not exist. But caricature is
much easier than an exact outline, and the colouring of fancy less
difficult than that of truth.

PEOPLE do not always know what taste they have, till it is awakened by
some corresponding object; nay, genius itself is a fire, which in many
minds would never blaze, if not kindled by some external cause.

NATURE, that munificent mother, when she bestows the power of judging,
accompanies it with the capacity of enjoying. The judgment, which is
clear sighted, points out such objects as are calculated to inspire
love, and the heart instantaneously attaches itself to whatever is
lovely.

IN regard to literary reputation, a great deal depends on the state of
learning in the particular age or nation, in which an author lives. In a
dark and ignorant period, moderate knowledge will entitle its
possessor to a considerable share of fame; whereas, to be
distinguished in a polite and lettered age, requires striking parts and
deep erudition.

WHEN a nation begins to emerge from a state of mental darkness, and to
strike out the first rudiments of improvement, it chalks out a few
strong but incorrect sketches, gives the rude out-lines of general art,
and leaves the filling up to the leisure of happier days, and the
refinement of more enlightened times. Their drawing is a rude _Sbozzo_,
and their poetry wild minstrelsy.

PERFECTION of taste is a point which a nation no sooner reaches, than it
overshoots; and it is more difficult to return to it, after having
passed it, than it was to attain when they fell short of it. Where the
arts begin to languish after having flourished, they seldom indeed fall
back to their original barbarism, but a certain feebleness of exertion
takes place, and it is more difficult to recover them from this dying
languor to their proper strength, than it was to polish them from their
former rudeness; for it is a less formidable undertaking to refine
barbarity, than to stop decay: the first may be laboured into elegance,
but the latter will rarely be strengthened into vigour.

TASTE exerts itself at first but feebly and imperfectly: it is
repressed and kept back by a crowd of the most discouraging
prejudices: like an infant prince, who, though born to reign, yet holds
an idle sceptre, which he has not power to use, but is obliged to see
with the eyes, and hear through the ears of other men.

A WRITER of correct taste will hardly ever go out of his way, even in
search of embellishment: he will study to attain the best end by the
most natural means; for he knows that what is not natural cannot be
beautiful, and that nothing can be beautiful out of its own place; for
an improper situation will convert the most striking beauty into a
glaring defect. When by a well-connected chain of ideas, or a judicious
succession of events, the reader is snatched to "Thebes or Athens,"
what can be more impertinent than for the poet to obstruct the operation
of the passion he has just been kindling, by introducing a conceit
which contradicts his purpose, and interrupts his business? Indeed, we
cannot be transported, even in idea, to those places, if the poet does
not manage so adroitly as not to make us sensible of the journey: the
instant we feel we are travelling, the writer's art fails, and the
delirium is at an end.

PROSERPINE, says Ovid, would have been restored to her mother Ceres,
had not Ascalaphus seen her stop to gather a golden apple, when the
terms of her restoration were, that she should taste nothing. A story
pregnant with instruction for lively writers, who by neglecting the main
business, and going out of the way for false gratifications, lose sight
of the end they should principally keep in view. It was this false taste
that introduced the numberless _concetti_, which disgrace the brightest
of the Italian poets; and this is the reason, why the reader only feels
short and interrupted snatches of delight in perusing the brilliant but
unequal compositions of Ariosto, instead of that unbroken and
undiminished pleasure, which he constantly receives from Virgil, from
Milton, and generally from Tasso. The first-mentioned Italian is the
Atalanta, who will interrupt the most eager career, to pick up the
glittering mischief, while the Mantuan and the British bards, like
Hippomenes, press on warm in the pursuit, and unseduced by temptation.

A WRITER of real taste will take great pains in the perfection of his
style, to make the reader believe that he took none at all. The writing
which appears to be most easy, will be generally found to be least
imitable. The most elegant verses are the most easily retained, they
fasten themselves on the memory, without its making any effort to
preserve them, and we are apt to imagine, that what is remembered with
ease, was written without difficulty.

To conclude; Genius is a rare and precious gem, of which few know the
worth; it is fitter for the cabinet of the connoisseur, than for the
commerce of mankind. Good sense is a bank-bill, convenient for change,
negotiable at all times, and current in all places. It knows the value
of small things, and considers that an aggregate of them makes up the
sum of human affairs. It elevates common concerns into matters of
importance, by performing them in the best manner, and at the most
suitable season. Good sense carries with it the idea of equality, while
Genius is always suspected of a design to impose the burden of
superiority; and respect is paid to it with that reluctance which always
attends other imposts, the lower orders of mankind generally repining
most at demands, by which they are least liable to be affected.

AS it is the character of Genius to penetrate with a lynx's beam into
unfathomable abysses and uncreated worlds, and to see what is _not_,
so it is the property of good sense to distinguish perfectly, and judge
accurately what really _is_. Good sense has not so piercing an eye, but
it has as clear a sight: it does not penetrate so deeply, but as far as
it _does_ see, it discerns distinctly. Good sense is a judicious
mechanic, who can produce beauty and convenience out of suitable means;
but Genius (I speak with reverence of the immeasurable distance) bears
some remote resemblance to the divine architect, who produced perfection
of beauty without any visible materials, _who spake, and it was
created_; who said, _Let it be, and it was_.


[8] THE Author begs leave to offer an apology for introducing this
Essay, which, she fears, may be thought foreign to her purpose. But she
hopes that her earnest desire of exciting a taste for literature in
young ladies, (which encouraged her to hazard the following remarks)
will not OBSTRUCT her general design, even if it does not actually
PROMOTE it.


THE END.


Transcriber's Note:
Two small typos have been corrected.



_Lately published by the same Author_,


ODE TO DRAGON, Mr. GARRICK'S
House-Dog at Hampton. Price 6d.


SIR ELDRED OF THE BOWER, and the
BLEEDING ROCK. Legendary
Tales. Price 2s. 6d.
Printed for T. Cadell in the Strand.


The Sixth Edition of
The SEARCH after HAPPINESS. A
Pastoral Drama. Price 1s. 6d.


The Third Edition of
The INFLEXIBLE CAPTIVE. A Tragedy.
Price 1s. 6d.
Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand; and J.
Wilkie, in St. Paul's Church-Yard.





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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
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+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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