Page images

manners, may interrupt your enjoyments, I chufe to give you my congratulations a little prematurely. After the happy office shall be completed, your moments will be too valuable to be laid out in forms; and it would be paying you a compliment with a very ill grace, to draw off your eyes from the highest beauty, tho it were to turn them on the most exquifite wit. I hope, however, you will give me timely notice of your wedding day, that I may be prepared with my epithalamium. I have already laid-in half a dozen deities extremely proper for the occasion, and have even made fome progrefs in my firft fimile. But I am fomewhat at a loss how to proceed, not being able to determine whether your future bride is most like Venus or Hebe. That The resembles both, is univerfally agreed, I find, by thofe who have seen her. But it would be offending, you know, against all the rules of poetical juftice, if I should only fay fhe is as handsome as the is young, when after all, perhaps, the truth may be, that she has even more beauty than youth. In the mean while, I am turning over all the tender compliments that love has inspired,

[ocr errors]

thetic of authors) when they faid, My bed fhall comfort me, my couch shall eafe my complaint, were, like him, full of toffings to and fro, unto the dawning of the day, or fcared with dreams, and terrified thro vifions

were one to confider, I fay, how many pass their nights in all the horrors of a difturbed imagination, or all the wakefulness of real pains, one could not find one's felf exempt from fuch uneafy flumbers or fuch terrible vigils, without double fatisfaction and gratitude. There is nothing, indeed, contributes more to render a man contented with that draught of life which is poured out to himself, than thus to reflect on those more bitter ingredients which are sometimes mingled in the cup of others.

IN purfuing the fame vein of thought I could not but congratulate myself, that I had no part in that turbulent drama which was going to be re-acted upon the great ftage of the world; and rejoiced that it was my fortune to ftand a diftant and unengaged fpectator of those several charaEters that would fhortly fill the scene. This suggested to my remembrance a paffage in the Roman tragic poet, where he describes

scribes the various pursuits of the busy and ambitious world, in very juft and lively colors:

Ille fuperbos additus regum
Durafque fores, expers fomni,
Colit: Hic nullo fine beatus
Componit opes, gazis inhians,
Et congefto pauper in auro eft.
Illum populi favor attonitum,
Fluctuque magis mobili vulgus,
Aura tumidum tollit inani.
Hic clamofi rabiofa fori

Jurgia vendens improbus, iras
Et verba locat.

and I could not forbear faying to myself, in the language of the fame author,

me mea tellus

Lare fecreto tutoque tegat!

Yet this circumftance, which your friend confiders as fo valuable a privilege, has been esteemed by others as the most severe of afflictions. The celebrated count de Buffy Rabutin has written a little treatise, wherein, after having fhewn that the greatest men upon the stage of the world are geR 4 nerally

nerally the most unhappy, he closes the account by producing himself as an instance of the truth of what he had been advancing. But can you guess Palemon, what this terrible difafter was, which thus entitled him to rank among these unfortunate heroes? He had compofed, it seems, certain fatirical pieces which gave offence to Louis the XIVth; for which reason that monarch banished him from the flavery and dependance of a court, to live in ease and freedom at his country house. But the world had taken too strong poffeffion of his heart, to fuffer him to leave even the worst part of it without reluctance; and, like the patriarch's wife, he looked back with regret upon the fcene from which he was kindly driven, tho there was nothing in the profpect but flames. Adieu.




URELY, Euphronius, the fpirit of critiScifm cifm has strangely poffeffed you. How elfe could you be willing to ftep afide so often from the amusements of the gayeft fcenes, in order to examine with me certain beauties far other than those which at prefent, it might be imagined, would wholly engage your attention? Who, indeed, that fees my friend over-night fupporting the vivacity of the most fprightly affemblies, would expect to find him the next morning gravely poring over antiquated Greek, and weighing the merits of antient and modern geniuses? But I have long admired you as an elegant spectator formarum, in every sense of the expreffion: and you can turn, I know, from the charms of beauty to those of wit, with the fame refinement of taste and rapture. I may venture therefore to refume our critical correspondence without the form of an apology; as it is the fingular character of Euphro

« PreviousContinue »