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THE PLEASURES OF MARRIED LIFE--concluded.
Droop not, my heart! what tho' the horizon low'r,
All is not lost, since wedded love is thine ;
Still round my knees these prattling cherubs twine.
To that blest Pow'r, by whom alone we live ;
And grant that peace the world can never give.
Pliny appears to have been n'; stranger to conjugal joys, as the following letter to his wife sufficiently proves :
“ It is incredible how impatiently I wish for your return ;-such is the tenderness of my affection for you, and so unaccustomed am I to a separation! I lie awake the greatest part of the night in thinking of you, and, to use a very common, but very true expression, my feet carry me, of their own accord, to your apartment, at those hours I used to visit you; but, not finding you there, I return with as much sorrow and disappointment as an excluded lover. The only intermission my anxiety knows is, when I am engaged at the bar, and in the causes of my friends. Judge, then, how wretched must his life be, who finds no repose but in business; no consolation but in a crowd. Farewell.”
MELMOTH's PLINY. Thomson's beautiful description of the pleasures of domestic love, partially quoted before, must now be completed. He observes,
-Those whom love cements in holy faith
Its pomp, its pleasure, and its nonsense all ?
Who, in each other, clasp whatever fair
To scenes where love and bliss immortal reign. “A virtuous wife,” says the great Lord Bacon, "is, to a young man, a mistress; to a middle aged man, a companion; to an old man, a nurse ; and at all seasons, a friend." The world, amidst all its fascinating delights, produces no pleasure equal to that which a good wife is capable of affording. She is still a kind comforter in the pains of sickness, and in the pleasures of health ; no adversity can separate her from a beloved and loving husband; she is ever ready to participate in his joys, and to share with him in his sorrows.
“Admetus, king of Thessaly, when in the agonies of death, was informed by the oracle, that if he could procure another to die in his stead, he might still live: but, alas ! his afflicted parents, his dearest friends, his firmest followers, all refused to submit to the destiny that was to save the life of a son, a sovereign, and a friend, and he was consigned to his impending dissolution; until the voice of fate was rumoured in the ear of his affectionate wife, who, still blooming with youth and beauty, cheerfully resigned her life to save that of her expiring husband.”
This is not a singular instance of the sincerity of conjugal affection; many instances might be quoted, but one more, related by Fulgosus, may suffice to shew how powerfully a good and virtuous wife can command the love and affection of a husband :
"A young countryman of the kingdom of Naples, following his plough near the shores of the sea, observing that his wife, who was walking on the beach, had been suddenly carried away by Mauritanian pirates, ran precipitately to thc ocean, and instantly plunging into the waves, 'swam swiftly after the vessel, calling on those aboard to return his beloved wife, or to take him with them as her fellow prisoner, for that he would rather be a galley-slave, and endure the severest misery, than be deprived of her company. The Moors put about the ship, took the disconsolate husband on board, and, struck with so extraordinary an instance of conjugal constancy, related, on their arrival at Tunis, the whole affair to the governor, whose mind, ferocious as it was upon other occasions, was so affected by the feelings of these faithful lovers, that he not only gave them their liberty, but granted them a pension sufficient to maintain them in decent independence for the remainder of their lives."
The following just remarks are taken, with some alterations, from Feltham's Resolves :
“He that is married has the advantage of others that are not, for he is hereby made a double man; he has two bodies, which one united soul does guide: and to prove this the most perfect union of the world, it is sufficient that the married couple only envy not one another. When one is sad, then both are grieved; and in the joy and the honour of one, the other does partake : without a wife, man is a kind of desolate thing; he wants the most cordial solace of life; and therefore, he who refused to marry when he fitly might, by the wise lawgivers of the world was looked upon as a wilful deserter, not only of the commonwealth, but of law, religion, and of human nature; by Lycurgus, in summer driven from all sports, in winter led about naked, and scorned. Plato made him incapable both of honour and public office, but taxable in a deeper sense. Augustus, and divers others, have given immunities to married persons ; so that no time, no nation, no condition of men, but have honoured marriage by their approbation. And the time and place of the institution; the blessing accompanying it; the morality, and natural instinct of it in man; the successive perpetuity of it, even from creation's infancy, where Eve at first was not framed for virginity, but marriage, became a wife at first sight, was presented to man by God himself, and, at her very first peep into the world, was born a bride, may be enough to vindicate it from all the circumstantial stains that can be cast upon it.
Marriage is creation's perfectness; barren virginity is but uncompleted man. Marriage is the way to benefit the world for ever, but virginity in future ruins it; and, after the narrow limits of age, expires. He that is wise, and marries, and leaves a child well educated, makes mankind his debtor, and departs a benefactor to the world : for when he is atomed into flying dust, he has prepared his substitute to administer his part, being gone. The married man is like the bee, that fixes his hive, augments the world, benefits the republic, and, by a daily diligence, without wronging any, profits all. But he who contemns wedlock, for the most part, like a wasp, wanders an offence in the world, lives upon spoil and rapine, disturbs peace, steals sweets that are none of his own, and by robbing the hives of others, either meets misery as his due reward, or at best, leaving none to perpetuate his memory, at last he dies and is forgotten.”
The pleasures of virtuous love are enjoyed in retrospection, even in old age, when the passions are cooled. Then is enjoyed “ Love's young dreain.”
Oh! the days are gone, when beauty bright
My heart's chain wove;
New bope may bloom;
And days may come
As Love's young dream.
Oh! there's nothing half so sweet in life
When wild youth's past;
He'll never meet
A joy so sweet
His soul-felt flame,
The one lov'd name!
Which first love trac'd;
As soon as shed,
On life's dull stream!
Whatever may be the infidelity of man, however his passions may cool with age, yet woman is kind to the
Gone from her cheek is the summer bloom,