« ПредишнаНапред »
I revere Mrs. Qualm as the mother, and only wish I could reeommend her as the manager of children. I hope this letter may fall into her hands, to convince her how absurd it is to suppose, that others can be as much interested in her own children as herself. I would teach her, that, what I complain of as matter of inconvenience, may, one day, prove to her a severe trial; and that, early licentiousness will, at last, mock that parental affection, from whose mistaken indulgence it arose.
I am yours, &c. Y. Y. Z.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE MIRROR OF TASTE.
The fate of the unfortunate earl of Essex is well known, being not only commended to the notice of posterity by all the historians of the reign of queen Elizabeth, but by three excellent tragedies— Banks, Jones, and Brooke, the author of the Fool of Quality, having each made it the subject of a separate drama. The fate of his secretary, the celebrated Henry Cuffe, a man no less celebrated for brilliant wit than learning and genuine unadulterated worth, is not so generally known. Essex being condemned, accused Cuffee as the author of his misfortunes, in consequence of which the too faithful unfortunate man was arraigned, condemned and executed. —The following was his very curious and remarkable dying speech.
“I am here adjudged to die for acting an act never plotted, for plotting a plot never acted. Justice will have her course; accusers must be heard; greatness will have the victory; scholars and martialists (though learning and valour should have the preeminence) in England must die like dogs, and be hanged. To mislike this, were but folly: to dispute it, but time lost: to alter it, impossible: but to indure it, is manly; and to scorn it, magnanimity. The queen is displeased, the lawyers injurious, and death terrible: but I crave pardon of the queen; forgive the lawyers, and the world; desire to be forgiven: and welcome death.”
Having the subject of Essex now before us, a letter written by that nobleman to his friend lord Southampton, now occurs to our remembrance which by its piety and good sense, is intitled to a place in any work dedicated to the improvement of mankind. Essex was not merely a courtier, he was the favourite of his sovereign
“ The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
“ The observ'd of all observers.”
MY LORD, As neither nature nor custom ever made me a man of compli. ment, so now I shall have less will than ever for to use such ceremonies, when I have left with Martha to be solicitus circa multa, and believe with Mary, unum sufficit. But it is no compliment or ceremony, but a real and necessary duty that one friend oweth to another in absence, and especially at their leave-taking, when in man's reason many accidents may keep them long divided, or perhaps bar them ever meeting till they meet in another world; for then shall I think that my friend, whose honour, whose person, and whose fortune is dear unto me, shall prosper and be happy, wherever he goes, and whatever he takes in hand, when he is in the favour of that God, under whose protection there is only safety, and in whose service there is only true happiness to be found. What I think of your natural gifts or ability in this age, or in this state, to give glory to God, and to win honour to yourself, if you employ the talents you have received to their best use, I will now tell you; it sufficeth, that when I was farthest of all times from dissembling, I spake truly, and have witnesses enough: but these things only I will put your lordship in mind of.
First, That you have nothing that you have not received.
Secondly, That you possess them not as lord over them, but as an accountant for them.
Thirdly, If you employ them to serve this world, or your own worldly delights (which the prince of this world will seek to entertain you with) it is ingratitude, it is injustice, yea, it is perfidious treachery; for what would you think of such a servant of your’s, that should convert your goods, committed to his charge, to the advantage or service of your greatest enemy; and what do you less than this with God, since you have all from him, and know that the world, and princes thereof, are at a continual enmity with him? And therefore, if ever the admonition of your truest friend should be heard by you, or if your country, which you may serve in so great and many things, be dear unto you; if your God, whom you must (if you deal truly with yourself) acknowledge to be powerful over all, and just in all, be feared by you; yea, if you be dear unto yourself, and prefer an everlasting happiness before a pleasant dream, which you must shortly awake out of, and then repent in the bitterness of your soul; if any of these things be regarded by you, then I say, call yourself to account for what is past, cancel all the leagues you have made without the warrant of a religious conscience, make a resolute covenant with your God, to serve him with all your natural and spiritual, inward and outward gifts and abilities, and then, he that is faithful (and cannot lie) hath promised to honour them that honour him; he will give you that inward peace of soul, and true joy of heart, which till you have, you shall never rest, and which, when you have, you shall never be shaken, and which you can never attain to any other way than this that I have showed you.
I know your lordship may say to yourself, and object to me, this is but a vapour of melancholy, and the style of a prisoner, and that I was far enough from it, when I lived in the world as you do now, and may be so again, when my fetters be taken from me. I answer, though your lordship should think so, yet cannot I distrust the goodness of my God, that his mercy will sail me, or his grace forsake me; I have so decply engaged myself, that I should be one of the most miserable apostates that ever was: I have so avowed my profession, and called so many from time to time, to witness it, and to be watchmen over me, that I should be the hollowest hypocrite that ever was born: but though I should perish in my own sin, and draw upon myself my own damnation, should not you take hold of the grace and mercy in God, which is offered unto you, and make your profit of my fearful and wretched ex
ample? I was longer a slave and servant to the world, and the corruptions of it, than you have been, and therefore could hardly be drawn from it. I had many calls, and answered some of them slowly, thinking a soft pace fast enough to come to Christ, and myself forward enough when I saw the end of my journey, though I arrived not at it; and therefore I have been, by God's providence, violently pulled, hauled, and dragged to the marriage feast, as the world hath seen. It was just with God to afflict me in this world, that he might give me joy in another. I had too much knowledge when I performed too little obedience, and was therefore to be beaten with double stripes: God grant your lordship may feel the comfort I now enjoy in my unfeigned conversion, but that you may never feel the torments I have suffered for my too long delaying it. I had none but divines to call upon me, to whom I said, if my ambition could have entered into their narrow hearts, they would not have been so humble; or if my delights had been tasted by them, they could not have been so precise; but your lordship hath one to call upon you, that knows what it is you now enjoy, and what the greatest fruit and end is of all the contentments that this world can afford. Think, therefore, dear Earl, that I have staked and buoyed all the ways of pleasure to you, and left them as sea marks for you to keep the channel of religious virtue; for shut your eyes never so long, they must be open at last; and then you must say with me, there is no peace to the wicked.
I will make a covenant with my soul, not to suffer my eyes to sleep in the night, nor my thoughts to attend the first business of the day, till I have prayed to my God, that your lordship may believe and make profit of this plain, but faithful admonition; and then I know your country and friends shall be happy in you,
and yourself successful in all you take in hand; which shall be an unspeakable comfort to
Your lordship's cousin,
FOR THE MIRROR OF TASTE. If there be a man of natural plain common sense and ordinary experience, who thinks more highly of the fair sex than I do, I would willingly forego my own opinions and adopt his; yet my observation, which has not been either short or inattentive, has convinced me that with them, as much as with us coarse, selfish males, “the age of chivalry is past”—That though deeply read in novels, they are not, like the dames of Arcadia, altogether insensible to the value of pecuniary arithmetic; that a coach, or even a gig with trimmings, can strike deeper into their hearts than the sharpest arrow which wit and passion ever pointed for Cupid; and that a richly hung suit of rooms has ten thousand times more picturesque beauty, in their eyes, than the most beautiful landscape of love that ever employed the fancy of Petrarch; and the fiddletwang and board-banging of a ball more charms for their ear, than the songs of all the birds that ever mixed their sweet warblings with the purling of that stream which flowed through the valley of Vaucleuse. An incident somewhat illustrative of this, which, some years ago, embittered the life of a valuable friend of mine, now dead, occurred to my memory a few nights ago, upon accidentally opening a book in which his name was written; and my friendships being rather warm, and my imagination little less so, my resentment kindled as I gave loose to fancy-The whole of my amiable friend's fortune rushed upon my imagination—his heart lay once more revealed to my mind's eye, and I ruminated in sadness on his fate. Two passions divided his soul—Love and Ambition—and he was pure in both.-He idolized a girl of great beauty, and he idolized glory—he pursued them in war and in politics, and found them shadows. Luxury and vanity had poisoned the very source of feeling in the one—corruption, intrigue, envy and deceit baffled him in the other; and he fell a victim to his virtues and sensibility, just as he was entering on the summer time of life. In no very good humour with the world—even with the sweet sex itself, and grieving at the vanity of human hopes and wishes, I went to bed; and when, after tossing and sighing for an hour or two, I had, as my beloved Shakspeare says, “shaken off this mortal coil,” I was visited by my spleen and regret with the following dream. I thought myself at the entrance of a spacious plain, whose farVol. IV. 3 I,