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MARRIED LIFE. .
In wedlock when the sexes meet,
Nuptial Love is the warm, but sincere and steady affection of a virtuous heart, seeking its happiness in that high and honourable union which was appointed by God in Paradise.
This species of Love captivates the soul by such irresistible powers, is surrounded by such an assemblage of persuasive charms, comes recommended by such rational and satisfactory motives, and is capable of filling the bosom with such transcendent and refined delight, that few men are to be found who avoid it. It is the true Promethean fire, which heaven, in its kindness to the sons of men, has suffered to animate the human breast, and lead it to felicity.
This is the love that ties the nuptial knot,
Gains an ascendant o'er their virtuous minds. No cord or cable can draw so forcibly, nor bind so fast, as this charming passion can, with its single thread. When formed on just and rational principles, it possesses the virtues of adamant, and leads to an inexhaustible source of increasing pleasure. Under
the sanction of wedlock, fellowship is perfect and complete. The husband governs his willing consort by his superior understanding and knowledge in the affairs of life; whilst she commands his heart by the influence of her charms. He is her kind protector; she, his only joy and comfort. As they are of one flesh, so they have but one mind. Geryon like, they have one heart in two bodies. She is (as Plutarch says) a beautiful mirror, to reflect her husband's face and temper; for if he be pleasant, she will be merry; when he laughs, she will sinile; and when he is sad, her heart will participate in his dejection, and ease him of half his sorrow. As the bride saluted the bridegroom of old in Rome, she continually exclaims, “Be you still Caius, and I will for ever be your Caia.” It is, indeed, a happy state, as Solomon observes, “when the fountain is blessed, and the husband rejoices with the wife of his youth; when she is to him as the loving hind, and the pleasant roe; and he is always ravished with her love." There is, under such circumstances, something in woman beyond all human delight. She possesses a magnetic virtue, a quality that charms, a secret attraction, and most irresistible power. No earthly happiness can be compared to that which results from the possession of an amiable and virtuous wife.
The following observations from Necker, respecting the preference of a wife to a mistress, are recom mended to the consideration of young men of for tune:"A man of the most barren mind can always find topics of conversation with his wife, so numerous are the subjects of common interest between them. Much more intelligence is necessary, much more imagination, in the habitual intercourse with a mistress. Women of the world, more especially, cannot attend to any ideas but such as are half playful; nothing belongs to them; and when they discover any thing like traces of reason, they think they discover an enemy. This reflection, in favour of marriage, ought to increase the number of its partisans
in large towns, where so many people, embarrassed in the midst of society, take a mistress, for the ease of their lives, and the convenience of their minds."
O come, ye chaste and fair, come, old and young,
From the sweet fountain of connubial love; and, like Seneca with his Paulina, Abraham with Sarah, Orpheus with Euridice, Arria with Pætus, Artemisia with Mausoleus, and Rubenius Celer with his lovely Ennea, live in uninterrupted felicity and increasing happiness.
When love is formed on virtuous principles, its effects and consequences are ever pleasurable and delightful :
Let wisdom boast her mighty powers
With passion still at strife,
The sweet perfume of life.
When quite becalm'd we lie;
And sparkle in the eye;
And drives the shades away;
And makes a brighter day. Goodness is the fairest spring, and purest fountain, of conjugal affection; and from this source flow all those graces which so eminently adorn female beauty, whether of person or of mind. Beauty, indeed, under any circumstance, shines with such vivid lustre, as to excite involuntary admiration ; but love will seldom succeed, unless goodness and virtue accompany her charms; for our ideas of good and fair cannot easily be separated. As amber attracts a straw, so does beauty admiration, but it only lasts while the warmth continues: virtue, wisdom, goodness, and real worth, on the other hand, like the loadstone, never lose their power. These are the true graces,
which, as Homer feigns, are linked and tied hand in hand, because it is by their influence that human hearts are so firmly united to each other.
In the choice of a wife, a man should proceed with cautious steps. He should take particular care that she be of honest and respectable parents; that she possess not only equality of years, congeniality of temper, uniformity of sentiment, and mutuality of affection, but, above all, a combined fondness and reverence for virtue and religion. He should solicitously observe her qualities and behaviour! and even when he is assured of them, how cautious should he be, not to prefer birth, fortune, or beauty, before a virtuous education, and a good condition! The youthful beauties of Italy soon procure husbands; but those who have the misfortune to be ugly or deformed, change their lovely names of Lucia, Cynthia, Camæna, for the more homely appellations of Dorothy, Ursula, and Bridget, and put themselves, even at an early age, into the seclusions of the nunnery, as if no women were fit for marriage, but such as are eminently fair. This custom is founded on an erroneous and cruel principle; for the experience of the more northern climates proves, that a modest, moral, welleducated, and sensible girl, is more desirable as a wife, and will prove a more rational and comfortable companion, than her aspiring and more beautiful, but less worthy and meritorious, sister. The temple of Cassandra, the celebrated Italian sanctuary for deformed maids, is more likely to furnish a good wife, than the temple of Venus itself. A woman who has little reason to be vain of her personal charms, is, in general, diffident in her manners, decent in her attire, attached to her domestic duties, and in every way studious to make home comfortable, her husband happy, and herself respected.
But beauty is generally blazing forth in all the extravagancies of dress and fashion, anxiously seeking for the accustomed tribute of adulation; ever going, like Dinah of old,“ to see the daughters of the land," and possibly meeting with a Hivite to despoil her
of her charms; for a woman who is addicted to rambling, is considered, like an outflying deer, to be a common prey. Of such a wife, every husband must be unavoidably jealous, and of course miserable ; until contempt takes the place of regret, and callous indifference succeeds to attachment.
“That woman is best, (says Thucydides,) who is least talked of abroad; for if she be a noted reveller, gadder, singer, pranker or dancer, let him take heed.” A wife, therefore, to win the esteem and secure the kindness of a husband, must not only be modest, affable, goodnatured, frugal, sober, thrifty and circumspect, but, above all, silent and domestic. A fondness for home, and a discreet exercise of that noble organ the tongue, are said, by an ancient writer, to be the most important excellencies of the female character. Phidias, the celebrated painter of Elis, represented Venus treading on the back of a tortoise, to signify how necessary it was that beauty should be silent and recluse.
Silence is, indeed, at proper times, a most important virtue in a wife. A husband has no right to provoke her; on the contrary, he ought to treat her with the tenderest regard, and the kindest attention; but if disposed to exercise any supposed prerogative, or evince a surly and impatient temper, he is much more likely to be conquered by submission, than by opposition and resistance. Gentleness and silence not unfrequently lead those stubborn guests, Anger and Authority, by the nose, and ultimately secure them with the collar of obedience, and the muzzle of restraint: roughness and independence generally add vigour to the fury which they attempt to subdue. If a husband swerve occasionally into intemperate violence, it is “the falconer's gentle voice must lure the tassel back again:" The tongue of real love is "silver sweet;" but if “fierce at contention, croaks till it is hoarse, and produces the angry jar of foul retort and aggravation.
Oh! blest with Temper, whose unclouded ray