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of honour to these two qualities, unless it be that each sex sets the greatest value on the qualification which renders them the most amiable in the eyes of the contrary sex. Had men chosen for themselves, without regard to the opinions of the fair sex, I should believe the choice would have fallen on wisdom or virtue; or had wonen determined their own point of honour, it is probable that wit or good-nature would have carried it against chastity.
Nothing recommends a man more to the female sex than courage; whether it be that they are pleased to see one who is a terror to others fall like a slave at their feet, or that this quality supplies their own principal defect, in guarding them from insults, and avenging their quarrels; or that courage is a natural indication of a strong and sprightly constitution. On the other side, nothing makes woman more esteemed by the opposite sex than chastity; whether it be that we always prize those most who are hardest to come at, or that nothing besides chastity with its collateral attendants, truth, fidelity, and constancy, gives the man a property in the person he loves, and consequently endears her to him above all things.
I am very much pleased with a passage in the inscription on a monument erected in Westminsterabbey to the late duke and duchess of Newcastle. • Her name was Margaret Lucas, youngest sister to the lord Lucas of Colchester; a noble family, for all the brothers were valiant, and all the sisters virtuous.'
In books of chivalry, where the point of honour is strained to madness, the whole story runs on chastity and courage. The damsel is mounted on a white palfrey, as an emblem of her innocence; and, to avoid scandal, must have a dwarf for her page. She
is not to think of a man, until some misfortune has brought a knight-errant to her relief. The knight falls in love, and, did not gratitude restrain her from murdering her deliverer, would die at her feet by her disdain. However, he must waste many years in the desert, before her virgin-heart can think of a surrender. The knight goes off, attacks every thing he meets that is bigger and stronger than himself, seeks all opportunities of being knocked on the head, and after seven years rambling returns to his mistress, whose chastity bas been attacked in the mean time by giants and tyrants, and undergone as many trials as her lover's valour.
In Spain, where there are still great remains of this romantic humour, it is a transporting favour for a lady to cast an accidental glance on her lover from a window, though it be two or three stories high; as it is usual for the lover to assert his passion for his mistress, in single combat with a mad bull.
The great violation of the point of honour from man to man, is giving the lie. One may tell another he whores, drinks, blasphemes, and it may pass unresented; but to say he lies, though but in jest, is an affront that nothing but blood can expiate. The reason perhaps may be, because no other vice implies a want of courage so much as the making of a lie; and therefore telling a man he lies, is touching him in the most sensible part of honour, and indirectly calling him coward. I cannot omit under this head what Herodotus tells us of the ancient Persians, that from the age of five years to twenty they instruct their sons only in three things, to manage the horse, to make use of the bow, and to speak truth.
The placing the point of honour in this false kind of courage, has given occasion to the very refuse of mankind, who have neither virtue nor common sense, to set up for men of honour. An English peer, who has not been long dead”, used to tell a pleasant story of a French gentleman that visited him early one morning at Paris, and, after great professions of respect, let him know that he had it in his power to oblige him; which, in short, amounted to this, that he believed he could tell his lordship the person's name who justled him as he came out from the opera; but before he would proceed, he begged his lordship, that he would not deny him the honour of making him his second. The English lord, to avoid being drawn into a very foolish affair, told him, he was under engagements for his two next duels to a couple of particular friends. Upon which the gentleman immediately withdrew, hoping his lordship would not take it ill if he meddled no farther in an affair from whence he himself was to receive no advantage.
The beating down this false notion of honour, in so vain and lively a people as those of France, is deservedly looked upon as one of the most glorious parts of their present king's reign. It is pity but the punishment of these mischievous notions should have in it some particular circumstances of shame and infamy:
that those who are slaves to them may see, that, instead of advancing their reputations, they lead them to ignominy and dishonour.
Death is not sufficient to deter men who make it their glory to despise it; but if every one that fought a duel were to stand in the pillory, it would quickly
? Thought to be William Cavendish, first Duke of Devonshire,
lessen the number of these imaginary men of honour, and put an end to so absurd a practice.
When honour is a support to virtuous principles, and runs parallel with the laws of God and our country, it cannot be too much cherished and encouraged: but when the dictates of honour are contrary to those of religion and equity, they are the greatest depravations of human nature, by giving wrong ambitions and false ideas of what is good and laudable; and should therefore be exploded by all governments, and driven out as the bane and plague of human society.
N° 100. MONDAY, JUNE 25, 1711.
HOR. 1 Sat. v. 44.
A man advanced in years, that thinks fit to look back upon his former life, and calls that only life which was passed with satisfaction and enjoyment, excluding all parts which were not pleasant to him, will find himself very young, if not in his infancy. Sickness, ill-humour, and idleness, will have robbed him of a great share of that space we ordinarily call our life. It is therefore the duty of every man that would be true to himself, to obtain, if possible, a disposition to be pleased, and place himself in a constant aptitude for the satisfactions of his Being. Instead of this, you hardly see a man who is not uneasy
in proportion to his advancement in the arts of life. An affected delicacy is the common improvement we meet with in those who pretend to be refined above others. They do not aim at true pleasures themselves, but turn their thoughts upon observing the false pleasures of other men. Such people are valetudinarians in society, and they should no more come into company than sick man should come into the air. If a man is too weak to bear what is a refreshment to men in health, he must still keep his chamber. When any one in Sir Roger's company complains he is out of order, he immediately calls for some posset-drink for him ; for which reason that sort of people who are ever bewailing their constitution in other places are the cheerfullest imaginable when he is present.
It is a wonderful thing that so many, and they not reckoned absurd, shall entertain those with whom they converse by giving them the history of their pains and aches; and imagine such narrations their quota of the conversation. This is of all other the meanest help to discourse; and a man must not think at all, or think himself very insignificant, when he finds an account of his head-ach answered by another's asking what news in the last mail? Mutual good-humour is a dress we ought to appear in whenever we meet, and we should make no mention of what concerns ourselves, without it be of matters wherein our friends ought to rejoice: but indeed there are crowds of people who put theinselves in no method of pleasing themselves or others; such are those whom we usually call indolent persons. Indolence is, methinks, an intermediate state between pleasure and pain, and very much unbecoming any part of our life after we are out of the nurse's arms. Such