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MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 1711.
“ Irrupta tenet copula
HOR. I OD. xiii. 18. " Whom love's unbroken bond unites.”
LETTERS FROM A HUSBAND TO HIS WIFE.
THE following letters being genuine, and the images of a worthy passion, I am willing to give the old lady's admonition to myself, and the representation of her own happiness, a place in my writings.
August 9, 1711. MR. SPECTATOR, "I am now in the sixty-seventh year
my age, and read you with approbation ; but methinks you do not strike at the root of the greatest evil in life, which is the false notion of gallantry in love. It is, and has long been, upon a very ill foot; but I who have been a wife forty years, and was bred in a way that has made me ever since very happy, see through the folly of it. In a word, Sir, when I was a young woman, all who avoided the vices of the age, were very carefully educated, and all fantastical objects were turned out of our sight. The tapestry-hangings, with the great and vene-' rable simplicity of the scripture tories, had better effects than now the loves of Venus and Adonis, or Bacchus and ARIADNE, in your fine present prints. The gentleman I am married to, made love to me in rapture, but it was the rapture of a Christian and a man of hom nour, not a romantic hero or a whining coxcomb. This
put our life upon a right basis. To give you an idea of our regard one to another, I enclose to you several of his letters, written forty years ago, when my lover; and one writ the other day, after so many years cohabitation.
August 7, 1671. MADAM, “ Ir my vigilance, and ten thousand wishes for your welfare and repose, could have any force, you last night slept in security, and had every good angel in your attendance. To have my thoughts ever fixed on you, to live in constant fear of every accident to which human life is liable, and to send up my hourly prayers to avert them from you; I say, Madam, thus to think, and thus to suffer, is what I do for her who is in pain at my approach, and calls all my tender sorrow impertinence.You are now before my eyes, my eyes that are ready to flow with tenderness, but cannot give relief to my gushing heart, that dictates what I am now saying, and yearns to tell you all its achings. How art thou, oh my soul, stolen from thyself! how is all my attention brobooks are blank
friends intruders. I have no hope of quiet but from your pity. To grant it, would make more for your triumph. To give pain is the tyranny, to make happy the true empire of beauty. If you would consider aright, you would find an agreeable change in dismissing the attendance of a slave, to receive the complaisance of a companion. I bear the former in hopes of the latter condition. As I live in chains without murmuring at the power which inflicts them, so I could enjoy freedom without forgetting the mercy that gave it.
Madam, I am
• Though I made him no declarations in his favour, you see he had hopes of me when he wrote this in the month following
September 3, 1671. MADAM, “ BEFORE the light this morning dawn'd upon the earth I awak'd, and lay in expectation of its return, not that it could give any new sense of joy to me, but as I hop'd it would bless you with its chearful face, after a quiet which I wish'd you last night. If my prayers are heard, the day appeared with all the influence of a merciful Creator upon your person and actions. Let others, my lovely charmer, talk of a blind being that disposes their hearts, I contemn their low images of love. I have not a thought which relates to you, that I cannot with confidence beseech the All-seeing Power to bless me in. May Ile direct you in all your steps, and reward your innocence, your sanctity of manners, your prudent youth, and becoming piety, with the continuance of his grace and protection. This is an unusual language to ladies; but you have a mind elevated above the giddy notions of a sex insnared by flattery, and misled by a false and short adoration into a solid and long contempt. Beauty, my fairest creature, paits in the possession, but I love also your mind: your soul is as dear to me as my own; and if the advantages of auberal educat:on, some knowledge and as much contempt of the world, jo.ned with the endeavours towards a life of strict vise and rel., 17), can qualify me to 12. Je ter ideas in a breast so wel de pos’d as yours is, of days w.1 pass away with 15; and old age, instead of introd.ic.cz, mea:choy p?r spects of decay, gre ope of eternal yaaa. a 5e. ter life. I bare bsf sites from the 6.90 employment is ***, ad 401 i te toner what? karewriten, thertore beses sa gou o parica the
first hints of my mind, which I have express’d in so
I am, dearest creature,
Most devoted servant.”
September 25, 1671. MADAM, “ It is the hardest thing in the world to be in love, and yet attend business. As for me, all that speak to me find me out, and I must lock myself up, or other people will do it for me. A gentleman asked me this morning, what news from Holland, and I answered, she is exquisitely handsome. Another desired to kuow when I had been last at Windsor, I replied, She designs to go with me. Pr’ythee, allow me at least to kiss your hand before the appointed day, that my mind may be in some composure. Methinks I could write a volume to you, but all the language on earth would fail in saying how much, and with what disinterested passion,
I ain ever yours.”
September 30, 1671.
Seven in the morning.
Madam, your most faithful,
Most obedient humble servant."
“He was, when he wrote the following letter, as agreeable and pleasant a man as any in England.
O&tober 20, 1671. MADAM, “ I BEG pardon that my paper is not finer, but I am forced to write from a coffee-house where I am attending about business. There is a dirty croud of busy faces all around me talking of money, while all my ambition, all my wealth, is love : love, which animates my heart, sweetens my humour, enlarges my soul, and affects every action of my life. It is to my lovely charmer I owe that many noble ideas are continually affixed to my words and actions: it is the natural effect of that generous passion to create in the admirers some similitude of the object admired; thus my dear, am I every day to improve from so sweet a companion. Look up, my fair one, to that Heaven which made thee such, and join with me to implore its influence on our tender innocent hours, and beseech the Author of Love to bless the rites he has ordained, and mingle with our happiness a just sense of our transient condition, and resignation to his will, which only can regulate our minds to a steady endeavour to please him and each other.
I am for ever your faithful servant,”
“I will not trouble you with more letters at this time, but if you saw the poor withered hand which sends you these minutes, I am sure you will smile to think that there is one who is so gallant as to speak of it still as so welcome a present, after forty years possession of the woman whom he writes to.
June 23, 1711. MADAM, .“ I HEARTILY beg your pardon for my omission to write yesterday. It was no failure of my tender regard for you; but having been very much perplexed in my