« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
father would not see him, and had ordered him to be put out of his house.
My mother is won over to my side, but dares not mention me to my father, for fear of provoking him. About a month ago he lay sick upon his bed, and in great danger of his life: I was pierced to the heart at the news, and could not forbear going to inquire after his health. My mother took this opportunity of speaking in my behalf: she told him, with abundance of tears, that I was come to see him, that I could not speak to her for weeping, and that I should certainly break my heart if he refused at that time to give me his blessing, and be reconciled to me. He was so far from relenting towards me, that he bid her speak no more of me, unless she had a mind to disturb him in his last moments; for, Sir, you must know that he has the reputation of an honest and religious nian, which makes my misfortune so much the greater. God be thanked ! he has since recovered: but his severe usage has given me such a blow, that I shall soon sink under it, unless I
may be relieved by any impressions which the reading of this in your paper may
Of all hardnesses of heart there is none so inexcusable as that of parents towards their children. An obstinate, inflexible, unforgiving, temper, is odious upon all occasions; but here it is unnatural. The love, tenderness, and compassion, which are apt to arise in us towards those who depend upon us, is that by which the whole world of life is upheld. The Supreme Being, by the transcendent excellency and goodness of his nature, extends his mercy towards all his works; and, because his creatures have not such a spontaneous benevolence and compassion towards those who are under their care and protection, he has implanted in them an instinct that supplies
the place of this inherent goodness. I have illustrated this
kind of instinct in former papers, and have shown how it runs through all the species of brute creatures as indeed the whole animal creation subsists by it.
This instinct in man is more general and uncir. cumscribed than in brutes, as being enlarged by the dictates of reason and duty. For if we consider ourselves attentively, we shall find that we are not only inclined to love those who descend from us, but that we bear a kind of groene, or natural affection, to every thing which relies upon us for its good and preservation. Dependance is a perpetual call upon humanity, and a greater incitement to tenderness and pity, than any other motive whatsoever.
The man, therefore, who, notwithstanding any passion or resentment, can overcome this powerful ine stinct, and extinguish natural affection, debases his mind even below brutality; frustrates, as much as in him lies, the great design of Providence, and strikes out of his nature one of the most divine principles that is planted in it.
Among innumerable arguments which might be brought against such an unreasonable proceeding, I shall only insist on one. We make it the condition of our forgiveness that we forgive others. In our very prayers we desire no more than to be treated by this kind of retaliation. The case, there. fore, before us seems to be what they call “a case in point: the relation between the child and father being what comes nearest to that between a creature and its Creator. If the father is inexorable to the child who has offended, let the offence be of never so high a nature, how will he address himself to the Supreme Being, under the tender appellation of a Father, and desire of him such a forgiveness as he himself refuses to grant.
To this I might add many other religious, as well
as many prudential, considerations; but if the last mentioned motive does not prevail, I despair of succeeding by any other; and shall therefore conclude my paper with a very remarkable story, which is recorded in an old chronicle published by Freher, among the writers of the German history,
Eginhart, who was secretary to Charles the Great, became exceeding popular by his behaviour in that post. His great abilities gained him the favour of his master, and the esteem of the whole Court. Imma, the daughter of the emperor, was so pleased with his person and conversation, that she fell in love with him. As she was one of the greatest beauties of the age, Eginhart answered her with a more than equal return of passion. They stifled their flames for some time, under apprehension of the fatal consequences that might ensue. Eginhart at length resolving to hazard all, rather than live deprived of one whom bis heart was so much set upon, conveyed himself one night into the princess's apartment, and, knocking gently at the door, was admitted as a person who had something to communicate to her from the emperor. He was with her in private most part of the night; but upon his preparing to go away about break of day, he observed that there had fallen a great snow during his stay with the princess. This very much perplexed him, lest the prints of his feet in the snow might make discoveries to the king, who often used to visit his daughter in the morning. He acquainted the Princess Imma with his fears; who, after some consultations upon the matter, prevailed upon him to let her carry
him through the snow upon her own shoulders. It happened, that the emperor not being able to sleep, was at that time up and walking in his chamber, when upon looking through the window, he perceived his daughter tottering under her burden, and carrying
his first minister across the snow ; which she had no sooner done, but she returned again with the utmost speed to her own apartment. The emperor was extremely troubled and astonished at this accident; but resolved to speak nothing of it till a proper opportunity. In the mean time, Eginhart, knowing that what he had done could not be long a secret, determined to retire from Court; and in order to it begged the emperor that he would be pleased to dismiss him, pretending a kind of discontent at his not having been rewarded for his long services. The emperor would not give a direct answer to his petition, but told him he would think of it, and appointed a certain day when he would let him know his pleasure. He then called together the most faithful of his counsellors, and acquainting them with his secretary's crime, asked them their advice in so delicate an 'affair. They most of them gave their opinion, that the person could not be too severely punished, who had thus dishonoured his master. Upon the whole debate, the emperor declared it was his opinion, that Eginhart's punishment would rather increase than diminish the shame of his family, and that therefore he thought it the most advisable to wear out the memory of the fact, by marrying him to his daughter. Accordingly Eginhart was called in, and acquainted by the Emperor, that he should no longer have any pretence of complaining his services were not rewarded, for that the Princess Imma should be given him in marriage, with a dower suitable to her quality; which was soon after performed accordingly
No. 182. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 1711.
Plus aloës quàm mellis habet.
JUV, SAT. vi, 180,
As all parts of human life come under my
observation, my reader must not make uncharitable inferences from my speaking knowingly of that sort of crime which is at present treated of. He will, I hope, suppose I know it only from the letters of correspondents, two of which you shall have as follow:
“ MR. SPECTATOR, “ It is wonderful to me, that, among the
many enormities which
you have treated of, you have not mentioned that of wenching, and particularly the insnaring part. I mean that it is a thing very fit for your pen, to expose the villany of the practice of deluding women. You are to know, sir, that I myself am a woman who have been one of the unhappy that have fallen into this misfortune, and that by the insinuation of a very worthless fellow, who served
others in the same manner, both before my ruin, and since that time. I had, as soon as the rascal left me, so much indignation and resolution, as not to go upon the town, as the phrase is, but took to work for my living in an obscure place, out of the knowledge of all with whom I was before acquainted.
“ It is the ordinary practice and business of life with a set of idle fellows about this town, to write