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prehended that her husband could not fail to torment her inexpressibly; quoting the famous
passage from St. Basil, - instar bovis cui cornua sunt abscissa, imaginem impetus facere, incredibilem vesaniam spirando.” After much other reasoning on her unhappy situation, they concluded, that as the matrimonial ceremony had been profaned by this union, it was necessary to dissolve it immediately.
I apprehend, that the communication of the case must have operated in some very sudden and extraordinary manner on the faculty of Strasburg, so much agitation and wonder do they express on coming at the knowledge of such a scandal, which they say,
“ cannot be tolerated, or approved, or defended.” While they wished to weep tears of blood over the indiscretion of those who had permitted this union (always saving his Electoral Highness) they could not avoid testifying the greatest horror against the lady's desire to live with her husband; it was, they said, a mortal sin.
So extreme was the agony and perturba
. tion of the Strasburg doctors, that I could not help suspecting their consultation had been held in the most dangerous part of a hot autumn; but, on referring to the date, I find it took place in November, 1667.
Finally, they exclaimed that if the young couple persisted in their refusal to separate, they ought to be banished from a land of piety; and that severe punishments should be inflicted on Madame de Lichtwer, and those relations who had encouraged so damnable a connection.
The matter worked more gently with the faculty of Jena. They made some allowances for the strength of attachment which the parties displayed, and appeared to experience some faint touches of humanity. They thought, however, that as the only excusable motive which could induce Sorlisi to marry at all must be the desire of society, he would have acted more properly, if he had taken unto himself some quiet old woman to manage his family. And for divers other reasons, which they reckoned very solid, it was their opinion that a separation should take place.
The faculty of Kænigsberg, proceeding on the principle, volenti non fit injuria, thought that great regard should be had to the contentment expressed by the lady, although they were not quite satisfied with the affair. They put a very subtle case, in which they imagined that even the Pope must permit an union of this kind : “ sc. si maritus quidam a barbaris castratur et abhinc mulieri suæ cohabitare et carnaliter, ut ante, se miscere voluerit.” And upon the whole they concluded, that the marriage should be deemed valid, and the parties readmitted to all religious privileges.
I am most pleased with the decision of the faculty of Gripswald: they opined, that as the lady had got into the scrape with her eyes open, they might suffer her to take the consequences without danger to their own souls; and that as she had been encouraged by her mother and several friends in her at
tachment to Sorlisi, it did not quite amount to a mortal transgression.
While these huge bodies of divinity thundered forth their decrees, a shoal of small writers skirmished on both sides. The noise of the contest occupied the attention of all Dresden.
One Dr. Bulæus, on the part of the Sor. lisis, proved in form, that there was nothing so very scandalous and alarming as had been represented, in their marriage. He shewed, with great modesty, that excepting the certain
prospect of sterility, they had no peculiar cause of dissatisfaction, and that other matches, equally objectionable in that respect, were often concluded between
persons of very unequal ages. He also shrewdly observed, that no small scandal had been given, by the singular discussions in which their reverences had indulged; discussions which he considered as snares for their consciences, and not highly edifying to the public.
An examination of this paper immediate. ly appeared, by an anonymous writer, who remarked acutely enough, that the consent of the parties could not render a compact legal, which was illegal in its nature; he proceeded to shew syllogistically, that the lady had been blinded respecting certain circumstances, by the rank and fortune of Sorlisi, and that this match was certainly brought about by the Devil himself.—To strengthen his argument, he adds the curious story quoted by Dr. Warton, in his Essay on Pope, respecting the complaints of a matron against the barbarities of a certain Italian duke; adding, by way of inference, “ huic sané uxori-plus credendum, quam nostra Mariæ inexpertæ et nescienti quid distent æra lupinis.” He adds, that it would be harsh and uncivil to prefer the fancies of a raw girl, to the unanimous sentiments of an host of bearded civilians.