Sivut kuvina
[blocks in formation]

aim of all our pursuits. If we are firmly resolved to live up to the dictates of reason, without any regard to wealth, reputation, or the like considerations, any more than as they fall in with our principal design, we may go through life with steadiness and pleasure; but if we act by several broken views, and will not only be virtuous, but wealthy, popular, and every thing that has a value set upon it by the world, we shall live and die in misery and repentance.

One would take more than ordinary care to guard one's self 10 against this particular imperfection, because it is that which our

nature very strongly inclines us to; for if we examine ourselves thoroughly, we shall find that we are the most changeable beings in the universe. In respect of our understanding, we often embrace and reject the very same opinions; whereas beings above and beneath us have probably no opinions at all, or at least no wavering and uncertainties in those they have. Our superiors are guided by intuition, and our inferiors by instinct. In respect of our wills, we fall into crimes and recover out of them, are

amiable or odious in the eyes of our great Judge, and pass our 20 whole life in offending and asking pardon. On the contrary, the

beings underneath us are not capable of sinning, nor those above us of repenting. The one is out of the possibilities of duty, and the other fixed in an eternal course of sin, or an eternal course of virtue.

There is scarce a state of life, or stage in it, which does not produce changes and revolutions in the mind of man. Our schemes of thought in infancy are lost in those of youth; these too take a different turn in manhood, till old age often leads us

back into our former infancy. A new title or an unexpected 30 success throws us out of ourselves, and in a manner destroys our identity.

A cloudy day, or a little sun-shine, have as great an influence on many constitutions, as the most real blessings or misfortunes.

A dream varies our being, and changes our condition while it lasts; and every passion, not to mention health and sickness, and the greater alterations in body and mind, makes us appear almost different creatures. If a man is distinguished among other beings by this infirmity, what can we think of such as make themselves remarkable for it even among

their own species ? It is a very trifling character to be one of 40 the most variable beings of the most variable kind, especially if

[ocr errors]

we consider that He who is the great standard of perfection has in him no shadow of change, but is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

As this mutability of temper and inconsistency with ourselves is the greatest weakness of human nature, so it makes the person who is remarkable for it in a very particular manner more ridiculous than any other infirmity whatsoever, as it sets him in a greater variety of foolish lights, and distinguishes him

from himself by an opposition of party-coloured characters. 10 The most humorous character in Horace is founded upon this

unevenness of temper and irregularity of conduct.


[ocr errors]

Instead of translating this passage in Horace, I shall entertain my English reader with the description of a parallel character, that is wonderfully well finished by Mr. Dryden , and raised upon the same foundation.


In the first rank of these did Zimri stand:
A man so various, that he seem'd to be
Not one, but all mankind's epitome.
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong ;
Was every thing by starts and nothing long :
But, in the course of one revolving moon,
Was chymist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon:
Then all for women, painting, rhiming, drinking;
Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking.
Blest madman, who could every hour employ,
With something new to wish, or to enjoy !-C.

No. 170. On Jealousy; an ardent love its source; classes of men most subject to it.

In amore hæc omnia insunt vitia : injuriæ,
Suspiciones, inimicitiæ, induciæ,
Bellum, pax rursum.

TER. Eun, act 1. sc. I. All these inconveniences are incident to love : reproaches, jealousies, quarrels, reconcilements, war and then peace.

Upon looking over the letters of my female correspondents, I find several from women complaining of jealous husbands,

and at the same time protesting their own innocence; and 30 desiring my advice on this occasion. I shall therefore take

[blocks in formation]

this subject into my consideration; and the more willingly, because I find that the Marquis of Halifax 9, who, in his Advice to a daughter, has instructed a wife how to behave herself towards a false, an intemperate, a choleric, a sullen, a covetous, or a silly husband, has not spoken one word of a jealous husband.

JEALOUSY is that pain which a man feels from the apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the person whom he intirely loves. Now because our inward passions and inclinations can

never make themselves visible, it is impossible for a jealous man 10 to be thoroughly cured of his suspicions. His thoughts hang at

best in a state of doubtfulness and uncertainty ; and are never capable of receiving any satisfaction on the advantageous side; so that his inquiries are most successful when they discover nothing: his pleasure arises from his disappointments, and his life is spent in pursuit of a secret that destroys his happiness if he chance to find it.

An ardent love is always a strong ingredient in this passion; for the same affection which stirs up the jealous man's desires,

and gives the party beloved so beautiful a figure in his imagina20 tion, makes him believe she kindles the same passion in others,

and appears as amiable to all beholders. And as jealousy thus arises from an extraordinary love, it is of so delicate a nature, that it scorns to take up with any thing less than an equal return of love. Not the warmest expressions of affection, the softest and most tender hypocrisy, are able to give any satisfaction, where we are not persuaded that the affection is real, and the satisfaction mutual. For the jealous man wishes himself a kind of deity to the person he loves : he would be the only pleasure

of her senses, the employment of her thoughts; and is angry at 30 every thing she admires, or takes delight in, besides himself.

Phædria’s request to his mistress, upon his leaving her for three days, is inimitably beautiful and natural :

Cum milite isto præsens, absens ut sies :
Dies noctesque me ames : me desideres :
Me somnies : me expectes, de me cogites :
Me speres : me te oblectes : mecum tota sis :
Meus fac sis postremo animus, quando ego sum tuus.

TER. Eun. act I. sc. 2.

* When you are in company with that soldier, behave as if you were absent: but continue to love me by day and by night: want me; dream of me; expect me; think of me; wish for me; delight in me; be wholly with me; in short, be my very soul, as I am yours.'

The jealous man's disease is of so malignant a nature, that it converts all it takes into its own nourishment. A cool behaviour sets him on the rack, and is interpreted as an instance of aversion or indifference; a fond one raises his suspicions, and looks too much like dissimulation and artifice. If the

person he loves be chearful, her thoughts must be employed on 10 another; and if sad, she is certainly thinking on himself. In

short, there is no word or gesture so insignificant, but it gives him new hints, feeds his suspicions, and furnishes him with fresh matters of discovery: so that if we consider the effects of this passion, one would rather think it proceeded from an inveterate hatred, than an excessive love; for certainly none can meet with more disquietude and uneasiness than a suspected wife, if we except the jealous husband.

But the great unhappiness of this passion is, that it naturally tends to alienate the affection which it is so solicitous to engross; 20 and that for these two reasons, because it lays too great a

constraint on the words and actions of the suspected person, and at the same time shews you have no honourable opinion of her; both of which are strong motives to aversion.

Nor is this the worst effect of jealousy; for it often draws after it a more fatal train of consequences, and makes the person you suspect guilty of the very crimes you are so much afraid of. It is very natural for such who are treated ill and upbraided falsely, to find out an intimate friend that will hear their com

plaints, condole their sufferings, and endeavour to sooth and 30 assuage their secret resentments. Besides, jealousy puts a

woman often in mind of an ill thing that she would not otherwise perhaps have thought of, and fills her imagination with such an unlucky idea, as in time grows familiar, excites desire, and loses all the shame and horror which might at first attend it. Nor is it a wonder if she who suffers wrongfully in a man's opinion of her, and has therefore nothing to forfeit in his esteem, resolves to give him reason for his suspicions, and to enjoy the pleasure of the crime, since she must undergo the

ignominy. Such probably were the considerations that directed 40 the wise man in his advice to husbands : Be not jealous over TEMPERS PRONE TO JEALOUSY,


the wife of thy bosom, and teach her not an evil lesson against thyself. Eccl. ix. 1.

And here, among the other torments which this passion produces, we may usually observe that none are greater mourners than jealous men, when the person who provoked their jealousy is taken from them. Then it is that their love breaks out furiously, and throws off all the mixtures of suspicion which choked and smothered it before. The beautiful parts of the

character rise uppermost in the jealous husband's memory, and 10 upbraid him with the ill usage of so divine a creature as was

once in his possession; whilst all the little imperfections, that were before so uneasy to him, wear off from his remembrance, and shew themselves no more.

We may see by what has been said, that jealousy takes the deepest root in men of amorous dispositions; and of these we may find three kinds who are most overrun with it.

The first are those who are conscious to themselves of an infirmity, whether it be weakness, old age, deformity, ignorance, or the like.

These men are so well acquainted with the un20 amiable part of themselves, that they have not the confidence

to think they are really beloved : and are so distrustful of their own merits, that all fondness towards them puts, them out of countenance, and looks like a jest upon their persons. They grow suspicious on their first looking in a glass, and are stung with jealousy at the sight of a wrinkle. A handsome fellow immediately alarms them, and every thing that looks young or gay turns their thoughts upon their wives.

A second sort of men, who are most liable to this passion, are those of cunning, wary, and distrustful tempers. It is a 30 fault very justly found in histories composed by politicians, that

they leave nothing to chance or humour, but are still for deriving every action from some plot and contrivance, for drawing up a perpetual scheme of causes or events, and preserving a constant correspondence between the camp and the council-table. And thus it happens in the affairs of love with men of too refined a thought. They put a construction on a look, and find out a design in a smile ; they give new senses and significations to words and actions; and are ever tormenting themselves with

fancies of their own raising. They generally act in a disguise 40 themselves, and therefore mistake all outward shows and appear

« EdellinenJatka »