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should be told, 'tis like, that, were there no act of assembly in the case, the precepts of religion are violated by my transgressions. If mine is a religious offence, leave it to religious punishments. You have already excluded me from the comforts of your church communion. Is not that sufficient? You believe I have offended Heaven, and must suffer eternal fire: Will not that be sufficient? But how can it be believed that Heaven is angry at my having children, when, to the little done by me towards it, God has been pleased to add his divine skill and admirable workmanship in the formation of their bodies, and crowned it by furnishing them with rational and immortal souls ? Forgive me, gentlemen, if I talk a little extravagantly on these matters. I am no divine; but if you, gentlemen, must be making laws, take into your wise consideration the great and growing number of bachelors in the country, many of whom, from the mean fear of the expenses of a family, have never sincerely and honourably courted a woman in their lives. Is not theirs a greater offence against the public good than mine? Compel them, then, by law, either to marriage, or to pay double the fine. What must poor young women do, whom custom hath forbid to solicit the men, and who cannot force themselves upon husbands, when the laws take no care to provide them with any? Is not increase and multiply the first and great commandment of nature and of nature's God? and are those that contravene the law by human institutions not greater offenders than the mother of five fine children that now supplicates your mercy for having fulfilled its obligations? No, gentlemen ; though the king's statutes make me guilty of wrong against society, as it happens at present to be constituted, it is your duty, by obeying the natural feelings to which my poor estate and condition cannot but move you, at this time
to mitigate the rigour of those artificial penalties which I have unfortunately incurred.
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.
“I HAVE never been able to understand,” said the Bachelor one day, “ how it happens that Sir Philip Sidney enjoys so high a name in literature. He has done nothing to merit so much renown. His Arcadia is a sad namby-pamby affair; it scarcely shows even the promise of any masculine talent."
Certainly, if you judge of the merits of that celebrated favourite of his age by the Arcadia only, your opinion must be allowed to be just,” replied Egeria ;
66 but the Arcadia is not so mawkish a thing as you seem to consider it. Not only does it possess many literary beauties, but there is the spirit of a fine enthusiasm spread over it, breathing virtue and beneyolence; and in this respect it has not yet been excelled. I allow that the story lingers, and that the sentiments are rather long-winded; but, nevertheless, the melody of the style is sweet and pleasing, and nothing can exceed the charm of the disposition in which the subject seems to have been conceived.
“ The conversation in which Pyrocles describes to Musidorus the pleasures of the solitude to which he had retired is full of delightful poetry.”
*« Eagles,” says he, we see, fly alone, and they are but sheep which always herd together : condemn not therefore my mind sometimes to enjoy itself; nor blame the taking of such times as serve most fit for it. And, alas ! dear Musidorus, if I be sad, who knows better than
you the just causes I have of sadness? And here Pyrocles suddenly stopped, like a man unsatisfied in himself, though his wit might well have served to have satisfied another. And so looking with a countenance as though he desired he should know his mind without hearing him speak, and yet desirous to speak, to breathe out some part of his inward evil, sending again new blood to his face, he continued his speech in this manner : and, Lord (dear cousin, said he), doth not the pleasantness of this place carry in itself sufficient reward for
any time lost in it? Do you not see how all things conspire together to make this country a heavenly dwelling? Do you not see the grass, how in colour they excel the emeralds, every one striving to pass his fellow, and yet they are all kept of an equal height? And see you not the rest of these beautiful flowers, each of which would require a man's wit to know, and his life to express? Do not these stately trees seem to maintain their flourishing old age with the only happiness of their seat, being clothed with a continual spring, because no beauty here should ever fade ? Doth not the air breathe health, which the birds (delightful both to ear and eye) do daily solemnize with the sweet consent of their voices? Is not every echo there of a perfect music; and these fresh and delightful brooks, how slowly they slide away, as loth to leave the company of so many things united in perfection, and with how sweet a murmur they lament their forced departure? Certainly, certainly, cousin, it must needs be that some goddess inhabiteth this region, who is the soul of this soil; for neither is any less than a goddess worthy to be shrined in such a heap of pleasures, nor any less than a goddess could have made it so perfect a plot of the celestial dwellings."
“ The prayer of Pamela, under the afflictions which she suffered from Cecropia, is not only a splendid specimen of elevated composition, but in the sentiment reaches the sublime."
“O All-seeing Light and Eternal Life of all things, to whom nothing is either so great that it may resist, or 80 small that it is contemned ; look upon my misery with thine eye of mercy, and let thine infinite power vouchsafe to limit out some proportion of deliverance unto me, as to thee shall seem most convenient. Let not injury, O Lord, triumph over me, and let my faults by thy hand be corrected, and make not mine unjust enemy the minister of thy justice. But yet, my God, if in thy wisdom this be the aptest chastisement for my unexcusable folly ; if this low bondage be fittest for my over-high desires; if the pride of my not enough humble heart be thus to be broken ; O Lord, I yield unto thy will, and joyfully embrace what sorrow thou wilt have me suffer. Only thus much let me crave of thee (let my craving, O Lord, be accepted of thee, since even that proceeds from thee, let me crave, even by the noblest title, which in my greatest affliction I may give myself, that I am thy creature, and by thy goodness (which is thyself) that thou wilt suffer some beam of thy Majesty so to shine into my mind, that it may still depend confidently on thee. Let calamity be the exercise, but not the overthrow, of my virtue: let their power prevail, but prevail not to destruction: let my greatness be their prey: let my pain be the sweetness, of their revenge: let them (if so seem good unto thee) vex me with more and more punishment: but, O Lord,
let never their wickedness have such a hand, but that I may carry a pure mind in a pure body.”
SIR WALTER RALEIGH..
“ Last night,” said the Bachelor, “ you were speaking in commendation of Sidney's Arcadia ; I have since thought it somewhat remarkable, that although all scholars, well read in English authors, regard the writers of Queen Elizabeth's age as the master-minds of the language, few of their works have of late years been reprinted.
“ It is certainly remarkable,” replied the Lady; “ for, with the exception of Bacon's Essays,
I scarcely recollect any of the little works of that period which have been republished in our time ; but his, you will say, belong rather to the age of her successor James. It
but his mind was formed in the same circumstances which inspired the genius of Shakspeare. I wonder, indeed, that nobody has thought of bringing out a new edition of Sir Walter Raleigh's Remains,'-a work which, in many respects, deserves to stand by the side of Bacon's Essays. It is the private thoughts, if I may the term, of a very great man ; one who had examined the world with a sharp eye, and whose mind was rich in observations and experience. He was, undoubtedly, a man of much wisdom, though it may