Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

)

Compl. sets

- 2-37 33311

THE

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

AD MONITORY REFLECTIONS:
Addressed to the Fair Sex, and allusive to a beautiful FRONTISPIECE;

representing Innocence.
Bleft with that sweet fimplicity of thought
So rarely found, and never to be taught;
Of winning speech, endearing, artless, kind,
The loveliest pattern of a female mind;
Like some fair fpirit from the realms of rest
With all her native heaven within her breast;
So pure, so good, the scarce can guess at fin,
But thinks the world without like that within.

BARBA ULD. IT is observable, that among the va. (or, in other words, unaffected purity which, in their primary lignification, commonly means merely a harmless convey the noblest and most exalted and inoffensive character, and somefentiinent, are often, in common use, times, perhaps, a certain artesínefs of expressive of a very inferior and de- mind, blended with some degree of grading meaning. Thus innocence, weakness. Considered, however, with by which Milton would represent the respect to the female character, I blissful life of man before the fall, would still contemplate this exalted

that happieft life, virtue in its primeval sense, as exSimplicity and Spotless innocence,

preslive of every degree of excellence,

[ocr errors]

no ill

ven.

and, in particular, of that purity of that our modes of female education are mind, which is so spotless itself, that, not universally calculated to preserve as it is beautifully expressed in my that modesty, which is the guardian motto, it scarce can guess at sin ;' and protector of innocence, and, in a character, which Milton has given course, of all that is lovely and ento one of his celestial Beings, whom dearing in the sex. Perhaps, on the he makes too good to be fufpicious. contrary, they have a tendency to And oft though Wisdom wake, Suspicion furance, with that unblushing counte

form a certain confident ease and af sleeps At Wisdom's gate, and to Simplicity

nance, which bespeaks a want of fenResigns her charge, while Goodness thinks sibility, or a want of principle. "When

a girl ceases to bluth,' says Dr. Grea. Where no ill seems : which now for once gory, ' she has lost the most powerful beguilid

charm of beauty That extreme fenUriel, though regent of the sun, and held sibility which it indicates, may be a The Marpest-fighted spirit, of all in Hea- weakness and incumbrance in our sex,

as I have too often felt; but in yours The poet's defcription of Eve, when it is peculiarly engaging Pedants, Adam first beheld her,

who think themselves philosophers, Grace was in all her steps, Heav’n in her ask why a woman should blush when

she is conscious of no crime. It is a eye, In every gesture dignity and love, sufficient answer, that Nature has made

you to bluth when you are guilty of would have been but imperfectly beau- no fault, and has forced us to love tiful, had he not given her the charms, you because you do so. Blushing ftill more divinely feminine, of • in- is fo far from being necessarily an nocence and virgin modeity :'

attendant on guilt, that, it is the her heavenly form usual companion of innocence.' Angelic, but more foft and feminine To this, let me add the sentiment of Her graceful innocence.

the Poet of the Seasons, when he reTo preserve this innocence, while Britif)Fair, all our masculine iports

probates as utserly unbecoming the the youthful, mind is yet uncorrupted and masculine attire : by the contagion of vicious connexions and vicious manners, the greatest care In these they roughen to the senso, and all should be taken by parents, guardians, The winning futtness of th-ir tex is loft. or governeffes, to inculcate that mo In them 'tis graceful to diffolve at woe; deíty of deportment, which is not caly With every motion, every word, to wave fo natural and becoming, but fo effen- Quick o'er the kindling cheek the ready

blush. tial in the sex. Indeed, one of the chief beauties in a female character, The mode of educating young ladics is that modeft reserve, that retiring in our modern boarding schools, and delicacy, which avoids the public eye, the manner of introducing them into and is disconcerted even at the gaze polite life, among the more fafhionof admiration:

able classes of fociety, have been so • Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retired. repeatedly the subject of animadver

fion, that I shall take no notice of That confident ease, and unabashed them here. I hope, at least, that in counterance, to which too many young this country, no writer will ever have women have been accufomed, is not room for 10 universal and so fevere a only inexprefibly dilgusting, but may fatire as is contained in a French wri«. have a fatal influence on all their hap- ter's definition of the word Mocieste. piness in maturer life.

• To be modest,' he says, I am very apprehensive, however, merly the distinction of youth; but

y as for

modefty is now to be found only in lately become as common at the breakthe convent, where it is left to the ing up of the day-schools for girls, as nuns, and to the young women they they are, on the fame occafion, aeducate * '-What led me particularly mong the boys in our village acadeinto this train of thought, was a light mies. The latter, perhaps, may af. I beheld lately, which excited some ford fome pleasure to the spectator, very painful fenfations; as it appeared who, in the active bustle of the day, to me to affect the morals of the mid- - may perceive the promises of more dling and inferior classes of females, important action, when, in furure life, whole virtues are not cf less confe- they may have been rendered aseful quence to society at large, than if members of society, by the requisite they were educated to make a figure alternations of study and play, and a in the most splendid and fashionable proper preparatory introduction. But, circles. It was in one of the villages in the female fex, that modeft reserve, contiguous to the metropolis. A pro- which I have endeavoured to inculcate, cellion of young females appeared, is in danger of being lost, when young preceded from the age of fix to four- women can be brought to meet the teen, by a clarinet and French horn, public gaze with an unabashed counteand

many of them carrying flags, in nance. Whenever they are introduced which I could discover neither pro- into places of public refort, they should priety nor meaning. Of a few of the be taught 10 consider themselves as girls, the complexion and features merely present at some spectacle ; and were so beautiful, as to indicate, that, that dress and deportment should news when arrived at years of maturity, ver be permitted, which may lead they would unquestionably be fine wo- their tender minds to suppose that, inmen; but no delightful artlessness of stead of being the mere spectators of youthful innocence, no exquisite seníi- what is pasling, they themselves are bility of innate modefty, could I per- the spectacle. Every parent, I should ceive, to indicate, that, at a future suppose, will feel the sentiments which, period, they would be as much dif- I fear, I have but imperfeally extinguished for the virtues of the mind pressed; and not one, I trust, that as for the charms of person. Many considers the charms of uncontamiof them were fantastically dressed with nated innocence and unaffected mowreaths of Alowers on the head, and desty, will ever permit a daughter to their hair powdered and formed into appear in such an unbecoming procefa profufion of small curls ; and, instead fion. of being, as Milton so beautifully ex

I remember to have seen an excelpresses it, not obvious, not obtru- lent letter from a gentlewoman, wha üve,' these little heroines of the day, was so far reduced from a fate of af: so far from shrinking from the public fluence, as to be obliged to fend one gaze, could look at the spectators, of her daughters into the world in the not only with a confident ease and perilous situation of a lady's maid. I unabashed countenance, but with a will give a thort extract from it. After certain intrepidity of eye, not easily expatiating, for fyme time, on the to be imagined at their tender years. mileries that attend and follow what is

I find that such proceflions have called a life of pieafare, and the in

* Modeste. La jeunesse le fut autrefois ; mais la Modestie n'est plus qu'une vertu de couvent, qu'on laisse aux religieuses, et aux jeunes pensionnaires qu'elles elevent. Diet. Crit. Pittoresque, et Sentencieux, par M. de Caraccioli, 1768. Can there be a more dreadful picture of a whole nation degraded by profligacy? Where the fair sex is become so universally corrupted, that even the viriues which are more peculiarly feminine are conspelled to retire into the cloister, we may consider the mealiure of national iniquity as full, and we inay expect to behold all the varieties of guilt and misery in their invit horrid and disgusting forms.

in you

expressible blessings, which; on the fore that time. The greater part of contrary, are the concomitants of a what people call beauty, in your face, virtuous conduct, the thus proceeds: for initance, is owing to that air of

But is it not a charming thing to innocence and modesty that is in it : have youth and beauty? To be fol- if once you should suffer youtièlf to be lowed and admired? To have presents ruined by any base man, all that would offered from all sides to one? To be foon vanish ; and affurance and ugliinvited to all diversions, and to be ness would come in the room of it. diftinguished by the men from all the And if other bad consequences should rest of the company ??-Yes, my dear follow (for other bad confequences child, all this would be charming, if there are, of more forts than one) you we had nothing to do but to dance would lose your bloomi too, and there and receive presents; and if this dif- all is gone! tindion of you were to last always ; But keep your reputation as you but the mischief of it is, that these have hitherto kept it, and that will things cannot be enjoyed without in- be a beauty that will lait to the end of crealing your vanity every time you your days; for it will be only the enjoy them, or sweiling up a pasion more confirmed and brightened by

that must soon be balked and time. That will fecure you efteem, dilippcinted. How long is this beauty when all the present form of your face to last? There are few faces that can is vanished away, and will be always keep it to the other fide of five-and- mellowing into greater and greater twenty; and how could you bear it, charms.' after having been accustomed to be From the advice of this excellent thus distinguished and admired for mother, I must return to my princifome time, to fink out of the notice pal subject, the inexpreflible charms of people, and to be neglected, and of innocence and virgin modefty. It perhaps affronted, by the very persons was an observation of lord Bacon's, who used to pay the greatest adoration that the beit part of beauty is what a to you?

picture cannot express; and I could. Do you remember the gentleman never read some passages in Thomson's that was with us last autumn, and his description of his Lavinia, without presenting you with that pretty flower, thinking how much truth there was in one day, on his coming out of the gar- this oblervation; for the exquisite den? I do not know whether you un beauties of her perfon are so blended derstood him or not; but I could by the poet with the sweet expression of read, in his looks, that he meant it nental charms, that it is impoflible for as a leflon to you. It is true," that the greatest masters to delineate them the flower was a very pretty one ;

on canvass. but though you put it in water, you Her form was freher than the morning know it faded, and crew disagreeable, rose, in four or five days; and had it not When the dew wets its leaves; unstain'd been plucked, but left to continue growing in the garden, ii would have As is the lily, or the mountain frow. done the same in nine or ten. Now Thahnoduit virtues mingled in her eyes, a year is to a beauty, what a day was Srillon the ground dejected, darting all to that flower ; and who would value Their humid beams into the blooming themselves much on the potefion of

flowers. what they are certain to lose in so And again, when Palemøn first beshort a time?

held her, as he was walking in the • Nine or ten years is what we may fields among

his

reapers : call the natural term of life for beauty Diconscious of her power, and turning in a yv:u.g woman; but, by accidents

quick or mbubarion, it may be long ben Wit waffetid blushes from his gaze,

6

and pure,

« ZurückWeiter »