« TrướcTiếp tục »
From the specimens that have been already exhibited of the Shakespeare, we have no reason to think that this attempt will be considered, by future connoifseurs, as the ne plus ultra of perfection. Though, considering every thing, it will perhaps be accounted the most extraordinary exertion of genius that ever was displayed on the globe. Genius might be here represented as revelling in the wild luxuriance of health and youthful vigour, unchastened by time, nor yet instructed by age and experience never to overstep the modesty of nature. The very eagerness to excel, produces an overstrained effort which never can accord with the simplex munditiis, this highest exertion of human powers in regard to matters of taste. Let us then look upon this attempt as a beautiful foretaste of what may in time be expected from industry, perseverance, and attention; but let us never, fascinated by novelties, mistake eccentricities of genius for the delicate touches of nature. Shakespeare, perhaps, was the only man, who by the aid of genius alone, was ever able to delineate nature in her purest, most unaadorned, and therefore most beautiful attire. His touches go directly to the heart, without applying to the fascinating aid of a perverted taste, or an overheated imagination.
NINA, A STORY.
THE experience of all times has shewn, that husbands
have suddenly lost the affections of their wives, and women ceased to pofsefs the hearts of their husbands, when they least apprehended it, without either one or the other being able to trace the source of the misfortune.
Convinced that instruction, conveyed by example, is, of all others, the most efficacious, I do not hesitate to
lay the following story before the married gentry of our days, hoping, by this means, to bring back to the duties of the married state, such persons as neglect or violate them;-to abolish, or at least to bury in oblivion, that disgraceful title, which is with reason bestowed on so many husbands ;—to insure to them the possession which the religion and the laws seem to have reserved for them alone ;—to reinstate peace and union in families, from which they are too often banished by inconstancy; and to restore the gifts of fortune to those to whom they properly belong, which we see frequently lavished on wanton strangers.
A senator descended from one of the most noble families of Venice, married the daughter of a man of his own rank, equal to himself in birth and fortune. This marriage was at first like most others; it was cemented as strongly by mutual affection, as by the authority of their parents; for three years they bore each other a tenderness worthy of the most delicate lovers, and two children were the happy fruits of their nuptials.
The fourth year was scarcely begun, when their felicity was disturbed by some disgusts. The wife, though remarkable for the most distinguished virtue and fidelity, insensibly lost that regard and afsiduity she had formerly fhewn to please her husband, and did not lavish on him her wonted marks of affection. Their frequent intercourse begat a certain familiarity between them, which the husband regarded as a mark of indifference; he therefore sought in another woman for that affection, which he imagined himself unable to obtain from his wife.
The time at length arrived which seemed to crown his wishes. Nina, a celebrated courtezan of those days,
Jan. 11. though six years older than his wife, who was then but twenty-four, was the person he chose to repair the lofs he thought he had sustained. He accosted her one day, and entered into conversation; every action, every look of her's promised him succefs. He resolved to make an open declaration of his love, and to offer a reward deserving of those pleasures, and that felicity, which his affection for her gave him room to expect.
The treaty, as may be imagined, was soon concluded; the senator used so little precaution to keep his new eagement a secret, that all Venice was soon acquainted with it, and his wife was not the last to hear of it. Her affection which had always remained the same, and had only changed its form, obliged her to complain of coldness. The senator, imagining her behaviour proceeded rather from a principle of self-love humbled,. than from true affection, did not seem in the least affected by it. His visits to Nina became more frequent, and his expences more considerable.
Despair took pofsefsion of his wife's mind; whenever he came home, the loaded him with the keenest reproaches, and gave him such treatment, as the most jealous fury could alone dictate. Exasperated at this proceeding, he determined never to see her any more. Though he had slept apart from her, ever since the beginning of his amour with Nina,-he had never failed to indulge her with his presence at dinner, to which he always invited some friend, which screened him from the violent effects of his wife's resentment; but he now entirely deprived her of this happiness.
She then anxiously sought to devise the most infallible way to rekindle the flame of her husband's conjugal affection. Her mind suggested none that appeared
feasible; fhe imagined the ought to consult some wiser and more experienced person than herself. No one appeared better able to give her advice, on this occasion, than the powerful rival, who had estranged her hasband's heart from her. She went one morning to the house of Nina, disguised in such a manner as not to be known, and she addrefsed her by saying fhe was a person of the same profession. Let any one conceive, how much a woman, who was virtue itself, must suffer in the support of so unworthy a character. But no efforts of injured love can be condemned, if intended to procure that justice which is due to it. "Behold!" said the wife of the senator, "the occasion of my visit. Ever since I have known, unhappily for me! that I have a heart susceptible of the soft pafsion, (I say unhappily, because it has not procured me those advantages which it ought to have done,)-ever since that time, would you believe it, beautiful Nina, I have not yet been able to find out the secret of keeping one lover to myself? they all desert me, at the very instant I imagine they have the most reason to be attached to The possession of a heart has more charms for me than every other advantage; I believe no one so capable as you to teach me an art of which I am ignorant, and on the knowledge of which the happiness of my life efsentially depends. Your beauty, your shape, your charms, your good sense, the splendid fortune you enjoy, all persuade me that you possess this art in the highest degree. How much shall I be obliged to you, charming Nina, for this discovery! Be assured, my acknowledgement shall be as great as the service you do
The courtezan replied, that she had consulted her in a matter, in which it was utterly impofsible to lay
down infallible rules. She questioned her on the nature of her passion, and found it the most confirmed; from thence the proceeded to some interrogations, which conveyed a striking idea of the business the followed, and at which the wife of the senator could not refrain from blufhing. At length Nina, who had no cause to reproach herself, for fhe had done all in her power to prevent the greatest part of her pretended lovers, who had been allured by her charms, from deserting her, thus proceeded: "I know no better expedient than to make you witnefs of the methods I use to keep him to myself, who has the greatest empire over my heart. The hour draws near, when his passion will lead him hither; I will conceal you in a closet, where not one of my cases and words fhall escape your eyes or your ears: If you approve of my advice, make use of it."
The wife of the senator embraced the proposal with joy; the wonted time for the courtezan to see her lover arrived; his wife heard him on the stairs, and flew to the place of concealment appointed by Nina. Her eyes beheld him in the same instant with those of the courtezan- -it was the senator himself.
To be continued.
The communication by L. J. D. is received. As a first essay, it fhall be attended to with particular care. The subject is trite. Young writers should avoid such a choice, as excellence, one, can make such essays acceptable.
The paper of I. T. is received. It is unlucky it did not come some months ago. We shall try to make some use of it.
Masca has been carelefs, very carelefs in his last communication. Writers in poetry ought never to forget, that it is a matter of little difficulty to pick up a cart-load of pebbles, while it requires much care and attention to find a single gem. But the gem, when once found, will continue to be admired by future ages, while the pebbles will be suffered to lie in some neglected corner, never more to be heard of.
Acknowledgements to many other correspondents, deferred till our nexɛ for want of room.