ePub 版
[ocr errors]

to condemn to perpetual oblivion; hazard, think by sallies, and distill an ingenious writer, for want of course by rote." A heavy charge something better to employ his pen this, to be laid against the majority of about, was pleased lately to revive women. But granting it, for arguthem in one of the weekly * papers, ment's sake, to be literally true, is it lest this age should be ignorant what not as undeniably true, that the very fools there have been among his sex same charge may be equally retorted in former ones.

on the majority of men ? And yet To give us a sample then of the would they not triumphantly alledge wisdom of bis sex, he tells us, that it it as a proof of our weak sense, were was always the opinion of the wisest we wisely to conclude, in their way, among them, that women are never that therefore all the men ought to to be indulged the sweets of liberty; be perpetually under guardianship to but ought to pass their whole lives in us? A little experience is sufficient a state of subordination to the men, to demonstrate how much fitter we and in an absolute dependance upon are to be guardians over them, than them. And the reason assigned for they are to be such over us. Every so extravagant an assertion, is our not young maiden is qualified to be the having a sufficient capacity. to govern mistress and manager of a family, at ourselves. It mást be observed, that an age when the men are scarce sus80 bold a tenet ought to bave better ceptible of the precepts of a naster. proofs to support it than the bare And the only sure expedient to reword of the persons who advance it; claim a young fellow from his excesses as their being parties so immediately and render him useful to society, is concerned, must render all they say, to give bim for guardian a wife, who of this kind highly suspect. How- may reform him by her example, ever, since we are as suspect on that moderate his passions by ber pruaccount as they are, it must be to as dence, and win hin from his delittle purpose for us to leny; unless baucheries by her engaging beit be to puo them upon the proof. haviour. And doubtless, creatures of such pro. So far then are the men from found wisdom as these men are, if proving their principle by practice, we take their own word, would never where their interest is concerned, attempt to assert any thing so posi- that, when their own profound wistively, without being able to back it dom is too weak to curb the more with the best of proofs. Let us see unruly among them, they have no then upon what grounds they build other recourse than to shelter them these extravagant notions of our sex, under our tutelage: thus contradicting and how far they will stand the test in fact, what they advance in words. of truth and reason; that we may But is it not the fear of making us give into their opinion or reject it. too proud of ourselves, which makes

them contend, that we have neither CHAP. III.

solidity nor constancy, much less that Whether Women are inferior to Men depth of judgment which they very in their intellectual capacity or not. humbly ascribe to themselves? In the first place then, according to conclude, that it must absolutely have

Wherefore else do they so wisely them, “ the greatest part of our sex been a joint effect of divine provihave but short, lucid 'intervals ;-but dence and their own sovereign sense, sudden flashes of reason which vanish which debarred us of sciences, governin a minute ;-we have a resemblance of that planet, which is dark of itself ment, and public offices ? and only shines by borrowed light;-- this, will best appear upon an una

Whether there be any solidity in our wit has but a false lustre, more fit to surprise admiration than deserve then, whether the women are less

prejudiced examination.' To know it;-we are enemies to reflection; capable of the sciences than the men the majority of us only reason at or not, we must consider what is the

principle by which sciences are atCommon Sense. September 1, iained; and if that be wanting in

women, or less perfect, there will be


no more required to demonstrate that ours are more delicate and consethe men are in the right. But if that quently fitter to answer the ends they principle should appear to be as per- were made for, than theirs.. fect in the one as it is in the other, Even among the men it is unithen there will be great reason to versally observed, that the more gross suspect the men of jealousy; and it and lumpish are commonly stupid; cannot be rash to say, that their only and the more delicate are, on the reason for locking up from us all the other hand, ever the most sprightly. avenues to knowledge, is the fear of The reason is plain : the soul, while our excelling them in it.

confined to the body, is dependent It is a known truth, that the differ- ou it's organs in all it's operations; ence of sexes regards only the body, and therefore the more free or clogged and that merely as it relates to the those organs are, the more or less propagation of human nature. But must the soul be at liberty to exert the soul, concurring to it only by itself. Now it is too well known to consent, actuates all after the same need any support, that the organs in manner; so that in this there is no our sex are of a much finer and more sex at all. Tiere is no more differ- delicate temperature than in theirs ; ence to be discerned between the and therefore, had we the same adsouls of a dunce, and a man of wit, vantages of study allowed us which or of ari illiterate person and an ex- the men have, there is no room to perienced one, thau between a boy of doubt but we should at least keep four and a man of forty years of age. pace with them in the sciences and And since there is not at most any every useful knowledge. greater difference between the souls

It can only then be a mean dasof women and men, there can be tardly jealousy in them to exclude us po real diversity contracted from the from those advantages, in which we body : all the diversity then must have so natural a right to emulate come from education, exercise, and thein. Their pretext for so doing, the impressions of those external ob- that study and learning would make jects which surround us in different women proud and vicious, is pitiful, circumstances.

capricious, and of a piece with their The same creator, by the sanie practice. No: false knowledge, and laws, unites the souls of women and superficial learning only can produce men to their respective bodies. The so bad an effect. For true knowsame sentiments, passions, and pro- ledge, and solid learning must, cannot pensions, cement that union in both. but, make women, as well as men, And the soul, operating in the same both more humble, and more virtuous. manner in the one and the other, is 'And it must be owned, that if a little capable of the very same functions in superficial knowledge has rendered both.

soine of our sex vain; it equally renTo render this still more evident, ders many of theirs insupportable. we need only consider the texture of But that is no reason why solid learnthe head, the seat of the sciences and ing should be denied, or not instill’d the part where the soul exerts itself into either ; rather ought the greater most. All the researches of anatomy, pains to be taken to improve, in both, have not yet been able to shew us the every disposition to the sciences, into least difference in this part between a true relish for, and a deep knowmen and women. Our brain is per- ledge of, them: according to the fectly like theirs ; we receive the im- advice of one of their brightest pressions of sense as they do; we writers, as applicable to any science inartial and preserve ideas for imagi, as to poetry: nation and memory as they do, and we have all the organs they have and A little learning is a dangerous thing; apply them to the same purposes as

Drink deep, or laste not the Pierian spring: they do. We hear with ears, see And drinking largely solvers us again.

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, with eyes, and taste with a tongue as well as they. Nor can there be any It is a common received notion that difference pointed out between any mankind need not be knowing to be of our organs and theirs, but that virtuous : which proceeds from this,

that we see many persons, who are that learning is useless to women, reputed men of sense, of very im- because forsooth they have not a share moral characters: and therefore is it in public 'offices, which is the end for falsely concluded, that knowledge is which men apply themselves to it. not only unprofitable in itself to Virtue and felicity are equally revirtue, but even frequently destructive quisite in a private, as well as in a to it: wbereas it would be no ardu- public station, and learning is a neous task to prove, that the knowledge cessary means to both. It is by that of ourselves and many other things is we acquire an exactness of thought, highly requisite to corroborate our a propriety of speech, and a justness persuasion of our moral obligations. of actions without that we can never Since the chief reason which is to be have a right knowledge of ourselves : assigned for so many persons falling it is that which enables us to distininto vice and folly so precipitately, or guish between right and wrong, true practising virtue so faintly, is their and false : and finally, that alone can being ignorant of themselves, and tho give us skill to regulate our passions, objects which strike them : and how by teaching us, that true bappiness shall they remove this ignorance but and virtue consist not so much in enby science and study?

Jarging our possessions as in contractIf then there have been some of ing our desires. our sex so affected with their learning Besides let it be observed, what a as to become assuming; their fault wretched circle this poor way of carries it's excuse with it. Either reasoning among the men draws them they have been such as had not drank insensibly into. Why is learning usedeep enough to learn to be humble: less to us? Because we have no share or the uncommonness of this advan. in public offices. And why have we tage in our sex, and the difficulties no share in public offices? Because they must have surmounted who have we have no learning. They are senattained to it, will apologize for the sible of the injustice they do us, and little vanity they may have shewn. are reduced to the mean shift of As a person of low rank, whose merit cloaking it at tire expence of their and industry have raised him to an own reason. But let truth speak for unusual eminence, may be excused, once: why are they so industrious to if, seeing himself advanced above the debar us that learning we have an sphere of his equals, he should be equal right to with themselves, but seized with some degree of giddiness. for fear of our sharing with, and outBesides that, if it be a fault, as it's shiping them in, those public offices wanting an apology proves it to be, they till so miserably? The same it is a fault which the men themselves sordid selfishness which urged them daily fall into. And yet neither in to engross all power and dignity, to the men nor in the women ought it themselves, prompted them to shut to be imputed, as a blemish, to the up om us that knowledge which sciences they may possess. The real would have made us their comciuse of it is, that they who are versed petitors. in any science look upon themselves As nature seems to have designed as possest of something, which is a the men for our drudges, I could nystery to the generality of the world. easily forgive them the usurpation by But let the inatter be how it will, it which they first took the trouble of is more than probable, that, since the public employents off our hands, if vanity of the learned men greatly their injustice were content with surpasses that of the learned of our stopping there. But as one abyss sex, as appears from the frothy tides calls on another, and vices seldom go the former arrogate to themselves : single, they are not satisfied with if women were admitted to an equal engrossing all authority into their own share of the sciences, and the advan- hands, but are confident enough to tages leading to, and flowing from, assert that they possess it by right. them; they would be much less sub. Their reason for this assertion is what ject to the vanity, they are apt to I have already hinted, because we occasion.

were formed by nature to be under It is a very great absurdity, to argue perpetual subjection to them, for


[ocr errors]

want of abilities to share with them Selima. Why not impart your grief
in government and public offices. To to me: why not alleviate the weight
contuse this mannish: cxtravagance, of it by allowing me to participate
ii will be necessary to sap it from the in it?
foundaion on which it is built,

Seth. Can I conceal aught from
To be continued.)

thee, Selima? Much as it were my
wish, I cannot do it. The purity and

sincerity of my heart, and the anxious
For the Universal Magazine.

grief in which thou standst confessed

before me, constrain me to declare The DFATH OF ADAM. From the sorrow which oppresses me. But, KLOFSTOCK

Selima, yield not too much to grief:
the love I bear our father made me,

perhaps, too attentive to the grave ADAM.

and solemn air with which he repaired TIN.

to Abel's altar, as thou stoodst beforç 12. L MAN, one of Adam's youngest Sons. the hut, and with thine eyes followed

our piother Eve. IM, the youngesi.

Selima. Shall I go to him — shall I TVE.

clasp his hand, and, with an affectionSELIMA, a Neire of Adam.

ate look, implore him not to yield to TE'EL MOTHERS, who produce their grief? O! my brother, my brother,

Chidrer to Adam for the first time. thou hast not yet told me all. Why AN ANGET OF DEATH.

dost thou weep? Thou tremblest too! The scene is a hut, in the interior O! whatever calamity may have be

of which is Adam's private chsm- fallen thee, I will share it with thee.
ber, in which stands the Altar of Seth. My Selima, it is not a calamity

to me alone, but to us all. Thy affec-
First Scene.

tionate tenderness affects me much; SETH. SELIMA.

I will no longer withhold from thee Selima. !!OW beautiful is this hap. the dismal truth. As our father cre py day of love! how bright and tran. Dow passed " nie, how strange and quil. how much more joyous than all altered way verend face, a y hastly the days I yet baie ved! Our mo- paleness wa. ad over it: scarcely ther is gone to view her daughter could his totter og feet support bis onamenting my bridal arbor, and to frame. His eyes were fixed full upon weave some Bowers amongst its pliant nie: yet he seemed as if he saw me branches. slave plucked the coolest not. He repaired to the altar. I heard fruits, I have spread them in the cool. him pray aloud, but I could not une ness of the groves, that our brothers derstand his falicring voice: it sound. and sisters may refresh themselves ed hollow and half broken: he stop'd, when they retuin from the arbor. I at times, as if struggling for utterance. have spread the blushing grape, and (! Selima, why hast thou constrained I have covered the most beautiful for me to tell thee? I heard him faintly Heman with leaves still moistened pronounce the word of -- Death with the nurning dew. O! how great But dost thou not hear our father's is my happiness! The wise and vir- steps. He comes. tuous Ileman has chosen Sclima for

Second Scene. his bride. By Heman is Selima beloved: and, when the last ray of even

ADAM. SETH, SELIMA. ing tinges our cot, our relatives will Adam. Ab! Seth and Selima here? join us with their infant; and Adam It is a gloomy day, full of terror and will bless us, and lead us, full of pa- of fear: but, Selima, ere long it will ternal jošs, to the bridal arbor. But be more bright, and the clouds which why, my brother, art thou so serious; now lang heavy on nie wilt, on a sud. what means that smile balt veiled in den, disperse, and joy's full radiance grief?

burst upon me. But go to thy mother, Seth. My Selima, I was pondering Selima, assist her to pluck the flowers on thy future happiness; and, in my which are to deck thy bridal arbor. joy, a secret grief was mixed, Inform her that it is at my command,

that thou actest contrary to the custoin On the day of thy death, Adam, thou of one betrothed.

shalt see me again. I now await his Selima. I go, my father. ,

appearance, and great will its terror

be; yet 'twould be thrice terrible did Third Scene.

I not expect it. Raise thine eyes to ADAM. SETH.

Heaven, my son; be who judges me Adam. How good, how virtuous is will assuage the agonies of death: but Selima: how deeply she felt my com- I now feel that his great judgment, mand to join her mother. My son! which said I shall die the death, is not O may God bless her! I shall not see yet fulfilled, and that it is of a deeper her again. She is like Eve, ere the import than I at present can compredreadful curse was pronounced. May hend. Thou wilt see my torment.-God bless her! Mson, my best of sons, I fear not death; for, through a long I know how great thy adoration is for course of years, I have prepared mythe Almighty,-how great thy reve. self for it; but I shall feel its terrors. rence for the God who made thee :- Seth. O! tell me, father, wiltst thou thou art a man, my son, to whom I can die? speak with freedom ; thou knowest no Adam. Willingly would I still, refear, but that of doing wrong. Seth, main amongst you, my children. my son, this day is the day of my Seth. Then stay with us, father; death!

O! stay! Seth. My father! Adam! my father! Adam. Spare me, iny son; my soul Adam. Deeply my heart was wound- now feels how strongly it is linked to ed to view thy sufferings : but thou thine: but he, who pronounced the ' now must hear me. Thrice more sentence of death, is worthy of our terrible was the voice when I, for the adoration and our love. first time, heard the tremendous word Seth. True, most true, my father; of death. Ainong all my children, but may not the love thoù bearest to thou shalt be the only one, who shall thy children have deceived thee, and see me die: thou alone shalt help me, mayst thou not have regarded that as when this worn-ont frame struggles approaching death, which is merely with its last writhings. Not greater a strong attack upon thy health, which was the certainty that I was created, bas now endured for centuries. when I stood erect and looked towards

Adam. O! when the most beloved Heaven, than is now the certainty that of my sons so speaks, how can I anI on this day shall die. I was sitting swer hiin? before my hut, dwelling with delight Death not decide it too quickly! (!

0! may the Angel of on the happiness of my children, Heman and Selima, when on a sud: may the eyes of any son not view the

Yonder is Abel's den, more sudden than ere the quickest altar, my son, vorder it stands, still thought was conceived, the sliver of sprinkled with ihe blood of thy broapproaching death came over me: it

ther: thither repair; raise thy hands thrilled through all my veins, and ob

to Heaven. jects, which before were clear to me, be heard; perhaps thou mayst pro

Go, thou mayst perhaps now are dim and indistinct. My son, cure one day more to be added to my my beloved son, thou brother of Abel,

life. I will not complain; in ne 'twere au

Seth. O! father! Adam, my father, act of guilt. When I felt this ap- Igo. proaching death, the thought imme

Fourth Scene. diately penetrated to my soul that I, the first-born, should die.--There it

Adam. 7 solus). hovers round my brow: here it strikes He is gone, and,, fervent as his to my heart. And there is another, prayer may be, still it will not be acwhich, on the day of my death, I cepted. What is tliis feeling which will no more conceal from you, with now oppresses me ?-Is it Death again which the thought of death is accoin- with all its terrors which assail me.panied, and which, in terror, is not As yet I stand above the dust; in a surpassed by it. As I arose, recovered few hours I shall moulder under it; from my stupefaction, an Angel of and if my beloved Eve and my chilDeath stood before me and spoke-dren should come and view the last

« 上一頁繼續 »