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“My dear Hercules, (says she,) I find you are very much divided in your own thoughts upon the
of life you ought to choose : be my friend, and follow me; I'll lead you into the possession of pleasure, and out of the reach of pain, and remove you from all the noise and disquietude of business. The affairs of either war or peace shall have no power to disturb you. Your whole employment shall be to make your life easy,
and to entertain every sense with its proper gratification. Sumptuous tables, beds of roses, clouds of perfumes, consorts of music, crowds of beauties, are all in 10 a readiness to receive you. Come along with me into this region of delights, this world of pleasure, and bid farewell for ever to care, to pain, to business—
“Hercules, hearing the lady talk after this manner, desired to know her name ; to which she answered, “My friends, and those who are well acquainted with me, call me Happiness ; but my enemies, and those who would injure my reputation, have given me the name of Pleasure.'
“By this time the other lady was come up, who addressed herself to the young hero in a very different manner. 20
'Hercules, (says she,) I offer myself to you, because I know you are descended from the gods, and give proofs of that descent by your love to virtue, and application to the studies proper for your age. This makes me hope you will gain, both for yourself and me, an immortal reputation. But before I invite you into my society and friendship, I will be open and sincere with you, and must lay down this as an established truth, that there is nothing truly valuable which can be purchased without pains and labour. The gods have set a price upon every real and noble pleasure. If you would 30 gain the favour of the deity, you must be at the pains of worshipping him ; if the friendship of good men, you must study to oblige them ; if you would be honoured by your country, you must take care to serve it.
In short, if you would be eminent in war or peace, you must become master of all the qualifications that can make you so.
the only terms and conditions upon which I can propose happiness. The goddess of Pleasure here broke in upon her dis
You see, (said she,) Hercules, by her own confession, the way to her pleasure is long and difficult, whereas that which I propose is short and easy.'
Alas, (said the other lady, whose visage glowed with a passion made up of scorn and pity,) what are the pleasures
you propose ? to eat before you are hungry, drink before you 10 are athirst, sleep before you are tired, to gratify appetites
before they are raised, and raise such appetites as nature never planted. You never heard the most delicious music, which is the praise of one's self; nor saw the most beautiful object, which is the work of one's own hands. Your votaries pass away their youth in a dream of mistaken pleasures, while they are hoarding up anguish, torment, and remorse for old age. As for me, I am the friend of gods and of good men, an agreeable companion to the artisan, an household
guardian to the fathers of families, a patron and protector of 20 servants, and associate in all true and generous friendships.
The banquets of my votaries are never costly, but always delicious ; for none eat or drink at them who are not invited by hunger and thirst. Their slumbers are sound, and their wakings cheerful. My young men have the pleasure of hearing themselves praised by those who are in years ;
and those who are in years, of being honoured by those who are young. In a word, my followers are favoured by the gods, beloved by their acquaintance, esteemed by their country
and (after the close of their labours) honoured by posterity.' 30 We know, by the life of this honourable hero, to which of
these two ladies he gave up his heart: and I believe, every one who reads this will do him the justice to approve his choice. I
very much admire the speeches of these ladies, as containing in them the chief arguments for a life of virtue, or a life of pleasure, that could enter into the thoughts of an heathen ; but am particularly pleased with the different figures he gives the two goddesses. Our modern authors have represented Pleasure or Vice with an alluring face, but ending in snakes and monsters : here she appears in all the charms of beauty, though they are all false and borrowed: and by that means, composes a vision entirely natural and pleasing.
I have translated this allegory for the benefit of the youth of Great Britain ; and particularly of those who are still in the deplorable state of non-existence, and whom I most 10 earnestly entreat to come into the world. Let my embryos show the least inclination to any single virtue, and I shall allow it to be a struggling towards birth. I do not expect of them, that, like the hero in the foregoing story, they should go about as soon as they are born, with a club in their hands, and a lion's skin on their shoulders, to root out monsters, and destroy tyrants ; but, as the finest author of all antiquity has said upon this very occasion, Though a man has not the abilities to distinguish himself in the most shining parts of a great character, he has certainly the 20 capacity of being just, faithful, modest, and temperate.
II. JUPITER AND THE DESTINIES.
March 16, 1709.
Intrust thy fortune to the Powers above ;
From my own Apartment, March 15. Among the various sets of correspondents who apply to me for advice, and send up their cases from all parts of Great
Britain, there are none who are more importunate with me, 20 and whom I am more inclined to answer, than the Com
plainers. One of them dates his letter to me from the banks of a purling stream, where he used to ruminate in solitude upon the divine Clarissa, and where he is now looking about for a convenient leap, which he tells me he is resolved to take, unless I support him under the loss of that charming perjured woman. Poor Lavinia presses as much for consolation on the other side, and is reduced to such an extremity of despair by the inconstancy of Philander, that she tells me
she writes her letter with her pen in one hand, and her 30 garter in the other. A gentleman of an ancient family in
Norfolk is almost out of his wits upon account of a greyhound, that, after having been his inseparable companion for
ten years, is at last run mad. Another (who I believe is serious) complains to me, in a very moving manner, of the loss of a wife; and another, in terms still more moving, of a purse
money that was taken from him on Bagshot Heath, and which, he tells me, would not have troubled him if he had given it to the poor. In short, there is scarce a calamity in human life that has not produced me a letter.
It is, indeed, wonderful to consider, how men are able to raise affliction to themselves out of everything. Lands and houses, sheep and oxen, can convey happiness and misery 10 into the hearts of reasonable creatures. Nay, I have known a muff, a scarf, or a tippet, become a solid blessing or misfortune. A lap-dog has broke the hearts of thousands. Flavia, who had buried five children, and two husbands, was never able to get over the loss of her parrot. How often has a divine creature been thrown into a fit, by a neglect at a ball or an asse
ssembly! Mopsa has kept her chamber ever since the last masquerade, and is in greater danger of her life upon being left out of it, than Clarinda from the violent cold which she caught at it. Nor are these dear creatures the 20 only sufferers by such imaginary calamities : many an author has been dejected at the censure of one whom he ever looked upon as an idiot; and many a hero cast into a fit of melancholy, because the rabble have not hooted at him as he passed through the streets. Theron places all his happiness in a running horse, Suffenus in a gilded chariot, Fulvius in a blue string, and Florio in a tulip-root. It would be endless to enumerate the many fantastical afflictions that disturb mankind ; but as a misery is not to be measured from the nature of the evil, but from the temper of the sufferer, shall present my readers, who are unhappy either in reality or imagination, with an allegory, for which I am indebted to the great father and prince of poets.
As I was sitting after dinner in my elbow chair, I took up Homer, and dipped into that famous speech of Achilles to Priam, in which he tells him, that Jupiter has by him two