“And now,” said Damon, “I have but one care more, one additional exertion, to set my mind at ease. My Godfrey, I owe thee more than kingdoms can repay. Tell me, instruct me, what can I do to serve you? Damon must be the most contemptible of villains, if he could think his felicity complete, when his Godfrey was unhappy.”
“Think not of me,” said Godfrey, “I am happy in the way that nature intended, beyond even the power of Damon to make me. Since I saw you, a favourable change has taken place in my circumstances. In spite of various obstacles, I have brought a tragedy upon the stage, and it has met with distinguished success. My former crosses and mortifications are all forgotten. Philosophers may tell us, that reputation, and the immortality of a name, are all but an airy shadow. Enough for me, that nature, from my earliest infancy, led me to place my first delight in these. I envy not kings their sceptres. I envy not statesmen their power. I envy not Damon his love, and his Delia. Next to the pursuits of honour and truth, my soul is conscious to but one wish, that of having my name enrolled, in however inferior a rank, with a Homer, and a Horace, a Livy, and a Cicero.”
The next day the proposed weddings took place. It is natural perhaps, at the conclusion of such a narrative as this, to represent them all as happy. But we are bound to adhere to nature and truth. Mr. Hartley and his politician for some time struggled for superiority, but, in the end, the eagle genius of Sophia soared aloft. Sir William, though he married a woman, good natured, and destitute of vice, found something more insipid in marriage, than he had previously apprehended. For Damon and his Delia, they were amiable, and constant. Though their hearts were in the highest degree susceptible and affectionate, the first ebullition of passion could not last for ever. But it was succeeded by the feast of reason, and the flow of soul. Their hours were sped with the calmness of tranquility. When they saw each other no longer with transport, they saw each other with complacency. And so long as they live, they will doubtless afford the most striking demonstration, that marriage, when it unites two gentle souls, and meaned by nature for each other, when it is blest of heaven, and accompanied with reason and discretion, is the sweetest, and the fairest of all the bands of society.