The Spectator, Volume 2. eBook

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I am a Footman in a great Family, and am in Love with the House-maid.  We were all at Hot-cockles last Night in the Hall these Holidays; when I lay down and was blinded, she pulled off her Shoe, and hit me with the Heel such a Rap, as almost broke my Head to Pieces.  Pray, Sir, was this Love or Spite?


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No. 261.  Saturday.  December 29, 1711.  Addison.

  [Greek:  Gamos gar anphropoisin euktaion kakon].

  Frag.  Vet.  Poet.

My Father, whom I mentioned in my first Speculation, and whom I must always name with Honour and Gratitude, has very frequently talked to me upon the Subject of Marriage.  I was in my younger Years engaged, partly by his Advice, and partly by my own Inclinations in the Courtship of a Person who had a great deal of Beauty, and did not at my first Approaches seem to have any Aversion to me; but as my natural Taciturnity hindred me from showing my self to the best Advantage, she by degrees began to look upon me as a very silly Fellow, and being resolved to regard Merit more than any Thing else in the Persons who made their Applications to her, she married a Captain of Dragoons who happened to be beating up for Recruits in those Parts.

This unlucky Accident has given me an Aversion to pretty Fellows ever since, and discouraged me from trying my Fortune with the Fair Sex.  The Observations which I made in this Conjuncture, and the repeated Advices which I received at that Time from the good old Man above-mentioned, have produced the following Essay upon Love and Marriage.

The pleasantest Part of a Man’s Life is generally that which passes in Courtship, provided his Passion be sincere, and the Party beloved kind with Discretion.  Love, Desire, Hope, all the pleasing Motions of the Soul rise in the Pursuit.

It is easier for an artful Man who is not in Love, to persuade his Mistress he has a Passion for her, and to succeed in his Pursuits, than for one who loves with the greatest Violence.  True Love has ten thousand Griefs, Impatiences and Resentments, that render a Man unamiable in the Eyes of the Person whose Affection he sollicits:  besides, that it sinks his Figure, gives him Fears, Apprehensions and Poorness of Spirit, and often makes him appear ridiculous where he has a mind to recommend himself.

Those Marriages generally abound most with Love and Constancy, that are preceded by a long Courtship.  The Passion should strike Root, and gather Strength before Marriage be grafted on it.  A long Course of Hopes and Expectations fixes the Idea in our Minds, and habituates us to a Fondness of the Person beloved.

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The Spectator, Volume 2. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.