Puslapio vaizdai




Forth steps the spruce philofopher, and tells
Of homogeneal and difcordant springs
And principles; of causes, how they work
By neceffary laws their sure effects;
Of action and reaction. He has found
The fource of the difeafe that nature feels,
And bids the world take heart, and banish fear.

MRS. PRUDENTIA HOMESPUN again begs leave to return thanks to the world for its very favourable reception of her lucubrations. She is now firmly convinced, that the clamours which are circulated against the injustice and bad taste of the times, may be confidered either


[ocr errors]

either as the declamations of difappointed ambition, or the ebullitions of malevolent fpleen, foured by the fuccefs of fome happier rival. She conceives herfelf to be particularly fortunate in exifting at a period more favourable to mental exertions than those which have been commonly deemed the golden ages of literature. Contemplating from her eafy chair the vaft extent of modern difcoveries, not only in the sciences, but in morals and government, and extending her meditations from reflection on what her learned co-adjutors have done, to fpeculation on what they propose doing, fhe is compelled to acknowledge, that the clofe of the eighteenth century claims diftinguished pre-eminence for thofe indubitable marks of genius, originality in enterprise, and boldness of invention, over the colder eras of Pericles, Auguftus, and the


Medici. Nay, fhe will go fo far as to affirm, that the labours of the "New Philofophy" will be remembered by their effects, when the theories of all former schools fhall be forgotten.

It must be very gratifying to a retired old woman, to confider that her productions may fail down this fwelling ftream of fame with thofe of her immortal contemporaries. She confeffes that her ideas differ in fome refpects from theirs ; but as every one profeffes the fame end, namely, the improvement of the univerfe, fhe rejoices that she is permitted, by the liberality of the times, to diffeminate her own peculiar fentiments. If fhe be of opinion, that Morality appeared to better advantage when she was contented to be the handmaid of Piety, than fince fhe has fet up for an independent character; if she be convinced, that the abilities and attainments of man are in this

B 2

this life fo limited, that he will never be able to "wield thefe elements," to endow a machine with intellectual powers, or to array himself with a felf-invested immortality; if fhe be perfuaded, that the filial and conjugal ties are no remnants of feudal barbarism, but happy inftitutions, calculated to promote domeftic peace; if she has been taught, that religion is more than fentiment, and female virtue fomething stronger than exterior decorum; if the fhudders at the eloquence which extenuates impiety, terms feduction an amiable frailty, and gaming an elegant amusement condemned by the infane morality of the law: furely she may hope for that celebrity which a bold oppofition to received opinions generally enfures. Nay, fhould fhe even prefer the Gothic ruff and pinner, as better adapted to British wives and mothers than the loose drapery of Grecian Bacchanals,

Bacchanals, or the more offenfive appearance of uncivilized favages, though recommended by the fanction of Parifian enthusiasts, when, with more than Pagan infatuation or cannibal infenfibility, they meet to commemorate in their feftive dances-not the triumphs of their Gods, nor the death of their enemiesbut the murder of their parents, their husbands, and their children; may she not plead a close attention to the costume of manners, and reproach the fenfual copyifts of a Cleopatra or an Afpafia with want of energy, who adopt all the characterists of the archetype, of which they exhibit a degrading model?

Her intention in refuming the pen is to enforce her opinions by argument, and to illuftrate them by example; and fhe reveals thofe intentions thus early, that the lover of the wonderful, and the admirer of the horrific, may not complain

B 3

« AnkstesnisTęsti »