Is one of those words, in which the eloquence of lovers shines with success. Nothing is more persuasively employed than the appeals made to it, against the rigid prescriptions of duty. Thus when a lover makes use of this trite argument: “Either nature is imperfect in itself, by giving us inclinations that the laws condemn, or the laws are justly accusable of too great severity, in condemning inclinations given us by nature.”
This profound sophistry means, “Since you have scruples, my game is to remove them. Reason may give itself what airs it pleases; but if you love me, nature will do the rest of my work for me.”
Of all the general maxims that seduce women, there is not one falser than that which recommends to them a reformed Rake. He is a being worn out, and unfit to proceed on so great a voyage as that of matrimony. Nature, in him, is drained to the very lees, both in sentiment and actual powers. His lavished vigour and youth have deserted him, before he has dreamed of founding a healthy progeny. A woman who ventures upon him is like one who would choose to put to sea in a shattered, leaky, worm-eaten vessel, that is sure to founder before half the voyage is over.