Page images

The captives of Appetite and Pallion could often seize the moment when their tyrants were languid or afleep to escape from their enchantment; but the dominion of Indolence was constant and unremitted, and feldom resifted till resistance was in vain.

AFTER contemplating these things, I turned my eyes towards the top of the mountain, where the air was always pure and exhilerating, the path shaded with laurels and other ever-greens, and the effulgence which beamed from the face of the Goddess seemed to shed a glory round her votaries. Happy, said I, are they who are permitted to afcend the mountain !--but while I was pronouncing this exclamation with uncommon ardour, I saw standing beside me a form of diviner features and a more benign radi


D 3

[ocr errors]

ance, Happier, said she, are those whom VIRTUE conducts to the mansions of Content! What, faid I, does. Virtue then reside in the vale? I am found, said she, in the vale, and I illuminate the mountain. I cheer the cottager at his toil

, and inspire the fage at his meditation. I mingle in the crowd of cities, and bless the hermit in his ceļl, I have a temple in every heart that owns my influence; and to him that wishes for me I am alrea. dy present. Science may raise you to eminence, but I alone can guide you felicity! While the Goddess was thus speaking, I stretched out my arms towards her with a vehemence which broke my numbers. The chill dews were falling around me, and the shades of evening stretched over the landscape. I hastened homeward, and resigned the night to filence and meditation,



[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

F all the multifarious productions

which the efforts of superiour genius, or the labours of scholastic industry, have crowded upon the world, none are perused with more insatiable avidity, or diffeminated with more universal applause, than the narrations of feigned events, defcriptions of imaginary scenes, and deline



ations of ideal characters. The celebrity of other authors is confined within very narrow limits. The Geometrician and Divine, the Antiquary and Critic, however distinguished by uncontested excel. lence, can only hope to please those whom a conformity of disposition has engaged in similar pursuits; and must be content to be regarded by the rest of the world with the smile of frigid indifference, or the contemptuous sneer of self-sufficient folly. The collector of shells and the anatomist of insects is little inclined to enter into theological disputes : the Divine is not apt to regard with veneration the uncouth diagrams and tedious calcu. lațions of the Astronomer : the man whose life has been consumed in adjusting the disputes of ļexicographers, or elucidating the learning of antiquity, cannot easily bend his thoughts to recent transactions, or readily interest himself in the

unimportant history of his

contempora: ries: and the Cit, who knows no business but acquiring wealth, and no pleasure but displaying it, has a heart equally shut up to argument and fancy, to the batte: ries of fyllogifm, and the arrows of wit, To the writer of fiction alone, every ear is open, and every tongue lavish of

ари plause; curiosity sparkles in every eyes and every bosom is throbbing with con,


It is however easy to account for this enchantment. .. To follow the chain of perplexed ratiocination, to view with critical skill the airy architecture of systems, to unravel the web of sophistry, or weigh the merits of opposite hypotheses, requires perspicacity, and presupposes learning. Works of this kind, therefore, are not so well adapted to the generality of readers as familiar and colloquial composition;


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »