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before me—where she kept up the pageant, and now, like a forward child, seems hushed with her own importunities.
What a gloom hangs all around! The dying lamp feebly emits a yellow gleam; no sound is heard but that of the chiming clock or the distant watch-dog: all the bustle of human pride is forgotten. An hour like this may display the emptiness of human vanity.
There will come a time when this temporary solitude will be made continual, and the city itself like its inhabitants, and leave a desert in its room.
What cities, great as this, have once triumphed in existence,had their victories as great; joy as just and as unbounded; and, with short-sighted presumption, promised themselves immortality! Posterity can hardly trace the situation of some. The sorrowful traveller wanders over the awful ruins of others; and, as he beholds, he learns wisdom, and feels the transience of every sublunary possession. “Here,” he cries, “stood their citadel, now grown over with weeds; there, their senate house--but now the håunt of every noxious reptile. Temples, theatres, stood herenow only an undistinguishable heap of ruin."
They are fallen from luxury, and avarice first made them feeble. The reward of state conferred on amusing, and not on useful, members of society,
Their riches and opulence invited the invaders, who, though at first repulsed, returned again, conquered by perseverance, and at last swept the defenders into undistinguished destruction.
How few appear in those streets, which but some few hours ago were crowded ! and those who appear now no longer wear their daily mask, nor attempt to hide their misery.
But who are those who make the streets their couch, and find a short repose from wretchedness at the door of the opulent? These are strangers, wanderers, and orphans, whose circumstances are too humble to expect redress, and whose distresses have given them up to nakedness and hunger. These poor shivering persons have once seen happier days.
Why, why was I born a man, and yet see the suffering of wretches I cannot relieve? Poor houseless creatures ! the world will give you reproaches, but will not give you relief! The slightest misfortunes of the great, the most imaginary uneasiness
of the rich, are aggravated with all the power of eloquence, and held up to engage our attention and sympathetic sorrow. The poor weep unheeded, persecuted by every subordinate species of tyranny; and every law which gives others security becomes an
enemy to them.
Why was this heart of mine formed with so much sensibility ? or why was not my fortune adapted to its impulses ? Tenderness, without the capacity of relieving, only makes a man more wretched than the object which sues his assistance.
NECESSITY AND LUXURY.
Those who are skilled in the extraction and preparation of metals, declare that iron is everywhere to be found; and that not only its proper ore is copiously treasured in the caverns of the earth, but that its particles are dispersed throughout all other bodies.
If the extent of the human view could comprehend the whole frame of the universe, I believe it would be found invariably true, that Providence has given that in greatest plenty which the condition of life makes of greatest use; and that nothing is penuriously imparted, or placed far from the reach of man, of which a more liberal distribution, or more easy acquisition, would increase real and rational felicity.
Iron is common and gold is rare. Iron contributes so much to supply the wants of nature, that its use constitutes much of the difference between savage and polished life, between the state of him that slumbers in European palaces, and him that shelters himself in the cavities of a rock from the chilness of the night, or the violence of the storm. Gold can never be hardened into saws or axes; it can neither furnish instruments of manufacture, implements of agriculture, nor weapons of defence: its only quality is to shine, and the value of its lustre arises from its scarcity.
Throughout the whole circle, both of natural and moral life, necessaries are as iron, and superfluities as gold. What we really need we may readily obtain; so readily, that far the greater part of mankind has, in the wantonness of abundance, confounded
natural with artificial desires, and invented necessities for the sake of eniployment, because the mind is impatient of inaction, and life is sustained with so little labor that the tediousness of idle time can not otherwise be supported.
Thus plenty is the original cause of many of our needs; and even the poverty which is so frequent and distressful in civilised nations proceeds often from that change of manners which opulence has produced. Nature makes us poor only when we want necessaries ; but custom gives the name of poverty to the want of superfluities.
When Socrates passed through shops of toys and ornaments, he cried out, “How many things are here which I do not need !” And the same exclamation may every man make who
the common accommodations of life. Superfluity and difficulty begin together. To dress food for the stomach is easy,—the art is to irritate the palate when the stomach is sufficed. A rude hand may build walls, form roofs, and lay floors, and provide all that warmth and security require ; we only call the nicer artificers to carve the cornice, or to paint the ceilings.
Such dress as may enable the body to endure the different seasons, the most unenlightened nations have been enabled to procure; but the work of science begins in the ambition of distinction, in variations of fashion, and emulation of elegance. Corn grows with easy culture; the gardener's experiments are only employed to exalt the flavors of fruits, and brighten the colors of flowers.
TRAVELLING IN A STAGE-COACH. SOME years since I was engaged, with a coach-full of friends, to take a journey as far as the Land's End. We were very well pleased with one another the first day; every one endeavouring to recormend himself by his good humor and complacency to the rest of the company. This good correspondence did not last long; one of our party was soured the very first evening by a plate of butter, which had not been melted to his mind, and which spoiled his temper to such a degree, that he continued upon the fret to the end of our journey. A second fell off from his good humor the next morning for no other reason, that I could imagine, but because I chanced to get into the coach before him, and place myself on the shady side. This, however, was but my own private guess, for he did not mention a word. The rest of our company held out very near half the way; when, on a sudden, Mr. Sprightly fell asleep, and, instead of endeavouring to divert and oblige us, as he had hitherto done, carried himself with an unconcerned, careless, drowsy behaviour, until we came to our last stage. There were three of us who still held up our heads, and did all we could to make our journey agreeable ; but, to my shame be it spoken, about three miles on this side of Exeter, I was taken with a fit of sullenness that hung upon me for above threescore miles; whether it was for want of respect, or from an accidental tread upon my foot, or from a foolish maid's calling me, "the old gentleman,” I cannot tell. In short, there was but one who kept his good humor to the Land's End.
There was another coach that went along with us, in which I likewise observed that there were many secret jealousies, heartburnings, and aniinosities; for when we joined companies at night, I could not but take notice that the passengers neglected their own company, and studied how to make themselves esteemed by us who were altogether strangers to them, until at length they grew so well acquainted with us, that they liked us as little as they did one another. When I reflect upon this journey, I often fancy it to be a picture of human life, in respect to the several friendships, contracts, and alliances that are made and dissolved in the several periods of it. The most delightful and most lasting engagements are generally those which pass between man and woman; and yet upon what trifles are they weakened or broken! Sometimes the parties fly asunder even in the midst of courtship; and sometimes grow cool even in the midst of the honey-month. Some separate before the first child, and some after the fifth; others continue good until thirty, others until forty; while some few, whose souls are of a happier make, and better fitted to one another, travel on together to the end of their journey, in a continual intercourse of kind offices and mutual endearments.
When we therefore choose our companions for lise, if we hope to keep both them and ourselves in good humor to the last stage of it, we must be extremely careful in the choice we make, as well as in the conduct on our part. When the persons to whom we join ourselves can stand an examination, and bear the scrutiny; when they mend upon our acquaintance with them, and discover new beauties the more we search into their characters, our love will naturally rise in proportion to their perfections.
But because there are very few possessed of such accomplishments of body and mind, we ought to look after those qualifications, both in ourselves and others, which are indispensably necessary towards this happy union, and which are in the power of every one to acquire, or at least to cultivate and improve. These, in my opinion, are cheerfulness and constancy. A cheerful temper, joined with innocence, will make beauty attractive, knowledge delightful, and wit good-natured. It will lighten sickness, poverty, and affliction; convert ignorance into an amiable simplicity; and render deformity itself agreeable. Addison.
CONDUCT OF THE UNDERSTANDING.
It is a very wise rule in the conduct of the understanding, to acquire early a correct notion of your own peculiar constitution of mind, and to become well acquainted, as a physician would say, with your idiosyncrasy. Are you an acute man, and see sharply for small distances ? or are you a comprehensive man, and able to take in wide and extensive views into your mind ? Does your mind turn its ideas into wit ? or are you apt to take a common sense view of the objects presented to you ? Have you an exuberant imagination, or a correct judgment ? Are you quick or slow ? accurate or hasty ? a great reader, or a great thinker? It is a prodigious point gained if any man can find out where his powers lie, and what are his deficiencies; if he can contrive to ascertain what Nature intended him for: and such are the changes and chances of the world, and so difficult is it to ascertain our own understandings, or those of others, that most things are done by persons who could have done something else better.
Il you choose to represent the various parts in life by holes triangular, some square, some oblong; and the persons acting