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the margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These are so happy that they know not what to do with themselves. Their attitudes, their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, their frolics in it which I have noticed a thousand times with equal attention and amusement—all conduce to show their excess of spirits, and are simply the effects of that excess. Walking by the sea-side in a calm evening upon a sandy shore and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or rather a very thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the height, perhaps, of half a yard, and of the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and always retiring with the water. When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be nothing else than so much space filled with young shrimps in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin of the water, or from the wet sand. any motion of a mute animal could express delight, it was this; if they had meant to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done it more intelligibly. Suppose then, what I have no doubt of, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification and pleasure have we here before our view!
The young of all animals appear to me to receive pleasure simply from the exercise of their limbs and bodily faculties, without reference to any end to be attained, or any use to be answered by the exertion. A child, without knowing anything of the use of language, is in a high degree delighted with being able to speak. Its incessant repetition of a few articulate sounds, or perhaps of the single word which it has learned to pronounce, proves this point clearly. Nor is it less pleased with its first successful endeavours to walk, or rather to run-which precedes walking-although entirely ignorant of the importance of the attainment to its future life, and even without applying it to any present purpose. A child is delighted with speaking, without hav
ing anything to say; and with walking, without knowing where to go. And, prior to both these, I am disposed to believe that the waking-hours of infancy are agreeably taken up with the exercise of vision, or perhaps, more properly speaking, with learning to see.
But it is not for youth alone that the great Parent of creation hath provided. Happiness is found with the purring cat no less than with the playful kitten; in the arm-chair of dozing age, as well as in either the sprightliness of the dance or the animation of the chase. To novelty, to acuteness of sensation, to hope, to ardour of pursuit, succeeds what is, in no inconsiderable degree, an equivalent for them all, "perception of ease." Herein is the exact difference between the young and the old. The young are not happy but when enjoying pleasure; the old are happy when free from pain. And this constitution suits with the degrees of animal power which they respectively possess. The vigour of youth was to be stimulated to action by impatience of rest; whilst to the imbecility of age, quietness and repose become positive gratifications. In one important step the advantage is with the old. A state of ease is, generally speaking, more attainable than a state of pleasure. A constitution, therefore, which can enjoy ease, is preferable to that which can enjoy only pleasure. This same perception of ease oftentimes renders old age a condition of great comfort, especially when riding at its anchor after a busy or tempestuous life. It is well described by Rousseau to be the interval of repose and enjoyment between the hurry and the end of life. How far the same cause extends to other animal natures, cannot be judged of with certainty. The appearance of satisfaction with which most animals, as their activity subsides, seek and enjoy rest, affords reason to believe that this source of gratification is appointed to advanced life under all or most of its various forms. In the species with which we are best acquainted, namely, our own, I am far, even as an observer of human life, from thinking
WHAT CONSTITUTES A LIE.
that youth is its happiest season, much the falsehood. It is upon this principle less the only happy one. Natural that, by the laws of war, is allowed to Theology. deceive an enemy by feints, false colours, spies, false intelligence, or the like; but by no means in treaties, truces, signals of capitulation or surrender and the difference is, that the former supposes hostilities to continue, but the latter are calculated to terminate or suspend them. In the conduct of war there is no place for confidence between the contending parties; but in whatever relates to the termination of war, the most religious fidelity is expected, because without it wars could not cease, nor the victors be secure but by the destruction of the vanquished.
A LIE is a breach of promise; for whoever seriously addresses his discourse to another, tacitly promises to speak the truth, because he knows the truth is expected. Or the obligation of veracity may be made out from the direct ill consequences of lying to social happiness. Which consequences consist either in some specific injury to particular individuals, or in the destruction of that confidence which is essential to the intercourse of human life; for which latter reason a lie may be pernicious in its general tendency, and therefore criminal, though it produce no particular or visible mischief to any one.
There are falsehoods which are not lies; that is, which are not criminal; as, 1. Where no one is deceived, which is the case in parables, fables, novels, jests, tales to create mirth, ludicrous embellishments of a story, where the declared design of the speaker is not to inform but to divert; compliments in the subscription of a letter; a servant's denying his master ; a prisoner's pleading not guilty; an advocate asserting the justice, or his belief of the justice, of his client's cause. In such instances no confidence is destroyed, because none was reposed; no promise to speak the truth is violated, because none was given. 2. When the person to whom you speak has no right to know the truth, or, more properly, where little or no inconveniency results from the want of confidence in such cases; as where you tell a falsehood to a madman for his own advantage; to a robber, to conceal his property; to an assassin, to defeat or divert him from his purpose. The particular consequence is by the supposition beneficial; and as to the general consequence, the worst that can happen is, that the madman, the robber, the assassin will not trust you again, which is sufficiently compensated by the immediate benefit which you propose by
Many people indulge in serious discourse a habit of fiction and exaggeration, in the accounts they give of themselves, of their acquaintance, or of the extraordinary things which they have seen or heard; and so long as the facts they relate are indifferent, and their narratives though false are inoffensive, it may seem a superstitious regard for truth to censure them merely for truth's sake.
But this liberty in conversation defeats its own end. Much of the pleasure, and all the benefit of conversation depends upon our own opinion of the speaker's veracity, for which this rule leaves no foundation. The faith, indeed, of a hearer must be extremely perplexed, who considers the speaker, or believes that the speaker considers himself, as under no obligation to adhere to truth, but according to the particular importance of what he relates.
But beside and above both these reasons, white lies always introduce others of a darker complexion. I have seldom known any one who deserted truth in trifles, that could be trusted in matters of importance. Nice distinctions are out of the question upon occasions like those of speech, which return every hour.
The habit, therefore, of lying, when once formed, is easily extended to serve the designs of malice or interest; like all habits, it spreads indeed of itself. As there may be falsehoods which are not
lies, so there may be lies without literal or direct falsehood; as when the literal and grammatical signification of a sentence is different from the popular and customary meaning. It is the wilful deceit that makes the lie; and we wilfully deceive when our expressions are not true in the sense in which we believe the hearer to apprehend them: besides that, it is absurd to contend for any sense of words in opposition to usage; for all senses are founded upon usage, and upon nothing else. Or a man may act a lie, as by pointing his finger in a wrong direction when a traveller inquires of him his road; or when a tradesman shuts up his windows to induce his creditors to believe that he is abroad: for to all moral purposes, and therefore as to veracity, speech and action are the same; speech being only a mode of action.
Or, lastly, there may be lies of omission. A writer of English history, who, in his account of the reign of Charles the First, should wilfully suppress any evidence of that prince's despotic measures and designs, might be said to be a liar; for by entitling his book a History of England, he engages to tell the whole truth of the history, or at least all that he knows of it.-Ibid.
[SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D. 1709-1784.]
WE were now treading that illustrious island which was once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of knowledge and the blessings of religion. To abstract the mind from all local emotion would be impossible if it were endeavoured, and would be foolish if it were possible. Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses, whatever makes the past the distant, or the future, predominate over the present, advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far from me and my friends be such frigid philosophy as may conduct us indifferent and unmoved over any ground which has
[OLIVER GOLDSMITH. 1728-1774.]
THE LOVE OF LIFE. AGE, that lessens the enjoyment of life, increases our desire of living. Those dangers which, in the vigour of youth, we had learned to despise, assume new terrors as we grow old. Our caution increasing as our years increase, fear becomes at last the prevailing passion of the mind, and the small remainder of life is taken up in useless efforts to keep off our end, or provide for a continued existence.
Strange contradiction in our nature, and to which even the wise are liable! If I should judge of that part of life which lies before me by that which I have already seen, the prospect is hideous. Experience tells me that my past enjoyments have brought no real felicity, and sensation assures me that those I have felt are stronger than those which are yet to come. Yet experience and sensation in vain persuade; hope, more powerful than either, dresses out the distant prospect in fancied beauty; some happiness, in long perspective, still beckons me to pursue; and, like a losing gamester, every new disappointment increases my ardour to continue the game.
Our attachment to every object around us increases in general from the length of our acquaintance with it. "I would not choose," says a French philosopher, "to see an old post pulled up with which I had been long acquainted." A mind long habituated to a certain set of objects insensibly becomes fond of seeing them; visits them from habit, and parts from them with reluctance. ceeds the avarice of the old in every kind of possession; they love the world and all that it produces; they love life and all its advantages, not because it gives
From hence pro
them pleasure, but because they have known it long.
which to surprise, yet still we love it; destitute of every enjoyment, still we love it; husband the wasting treasure with increasing frugality, and feel all the poignancy of anguish in the fatal separation.
[BISHOP BERKELEY. 1684-1753.] LUXURY THE CAUSE OF NATIONAL DECAY.
use to us: and, in spite of them, we are in a fair way of becoming ourselves another useless example to future ages.
Chinvang the Chaste, ascending the throne of China, commanded that all who were unjustly detained in prison during the preceding reigns should be set-Essays. free. Among the number who came to thank their deliverer on this occasion there appeared a majestic old man, who, falling at the emperor's feet, addressed him as follows: "Great father of China, behold a wretch, now eighty-five years old, who was shut up in a dungeon at the FRUGALITY of manners is the nourishage of twenty-two. I was imprisoned ment and strength of bodies politic. It though a stranger to crime, or without is that by which they grow and subsist, being even confronted by my accusers. until they are corrupted by luxury,-the I have now lived in solitude and darkness natural cause of their decay and ruin. Of for more than fifty years, and am grown this we have examples in the Persians, familiar with distress. As yet, dazzled Lacedæmonians, and Romans: not to with the splendour of that sun to which mention many later governments which you have restored me, I have been have sprung up, continued a while, and wandering the streets to find out some then perished by the same natural friend that would assist, or relieve, or re-causes. But these are, it seems, of no member me; but my friends, my family, and relations are all dead, and I am forgotten. Permit me then, O Chinvang, to wear out the wretched remains of life in my former prison; the walls of my dungeon are to me more pleasing than the most splendid palace; I have not long to live, and shall be unhappy except I spend the rest of my days where my youth was passed-in that prison from whence you were pleased to release me." The old man's passion for confinement is similar to that we all have for life. We are habituated to the prison, we look round with discontent, are displeased with the abode, and yet the length of our captivity only increases our fondness for the cell. The trees we have planted, the houses we have built, or the posterity we have begotten, all serve to bind us closer to earth, and imbitter our parting. Life sues the young like a new acquaintance; the companion, as yet unexhausted, is at once instructive and amusing; its company pleases, yet for all this it is but little regarded. To us, who are declined in years, life appears like an old friend; its jests have been anticipated in former conversation; it has no new story to make But we are doomed to be undone. us smile, no new improvement with Neither the plain reason of the thing,
Simplicity of manners may be more easily preserved in a republic than a monarchy; but if once lost, may be sooner recovered in a monarchy, the example of a court being of great efficacy, either to reform or to corrupt a people; that alone were sufficient to discountenance the wearing of gold or silver, either in clothes or equipage, and if the same were prohibited by law, the saving so much bullion would be the smallest benefit of such an institution; there being nothing more apt to debase the virtue and good sense of our gentry of both sexes than the trifling vanity of apparel, which we have learned from France, and which hath had such visible ill consequences on the genius of that people. Wiser nations have made it their care to shut out this folly by severe laws and penalties, and its spreading among us can forebode no good, if there be any truth in the observation of one of the ancients, that the direct way to ruin a man is to dress him up in fine clothes.
nor the experience of past ages, nor the examples we have before our eyes, can restrain us from imitating, not to say surpassing, the most corrupt and ruined people in those very points of luxury that ruined them. Our gaming, our operas, our masquerades, are, in spite of our debts and poverty, become the wonder of our neighbours. If there be any man so void of all thought and common-sense, as not to see where this must end, let him but compare what Venice was at the league of Cambray, with what it is at present, and he will be convinced how truly those fashionable pastimes are calculated to depress and ruin a nation.
It is not to be believed, what influence public diversions have on the spirit and manners of a people. The Greeks wisely saw this, and made a very serious affair of their public sports. For the same reason, it will, perhaps, seem worthy the care of our legislature to regulate the public diversions, by an absolute prohibition of those which have a direct tendency to corrupt our morals, as well as by a reformation of the drama; which, when rightly managed, is such a noble entertainment, and gave those fine lessons of morality and good sense to the Athenians of old, and to our British gentry above a century ago; but for these last ninety years, hath entertained us, for the most part, with such wretched things as spoil, instead of improving, the taste and manners of the audience. Those who are attentive to such propositions only as may fill their pockets, will probably slight these things as trifles below the care of the legislature. But I am sure all honest, thinking men must lament to see their country run headlong into all those luxurious follies, which, it is evident, have been fatal to other nations, and will undoubtedly prove fatal to us also, if a timely stop be not put to them.-Essays.
[ROBERT DODSLEY. 1703-1764.] A TRUE WOMAN.
cepts of truth sink deep in thy heart, so shall the charms of thy mind add lustre to the elegance of thy form; and thy beauty, like the rose it resembleth, shall retain its sweetness when its bloom is withered.
GIVE ear, fair daughter of love, to the instructions of prudence, and let the pre
In the spring of thy youth, in the morning of thy days, when the eyes of men gaze on thee with delight, and nature whispereth in thine ear the meaning of their looks; ah! hear with caution their seducing words; guard well thy heart, nor listen to their soft persuasions. Remember that thou art made man's reasonable companion, not the slave of his passion; the end of thy being is not merely to gratify his loose desire, but to assist him in the toils of life, to soothe him with thy tenderness, and recompense his care with soft endearments. Who is she that winneth the heart of man, that subdueth him to love, and reigneth in his breast? Lo! yonder she walketh in maiden sweetness, with innocence in her mind and modesty on her cheek. Her hand seeketh employment, her foot delighteth not in gadding abroad. She is clothed with neatness, she is fed with temperance: humility and meekness are as a crown of glory circling her head. On her tongue dwelleth music, the sweetness of honey floweth from her lips. Decency is in all her words; in her answers are mildness and truth. Submission and obedience are the lessons of her life, and peace and happiness are her reward. Before her steps walketh prudence, and virtue attendeth at her right hand. Her eyes speaketh softness and love; but discretion with a sceptre sitteth on her brow. The tongue of the licentious is dumb in her presence, the awe of her virtue keepeth him silent. When scandal is busy, and the fame of her neighbour is tossed from tongue to tongue; if charity and good-nature open not her mouth, the finger of silence resteth on her lips. Her breast is the mansion of goodness; and therefore she suspecteth no evil in others. Happy were the man that should make her his wife; happy the child that shall call her mother. She presideth in the house, and there peace; she commandeth with judgment, and is obeyed. She ariseth in the morning, she