« EelmineJätka »
WEAK and delicate minds may, perhaps, be alarmed by the title of this Work. The word "SOLITUDE" may poffibly engender melancholy ideas, But they have only to read a few pages to be undeceived. The Author is not one of those extravagant mifanthropists who expect that men, formed by nature for the enjoyments of fociety, and impelled continually towards it by a multitude of powerful and invincible propenfities, fhould feek refuge in forefts, and inhabit the dreary cave or lonely cell he is a friend to the fpecies, a rational philofòpher, and a virtuous citizen, who, encouraged by the esteem of his Sovereign, endeavours to enlighten the minds of his fellow-creatures upon a fubject of infinite importance to them, the attainment of true felicity.
No writer appears more completely convinced than M. ZIMMERMAN that man is born for fociety, or feels its duties with more refined fenfibility,
Ir is the nature of human fociety, and its correfpondent duties, which he here undertakes to examine. The impor tant characters of Father, Husband, Son, and Citizen, impofe on Man a variety of obligations, which are always dear to virtuous minds, and establish between him, his country, his family, and his friends, relations too neceffary and attractive to be difregarded.
"What wonder, therefore, fince th' endearing ties "Of paffion link the universal kind
"Of man fo clofe, what wonder if to fearch "This common nature through the various change "Of sex, and age, and fortune, and the frame “Of each peculiar, draw the bufy mind "With unrefifted charms? The fpacious Weft, "And all the teeming regions of the South, "Hold not a quarry to the curious flight "Of knowledge half fo tempting or so fair "As Man to Man."
BUT it is not amidst tumultuous joys and noify pleasures, in the chimeras of ambition, or the illufions of self-love, in the indulgence of feeling, or the gratification of defire, that men must expect to feel the charms of thofe mutual
ties which link them fo firmly to fociety. It is not in fuch enjoyments that men can feel the dignity of those duties, the performance of which Nature has rendered productive of fo many pleafures, or hope to taste that true felicity which refults from an indepen dent mind and a contented heart: á felicity feldom fought after, only because it is fo little known, but which every individual may find within his own bofom. Who, alas! does not conftantly experience the neceffity of entering into that facred afylum to fearch for confolation under the real or imaginary misfortunes of life, or to alleviate indeed more frequently the fatigue of its painful pleasures? Yes, all men, from the mercenary trader, who finks under the anxiety of his daily tafk, to the proud statesman, intoxicated by the incenfe of popular applause, experience the defire of terminating their arduous career. Every bofom feels an anxiety for repofe, and fondly withes to fteal from the vortex of a bufy and a 4 perturbed
perturbed life to enjoy the tranquillity of Solitude.
Hackney'd in business, wearied at that oar "Which thousands, once chain'd fast to, quit no more, But which, when life at ebb runs weak and low, "All wifh, or feem to wifh, they could forego. "The ftatefman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade, "Pants for the refuge of a peaceful shade; "Where, all his long anxieties forgot “Amidst the charms of a fequefter'd spot, Or recollected only to gild o'er,
"And add a fmile to, what was fweet before,
Ir is under the peaceful fhades of Solitude that the mind regenerates and acquires fresh force; it is there alone that the happy can enjoy the fulnefs of felicity, or the miferable forget their woe; it is there that the bosom of fenfibility experiences its moft delicious emotions; it is there that creative genius frees itself from the thraldom of fociety, and furrenders itself to the impetuous rays of an ardent imagination. To this defired goal all our ideas
and defires perpetually tend. is," fays Dr. JOHNSON,
any writer who has not celebrated the happiness of rural privacy, and delighted himfelf and his readers "with the melody of birds, the whif662 per of groves, and the murmurs of rivulets; nor any man eminent for "extent of capacity, or greatness of "exploits, that has not left behind him "fome memorials of lonely wisdom. " and filent dignity."..
THE original Work from which the following pages are felected, confifts of four large volumes, which have acquired the univerfal approbation of the German Empire, and obtained the fuffrages of an Emprefs celebrated for the fuperior brilliancy of her mind, and who has fignified her approbation in the most flattering manner.
ON the 26th of January, 1785, a courier, difpatched by the Ruffian Envoy at Hamburgh, prefented M. ZIMMERMAN with a fmall cafket, in the name of her Majefty the Empress