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who are capable of entertaining. Difappointment increases the eagerness of defire; and the uneafy multitude rufh to places of public refort, endeavouring, by noise and buftle, feftive gratification, elegant decoration, rich dreffes, fplendid illuminations, fportive dances, and sprightly mufic, to awaken the dormant faculties, and agitate the ftagnant fenfibilities of the foul. These scenes may be confidered the machineries of Pleafure; they produce a temporary effect, without requiring much effort or co-operation to obtain it; while those higher delights of which retirement is capable, cannot be truly enjoyed without a certain degree of intellectual exertion. There are, indeed, many minds fo totally corrupted by the unceafing pursuits of these vain and empty pleasures, that they are utterly incapable of relishing intellectual delight; which, as it affords an enjoyment totally unconnected, with, and independent of, common fociety, requires a difpofition and capacity which common company can never beftow. Retirement, therefore, and its attendant enjoyments, are of a nature too refined for the grofs and vulgar capacities of the multitude, who are more difpofed to gratify their intellectual indolence, by receiving a fpecies of entertainment which does not require from them the exertion of thought, than to enjoy pleasures
pleasures of a nobler kind, which can only be procured by a rational restraint of the paffions, and a proper exercise of the powers of the mind. Violent and tumultuous impreffions can alone gratify fuch characters, whose pleasures, like those of the flothful Sybarites, only indicate the pain they undergo in striving to be happy: but
Were all men happy, revellings would cease,
No man was ever truly blest,
But it compos'd, and gave him fuch a caft
Men, eager for the enjoyment of worldly pleasures, feldom attain the object they pursue. Diffatisfied with the enjoyments of the moment, they
they long for fome absent delight, which seems to promise a more poignant gratification. Their joys are like those of TANTALUS, always in view, but never within reach. The activity of fuch characters leads to no beneficial end: they are perpetually in motion, without making any progrefs: they spur on "the lazy foot of TIME;" and then complain of the rapidity of its flight, only because they have made no good ufe of its prefence: They take no notice of time, but by its lofs:" and year follows year, only to increase their uneafinefs. If the bright beam of Aurora wake them from their perturbed repose, it is only to create new anxieties how they are to drag through the paffing day. The change of feasons produces no change in their wearied dif pofitions; and every hour comes and goes with equal indifference and discontent.
The pleasures of Society, however, although they are attended with such unhappy effects, and pernicious confequences, to men of weak heads and corrupted hearts, who only follow them for the purpose of indulging the follies, and gratifying the vices, to which they have given birth, are yet capable of affording to THE WISE and THE VIRTUOUS, a high, rational, fublime, and fatisfactory enjoyment. The world is the only theatre upon which great and noble actions can C be
be performed, or the heights of moral and intellectual excellence usefully attained. The fociety of the WISE and GOOD, exclufive of the pleafing. relaxation it affords from the anxieties of bufinefs, and the cares of life, conveys valuable information to the mind, and virtuous feelings to the breaft. There experience imparts its wisdom in a manner equally engaging and impreffive; the faculties are improved; and knowledge increased. Youth and age reciprocally contribute to the happiness of each other. Such a fociety, while it adds firmness to the character, gives fashion to the manners; and opens immediately to the view, the delightful models of wifdom and integrity. It is only in fuch society that man can rationally hope to exercife, with any prospect of fuccefs, that latent principle, which continually prompts him to pursue the high felicity of which he feels his nature capable, and of which the Creator has permitted him to form a faint idea.
"In every human heart there lies reclin'd "Some atom pregnant with ethereal mind; "Some plastic power, fome intellectual ray, "Some genial fun-beam from the fource of day; "Something that warms, and, restless to afpire, "Wakes the young heart, and sets the foul on fire; "And bids us all our inborn powers employ "To catch the phantom of ideal Joy."
SORROW frequently drives its unhappy victims from Solitude into the vortex of Society as a means of relief; for Solitude is terrible to those whose minds are torn with anguifh for the loss of fome dear friend, whom death has, perhaps, taken untimely from their arms; and who would willingly renounce all worldly joys, to hear one accent of that beloved voice which used, in calm retirement, to fill his ear with harmony, and his heart with rapture.
SOLITUDE alfo is terrible to those whofe felicity is founded on popular applause; who have acquired a degree of fame by intrigue, and actions of counterfeited virtue; and who fuffer the most excruciating anxiety to preserve their fpurious fame. Conscious of the fraudulent means by which they acquired poffeffion of it, and of the weak foundation on which it is built, it appears continually to totter, and always ready to overwhelm them in its ruins. Their intention is fedulously called to every quarter; and, in order to prop up the unfubftantial fabric, they bend with mean fubmiffion to the pride of power; flatter the vanity, and accommodate themselves to the vices, of THE GREAT; cenfure the genius that provokes their jealousy; ridicule the virtue that fhames the conduct of their patrons; fubmit to all the follies of the age; take advanC 2 tage