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caying Nature, and the consciousness of surviving every pleasure, would, at once induce him, with his own hand, to terminate the scene of misery: but, happily, the contempt of death forsakes him at a time when it could only be prejudicial; and life acquires an imaginary value, in proportion as its real value is no more.
Our attachment to every object around us increases, in general, from the length of our acquaintance with it. I would not chuse,' says a French philosopher, " to see an old post pulled up, with which I had been • long acquainted.' 'A mind long habituated to a cer. tain set of objects, insensibly becomes fond of seeing them; visits them from habit, and parts from them with reluctance: from hence proceeds 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 them pleasure, but because they have known it long. Chinvang the Chaste ascending the throne of China, commanded that all who were unjustly detained in prison, during the preceding reigns, should be set free. Among the number who came to thank their deliverer on this occasion, there appeared a majestic old man, who, fall. ing 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 age of twenty-one. I was imprisoned, though a stranger to crime, or without being even confronted .by my accusers. I have now lived in solitude and • darkness for more than fifty years, and am grown 'familiar with distress. As yet dazzled with the
splendor of that sun to which you have restored me, • I have been wandering the streets to find some • friend that would assist, or relieve, or remember me; • but my friends, my family, and relations, are all dead, and I am forgotten. Permit me then, 0 • 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 pleas
ed to release me.' The old man's passion for con. finement 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 irees we have planted, the houses we have built, or the posterity we have begotten, all serve to bind us closer to the 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,
appears like an old friend; its jests have been anticipated in former conversation; it has no new story to make us smile, no new improvement with 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. Sir Philip Mordaunt was young, beautiful, sincere, brave, an Englishman. He had a complete fortune of his own, and the love of the king his master, which was equivalent to riches. Life opened all her treasures before him, and promised a long succession of future happiness. He came, tasted of the entertainment, but was disgusted even at the beginning. He professed an aversion to living; was tired of walking round the same circle; had tried every enjoyment, and found them all grow weaker at every repetition. If life be in youth so displeasing,”
, cried he to himself, • what will it appear when age comes on ? if it be at present indifferent, sure it will then be execrable.' This thought embittered every reflection; till, at last, with all the serenity of perverted reason, he ended the
debate with a pistol! Had this self-deluded man been apprized, that existence grows more desirable to us the longer we exist, he would then have faced old age without shrinking; he would have boldly dared to to live, and served that society, by his future assidu: ity, which he basely injured by his dissertion.
ATTACHMENT TO PLACES. It is natural to retain a tender regard for the country on which we have imprinted our first steps, and where we have passed years, the memory of which is always dear, because they were the preludes of life. I speak here of my infancy, which recalls the idca of what I then was, and what I am no more.
FRIENDSHIP. We entered arm in arm; it was the manner in which we usually walked; 't was emblematical of the union of our souls.
ON ENJOYMENTS. OF EARLY TIMES, AND ON LIGHTLY PASSING OVER THE EVILS
BY DR. GOLDSMITH.
When I reflect on the unambitious retirement in which I passed the earlier part of my life in the country, I cannot avoid feeling some pain in thinking that those happy days are never to return. In that retreat, all nature seemed capable of affording pleas
I then made no refinements on happiness, but could be pleased with the most awkward efforts of rustic mirth; thought cross-purposes the highest stretch of human wit, and questions and commands the most rational way of spending the evening. Happy, could so charming an illusion still continue! 'I find that age and knowledge only contribute to sour our dispositions. My present enjoyments may be more refined, but they are infinitely less pleasing. The pleasure the best actor gives, can no way compare to that I have received from a country wag, who imitated a quaker's sermon.
The music of the finest singer is dissonance, to what I felt when our old daiIy-inaid sung me into tears with Johnny Armstrong's Last Good Night, or the cruelty of Barbara Allen.
Writers of every age have endeavoured to show that pleasure is in us, and not in the objects offered for our amusement. If the soul be happily disposed, every thing becomes capable of affording eniertaine ment, and distress will almost want a name. Every. occurrence passes in review like the figures in a procession; some may be awkward, others ill-riressed; but none but a fool is for this enraged with the master of the ceremonies.
I relñember to have once seen a slave in a fortification inylanders, who
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, when Nature seems to deny the means. They who, like our slave, can place themselves on that side of the world in which
every thing appears in a pleasing light, will find something in every occur ing the rence to excite their good humour. The most calamitous events, either to themselves or others, can bring no other affliction; the whole world is to them a theatre, on which comedies only are acted. All the bustle of heroism, or the rants of ambition, serve only to heighten the absurdity of the scene, and make the humour more poignant. They feel, in short, as little anguish at their own distress, or the complaints of others, as the undertaker though dressed in black, feels sorrow at a funeral. the men I ever read of, the famous Cardinal de Retz possessed this happiness of temper in the highest degree. As he was a man of gallantry, and des. pised all that wore the pedantic appearance of philosophy, wherever pleasure was to be sold, he was generally foremost to raise the auction. Being any call universal admirer of the fair sex, when he found one lady cruel, he generally fell in love with an
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