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as with the wand of a magician, transport us whithersoever they will, and wake up to our wandering vision any scene at pleasure.
When I express my admiration of the first race of periodical essays on the philosophy of the heart, I am not insensible of their noble progeny, worthy their immortal sires; but the observations applicable to the one are not inapplicable to the other. One circumstance may be remarked of all the writers who have thus distinguished themselves. They were men who were in no common degree attentive to the workings of nature in the human soul, as far as their search could penetrate, or their information could teach them. They tried, like Bruce, to trace the river to its source, through all its meanderings, and changes of name and of appearance.
Such has been the study of my life. Other objects have occasionally and necessarily occupied my time and attention; this only, the study of the heart, has engrossed my undivided affection. I have, besides, sundry and divers other pretensions to the character of censor morum. I find, upon inquiry, that on the night of my birth a most awful eruption of Mount Hecla took place, and about the same time an island emerged from the Southern Sea. Furthermore, it is said that, in my childhood, instead of patiently learning the names of my ivory letters, I was ever wishing to know how and of what they were made, and where the material came from. And very early I remember to have sat for hours upon a favourite tree, cogitating how this world was created, and what was the reason that this man wore a robe, while that man was a beggar. At school I was placed under a very eminent man, who had "the rudiments" by heart, and had read three thousand volumes,
(containing, on an average, two hundred pages each, and having twenty-eight lines to the page,) concerning the matter of which volumes he kept an exact register. His genius was profound. To him is due the honour of discovering the only word in our language which will form a rhyme to month, viz., millionth;* for which discovery he obtained an almanac for 1806. Beside all this, he wrote a poem which began in the middle of a line, and had more big words in it than any other five poems in the language, not to mention his great work, on which he particularly valued himself, on ancient Greek acrostics and epithalamy, together with a "Dissertation on Poems, in the shape of eagles with expanded wings." Of this work only two copies were sold-"O judgment, thou art fled to the brute beasts"-of which one serves me for a writing desk, the other is the property of my neighbour, who, being a simple man, and desirous to be useful, bought it under the idea that it was a treatise on ophthalmy, or inflammation of the eyes. By this profound philosopher I was accounted as being little short of an idiot; for he one day discovered that I had spent two hours in watching a spider while weaving its web, and at another time he seized a paper of mine, on which I had written some juvenile reflections on men and manners, instead of composing a double acrostic as he had directed me. My youth and my collegiate years were distinguished by the same attention to the operations of nature, both in the human heart and in the world; and from whatever I read, those passages were selected which struck any chord of feeling in my soul that never had been touched before. My present leisure gives me ample opportunity, (and my
* Unless we except the word oneth" the hundred and oneth year of the world."-AM. ED.
inclination leads me to improve it) to observe all the vast varieties of human feeling and disposition as they are exhibited on the wide theatre of the world. And from much observation I have been led to form several opinions almost peculiar to myself, which shall severally and singly be laid before my readers in due time and place.
No. 2.-Sept. 8, 1813.
"Cuncta fluunt, omnisque vagans formatur imago.”—OVID. All things change, and every thing earthly is created mutable.
NOVELTY has charms peculiar to itself. A new bonnet and a new book will alike find their patrons. But if they be found devoid of intrinsic value when they cease to be new, they will be superseded by others of equal pretensions, which will in turn meet the same fate.
The effect of novelty is in nothing more remarkable than in the changes of dress. That of the men has within fifty years been altered and new-modelled times without number. First the lengthy old-fashioned make was laid aside, and a shorter one received into favour, which was again abandoned, and its predecessor established as the ton. With the dress of the ladies I cannot pretend so intimate an acquaintance. I have, however, remarked
Manners and customs have suffered the like changes. And in all these changes men have supposed that they were approaching toward perfection, while in reality they have only been moving in a circle, and have at
length ended where they first set out. The rudeness of the savage gradually refines into the politeness of the gentleman, and this, in its turn, degenerates by degrees into pristine barbarity. The state of every thing earthly is naturally progressive. It is either emerging from its lowest state, and acquiring that degree of perfection of which it is capable, or it is declining in the opposite
The mind of man is naturally so active that it must continually be exerting its powers in one way or other. This activity operates not less in exciting than promoting this love of change, which is one of the most natural propensities of the human heart. Such is his love of novelty, that he is tired "with uniformity, though it be uniformity of excellence." But the charms of novelty, though they are great in their degree, are short in their duration. Familiarity with any object whatsoever robs it of its eclat, and the most elevated situations soon become as unpleasing as the lowest, to a discontented mind. On the contrary, there are some situations which become pleasing only when they have lost their novelty. Such is the state of a young author, who is uncertain what reception his works will meet with. He feels, in a degree, the misery and anxiety of a criminal whose case is dubious, and actually pending in a court of justice.
Having been in a room adjoining my bookseller's shop, I have had the pleasure and mortification of overhearing the remarks of some who had perused my first paper. As it respects certain of these, I shall attribute the acrimony of their wit to the wet weather which has lately prevailed; for it is acknowledged that the English are affected more than any other nation by the changes of the atmosphere. Among these was Timothy Trip
pet, a fop of the first order, who had intended a jaunt into the country, but was prevented by the rain, and had come to lounge a little among the books. Having taken up my paper and read it, he observed that he did not doubt but that I had squared the compass of my design by my ability, since I had made no promise at all. And having thus said, and adjusted his stock and collar at a glass, which was by accident in the shop, he re-entered his chariot. I was better pleased with the observation of an elderly gentleman who sat beside me, who said that he believed the Observer would succeed in his undertaking, if he did not, like some others, allow his success to diminish his diligence. It is almost needless to add, that I concurred in his opinion, at the same time that I determined to profit by his advice.
No. 6.-October 5, 1813.
"In man or woman, but far most in man,
MEN of understanding, and writers of sensibility, though they differ widely in their sentiments concerning many things, yet universally admire that behaviour which is natural and unconstrained, in preference to all the refinements of art and education. They more especially condemn these improvements upon nature (as they are termed) the farther they lead us from genuine simplicity and sincerity of heart; for such is the effect which these supposed improvements, in their