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High and exquifite gratifications are not confiftent with the appointed measures of humanity: and, perhaps, if we would fully enjoy the relish of our being, we should ra→ ther confider the miseries we escape, than too nicely examine the intrinfic worth of the happiness we poffefs. It is, at least, the bufinefs of true wifdom to bring together every circumftance, which may light up a flame of chearfulness in the mind: and tho' we must be infenfible if it should-perpetually burn with the fame unvaried brightnefs; yet prudence fhould preferve it as a facred fire, which is never to be totally extinguished.
I AM perfuaded, this difguft of life is frequently indulged out of a principle of mere vanity. It is efteemed as a mark of uncommon refinement, and as placing a man above the ordinary level of his fpecies, to feem fuperior to the vulgar feelings of happiness. True good-fense, however, most certainly confifts, not in defpifing, but in managing, our stock of life to the best advantage; as a chearful acquiefcence in the measures of Providence, is one of the ftrongest symptoms of a well-constituted
mind. Self-weariness is a circumstance that ever attends folly; and to contemn our being is the greateft, and indeed the peculiar, infirmity of human nature. It is a noble sentiment which Tully puts into the mouth of Cato, in his treatise upon old age: Non lubet mihi (fays that venerable Roman) deplorare vitam, quod multi, et ii docti, fæpe fecerunt; neque me vixiffe pænitet: quoniam ita vixi, ut non fruftra me natum exiftimem.
IT is in the power indeed, of but a very fmall proportion of mankind, to act the fame glorious part that afforded fuch high fatisfaction to this diftinguished patriot: but the number is yet far more inconfiderable of those, who cannot, in any station, fecure to themselves a fufficient fund of complacency to render life justly valuable. Who is it that is placed out of the reach of the highest of all gratifications, thofe of the generous affections; and that cannot provide for his own happiness by contributing fomething to the welfare of others? As this disease of the mind generally breaks out with most violence in those, who are fuppofed to be endowed with a greater delicacy of taste and reafon, than is the ufual
allotment of their fellow-creatures; one afk them whether there is any fatiety in the pursuits of useful knowledge? or, if one can ever be weary of benefiting mankind? Will not the fine arts fupply a lasting feaft to the mind? Or can there be wanting a pleasurable employment, so long as there remains even one advantageous truth to be discovered or confirmed? : To complain that life has no joys, while there is a fingle creature whom we can relieve by our bounty, affift by our counfels, or enliven by our presence, is to lament the loss of that which we poffefs, and is just as rational as to die of thirft with the cup in our hands. But the misfortune is, when a man is settled into a habit of receiving all his pleafures from the mere felfish indulgencies; he wears out of his mind the relifh of every nobler enjoyment, at the fame time that his powers of the fenfual kind are growing more languid by each repetition. It is no wonder therefore he fhould fill up the meafure of his gratifications, long before he has completed the circle of his duration; and either wretchedly fit down the remaind
er of his days in difcontent, or rafhly throw them up in despair. Farewel.
ERTAINLY, Timoclea, you have a paffion for the marvelous beyond all power of gratification. There is not an adventurer throughout the whole regions of chivalry, with whom you are unacquainted; and have wondered thro more folios than would furnish out a decent library. Mine, at least, you have totally ex-haufted, and have fo cleared my fhelves of knights-errant, that I have not a fingle hero remaining that ever was regaled in bower or hall. But tho you have drained me of my whole ftock of romance, I am not entirely unprovided for your entertainment; and have enclosed a little Grecian fable for your amusement, which was lately transmitted to me by one of my friends. He difcovered it, he tells me, among fome old manųscripts, which have been long, it seems, in
the poffeffion of his family: and, if you will rely upon his judgment, it is a tranflation by Spenfer's own hand.
THIS is all the history I have to give you of the following piece: the genuineness of which I leave to be fettled between my friend and the critics, and am, &c.
Ne thou, O man! who deal' ft the tort, mifween The equal gods, who heav'n's fky-mansions throng, (Though viewlefs to the eyne they distant sheen) Spectators reckless of our actions been.
Turning the volumes of grave fagés old,
Where auncient faws in fable may be seen,
This truth I fond in paynim tale enroll'd ; Which for enfample drad my mufe shall bere unfold.
What time Arcadia's flowret vallies fam'd,