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flowers, upon the glorious all-vivifying sun, upon the great waters bounding in unerring obedience to the moon, and into the blue depths of heaven, until I stood, as it were, in the presence of the Omnipotent Unseen; my senses drank in the landscape till they became inebriated with delight; I seemed interfused with nature; a feeling of universal love fell upon my heart, and in the suffusion of its silent gratitude and adoration I experienced a living apotheosis, being in spirit rapt up into the third heaven, even as Elijah was in the flesh. Bold romantic scenery was not essential to the awakening of this enthusiasm: it has sprung up amid my own fields; and in the study of botany, to which I have always been attached, the dissection of a flower has been sufficient to call it forth, though in a minor degree. All nature, in fact, is imbued with this sentiment, for every thing is beautiful, and every thing attests the omnipresence of Divine love; but grand combinations will, of course, condense and exalt the feeling. Old as I am, I can still walk miles to enjoy a fine prospect; I often get up to see the sun rise, and I rarely suffer it to set, on a bright evening, without recreating my eyes with its parting glories. I can now feel the spirit in which the dying Rousseau desired to be wheeled to the window, that he might once more enjoy this sublime spectacle.
How often, in my younger days, have I repeated the well-known lines of Dryden,
66 Strange cozenage! none would live past years again,
And from the dregs of life think to receive
I would live past
I had lived to disprove them. years again, but it should be the latter, not the former portion; for the current of my life, as it proaches the great ocean of eternity, runs smoother. and clearer than in its first out-gushing. Like Job's, my latter days have been the most fully blessed. I am now seventy years of age; and bating the loss of a few teeth, and some other inevitable effects of age upon my person, I still possess the mens sana in corpore sano, and "bate no jot of heart or hope." My journey from sixty to seventy has been as delightful as that from forty to sixty; nor do I anticipate any future disappointment should it be extended to eighty or ninety, for my confidence in nature's substitutions and benignant provisions is boundless. Had she fixed a century as the impassable boundary of life, we might feel some annoyance and apprehensions as we approached it; but by leaving it undetermined, she has, to a certain extent, made us immortal in our own belief, for Hope is illimitable. I often catch myself anxiously inquiring of what disease my seniors have died, as if their disappearance were contrary to the usual course of things, and attributable to accident." The shortness of human life," says Dr. Johnson, "has afforded as many arguments to the voluptuary as the moralist." How operative, then, must it be with me who am anxious to combine both tendencies, and be
considered a moral voluptuary, or, in other words, a philosopher: not a follower of Aristippus, or disciple of the Cyrenaic school, devoted to worldly and sensual delights under which the soul "embodies and embrutes;" but as a pupil of the much misunderstood and calumniated Epicurus, cultivating intellectual enjoyments, and holding pleasure to be the chief good, and virtue the chief pleasure! These are the laudable delights to which I feel a new stimulant from considering the shortness of my remaining career; and whether its termination be near or distant, these enjoyments will, I verily believe, accompany me to the last, and enable me to fall, like Cæsar, in a becoming and decent attitude.
I have just laid down Wordsworth's Excursion, which I have been reading in the fields. How beautiful is the evening! The ground is strewed with dead leaves, which the wind has blown up into little heaps like graves; autumn has spread her varicoloured mantle over those which still flutter on the trees, some of which, crisp and red, tinkle in the air; while, from the chestnuts over my head, a large russet leaf, flitting from time to time before my eyes, or falling at my feet, seems to pronounce a silent "memento mori." The sun is rapidly sinking down, leaving the valley before me in shade, while the woods that clothe the hill upon my left, suffused with rosy light, but tranquil and motionless, seem as if they reposed in the flush of sleep. Three horses, unyoked from the plough, are crossing the field towards their stable, and the crows that have been following the furrow retire
cawing to their nests, while a flock of sheep, attended by the shepherd and his dog, are slowly withdrawing to the fold. Every thing seems to breathe of death,to remind me that my sun too is setting, and that I must shortly go to my long home, for the night is approaching. And here, methinks, if my appointed time were come, with the grass for my bed of death, the earth and sky sole witnesses of my exit, I could contentedly commit my last breath to the air, that it might be wafted to Him who gave it.
Life is at all times precarious;-there are but a few feet of earth between the stoutest of us and the grave, and at my age we should not be too sanguine in our calculations; yet, if I were to judge from my own unbroken health and inward feelings, as well as from the opinions of others more competent to pronounce, I have yet ten years at least, perhaps many more, of happiness in store for me. Should the former period be consummated, I pledge myself again to commune with the public. Should it be otherwise, I may, perhaps, be enabled to realize the wish of the celebrated Dr. Hunter, who half an hour before his death exclaimed, "Had I a pen, and were able to write, I would describe how easy and pleasant a thing it is to die!" In either alternative, gentle reader, if my example shall have assisted in teaching thee how to live grateful and happy, and to look upon death with resignation, the object of this Memoir will be attained, and thou wilt have no cause to regret perusing this sketch of
ADDRESS TO THE ALABASTER SARCOPHAGUS,
LATELY DEPOSITED IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM.
THOU alabaster relic! while I hold
My hand upon thy sculptured margin thrown,
How many thousand ages from thy birth
Thou sleptst in darkness, it were vain to ask,
What time Elijah to the skies ascended,
Thebes from her hundred portals fill'd the plain
What banners waved, what mighty music swell'd,