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their minds with misery, and build up a new happiness out of the ruins of the old. Were they to expatiate upon their wealth, or rank, or talents, or high connexions, or any of the advantages they enjoy over their neighbours, as so many others do, they might justly be accused of pride and vanity; but nobody can accuse them of these propensities when they confess, with a perfect candour, their losses, trials, and misfortunes; their want of health, personal attractions, and mental abilities. Lay not that flattering unction to your souls, most crafty simpletons and oblique egotists! This is the commonest though shallowest subterfuge of self-love. There is hardly a crime, folly, or misery of which some men will not accuse themselves, even wrongfully, rather than not be the subject of conversation. Not a few love to detail all their bodily ailments, and recapitulate a whole Buchan of remedies with a most nauseating minuteness. If they did but know how sincerely their compassionate and sympathising auditors regret that none of them proved mortal! Others again will boast of a bad leg or cadaverous complexion with a vanity as deformed as their figures, holding every defect to be redeemed if it happen to appertain to.that impeccable object of their idolatry-self. Disserting upon their misfortunes operates their immediate cure; their misery is like silence-it ceases the moment it is talked about.
66 'They make self-love supply an ointment
For all defect and disappointment,
Then again we have a fashionable sect of volunteers in hypochondria, amateurs of misery, knights of the woeful countenance, enacting Jaques without his intellect, and sighing like furnace without the accompaniment of a ditty; who are sad and lack-a-daisical upon principle, who sentimentalize by rote, talk about Rousseau and Werter, weep over a heart-rending novel whenever they are observed by others, and happen to have a clean white handkerchief; expatiate upon the luxury of woe, and pathetically exclaim in the language of Rogers
"Go, you may call it madness, folly,
You shall not steal away my rest;
Monarchs are too poor to buy.”
Now surely this is a very sorry and pitiful way of playing the fool. A Merry-Andrew is despicable enough; occasionally we laugh at him, now and then with him, and sometimes he fails to excite even a smile; but his object is at least intelligible, he strives to elicit our risibility, and if he succeed by tickling our sides instead of our fancies, he has still added a modicum to the general sum of pleasant sensations. what is the motive of the Sad-Andrew, the lugubrious zany, the moping mountebank, who with his lacrymose visage and sickly suspirations plays the fool to make us cry, and in the lack of substantial sorrows, or the insufficiency of those that actually fall to his
share, sets his perverted wits to work in coining and issuing a whole Birmingham of counterfeit calamities?
After all, exclaims some genuine or mimic Hypochan, if life be even so fraught with enjoyments as you have pretended, and our mind could be so regulated as to avail itself of all its pleasurable susceptibilities, it would but imbitter the thought that we must be shortly torn away from earth and all its attractions! And then with a paviour's sigh he quotes from Horace-" Linquenda tellus et domus, et placens uxor."-Most perverse and insatiable malcontent, dost thou blow hot and cold with the same breath,-complain that life is wretched, and lament that it is not of longer duration? If thou accusest heaven for not giving thee more, whom art thou to thank for calling thee out of the dumb darkness of nonentity and giving thee so much; for bestowing upon thee three or four score years of pleasant existence, and making it dependent upon thyself whether thou shalt exchange it for an eternity of beatitude? Go-and learn that there is no deeper ingrate than he whose real melancholy arraigns the dispensations of Providence, and no greater fool than the coxcomb who assumes a sadhess that he does not feel.
"Where Ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."
MADAME DE GENLIS, in her ingenious fiction of the Palace of Truth, whose inmates unconsciously uttered the real sentiments of their hearts, while they imagined themselves to be courteously pouring forth the customary amenities of politeness and flattery, has inculcated a very doubtful moral. She has proved, indeed, the hollowness and insincerity of civilised life; the ridiculous contrast between smiles upon the face, and curses on the lip; between hatred in the bosom, and compliments from the tongue: she has exposed the general inconsistency between professions and feelings, and the confusion with which most individuals would be covered, could they be aware that the suggestion of Momus had been realised, and that a window had been secretly opened in their bosoms for public inspection:—but she has at the same time convinced us, that without this amiable dissimulation and exterior falsehood, the world would be one wretched scene of ingenuous strife. It would, in fact, exhibit all the envy, hatred, and malice of her Palace of Truth, without the affability of look and demeanour which varnished them over: we should have all the nauseousness of the pill, and miss nothing but the gilding. Falsehood and duplicity may be rendered vices by their quantum or their motive, but they cannot be
essentially culpable if we admit absolute unqualified truth to be inconsistent with civilised life. Nobody can doubt that, with the unconditional exercise of this latter virtue, we should quickly degenerate into savageness. When our first parents knew sin, they put on garments; from that moment our minds have required to be clothed as carefully as our bodies, perhaps more for it is the skill with which we conceal deformities, assist defects, and embellish beauties, that constitutes the charm of our moral as well as of our personal appearance.
Let the designing hypocrite be branded as he deserves-let every honest hand be furnished with a whip for the interested or malignant liar-let selfish cunning and deceit be ever, as they are now, the objects of our scorn; but, avaunt! ye rigourists and moral puritans, who would render us all a set of matter-of-fact misanthropes, who would dissipate every pleasant illusion of life, and, fishing up Truth from the bottom of that well into which the first inhabitants of the world very properly cast her, would instal her as a household deity, and the grim idol of our worship. Mistaken zealots! how could ye render her empire universal? Are there not falsehoods by implication which could not be rendered amenable to your jurisdiction? Even could ye indict a smile or a bow, and impose a fine upon complimentary superscriptions and signatures, are there not substantial infractions of your law, which, though tangible, ye cannot touch? He must be a shrewd officer of your court who shall discover and bring up for judgment