Page images

for My Lord ; mistakes one name for another; and tells you of Mr. Whatd'ye call bim, or You know who; Mys, Thingum, What's her name, or Howd'ye call her, He begins a story ; but not being able to finish it, breaks of in the middle, with" l've forgot the rest."

VIII.Virtue Man's highest Interesi.HARRIS. I FIND myself existing upon a little spot surrounded every way by an immense unknown expansion Where am I? What sort of a place do I inhabit ? Is it exactly accommodated, in every instance, to my convenience ? Is there no excess of cold, none of heat, to of. fend me? Am I never annoyed by animals, either of my own kind or a different ? Is every thing subservient to me, as though I had ordered all myself? No, nothing like it the farthest from it possible. The world appears not, then,originally made for the private convenience of me alone ? It does not. But is it not possible so to accommodate it, by my own particular industry? If to accommodate man and beast, heaven and earth, if this be beyond me, it is not possible. What consequence, then, follows? Or can there be any other than this ? If I seek an interest of my own, detached froin that of others, I seek an interestwhich is chimerical, and can nepa er have existence.

How then must I determine ? Have I no interest at all? If I have not, I am a fool for staying here : 'Tis a smoaky house, and the sooner out of it the better. But why no interest? Can I be contented with none but one separate and detached ? is a social interest, joined with others such an absurdity as not to be admitted ? The bee, the beaver, and the tribes of herding animals, are enow to convince me that the thing is, somewhere, at least,possible. How then,am I assured that'tis not equal. ly true of man? Admit it, and what follows? If so, then honor and justice are my interest ; then the wholo train of moral virtues are my interest ; without some portion of which, not even thieves can maintain society.

But farther still stop pot here persue this social interest as far as I can trace my several relations. I apass from my own stock, my own neighborhood, my

own nation, to the whole race of mankind, as dispersed throughout the earth. Am I not related to them all, by the mutual aids of commerce, by the general intercourse of arts and letters, by that common nature of which we all participate ?

Again-I must have food and clothing. Without a proper genial warmth, I instantly perish. Am I not related, in this view, to the very earth itself? To the distant sụn from whose beams i derive vigor? To that stupendous course and order of the infinite host of heaven, by which the times and seasons ever uniformly pass on? Were this order once confounded, I could not probably survive a moment ; 80 absolutely do I depend on this common, general welfare. What then have I to do but to enlarge virtue into piety ! Not only honor and justice, and what I owe to man, are my interest : But gratitude also, acquiescence, resignation, adoration, and all I owe to this great polity, and its great Governor, our common Parent. IX.- On the Pleasure arising from Objects of Sighi.

SPECTATOR. THOSE pleasures of the imagination which arise from the actual view and survey of outward objects, all proceed from the sight of what is great, uncommon or beautiful.

By greatness, I do not only mean the bulk of any sin. gle object, but the largeness of the whole view, considered as one entire piece. Such are the prospects of a?? open champaign country, a vast unculuvated desert, of huge heaps of mountains, high rocks and precipices, or a wide expanse of waters ; where we are notstruck with the novelty or beauty of the sight, but with that rode kind of magnificence, which appears in many of these stupendous works of nature. Our inagination loves to be filled with an object, or to grasp at any thing that is too big for its capacity. We are Aung into a pleasing astonishment at such unbounded views, and feel a delightful stillness and amazement in the soul, at the ap. prehensions of them. The 'mind of man naturally hates, every thing thai looks like restraint upon it, and is

ugt to fancy itself under a sort of confinement, when i



sight is pent up in a narrow compass, and shortened, on cvery side, by the neighborhood of walls and mountains. On the contrary, a spacious horizon is an image of libe erty, where the eye has room to range abroad, to expatiate at large on the immensity of its views, and to lose itself amidst the variety of objects that offer themselves to its observation. Such wide and undetermined prospects are pleasing to the fancy, as the speculations of eternity or infinitude are to the understanding. But if there be a beauty or uncommonness joined with this grandeur, as in a troublcd occan, a beaven adorned with stars and meteors, or a spacious landscape cut out into rivers, woods, rocks and meadows, the pleasure still grows upon us, as it rises from more than a single principle,

Every thing that is now or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an a. grecable surprise, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed. We are, indeed,so often cunversant with one set of objects,and tired out with so many repealed shows of the same things, that whatever is new or uncommon contributes a little to vary buman life, and to divert our minds, for a while, with the strangeness of its appearance; it serves i's for a kind of refreshment, and takes off from that satiety we are apt to complain of, in our usual and ordinary enter. tainments. It is this that bestows charms on a monster, and makes even the imperfections of nature please us. It is this that recommends variety, where the mind is every instant called off to something new, and the attention not suffered to dwell too long, and waste itself on any particular object: It is this, likewise, that im. proves what is great or beautiful, and makes it afford the mind a double entertainment. Ceroves, fields and meadows are, at ang season of the year, pleasant to look upon; but Qever so much as in the opening of the spring when they are all new and fresh, with their first gloss upon them, and not yet too much accustomed and familiar to the eye. For this reason, there is nothing that more enlivens a prospect, than rivers,jetteaus, or falls of water, where the scene is perpetually shifting, and enthe eye

tertaining the sight every moment with some:hing that is new.

We are quickly tired with looking upon hills and vallies, where every thing continues fixed and settled in the same place and posture, but find our thoughts a little agitated and releaved, at the sight of such objects as are ever in motion and sliding away from beneath

of the beholder. But there is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul, than beauty, which immediately diffuses a secret satisfacrion and complacency through the imagination, and gives a finishing to any thing that is great or uncommon. The very first discovery of it strikes the mind with an inward joy, and spreads a cheerfulness and delight through all its faculties. There is not, perhaps, any real beauty or deforunity more in one piece of matter than another; because we might have been made so, that whatsoever now appears loathsome to us, might have shown itself agreeable ; but we find by experience, that there are several modifications of matter, which the mind, without any previous consideration, pronounces at the first sight, beautiful or deformed. Thus we sec that every different species of sensible creatures has its different notions of beauty, and that each of them is most affected with the beauties of its own kind. This is no where more remarkable than in birds of the same shape and proportion, where we often see the male determined in hiscourtship by the single grain or tincture of a seather, and never discovering any charms but in the color of iis species.

There is a second kind of beauty, that we find in the several products of art and nature, which does not work in the imagination with that warmth and violence,as the beauly that appears in our own proper species, but is apo however, to raise in us a secret delight, and a kind of fondness for the places, or objects, in which we discuver it. This consists either in the gaiety or variety of col. ors, in the symmetry and proportion of parts, in the arrangement and disposition of bodies, or in a just mix- . ture and concurrence of all together. Among these sev. eral kinds of beauty, the eye takes most delight in colors. We no where meet with a more glorious or pleasa ing show in nature, than what appears in the heavens at the rising and setting of the sun, wbich is wholly made up of those different stains oflight,that show themselves in clouds of a different situation. For this reason we find the poets, who are always addressing themselves to the imagination, borrowing more of their epithets from colors, than from any other topic.

As the fancy delights in every thing that is great, strange or beautiful, and is still more pleased, the more it finds of these perfections in the same object; so it is capable of receiving a new satisfaction, by the assistance of another sense. Thus any continued sound, as the music of birds, or a fall of water, awakens, every moment, the mind of the beholder, and makes him more attentive to the several beauties of the place that lie before him. Thus, if there arise a fragrancy of smells, of perfumes,they heighten the pleasures of the imagination, and make even the colors and verdure of the landscape appear more agreeable ; for the ideas of both senses re. commend each other, and are pleasanter together, than when they enter the mind separately ; as the different colors of a picture, when they are well disposed, set of one another, and receive an additional beauty from the advantage of their situation.

X-Liberty and Slavery.-STERNE. DISGUISE !hyself as thou wilt, still, slavery! still thou art a bitter draught; and though thousands, in all ages, have been made to drink of thee, thou art no less bilier on that account. It is thou, liberty ! thrice sweet and gracious Goddess, whom all, in public or in private worship; whose taste is grateful, and ever will be so till nature herself shall change. No tint of words can stop thy snowy mantle, or chymic power turn thy sceptre inio iron. With thee, lo smile upon him as he eats his crust,the swain is happier than his monarch, from whose court thou art exiled. Gracious heaven! Grant me but health, thou great bestower of it! And give me but this fair goddess as my companion ; and shower down thy mitres, if it seem good unto thy Divine Providence, upon those heads which are aching for them,

« PreviousContinue »