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I entirely agree with that judicious philosopher, Mr. Smith, in his excellent Theory of Moral Sentiments, that remorse is the most painful sentiment that can embitter the human bosom. Any ordinary pitch of fortitude
up tolerably well under those calamities, in the procurement of which, we ourselves have had no hand; but when our own follies, or crimes, have made us miserable and wretched, to bear up with manly firmness, and at the same time have a proper penitential sense of our misconduct-is a glorious effort of self-command.
Of all the numerous ills that hurt our peace,
other circumstance, the mind
love their cause of ruin !
Feels all the bitter horrors of his crime,
I have often observed in the course of my experience of human life, that every man, even the worst, has something good about him; though very often nothing else than a happy temperament of constitution inclining him to this, or that virtue. For this reason no man can say
in what degree any other person, besides himself, can be, with strict justice, called wicked. Let any of the strictest character for regularity of conduct among us, examine impartially how many vices he has never been guilty of, not from any care or vigilance, but for want of opportunity, or some accidental circumstance intervening; how many of the weaknesses of mankind he has escaped, because he was out of the line of such temptation : and what often, if not always, weighs more than all the rest ; how much he is indebted to the world's
good opinion, because the world does not know all; I say any man who can thus think, will scan the failings, nay, the faults and crimes, of mankind around him, with a brother's eye.
I have often courted the acquaintance of that part of mankind, commonly known by the ordinary phrase of blackguards ; sometimes farther than was consistent with the safety of my
characthose who by thoughtless prodigality, or headstrong passions, have been driven to ruin. Though disgraced by follies, nay sometimes “stained with
I have yet found among them, in not a few instances, some of the noblest virtues, magnanimity, generosity, disinterested friendship, and even modesty.
As I am what the men of the world, if they knew such a man, would call a whimsical mortal ; I have various sources of pleasure and enjoyment which are, in a manner, peculiar to myself; or some here and there, such other out-of-the-way person. Such is the peculiar pleasure I take in the season of winter, more than the rest of the year. This, I believe, may be partly owing to my misfortunes
giving my mind a melancholy cast ; but there is something even in the
“ Mighty tempest, and the hoary waste
which raises the mind to a serious sublimity, favorable to every thing great and noble. There is scarcely any earthly object gives me more I do not know if I should call it pleasure-but something which exalts me, something which enraptures me-than to walk in the sheltered side of a wood, or high plantation, in a cloudy winter-day, and hear the stormy wind howling among the trees, and raving over the plain. It is my best season for devotion: my mind is wrapt upin a kind of enthusiasm to him, who, in the pompous language of the Hebrew bard “walks on the wings of the wind.” In one of these seasons, just after a train of misfortunes, I composed the following, The wintry west extends his blast, &c.
See vol. III, p. 171.
Shenstone finely observes, that love-verses writ without any real passion, are the most nauseous of all conceits; and I have often thought that no man can be a proper critic of love-composition,
except he himself, in one or more instances, have been a warm votary of this passion. As I have been all along a miserable dupe to love, and have been led into a thousand weaknesses and follies by it, for that reason I put the more confidence in my critical skill, in distinguishing foppery and conceit, from real passion and nature.
Whether the following song will stand the test, I will not pretend to say, because it is my own; only I can say it was, at the time, genuine from the heart.
Behind yon hills, &c.
See vol. 111. p. 278.
I think the whole species of young men, may be naturally enough divided into two grand classes, which I shall call the
and the merry; though by the bye, these terms do not with propriety enough express my ideas. The grave I shall cast into the usual division of those who are goaded on by the love of money, and those whose darling wish is to make a figure in the world. The merry, are the men of pleasure of all denominations; the jovial lads who have too much fire and spirit, to have any
settled rule of action ; but without much deliberation, follow the strong impulses of nature: the thoughtless, the careless, the indolent, in particular be, who with a happy sweetness of natural