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surrounding air. At length an eternal separation was made between those who should enjoy the happier lot of returning to their country, friends, and relatives, and those who were for ever to be confined to their dreadful dungeons. The Syracufans, who could punish their helpless captives with such unrelenting severity, had often melted into tears at the rehearsal of the affecting strains of EURIPIDES, an Athenian poet, who had learned in the Socratic school to adorn the lessons of philosophy with the charms of fancy, and who was regarded by the taste of his contemporaries, as he still is by many enlightened judges, as the most tender and pathetic, the most philosophical and instructive, of all the ancient tragic writers *.

The pleasure which the Syracufans had derived from his inimitable poetry, made them delight in hearing it fung by the flexible voices and harmonious pronunciation of the Athenians, so unlike, and so superior to the rudeness and asperity of their own doric dialect.

They desired those captives, who could fing, to reherse those plaintive scenes of their favourite bard. The captives obeyed; and affecting to represent the woes of kings and heroes, they too faithfully expressed their

* The Greek play was sung, and every citizen had free admittance to these public entertainments. The ancient theatres contained from 20 to 30,000 people.

captives * Vide The History of Greece by Dr. Gillies, a work which exhibits throughout the deepest research, the most elegant narrative, and the foundert reflections,

own.

Their taste and sensibility endeared them to the Syracufans, who soon released their bonds; and, after treating them with all the honourable distinctions of ancient hospitality, restored them to their longing and afflicted country, as a small but precious wreck of the most formidable armament that had ever failed from a Grecian harbour.

At their return to Athens, the grateful captives walked in folemn procession to the house of EURIPIDES, whom they hailed as their deliverer from slavery and death *.

SECT.

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

SECT. LXVII.

OF SELF-LOVE, AND SOCIAL AFFECTION.

On their own axis as the planets run,
yet make at once their circle round the sun :
so two consistent motions actuate the soul;
and one regards itself, and one the whole.

POPE.

The original constitution of our nature with refpect to the mixture of selfish and social affection, discovers in this, as in every other part of our frame, profound and admirable wisdom. Each individual is by his CREATOR committed particularly to himself and his own care. He knows and considers his own situation best, and has more opportunities of promoting his own happiness, than he can have of advancing the happiness of any other person. It was therefore fit, it was necessary, that in each individual self-love should be the strongest and most active instinct. This self-love, if he had been a being who stood

a solitary and alone, might have proved sufficient for the purpose both of his preservation and his wel

fare. that

of man.

nature.

fare. But such was not intended to be the situation

He is mixed among multitudes of the same

In these multitudes, the self-love of one man, or attention to his own particular interest, encountering the self-love and the interest of another, could not but produce frequent opposition, and innumerable mischiefs. It was necessary, therefore, to provide a counterbalance to this part of his nature ; which is accordingly done, by implanting in him those social and benevolent inftinets, which lead him in some measure out of himself, to follow the interest of others.

The strength of these social inslinets is, in general, proportioned to their importance in human life. Thus, that parental afection, which the helpless state of infancy and childhood renders so needful, is made the strongest of them all. Next, come those ties of blood, which prompt mutual kindness among those who are intimately joined together by brotherhood, and other family connections. To these fucceeds that valuable instinct of pity, which impels us to assist the distressed wherever we behold them. Hence that degree of sensibility, which prompts us to weep with them that weep, is stronger than that which prompts us to rejoice with them that rejoice ; for this plain reason, 7

that the unhappy stand more in need of our fellow-feeling and affistance than the prosperous.

Still, however, it was requisite, that in each individual the quantity of self-love should remain in a large proportion, on account of its importance to the preservation of his life and well-being. But as the quantity requisite for this purpose is apt both to ingross his attention, and to carry him into criminal excesses, the perfection of his nature is measured by the counterpoise of those social principles which, tempering the force of the selfish affection, render man not only useful to himself, but to those about him.

SECT.

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