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PHILOCLE8 is one of those few, who can. be chearful.and employed, without hav^ ing. Recourse to the Business or-, Diversions. as the World* He has a.warm Imagination tempered w.th an excellent Understanding., both* which he has improved by a judicious Mixture. Reading and Converfation..
Though his Inclination has led hinvjnto. Retirement; his Thlents qualify, hira foe making a Fir gure. in the, active Scenes of Life, Yet, at the fame Time, it ra»st be. confessed, there is a certain natural.Delicacy in the Prame.of- his Mind,., which would have reiidered-him less serviceable, ia BuGnefs, than, others of inferior Abilities without the fame Refinement .of: Temper,. He.is ar«. rived, to that Periodfat, Life,, when the Powers of the. Mind are in their truest Vigours And hairing , conversed at large long enough to. give him ai thorough Knew ledge, of Mankinds hchas narrow
cd his Friendships, as well as Acquaintance, desiring but few of either.
The Spot he has chosen for his Retirement is within a convenient Distance of the Town, yet not so near as to want any Advantages of the Country. He is a prosessed Admirer of what he calls Refined Simplicity, and discovers that Chastity of Taste, not only in his Judgment of the fine Arts, but in his House, his Furniture, his Equipage; and in short, throughout the whole Conduct and OEconomy of his Life.
At a small Distance from his House stands a Wood; which has so many natural Beauties attending it, that with a very inconsiderable Expence, and by judiciously humouring the'Genius of the Place, he has made it one of the most delightful Scenes imaginable. In the Center he has erected a little Temple, the Materials of which are cheap and common; yet they are chosen with such Judgment, and thrown together with such Art, that perhaps the most costly Ornaments could" not have produced any thing more pleasing to a just Eye. It is covered with Thatch, and paved with Pebbles; and the Pillars are nothing more than the Trunks of some old Oaks, which grew upon the Spot. But the Plan is so happily designed, 3nd so neatly executed; and the several Parts are so harmonioufly proportioned to each other, as well as to the whole, that it forms one of the most agreeable Structures I ever beheld.
To this favourite Scene Pbihcles retires, whenever he would enjoy himself or his Friend without Interruption. And here it was that $of>bro
flius nius found him m his Evening Meditations, having been informed at his.tyjuse, that he was faking a Walk in the Wood." '. ;. Sopbr'onius and Pbilockshi.%% long lived together in the strictest Intimacy, and most unreserves Communication of Sentiments. S&pbronius has a just,. rather than a lively Imagination. His Sense is strong, but improved more by the Force of his own; Reflexions,. than by Books; for..he. has thought much more than he has read. Not that he. is unacquainted with;the capital. Authors, both Ancient and Modern, but it is his Maxim, that "Books have made more Fools than ever Nature "designed." Truth is the single Aim of his Enquiries; and to strew her Paths with Flowers, is't he thinks, to retard rather than to forward the Progress towards. rhieY. The Mind is amusing herself with little artificial Beauties in the Way, whilst she should be pushing forward to the End of her Journey. In short, as he is naturally of a phlegmatic Constitution, he declares against Enthusiasm of every Sort, esteeming her as the worst Enemy that Truth has to fear. He frequently rallies Pbilochs upon this Article ; whom he thinks, upon many Occasions, especially where the fine Arts are concerned, a downright Visionary.
After the general Compliments had pasted between these two Friends—How, faid Sopbronius smiling, shall I answer it to the Dryad of.. these Groves, for thus breaking in upon the Contemplations of jher : Votary; when, perhaps, she i$ even now expecting you under some venerable Oak, or favourite Elm? How
However romantic you may affect to think me in my Amours, replied Phikcles, you do not, in good Earnest, I hope, believe me so ill a Judge of real Happiness, as to imagine me capable of thinking I could exchange the Pleasures of Friendship for any more valuable Enjoyment. No, Sopbrvnius! as great an Admirer as I am of these Beauties of Nature, (he is no where so charming to me, as in her moral Operations, and that Harmony she produces from social Concord.
Were I to have traced the Genealogy of FrieVidIhip, returned Sopbronius, I should hardly have expected to find Nature her Parent. It seems to me much more reasonable to suppose this Union derived from Necessity and Convenience, or some other: Principle arising from our Wants and Imperfections, than any implanted Bias in our Frame, previous to those uneasy Feelings. The State of Nature could not have admitted of this refined Commerce 5 since every Individual, at that Period, must have had a separate and opposite Interest.
It is for that Reason, among others, answered Pbilocla, why I think it improbable, that such a. State should ever have existed. There is in our Frame so strong a Bias, such an irresistible Tendency to unite in the social Circle, that we must either suppose Mankind formed originally with Affections very different from what appear in them at present, or give up the Notion of this. barbarous State, as an absurd and groundless Supposition.
h It is not to be wondered, faid Sopbroniut, that she first View of'this rude State should startle a Mind, which has been accustomed to a regular Community, and has formed its Ideas of Truth from familiar Appearances of improved Nature. But it is very easy to mistake Habits for Affections, and ascribe to the direct Impulse of Nature, what is, in reality, rowing to the Maturity of Time, and the Discipline of many Generations. Societies have been long established: Use has taught us the Advantages, that are derived from them; and therefore we fancy that Men fall naturally and unavoidably into Associations; when the Truth is, they are only inclined to be sociable from Practice, rather than from any irrfmediate Incitement of Nature, or the Love of their Species. Look back upon the Accounts which Poets, Philosophers, and Historians give of Mankind in the Infancy of the World; and you will have a View very inconsistent with a Principle of friendly Union and social Coalition. They describe them not only without Arts and Sciences, but without Habitations, Laws, or even Language it^ self, and feeding upon the raw Herbage, like their fellow Brutes, the Tenants of the fame Shade and Pasture. I remember a Passage in Cicero, where he speaks to this Pupose of the first Race of Mortals [«]. And Horace [i], as well as Lucretius