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but only frequent experiments and close attention. What is said by the chemists of their darling mercury, is, perhaps, true of every body through the whole creation, that, if a thousand lives should be spent upon it, all its properties would not be found out.
Mankind must necessarily be diversified by various tastes, since life affords and requires such multiplicity of employments, and a nation of naturalists is neither to be hoped or desired; but it is surely not improper to point out a fresh amusement to those who languish in health, and repine in plenty, for want of some source of diversion that may be less easily exhausted, and to inform the multitudes of both sexes, who are burthened with every new day, that there are many shows which they have not seen.
He that enlarges his curiosity after the works of nature demonstrably multiplies the inlets to happiness; and, therefore, the younger part of my readers, to whom I dedicate this vernal speculation, must excuse me for calling upon them, to make use at once of the spring of the year, and the spring of life; to acquire, while their minds may be yet impressed with new images, a love of innocent pleasures, and an ardour for useful knowledge; and to remember, that a blighted spring makes a barren year, and that the vernal flowers, however beautiful and gay, are only intended by nature as preparative to autumnal fruits.
NONSCIENCE, to all men, in all climes, thou
of what is right, the inflexible warner of what is wrong; less erring than reason, more valuable than
genius; who blightest the blossoms of prosperous crime, and smilest comfort on undeserved misfortune! -Thee, his only solace, the virtuous man round his heart winds, and thus shielded, he journeys on, unsubdued by adversity, heedless of poverty;-and from all the ills attending prejudices, man is by thee upheld invulnerable. What though, during the conflict of passions, thou canst not assuage the storm-what, though thou shieldest not from the pang of affliction ; -time soon comes to thine aid, and, of past sorrows, nought remains but a melancholic, not unpleasing remembrance.
What a train of consoling, delightful reflections gladdens the man who has reason to be better satisfied with his conscience than with his fortune!-although dreary his track, cheerless the day, drooping the season, and, in a worldly sense, gloomy his prospects, by retiring within himself, he can create a serener sky, and call up happier scenes.
THE ADVANTAGES OF SOLITUDE.
THE world is a troubled ocean; and who can erect stable purposes, on its fluctuating waves? The world is a school of wrong, and who does not feel himself warping to its pernicious influences? On this sea of glass, how insensibly we slide from our own stedfastness! some sacred truth, which was struck in lively characters on our souls, is obscured, if not obliterated. Some worthy resolution, which heaven had wrought in our breasts, is shaken, if not overthrown. Some enticing vanity, which we had solemnly renounced, again practises its wiles, again cap
tivates our affections.
How often has an unwary glance kindled a fever of irregular desire in our hearts? how often has a word of applause dropt luscious poison into our ears; or some disrespectful expression raised a gust of passion into our bosoms? our innocence is of so tender a constitution, that it suffers in the promiscuous crowd. Our purity is of so delicate a complexion, that it scarce touches on the world, without contracting a stain. We see, we hear with peril.
But here Safety dwells. Every meddling and intrusive avocation is secluded. Silence holds the door against the strife of tongues, and all the impertinencies of idle conversation. The busy swarm of vain images, and cajoling temptations which beset us, with a buzzing importunity, amidst the gaieties of life, are chased by these thickening shades.-Here I may, without disturbance, commune with my own heart, and learn that best of sciences, to know myself. Here the soul may rally her dissipated powers, and grace recover its native energy.-This is the opportunity to rectify every evil impression, to expel the poison, and guard against the contagion of corrupting examples. This is the place where I may, with advantage, apply myself to subdue the rebel within, and be master, not of a sceptre, but of myself.-Throng then, ye ambitious, the levees of the powerful; I will be punctual
my assignations with solitude. To a mind intent upon its own improvement, solitude has charms incomparably more engaging than the entertainments presented in the theatre, or the honours conferred in the drawing-room.
ASEM, THE MAN-HATER.
HERE Tauris lifts its head above the storm
W and presents nothing to the sight of the distant
traveller, but a prospect of nodding rocks, falling torrents, and all the variety of tremendous nature; on the bleak bosom of this frightful mountain, secluded from society, and detesting the ways of men, lived Asem the Man-hater.
Asem had spent his youth with men, had shared in their amusements, and had been taught to love his fellow-creatures with the most ardent affection: but, from the tenderness of his disposition, he exhausted all his fortune in relieving the wants of the distressed. "The petitioner never sued in vain; the weary traveller never passed his door: he only desisted from doing good when he had no longer the power of relieving.
From a fortune thus spent in benevolence, he expected a grateful return from those he had formerly relieved; and made his application with confidence of redress. The ungrateful world soon grew weary of his importunity; for pity is but a short-lived passion. He soon, therefore, began to view mankind in a very different light from that in which he had before beheld them: he perceived a thousand vices he had never before suspected to exist: wherever he turned ingratitude, dissimulation, and treachery, contributed to increase his detestation of them. Resolved, therefore, to continue no longer in a world which he hated, and which repaid his detestation with contempt, he retired to this region of sterility, in order to brood over his resentment in solitude, and converse with the only honest heart he knew; namely, with his own.
A cave was his only shelter from the inclemency of
the weather; fruits gathered with difficulty from the mountain's side, his only food; and his drink was fetched with danger and toil from the head-long torrent. In this manner he lived, sequestered from society, passing the hours in meditation, and sometimes exulting that he was able to live independently of his fellow-creatures.
At the foot of the mountain, an extensive lake displayed its glassy bosom; reflecting, on its broad surface, the impending horrors of the mountain. To this capacious mirror he would sometimes descend, and, reclining on its steep bank, cast an eager look on the smooth expanse that lay before him. "How beautiful," he often cried, "is nature! how lovely, even in her wildest scenes! How finely contrasted is the level plain that lies beneath me, with yon awful pile that hides its tremendous head in clouds! But the beauty of these scenes is no way comparable with their utility; from hence an hundred rivers are supplied, which distribute health and verdure to the various countries through which they flow. Every part of the universe is beautiful, just, and wise, but man: vile man is a solecism in nature; the only monster in the creation. Tempests and whirlwinds have their use; but vicious, ungrateful man, is a blot in the fair page of universal beauty. Why was I born of that detested species, whose vices are almost a reproach to the wisdom of the Divine Creator! Were men entirely free from vice, all would be uniformity, harmony, and order. A world of moral rectitude should be the result of a perfectly moral agent. Why, why then, O Alla! must I be thus confined in darkness, doubt, and despair?"
Just as he uttered the word despair, he was going to plunge into a lake beneath him, at once to satisfy his doubts, and put a period to his anxiety, when he perceived a most majestic being walking on the surface of the water, and approaching the bank on which