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79 The learned seldom despised but when they deserve



78 The power of novelty. Mortality too familiar to

raise apprehensions


79 A suspicious man justly suspected


80 Variety necessary to happiness. A winter scene 165

8. The great rule of action. Debts of justice to be

distinguished from debts of charity


82 The Virtuoso's account of his rarities


83 The Virtuoso's curiosity justified


84 A young lady's impatience of controul


85 The mischiefs of total idleness


86 The danger of succeeding a great author : an intro-

duction to a criticism on Milton's versification

87 The reasons why advice is generally ineffectual 208

88 A criticism on Milton's versification. Elisions dan.

gerous in English poetry


89 The luxury of vain imagination

90 The pauses in English poetry adjusted


91 The conduct of patronage, an allegory


92 The accommodation of sound to sense, often chi-



93 The prejudices and caprices of criticism


94 An enquiry how far Milton has accommodated the

sound to the sense


95 The history of Pertinax the sceptic


96 Truth, falsehood, and fiction, an allegory

97 Advice to unmarried ladies


98 The necessity of cultivating politeness

99 The pleasures of private friendship. The necessity

i of similar dispositions


Too Modish pleasures


101 A proper audience necessary to a wit


102 The voyage of life


103 The prevalence of curiosity. The character of



194 The original of flattery. The meanness of venal




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Quoties flenti Theseius heros
Siste modum, dixit; neque enim fortuna querenda
Sola tud est: similes aliorum respice casus
Mitius iste feres.

How oft in vain, the son of Theseus said,
The stormy sorrows be with patience laid;
Nor are thy fortunes to be wept alone ;
Weigh other's woes, and learn to bear thy own.


Among the various methods of consolation, to which the miseries inseparable from our present state have given occasion, it has been, as I have already remarked, recommended by some writers to put the sufferer in mind of heavier pressures, and more excruciatiug calamities, than those of which he has himself reason to complain.

This has, in all ages, been directed and practised; and, in conformity to this custom, Lipsius, the great modern master of the Stoick philosophy, VOL. II.


has, in his celebrated treatise on steadiness of mind, endeavoured to fortify the breast against too much sensibility of misfortune by enumerating the evils which have in former


the world, the devastation of wide extended regions, the sack of cities, and massacre of nations. And the common voice of the multitude uninstructed by precept, and unprejudiced by authority, which, in questions that relate to the heart of man, is, in my opinion, more decisive than the learning of Lipsius, seems to justify the efficacy of this procedure ; for one of the first comforts which one neighbour administers to another, is a relation of the like infelicity, combined with circuinstances of greater bitterness. But this medicine of the mind is like

many remedies applied to the body, of which, though we see the effects, we are unacquainted with the manner of operation, and of which, therefore, some, who are unwilling to suppose any thing out of the reach of their own sagacity, have been inclined to doubt whether they have really those virtues for which they are celebrated, and wheiher their reputation is not the mere gift of fancy, prejudice, and credulity.

Consolation, or comfort, are words which, in their proper acceptation, signify some alleviation of that pain to which it is not in our power to afford the proper and adequate remedy ; they imply rather an augmentation of the power of bearing, than a diminution of the burden.

A prisoner is relieved by him that sets him at liberty, but receives comfort from such as suggest considerations by which he is made patient under the in

convenience of confinement. To that grief which arises from a great loss, he only brings the true remedy who makes his friend's condition the same as before ; but he may be properly termed a comforter, who by persuasion extenuates the pain of poverty, and shews, in the style of Hesiod, that balf is more than the whole.

It is, perhaps, not immediately obvious, how it can lull the memory of misfortune, or appease the throbbings of anguish, to hear that others are more miserable ; others, perhaps, unknown, or wholly indifferent, whose prosperity raises no envy, and whose fall can gratify no resentment. Some to picks of comfort arising, like that which gave hope and spirit to the captive of Sesostris, from the perpetual vicissitudes of life, and mutability of human affairs, may as properly raise the dejected as depress the proud, and have an immediate tendency to exhilarate and revive. But how can it avail the man who languishes in the gloom of sorrow, without prospect of emerging into the sunshine of cheerfulness, to hear that others are sunk yet deeper in the dungeon of misery, shackled with heavier chains, and surrounded with darker desperation ?

The solace arising from this consideration seems indeed the weakest of all others, and is perhaps never properly applied, but in cases where there is no place for reflections of more speedy and pleasing efficacy. But even from such calamities life is by no means free; a thousand ills incurable, a thousand losses irreparable, a thousand difficulties insurmountable, are known, or will be known, by all the sons of men. Native deformity cannot be rectified, a dead friend cannot return, and the

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