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His youthful hose well fav'd, a world too wide
That the heart, sorrowful and dejected by the repulse of an ardent paffion, is averse from pleasure of every kind, has been often observed. The mind, in a gay and healthful state, receives hope and enjoyment from every object around us. The same objects, if we languish and despond, are regarded with disgust or indifference. " What path of life would you pursue?" said Poseidippus, morose and out of humour with his condition : “ In public you
are perplexed with business and conten« tion: At home, you are tired with “ cares : In the country, you are fatigued 66 with labour ? At sea, you are exposed to
danger : In a foreign land, if rich, you “ are fearful; if poor, neglected: Have
you a wife? expect sorrow: Unmar“ ried ? your life is irksome': Children " will make you anxious: Childless, your “ life is lonely: Youth is foolish : And “ grey-hairs feeble. Upon the whole, o the wife man would chuse either not
to have existed, or to have died the 66 moment of his birth.” “ Chuse any path " of life," replies the chearful Metrodorus: “ In the forum are profits and wise 66 debates : At home, relaxation : In the
country, the bounty of nature: The " sea-faring life is gainful: In a foreign 66 land, if wealthy, you are respected ; “ if poor, nobody knows it: Are you “ married ? your house is chearful ? Un"6 married ? you live without care: Chil“ dren afford delight : Childless, you have
no sorrow : Youth is vigorous : And " old-age venerable.
The wise man, " therefore, would not chufe but to have « existed.” Morose and splenetic moments are transient ; the soul recovers L
from them as from a lethargy, exerts her activity, and pursues enjoyment: But, in the temper of Jaques, moroseness is become habitual: He abandons the world, he contemns its pleasures, and buries him. felf in a cloister. The cause of this exceffive severity requires a particular expłanation.
Among the various defires and propenfities implanted by nature in the constitution of every individual, fome one passion, either by original and superior vigour, or by reiterated indulgence, gains an ascendant in the foul, and subdues every oppofing principle ; it unites with defires and appetites that are not of an oppofite tendency, it bends them to its pleasure, and in their gratifications pursues its own. The man whose governing passion is pride, may also be social and beneficent, he may love his friends, and rejoice in their good fortune; but, even in their company, the defire of impreffing them with an idea of 5.
his own importance, forever obtruding itTelf, produces disgust and averfion. The ruling paflion, blended with others, augments their vehemence, and consequently enhances their pleasure: For the pleasure arising from the gratification of fion, is proportioned to its force. Moreover, the sensations arising from the indulgence of the governing principle will necessarily be combined with those arising from the gratification of other appetites and desires; so intimately combined, that their union is not easily discerned, but by those who are accustomed to reflect on their feelings: Yet, by their union, they affect the mind with a stronger impulse than if they were separately excited. Suppose the ruling passion thwarted : It ceases to operate with success : The force it communicated to other passions is withdrawn ; confequently, their vehemence suffers abatement; and, consequently, the pleasure they yield is Teslened. L2
discomfiture and disappointment of the governing principle, the pleasure arising from its gratification is no longer united with that arising from other active but fubordinate principles : And thus, the pleasure resulting from subordinate principles, by the failure and absence of the adventitious pleasure with which it was formerly accompanied, is fenfibly dimninished. It is, therefore, manifeft, that, if social and beneficent affections, by gaining a superiority in the constitution, have heightened every other enjoyment, and if their exercise is suspended by disappointment, all the pleasures of sense or of ambition that formerly contributed to our felicity, though in themselves they are still the fame; yet, being reft of their better part, of the spirit that enlivened them, they strike the mind so feebly, as only to awaken its attention to the loss it hath sustained ; and, instead of affording comfort, they aggravate our misfortune. 2