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by finer principles, by an exquisite sense of virtue, of moral beauty and turpitude. The impropriety of Gertrude's behaviour, her ingratitude to the memory of her former husband, and the depravity she dircovers in the choice of a fucceffor, afflict his soul, and cast him into utter agony. Here then is the principle and spring of all his actions : Let us observe it closely, as it excites other feelings and affections, unites or contends with him, is inflamed as they are inflamed, and governed as they are governed.
It is acknowledged, even by men of corrupted manners, that there is in human nature, a supreme, and, in many cases, a powerful principle that pronounces sens tence on the conduct of mankind, and, in well-regulated tempers, is a source of anguish or of delight. In minds uncommonly excellent, it is more frequently a fountain of bitter suffering, than of immediate pleasure. This may seem a para
dox; dox; but, by reflecting on the following brief observations, the difficulty will difappear. If our sense of virtue is exceedingly refined, or, in other words, if our standard of 'moral excellence is exceedingly elevated, comparing our own conduct with this exalted measure, and perceiving the difference, our joy on acting agreeably to the dictates of reason will suffer abatement. Add to this, that ingenuous minds, happy in the consciousness of their integrity, yet afraid of arrogating too much honour to themselves, will diminish the value of their good actions rather than augment it. The same delicacy of moral sentiment, the same elevated idea of perfection, will heighten the misery of a good man, if he accuses himself of any trespass. It is not the dread of punishment, for punishment is not always inflicted; it is not the pain of infamy, for wicked deeds may be done in secret; but it is the
Oime son io son io.
IỊ Torrismondo dell Taffo.
The man whose fense of moral excellence is uncommonly exquisite, will find it a source of pleasure and of pain in his commerce with mankind. Susceptible of every moral impreffion, the display of virfuous actions will yield him delight, and the contrary excite uneasiness. He will riot receive that genuine and fupreme felicity in affociating with the wealthy and the magnificent, the gay and the loquaçious, if they have nothing in their hearts to recommend them, that he will enjoy in the society of gentle, benevolent, and enlightened spirits, though they are not the
favourite favourites of fortune, and have not that glitter and false brilliancy of intellectual endowments, that dazzle without being useful, yet often recommend men of sender abilities, and less virtue, to the attention of mankind. As moral qualities are those, principally, that produce and cement his attachments, the esteem he entertains for his associates will be exactly proportioned to their degree of merit. To eraze an establifhed affection, and fubftitute aversion, or even indifference, in its ftead, does unutterable violence to our nature; and to see those, for whoin we have contracted habits of attachment and regard, act inconsistently with their former conduct, and appear with difpofitions of an immoral kind, and so lay the ax to the root of our fairest friendships, overwhelms us with cruel anguish : Our affiction will bear an exact proportion to our former tenderness, and consequently, to our idea of former merit, Add to this, that even
a flight a slight transgression in those we esteem, if it is evidently a transgression, will affect us more sensibly than a gross enormity committed by a person indifferent to us. So delicate is your affection, and so refined your sense of moral excellence, when the moral faculty is softened into a tender attachment, that the fanctity and purity of the heart you love must appear to you without a stain. The triumph and inward joy of a son, on account of the fame and the high desert of a parent, is of a nature very sublime and tender. His forrow is no less acute and overwhelming, if those; united to him by a connection so intimate, have acted unbecomingly, and have incurred disgrace. Such is the condition of Hamlet. Exquisitely sensible of moral beauty and deformity, he discerns turpitude in a parent. Surprize, on a discovery, so painful and unexpected, adds bitterness to his sorrow; and led, by the same moral principle, to admire and glory in the