« PreviousContinue »
Thou art too flow to do thy master's bidding,
I fhall conclude thefe obfervations, by explaining more particularly, how the repulfe of a ruling and habituated paffion could difpofe Imogen to defpondency, and render her careless of life: In other words, what is the origin of defpair; or, by what lamentable perverfion those, who are fufceptible of the pleasures of life, and in fituations capable of enjoying them, become diflatisfied, and rife from the feast prematurely.
Happiness depends upon the gratification of our defires and paffions. The happiness of Titus arofe from the indulgence of a beneficent temper: Epaminondas reaped enjoyment from the love of his country. The love of fame was the fource of Caefar's felicity: And the gratification of grovelling appetites gave delight to Vitellius. It has alfo been obferved, that fome one paffion generally affumes a pre
eminence in the mind, and not only predominates over other appetites and defires; but contends with reafon, and is often victorious. In proportion as one paffion gains ftrength, the reft languish and are enfeebled. They are feldom exercised; their gratifications yield tranfient pleasure; they become of flight importance, are difpirited, and decay. Thus our happiness is attached to one ruling and ardent paffion. But our reafonings, concerning future events, are weak and short-fighted. We form schemes of felicity that can never be realized, and cherish affections. that can never be gratified. If, therefore, the disappointed paffion has been long encouraged, if the gay vifions of hope and imagination have long administered to its violence, if it is confirmed by habit in the temper and conftitution, if it has fuperfeded the operations of other active principles, and fo enervated their strength, its difappointment will be embittered; and
forrow, prevented by no other paffion, will prey, unabating, on the defolate abandoned fpirit. We may alfo obferve, that none are more liable to afflictions of this fort, than thofe to whom nature hath given extreme fenfibility. Alive to every impreffion, their feelings are exquifite: They are eager in every purfuit: Their imaginations are vigorous, and well adapted to fire them. They live, for a time, in a ftate of anarchy, expofed to the inroads of every paffion; and, though poffeffed of fingular abilities, their conduct will be capricious. Glowing with the warmest affections, open, generous, and candid; yet, prone to inconftancy, they are incapable of lafting friendship. At length, by force of repeated indulgence, fome one paffion becomes habitual, occupies the heart, feizes the understanding, and, impatient of refiftance or controul, weakens or extirpates every oppofing principle: Disappointment enfues: No paffion re
mains to adminifter comfort: And the original fenfibility which promoted this difpofition, will render the mind more fufceptible of anguish, and yield it a prey to defpondency. We ought, therefore, to beware of limiting our felicity to the grati fication of any individual paffion. Nature, ever wife and provident, hath endowed us with capacities for various pleasures, and hath opened to us many fountains of happiness: Let no tyrannous paffion, ⚫ let no rigid doctrine deter thee; drink of the ftreams, be moderate, and be grateful.'
BOOKS printed for J. MURRAY,
No. 32, FLEET-STREET, LONDON.
OEMS chiefly rural. By William Richardfon, Efq; Profeffor of Humanity in the University of Glasgow, Small Octavo, Price 2 s. 6d. in Boards.
2. DIALOGUES of the DEAD. By the late Lord Lyttelton. Octavo, Price 5 s. bound.
3. OBSERVATIONS Concerning the DisTINCTION of RANKS in SOCIETY, under the following Heads. I. Of the Rank and Condition of Women in different Ages. II. Of the Jurifdiction and Authority of a Father over his Children. III. Of the Authority of a Chief over the Members of a Tribe or Village. IV. Of the Power of a Sovereign over an extensive Society. V: Of the Authority of a Master over his Servants. By John Millar, Efq; Profeffor of Law in the Univerfity of Glasgow. zd Edit. Octavo, Price 5 s. bound.
4. ELEMENTS of the HISTORY of ENGLAND, from the Invafion of the Romans to the Reign of George III. Tranflated from the French of Abbe Millot. By Dr. Kenrick. Octavo, 2 Vols. Price 10 s. bound.
5. The CASTLE of OTRANTO, a Gothic Story. By Mr. Walpole, 3d Edition, Octavo, Price 3 s. 6 d. bound.