Page images

Thou art too slow to do thy maker's bidding,
When I defire it tov.

I shall conclude these observations, by explaining more particularly, how the repulse of a ruling and habituated passion could dispose Imogen to despondency, and render her careless of life: In other words, what is the origin of despair ; or, by what lamentable perversion those, who are susceptible of the pleasures of life, and in situations capable of enjoying them, become dissatisfied, and rise from the feast prematurely.

Happiness depends upon the gratification of our desires and paffions. The happiness of Titus arose from the indulgence of a beneficent temper: Epaminondas seaped enjoyment from the love of his country. The love of fame was the source of Caesar's felicity : And the gratification of grovelling appetites gave delight to Vitellius. It has also been observed, that fome one passion generally affumes a pre


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

eminence in the mind, and not only predominates over other appetites and desires; but contends with reason, and is often victorious. In proportion as one passion gains strength, the rest languish and are enfeebled. They are seldom exercised; their gratifications yield transient pleasure; they become of flight importance, are dispirited, and decay. Thus our happie ness is attached to one ruling and ardent passion. But our reasonings, 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 passion has been long encouraged, if the gay visions of hope and imagination have long administered to its violence, if it is confirmed by habit in the temper and constitution, if it has superseded the operations of other active principles, and so enervated their strength, its disappointment will be embittered; and


forrow, Torrow, prevented by no other passion, will prey, unabating, on the desolate abandoned spirit. We may also observe, that none are more liable to afflictions of this sort, than those to whom natuře hath given extreme sensibility. Alive to every impression, their feelings are exquisite : They are eager in every pursuit: Their imaginations are vigorous, and well adapted to fire them. They live, for a time, in a state of anarchy, exposed to the inroads of every paflion; and, though poffeffed of fingular abilities, their conduct will be capricious. Glowing with the warmest affections, open, generous, and candid; yet, prone to inconstancy, they are incapable of lasting friendship. At length, by force of repeated indulgence, some one paflion becomes habitual, occupies the heart, seizes the understanding, and, impatient of resistance or controul, weakens or extirpates every opposing principle : Disappointment ensues: No passion remains to administer comfort: And the original fenfibility which promoted this disposition, will render the mind more susceptible of anguish, and yield it a prey to despondency. We ought, therefore, to beware of limiting our felicity to the gratification of any individual paflion. Nature, ever wise and provident, hath endowed us with capacities for various pleasures, and hath opened to us many fountains of happiness: "Let no tyrannous passion, 5 let no rigid doctrine deter thee; drink of the streams, be moderate, and be




BOOKS printed for J. MURRAY,

No. 32, FLEET-Street, LONDON.

[ocr errors]

. P

OEMS chiefly rural. By William

Richardson, Efq; Professor of Humanity in the University of Glasgow. Small O&avo, Price 2 s. 6d. in Boards.

2. DIALOGUES of the Dead. By the late Lord Lyttelton. O&avo, Price 5 s. bound.

3. OBSERVATIONS. concerning, the Dis. TINCTION of Ranks in Society, under the following Heads. I. Of the Rank and Condition of Women in different Ages. II. Of the Jutisdi&tion 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, Esq; Professor of Law in the University of Glasgow. 2d Edit. O&avo, Price 5 s. bound.

4. ELEMENTS of the History of ENGLAND, from the Invasion of the Romans to the Reign of George III. Translated from the French of Abbe Millot. By Dr. Kenrick. Octayo, 2 Vols. Price jos, bound.

5. The CASTLE of OTRANTO, a Gothic Story. By Mr. Walpole, 3d Edition, O&avo, Price 3 s. 6 d. bound.

« PreviousContinue »