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operation of virtue; and Epicurus affirms that happiness is the chief good, and virtue the only happiness. Confirming this last theory by the sanctions of religion, we shall probably make the nearest approaches to perfect enjoyment which our nature will admit; and it may be laid down as an universal maxim, that no mind is so constituted, as to be capable of unalloyed happiness while it can reproach itself with any crime towards man, however secret and undiscovered, since it must be always conscious of having offended a superior power, from which nothing is hidden.
The To-day of England, nationally considered, cannot be reckoned happy. It is too bustling, laborious, and excessive. In France pleasure is almost the only business ; in England business is almost the only pleasure, and this is pushed to an extremity that surrounds it with hazard and anxiety. By devoting all its energies and faculties, physical and intellectual, to this one object, for a series of years, the nation has attained an eminence so fearfully beyond its natura claims and position, that nothing but a continuance of convulsive efforts, even in the midst of distress and exhaustion, can enable it to uphold the rank it has assumed. Hence every thing is artificial, and in all directions we contemplate tension, excitement, fever. Her navy exceeds that of the collected world, so does her debt--a co-existence that cannot be very durable. Her establishments of all sorts are proportioned to what she owes, rather than to what she has ; her grandeur can only be equalled by her embarrassments. In one colony she has sixty millions of subjects, while
a great proportion of her native population are paupers, and in her sister-island famine not long since stalked hand-in-hand with rebellion. Nor have her intellectual developements been less extraordinary, for she
possesses a constellation of living luminaries, who, pouring forth their streams of light with a profusion as unparalleled as their intensity, at this moment irradiate and supply all Europe. Splendid talents have excited public admiration, and procured unprecedented remuneration; while fame and riches have reacted upon the stimulated latent genius, until the existing literature of the country presents a universality of diffusion, an unbounded copiousness of production, and a magnificence of encouragement, hitherto totally unknown in the history of the world. No social system was ever pushed to such an energetic extremity, or afforded so curious and glorious a spectacle ; but it has not sufficient repose for enjoyment: happiness loves to dwell amid more tranquil elements. Its tendency has been painfully illustrated by the fate of some of its leading members. Unable or unwilling to relax in their career, they have devoted mind and body to this restless principle of advancement, and have toiled and prospered, and become enslaved and enriched, and achieved misery and fame, until nature was exhausted in the strife, and their own hands relieved them from the burden of existence at the precise moment when they had attained every object of their ambition, and appeared to the world to stand upon the summit of human happiness, How long is this fearful tension upon all the nerves and sinews of the
country to endure? What is to be the result of this overworking of the national machine? A certain Frenchman implored death to spare him till he saw the end of the French Revolution—so curious was he to witness its termination. An Englishman might well petition to be absolved from the omnivorous scythe, until he ascertained what would be the finale of the present ecstasy of his country.
Those individuals who seek happiness will withdraw themselves from this whirl and vortex of excitement. They will not aggravate the dişeased enlargement of the public heart, and share the painful intensity of its pulsations, by residing in the capital. There is no holy calm, no sabbath of the soul, no cessation of strife, in that vast arena of the passions, where life is a ceaseless struggle of money-getting and money-spending; a contest of avarice and luxury ; a delirium of the senses or of the mind. If we desire peace and repose, let us look out upon the variegated earth, ever new and ever beautiful-upon the azure dome of Heaven, hung around with painted clouds—upon the wide waters, dancing and glittering in the sun, or lying in the stillness of their crystal sleep. Let us listen to the music of the sky, when the boughs are singing to the wind, and the birds are serenading one another ; or surrender ourselves to that more pleasing sensation, when the serenity of Nature's silence imparts a congenial balm and tranquillity to the heart. Gazing upon the face of Nature, we shall encounter no human passions, no distrust, no jealousy, no intermission of friendship or attraction'; even her frowns are beauti
ful, and we need not fear that death shall tear her from us :-we look upon an immortal countenance. A morning thus dedicated is an act of the purest piety; it is offering to the Deity a heart made happy by the contemplation of his works; and if I can prevail upon a single reader to detach himself for a time from crowds and enthralments, and betake himself to the sunny meadows or the green twilight of the woods, I shall felicitate myself on not having quite unprofitably employed the morning of—“ To-day.”
SPORTING WITHOUT A LICENCE.
There's a charm when Spring is young,
And comes laughing on the breeze,
That is lisping in the trees,
With chime of beaks is ringing,
And listen to their singing.
Which all others can outvie,
Pheasants whirring through the sky ;
Till purple evening hovers,
The happiest of rovers.
Through the horn-resounding woods,
Into intercepting floods;
O’er gap and gate he leaps elate,
The vaulting stag to follow,
To give the hoop and hollo!
With the reeds and rushes mix'd,
See the patient angler fix'd ;
Without fatigue or sorrow,
He comes again to-morrow.
'Tis to me a glorious sight, Which no fire of mine shall change
Into grovelling blood and night :
Behind a stag that's flying ;
On grass to watch its dying.
Can a sweeter pastime ply, Or enjoy the rural scene,
With more ecstasy than I; There's not a view, a form, a hue,
In earth, or air, or ocean, That does not fill my heart, and thrill
My bosom with emotion. O clouds that paint the air !
O fountains, fields, and groves ! Sights, sounds, and odours rare,
Which my yearning spirit loves; While thus I feel, and only steal
From visions so enchanting, In tuneful lays to sing your praise
What charm of life is wanting?