Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

repose with comfort, is that which presents to us the care of Providence, whose eye takes in the whole of things, and under whose direction all involuntary errors will terminate in happiness.

NUMB. 108. SATURDAY, November 17, 1753.

CATULLUS,

Nobis, cum fimul occidit brevis lux,
Nox eft perpetuo una dormienda.
When once the short-liv'd mortal dies,
A night eternal seals his eyes.

ADDISON.

I

T may

have been observed by every reader, that there are certain topicks which never are exhausted. Of some images and sentiments the mind of man may be said to be enamoured; it meets them, however often they occur, with the same ardour which a lover feels at the sight of his mistress, and parts from them with the same regret when they can no longer be enjoyed,

Of this kind are many descriptions which the poets have transcribed from each other, and their successors will probably copy to the end of time; which will continue to engage, or, as the French term it, to fatter the imagination, as long as human nature fhall remain the same.

When a poét mentions the spring, we know that the zephyrs are about to whisper, that the groves are to recover their verdure, the linnets to warble forth their notes of love, and the flocks and herds

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

100

THE ADVE «« troubled with suspicion

languish in solitude; c! << a childless life is a state « of youth is a cime of « loaded with infirmity. « fore, can be made; eich “ or immediately to lose i

Such and so gloomy is dippus has laid before us. quiefce too hastily in his value of existence: for M Athens, has shewn, that li pains; and having exhibit in brighter colours, draw reason, a contrary conclu

“ You may pass well t “ life. In publick allem " actions of wisdom; in “ ness and quiet; in the “ nature; on the sea i “ foreign land, he that i " is poor may keep his pe “ ried? you have a chee:

you are unincumbere « affection, to be withoi “ care; the time of your

gray hairs are made v « therefore, never be a y

to obtain existence, o " of life has its felicity.'

In these epigrams a questions which have c: the enquirers after happ

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

e, whose

ort, is that which presents to us the,

eye

takes in the whole of r whose direction all involuntary ate in happiness.

not much E.cz haps

, equally no absolute de

Wheda : firable

, bus at a the allurce : ployments

: zz. honour; difficule

, but can be con

ATURDAY, November 17, 1753. .

mul occidit brevis lux,
to una dormienda,

CATULLUS

he short-liv'd mortal dies,
nal feals his eyes.

Addison.

[blocks in formation]

for all be be properties

... to predsta2

een observed by every reader, that in topicks which never are exhausted. s and sentiments the mind of man e enamoured; it meecs them, how. occur, with the same ardour which the fight of his mistress, and parts

the same regret when they can no ed, are many descriptions which the poets i from each other, and their successors opy to the end of time; which will gage, or, as the French term it, to igination, as long as human nature e same. et mentions the spring, we know that re about to whisper, that the groves r their verdure, the linnets to warble tes of love, and the flocks and herds

Such :22: likely to

we have

indeed,

« troubled with suspicions; are you single? you “ languish in solitude; children occasion toil, and “ a childless life is a state of deftitution; the time of youth is a time of folly, and gray hairs are “ loaded with infirmity. This choice only, therefore, can be made, either never to receive being, or immediately to lose it.”

Such and so gloomy is the prospect, which Pofidippus has laid before us. But we are not to acquiefce too hastily in his determination againft the value of existence: for Metrodorus, a philosopher of Athens, has shewn, that life has pleasures as well as pains; and having exhibited the present state of man in brighter colours, draws, with equal appearance of reason, a contrary conclufion.

“ You may pass well through any of the paths of “ life. In publick allemblies are honours and trans" actions of wisdom; in domestick privacy, is fill“ nefs and quiet; in the country are the beauties of “ nature; on the sea is the hope of gain; in a

foreign land, he that is rich is honoured, he that “ is poor may keep his poverty secret; are you mar“ ried ? you have a cheerful house; are you single?

you are unincumbered; children are objects of " affection, to be without children is to be without “ Care; the time of youth is the time of vigour, and

gray hairs are made venerable by piety. It will, « therefore, never be a wise man's choice, either not " to obtain existence, or to lose it; for every state " of lie has its felicity.”

In these epigrams are included most of the questions which have engaged the speculations of the enquirers after happincis; and though they will

not

not much affist our determinations, they may, perhaps, equally promote our quiet, by shewing that no absolute determination ever can be formed.

Whether a publick station, or private life be desirable, has always been debated. We see here both the allurements and discouragements of civil employments : on one side there is trouble, on the other honour; the management of affairs is vexatious and difficult, but it is the only duty in which wisdom can be conspicuously displayed : it must then l_ill be left to every man to choose either ease or glory; nos can any general precept be given, since no man can be happy by the prescription of another.

Thus, what is said of children by Pofidippus, " that “ they are occasions of fatigue,” and by Metrodorus, “ that they are objects of affection,” is equally certain; but whether they will give most pain or pleasure, must depend on their future conduct and dispositions, on many causes over which the

parenc can have little influence: there is, therefore, room for all the caprices of imagination, and desire must be proportioned to the hope or fear that shall happen to predominate.

Such is the uncertainty in which we are always likely to remain with regard to questions, wherein we have most interest, and which every day affords us fresh opportunity to examine: we may examine, indeed, but we never can decide, because our facul. ties are unequal to the subject : we see a little, and form an opinion ; we see more, and change it.

This inconstancy and unsteadiness, to which we muft so often find ourselves liable, ought certainly. to teach us moderation and forbearance towards

thore

H 3

« AnteriorContinuar »