Imágenes de páginas

C. Then I was misinformed

A. I confess, appearances are against me, but, to quote another poet

And this my life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in every thing."

Whatever I see and hear is to me a subject of amusement, delight, or instruction; which perhaps is more than I should receive if I sought either from what is called society. The works of nature, considered by themselves, are a perpetual source of entertainment to a mind in the habit of observation—to a cultivated mind, great pleasure arises, from calling up remembrance of passages in poets, which apply to the objects before you ; and when We are reading these passages, in referring them to the object or circumstance which first inspired them. The same mutual reference applies to painting. We trace in nature the scenes which fired the ima

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gination gination of Salvator, Poussin, or Ruysdael; and the pictures themselves remind us of that assemblage of objects to which we owe those divine exertions of genius. Where these fail, not an insect, or even stone, but may be considered as a subject of disquisition in natural-history or philosophy.—Do you

call this solitude ? Am I not always in good company?

C. You have a particular turn-all this is nothing to me—but suppose the weather be unfavourable, and you cannot

go out?

A. Look on these shelves—they contain about fifty volumes of the choicest English, French, and Italian authors. In that port-folio are some drawings of the best artists-and see--there is a pile of music-books, and an excellent pianoforte. Is this folitude ?


C. I have no relish for reading, painting, or music--that is, in your way.

I like a newspaper at my breakfast-pictures are delightful at the exhibition, when the room is full of company; and if I wish for music I go to the Opera, and there too the company is my chief inducement-I am not particular—all people of taste agree

and so does an old verse-maker:

with me,

“ Let bear or elephant be e’er so white,
The people, sure the people, are the fight.”

A. But, with these ideas in your head, how could you think of living by yourself? If it will not punish you too much, permit me to read you a few thoughts on retirement, which I committed to paper the last wet day—some passages are not inapplicable to yourself, although the subject be on the propriety of retirement for persons advanced in life, which certainly is not your case-Have I your permiffion?


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A. There is not a great deal of it(reading) The idea of young persons retiring from the world is too absurd to be made a question ; but there are strong reasons for the retirement of old persons ; and, indeed, there are powerful arguments against it.


Those who believe a preparation for death to be necessary, and think it of consequence to keep their thoughts undisturbed by the affairs of the world, should have nothing to interrupt their meditations.

If we have lived a busy life, and en joyed a reputation for brilliant parts, or personal accomplishments; the consciousness of those faculties decaying may mortify our consequence, and be a perpetual fource of disgust if we still continue to mix with the world.

Although Although the body must droop and fade, yet, if the mind enjoy its pristine vigour, retirement prevents occasions of exposing the decay of our personal faculties, and affords opportunities of enjoying mental pleasures, perhaps in a superior degree; as from experience we may have learnt to make a proper estimate of ourselves, of men, and their opinions: and knowing that these enjoyments are all that we have left, we value them as our sole poffefsions.

Retirement also puts in our power what remains of life, undisturbed, and unbroken by the interruptions of those, who, having no pursuit nor employment of their own, seem sent into world " to take us from ourselves" these reasons apply solely to persons who have something to engage their thoughts and attention, and can derive entertainment and enjoyment from their own proper sources.


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