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ftroys all the feeds of vice; and ameliorates and extends all the virtues. By its delightful influence the attack of ill-humour is refifted; the violence of our paffions abated; the bitter cup of human affliction sweetened; all the injuries of the world alleviated; and the sweetest flowers plentifully ftrewed along the most thorny paths of life. Every unhappy fufferer, whether the malady be of the body or the mind, derives from this fource extraordinary comfort and confolation. At a time, alas! when every thing displeased me, when every object was disgusting, when my sufferings had deftroyed all the energy and vigour of my foul, when grief had shut from my ftreaming eyes the beauties of nature, and rendered the whole universe a dreary tomb, the kind attentions of a wife were capable of conveying a secret charm, a filent confolation to my mind. Oh! nothing can render the bowers of retirement fo ferene and comfortable, or can fo fweetly foften all our woes, as a conviction that woman is not indifferent to our fate.
SOLITUDE, it is true, will not completely heal every wound which this imperious paffion is capable of inflicting on the human heart; but it teaches us to endure our pains without wifhing for relief, and enables us to convert them into soft sorrow and plaintive grief.
BOTH fexes in early youth, but particularly females from fifteen to eighteen years of age, who poffefs high sensibilities, and lively imaginations, generally feel, during the folitude of rural retirement, a foft and pleafing melancholy, when their bofoms begin to heave with the first propenfities of love. They wander every where in search of a beloved object, and figh for one alone, long before the heart is fixed in its affection, or the mind conscious of its latent inclination. I have frequently obferved this difpofition unaccompanied by any fymptom of ill health. It is an original malady. Rouffeau felt its influence, at Vevai, upon the borders of the Lake of Geneva. "My heart," fays he, "rufhed with ardour from my bofom into "athousand innocent felicities; and, melting into "tenderness, I fighed and wept like a child. How " frequently, stopping to indulge my feelings, and "feating myself on a piece of broken rock, did I "amuse myself with seeing my tears drop into the "ftream!"*
*There is no perfon poffeffing fenfibility, of whatever country he may be, who has ever beheld, without feeling the tendereft emotion, the delightful borders of the Lake of Geneva; the enchanting spectacle which nature there exhibits, and the vaft and majestic horizon which that mass of water presents to the view. Who has ever returned from this scene without turning his eyes again on the interefting view, and experiencing the fame affliction with which the heart separates from a beloved friend whom we have no expectation ever to fee again?
ok del. Kirk
Rousseau contemplating the wild
Published by Vernor & Hood. March 1800.
RETIREMENT, however, is not equally favourable to every species of affliction. Some bofoms are fo exquifitely alive to the sense of misfortune, that the indelible remembrance of the object of their affection preys upon their minds: the reading of a fingle line written by the hand they loved freezes their blood; the very fight of the tomb which has fwallowed up the remains of all their foul held dear is intolerable to their eyes. On fuch beings, alas! the heavens fmile in vain: to them the newborn flowers and the twittering groves, proclaiming the approach of spring, and the regeneration of vegetable nature, bring no charms: the garden's variegated hues irritate their feelings; and the filent retreats from which they once expected confolation only increase their pains. Such refined and exquifite feelings, the offspring of warm and generous paffions, are real misfortunes; and the malady they engender requires to be treated with the mildest attention and the tendereft care.
BUT to minds of fofter temper, Solitude poffeffes many powerful charms, although the loffes. they deplore are equally great. Such characters feel, indeed, a sense of their misfortune in its utmoft poffible extent, but they foften its acuteness by yielding to the natural mildness of their difpofitions: they plant upon the fatal tomb the weeping willow