페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

CHAPTER THE SIXTH.

THE ADVANTAGES OF SOLITUDE IN EXILE.

THE advantages of Solitude are not confined to

rank, to fortune, or to circumstances. Fragrant breezes, magnificent forests, richly tinted meadows, and that endless variety of beautiful objects which the birth of spring spreads over the face of nature, enchant not only Philosophers, Kings, and Heroes, but ravish the mind of the meaneft spectator with exquisite delight. An English author has very justly observed, that“ it is not ne« cessary that he who looks with pleasure on the « colour of a flower, should study the principles of

vegetation ; or that the Ptolemaick and Coperni.

can systems should be compared, before the light “ of the Sun can gladden, or its warmth invigo“ rate. Novelty in itself is a source of gratifica“ tion; and Milton justly observes, that to him “ who has been long pent up in cities, no rural

object can be presented, which will not delight or refresh some of his senses. *"

EXILES

T 4

The lines of Milton upon this subject are so extremely beautiful, that we shall make no apology for transcribing them, On Satan's entrance into Paradise,

1

Exiles themselves frequently experience the advantages and enjoyments of Solitude. Instead of the world from which they are banished, they form, in the tranquillity of retirement, a new world for themselves; forget the false joys and fictitious pleasures which they followed in the zenith of greatness, habituate their minds to others of a nobler kind, more worthy the attention of rational beings;* and, to pass their days with

Eve separate he spies,
« Veild in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood,
“ Half spied, so thick the roses blushing round .
« About her glowed

[ocr errors]

“ Nearer he drew, and many a walk traversed
« Of stateliest covert, Cedar, Pine, or Palm ;
“ Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen,
Among thick woven arborets and flowers,
56 Imbordered on each bank

[ocr errors]

" Much he the place admir'd, the person more.
" As one who long in populous cities pent,
« Where houses thick and fewers annoy the air,
« Forth issuing on a summer's morn to breathe
“ Among the pleasant villages and farms
* Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight,
6. The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine,
Or dairy; each rural fight, each rural sound,
“ If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin pass,
" What pleasing seemed, for her now pleases more,
" She most, and in her looks seems ail delight.”

PARADISE LOST, Book 9, line 438.
* Cicero says, " Multa præclare DIONYSIUS PHALERLUS
« in illo exilio fcripfit; non in ufum aliquem suum, quo erat orbatus ;
"fed animi, cullus ille, erat ei quafi quidam bumanitatis cibus.

[ocr errors]

tranquillity, invent a variety of innocent felicities, which are only thought of at a distance from society, far removed from all consolation, far from their country, their families, and their friends,

But exiles, if they wish to insure happiness in retirement, must, like other men, fix their minds upon some one object, and adopt the pursuit of it in such a way as to revive their buried hopes, or to excite the prospect of approaching pleasure.

army,

MAURICE, Prince of Isenbourg, distinguished himself by his courage during a service of twenty years under Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, and Marshal Broglio, and in the war between the Ruffians and the Turks. Health and repose were sacrificed to the gratification of his ambition and love of glory, During his service in the Ruffian he fell under the displeasure of the Emprels, and was sent into exile. The calamitous condition to which persons exiled by this government are reduced is well known; but this philosophic Prince contrived to render even a Russian banishment agreeable. While oppressed both in body and in mind, by the painful reflection which his situation at first created, and reduced by his anxieties to a mere skeleton, he accidentally met with the little Essay written by Lord Bolingbroke on the subject of Exile. He read it several times, and “ in proportion to the number of times “ I read," said the Prince, in the preface to the elegant and nervous translation he made of this work,

I felt all my sorrows and disquietudes vanish.”

This Essay by Lord Boling broke upon Exile is a master-piece of stoic philosophy and fine writing. He there boldly examines all the adversities of life. “Let us,” says he, “ set all our past « and present afflictions at once before our eyes : « let us resolve to overcome them, instead of “ Aying from them, or wearing out the sense of « them with long and ignominious patience. In« stead of palliating remedies, let us use the in“ cifion knife and the caustic, search the wound " to the bottom, and work an immediate and

radical cure.”

/

PerpeTUAL banishment, like uninterrupted Solitude, certainly strengthens the powers of the mind, and enables the sufferer to collect sufficient force to support his misfortunes. Solitude, indeed, becomes an easy situation to those exiles who are inclined to indulge the pleasing sympathies of the heart; for they then experience pleasures that were before unknown, and from that moment forget those they tafted in the more flourishing and prosperous conditions of life.

BRUTUS,

BRUTUS, when he visited the banished Martellus in his retreat at Mytilene, found him enjoying the highest felicities of which human nature is susceptible, and devoting his time, as before his banishment, to the study of every useful science. Deeply impressed by the example this unexpected scene afforded, he felt, on his return, that it was Brutus who was exiled, and not Marcellus whom he left behind. Quintus Metellus Numidicus had experienced the like fate a few years before.

before. While the Roman people, under the guidance of Marius, were laying the foundation of that tyranny which Cæfar afterwards completed, Metellus fingly, in the midst of an alarmed Senate, and surrounded by an enraged populace, refused to take the oath imposed by the pernicious laws of the tribune Saturnius; and his intrepid conduct was converted, by the voice of faction, into an high crime against the State; for which he was dragged from his senatorial seat by the licentious rabble, exposed to the indignity of a public impeachment, and sentenced to perpetual exile. The more virtuous citizens, however, took arms in his defence, and generously resolved rather to perish than behold their country unjustly deprived of so much merit: but this magnanimous Roman, whom no persuasion could induce to do wrong, declined to increase the confusion of the Commonwealth. by encouraging resistance, con

ceiving

« 이전계속 »