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willow and the ephemeral rose; they erect mausolea; compose funeral dirges; and render the very emblems of death the means of consolation. Their hearts are continually occupied by the idea of those whom their eyes deplore; and they exist, under the sensations of the truest and most sincere forrow, in a kind of middle state, between earth and heaven. This species of sorrow is of the happiest kind. Far be it from me to fuppose it in the least degree affected. But I call such characters happy mourners; because, from the very frame and texture of their constitutions, grief does not deftroy the energy of their minds, but permits them to find consolation in those things which, to minds differently constructed, would create aversion. They feel a heavenly joy in pursuing employments which preserve the memory of those who are the subjects of their forrow.
Solitude will enable the heart to vanquish the most painful sense of adversity, provided the mind will generously lend its aid, and fix its attention to a different object. If men think there is any misfortune from which they have no other resource than despair or death, they deceive themselves; for despair is no resource. Let such men retire to their studies, and there seriously trace out a series of important and settled truths, and their tears will no longer fall; but the weight of their misfortunes will grow light, and forrow fly from their breasts.
their true, chery;
SOLITUDE, by encouraging the enjoyments of the heart, by promoting domestic felicity, and by creating a taste for rural scenery, fubdues impatience, and drives away ill-humour. Impatience is a stifled anger, which men filently manifest by looks and geftures, and weak minds ordinarily reveal by a shower of complaints. A grumbler is never farther from his proper sphere than when he is in company : Solitude is his only asylum. Ill-humour is an uneasy and insupportable condition, which the foul frequently falls into when foured by a number of those petty vexations which we daily experience in every step of our progress through life; but we need only to shut the door against improper and disagreeable intrusions to avoid this scourge of happiness.
VEXATIONS, indeed, of every kind, are much fooner quieted in the silence of retirement than in the noise of the world. A cheerful disposition, a placid temper, and well-regulated paffions, will prevent worldly vexations from interrupting our happiness. By thefe attainments, the deepest melancholy, and most settled uneasiness of life, have been frequently banished from the heart. It is true, that the progress in this case is much more rapid in women than in men. The mind of a lively female fies immediately to happiness, while that of a melancholy man still creeps on with pain: the yielding bosoms of the fair are easily elevated or depressed. These effects, it is true, may be produced by means less abstracted than Solitude ; by any thing that strikes the senses, and penetrates the heart. Men, on the contrary, augment the disease, and fix it more firmly in the bosom, by brooding over its cause and consequences, and are obliged to apply the most efficacious remedies, with unshaken constancy, toeffect a cure; for feeble prescriptions are, in such cases, of no avail. The only chance, indeed, of success, is by exerting every endeavour to place the body under the regimen of the mind, Vigorous minds frequently banish the most inveterate evils, or form a powerful shield against all the darts of fate, and, by braving every danger, drive away those feelings by which others are irritated and destroyed: they boldly turn their eyes
from what things are, to what they ought to be ; and with determined resolution support the bodies they are designed to animate ; while weak minds furrender every thing committed to their care.
The soul, however, always follows what is most agreeable to its ruling paffion. Worldly men generally delight in gaming, feasting, and debau
chery; while those who are fond of Solitude feel, from a consciousness of its advantages, no enjoyments equal to those its peaceful shades afford.
I now conclude my reflections upon the advantages of Solitude to the heart. May they give greater currency to useful sentiments, to consolatory truths, and contribute in some degree to diffuse the enjoyment of a happiness which is fo much within our reach!
CHAPTER THE FOURTH.
THE GENERAL ADVANTAGES
RETIREMENT engages the affections of men whenever it holds up a picture of tranquillity to their view.
The doleful and monotonous found of the clock of a fequeftered monaftry, the filence of nature in a ftill night, the pure air on the summit of a high mountain, the thick darkness of an aged forest, the fight of a temple fallen into ruins, inspire the soul with a soft melancholy, and banish all recollection of the world and its concerns.
The man who cannot hold a friendly correspondence with his own heart, who derives no comfort from the reflections of his mind, who dreads the idea of meditation, and is fearful of paffing a single moment with himself, looks with equal dread on Solitude and on Death. He endeavours to enjoy all the voluptuousness which the world affords; drains the pernicious cup of pleasure to its dregs; and until the dreadful moment