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disturb our repose in society, they almost always vanish into air in solitude. Sleep itself
, simply dispels our chagrin more gently and more infallibly than a book of morals. If our distresses are immoveable, and such as break our rest, they may be mitigated by having recourse to God. Here is the central point, toward which all the paths of human life converge.
Montaigne says, “I wean myself daily by my reason from this childish and inhumane humour, of desiring by our sufferings to move the compassion and mourning of our friends. We stretch our inconveniences beyond their just extent, when we extract tears from them; and the constancy which we commend in every one, in supporting his own adverse fortune, we accuse and reproach in our friends, when the case is our own; we are not satisfied that they should be sensible of our condition only, unless they be, moreover, afflicted. A man should publish, and communicate his joy, but as much as he can conceal and smother his grief: he that makes himself lamented without reason, is a man not to be lamented when there shall be real cause. To be always complaining, is the way never to be lamented; by making himself always in so pitiful a taking, he is never commiserated by any. He that makes himself dead when he is alive, is subject to be thought likely to live when he is dying. I have seen some, who have taken it ill when they have been told that they looked well, and that their pulse was temperate; contain their smiles, because they betrayed a recovery; and be angry at their health, because it was not to be lamented ; and, which is a great deal more, these were not women, neither." Patience assists in bearing the evils of life.
Unaw'd by threats, unmov'd by force,
Collected, calm, resign'd;
Say whence this turn of mind ?
Thy threaten's Aight to stay;
Long hast thou been a welcome guest,
And rul'd with gentle sway.--
My wayward lot has known;
When sorrow weigh'd me down?
Nor yield to passion's pow'r,
In one ill-fated hour.-
Of her I lov'd so well;
Forbade the tide to swell?
That antidote to pain;
Our losses into gain.-
Sleep which e'en pain beguiles;
And dress'd my looks in smiles ?
Ånd lent her fostering breast;
And sooth'd my soul to rest.-
When my prophetic soul,
What could my fears control? 23.
'Twas Patience gentle goddess, hear!
Nor let one murmur rise,
The sweet domestic ties. MRS. SHERIDAN.
THINGS OPPOSED TO THE PLEASURES OF HUMAN
Man may be happy if he will;
Doctrine, to make the million stare!
Or wind, or calm, or foul, or fair.
Too fond of thunder, lightning, storm, and rain;
That spreads a smile o'er hill and plain;
The God of nature?—No such thing:
'Dont cry, my lad, but dance and sing;
Yet, mind me---if, through want of grace,
Thou mean'st to fling the blessing in my face,
For ever brooding over Mis’ry's eggs,
To catch their happinesses by the legs.
Ey'n at a dinner, some will be unbless'd,
They always come to table with a scowl,
Curse cook and wife, and, loathing, eat and growl.
I hate to drop the discontented jaw,
And pick ev'n pleasure from a straw. Wolcot.
It is a certain truth that happiness depends much on the will of man; though it must be confessed the poet has expressed himself rather too coarsely in the
preceding lines. The author of “The World,” has the following observations on the art of happiness.
"A good temper is one of the principal ingredients of happiness. This, it will be said, is the work of nature, and must be born with us; and so in a good measure it is: yet sometimes it may be acquired by art, and always improved by culture. Almost every object, that attracts our notice has its bright and its dark side. He that habituates himself to look at the displeasing side, will sour his disposition, and consequently impair his happiness; while he who constantly beholds it on the bright side insensibly meliorates his temper, and in consequence of it improves his own happiness, and the happiness of all about him.
* Arachne and Melissa are two friends. They are both of them women in years, and alike in birth, fortune, education, and accomplishments. They were originally alike in temper too; but, by different management, are grown the reverse of each other. Arachne has accustomed herself to look only on the dark side of every object. If a new poem or a play makes its appearance, with a thousand brilliancies, and but one or two blemishes, she lightly skims over the passages that should give her pleasure, and dwells upon those only that fill her with dislike. If you shew her a very excellent portrait, she looks at some part of the drapery which has been neglected, or to a hand or finger which has been left unfinished. Her garden is a very beautiful one, and kept with great neatness and elegancy; but if you take a walk with her in it, she talks to you of nothing but blights and storms, of snails and caterpillars, and how impossible it is to keep it from the litter of falling leaves, and worm-casts. If you sit down in one of her
temples, to enjoy a delightful prospect, she observes to you, that there is too much wood, or too little water; that the day is too sunny, or too gloomy; that it is sultry or windy; and finishes with a long harangue upon the wretchedness of our climate. When you return with her to the company, in hopes of a little cheerful conversation, she casts a gloom over all, by giving you the history of her own bad health, or of some melancholy accident that has befallen one of her daughter's children. Thus she insensibly sinks her own spirits, and the spirits of all around her, and at last discovers, she knows not why, that her friends are grave.
• Melissa is the reverse of all this. By constantly habituating herself to look only on the bright side of objects, she preserves a perpetual cheerfulness in herself, which, by a kind of happy contagion, she communicates to all about her. If any misfortune has befallen her, she considers it might have been worse, and is thankful to providence for an escape. She rejoices in solitude, as it gives her an opportunity of knowing herself; and in society, because she can communicate the happiness she enjoys. She opposes every man's virtues to his failings, and can find out something to cherish and applaud in the very worst of her acquintance. She opens every book with a desire to be entertained or instructed, and therefore seldom misses what she looks for Walk with her, though it be but on a heath or a common, and she will discover numberless beauties unobserved before, in the hills, the dales, the broom, the brake, and the variegated flowers of weeds and poppies. She enjoys every change of weather and of season, as bringing with it something of health or convenience. In conversation it is a rule with her never to start a subject that leads to any thing gloomy or disagreeable; you therefore never hear her repeating her own grievances, or those of her neighbours, or, what is worst of all, their faults and imperfections. If any thing of the latter kind be mentioned in her hearing, she has the address to turn it into entertainment, by changing the most odious failing into a pleasing raillery. Thus Melissa, like the bee, gathers honey from every weed; while Arachne, like the spider, sucks poison from the fairest flowers. The consequence is, that of two témpers, once very nearly allied, the one is for ever sour and dissatisfied, the other always gay and cheerful; the one spreads an universal gloom, the other a continual sunshine.
“There is nothing more worthy of our attention than this art of happiness. În conversation, as well as life, happiness very often depends on the slightest incidents. The taking notice of the badness of the weather, a north wind, the approach of winter, or any trifling circumstance of the disagreeable kind, shall insensibly rob a whole company of its good