Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

The frowns of a prince and the loss of a pension have been found of wonderful efficacy to abstract mens' thoughts from the present time, and fill them with zeal for the liberty and welfare of ages to come.

Marmor Norfolciense, p. 21 !

, PASSION. .. The adventitious peculiarities of personal habits are only superficial dies, bright and pleasing for a while, yet soon fading to a dim tint, with out any remains of former lustre. But the dis-' crimination of true passion are the colours of nature; they pervade the whole mass, and can only perish with the body that exhibits them.

Preface to Shakspeare, p. 186

Passion, in its first violence, controls interest, as the eddy, for a while, runs against the stream.

Taxation no Tyranny, p. 3.

Real passion runs not after remote illusions and obscure opinions. Where there is leisure for fiction there is little grief.

Life of Milton

Of any passion innate and irresistible, the existence may reasonably be doubted. Human characters are by no means constant; men change by change of place, of fortune, of acquaintance; he who is at one time a lover of pleasure,, is ate another a lover of money.

Life of Pope.

It is the fate of almost every passion, when it has passed the bounds which nature prescribes, to counteract its own purpose. Too much rage

binders

hinders the warrior from circumspection; too much eagerness of profit hurts the credit of the trader; and too much ardour takes away from the lover that easiness of address with which ladies are delighted.

Rambler, vol. 1, p. 320.

.: PROGRESS OF THE PASSIONS. :

The passions usurp the separate command of the successive periods of life. To the happiness of our first years, nothing more seems necessary than freedom from restraint. Every man may remember, that if he was left to himself, and indulged in the disposal of his own time, he was once content without the superaddition of any actual pleasure.

The new world is in itself a banquet, and till we have exhausted the freshness of life, we have always about us sufficient gratification. The sunshine quickens us to play, and the shade invites us to sleep.

But we soon become unsatisfied with negative felicity, and are solicited by our senses and appetites to more powerful delights, as the taste of him who has satisfied his hunger must be excited by artificial stimulations. The simplicity of natural amusements is now passed, and art and contrivance must improve our pleasures; but, in time, art, like nature, is exhausted, and the senses cam no longer supply the cravings of the intellect.

The attention is then transferred from pleasure to interest, in which pleasure is perhaps included, though diffused to a wider extent, and protracted through new gradations. Nothing now dances before the eyes but wealth and power, nor rings in the ear but the voice of fame: wealth, to which, however yariously denominated, every man at

some

some time or other aspires; power, which all wish to obtain within their circle of action; and fame, which no man, however high or mean, however wise or ignorant, was yet able to despise. Now prudence and foresight exert their influence. Noi hour is devoted wholly to any present enjoyment, no act or purpose terminates in itself, but every motion is referred to some distant end; the accomplishment of one design begins another, and the ultimate wish is always pushed off to its former distance.

At length fame is observed to be uncertain, and power to be dangerous. The man whose vigoud and alacrity begin to forsake him, by degrees contracts his designs, remits his former multiplicity of pursuits, and extends no longer his rea gard to any other honour than the reputation of wealth, or any other influence than his power. Avarice is generally the last passion of those lives, of which the first part has been squandered in pleasure, and the second in ambition. He that sinks under the fatigue of getting wealth, lulls his age with the milder business of saying it.

Rambler, vol, 3, p. 273 & 274.

PAIN. Pain is less subject than pleasure to caprices of expression,

Idler, vol. I, p. 282.

Our sense is so much stronger of what we' suffer, than of what we enjoy, that the ideas of pain predominate in almost every mind. What is recollection, but a revival of vexation? or history, but a record of wars, treasons, and calamities? Death, which is considered as the greatest 04

esil,

evil, happens to all; the greatest good, be it what it will, is the lot but of a part.

Western Islands, p. 250.

PATRONAGE. - A man conspicuous in a high station, who multiplies hopes that he may multiply dependents, may be considered as a beast of prey.

Idler, vol. I, p. 79.

To solicit patronage is, at least in the event, to set virtue to sale. None can be pleased without praise, and few can be praised without false. hood; few can be assiduous without servility, and none can be servile without corruption. .

Rambler, vol. 2, p. 298..

PLEASURE. Whatever professes to benefit by pleasing, must please at once. What is perceived by slow degrees, may gratify us with the consciousness of improvement, but will never strike us with the serise of pleasure.

Life of Cowley.

- Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought; our brightest blazes of gladněšs are com monly kindled by unexpected sparks. The flowers which scatter their odours from time to time in the paths of life, grow up, without culture, from seeds scattered by chance.

Idler, vol. 2, p. 31.

The great source of pleasure is variety. Uniformity must tire at last, though it be uniformity of excellence. We love to expect, and when ex

pectation

pectation is disappointed or gratified, we want to be again expecting,

Life of Burler. The merit of pleasing must be estimated by the means. Favour is not always gained by good actions or laudable qualities. Caresses and preferments are often bestowed on the auxiliaries of vice, the procurers of, pleasure, or the flatterers, of vanity.

Life of. Dryden. Men may be convinced, but they cannot be pleased against their will. But though taste is. :. obstinate, it is very variable, and time often premi vails when arguments have failed.

Life of Congreve. Pleasure is only received, when we believe that. we give it in return..

Rambler, vol. 2, p. 90. Pleasure is seldom such as it appears to others, nor often such as we represent it to ourselves.

Idler, vol. I, p. 99... It is an unhappy state, in which danger is hid . under pleasure.

Preface to Shakspeare, p. 1463... · Pleasure, in itself harmless, may become mischievous, by endearing us to a state which we;. know to be transient and probatory. Self-denial is no virtue in itself ; nor is it of any other useg. . than as it disengages us from the allurements of sense. In the state of future perfection, to which we all aspire, there will be pleasure without dan.. ger, and security without restraint...

Prince of Abyssiniaa . . ::. 05.

PLEASURES

[ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »