Imatges de pàgina





52 The contemplation of the calamities of others, a

remedy for grief.

53 The folly and misery of a spendthrift ... . 7

54 A death-bed the true school of wisdom. The effects

of death upon the survivors: · · 12

55 The gay widow's impatience of the growth of her

daughter. The history of Miss Maypole

56 The necessity of complaisance. The Rambler's

grief for offending his correspondents .... 25

57 Sententious rules of frugality

· · · 30

58 The desire of wealth moderated by philosophy

59 An account of Suspirius, the human screech-owl

60 The dignity and usefulness of biography ..

61 A Londoner's visit to the country . ....

62 A young lady's impatience to see London i. .

63 Inconstancy not always a weakness .

64 The requisites to true friendship . .

65 Obidah and the hermit, an Eastern story ...

66 Passion not to be eradicated. The views of women

ill directed . . . . . . .

67 The garden of hope, a dream . . .

68 Every man chiefly happy or miserable at home.

The opinion of servants not to be despised 96

69 The miseries and prejudice of old age . . . 100

70 Different men virtuous in different degrees. The

vicious not always abandoned . . . 107

No man believes that his own life will be short 112

12 The necessity of good humour


23 The lingering expectation of an heir ,

. 123
74 Peevishness equally wretched and offensive. The

character of Tetrica ..

75 The world never known but by a change of fortune.

. The history of Melissa . . . . 135

76 The arts by which bad men are reconciled to them-


: : . • 142

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77 The learned seldom despised but when they deserve

contempt .

. ' . . 147

78 The power of novelty. Mortality too familiar to

raise apprehensions . . . . . 153

79 A suspicious man justly suspected . .' . 159

80 Variety necessary to happiness. A winter scene 165

8. The great rule of action. Debts of justice to be

distinguished from debts of charity . . . . 170

82 The Virtuoso's account of his rarities . . v. 173

83 The Virtuoso's curiosity justified . . . 182

84 A young lady's impatience of controul ....188

85 The mischiefs of total idleness . . . . 195

86. The danger of succeeding a great author : an intro-

duction to a criticism on Milton's versification 201

87 The reasons why advice is generally ineffectual 208

88 A criticism on Milton's versification. Elisions dan.'

gerous in English poetry . . . . 214

89 The luxury of vain imagination . . . 220

90 The pauses in English poetry adjusted ... 226

9. The conduct of patronage, an allegory. ... 235

92 The accommodation of sound to sense, often chi-

merical . . . . . . . . 239

93 The prejudices and caprices of criticism ... 249

94 An enquiry how far Milton has accommodated the

sound to the sense . . . . . . 254

95 The history of Pertinax the sceptic . . . 263

96 Truth, falsehood, and fiction, an allegory ... 269

97 Advice to unmarried ladies . . . . . 275

98 The necessity of cultivating politeness ...283

99 The pleasures of private friendship. The necessity

i of similar dispositions . . . . : 288

100 Modish pleasures . . . . . . 294

101 A proper audience necessary to a wit ... · 299

102 The voyage of life

103 The prevalence of curiosity. The character

Nugaculus .

194 The original of flattery. The meanness of venal

praise . . . .:

· · 319





Quoties flenti Theseius heros
Siste modum, dixit; neque enim fortuna querenda
Sola tud est:.similes aliorum respice casus
Mitius ista feres.


How oft in vain, the son of Theseus said,
The stormy sorrows be with patience laid ;
Nor are thy fortunes to be wept alone;
Weigh other's woes, and learn to bear thy own.


Among the various methods of consolation, to which the miseries inseparable from our present state have given occasion, it has been, as I have already remarked, recommended by some writers to put the sufferer in mind of heavier pressures, and more excruciatiug calamities, than those of which he has himself reason to complain.

This has, in all ages, been directed and practised ; and, in conformity to this custom, Lipsius, the great modern master of the Stoick philosophy,

Vol. II.

has, in his celebrated treatise on steadiness of mind, endeavoured to fortify the breast against too much sensibility of misfortune by enumerating the evils which have in former ages fallen upon the world, the devastation of wide extended regions, the sack of cities, and massacre of nations. And the common voice of the multitude uninstructed by precept, and unprejudiced by authority, which, in questions that relate to the heart of man, is, in my opinion, more decisive than the learning of Lipsius, seems to justify the efficacy of this procedure ; for one of the first comforts which one neighbour ad. ministers to another, is a relation of the like infelicity, combined with circumstances of greater bitterness.

But this medicine of the mind is like many remedies applied to the body, of which, though we see the effects, we are unacquainted with the man. ner of operation, and of which, therefore, some, who are unwilling to suppose any thing out of the reach of their own sagacity, have been inclined to doubt whether they have really those virtues for which they are celebrated, and whether their reputation is not the mere gift of fancy, prejudice, and credulity.

Consolation, or comfort, are words which, in their proper acceptation, signify some alleviation of that pain to which it is not in our power to afford the proper and adequate remedy ; they imply rather an augmentation of the power of bearing, than a diminution of the burden. A pri. soner is relieved by him that sets him at liberty, but receives comfort from such as suggest considerations by which he is made patient under the in

convenience of confinement. To that grief which arises from a great loss, he only brings the true remedy who makes his friend's condition the same as before ; but he may be properly termed a comforter, who by persuasion extenuates the pain of poverty, and shews, in the style of Hesiod, that half is more than the whole.

It is, perhaps, not immediately obvious, how it can lull the memory of misfortune, or appease the throbbings of anguish, to hear that others are more miserable ; others, perhaps, unknown, or wholly indifferent, whose prosperity raises no envy, and whose fall can gratify no resentment. Some topicks of comfort arising, like that which gave hope and spirit to the captive of Sesostris, from the perpetual vicissitudes of life, and mutability of human affairs, may as properly raise the dejected as depress the proud, and have an immediate tendency to exhilarate and revive. But how can it avail the man who languishes in the gloom of sorrow, without prospect of emerging into the sunshine of cheerfulness, to hear that others are sunk yet deeper in the dungeon of misery, shackled with heavier chains, and surrounded with darker desperation ?

The solace arising from this consideration seems indeed the weakest of all others, and is perhaps never properly applied, but in cases where there is no place for reflections of more speedy and pleasing efficacy. But even from such calamities life is by no means free ; a thousand ills incurable, a thousand losses irreparable, a thousand difficulties insurmountable, are known, or will be known, by all the sons of men. Native deformity cannot be rectified, a dead friend cannot return, and the

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