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CHAPTER IX. VIRTUE OUR HIGHEST INTEREST.* 1. I FIND myself existing upon a little spot, surrounded every way by an immense unknown expansion. Where am I? What sort of a place do l inhabit ? Is it exactly accommodated, in every instance, to my convenience? Is there no excess of cold, none of heat, to offend me? am I never annoyed by animals, either of my own kind, or a different ? Is every thing subservient to me, as though I had ordered all myself?
2. No, nothing like it; the farthest from it possible. The world appears then not originally made for the private convenience of me alone? It does not. But is it possible so to accommodate it, by my own particular industry? If to accommodate man and beast, heaven and earth, if this be beyond me it is not possible. What consequence then follows ? Or can there be any other than this? If I seek an interest of my own, detached from that of others, I seek an interest which is chimerical, and can never have existence.
3. How then must I determine ? Have I no interest at all ? If I have not, I am a fool for staying here. It is a smoky house, and the sooner out of it the better. But why no interest ? Can I be contented with none, but one separate and detached ? Is a social interest joined with others such an absurdity, as not to be admitted ? The bee, the beaver, and tribes of herding animals, are enough to convince me, that the thing is somewhat, at least, possible
4. How then am I assured that it is not equally true of man ? Admit it, and what follows? If so, then honour and justice are my interest; then the whole train of moral virtues is my interest ; without some portion of which, not even thieves can maintain society.
5. But, further still-I stop not here- pursue this social interest as far as I can trace my several relations. I pass fron my own stock, my own neighbourhood, my own nation, to the whole race of mankind dispersed throughout the earth Am I not related to them all by the mutual aids of commerce ? by the general intercourse of arts and letters ? by that common nature of which we all participate ? Again-I must have food and clothing: without a genial warmth I must instantly perish. Am I not related, in this view, to the very earth itself; to the distant sun, from whose beams I derive vigour ? To that stupendous course and order of the infinite host of heaven, by which the times and seasons ever uniformly pass on? Were this order once confounded, I could not probably survive a moment. So absolutely do I depend on this common welfare.
* See Rule V. page 17,
6. What, then, have I to do but to enlarge virtue into piety? Not only honour and justice, and what I owe to man, is my interest ; but gratitude, also, acquiescence, rea signation, adoration, and all I owe to this great polity, and its greater Governor, our common Parent. 7. But if all these moral and divine habits be my
interest, I need not surely seek for a better. I have an interest compatible with the spot on which I live. I have an interest which may exist, without altering the plan of Providence; without mending or marring the general order of events. I can bear whatever happens with manlike magnanimity; can be contented, and feel happy in the 'good which I possess ; and can pass through this turbid, this fickle, fleeting period without bewailings, envyings, murmurings, or complaints.
SENSIBILITY.* 1. DEAR sensibility ! Source inexhaustible of all that is precious in our joys, or costly in our sorrows ! Thou chainest thy martyr down upon his bed of straw, and it is thou who liftest him up to heaven!
2. Eternal fountain of our feelings ! It is here I trace thee, and this is thy divinity which stirs within me; not, that in some sad and sickening moments, “my soul shrinks back upon herself, and startles at destruction." Mere pomp
of words! but that I feel some generous joys and generous cares beyond myself-all comes from thee, great, great sensorium of the world; which vibrates if a hair of our head but falls
upon the ground in the remotest desert of thy creation.
• See Rule V. page 17.
3. Touched by thee, Eugenius draws my curtain when I languish ; hears the tale of my symptoms, and blames the weather for the disorder of his nerves. est a portion of it sometimes to the roughest peasant, who traverses the bleakest mountains-he finds the lacerated lawıb of another's flock.
4. This moment I beheld him leaning with his head against his crook, with, piteous inclination looking down upon it.-O! liad I come one moment sooner !- It bleeds to death! his gentle heart bleeds with it! Peace to thee, generous swain! I see thou walkest off with anguish ; but thy joys shall balance it: for happy is thy cottage, and happy is the sharer of it, and happy are the lambs which sport about you,
ON CRITICISM. 1. AND how did Garrick speak the soliloquy last night? O! against all rule,my lord,most ungrammatically! Betwixt the substantive and adjective, which should agree together in number, case, and gender, he made a breach thus-stopping as if the point wanted settling ; --and betwixt the verb, which your lordship knows should agree with the nominative case, he suspended his voice in the epilogue a dozen times, three seconds, and three-fifths by a stop watch, my lord, each time.
2. Admirable grammarian!-But, in suspending his voice-was the sense suspended likewise ? Did no expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasm? Was the eye silent ? Did you narrowly look ? I looked only at the stop-watch, my lord.--Excellent observer !
3. And what of this new book the whole world makes such a rout about? O! it is out of all plumb, my lord, quite an irregular thing! Not one of the angles at the four corners was a right angle. I had my rule and compasses, my lord, in my pocket. -Excellent critic!
4. And for the epic poem your lordship bid me look at ; upon taking the length, breadth, height, and depth of it, and trying them at home upon an exact scale of Bossu's--it is out, my lord, in every one of its dimensions.
5. Admirable connoisseur!-And did you step in to take a look at the grand picture in your way back ? It is a melancholy daub, my lord; not one principle of the pyramid in any one group! And what a price for there is nothing of the colouring of Titian–the expression of Rubens--the grace of Raphael--the learning of Poussin -the airs of Guido--or the grand contour of Angelo!
6. Grant me patience, just heaven! Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world--though the cant of hypocrites may be the worst, the cant of criti. cism is the most tormenting!
7. I would walk fifty miles on foot, to kiss the hand of that man, whose generous heart will give up the reins of his imagination into his author's hands-be pleased, he knows not why, and cares not wherefore.
CHAPTER XII. DAVID'S LAMENTATION OVER SAUL AND JONATHAN.*
1 IT came to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul, with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head; and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obei. sance. And David said unto him, from whence comest thou? And he said unto him, out of the camp of Israel am I escaped.
2. And David said unto him, how went the matter? I pray thee tell me. He answered, that the people are fled from the battle, and many of them are also fallen and dead, and Saul, and Jonathan, his son, are dead also. And David said unto the young man who told him, how knowest thou that Saul, and Jonathan, his son, be dead?
3. The young man that told him said, as I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. And when he looked behind him he saw me, and called after me. And I answered, bere am 1. And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. He said unto me again, stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me; for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.
* See Rule VII page 21.
4. So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after he was fallen ; and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the brace. let that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord. Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them, and likewise all the men that were with him. And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until eyen, for Saul, and for Jonathan, his son, and for the people of the Lord, and for the house of Israel, because they were fallen by the sword.
5. And David said unto the young man who told him, Whence art thou ? And he answered, I am the son of a stranger, an Amalekite. And David said unto him, How, wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the Lord's Anointed ? and David called one of the young men, and said, go near, and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died, And David said unto him, thy blood be upon thine head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the Lord's Anointed.
6. And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul, and over Jonathan, his son.* «The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places. How are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon ; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.
7 “Ye mountainsof Gilboa, let there be no dew,nei. ther let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings ; for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away, the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil. From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty. Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.
8. “ How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle ! O, Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant hast thou been unto me. Thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women. How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished !
* See Rule VII, page 21.