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do to much : that heaven was a blessed place" So much the worse. --'Tis lost ! 'ois lost !-Hea. sen is to me the severest part of hell ""
Soou after, I proposed prayer,-- Pray you that can. I never prayed, I cannot pray- por need 1.Is not Heaven on my side already! It closes with my conscience. lis severest strokes but second my own." Observing that his friend was much touch. cd at this, even to tear s -(who could forbear? I could not )- with a must aftectionate look, he said,
Keep those tears for thyself, I have undone thee. --Dost thou weep for me?". That is cruel. What can pain me more?"
Here his friend, too much affected, would have left him,"No, stay--bou still mayst hope ; therefore hear me. How madly have I talked ! How madly hast thou listened,and believed ! but look op my present state, as a full answer to thee, and to myself. This body is all weakpess and paid ; but my soul, as if sluog up by forment to greater strength aod spirit, is full powerful to reason ; full mighty to suffer. Aod that, which thus triumphs within the jaws of immortality, 15 doubtless immortal--Aod, as for a Deity,nothing less than an Almighty could inflict what I feel.”
I was about to congratulate this passive, involuo. lary confessor, on his asserting the two prime articles of his creed, extorted by che rack of nature, shen he thus very passionately exclaimed:-- No, Do! let me speak on. I have not long to speak -My much injured friend ! my soul, as my body, lies in ruios; io scattered fragments of broken thought.--Remorse for the past throws my thought on the future. Worse dread of the future, strikes it back on the past. I turn, aod turn, and find oo ray.
Didst thou feel halt the mountain that is on me, thou wouldst struggle with the martyr for his srake ; and bless heaven for the fames !--that is
not an everlastiog iamc; that is pot an unquenchable fire."
How we were struck ! yet soon after, still more. With what an eye of distraction, what a face of de. spair, he cried out! My principles have poisoned my friend; my extravagasce has beggared my boy! my unkindoess has murdered my wife !--And is there another hell? Oh, thou blasphemed, yet ig. dulgeot LORD GOD! Hell itself is a refuge, if it hide me from thy frowo!” Soon after, his under. standing failed. His terrified immagination utter. ed horrors not to be repeated, or ever forgotted.-And ere the sun (which, I hope has seen few like him) arose, the gay, young, noble, ingenious, ac. complished, and most wretched Altamont, expired!
If this is a map of pleasure, what is a map of pain? How quick, how total, is the trarsit of such persons! In what a dismal gloom they set forever! How short, alas! the day of their rejoiciog!--For a moment they glitter--they dazzle! Io a moment, where are they? Oblivion covers their memories. Ah! would it did! Iatamy spatches them from oblivion, to the long liviog anpals of infamy their triumphs are recorded. Thy sufferings, poor Altamooi! still bleed in the bosom of the heart-stricken friend--for Altamont had a friend. He might have had many.
His traosient morniog might have been the dawn of an immortal day. His name might have been gloriously enrolled in the records of eternity. His memory might have left a sweet fragraoce behind it, grateful to the surviv. ing friend, salutary to the succeeding generation. With what capacity was he endowed with what ad. vantages, for being greatly good! But with the talcots of an angel, a man may be a fool. If he judge es amiss in the supreme point, judging right in all else but agravates his folly; as it shows him wrong, though blessed with the best capacing of being right.
Dennocritus and Heraclitys.* The vices and follies of men should excite compassion
rather than ridicule.
Democritus. I FInd it impossible to reconcile my. self to a melancholy philosophy
Heraclitus. And I am equally unable to approve of that vain philosophy, which teaches men to despise and ridicule one another. 'To a wise and feeling mind, the world appears in a wretched and parnful light.
Democritus. Thou art too much affected with the state of things and this is a source of misery to thee.
Heraclitus. And I think thou art too little moved by it. Thy mirth and ridicule bespeak the buffood, rather than the philosopher. Does it not excite thy compassion, to see mankind so frail, so blind, so far deported from the rules of vritue?
Democritus. I am excited to laughter, when I see 30 much impertinence and folly:
Heraclitus. And yet, after all, they, who are the objects of thy ridicule, include, not only mankind in general, but the persons with whom thou livest, thy friends, thy family, nay even thyself.
Democritus. I care very litile for all the silly persons I meet with : and think I am justifiable in diverting myself with their folly.
Heraclitus. If they are weak and foolish, it marks geither wisdom oor humanity, to insult rather than pity
* Democritus and Heraclitus.were two ancient philosophers the former of whom laughed, and the latter wept, at the ersors and follies of mankind.
them, But is it certain, that thou art not as extravagant as they are?
Democritus. I presume that I am not; since, in every point, my sentiments are the very reverse of theirs.
Heraclitus. There are follies of different kinds. By constautly amusing thyself with the errors aod misconduct of others, thou mayst render thyself equal. ly ridiculous and culpable.
Democritus. Thou art at liberty to iodulge such sentiments; and to weep over me too, if thou hast any tears to spare.
For my part, I cannot refrain from pleasiog myself with the levities and ill conduct of che world about me. Are not all men foolish, or irregular in their lives?
Heraclitus. Alas! there is but too much reason to believe, they are so; and on this ground, I pity and deplore their condition. We agree in this point, that men do not conduct themselves according to reasonable and just principles : but I, who do not suffer my. self to act as they do, must yet regard the dictates of my understanding and feelings, which compel me to love theun; and that love fills me with compassion for their mistakes and irregulaities. Canst thoa condemn ine for pitying my own species, my brethren, persons born in the same condition of life, and destined to the same hopes and privileges? If thou shouldst enter a hospital, where sick and wounded persons reside, would their wounds and distresses excite thy mirth? Aud yet, the evils of the body bear no coin parison with those of the miod. Thou wouldst certainly blush at thy barbarity, if thou hadst been so upfeeling as to laugh at or despise a miserable being, who had lost one of his legs; and yet thou art so destitute of humanity, as to ridicule those who appear to be deprived of the noble powers of the understanding, by the little regard which they pay to its dictates.
Democritus. He who has lost a leg is to be pitied, because the loss is not to be imputed to himself; but he who rejects the dictates of reason aod conscience, voluntarily deprives himself of their aid. The loss originates in his owo folly.
Heraclitus. Ah! so much the more is he to be pitied! A turious maniac, who should pluck out his own eyes, would deserve more compassion than an ordinary blind map.
Democritus. Come, let us accommodate the bu. siness. There is something to be said on each side of the question. There is every where reason for laughing, and reason for weeping. The world is ridiculous and I laugh at it; it is deplorable, and thou lamentest over i:. Every person views it in his own way, and according to his own temper.-- -One point is unquestionable, that mankind are preposterous; to thiok right, and to act well, we must think and act differently from them. To submit to the authority, and follow the example of the greater part of men, would render us foolish and miserable,
Heraclitus. All this is, indeed, true; but theo thou hast no real love or feeling for thy species..... The calamities of mankind excite thy mirth: and this proves that thou hast no regard for men, nor any true respect for the virtues which they have unhappily abandoned.
Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray.
Dionysius, Pythins, and Damon.
Dionysius. AMAZING! What do I sec! It is Pythias just arrived. It is indeed Pythias. I did not think it possible. He is come to die, and to redeem bis friend!
Pythias. Yes, it is Pythias. I left the place of my confinement, with no other views than to pay to Heaven the vows I had made; to setile my family concerns according to the rules of justice; aod to bid adieu to my children, that I may die tranquil and satisficd,