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THERE is no passion more strongly developed in man than a certain indescribable and irrepressible desire of sympathy and companionship. Indeed, so universally true is the proposition, that we scarcely can imagine the existence of such a person as a Timon. We are forced to turn from him with unconcealed disgust, as from a hideous abortion of nature; or else we unhesitatingly rank him among the ideal creations of a poet. It is impossible for us to conceive a man existing independent of his fellow-men; and we receive as an irrefutable axiom that, without society, there is no happiness. Who that has ever read that beautiful piece of poetry written by Mrs. Hemans, and entitled “The Captive Knight,” has not felt his pulse beat thick and fast at the exultation at the com. mencement, and the soft tear of pity bedev his eyes at the close? Who has not felt his heart swell with pride and hope, as, in imagination, he placed himself by the side of the imprisoned crusader, and gazed with tearful avidity and trembling anxiety upon the host which wound its way “in pride and power” around the vase of the “Paymin tower”? And who has not shared in the heartrending despair of the unfortunate knight, as the prolonged echo of the shrill bugle of the retreating troop rang among the surrounding hills like the wild and mournful dirge of hope 7 Who, again, has not felt for the silent agony with which Philoctetes gazed fixedly after the Grecian ships as they faded slowly from the distant horizon ? And who, when in imagination they beheld the last, lingering vessel pass away from sight, and Philoctetes throw himself upon the ground in , paroxysm of despair, has not heaped the bitterest mental execrations upon the hard-hearted cruelty of those who left him alone—ay! utterly alone—to die? And whence these feelings? Whence this sympathy, if it does not result from a consciousness that something is requisite for the enjoyment of happiness, and that without it the situation of man can not but be gloomy and desolate in the extreme 7 Task imagination to the utmost : let any one among us picture to himself scenes of such beauty that, in comparison with them, reality becomes cold, lifeless, and uninteresting; suppose, for an instant, that time has rolled back the tide which for ages it has swept over the departed glory and magnificence of oriental empires, and that the marble palaces and the chequered and festooned halls of Babel or Palmyra stand before him in all their original grandeur and stability; incense is floating

around in fragrant clouds, gilded by the noonday rays of an Asiatic sun; music, heavenly music, such as Shakspere describes —

“The sweet south wind
Breathing upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor”—

and anon changing into the wildest clangor of martial music, and calling up a thousand images of grateful and exhilarating excitement, now breathes low and soft as the converse of whispering angels, and now again echoes shrilly through long corridors, as loud and startling as the storm-wind which sweeps in ungovernable fury over the tempest-beaten ocean Add to this everything which the splendor of oriental magnificence can suggest to the most fervent and poetic imagination. Let him place himself in the midst of all this grandeur, and imagine all around is solitude—unbroken by the footfall of any human being ! He is king—undisputed sovereign of all : but he is and must remain alone ! How drear, how unenviable is such a position —and how quickly would not each one of us throw off the glittering splendor of such tasteless and repulsive magnificence, and stoop to be the lowest of earth's denizens, if thus he might enjoy the delights of society I might, again, for the sake of variety, picture one of the most splendid and beautiful scenes of nature—such a one as the pencil of a Claude Lorraine would delight to delineate, or the pen of a Thomson to describe. I might paint you silvery streamlets, flowing onward and continu

ally murmuring a soft and harmonious song of joy; a velvet sward, upon which, at the bewitching hour of moonlight, fairies would love to trip ; flowers beneath the feet—such as would, by the variety and brilliancy of their hues, delight a Titania or an Oberon ; and overhead an arching canopy of the noblest Titans of the forest, dressed in the gathered majesty of centuries. I might point out to you such a scene, and bid you enjoy the beauties—but alone ! Again you would find that the most enchanting things of nature, as well as those of art, can not please, unless the satisfaction which they are calculated to impart be participated in by others. Nor is this yearning of the heart after sympathy and communion peculiar to us. The dark-browed Indian, cold and morose as he appears to be, does not refuse to acknowledge and satisfy the claims of friendship. The chequered annals of their primitive power and now waning empire reveal not a few examples of heroic and selfdevoted attachment which would adorn even the page of civilized life. The warlike and predatory Arabs, who are as free as the sweeping simoom which flies with the velocity of lightning over the desert, and who bend to no edict but that of necessity, are nevertheless the warmest and most faithful friends. Go where you will, turn where you may, you will always find that there man has erected an altar to friendship. No station in society, be it that of luxurious royalty or that of penurious poverty—no age, be it the dawn, the noon, or evening of life—no disposi• tion, be it of a poetic or ordinary nature—is free from the influence of friendship. The crowned despot, upon whose head glitters an imperial bauble, and the hardy peasant, who toils for his daily bread; the cold, calculating lawyer, and the enthusiastic and imaginative poet, whose mind is “with the far futurity of stars;” the blood-stained warrior, and the peaceful and laborious mechanic—all have in a greater or less degree consecrated their breasts at the hallowed shrine of devoted friendship. And yet, notwithstanding this, there are and have been those who have not hesitated to deny the existence of disinterested friendship. They attribute all that is holy, pure, noble, and exalted, in the society of men, to base and selfish principles, or the fortuitous events of chance. Accident, they say, flings men together, and interest binds them in one community. Then there is nothing nobler in the friendship of man than there is in the union of the beasts of the field and the birds of the airl That which we have hitherto considered as one of the noblest privileges of the soul is nothing but a dream, a shadow, which has been summoned up by the Protean wand of a fervent imagination, and which must pass away before the steady light of truth ! Why do not those who make this assertion go one step further, and proclaim in reality, as they already do in effect, that government, order, ay! religion itself. are but a nonsensical farce 7 Why do they not proclaim aloud that the wise, the good, and the great, are but so

many disguised prophets “of the silver veil,” and that

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