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the gay, young, noble, ingenious, accomplished, and most wretched Altamont, expired!
11 If this is a man of pleasure, what is a man of pain? How
quick, how total, is the transit of such persons! In what a er dismal gloom they set for ever! How short, alas! the day of I their rejoicing !--For a moment, they glitter-they dazzle! In
a'moment, where are they? Oblivion covers their memories. Bir Ah! would it did! Infamy snatches them from oblivion. In
the long living annals of infamy, their triumphs are recorded.
12 Thy sufferings, poor Altamont! still bleed in the bosom of the hcart-stricken friend-for Altamont had a friend. He
might have had many. His transient morning might have e been the dawn of an immortal day. His name might have
been gloriously enrolled in the records of eternity. His mem
ory might have left a sweet fragrance behind it, grateful to the y surviving friend, salutary to the succeeding generation.
13 With what capacity was he endowed with whatadvantages, for being greatly good! But with the talents of an angel, a man may be a fool. If he judges amiss in the supreme point, judging right in all else, but aggravates his folly'; as it shows him wrong, though blessed with the best capacity of being right.
DEMOCRITUS AND HERACLITUS.*
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 painful light.
Dem. Thou art too much affected with the state of thirgs; and this is a source of misery to thee.
Her. And I think thou art too little moved by it. Thy mirth and ridicule, bespeak the buffoon, rather than the philosopher. Does it not excite thy compassion, to see mankind so frail, so blind, so far departed from the rules of virtue ?
* Dem. I am excited to laughter, when I see so much im pertinence and folly.
* Democritus and Heraclitus were med engient philosophers, the former of whom laughed, and the latter wept rors and follies of mankind.
Her. 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.
Dem. I care very little for all the silly persons I meet with ; and think I am justifiable in diverting myself with their folly.
Her. If they are weak and foolish, it marks neither wisdom nor humanity, to insult rather than pity them. But is it certain, that thou art not as extravagant as they are ?
Dem. I presume that I am not; since, in every point, my sentiments are the very reverse of theirs.
Her. There are follies of different kinds. By constantly amusing thyself with the errors and misconduct of others, thou mayst render thyself equally ridiculous and culpable.
Dem. Thou art at liberty to indulge such sentiments; and to weep over me too, if thou hast any tears to spare. For my part, I cannot refrain from pleasing myself with the levities and ill conduct of the world about me. Are nut ali men foolish, cr irregular in their lives?
Her. 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 myself to act as they do, must yet regard the dictates of my understanding and feelings, which compel me to love them; and that love fills me with compassion for their mistakes and irregularities. Canst thou condemn me 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? And yet, the evils of the body, bear no comparison with those of the mind. Thou wouldst certainly blush at thy barbarity, if thou hadst been so unfeeling as to laugh at or despise a poor 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.
Dem. 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 and conscience, voluntarily deprives him
self of their aid. The loss originates in his own folly. 1 Her. Ah! so much the more is he to be pitied! A furious
maniac, who should pluck out his own eyes, would deserve more compassion than an ordinary blind man.
Dem. Come, let us accommodate the business. There is something to be said on each side of the question. There is E 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 it. Every person views it in his own way, and according to his own temper, One point is un
questionable, that mankind are preposterous: to think 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.
Her. All this is, indeed, true; but then, 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 o unhappily abandoned. Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray.
AMAZING! What do I see? It is Pythias just Dionysius. A arrived. It isi nde d Pythias. I did not think it possible. He is come to die, and to redeem his 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 seitle my family concerns according to the rules of justice; and to bid adieu to my children, that I might die tranquil and satisfied.
Dio. But why dost thou return? Ilast thou no fear of death: Is it not the character ofa madman, to seek it thus voluntarily?
Py. I return to suffer, though I have not deserved death. Every principle of honour and goodness, forbids me to allow my friend to die for me.
Dio. Dost thou, then, love him better than thyself ?.
Py. No; I love him as myself. But I am persuaded that I ought to suffer death, rather than my friend ; since it was Pythias whom thou hadst decreed to die. It were not just that Damon should suffer, to deliver me from the death which was designed, not for him, but for me only.
Dio. But thou supposest, that it is as unjust to inflict death upon thee, as upon thy friend.
* Py: Very true; we are both perfectly innocent; and it is equally unjust to make either of us suffer.
Dio. Why dost thou then assert, that it were injustice to put him to death, instead of thce?
Py. It is unjust, in the same degree, to inflict death either on Damon or on myself; but Pythias were highly culpable to let Damon suffer that death, which the tvrant had prepared for Pythias only.
Dio. Dost thou then return hither, on the day appointed, with no other view, than to save the lifeofa friend, by losing thy own?
Py. I return, in regard to thee, to suffer an act of injustice which it is common for tyrants to inflict ; and, with respect to Damon, to perform my duty, by rescuing him from the danger he incurred by his generosity to me."
Dio. And now, Damon, let me address myself to thee. Didst thou not really fear, that Pythias would never return; and that thou wouldst be put to death on his account?
Da. I was but too well assured, that Pythias would punctually return; and that he would be more solicitous to keep his promise, than to preserve his life. Would to heaven, that his relations and friends had forcibly detained him! He would then have lived for the comfort and benefit of good men; and I should have the satisfaction of dying for him!
Dio. What! Does life displease thee?
Da. Yes; it displeases me when I see and feel the power of a tyrant.
Dio. It is well! Thou shalt see him no more. I will order thee to be put to death immediately.
Py. Pardon the feelings of a man who sympathizes with his dying friend. But remember it was Pythias who was devoted by thee to destruction. I come to submit to it, that I may redeem my friend. Do not refuse me this consolation in my last hour.
Dio. I cannot endure men, who despise death, and set my power at defiance.
Da. Thou canst not, then, endure virtue.
Dio. No:I cannot endure that proud, disdainful virtue, which contemns life; which dreads no punishment; and which insensible to the charms of riches and pleasure.
Da. Thou seest, however, that it is a virtue, which is not insensible to the dictates of honour, justice, and friendship.
Dio. Guards, take Pythias to execution. We shall see whether Damon will continue to despise my authority.
Da. Pythias, by returning to submit himself to thy pleasure, nas merited his life, and deserved thy favour; but I have excited thy indignation, by resigning myself to thy power, in order to save him; be satisfied, then, with this sacrifice, and put me to death. .
Py. Hold, Dionysius! remember, it was Pythias alone who offended thee į Damon could not
Dio. Alas! what do I see and hear! where am I! How miserable ; and how worthy to be so ! I have hitherto known nothing of true virtue. I have spent my life in darkness and error. All my power and honours, are insufficient to produce love. I cannot boast of having acquired a single friend, in the course of a reign of thirty years. And yet these two persons, in a private condition, love one another tenderly, unreservedly confide in each other, are mutually happy, and ready to die for cach other's preservation.
Py. How couldst thou, who hast never loved any person, expect to have friends ? Íf thou hadst loved and respected men, thou wouldst have secured their love and respect. 'Thou hast feared mankind; and they fear thee: they detest thee.
Dio. Damon, Pythias, condescend to admit me as a third friend, in a connexion so perfect. I give you your lives; and I will load you with riches.
Dá. We have no desire to be enriched by thee; and, in regard to thy friendship, we cannot accept or enjoy it, till thou become good and just. Without these qualities, thou canst be connected with none but trembling slaves, and base flatterers. To be loved and esteemed by men of free and generous minds, thou must be virtuous, affectionate, disin terested, beneficent; and know how to live in a sort of equality with those who share and deserve thy friendship.
Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray. SECTION III.
LOCKE AND BAYLE. Christianity defended against the cavits of scepticism. Roule VES, we both were philosophers; but my philosugle. I ophy was the deepest. You dogmatized; I doubted.
Locke. Do you make doubting a proof of depth in philosophy? It may be a good beginning of it; but it is a bad end.
Bayle. No:-the more profound our researches are into the nature of things, the more uncertainty we shall find; and
the most subtle minds, see objections and difficulties in every 11 system, which are overlooked or undiscoverable by ordinary understandings.
Locke. It would be better then to be no philosopher, and to continue in the vulgarherd of mankind, that one may have the convenience of thinking that one knows something. I find
that the eyes which nature has given me, see many things 17e very clearly, though some ara out of their reach, or discerned
but dimly. What opinion ought I to have of a physician, who * should offer me an eye-water, the use of which would at first 80 sharpen my sight, as to carry it farther than ordinary vis