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Yet all that Hope ventured to promise, 'even to those whom she favoured most, was, not that they should escape, but that they should fink laft; and with this promise every one was fatisfied, though he laughed at the relt for seeming to believe it. HOPE, indeed, apparently mocked the credulity of her companions ; for, in proportion as their vessels grew leaky, she redoubled her assurances of safety; and none were more busy in making provisions for a long voyage, than they whom all but themselves saw likely to perish soon by irreparable decay.
In the midst of the current of life was the gulph of INTEMPERANCE, a dreadful whirlpool, interspersed with rocks, of which the pointed crags were concealed under water, and the tops covered with herbage, on which Ease spread couches of repose, and with shades, where PLEASURE warbled the fong of invitation. Within fight of these rocks all who failed on the ocean of life muit necessarily pass. REASON, indeed, was always at hand to steer the passengers through a narrow outlet by which they might escape ; but very few could, by her entreaties or remonftrances, be induced to put the rudder into her hand, without stipulating that she should approach so near unto the rocks of PLEASURE, that they might solace themselves with a short enjoy. ment of that delicious region, after which they always determined to pursue their course without
any other deviation.
REASON was too often prevailed upon so far by. these promises, as to venture her charge within the eddy of the gulph of INTEMPERANCE, where, indeed, the circumvolution was weak, but yet inter
rupted the course of the vessel, and drew it, by insensible rotations, towards the center. She then repented her temerity, and with all her force en deavoured to retreat; but the draught of the gulph was generally too strong to be overcome ; and the passenger, having danced in circles with a pleasing and giddy velocity, was at last overwhelmed and loft. Those few whom REASON was able to extricate, generally suffered so many shocks upon the points which fhot out from the rocks of PLEASURE, that they were unable to continue their course with the same strength and facility as before, but floated along timorously and feebly, endangered by every breeze, and fhat. tered by every ruffle of the water, till they sunk, by flow degrees, after long struggles, and innumerable expedients, always repining at their own folly, and warning others against the first approach of the gulph of INTEMPERANCE.
There were artists who profęffed to repair the breaches and stop the leaks of the vessels which had been shattered on the rocks of PLEASURE. Many appeared to have great confidence in their skill, and some, indeed, were preserved by it from sinking, who had received only a single blow; but I remarked that few vessels lasted long which had been much re. paired, nor was it found that the artists themselves continued afloat longer than those who had least of their aslistance.
The only advantage whịch, in the voyage of life, the cautious had above the 'negligent, was, that they sunk later, and more suddenly; for they passed forward till they had sometimes seen all those in whose company they had issued from the streights
of infancy, perish in the way, and at last were overset by a cross breeze, without the toil of resistance, or the anguilh of expectation. But such as had often fallen against the rocks of PLEASURE, com. monly subsided by sensible degrees, contended long with the encroaching waters, and harassed themfelves by labours that scarce HOPE herself could flatter with fuccess.
As I was looking upon the various fate of the multitude about me, I was suddenly alarmed with an admonition from fome unknown Power, “ Gaze “ not idly upon others when thou thyself art fink.
Whence is this thoughtless tranquillity, « when thou and they are equally endangered ?” I looked, and seeing the gulph of INTEMPERANÇE be. fore me, started and awaked.
NUMB. 103. TUESDAY, March 12, 1751,
Scire volunt secreta domus, atque inde timeri.
They search the secrets of the house, and so
CURIOSITY is one of the permanent and
certain characteristicks of a vigorous intellect. Every advance into knowledge opens new prospects, and produces new incitements to further progress, All the attainments possible in our present state are evidently inadequate to our capacities of enjoyment; conquest serves no purpose but that of kindling ambition, discovery has no effect but of raising expectation ; the gratification of one desire encourages another; and after all our labours, studies, and inquiries, we are continually at the same distance from the completion of our schemes, have still some with importunate to be satisfied, and some faculty restless and turbulent for want of its enjoyment.
The desire of knowledge, though often animated by extrinsick and adventitious motives, seems on many occasions to operate without subordination to any other principle; we are eager to see and hear, without intention of referring our observations to a farther end; we climb a mountain for a prospect of the plain ; we run to the strand in a storm, that we may contemplate the agitation of the water ; we range from city to city, though we profess neither architecture nor fortification; we cross seas only to view nature in nakedness, or magnificence in ruins ; we are equally allured by novelty of every kind, by a desert or a palace, a cataract or a cavern, by every thing rude and every thing polished, every thing great and every thing little; we do not see a thicket but with some temptation to enter it, nor remark an insect flying before us but with an inclination to pursue it.
This passion is, perhaps, regularly heightened in proportion as the powers of the mind are elevated and enlarged. Lucan therefore introduces Cæfar speaking with dignity suitable to the grandeur of his designs and the extent of his capacity, when he declares to the high-priest of Egypt, that he has no desire equally powerful with that of finding the origin of the Nile, and that he would quit all the projects of the civil war for a sight of those fountains which had been so long concealed. And Homer, when he would furnish the Sirens with a temptation, to which his hero, renowned for wisdom, might yield without disgrace, makes them declare, that none ever departed from them but with increase of knowledge.
There is, indeed, scarce any kind of ideal acquirement which may not be applied to some use, or which may not at least gratify pride with occafional superiority ; but whoever attends the motions of his own mind will find, that upon the first appearance of an object, or the first start of a question, his - inclination to a nearer view, or more accurate discussion, precedes all thoughts of profit, or of