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defires till a rival has precluded him, or change his course as new attractions prevail, and harass himfelf without advancing. He who fees different ways to the fame end, will, unless he watches carefully over his own conduct, lay out too much of his attention upon the comparison of probabilities, and the adjustment of expedients, and pause in the choice of his road till fome accident intercepts his jour ney. He whofe penetration extends to remote confequences, and who, whenever he applies his attention to any defign, discovers new profpects of advantage, and poffibilities of improvement, will not eafily be perfuaded that his project is ripe for execution; but will fuperadd one contrivance to another, endeavour to unite various purposes in one operation, multiply complications, and refine niceties, till he is entangled in his own scheme, and bewildered in the perplexity of various intentions. He that refolves to unite all the beauties of fituation in a new purchase, must waste his life in roving to no purpose from province to province. He that hopes in the fame house to obtain every convenience, may draw plans and ftudy Palladio, but will never lay a ftone. He will attempt a treatife on fome important fubject, and amafs materials, confult authors, and study all the dependent and collateral parts of learning, but never conclude himself qualified to write. He that has abilities to conceive perfection, will not easily be content without it; and, fince perfection cannot be reached, will lofe the opportunity of doing well in the vain hope of unattainable excellence.

The

The certainty that life cannot be long, and the probability that it will be much fhorter than nature allows, ought to awaken every man to the active profecution of whatever he is defirous to perform. It is true that no diligence can afcertain fuccefs; death may intercept the swiftest career; but he who is cut off in the execution of an honeft undertaking, has at least the honour of falling in his rank, and has fought the battle, though he miffed the victory.

NUMB. 135. TUESDAY, July 2, 1751.

Calum, non animum mutant.
Place may be chang'd; but who can change his mind?

HOR.

IT is impoffible to take a view on any fide, or observe any of the various claffes that form the great community of the world, without discovering the influence of example; and admitting with new conviction the observation of Ariftotle, that man is an imitative being. The greater, far the greater number follow the track which others have beaten, without any curiofity after new difcoveries, or ambition of trufting themselves to their own conduct. And, of thofe who break the ranks and diforder the uniformity of the march, moft return in a fhort time from their deviation, and prefer the equal and steady fatisfaction of fecurity before the frolicks of caprice and the honours of adventure.

In questions difficult or dangerous it is indeed na tural to repose upon authority, and, when fear hapDd3

pens

pens to predominate, upon the authority of those whom we do not in general think wiser than ourfelves. Very few have abilities requifite for the difcovery of abftrufe truth; and of thofe few fome want leifure, and some resolution. But it is not fo easy to find the reafon of the univerfal fubmiffion to precedent where every man might fafely judge for himself; where no irreparable lofs can be hazarded, nor any mischief of long continuance incurred. Vanity might be expected to operate where the more powerful paffions are not awakened; the mere pleafure of acknowledging no fuperior might produce flight fingularities, or the hope of gaining fome new degree of happiness awaken the mind to invention or experiment.

If in any case the fhackles of prescription could be wholly fhaken off, and the imagination left to act without controul, on what occafion fhould it be expected, but in the felection of lawful pleafure? Pleasure, of which the effence is choice; which compulfion diffociates from every thing to which nature has united it; and which owes not only its vigour but its being to the fmiles of liberty, Yet we see that the fenfes, as well as the reafon, are regulated by credulity; and that most will feel, or fay that they feel, the gratifications which others have taught them to expect.

At this time of universal migration, when almost every one, confiderable enough to attract regard, has retired, or is preparing with all the earneftness of diftrefs to retire, into the country; when nothing is to be heard but the hopes of fpeedy departure, or the complaints of involuntary delay; I have often been tempted

tempted to inquire what happiness is to be gained, or what inconvenience to be avoided, by this ftated receffion? Of the birds of paffage, fome follow the fummer and fome the winter, because they live upon fuftenance which only fummer or winter can fupply; but of the annual flight of human rovers it is much harder to affign the reason, because they do not appear either to find or feek any thing which is not equally afforded by the town and country.

I believe that many of these fugitives may have heard of men whofe continual wifh was for the quiet of retirement, who watched every opportunity to fteal away from obfervation, to forfake the crowd, and delight themselves with the fociety of folitude. There is indeed fcarcely any writer who has not celebrated the happiness of rural privacy, and delighted himself and his reader with the melody of birds, the whisper of groves, and the murmur of rivulets; nor any man eminent for extent of capacity, or greatness of exploits, that has not left behind him fome memorials of lonely wisdom, and filent dignity.

But almost all abfurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble. Those who thus teftified their wearinefs of tumult and hurry, and hafted with fo much eagernefs to the leisure of retreat, were either men overwhelmed with the preffure of difficult employments, haraffed with importunities, and distracted with multiplicity; or men wholly engroffed by fpeculative fciences, who, having no other end of life but to learn and teach, found their fearches interrupted by the common commerce of civility, and their reasonings disjointed by frequent interruptions. Such men might reasonDd 4 ably

ably fly to that eafe and convenience which their condition allowed them to find only in the country. The statesman who devoted the greater part of his time to the publick, was defirous of keeping the remainder in his own power. The general, ruffled with dangers, wearied with labours, and stunned with acclamations, gladly fnatched an interval of filence and relaxation. The naturalist was unhappy where the works of Providence were not always before him. The reafoner could adjuft his fyftems only where his mind was free from the intrufion of outward objects.

Such examples of folitude very few of those who are now haftening from the town, have any pretenfions to plead in their own juftification, fince they cannot pretend either wearinefs of labour, or defire of knowledge. They purpofe nothing more than to quit one scene of idleness for another, and, after having trifled in publick, to fleep in fecrecy. The utmost that they can hope to gain is the change of ridiculousness to obfcurity, and the privilege of having fewer witneffes to a life of folly. He who is not fufficiently important to be difturbed in his pursuits, but spends all his hours according to his own inclination, and has more hours than his mental faculties enable him to fill either with enjoyment or defires, can have nothing to demand of fhades and valleys. As bravery is faid to be a panoply, infignificancy is always a fhelter.

There are, however, pleafures and advantages in a rural fituation, which are not confined to philofophers and heroes. The freshness of the air, the verdure of the woods, the paint of the meadows, and the unexhausted variety which fummer fcatters upon the earth,

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