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tions that rendered me intolerable to myself and unfit for society. I had reason to apprehend, in spite of all my caution, that I was now narrowly watched, and that strong suspicions were taken up against me; when as I was feafting my jaundiced eye one morning with a certain newlpaper, which I was in the habit of employing as the vehicle of my venom, I was ftantled at difcovering myself confpicuously pointed out in an angry column as a cowardly defamer, and menaced with personal chastisement, as soon as ever proofs could be obtained against me; and tris threatening denunciation evidently came from the very author, who had unknowingly given me such umbrage, when he recited my poem.
The fight of this refentful paragraph was like an arrow to my brain : habituated to fkirmifh only behind entrenchments, I was ill prepared to turn into the open field, and had never iput the question to my heart, how it was provided for the emergency: In early life I had not any reafon to suspect my courage, nay it was rather forward to meet occasions in those days of innocence; but the meannefs, I had lately funk into, had sapped every manly principle of my nature, and I now discovered to my sorrow, that in tak
ing up the lurking malice of an affaslin, I had lost the gallant spirit of a gentleman. There was still one alleviation to
terrors: it so chanced that I was not the author of the particular libel; which my accufer had imputed to me; and though I had been father of a thoufand others, I felt myself supported by truth in almost the only charge; against which I could havé fairly appealed to it* It seemed to me therefore adviseable to lose no time in disculpating myself from the accufation, yet to seek an interview with this irascible man was à service of some danger : chance threw the opportunity in my way, which I had probably else wanted fpirit to invite; I accosted him with all imaginable civility and made the strongest asseverations of
my innocence: whether I did this with a fervility that might aggravate his fufpicions, or that he had others impressed upon him besides those I was labouring to remove, so it was, that he treated all I said with the most contemptuous incredulity, and elevating his voice to a tone, that petrified me with fear, bade me avoid his fight, threatening me both by words and actions in a manner too humiliating to relate.
Alas ! ean words express my feelings? Is there # being more wretched than myself? to be Vol. V.
friendless, an exile from society and at enmity with myself is a situation deplorable in the extreme : let what I have now written be made public; if I could believe my shame would be turned to others' profit, it might perhaps become less painful to myself; if men want other motives to divert them from defamation, than what their own hearts supply, let them turn to my example, and if they will not be reasoned, let them be frightened out of their propensity.
I am, Sir, &c.
The case of this correspondent is a melancholy one, and I have admitted his letter, because I do not doubt the present good motives of the writer ; but I shall not easily yield a place in these essays to characters fo disgusting, and representations so derogatory to human nature. The historians of the day, who profess to give us intelligence of what is passing in the world, ought not to be condemned, if they sometimes make a little free with our foibles and our follies; but downright libels are grown too dangerous, and fcurrility is become too dull to find a mara ket; the pillory is a great reformer. The detail of a court drawing-room, though not very edify
ing, is perfectly inoffensive; a lady cannot greatly complain of the liberty of the press, if it is contented with the humble talk of celebrating the workmanship of her mantua-maker: as for fuch inveterate malice, as my correspondent Wormwood describes, I flatter myself it is very rarely to be found : I can only say, that though I have often heard of it in conversation, and read of it in books, I do not meet in human nature originals so strongly featured as their paintings: amongst a small collection of sonnets in manuscript, descriptive of the human passions, which has fallen into my hands, the following lines upon Envy, as coinciding with my subject, shall conclude this paper.
« Oh! never let me see that shape again,
• Far from the focial haunts of men !
Fang'd like the wolf it was, and all as gaunt,
“ Rolling its squinting eyes askaunt, * Wherever human happiness was found.
4 Furious thereat, the felf-tormenting sprite « Drew forth an asp, and (terrible to fight) “ To its left pap the envenom'd reptile prest, " Which gnaw'd and worm'd into its tortur'd' breast.
“The defperate suicide with pain
It is not of this asp that Envy dies;
Alter in obfequium plus æquo pronus, et imi
Am bewildered by the definitions, which me
taphysical writers give us of the human palfions: I can underítand the characters of These phrastus, and am entertained by his sketches ;; but when your profound thinkers take the subject in hand, they appear to me to dive to the bottom of the deep in search of that, which foats upon its surface: if a man in the heat of anger would de