« السابقةمتابعة »
tions of adversity. Man must be in a certain degree the artificer of his own happiness; the tools and materials may be put into his hands by the bounty of Providence, but the workmanship must be his own.
I lately took a journey into a distant county, upon a visit to a gentleman of fortune, whom I shall call Attalus. I had never seen him since his accession to a very considerable estate ; and as I have met with few acquaintance in life of more pleasant qualities, or a more social temper than Attalus, before this great property unex pectedly devolved upon him, I flattered myself that fortune had in this instance bestowed her fayours upon one who deserved them; and that I should find in Attalus's society the pleasing gratification of seeing all those maxims, which I had hitherto revolved in my mind as matter of fpecu- . lation only, now brought forth into actual practice; for amongst all my observations upon human affairs, few have given me greater and more frequent disappointment, than the almost general abuse of riches. Those rules of liberal ceconomy, which would make wealth a bleffing to it's owner and to all he were connected with, seem so obvious to me, who have no other interest in the subject than what meditation affords, that I am apt to wonder how men can make
such false estimates of the true enjoyments of life, and wander out of the way of happiness, to which the heart and understanding feem to point the road too plainly to admit of a mistake.
With these fanguine expectations I pursued my journey towards the magnificent seat of Attalus, and in my approach it was with pleasure Į remarked the beauty of the country about it; I recollected how much he used to be devoted to rural exercises, and I found him situated in the very spot most favorable to his beloved amusements; the soil was clean, the hills easy, and the downs were chequered with thick copses, that seemed the finest nurseries in nature for a sportsman's game: When I entered upon his ornamented demesne, nothing could be more enchanting than the scenery; the ground was finely shaped into hill and vale ; the horizon every where bold and romantic, and the hand of art had evidently improved the workmanship of, nature with consummate taste ; upon the broken declivity stately groves of beech were happily disposed; the lawn was of the finest verdure gently floping from the house ; a rapid river of the purest transparency ran through it and fell over a rocky channel into a noble lake within view of the mansion ; behind this upon the northern and eastern Banks I could discern the tops of very stately trees, that sheltered a spacious enclosure of pleasure-ground and gardens, with all the delicious accompaniments of hothouses and conservatories.
It was a scene to seize the imagination with rapture ; a poet's language would have run fpontaneously into metre at the fight of it; « What a subject,” said I within myself, “ is «here present for those ingenious bards, who « have the happy talent of describing nature in « her fairest forms! Oh! that I could plant the
delightful author of The Task in this very spot!
Perhaps, whilst his eye-in a fine phrensy roll« ing-glanced over this enchanting prospect, « he might burst forth into the following, or "something like the following, rhapsody”.
Blest above men, if he perceives and feels
Rich meadows dappled o’er with grazing herds
Where can the world display a fairer scene ?
Oh, Albion ! oh, blest ise, on whose white cliffs Peace builds her halcyon neft, thou, who embrac'd By the uxorious ocean sit'st secure, Smiling and gay and crown'd with every wreath, That Art can fashion or rich Commerce waft To deck thee like a bride, compare these scenes With pity not with scorn, and let thy heart, Not wanton with prosperity, but warm VOL.IV.
With grateful adoration, send up praise
The soft luxurious nations will complain
The vine, that mantles o'er their cottage roof,
Mark! how the sturdy peasant breasts the storm,