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• Earth disappears, I mount to brighter skies.
HAT discontent seems to be compounded with
our natures, and inseparable from our very existence, is a just, though common, observation. If we take the philosopher's lanthorn in our hand, on a close and impartial survey of mankind, we shall hardly find a heart untainted with this evil. Ruminating on this subject, of late, I felt my spirits
so depressed, that nature gave way to repose, when, methought, I was employed by some superior power to seek out a contented man. My commission was of unbounded latitude, and it authorised me to interrogate all ranks and degrees, from the throne to the cottage.
With all due observance to the rules of precedence, I repaired to the palace, and announced my embassy to the monarch, dignified with the ivsignia of loyalty, and surrounded by guards and attendants innumerable. He informed me that happiness and contentoient were not his; that, as the father of his people, he participated in their sorrows, while he felt his own inability to alleviate all
their cares, or comply with all their desires; consequently, murmurings and dissatisfactions were diffused among them; internal divisions had weakened the bonds of society and external commotions were draining his revenues; that he could not distinguish between parasites and friends; that his pillow was planted with thorns, and the hair suspended dagger disturbed his peace of mind, amidst all the pomp of state, and the luxuries of the regal board.
I next opened my commission to the minister of state, wbose answer bore no small resemblance to that of his royal master. Placed at the helm of public affairs, to him every eye was raised and every petition preferred; he had to combat flattery and faction in all their various shapes ; to resist the allurements of power, to stem the tide of co ruption, and, after all his exertions, to reflect, that his best services had been exposed to censure, and had not answered the expectations of the multitude, because his abilities were not more than mortal.
The merchant told me, that, though he lived to-day in splendour and opulence, yet ill success on series of misfortunes in his commercial concerns, had cast a gloom over his brightest prospects, and, in all proba. bility, ere to-morrow evening, he should be whereas'd in the gazette, exposed to his connexions, and become an unwelcome dependant on those who at present looked up to him with respect, and paid him venal homage, because they thought his circumstances were fourishing, and his wealth almost inexhaustible.
I next appealed to the tradesman, observing, that he lived apparently in ease and comfort'; but he assured me that I could form no judgement of the cares which wrung his bosom; even the very articles with which he decorated his windows were held by the uncertain tenure of credit; that bad debts were constantly accumulating ; and that, above all, while bis affairs were declining, he was obliged to carry an appearance of respectability, which his circumstances could ill support, in order to avoid being treated with that contempt which is the constant attendant of adversity.
The substantial farmer next attracted my notice. He answered my interrogatories by complaint. He bade me consider the exorbitant rent of his lands, exacted with the greatest rigour, to supply the extravagance and luxury of an ambitious landlord; the badness of the seasons, the uncertainty of producc, aud the expenses of cultivation.
To the mechanic I next applied for information. He said, there was a time when, with the labour of his hands he was enabled to support his family ; but those times were altered. War, the scourge of nations, had struck a fatal blow at trade, and even industry and ingenuity were of no avail.
To many other denominations I addressed myself, but every answer I received amounted to only the same import. I now turned from the scene of human evils with an aching heart, and utterly despairing of success, when a distant cottage caught my eye. It stood beneath the shelter of a spreading oak, and appeared to have been raised by hands long since mouldered into dust. The walls were clothed with ivy, and the roof covered with moss. On the south side of it were an extensive garden and orchard, and onthe north, a long range of hills, at the foot of which a serpentine river pursued its course through the saffron meadows beneath the solitary shade of overhanging wood. “This is a beautiful spot,'exclaimed I,' but if content cannot be found in the spléndid mansion of luxury, it must be madness to seek it in the humble retreats of life.' Ne. vertheless, Ideemed I should have been unfaithful to my trusl, had' I omitted the least probable opportunity of obtainiög the information I sought. Impressed with this idea, I turned my steps towards the cotiage; on entering which, I observed a venerable old man, on whose head
"A ge had shed his reverend snows. The furniture of his apartment was simple, but not despisable ; on the table Jay a bible, open with his spectacles on one of the pages; and a few other books graced his shelves. He kindly rose to meet and introduce me, with a cheerful complacency of countenance, which, to my no tions of phisiognomy, appeared truly expressive of the Christian Philosopher. Encouraged by his openness and affability, I frankly declared to him the occasion of my visit, to which I added some remarks on my ill success. At his desire 1 then seated myself beside him, on an ancient wainscot settee, and listened with pleasure to every sentence which fell from his lips. “If you have made an enquiry after Happiness," said he, “ about which there have been so many enquiries, I could have told you that if you sought her on this side of thegrave, all your labours would have been in vain; but this is not the case with Content; it is the lot of a chosen few to know when they have a sufficiency of this world's goods, and to rest satis
fied with the dispensations of Providence, of which number I hope I am one; and I will inform you hy what mode of reasoning I attained this equanimity of mind. Experience has convinced me that the real wants of nature are
few, and cheaply supplied; but the imaginary ones are 'many and insatiate. The man who possesses a thousand
a year looks up with envy to him who enjoys ten thousand; and the possessor of a hundred to him who inherits five hundred; and those on a comparison of circumstances consider themselves as poor and unhappy. The inheritor of a few paternal acres thinks fortune has dealt partially by him, because she has not bestowed the ample patrimony of his opulent neighbour, who, in his turn, feels aggrieved to see a superior enjoy the privileges of office, or hold the reins of power
the reins of power. Tbus we are accustomed to make ourselves miserable by an improper comparison, whilst a proper one would considerably contribute to our happiness. Instead of scaling the beights of ambition to make observations and draw inferences, let us frequently descend to the lowest situations of life: 'there, while we contemplate and commiserate the misfortunes and calami of our fellow-creatures, sunk far beneath us in the golph of distress ; our hearts should glow with gratitude to that superintending providence which has graciously decreed to us such unmerited distinction.. Nor are these the only source of discontent. ln temporal affairs we are apt to look too far forward for our own peace : our anxiety for the future embitters the present, and we anticipate evils
that may never arrive. Not so the Christian Philosopher : - his religion teaches him to smile on the little difficulties which embarrass the man of the world :'and to look down with contempt on its lying vanities; to leave the concerns of to-morrow to the all-wise Disposer of events; and to envy lbose only who have made a better progress in goodness, and have a nearer prospect of an eternal reward.” Here the tumults of industry and toil intruded on my repose, and roused me
“To all the cares of waking clay
And inconsistent dreams of day,'
In my ear
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear.' My authority was at an end, but my mind was con. vinced that we are loath to look for Content where alone is it to be found.
THE DUKE AND THE TINKER.
One ibat pleases his fancy with frolicksome 4 But amongst all the rest, here is one I protest, Which will make you to smile when you hear the true jest:
. (ground, el 4 A poor tipker he found, lying drunk on the
As secure in a sleep as if laid in a swound. The duke said to his men, William, Richard, and Ben, Take him home to my palace, we'll sport with him then. O'er a horse he was laid, and with care soon convey'd To the palace, altho’ he was poorly array'd : Then they stript off his cloaths, both his shirt, shoes and And they put him to bed for to take his repose. [hose, Having pullid off his shirt, which was all over dirt They did give him clean Holland, this was no great hurt On a bed of soft down, like a lord of renown, They did lay him to sleep the drink out of his crowa. In the morning when day, then admiring he lay, For to see the rich chamber both gaudy and gay. . Now he lay something late, in his rich bed of state, Till at last knights and squires on him did wait; And the chamberling bare, then did likewise declare, i He desir'd to know what apparel he'd wear: The poor tinker amaz'd on the gentleman gaz'd, And admired how he to this honour was rais'd. Tho'he seem'd something mute, yet he chose a rich suit;. Which he straitways put on without longer dispute; With a star ou his side, which the tinker oft ey'd, And it seem'd for to swell himno' little with pride; For he said to himself, Where is Joan my sweet wife? Sure she never did see me so fine in her life. From a convenient place, the right duke his good grace, Did observe his behaviour in every case. To a garden of state, on the tinker they wait, Trumpets sounding before him; thought he, this is great: Where au hour or two, pleasant walks he did view, With commanders and squires in scarlet and blue. A fine dinner was drest, both for him and his guests, He was plac'd at the table above all the rest, In a rich chair or bed,'lin'd with fine crimson l'ed, With a rich golden canopy over his head :