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and are as good as new. We do not read the same book twice two days following, but we had rather eat the same dinner two days following than
without one. Our intellectual pleasures, which are spread out over a larger surface, are variable for that very reason, that they tire by repetition, and are diminished in comparison *. Our physical ones have but one condition for their duration and sincerity, viz. that they shall be unforced and natural. Our passions of a grosser kind wear out before our senses : but in ordinary cases they grow indolent and conforin to habit, instead of becoming impatient and inordinate from a desire of change, as we are satisfied with more moderate bodily exercise in age or middle life than we are in youth.-Upon the whole, there are many things to prop up and reinforce our fondness for existence, after the intoxication of our first acquaintance with it is over; health, a walk and the appetite it creates, a book, the doing a good-natured or friendly action, are satisfactions that hold out to the last ; and with these, and any others to aid us that. fall harınlessly in our way, we may make a shift for a few seasons, after having exhausted the short-lived transports of an eager and enthusiastic imagination, and without being under the necessity of hanging or drowning ourselves as soon as we come to years of discretion.
* I remember Mr. Wordsworth saying, that he thought we had pleasanter days in the outset of life, but that our years slid on pretty even one with another, as we gained in variety and richness what we lost in intensity. This balance of pleasure can however only be hoped for by those who retain the best feelings of their early youth, and sometimes deign to look out of their own minds into those of others : for without this we shall grow weary of the continual contemplation of self, particularly as that self will be a very shabby one.
ON OLD ENGLISH WRITERS AND
WHEN I see a whole row of standard French authors piled up on a Paris book-stall, to the height of twenty or thirty volumes, shewing their mealy coats to the sun, pink, blue, and yellow, they seem to me a wall built up to keep out the intrusion of foreign letters. There is scarcely such a thing as an English book to be met with, unless, perhaps, a dusty edition of Clarissa Harlowe lurks in an obscure corner, or a volume of the Sentimental Journey perks its well-known title in your face*. But there is a huge column of Voltaire's works complete in sixty volumes, another (not so frequent) of
* A splendid edition of Goldsmith has been lately got up under the superintendance of Mr. Washington Irvine, with a preface and a portrait of each author. By what concatenation of ideas that gentleman arrived at the necessity of placing his own portrait before a collection of Goldsmith's works, one must have been early imprisoned in transatlantic solitudes to understand.