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Notwithstanding all that has been said against love, respecting the folly and weakness it leads a young inexperienced mind into; still I think it in a great measure deserves the highest encomiums that have been passed on it. If any thing on earth deserves the name of rapturę or transport, it is the feelings of green eighteen, in the company of the mistress of his heart, when she repays with him an equal return of affection.
There is certainly some connection between love, and music, and poetry ; and therefore, I have always thought a fine touch of nature, that passage in a modern love composition:
“ As tow'rd her cot he jogg'd along,
Her name was frequent in his song."
For my own part, I never had the least thought or inclination of turning poet, till I got once heartily in love; and then rhyme and song were, in a manner, the spontaneous language of
I entirely agree with that judicious philosopher, Mr. Smith, in his excellent Theory of Moral Sentiments, that remorse is the most painful sentiment that can embitter the human bosom. Any ordinary pitch of fortitude may bear up tolerably well under those calamities, in the procurement of which we ourselves have had no hand; but when our own follies, or crimes, have made us miserable and wretched, to bear up with manly firmness, and at the same time have a proper penitential sense of our misconduct, is a glorious effort of self-command.
Of all the numerous ills that hurt our peace,
Feels all the bitter horrors of his crime,
· I have often observed, in the course of my experience of human life, that every man, even the worst, has something good about him ; though very often nothing else than a happy temperament of constitution inclining him to this or that virtue. For this reason, no man can say in what degree any other person, besides himself, can be, with strict justice, called wicked. Let any of the strictest character for regularity of conduct among us, examine impartially how many vices he has never been guilty of, not from any care or vigilance, but for want of opportunity, or some accidental circumstance intervening; how many of the weaknesses of mankind he has escaped, because he was out of the line of such temptation; and, what often, if not always, weighs more than all the rest, how much he is indebted to the world's good opinion, because the world does not know all: I say, any man who can thus think, will scan the failings, nay, the faults and crimes, of mankind around him, with a brother's
I have often courted the acquaintance of that part of mankind commonly known by the ordinary phrase of blackguards, sometimes farther than was consistent with the safety of my character ; those who, by thoughtless prodigality or headstrong passions, have been driven to ruin.
Though disgraced by follies, nay sometimes “ stained with guilt,
*," I have yet found among them, in not a few instances, some of the noblest virtues, magnanimity, generosity, disinterested friendship, and even modesty.
As I am what the men of the world, if they knew such a man, would call a whimsical mortal, I have various sources of pleasure and enjoyment, which are, in a manner, peculiar to myself, or some here and there such other out-of-the-way person.
Such is the peculiar pleasure I take in the season of winter, more than the rest of the year. This I believe, may
be partly owing to my misfortunes giving my mind a melancholy cast : but there is something even in the
“ Mighty tempest, and the hoary waste
Abrupt and deep, stretch'd o'er the buried earth,”—
which raises the mind to a serious sublimity, favorable to every thing great and noble. There is scarcely any earthly object gives me more—I do not know if I should call it pleasure—but something which exalts me, something which enraptures me—than to walk in the sheltered side of a wood, or high plantation, in a cloudy winter-day, and hear the stormy wind howling among the trees, and raving over the plain. It is my
best season for devotion: 'my mind is wrapt up in a kind of enthusiasm to Him, who, in the pompous language of the Hebrew bard, " walks on the wings of the wind.” In one of these seasons, just after a train of misfortunes, I composed
The wint'ry west extends his blast, &c.
See vol. iii. p. 171.