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to endear life by a short absence; and to the miserable, to relieve them by intervals of quiet. Life is to most, such as could not be endured without frequent intermission of existence: Homer, therefore, has thought it an office worthy of the goddess of wisdom, to lay Ulysses asleep when landed on Phæacia.
It is related of Barretier, whose early advances in literature scarce any human mind has equalled, that he spent twelve hours of the four-and-twenty in sleep: yet this appears from the bad state of his health, and the shortness of his life, to have been too small a respite for a mind so vigorously and intensely employed: it is to be regretted, therefore, that he did not exercise his mind less, and his body more: since by this means, it is highly probable, that though he would not then have astonished with the blaze of a comet, he would yet bave shone with the permanent radiance of a fixed star.
Nor should it be objected, that there have been many men who daily spend fifteen or sixteen hours in study: for by some of whom this is reported it has never been done; others have done it for a short time only; and of the rest it appears, that they employed their minds in such operations as required neither celerity nor strength, in the low drudgery of collating copies, comparing authorities, digesting dictionaries, or accumulating compilations.
Men of study and imagination are frequently upbraided by the industrious and plodding sons of care, with passing too great a part of their life in a state of inaction. But these defiers of sleep seem not to remember that though it must be granted them that they are crawling about before the break of day, it can seldom be said that they are perfectly awake; they exhaust no spirits, and require no repairs; but lie torpid as a toad in marble, or at least are known to live only by an inert and sluggish loco-motive faculty, and may be said, like a wounded snake, to “ drag their slow length along."
Man has been long known among philosophers by the appellation of the microcosm, or epitome of the world :
the resemblance between the great and little world might, by a rational observer, be detailed to many particulars ; and to many more by a fanciful speculatist. I know not in which of these two classes I shall be ranged for obserying, that as the total quantity of light and darkness allotted in the course of the year to every region of the earth is the same, though distributed at various times and in different portions; so, perhaps, to each individual of the human species, nature has ordained the same quantity of wakefulness and sleep; though divided by some into a total quiescence and vigorous exertion of their faculties, and, blended by others in a kind of twilight of existence, in a state between dreaming and reasoning, in which they either think without action, or act without thought.
The poets are generally well affected to sleep: as men who think with vigour, they require respite from thought ; and gladly resign themselves to that gentle power, who not only bestows rest, but frequently leads them to happier regions, where patrons are always kind, and audiences are always candid; where they are feasted in the bowers of imagination, and crowned with flowers divested of their prickles, and laurels of unfading verdure.
The more refined and penetrating part of mankind, who take wide surveys of the wilds of life, who see the innumerable terrours and distresses that are perpetually preying on the heart of man, and discern with unhappy perspicuity, calamities yet latent in their causes, are glad to close their eyes upon the gloomy prospect, and lose in a short insensibility the remembrance of others' miseries and their own. The hero has no higher hope, than that, after having routed legions after legions, and added kingdom to kingdom, he shall retire to milder happiness, and close his days in social festivity. The wit or the sage can expect no greater happiness, than that, after having harassed his reason in deep researches, and fatigued his fancy in boundless excursions, he shall sink at night in the tranquillity of sleep.
The poets, among all those that enjoy the blessings of
sleep, have been least ashamed to acknowledge their benefactor. How much Statius considered the evils of life as assuaged and softened by the balm of slumber, we may
iscover by that pathetick invocation, which he poured out in his waking nights : and that Cowley, among the other felicities of his darling solitude, did not forget to number the privilege of sleeping without disturbance, we may learn from the rank that he assigns among the gifts of pature to the poppy,
“ which is scattered," says he,
Si quis invisum Cereri benigna
Je wildly errs who thinks I yield
Tho'mix'd with wheat I grow :
She bade the Poppy blow.
The goddess saw me rise :
The cordial of his eyes.
And makes thee truly blest :
freshing rest, and the peaceful night, are the portion only of him who lies down weary with honest labour, and free from the fumes of indigested luxury; it is the just doom of laziness and gluttony, to be inactive without ease, and drowsy without tranquillity.
Sleep has been often mentioned as the image of death"; “ so like it,” says Sir Thomas Brown, “ that I dare not trust it without my prayers :" their resemblance is, indeed, apparent and striking; they both, when they seize the body, leave the soul at liberty: and wise is he that remembers of both, that they can be safe and happy only by virtue.
No. 41. TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 1753.
-Si mutabile pectus
TO THE ADVENTURER. SIR,
Fleet, March 24. I now send you the sequel of my story, which had not been so long delayed, if I could have brought myself to imagine, that any real impatience was felt for the fate of Misargyrus; who has travelled no unbeaten track to misery, and consequently can present the reader only with such incidents as occur in daily life.
You have seen me, Sir, in the zenith of my glory, not dispensing the kindly warmth of an all-cheering sun: but, like another Phaëton, scorching and blasting every thing round me. I shall proceed, therefore, to finish my career, and pass as rapidly as possible through the remaining vicissitudes of my life.
b Lovely sleep! thou beautiful image of terrible death,
Be thou my pillow-companion, my angel of rest !
From the German of Schmidt.
When I first began to be in want of money, I made no doubt of an immediate supply. The newspapers were perpetually offering directions to men, who seemed to have no other business than to gather heaps of gold for those who place their supreme felicity in scattering it. I posted away, therefore, to one of these advertisers, who by his proposals seemed to deal in thousands; and was not a little chagrined to find, that this general benefactor would have nothing to do with any larger sum than thirty pounds, nor would venture that without a joint note from myself and a reputable housekeeper, or for a longer time than three months.
It was not yet so bad with me, as that I needed to solicit surety for thirty pounds: yet partly from the greediness that extravagance always produces, and partly from a desire of seeing the humour of a petty usurer, a character of which I had hitherto lived in ignorance, I condescended to listen to his terms. He proceeded to inform me of my great felicity in not falling into the hands of an extortioner; and assured me, that I should find him extremely moderate in his demands: he was not, indeed, certain that he could furnish me with the whole sum, for people were at this particular time extremely pressing and importunate for money: yet, as I had the appearance of a gentleman, he would try what he could do, and give me his answer in three days.
At the expiration of the time, I called upon him again; and was again informed of the great demand for money, and that, “ money was money now:” he then advised me to be punctual in my payment, as that might induce him to befriend me hereafter; and delivered me the money, deducting at the rate of five and thirty per cent. with another panegyrick upon his own moderation.
I will not tire you with the various practices of usurious