« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
could afford to hire, we labored daily in it ourselves, and drew health from our necessities.
I had a little boy who was the delight of my heart, and who probably might have been spoilt by nursing, if the attention of his parents had not been otherwise employed. His mother was naturally of a sickly constitu. tion; but the affairs of her family, as they engrossed all her thoughts, gave her no time for complaint. The ordinary troubles of life, which, to those who have nothing else to think of, are almost insupportable, were less terrible to us, than to persons in casier circunstances; for it is a certain truth, however your readers may please to receive it, that where the mind is divided between many cares, the anxicty is lighter than where there is only one to contend with. And even in the happiest situation, in the middle of ease, health and afflue ence, the mind is generally ingenious at tormenting itself; losing the immediate enjoyment of those invaluable blessings, by the painful suggestion that they are to great for continuance.
These are the refections that I have had since ; for I do not attempt to deny, that I sighed frequently for an addition to my fortune. The death of a distant rela. cion, which happened five years after our marriage, gave me this addition, and made me fora time the happiest man living. My income was now increased to six hundred a year ; and I hoped, with a little economy, to be able to make a figure with it. But the ill health of my wife, which in less easy circumstances had not touched me so nearly,wasnow constantly in my thoughts, and soured all my enjoyments. The consciousness, too, of having such an estate to leave my boy,made me so anx. ious to preserve him, that, instead of suffering him to run at pleasure, where he pleased, and grow hardy by exercise, I almost destroyed him by confinement, Wenow did nothing in our garden, because we were in circumstances to have it kept by others; but as air and exercise were necessary for our healths,we resolved 10 abridge ourselves in some unnecessary articles, and to set up an equipage. This, in time, brought with it a train of expenses, which we had neither prudence to foresee, nor courage to prevent. For as it enabled us to extend the circuit of our visits, it greatly increased our acquaintance, and subjected us to the necessity of making continual entertainnients at honie, in return for. all those which we were invited to abroad. The charges that attended this new manner of living, were much too great for the income we possessed; insomuch that we found ourselves, in a very short time, more necessitous than ever. Pride would not suffer us to lay down our equipage ; and to live in a manner unsuitable to it, was what we could not bear to think of. To pay the debts we had contracted, I was soon forced to mortgage, and at last to sell the best part of my estate ; and as it was utterly impossible to keep up the parade any longer, we thought it adviseable to remove on a sudden, to sell our coach in town, and to look out for a new situation, at a greater distance from our acquaintance.
But unfortunately for my peace, I carried the habit of expense along with me, and was very near being reduc. ed to absolute want, when, by the unexpected death of an uncle and his two sons, who died within a few weeks of each other, I succeeded to an estate of seven thousand pounds a year. And now, Mr. Fitz Adam, both
your readers will undoubtedly call me a' very happy man; and so indeed I was. I set about the regulation of my family with the most pleasing satisfaction. The splendor of my equipages, the magnificence of my plate, the crowd of servants that attended me,the elegance of my house and furniture,the grandeur of my park and gardens,the luxe ury of mytable, and the court that was every where paid me, gave me inexpressible delight, so long as they were novelties ; but no sooner were they become habitual to me, than i lost all manner of relish for them; and I discovered, in a very little time, that, by having nothing to wish for, I had nothing to enjoy. My appetite grew palled by satiety, a perpetual crowd of visitors robbed me of all my domestic enjoyment, my servants plagued me, and my steward cheated me.
But the curse of greatness did not end here. Daily ex. perience.convinced me that I was compelled to live more
for others than myself. My uncle had been a great party man, and a zealous opposer of all ministerial measures ; and as bis estate was the largest of any gentleman's in the country, he supported an interest in i:, beyond any of his competitors. My father had been greatly obliged by the court party, which determined me in gratitude to declare myself on that side ; but the difficulties I had to encounter, were 100 many and too great for me ; insomuch that I have been baited and del feated in almost every thing I have undertaken. To desert the cause I have embarked in, would disgrace me, and to go greater lengths in it, would undo me. I am engaged in a perpetual state of warfare with the principal gentry of the country, and am cursed by my tenants and dependents, for compeling them, at every election, to vote (as they are pleased to tell me) contrary to their conscience.
My wife and I had once pleased ourselves with the thought of being useful to the neighborhood, by deal ing cut our charity to ile poor and industrious; but the perpetual hurry in which we live, renders us incapable of looking out fur objects ourselves ; and the agents we intrust are either pocketing our bounty, or bestowing it on the undeserving. ? night, when we retire to rest, we are venting cur coniplaints on the miseries of the day, and praying hcartily for the return of that peace, which was the only companion ofour humblest situation.
This, sir, is my history ; and if you give it a place in your paper, it may serve to inculcate this important truth-that where pain, sickness and absolute want are out of the question, no external change of circumstances can make a man more lastingly happy than he was before. It is to the ignorance of this truth, that the universal dessatisfaction of mankind is principally to be as. cribed. Care is the lot of life ; and he that aspires to greatness in hopes to get rid of it,is like one who throws himself into a furnace to avoid the shivering of the ague.
The only satisfaction I can enjoy in my present siluation is, that it has not pleased heaven, in its wrath, to anake me a king:
V.- Battle of Pharsalia, and Death of Pompey.
GOLDSMITH. AS the armies approached, the two generals went from rank to rank encouraging their troops.
Pompey represented to his men,that the glorious occasion which they had long besought him to grant, was now before them ; " and indeed,” cried he, “ What advantages could you wish over an enemy, that you are not now possessed of? Your numbers, your vigor, a late victory, all ensure a speedy and an easy conquest over those harrassed and broken troops,composed of men worn out with age, and impressed with the terrors of a recent defeat : Bilt there is a still stronger bulwark for our protection, than the superiority of our strength--the justice of our
You are engaged in the defence of liberty, and of our country You are supported by its laws, and followed by its magistrates. You have the world spectators of your conductand wishing you success. On the contrary, he whom you oppose is a robber and oppressor of his country, and almost already suns with the con'sciousness of his crimes, as well as the bad success of his arms. Show ihen, on this occasion, all that ardor and detestation of tyranny, that should animate Romans, and do justice to mankind." Cesar, on his side, went among his men with that steady serenity, for which he was so much admired in the midst of danger. He insisted on nothing so strongly, to his soldiers, as his frequent and unsuccessful endeavors for
He talked with terror on the blood he was going to shed, and pleaded only the necessity that urged him to it. He deplored the many brave men that were to fall on both sides, and the wounds of his country, whoever, should be victorious. His soldiers answered his speech will , looks of ardor and impatience; which observing, he gave the signal to begin. The word on Pompey's side, was Hercules the invincible ; that on Cesar's, Venus ile victo. rious. There was only so much space between both armies,asto give room for fighting; wherefore, Pompey or. dered his men to receive the first shock,without moving out of their places, expecting the enemy's ranks to be Qui into.disorder by their motion. Cesar's soldiers
were now rushing on with their usual impetuosity,when perceiving the enemy motionless, they all stopt short,as if by general consent, and halted in the midst of their
A terrible pause ensued, in which both armies continued to gaze upon each other with mutual terror. At length, Cesar's men, having taken breath, ran furiously upon the enemy, first discharging their javelins, and then drawing their swords. The same method was observed by Pompey's troops, who as vigorously oppos. ed the attack. His cavalry, also, were ordered to charge at the very onset, which, with the multitude of arches and slingers, soon obliged Cesar's men to give ground; whereupon,Cesar immediately ordered the six cohorts, that were placed as a reinforcement, to advance, with orders to strike at the enemy's faces. This had its de. sired effect. The cavalry, that were but just now sure of victory, received an immediate check: the unusual method of fighting pursued by the cohorts, their aiming entirely at the vissages of the assailants and the horrible disfiguring wounds they made, all contributed to intimidate them so much, that, instead of defending their persons, their only endeavor was to save their faces. A total rout ensued of their whole body, which fled in great disorder to the neighboring mountains, while the archers and slingers, who were thus abandoned, were cut to pieces. Cesar now commanded the cohorts to pursue their success, and advancing,charged Pompey's troops upon the flank. This charge the enemy withstood for sometime with great bravery, till he brought up his third line, which had not yet engaged. Pompey's infantry, being thus doubly attacked in front by fresh troops, and in rear by the victorious cohorts, could no longer resist, but fled to their camp. The right wing, however, still valiantly maintained their ground. But Cesar being now convinced that the victory was certáin, with his usual clemency, cried out, to pursue the strangers, and to spare the Romans ; upon which they all lay down their arms, and received quarters. The greatest slaughter was among the auxiliaries, who fled on all quarters, but principally went for safety to the tamp. The battle had now lasted from the break of day