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when they catch us alone. This is but to retreat from men, and fall into the hands of devils. It is like the punishment of parricides among the Romans, to be fowed into a bag, with an ape, a dog, and a ferpent.

The first work therefore that a man must do, to make himself capable of the good of folitude, is, the very eradication of all iufts; for how is it poffible for a man to enjoy himself, while his affections are tied to things without himself? In the fecond place, he must learn the art and get the habit of thinking; for this too, no less than well-fpeaking, depends upon much practice; and cogitation is the thing which diftinguishes the folitude of a God from a wild beast. Now, because the foul of man is not by its own nature or obfervation furnished with fufficient materials to work upon, it is neceffary for it to have continual recourse to learning and books for fresh fupplies, fo that the folitary life will grow indigent, and be ready to starve, without them; but if once we be thoroughly engaged in the love of letters, instead of being wearied with the length of any day, we fhall only complain of the fhortnefs of our whole life.

"O vita, ftulto longa, fapienti brevis *!"
O life, long to the fool, fhort to the wife!

The first minister of state has not fo much business in public, as a wife man has in private: if the one

"O vita, mifero longa, felici brevis !"

have little leisure to be alone, the other has lefs leifure to be in company; the one has but part of the affairs of one nation, the other all the works of God and nature, under his confideration. There is no faying shocks me fo much as that which I hear very often, *❝ That a man does not know how to pass his time.” It would have been but ill-fpoken by Methufalem in the nine hundreth fixty-ninth year of his life; fo far it is from us, who have not time enough to attain to the utmost perfection of any part of any science, to have cause to complain that we are forced to be idle for want of work. But this, you will fay, is work only for the learned; others are not capable either of the employments or divertisements that arrive from letters. I know they are not; and therefore cannot much recommend folitude to a man totally illiterate. But, if any man be fo unlearned, as to want entertainment of the little intervals of accidental folitude, which frequently occur in almost all conditions (except the very meaneft of the people, who have bufine's enough in the neceffary provisions for life), it is truly a great fhame both, to his parents and himself; for a very small portion of any ingenious art will stop up all thofe gaps of our time: either mufic, or painting, or defigning, or chemistry, or hiftory, or gardening, or twenty other things, will do it usefully and pleafantly; and, if he happen to fet his affections upon poetry (which I do not advise him too immoderately:), that will over-do it; no wood will be thick enough to

hide him from the importunities of company or bufi. nefs, which would abstract him from his beloved.

66 -O qui me gelidis in vallibus Hæmi
"Sistat, & ingenti ramorum protegat umbrâ * ?”

Hail, old patrician trees, so great and good!
Hail, ye plebeian under-wood!

Where the poetic birds rejoice,

And for their quiet nefts and plenteous food
Pay, with their grateful voice.

Hail, the poor Muses' richest manor-feat!
Ye country-houses and retreat,

Which all the happy gods fo love,

That for you oft they quit their bright and great
Metropolis above.

Here Nature does a house for me erect,

Nature, the wifeft architect,

Who those fond artists does despise

That can the fair and living trees neglect;
Yet the dead timber prize.

Here let me, careless and unthoughtful lying,
Hear the foft winds, above me flying,
With all their wanton boughs difpute,
And the more tuneful birds to both replying,
Nor be myself, too, mute.

Virg. Georg. ii. 489.



A filver

A filver ftream fhall roll his waters near,

Gilt with the fun-beams here and there;
On whofe enamel'd bank I'll walk,
And fee how prettily they smile, and hear
How prettily they talk.

Ah wretched and too folitary he,
Who loves not his own company!
He'll feel the weight of 't many a day,
Unless he call in fin or vanity
To help to bear 't away.

Oh Solitude, first state of human-kind!
Which bleft remain'd, till man did find
Ev'n his own helper's company.

As foon as two, alas! together join'd,
The ferpent made up three.

Tho' God himself, through countless ages, thee
His fole companion chose to be,

Thee, facred Solitude, alone,
Before the branchy head of number's tree
Sprang from the trunk of one.

Thou (tho' men think thine an unactive part)
Doft break and time th' unruly heart,
Which elfe would know no fettled pace,
Making it move, well-manag'd by thy art,
With fwiftnefs and with grace.


Thou the faint beams of reafon's fcatter'd light
Doft, like a burning-glafs, unite;

Doft multiply the feeble heat,

And fortify the ftrength, till thou dost bright
And noble fires beget.

Whilft this hard truth I teach, methinks, I fee
The monster London laugh at me;
I should at thee too, foolish city!
If it were fit to laugh at mifery ;
But thy eftate I pity.

Let but thy wicked men from out thee go,
And all the fools, that crowd thee fo,

Even thou, who doft thy millions boast,
A village lefs than Iflington wilt grow,
A folitude almoft.





ΓΑΜ neque divitibus contingunt gaudia folis;
"Nec vixit malè, qui natus morienfque fefel-
"lit **

God made not pleafures only for the rich;
Nor have thofe men without their fhare too liv'd,
Who both in life and death the world deceiv'd.

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