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On Hope. .
Exiles, the proverb says, subsist on hope:
"HERE is no temper fo generally indulged as hope;
cafions, or in certain parts of life; but hope begins with the first power of comparing our actual with our poflible state, and attends us through every stage and period, always urging us forward to new acquisitions, and holding out some distant blessing to our view, promising us either relief from pain, or increase of happiness.
Hope is necessary in every condition. The miseries of poverty, of sickness, of captivity, would, without this comfort, be insupportable ; nor does it appear that the happiest lot of terrestrial existence can set us above the want of this general blessing; or that life, when the gifts of nature and of fortune are accumulated upon it, would not still be wretched, were it not elevated and delighted by the expectation of some new poffeffion, of some enjoyment yet behind, by which the wish shall be at last satisfied, and the heart filled up to its utmost extent.
Hope is, indeed, very fallacious, and promises what it feldom gives ; but its promises are more valuable than the gifts of fortune, and it feldom frustrates us without afsuring us of recompensing the delay by a greater bounty.
I was musing on this strange inclination which every man feels to deceive himself, and considering the advantages and dangers proceeding from this gay prospect of futurity, when, falling asleep, on a sudden I found myself placed in a garden, of which my fight could descry no limits. Every scene about me was gay and gladsome, light with sunshine, and fragrant with per
fumes; the ground was painted with all the variety of spring, and all the choir of nature was singing in the groves.
At length I saw an innumerable multitude of every age and sex, who seemed all to partake of some general felicity; for every cheek was flushed with confidence, and every eye sparkled with eagerness; yet each appeared to have some particular and secret pleasure, and very few were willing to communicate their intentions, or extend their concern beyond themselves.
On enquiring, I was informed that I was then in the garden of HOPE, the daughter of Desire, and that all those whom I saw thus tumultuously bustling round me, were inticed by the promises of Hope, and hastening to seize the gifts which she held in her hand.
I turned my light upward, and faw a goddess in the bloom of youth, fitting on a throne; around her lay all the gifts of fortune, and all the bleslings of life were fpread abroad to view; she had a perpetual gaiety of aspect, and every one imagined that her smile, which was impartial and general, was directed to himself, and triumphed in his own superiority to others, who had conceived the fame confidence from the same mistake.
I then mounted an eminence, from which I had a more extensive view of the whole place, and could with less perplexity consider the different conduct of the crowds that filled it. From this station I observed, that the entrance into the garden of HOPE was by two gates, one of which was kept by REABON, and the other by FANCY. REASON was furly and fcrupulous, and feldom turned the key without many interrogatories, and long hesitation ; büt FANCY was a kind and gentle portrefs ; she held her gate wide open, and welcomed all equally to the district under her superintendency; fo that the paffage was crowded by all those who either feared the examination of Reason, or had been rejected by her.
From the gate of REASON there was a way to the throne of Hope, by a craggy, slippery, and winding path, called the Strait of Dificulty, which those who entered with the permission of the guard endeavoured to climb. But though they surveyed the way cheerfully before they began to rise, and marked out the feveral stages of their progress, they commonly found unexpečted obstacles, and were obliged frequently to stop on the sudden, where they imagined the way plain and eren. A thousand intricacies embarrassed them, a thou. fand flips threw them back, and a thousand pitfals im: peded their advance. So formidable were the dangers, and fo frequent the miscarriages, that many returned from the first attempt, and many fainted in the midft of the way, and only a very small number were led up to the summit of Hope by the hand of FORTITUDE. Of these few, the greater part, when they had obtained the gift which Hope had promised them, regretted the labour whích it cost, and felt in their success the regret of disappointment; the rest retired with their prize, and were led by WISDOM to the bowers of CONTENT.
Turning then towards the gate of FANCY, I could find no way to the seat of Hope; but though the fat full in view, and held out her gifts with an air of invitation, which filled every heart with rapture, the mountain was on that fide inaccessibly fteep, but fo channelled and shaded, that none perceived the impossibility of ascending it, but each imagined himself to have discovered a way to which the rest were strangers. Many expedients were indeed tried by this industrious tribe, of whom fome were making themselves wings, which others were contriving to actuate by the perpetual motion. But, with all
their labour, and all their artifices, they never rose above the ground, or quickly fell back, nor ever approached the throne of Hope, but continued still to gaze at a ditance, and laughed at the dow progress of those whom they saw toiling in the Strait of Difficulty.
Part of the favourites of FANCY, when they had entered the garden, without making, like the rest, an attempt to climb the mountain, turned immediately to the vale of IDLENESS, a calm and undisturbed retirement, from whence they could always have HOPE in prospect, and to which they pleased themselves with believing that the intended (peedily to descend. These were indeed scorned by all the rest; but they seemed very little affected by contempt, advice, or reproof, but were resolved to expect at ease the favour of the goddess.
Among this gay race I was wandering, and found them ready to answer all my questions, and willing to communicate their mirth; but, turning round, I saw two dreadful monsters entering the vale, one of whom I knew to be AGE, and the other WANT. Sport and revelling were now at an end, and an universal shriek of affright and distress burst out and awaked me.
An Address to a young Scholar, supposed to be
in the Course of a liberal Education.
fancy, and conducted you, with many a pang, to an age at which your mind is capable of manly improvement. Their solicitude still continues, and no trouble nor expense is spared in giving you all the instructions and accomplishments which may enable you to act your part in life, as a man of polished fense and confirmed virtue. You have, then, already contracted a great debt of gratitude to them. You can pay it by no other method but by using the advantages which their goodness has afforded you.
If your endeavours are deficient, it is in vain that you have tutors, books, and all the external apparatus of literary pursuits. You must love learning, if you intend to possess it. In order to have it, you must feel its delights; in order to feel its delights, you must apply to it, however irksome at first, closely, constantly, and for a considerable time. If you have resolution enough to do this, you cannot but love learning; for the mind always loves that to which it has been long, steadily, and voluntarily attached. Habits are formed, which render what was at first difagreeable, not only pleasant, but necessary.
Pleasant, indeed, are all the paths which lead to polite and elegant literature. Yours, then, is surely a lot particularly happy. Your education is of such a fort, that its principal scope is to prepare you to receive a refined pleasure during your life. Elegance, or delicacy of taste, is one of the first objects of a classical discipline; and it is this fine quality which opens a new world to the scholar's view. Elegance of taste has a connexion with many virtues, and all of them virtues of the most amiable kind. It tends to render you at once good and agreeable. You must therefore be an enemy to your