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Table-Talk, Essays on Men and Manners by William Hazlitt

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with rugged bark, and one or two straggling branches, a little stunted
hedge-row line, marking the boundary of the horizon, a stubble-field, a
winding path, a rock seen against the sky, are picturesque, because they
have all of them prominence and a distinctive character of their own.
They are not objects (to borrow Shakespear's phrase) 'of no mark or
likelihood.' A country may be beautiful, romantic, or sublime, without
being picturesque. The Lakes in the North of England are not
picturesque, though certainly the most interesting sight in this
country. To be a subject for painting, a prospect must present sharp,
striking points of view or singular forms, or one object must relieve
and set off another. There must be distinct stages and salient points
for the eye to rest upon or start from in its progress over the expanse
before it. The distance of a landscape will oftentimes look flat or
heavy, that the trunk of a tree or a ruin in the foreground would
immediately throw into perspective and turn to air. Rembrandt's
landscapes are the least picturesque in the world, except from the
straight lines and sharp angles, the deep incision and dragging of his
pencil, like a harrow over the ground, and the broad contrast of earth
and sky. Earth, in his copies, is rough and hairy; and Pan has struck
his hoof against it!--A camel is a picturesque ornament in a landscape
or history-piece. This is not merely from its romantic and oriental
character; for an elephant has not the same effect, and if introduced as
a necessary appendage, is also an unwieldy incumbrance. A negro's head
in a group is picturesque from contrast; so are the spots on a panther's
hide. This was the principle that Paul Veronese went upon, who said the
rule for composition was _black upon white, and while upon black._ He
was a pretty good judge. His celebrated picture of the Marriage of Cana
is in all likelihood the completest piece of workmanship extant in the
art. When I saw it, it nearly covered one side of a large room in the
Louvre (being itself forty feet by twenty)--and it seemed as if that
side of the apartment was thrown open, and you looked out at the open
sky, at buildings, marble pillars, galleries with people in them,
emperors, female slaves, Turks, negroes, musicians, all the famous
painters of the time, the tables loaded with viands, goblets, and dogs
under them--a sparkling, overwhelming confusion, a bright, unexpected
reality--the only fault you could find was that no miracle was going on
in the faces of the spectators: the only miracle there was the picture
itself! A French gentleman, who showed me this 'triumph of painting'
(as it has been called), perceiving I was struck with it, observed, 'My
wife admires it exceedingly for the facility of the execution.' I took
this proof of sympathy for a compliment. It is said that when Humboldt,
the celebrated traveller and naturalist, was introduced to Buonaparte,
the Emperor addressed him in these words--_'Vous aimez la botanique,
Monsieur'_; and on the other's replying in the affirmative, added, _'Et
ma femme aussi!'_ This has been found fault with as a piece of
brutality and insolence in the great man by bigoted critics, who do not
know what a thing it is to get a Frenchwoman to agree with them in any
point. For my part, I took the observation as it was meant, and it did
not put me out of conceit with myself or the picture that Madame M----
liked it as well as _Monsieur l'Anglois._ Certainly, there could be no
harm in that. By the side of it happened to be hung two allegorical
pictures of Rubens (and in such matters he too was 'no baby'[1])--I
don't remember what the figures were, but the texture seemed of wool or
cotton. The texture of the Paul Veronese was not wool or cotton, but
stuff, jewels, flesh, marble, air, whatever composed the essence of the
varied subjects, in endless relief and truth of handling. If the
Fleming had seen his two allegories hanging where they did, he would,
without a question, have wished them far enough.

I imagine that Rubens's landscapes are picturesque: Claude's are
_ideal._ Rubens is always in extremes; Claude in the middle. Rubens
carries some one peculiar quality or feature of nature to the utmost
verge of probability: Claude balances and harmonises different forms and
masses with laboured delicacy, so that nothing falls short, no one thing
overpowers another. Rainbows, showers, partial gleams of sunshine,
moonlight, are the means with which Rubens produces his most gorgeous
and enchanting effects: there are neither rainbows, nor showers, nor
sudden bursts of sunshine, nor glittering moonbeams in Claude. He is
all softness and proportion: the other is all spirit and brilliant
excess. The two sides (for example) of one of Claude's landscapes
balance one another, as in a scale of beauty: in Rubens the several
objects are grouped and thrown together with capricious wantonness.
Claude has more repose: Rubens more gaiety and extravagance. And here
it might be asked, Is a rainbow a picturesque or an _ideal_ object? It
seems to me to be both. It is an accident in nature; but it is an
inmate of the fancy. It startles and surprises the sense, but it
soothes and tranquillises the spirit. It makes the eye glisten to
behold it, but the mind turns to it long after it has faded from its
place in the sky. It has both properties, then, of giving an
extraordinary impulse to the mind by the singularity of its appearance,
and of riveting the imagination by its intense beauty. I may just
notice here in passing, that I think the effect of moonlight is treated
in an _ideal_ manner in the well-known line in Shakespear--

See how the moonlight _sleeps_ upon yon bank.

The image is heightened by the exquisiteness of the expression beyond
its natural beauty, and it seems as if there could be no end to the
delight taken in it.--A number of sheep coming to a pool of water to
drink, with shady trees in the background, the rest of the flock
following them, and the shepherd and his dog left carelessly behind, is
surely the _ideal_ in landscape-composition, if the _ideal_ has its
source in the interest excited by a subject, in its power of drawing the
affections after it linked in a golden chain, and in the desire of the
mind to dwell on it for ever. The _ideal_, in a word, is the height of
the pleasing, that which satisfies and accords with the inmost longing
of the soul: the picturesque is merely a sharper and bolder impression
of reality. A morning mist drawing a slender veil over all objects is
at once picturesque and _ideal_; for it in the first place excites
immediate surprise and admiration, and in the next a wish for it to
continue, and a fear lest it should be too soon dissipated. Is the
Cupid riding on a lion in the ceiling at Whitehall, and urging him with
a spear over a precipice, with only clouds and sky beyond, most
picturesque or _ideal?_ It has every effect of startling contrast and
situation, and yet inspires breathless expectation and wonder for the
event. Rembrandt's Jacob's Dream, again, is both fearful to the eye,
but realising that loftiest vision of the soul. Take two faces in
Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, the Judas and the St John: the one is
all strength, repulsive character; the other is all divine grace and
mild sensibility. The individual, the characteristic in painting, is
that _which is_ in a marked manner--the _ideal_ is that which we wish
anything to be, and to contemplate without measure and without end. The
first is truth, the last is good. The one appeals to the sense and
understanding, the other to the will and the affections. The truly
beautiful and grand attracts the mind to it by instinctive harmony, is
absorbed in it, and nothing can ever part them afterwards. Look at a
Madonna of Raphael's: what gives the _ideal_ character to the
expression,--the insatiable purpose of the soul, or its measureless
content in the object of its contemplation? A portrait of Vandyke's is
mere indifference and still-life in the comparison: it has not in it the
principle of growing and still unsatisfied desire. In the _ideal_ there
is no fixed stint or limit but the limit of possibility: it is the
infinite with respect to human capacities and wishes. Love is for this
reason an _ideal_ passion. We give to it our all of hope, of fear, of
present enjoyment, and stake our last chance of happiness wilfully and
desperately upon it. A good authority puts into the mouth of one of his

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep!

How many fair catechumens will there be found in all ages to repeat as
much after Shakespear's Juliet!


[1] And surely Mandricardo was no baby. --HARRINGTON's _Ariosto._



And our little life is rounded with a sleep.

Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has
a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not: this
gives us no concern--why, then, should it trouble us that a time will
come when we shall cease to be? I have no wish to have been alive a
hundred years ago, or in the reign of Queen Anne: why should I regret
and lay it so much to heart that I shall not be alive a hundred years
hence, in the reign of I cannot tell whom?

When Bickerstaff wrote his Essays I knew nothing of the subjects of
them; nay, much later, and but the other day, as it were, in the
beginning of the reign of George III., when Goldsmith, Johnson, Burke,
used to meet at the Globe, when Garrick was in his glory, and Reynolds
was over head and ears with his portraits, and Sterne brought out the
volumes of _Tristram Shandy_ year by year, it was without consulting me:
I had not the slightest intimation of what was going on: the debates in
the House of Commons on the American War, or the firing at Bunker's
Hill, disturbed not me: yet I thought this no evil--I neither ate,
drank, nor was merry, yet I did not complain: I had not then looked out
into this breathing world, yet I was well; and the world did quite as
well without me as I did without it! Why, then, should I make all this
outcry about parting with it, and being no worse off than I was before?
There is nothing in the recollection that at a certain time we were not
come into the world that 'the gorge rises at'--why should we revolt at
the idea that we must one day go out of it? To die is only to be as we
were before we were born; yet no one feels any remorse, or regret, or
repugnance, in contemplating this last idea. It is rather a relief and
disburthening of the mind: it seems to have been holiday-time with us
then: we were not called to appear upon the stage of life, to wear robes
or tatters, to laugh or cry, be hooted or applauded; we had lain
_perdus_ all this while, snug, out of harm's way; and had slept out our
thousands of centuries without wanting to be waked up; at peace and free
from care, in a long nonage, in a sleep deeper and calmer than that of
infancy, wrapped in the softest and finest dust. And the worst that we
dread is, after a short, fretful, feverish being, after vain hopes and
idle fears, to sink to final repose again, and forget the troubled dream
of life! . . . Ye armed men, knights templars, that sleep in the stone
aisles of that old Temple church, where all is silent above, and where a
deeper silence reigns below (not broken by the pealing organ), are ye
not contented where ye lie? Or would you come out of your long homes to
go to the Holy War? Or do ye complain that pain no longer visits you,
that sickness has done its worst, that you have paid the last debt to
nature, that you hear no more of the thickening phalanx of the foe, or
your lady's waning love; and that while this ball of earth rolls its
eternal round, no sound shall ever pierce through to disturb your
lasting repose, fixed as the marble over your tombs, breathless as the
grave that holds you! And thou, oh! thou, to whom my heart turns, and
will turn while it has feeling left, who didst love in vain, and whose
first was thy last sigh, wilt not thou too rest in peace (or wilt thou
cry to me complaining from thy clay-cold bed) when that sad heart is no
longer sad, and that sorrow is dead which thou wert only called into the
world to feel!

It is certain that there is nothing in the idea of a pre-existent state
that excites our longing like the prospect of a posthumous existence.
We are satisfied to have begun life when we did; we have no ambition to
have set out on our journey sooner; and feel that we have had quite
enough to do to battle our way through since. We cannot say,

The wars we well remember of King Nine,
Of old Assaracus and Inachus divine.

Neither have we any wish: we are contented to read of them in story, and
to stand and gaze at the vast sea of time that separates us from them.
It was early days then: the world was not _well-aired_ enough for us: we
have no inclination to have been up and stirring. We do not consider
the six thousand years of the world before we were born as so much time
lost to us: we are perfectly indifferent about the matter. We do not
grieve and lament that we did not happen to be in time to see the grand
mask and pageant of human life going on in all that period; though we
are mortified at being obliged to quit our stand before the rest of the
procession passes.

It may be suggested in explanation of this difference, that we know from
various records and traditions what happened in the time of Queen Anne,
or even in the reigns of the Assyrian monarchs, but that we have no
means of ascertaining what is to happen hereafter but by awaiting the
event, and that our eagerness and curiosity are sharpened in proportion
as we are in the dark about it. This is not at all the case; for at
that rate we should be constantly wishing to make a voyage of discovery
to Greenland or to the Moon, neither of which we have, in general, the
least desire to do. Neither, in truth, have we any particular
solicitude to pry into the secrets of futurity, but as a pretext for
prolonging our own existence. It is not so much that we care to be
alive a hundred or a thousand years hence, any more than to have been
alive a hundred or a thousand years ago: but the thing lies here, that
we would all of us wish the present moment to last for ever. We would
be as we are, and would have the world remain just as it is, to please

The present eye catches the present object--

to have and to hold while it may; and abhors, on any terms, to have it
torn from us, and nothing left in its room. It is the pang of parting,
the unloosing our grasp, the breaking asunder some strong tie, the
leaving some cherished purpose unfulfilled, that creates the repugnance
to go, and 'makes calamity of so long life,' as it often is.

O! thou strong heart!
There's such a covenant 'twixt the world and thee
They're loth to break!

The love of life, then, is an habitual attachment, not an abstract
principle. Simply _to be_ does not 'content man's natural desire': we
long to be in a certain time, place, and circumstance. We would much
rather be now, 'on this bank and shoal of time,' than have our choice of
any future period, than take a slice of fifty or sixty years out of the
Millennium, for instance. This shows that our attachment is not
confined either to _being_ or to _well-being_; but that we have an
inveterate prejudice in favour of our immediate existence, such as it
is. The mountaineer will not leave his rock, nor the savage his hut;
neither are we willing to give up our present mode of life, with all its
advantages and disadvantages, for any other that could be substituted
for it. No man would, I think, exchange his existence with any other
man, however fortunate. We had as lief _not be_, as _not be ourselves_.
There are some persons of that reach of soul that they would like to
live two hundred and fifty years hence, to see to what height of empire
America will have grown up in that period, or whether the English
constitution will last so long. These are points beyond me. But I
confess I should like to live to see the downfall of the Bourbons. That
is a vital question with me; and I shall like it the better, the sooner
it happens!

No young man ever thinks he shall die. He may believe that others will,
or assent to the doctrine that 'all men are mortal' as an abstract
proposition, but he is far enough from bringing it home to himself
individually.[1] Youth, buoyant activity, and animal spirits, hold
absolute antipathy with old age as well as with death; nor have we, in
the hey-day of life, any more than in the thoughtlessness of childhood,
the remotest conception how

This sensible warm motion can become
A kneaded clod--

nor how sanguine, florid health and vigour, shall 'turn to withered,
weak, and grey.' Or if in a moment of idle speculation we indulge in
this notion of the close of life as a theory, it is amazing at what a
distance it seems; what a long, leisurely interval there is between;
what a contrast its slow and solemn approach affords to our present gay
dreams of existence! We eye the farthest verge of the horizon, and
think what a way we shall have to look back upon, ere we arrive at our
journey's end; and without our in the least suspecting it, the mists are
at our feet, and the shadows of age encompass us. The two divisions of
our lives have melted into each other: the extreme points close and meet
with none of that romantic interval stretching out between them that we
had reckoned upon; and for the rich, melancholy, solemn hues of age,
'the sear, the yellow leaf,' the deepening shadows of an autumnal
evening, we only feel a dank, cold mist, encircling all objects, after
the spirit of youth is fled. There is no inducement to look forward;
and what is worse, little interest in looking back to what has become so
trite and common. The pleasures of our existence have worn themselves
out, are 'gone into the wastes of time,' or have turned their
indifferent side to us: the pains by their repeated blows have worn us
out, and have left us neither spirit nor inclination to encounter them
again in retrospect. We do not want to rip up old grievances, nor to
renew our youth like the phoenix, nor to live our lives twice over.
Once is enough. As the tree falls, so let it lie. Shut up the book and
close the account once for all!

It has been thought by some that life is like the exploring of a passage
that grows narrower and darker the farther we advance, without a
possibility of ever turning back, and where we are stifled for want of
breath at last. For myself, I do not complain of the greater thickness
of the atmosphere as I approach the narrow house. I felt it more
formerly,[2] when the idea alone seemed to suppress a thousand rising
hopes, and weighed upon the pulses of the blood. At present I rather
feel a thinness and want of support, I stretch out my hand to some
object and find none, I am too much in a world of abstraction; the naked
map of life is spread out before me, and in the emptiness and desolation
I see Death coming to meet me. In my youth I could not behold him for
the crowd of objects and feelings, and Hope stood always between us,
saying, 'Never mind that old fellow!' If I had lived indeed, I should
not care to die. But I do not like a contract of pleasure broken off
unfulfilled, a marriage with joy unconsummated, a promise of happiness
rescinded. My public and private hopes have been left a ruin, or remain
only to mock me. I would wish them to be re-edified. I should like to
see some prospect of good to mankind, such as my life began with. I
should like to leave some sterling work behind me. I should like to
have some friendly hand to consign me to the grave. On these conditions
I am ready, if not willing, to depart. I shall then write on my
tomb--GRATEFUL AND CONTENTED! But I have thought and suffered too much
to be willing to have thought and suffered in vain.--In looking back, it
sometimes appears to me as if I had in a manner slept out my life in a
dream or shadow on the side of the hill of knowledge, where I have fed
on books, on thoughts, on pictures, and only heard in half-murmurs the
trampling of busy feet, or the noises of the throng below. Waked out of
this dim, twilight existence. and startled with the passing scene, I
have felt a wish to descend to the world of realities, and join in the
chase. But I fear too late, and that I had better return to my bookish
chimeras and indolence once more! _Zanetto, lascia le donne, et studia
la matematica._ I will think of it.

It is not wonderful that the contemplation and fear of death become more
familiar to us as we approach nearer to it: that life seems to ebb with
the decay of blood and youthful spirits; and that as we find everything
about us subject to chance and change, as our strength and beauty die,
as our hopes and passions, our friends and our affections leave us, we
begin by degrees to feel ourselves mortal!

I have never seen death but once, and that was in an infant. It is
years ago. The look was calm and placid, and the face was fair and
firm. It was as if a waxen image had been laid out in the coffin, and
strewed with innocent flowers. It was not like death, but more like an
image of life! No breath moved the lips, no pulse stirred, no sight or
sound would enter those eyes or ears more. While I looked at it, I saw
no pain was there; it seemed to smile at the short pang of life which
was over: but I could not bear the coffin-lid to be closed--it seemed to
stifle me; and still as the nettles wave in a corner of the churchyard
over his little grave, the welcome breeze helps to refresh me, and ease
the tightness at my breast!

An ivory or marble image, like Chantry's monument of the two children,
is contemplated with pure delight. Why do we not grieve and fret that
the marble is not alive, or fancy that it has a shortness of breath? It
never was alive; and it is the difficulty of making the transition from
life to death, the struggle between the two in our imagination, that
confounds their properties painfully together, and makes us conceive
that the infant that is but just dead, still wants to breathe, to enjoy,
and look about it, and is prevented by the icy hand of death, locking up
its faculties and benumbing its senses; so that, if it could, it would
complain of its own hard state. Perhaps religious considerations
reconcile the mind to this change sooner than any others, by
representing the spirit as fled to another sphere, and leaving the body
behind it. So in reflecting on death generally, we mix up the idea of
life with it, and thus make it the ghastly monster it is. We think, how
we should feel, not how the dead feel.

Still from the tomb the voice of nature cries;
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires!

There is an admirable passage on this subject in Tucker's _Light of
Nature Pursued_, which I shall transcribe, as by much the best
illustration I can offer of it.

'The melancholy appearance of a lifeless body, the mansion provided for
it to inhabit, dark, cold, close and solitary, are shocking to the
imagination; but it is to the imagination only, not the understanding;
for whoever consults this faculty will see at first glance, that there
is nothing dismal in all these circumstances: if the corpse were kept
wrapped up in a warm bed, with a roasting fire in the chamber, it would
feel no comfortable warmth therefrom; were store of tapers lighted up as
soon as day shuts in, it would see no objects to divert it; were it left
at large it would have no liberty, nor if surrounded with company would
be cheered thereby; neither are the distorted features expressions of
pain, uneasiness, or distress. This every one knows, and will readily
allow upon being suggested, yet still cannot behold, nor even cast a
thought upon those objects without shuddering; for knowing that a living
person must suffer grievously under such appearances, they become
habitually formidable to the mind, and strike a mechanical horror, which
is increased by the customs of the world around us.'

There is usually one pang added voluntarily and unnecessarily to the
fear of death, by our affecting to compassionate the loss which others
will have in us. If that were all, we might reasonably set our minds at
rest. The pathetic exhortation on country tombstones, 'Grieve not for
me, my wife and children dear,' etc., is for the most part speedily
followed to the letter. We do not leave so great a void in society as
we are inclined to imagine, partly to magnify our own importance. and
partly to console ourselves by sympathy. Even in the same family the
gap is not so great; the wound closes up sooner than we should expect.
Nay, _our room_ is not unfrequently thought better than _our company._
People walk along the streets the day after our deaths just as they did
before, and the crowd is not diminished. While we were living, the
world seemed in a manner to exist only for us, for our delight and
amusement, because it contributed to them. But our hearts cease to
beat, and it goes on as usual, and thinks no more about us than it did
in our lifetime. The million are devoid of sentiment, and care as
little for you or me as if we belonged to the moon. We live the week
over in the Sunday's paper, or are decently interred in some obituary at
the month's end! It is not surprising that we are forgotten so soon
after we quit this mortal stage; we are scarcely noticed while we are on
it. It is not merely that our names are not known in China--they have
hardly been heard of in the next street. We are hand and glove with the
universe, and think the obligation is mutual. This is an evident
fallacy. If this, however, does not trouble us now, it will not
hereafter. A handful of dust can have no quarrel to pick with its
neighbours, or complaint to make against Providence, and might well
exclaim, if it had but an understanding and a tongue, 'Go thy ways, old
world, swing round in blue ether, voluble to every age, you and I shall
no more jostle!'

It is amazing how soon the rich and titled, and even some of those who
have wielded great political power, are forgotten.

A little rule, a little sway,
Is all the great and mighty have
Betwixt the cradle and the grave--

and, after its short date, they hardly leave a name behind them. 'A
great man's memory may, at the common rate, survive him half a year.'
His heirs and successors take his titles, his power, and his wealth--all
that made him considerable or courted by others; and he has left nothing
else behind him either to delight or benefit the world. Posterity are
not by any means so disinterested as they are supposed to be. They give
their gratitude and admiration only in return for benefits conferred.
They cherish the memory of those to whom they are indebted for
instruction and delight; and they cherish it just in proportion to the
instruction and delight they are conscious they receive. The sentiment
of admiration springs immediately from this ground, and cannot be
otherwise than well founded.[3]

The effeminate clinging to life as such, as a general or abstract idea,
is the effect of a highly civilised and artificial state of society.
Men formerly plunged into all the vicissitudes and dangers of war, or
staked their all upon a single die, or some one passion, which if they
could not have gratified, life became a burden to them--now our
strongest passion is to think, our chief amusement is to read new plays,
new poems, new novels, and this we may do at our leisure, in perfect
security, _ad infinitum_. If we look into the old histories and
romances, before the _belles-lettres_ neutralised human affairs and
reduced passion to a state of mental equivocation, we find the heroes
and heroines not setting their lives 'at a pin's fee,' but rather
courting opportunities of throwing them away in very wantonness of
spirit. They raise their fondness for some favourite pursuit to its
height, to a pitch of madness, and think no price too dear to pay for
its full gratification. Everything else is dross. They go to death as
to a bridal bed, and sacrifice themselves or others without remorse at
the shrine of love, of honour, of religion, or any other prevailing
feeling. Romeo runs his 'sea-sick, weary bark upon the rocks' of death
the instant he finds himself deprived of his Juliet; and she clasps his
neck in their last agonies, and follows him to the same fatal shore.
One strong idea takes possession of the mind and overrules every other;
and even life itself, joyless without that, becomes an object of
indifference or loathing. There is at least more of imagination in such
a state of things, more vigour of feeling and promptitude to act, than
in our lingering, languid, protracted attachment to life for its own
poor sake. It is, perhaps, also better, as well as more heroical, to
strike at some daring or darling object, and if we fail in that, to take
the consequences manfully, than to renew the lease of a tedious,
spiritless, charmless existence, merely (as Pierre says) 'to lose it
afterwards in some vile brawl' for some worthless object. Was there not
a spirit of martyrdom as well as a spice of the reckless energy of
barbarism in this bold defiance of death? Had not religion something to
do with it: the implicit belief in a future life, which rendered this of
less value, and embodied something beyond it to the imagination; so that
the rough soldier, the infatuated lover, the valorous knight, etc.,
could afford to throw away the present venture, and take a leap into the
arms of futurity, which the modern sceptic shrinks back from, with all
his boasted reason and vain philosophy, weaker than a woman! I cannot
help thinking so myself; but I have endeavoured to explain this point
before, and will not enlarge farther on it here.

A life of action and danger moderates the dread of death. It not only
gives us fortitude to bear pain, but teaches us at every step the
precarious tenure on which we hold our present being. Sedentary and
studious men are the most apprehensive on this score. Dr. Johnson was
an instance in point. A few years seemed to him soon over, compared
with those sweeping contemplations on time and infinity with which he
had been used to pose himself. In the _still-life_ of a man of letters
there was no obvious reason for a change. He might sit in an arm-chair
and pour out cups of tea to all eternity. Would it had been possible
for him to do so! The most rational cure after all for the inordinate
fear of death is to set a just value on life. If we merely wish to
continue on the scene to indulge our headstrong humours and tormenting
passions, we had better begone at once; and if we only cherish a
fondness for existence according to the good we derive from it, the pang
we feel at parting with it will not be very severe!


[1] All men think all men mortal but themselves. --YOUNG.

[2] I remember once, In particular, having this feeling in reading
Schiller's _Don Carlos_, where there is a description of death, in a
degree that almost stifled me.

[3] It has been usual to raise a very unjust clamour against the
enormous salaries of public singers, actors, and so on. This matter
seems reducible to a moral equation. They are paid out of money raised
by voluntary contributions in the strictest sense; and if they did not
bring certain sums into the treasury, the managers would not engage
them. These sums are exactly in proportion to the number of Individuals
to whom their performance gives an extraordinary degree of pleasure.
The talents of a singer, actor, etc., are therefore worth just as much
as they will fetch.

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