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production of enthusiasm. When the youth sighs and languishes, and feels himself among crowds in an irksome solitude,—that is the moment to fly into seclusion and meditation. Where can he indulge but in solitude the fine romances of his soul? where but in solitude can he occupy himself in useful dreams by night, and, when the morning rises, fly without interruption to his unfinished labours? Retirement to the frivolous is a vast desert, to the man of genius it is the enchanted garden of Armida.

Cicero was uneasy amidst applauding Rome, and he has designated his numerous works by the titles of his various villas, where they were composed. Voltaire had talents, and a taste for society, yet he not only withdrew by intervals, but at one period of his life passed five years in the most secret seclusion and fervent studies. Montesquieu quitted the brilliant circles of Paris for his books, his meditations, and for his immortal work, and was ridiculed by the gay triflers he relinquished. Harrington, to compose his Oceana, severed himself from the society of his friends, and was so wrapt in abstraction, that he was pitied as a lunatic. Descartes, inflamed by genius, abruptly breaks all his friendly connexions, hires an obscure house in an unfrequented corner at Paris, and applies himself to study during two years unknown to his acquaintance. Adam Smith, after the publication of his first work, throws himself into a retirement that lasted ten years; even Hume rallied him for separating himself from the world ; but the great political inquirer satisfied the world, and his friends, by his great work on the Wealth of Nations.

But this solitude, at first a necessity, and then a pleasure, at length is not borne without repining. I will call for a witness a great genius, and he shall speak himself. Gibbon says, “I feel, and shall continue to feel, that domestic solitude, however it may be alleviated by the world, by study, and even by friendship, is a comfortless state, which will grow more painful as I descend in the vale of years:" Memoirs, Vol. I. p. 216. And afterwards he writes to a friend, “Your visit has only served to remind me that man, however amused and occupied in his closet, was not made to live alone."

I must therefore now sketch a different picture of literary solitude than some sanguine and youthful minds conceive.

Even the sublimest of men, Milton, who is not apt to vent complaints, appears to have felt this irksome period of life. In the preface to Smectymnus, he says, “ It is but justice, not to defraud of due esteem the wearisome labours and studious watchings, wherein I have spent and tired out almost a whole youth.”

Solitude in a later period of life, or rather the neglect which awaits the solitary man, is felt with acuter sensibility. Cowley, that enthusiast for rural seclusion, in his retirement calls himself “ The melancholy Cowley.” Mason has truly transferred the same epithet to Gray. Read in his letters the history of solitude. We lament the loss of Cowley's correspondence through the mistaken notion of Sprat; he assuredly had painted the sorrows of his heart. But Shenstone has filled his pages with the cries of an amiable being whose soul bleeds in the dead oblivion of soli. tude. Listen to his melancholy expressions. “ Now I am come from a visit, every little uneasiness is sufficient to introduce my whole train of melancholy considerations, and to make me utterly dissatisfied with the life I now lead, and the life I foresee I shall lead. I am angry, and envious, and dejected, and frantic, and disregard all present things, as becomes a madman to do. I am infinitely pleased (though it is a gloomy joy) with the application of Dr. Swift's complaint, that he is forced to die in a rage, like a poisoned rat in a hole." Let the lover of solitude muse on its picture throughout the year, in the following stanza by the same poet:

Tedious again to curse the drizzling day,

Again to trace the wintry tracks of snow! Or, soothed by vernal airs, again survey

The self-same lawthorns bud ! and cowslips blow!

Swift's letters paint in terrifying colours a picture of solitude, and at length his despair closed with idiotism. The amiable Gresset could not sport with the brilliant wings of his butterfly-muse, without dropping some querulous expression on the solitude of genius. In his “ Epistle to his Muse,” he exquisitely paints the situation of men of genius :

Je les vois, victimes du genie,
Au foible prix d'un eclat panager,
Vivre isolès, sans jouir de la vie !"

And afterwards he adds,

“ Vingt ans d'ennuis, pour quelque jours de gloire !"

I conclude with one more anecdote on solitude, which may amuse. When Menage, attacked by some, and abandoned by others, was seized by a fit of the spleen, he retreated into the country, and gave up his famous Mercuriales; those Wednesdays when the literati assembled at his house, to praise up or cry down one another, as is usual with the literary populace. Menage expected to find that tranquillity in the country which he had frequently described in his verses : but as he was only a poetical plagiarist, it is not strange our pastoral writer was greatly disappointed. Some country rogues having killed his pigeons, they gave him more vexation than his critics. He hastened his return to Paris. " It is better,” he observed, “ since we are born to suffer, to feel only reasonable sorrows.”


The memorable friendship of Beaumont and Fletcher so closely united their labours, that we cannot discover the productions of either; and biographers cannot, without difficulty, compose the memoirs of the one, without running into the life of the other. They portrayed the same characters, while they mingled sentiment with sentiment, and their days were as closely interwoven as their verses. Metastasio and Farinelli were born about the same time, and early acquainted. They called one another Gemello, or twin! Both the delight of Europe, both lived to an advanced age, and died nearly at the same time. Their fortune bore, too, a resemblance; for they were both pensioned,

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