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birth to the most trifling occurrences of life. His usual method was, to write down any sudden start of thought which arose in his mind upon the sight of an odd gesticulation in a man, any whimsical mimicry of reason in a beast, or whatever appeared remarkable in any object of the visible creation. He was able to moralize upon a snuffbox, would flourish eloquently upon a tucker or a pair of ruffles, and draw practical inferences from a full-bottomed periwig 1 his I thought fit to mention, by way of excuse, for my ingenious correspondent, who hath introduced the following letter by an image, which, I will beg leave to tell him, is 100 ridiculous in fu serious and noble a fpeculation.
• Mir SPECTATOR, W THEN I have seen young puss playing her wanton
gambels, and, with a thousand antic shapes, ex‘press her own gaiety, at the same time that the moved mine, while the old grannum hath fat by with a most
exemplary gravity, unmored at all that paffcd; it hath s made me reflect what should be the occasion of humours • so opposite in two creatures, between whom there was
no visible difference but that of age; and I have been • able to resolve it into nothing else but the force of novelty.
' In every species of creatures, those who have been • least time in the world, appear beit pleased with their • condition: for, befiis tiat to a new-comer the world hath a frelliness on ir that strikes the sense after a most agreeable manner, being itself, unattended with any great variety of enjoymenis, excites a sensation of plea• sure. But as age advances, every thing seems to wither, • the senses are disgusted with their old entertainments, • and existence turns flat and insipid. We may see this exemplified in mankind: the child, let him be free from
pain, and gratified in his change of toys, is diverted with 6 the smallest trifle Nothing disturbs the mirth of the • boy, but a little punishment or confinement.
The youth must have more violent pleasures to employ his
time; the man loves the hurry of an active life, de• voted to the pursuits of wealth or ambition, and lastly, old age, having lost its capacity for these avocations,
* becomes its own insupportable burden. This variety
may in part be accounted for by the vivacity and decay of the faculties ; but I believe is chiefly owing to
this, that the longer we have been in possession of besing, the less sensible is the guít we have of it; and the more it requires of adventitious amusements to relieve
us from the satiety and weariness it brings along with «it,
AND as novelty is of a very powerful, so of a most extensive influence. Moralists have long since observed • it to be the source of admiration, which leffens in pro
portion to our familiarity with objects, and upon a thorough acquaintance is utterly extinguished. But I think
it hath not been so commonly remarked, that all the * other puisons depend considerably on the fare circum'stances. What is it but novelty that awakens desire,
cr.hances delight, kindles anger, provokes envy, inspires
horror ? To this canife we must ascribe it, that love • languines with fruition, ard friendship itself is recomminied by interrels of absence : bence monsters, by use, are bored without loaching, and the most enchanting beauty without rapture.
That emotion of the spirits in ' which pation cc-lifts, is usually the effect of surprise, 6 and as long as it continues, heightens the agreeable or disagreeable qualities of its obječt; but as this emotion
ceuiles (and it ceáécs with the novelty, things appear in * another light, and affect us even less than might be ex'pected from their proper energy, for having moved us too inuch before.
'It may not be an useless inquiry huiv far the love of novelty is the unavoidable growth of nature, and in
what refpe it is peculiuly üvafica ir, the present state. • To me it fcems impofills, that a real cable creature « should rest at folutely satisfied in any acquisitions what
ever, without endeavouring farther; for after its highsest improvemets, the mind käih an idea of an infinity • of things still beldad worth knowing, to the linowledge s of which therofure it cannot be indifferent; as by
climbing up a Hill in the mida «f a wide plain, à man hath his prospect cala: ged, and, other with that,
the bounds of his desires. Upon is account, I cane not think he detrags from the state of the bleited,
who conceives them to be perpetually employed in freth « searches into nature, and to eternity advancing into • the fathomless depths of the divine perfections. In this * thought there is nothing but what doth honour to these
glorified fpirits; provided still it be remembered, that • their desire of more proceeds not from their disrelishing what they poffefs ; and the pleasure of a new enjoyment is not with them measured by its novelty, (which is a thing merely foreign and accidental), but by its real in(trinsic value. After an acquaintance of many thousand years with the works of God, the beauty and magnis
cence of the creation fills them with the same plcasing • wonder and profound awe, which adam felt himseif " seized with as he first opened his eyes upon this glorious
scene. Truth captivates with unborrowed charms, and ' whatever hath once given satisfaction will always do it:
in all which they have manifestly the advantage of us, • who are so much governed by fickly and changeable ap
petites, that we can with the greatest coldness behold the stupendous displays of omnipotence, and be in transports at the puny eslavs of human skill; throw a'ids speculations of the fublimest nature and vastest import
ance into some obscure corner of the mind, to make "room for new notions of no consequence at all; are c
tired of health, because not enlivened with alternate pain; and prefer the first reading of an indifferent au• thor, to the second or third perusal of one whose merit and reputation are established.
"Our being thus formed serves many useful purposes in the present state. It contributes not a little to the
advancement of learning; for, as Cicero takes notice, • that which makes men willing to undergo the fatigues
of philofophical difquisitions, is not so much the great
ness of objects as their novelty. It is not enough that ' there is field and game for the chace, and that the un
derstanding is prompted with a restless thirst of knowledge, effectually to roase the soul, funk into a state
of floth and indolence; it is also necessary that there 6 be an uncommon pleafire annexed to the first appear
of truth in the inind. This pleasure being exqui-- site for the time it lasts, but transient, it hereby comes "to pass that the mind grows into an indifference to its VOL, VIII.
former notions, and passes on after new discoveries, in • hope of repeaticg the delight. It is with knowledge as « with wealth, the pleasure of which lies more in making - endless additions, than in taking a review of our old · fore. There are some inconveniencies that follow this • temper, if not guarded against, particularly this, that through a too great cagerness of something new we are many times impatient of staying long enough upon a
question that requires some time to folve it ; or, which • is worse, persuade ourselves that we are masters of the
subject before we are so, only to be at the liberty go• ing upon a fresh scent ; in Jr Lock's words, IVe see a • little, prediline a great ideal, and so jump to the conclujiun.
' A FARTHER advantage of our inclination for novel. . ty, as at present circumftantiated, is, that it annihilates
all the boasted distinctions among mankind. Look not up with envy to those above thee. Sounding titles, stately buildings, fine gardens, gilded chariots, rich equipages, what are they? They dazzle every one but the poffeffor: to him that is accustomed to them they are cheap and regardless things: they supply him not with brighter images, or more sublime satisfactions than the
plain man may have, whose small estate may just enable s him to support the charge of a simple unencumbered life, • He enters heedless into his rooms of Itäte, as you or I do • under our poor sheds. The noble paintings and costly “ furniture are lost on him; he sees them not: as how
can it be otherwise, when by custom, a fabric infinitely more grand and finished, that of the universe, stands • unobserved by the inhabitants, and the everlasting lamps • of heaven are lighted up in vain, for any notice that s mortals take of them ? Thanks to indulgent nature, « which not only placed her children originally upon a le• vel, but still, by the strength of this principle, in a great measure preserves it, in spite of all the care of man to introduce artificial diftinctions.
“To add no more, Is not this fondness for novelty, which makes us out of conceit with all we already have, a convincing proof of a future state? Either man was made in vain, or this is not the only world he was made for: for there cannot be a greater instance of vanity,
" than that to which man is liable, to be deluded from the ' cradle to the grave with fleeting shadows of happiness. * His pleasures, and those not considerablc neither, die in • the possession, and fresh enjoyments do not rise fast t
nough to fill up half his life with satisfaction. When I "fee persons sick of themselves any longer than they are ' called away by something that is of force to chain down • the present thought; when I see them hurry from coun
try to town, and then from the town back again into this country; continually shifting poitures, and placing 1. • in all the different lights they can think of; Sarci; • say I to myself, life is vain, and the man border
pression stupid or prejudiced, who from the vanity c! “ life cannot gather, he is designed for immortality,
Wednefilzy, December 1.
Tantum inter den fas alinbrafa cacumir:a faços
Virg. Ecl. 2. v. 3:
He, underneath the beechen made alone,
HE following account, which came to my hands
fome time ago, may be no disagreeable entertainment to such of my readers as have tender hearts, and nothing to do.
• Mr SPECTATOR,
FRIEND of mine died of a fever last week,
which he caught by walking too late in a dewy evening amongst his reapers. I must inform you, that * his greatest pleasure was in husbandry and gardening.
He had some humours which seemed inconsistent wiih * that good sense he was otherwise master of. His un* easiness in the company of women was very remarkable X 2