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It is not the malice of a crafty step-dame that moves the heart of Imogen to complain; nor the wrath of her incensed and deluded parent; nor that she, bred up in softness, and little accustomed to suffer hardships and sorrow, should wander amid solitary rocks and desarts, exposed to perils, famine, and death: it is, that she is forsaken, betrayed, and persecuted hy him, on whose constancy she relied for protection, and to whose tenderness she entrusted her repose. Of other evils she is not insensible; but this is the “supreme crown of her grief.” Cruelty and ingratitude are abhorred by the spectator, and resented by the sufferer. But, when the temper of the person injured is peculiarly gentle, and the author of the injury the object of confirmed affection, the mind, after the first emotion, is more apt to languish in despondency than continue inflamed with resentment. The sense of misfortune, rather than the sense of injury, rules the disposition of Imogen, and, in
another, was her very picture. So that she was inherently and hereditarily worthless, and capable the arts of seduction
stead of venturing invective, she laments the misery of her condition.
Poor I am stale, a garment out of fashion ; And, for I am richer than to hang by the walls, I must be ript.-To pieces with me!
If a crime is committed by a person with whom we are unconnected, or who has no pretensions to pre-eminent virtue, we feel indignation against the individual ; but form no conclusions against the species. The case is different, if we are connected with him by any tender affection, and regard him as of superior merit. Love and friendship, according to the immutable conduct of every passion, lead us to magnify, in our imaginations, the distinguished qualities of those we love. The rest of mankind are ranked in a lower order, and are valued no otherwise than as they resemble this illustrious model. But, perceiving depravity where we expected perfection, mortified and disappointed that appearances of rectitude, believed by us most sincere and unchangeable, were merely specious and exterior, we become suspicious of every pretension to merit, and regard the rest of mankind, of whose integrity we have had less positive evidence, with cautious and unkind reserve.
True honest men being heard, like false Æneas, Were, in his time, thought false : and Sinon's weeping Did scandal many a holy tear; took pity From most true wretchedness. So thou, Posthumus, Wilt lay the leaven on all proper men : Goodly, and gallant, shall be false and perjur'd; From thy great fail.
Imogen, conscious of her innocence, convinced of Leonatus's perfidy, and overwhelmed with sorrow, becomes careless of life, and offers herself a willing sacrifice to her husband's cruelty.
Be thou honest :
I shall conclude these observations, by explaining more particularly, how the re
pulse of a ruling and habituated passion could dispose Imogen to despondency, and render her careless of life: in other words, what is the origin of despair; or, by what lamentable perversion those, who are susceptible of the pleasure of life, and in situations capable of enjoying them, become dissatisfied, and rise from the feast prematurely.
Happiness depends upon the gratification of our desires and passions. The happiness of Titus arose from the indulgence of a beneficent temper: Epaminondas reaped enjoyment from the love of his country: the love of fame was the source of Cæsar's felicity: and the gratification of grovelling ap. petites gave delight to Vitellius. It has also been observed, that some one passion generally assuines a pre-eminence in the mind, and not only predominates over other appetites and desires, but contends with reason, and is often victorious. In proportion as one passion gains strength, the rest languish and are enfeebled. They are seldom exercised; their gratifications yield transient pleasure; they become of slight importance, are dispirited, and decay. Thus our happiness is attached to one ruling and ardent passion. But our reasonings, concerning future events, are weak and shortsighted. We form schemes of felicity that can never be realized, and cherish affections that can never be gratified. If, therefore, the disappointed passion has been long encouraged, if the gay visions of hope and imagination have long administered to its violence, if it is confirmed by habit in the temper and constitution, if it has superseded the operations of other active principles, and so enervated their strength, its disappointment will be embittered; and sorrow, prevented by no other passion, will prey, for ever, on the desolate abandoned spirit. We
may also observe, that none are more liable to afflictions of this sort, than those to whom nature has given extreme sensibility. Alive to every impression, their feelings are exquisite: they are eager
every pursuit: their imaginations are vigorous, and well adapted to fire them. They live, for a time, in a state of anarchy, exposed to the inroads of every passion; and