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dred people, by whispering a something or a nothing into the ears of each ; obliged to wear a smiling countenance, even when the heart is oppressed with sadness ; besieged by the craving faces of those, who are more displeased at what is withheld, than grateful for the favours they have received ; surrounded, as he constantly is, by adepts in the art of simulation, all professing the highest possible regard; how shall the puzzled monarch distinguish real from assumed attachment ? and what a risk does he run, of placing his confidence where he ought to have directed his indignation! And, to all these inconveniences, when we add this, that he is precluded from those delightful sensations which spring from disinterested friendship, sweet equality, and the gay, careless enjoyments of social life, we must acknowledge, that all that is brilliant in the condition of a sovereign, is not sufficient to compensate for such restraints, such dangers, and such deprivations.
So far indeed are we from considering that envied condition as enviable, that great part of mankind are more apt to think it insupportable ; and are surprised to find, that those unhappy men, whom fate has condemned to suffer the pains of royalty for life, are able to wait with patience for the natural period of their days. For, strange as it may appear, history does not furnish us with an instance, not even in Great Britain itself, of a king, who hanged, or drowned, or put himself to death in any other violent manner, from mere tedium, as other mortals, disgusted with life, are apt to do. I was at a loss to account for such an extraordinary fact, till I recollected that, however void of resources and activity the minds of monarchs may be, they are seldom allowed to rest in repose. The storms to which people in their lofty situation are exposed, occasion such agitations as prevent the stagnating slime of tedium from gathering on their minds. That kings do not commit suicide, therefore, affords only a very slender presumption of the happiness of their condition: although it is a strong proof, that all the hurricanes of life are not so insupportable to the human mind, as that insipid, fear
less, hopeless calm, which envelopes men who are devoid of mental enjoyments, and whose senses are palled with satiety. If there is any truth in the above representation of the regal condition, would not you imagine that of all others it would be the most shunned? Would not you imagine that every human being would shrink from it, as from certain misery ; and that at least every
wise man would say, with the poet,
envy none their pageantry and show,
I envy none the gilding of their woe! Not only every wise man, but every foolish man, will adopt the sentiment, and act accordingly; provided his rank in life removes him from the possibility of ever attaining the objects in question. For what is situated beyond the sphere of our hopes, very seldom excites our desires; but bring the powerful magnets a little nearer, and they attract the human passions with a force which reason and philosophy cannot controul. Placed within their reach, the wise and the foolish grasp with equal eagerness at crowns and sceptres, in spite of all the thorns with which they are surrounded. Their alluring magic seems to have the power of changing the very characters and natures of men. In pursuit of them, the indolent have been excited to the most active exertions, the voluptuous have renounced their darling pleasures, and even those who have long walked in the direct road of integrity, have deviated into all the crooked paths of villany and fraud,
There are passions, whose indulgence is so exceedingly flattering to the natural vanity of men, that they will gratify them, though persuaded that the gratification will be attended by disappointment and misery. The love of power and sovereignty is of this class. It has been a general belief, ever since the kingly office was established among men, that cares and anxiety were the constant at. tendants of royalty. Yet this general conviction never made a single person decline an opportunity of embarking on this sea of troubles. Every new adventurer flatters himself that he shall be guided by some happy star undiscovered by former navigators; and those who, after trial, have relinquished the voyage-Charles, Christina, Amadeus, and others—when they had quitted the helm, and were safely arrived in port, are said to have languished, all the rest of their lives, for that situation which their own experience taught them was fraught with misery.
Henry IV of England did not arrive at the throne by the natural and direct road. Shakespeare puts the following Address to Sleep into the mouth of this monarch.
O Sleep! O gentle Sleep!
Deny it to a king ? However eager 'and impatient this prince may have formerly been to obtain the crown, you would conclude that he was quite cloyed by possession at the time he made this speech; and therefore, at first sight, you would not expect that he should afterwards display any excesssve attachment to what gives him so much uneasiness. But Shakespeare, who knew the secret wishes, perverse desires, and strange inconsistences of the human heart, better than man ever knew them, makes this very Henry so tenaciously fond of that which he himself considered as the cause of all his inquietude, that he cannot bear to have the crown one moment out of his sight, but orders it to be placed on his pillow when he lies on his deathbed.
Of all diadems, the tiara, in my opinion, has the fewest charms; and nothing can afford a stronger proof of the strength and perseverance of man's passion for sovereign power, than our knowledge, that even this ecclesiastical crown is sought after with as much eagerness, perhaps with more, than any other crown in the world, although the candidates are generally in the decline of life, and all of a profession which avows the most perfect contempt of wordly grandeur. This appears the more wonderful when we reflect, that, over and above those sources of weariness and vexation, which the pope has in common with other sovereigns, he has some which are peculiar to himself. The tiresome religious functions which he must perform, the ungenial solitude of his meals, the exclusion of the company and conversation of women, restriction from the tenderest and most delightful connections in life, from the endearments of a parent, and the open acknowledgment of his own children; his mind oppressed with the gloomy reflection, that the man for whom he has the least regard, perhaps his greatest enemy, may be his immediate successor ; to which is added, the pain of seeing his influence, both spiritual and temporal, declining every day; and the mortification of knowing, that all his ancient lofty pretensions are laughed at by one-half of the Roman Catholics, all the Protestants, and totally disregarded by the rest of mankind. I know of nothing which can be put in the other scale to balance all those peculiar disadvantages which his holiness labours under, unless it is the singular felicity which he lawfully may, and no doubt does enjoy, in the contemplation of his own infallibility,
Rome. In their external deportment, the Italians have a grave solemnity of manner, which is sometimes thought to arise from a natural gloominess of disposition. The French, above all other nations, are apt to impute to melancholy, the sedate serious air which accompanies reflection.
Though in the pulpit, on the theatre, and even in common conversation, the Italians make use of a great deal of action ; yet Italian vivacity is different from French; the former proceeds from sensibility, the latter from animal spirits.
The inhabitants of this country have not the brisk look, and elastic trip, which is universal in France; they move rather with a slow composed pace: their spines never having been forced into a straight line, retain the natural bend ; and the people of the most finished fashion, as well as the neglected vulgar, seem to prefer the unconstrained attitude of the Antinous, and other antique statues, to the artificial graces of a French dancing-master, or the erect strut of a German soldier. I imagine I perceive a great resemblance between many of the living countenances I see daily, and the features of the ancient busts and statues; which leads me to believe, that there are a greater number of the genuine descendants of the old Romans in Italy, than is generally imagined.
I am often struck with the fine character of countenance to be seen in the streets of Rome. I never saw features more expressive of reflection, sense, and genius; in the very lowest ranks there are countenances which announce minds fit for the highest and most important situations; and we cannot help regretting, that those to whom they belong, have not received an education adequate to the natural abilities we are convinced they possess, and placed where these abilities could be brought into action.
Of all the countries in Europe, Switzerland is that in which the beauties of nature appear in the greatest va