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years within the suburbs of Bagdat, in i I still wished to fee diftant coun. " every pleasure that wealth ean pura • tries, listened with rapture to the rela" chafe, and fancy can invent. I will tions of travellers, and resolved fome " then retire to a rural dwelling, pass « time to ack my dismission, that I might “ my last days in obfcurity and con- • feait my soul with novelty; but my "templation, and lie filently down on presence was always necessary, and " the bed of death. Through my life « the stream of bufiness hurried me " is thall be my settled refolution, that along. Sometimes I was afraid lex I * I will never depend upon the smile of should be charged with ingratitude; “ princes; that I will never stand ex- .but I still proposed to travel, and “posed to the artifices of courts; I will a therefore would not confine myself by " dever pant for publick honours, nor • marriage. "disturb my quiet with affairs of state. • In my fiftieth year I began to fv. • Such was my scheme of life, which spect that the time of travelling wa I impressed indelibly upon my me- • past, and thought it best to lay hold . mory.
• on the felicity yer in my power, and · The firit part of my enfuing time indulge myself in domestick pleasures. ' was to be fpent in search of know. But at fifty no man easily finds a wo.
ledge, and I know not how I was di- . man beautiful as the Houries, and • verted from my design. I had no vi. I wise as Zobeide. I enquired and re
fible impediments without, nor any 'jected, consulted and deliberated, till ungovernable paffions within. I re- • the fixty-second year:nade me ashamed
garded knowledge as the highest ho- • of gazing upon girls. I had now no. . nour and the most engaging pleasure; ' thing left but retirement, and for re
yet day stole upon day, and month'tirement I never found a time, till dirglided after month, till I found that
cease forced me from publick employ'seven years of the first ten had vanish.ed, and left nothing behind them. I . Such was my scheme, and such has
Dow poftponed my purpose of tra- • been it's consequence. With an in. velling; for why should I go abroad • satiable thirst for knowledge, I trifled ' while so much remained to be learned a way
years of improvement; with at home? I immured myself for four a restless defire of teeing different ' years, and Itudied the laws of the em- countries, I have always resided in the
pire. The fame of my skill reached 6 same city; with the highest expe&tathe judges; I was found able to speak . tion of connubial felicity, I have lived upon doubtful questions, and was unmarried; and with unalterable re. commanded to stand at the footstool of • solutions of contemplative retirement,
the Calif. I was heard with attention, ' I am going to die within the walls of "I was consulted with confidence, and • Bagdat.'
the love of praise faitesed on my heart.
No CII. SATURDAY, MARCH 29. I is
T very feldom happens to man that commonly performed with re’uctance, is done from necessity, is so often to be own lives. Statesmen, courtiers, ladies, done when against the present inclina- generals, and seamen, have given to the tion, and so often fills the mind with world their own ttories, and the events anxiety, that an habitual dislike steals with which their different stations have apon us, and we shrink involuntarily made them acquainted. They retired from the remembrance of our task. This to the closet as to a place of quiet and is the reason why almost every one wishes amusement, and plealed themselves with to quit bis employment; he does not like writing, because they could lay down another state, but is disgusted with his the pen whenever they were weary. But own.
the author, however conspicuous, or From this unwillingness to perform however important, either in the publick more than is required of that which is eye or in his own, leaves his life to be related by his successors, for he cannot footmen serve him with attention and gratify his vanity but by facrificing his alacrity; he may be fure that his work cale.
has been praised by some leader of litee. It is commonly supposed that the uni. rary fashions, formity of a studious life affords no Of declining reputation the symptoms matter' for narration : but the truth is, are not less ealily observed. If the authat of the most itudious life a great thor enters a coffee-house, he has a box pant palles without Itudy. An author to himself; if he calls at a bookseller's, partakes of the common condition of the boy turns his back; and what is the bumanity; he is born and married like most fatal of all prognosticks, authors another man; he has hopes and fears, will visit hin in a morning, and talk to expectations and disappointments, griefs hin hour after hour of the malevolence and joys, and friends and enemies, like of criticks, the neglect of merit, the a courtier or a statesman; nor can I baci talte of the age, and the candour of conceive 'why his affairs should not ex. pofterity: cite curiosity as much as the whisper of All this modified and varied by acci.. a drawing-room, or the factions of a dent and costom would form very amuscamp .
ing scenes of biography, and might reNothing detains the reader's attention create many a mind which is very little more powerfully than deep involutions delighted with conspiracies or battles, of diftrets, or luidden vicissitudes of for- intrigues of a court, or debates of a tune; and these might be aburidantly parliansent: to this might be added all afforded by
memoirs of the fons of lj- the changes of the countenance of a paterature. They are intangled by con. tron, traced from the first glow which tracts which they know not how to ful. fiattery rises in his cheek, through arfi!, and obliged to write on fubjects dour of fondness, vehemence of pro. which they do not underitand. Every mise, magnificence of praise, excuse of publication is a new period of time from delay, and lamentation of inability, to which fome encrease or declension of the last chill look of final dismission, Eu me is to be reckoneri. The grada- when the one grows weary of foliciting, tions of a hero's life are from battle to and the other of hearing solicitation. battle, and of an author's from book to Thus copious are the materials which book.
have been hitherto fuffered to lie negSuccess and miscarriage have the fame lected, while the repositories of every effects in all conditions. The prosper- family that has produced a foldier or a eus are feared, hated, and flattered; and minister are ransacked, and libraries are the unfortunate avoided, pities, and de- crouded with useless folios of state pafiled. No sooner is a book published pers which will never be read, and which han the writer may judge of the opinion contribute nothing to valuable knowon the world. If his acquaintance press lauge. round him in publick places, or falute I hope the learned will be taught to him from the other fide of the treet; if know their own strength and their va. invitations to dinner come thick upon lue, and instead of devosing their lives him, and those with whom he dines to the honour of those who feldom thank keep him to fupper; if the ladies turn them for their labours, refolve at last to to hiin when his coat is plain, and the do juitice to themfelves.
N° CIII. SATURDAY, APRIL 5.
RESPICERE AD LONGA JUSSIT SPATIA ULTIMA VITA.
mankind arises from the conjec. his imagination to represent to him what tures which every one makes of the his readers will say of think when they ihoughts of others; we all enjoy praise are informed that they have now his lait which we do not hear, and refent con- paper in their hands. tempt which we do not see. The Idler Value is more frequently raifed by
Scarcity than by use. That which lay we are forced to say of something, This deglected when it was common, rises in is the last. estimation as it's quantity becomes less. An even and unvatied tenour of life We feldom learn the true want of what always hides from our apprehension the we have till it is discovered that we can approach of it's end. Succession is not have no more.
perceived but by variation; he that lives This essay will, perhaps, be read with to-day as he lived yesterday, and expects care even by those who have not yet at- that as the present day is, such will be the tended to any other; and he that finds morrow, easily conceives time as running this late attention recompensed, will not in a circle, and returning to itself. The forbear to wish that he had bestowed it uncertainty of our duration is impressed fooner.
commonly hy diffimilitude of condition; Though the Idler and his readers have it is only by finding life changeable that contracted no close friendship, they are we are reminded of it's fhortness. perhaps both unwilling to part. · There This convi&tion, however forcible at are few things not purely evil, of which every new impression, is every moment we can say, without some emotion of fading from the mind; and partly by uneaGness, This is the laft. Those who the inevitable incursion of new images, never could agree together, thed tears and partly by voluntary exclusion of when mutual discontent has determined unwelconie thoughts, we are again ex. them to final separation; of a place posed to the universal fallacy; and we which has been frequently
visited, though mult do another thing for the last time, without pleasure, the last look is taken before we consider that the time is nigh with heaviness of heart; and the Idler, when we shall do no more. with all his chillness of tranquillity, is As the last Idler is published in that not wholly unaffected by the thought solemn week which the Chriltian world that his laft eflay is now before him. has always set apart for the examination
This secret horrour of the last is ipse of the conscience, the review of life, parable from a thinking being, whose the extinction of earthly desires, and the life is limited, and to whom death is renovation of holy purposes, I hope that dreadful. We always make a secret my readers are already disposed to view comparison between a part and the every incident with seriousness, and imwhole; the termination of any period of prove it by meditation; and that when life reminds us that life itself has like they see this series of trifles brought to wife it's termination; when we have a conclusion, they will consider that, done any thing for the lait time, we in- by outliving the Idler, they have passed voluntarily reflect that a part of the days weeks, months, and years, which are allotted us is past, and that as more is now no longer in their power; that an paft there is less remaining.
end must in time be put to everything It is very happily and kindly pro- great as to every thing little; that to vided, that in every life there are cer- life must coine it's last hour, and to this tain pauses and interruptions, which fyftem of being it's last day, the hour force confideration upon the careless, at which probation ceases, and repentand seriousness upon the light; points ance will be vain; the day in which of time where one course of action ends every work of the hand, and imaginaand another begins: and by vicissitude tion of the hear shall be brought to of fortune, or alteration of employment, judgment, and an everlasting futurity by change of place, or loss of friendthip, Thall be determined by the past.
C Ο Ν Τ Ε Ν Τ S.
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VOLUME THE FIRST.
Invitation to Correspondents,
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