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world, thereby becomes more weak and helpless. Solitude in fuch cases increases the disorder while it foftens its effects. To eradicate the feeds of this dreadful malady, the imagination fhould be impreffed with fome new, contrary, and more powerful bias than that which fways the mind, which can only be turned from its courfe of thought by fhifting the objects of its reflection, and giving entrance to new defires. A melancholy mind, therefore, fhould be weaned by degrees from its difpofition to folitude, fhould be agreeably interrupted in its mufings, and be induced to relifh the varying pleasures of the world. But, above all, those scenes and fubjects which have any connection, however remotely, with the caufe of the complaint, muft be cautiously avoided. The feeds of this dreadful malady are in general very deeply planted in the conftitution of the patient, however accidental the circumftances may be which call it forth; and therefore the mind, even when relieved from its oppreffion, is, if left to itself, always
And MONTAIGNE was of opinion, that there is defign, confent, complacency in giving a man's felf up to MELANCHOLY; fome fhadow of delight and delicacy, which smiles upon and flatters us even in the very lap of Mifery. Some characters even feed upon it, as OVID obferves;
eft quædam flere voluptas:" "A certain kind of pleafure is to weep."
always in danger of relapfing into its former habit. This circumftance alone is fufficient to show how unfriendly SOLITUDE must be to the cure of this complaint. If, indeed, the patient be fo far gone as to leave no hope of recovery; if his defponding heart be incapable of no new impreffion; if his mind forgoes all cuftom of mirth; if he refuse to partake of any healthful exercise or agreeable recreation; and the foul finks day after day into deeper dejection, and threatens nature with madness or with death, SOLITUDE is the only resource. When melancholy feizes to a certain degree the mind of AN ENGLISHMAN, it almost uniformly leads him to put a period to his existence; while the worst effect it produces on A FRENCHMAN, is to induce him to turn Carthufian. Such diffimilar effects, proceeding from the operation of the same caufe, in different perfons, can only be accounted for from the greater opportunities which there is in France than in England to hide the forrows of the mind from the inspection of the world. An English hypochondriaft would, perhaps, feldom destroy himself, if there were in England any monaftic inftitution, to which he could fly from the eye of public obfervation.
The mind, in proportion as it loses its proper tone, and natural elafticity, decreases in its attachments
tachments to Society, and wishes to recede from the world and its concerns.* There is no diforder of the mind, among all the various causes by which it may be affected, that destroys its force and activity so entirely as melancholy. It unties, as it were, all the relations, both physical and moral, of which Society, in its most perfect ftate, confifts, and fets the foul free from all fenfe of obligation. The private link which unites the fpecies is deftroyed; all inclination to the common intercourses of life is loft; and the only remaining difpofition is for SOLITUDE. It is for this reafon that melancholy perfons are continually advised to frequent the theatre, masquerades, operas, balls, and other places of public
*The difguft which a melancholy mind feels of the world and its concerns, is finely described by SHAKESPEARE, in the fpeech which HAMLET makes to the two courtiers Rofincrantz and Guildenstern-" I have of late, but wherefore I know not, loft all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercife: and, indeed, it goes fo heavily with my difpofition, that this goodly frame, THE EARTH, feems to me a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy, THE AIR, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me, than a foul and peftilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is MAN! how noble in reafon! how infinite in faculties! in form, and moving, how exprefs and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehenfion, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! and yet, to me, what is this quinteffence of duft? MAN delights not me,-nor WOMAN neither.
public diverfion; to amuse themselves at home with cards, dice, or other games; or to infuse from the eyes of female beauty new life into their drooping fouls. Certain it is, that great advantages may be derived by detaching the mind from those objects by which it is tortured and confumed; but to run indiscriminately, and with injudicious eagerness, into the pursuit of pleafures, without any pre-disposition to enjoy them, may rather tend to augment than diminish the disease.
The eye of Melancholy views every object on its darkest and most unfavourable fide, and apprehends difaftrous confequences from every occurrence. These gloomy perceptions, which increase as the feelings become more indolent, and the conftitution more morbid, bring on habitual uneafiness and chagrin upon the mind, and render every injury, however fmall and trifling it may be, irksome and infupportable. A fettled dejection enfues; and the miferable patient avoids every scene in which his musings may be liable to interruption; the few enjoyments he is yet capable of feeling in any degree impeded; or which may call upon him to make the slightest exertion; and, by withdrawing himself from Society into Solitude, neglects the exercises and recreations by which his disease might be relieved. N Instead
Inftead of endeavouring to enlighten the dark gloom which involves his mind, and fubdues his foul, by regarding with a favourable eye all that gives a true value and high relish to men of found minds and lively difpofitions, he fondly follows the phantom which misleads him, and thereby finks himself more deeply into the moody fanes of irremeable melancholy: and if the bright rays of life and happiness penetrate by chance into the obfcurity of his retreat, instead of feeling any fatisfaction from the perception of chearfulness and content, he quarrels with the poffeffors of them, and converts their enjoyments into fubjects of grievance, in order to torment himfelf.*
* We cannot refuse ourselves the pleasure of presenting to our readers the following beautiful paffage upon this subject from FITZOSBORNE'S LETTERS. "I am perfuaded," fays this elegant writer, "this difguft of life is frequently indulged out of a principle of mere vanity. It is efteemed as a mark of uncommon refinement, and as placing a man above the ordinary level of his fpecies, to feem fuperior to the vulgar feelings of happiness. True good fenfe, however, moft certainly confists not in defpifing, but in managing, our stock of life to the beft advantage, as a chearful acquiefcence in the measures of Providence is one of the ftrongeft fymptoms of a well-constituted mind. Self weariness is a circumstance that ever attends folly; and to condemn our being is the greatest and, indeed, the peculiar infirmity of human nature. It is a noble fentiment which TULLY puts into the mouth of CATO, in his Treatife upon