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vice, and the fatiguing prate of fenfeless folly. During this miferable impotence of foul, and while I vainly fought a temporary relief of my own calamity, I was hourly affailed by a crowd of wretched fouls, who implored me to afford them my profeffional aid, to alleviate those pains which time, alas! had fixed in their conftitutions, and which depended more on the management and reformation of their own minds than on the powers of medicine to cure. For
I could not minister to a mind diseased,
To avoid these painful importunities, I flew from the taftelefs fcene with abrupt and angry violence; and, confining myself to the folitude of my apartments, paffed the lingering day in dreary dejection, mufing on the melancholy groupe from which I had just escaped. But my home did not long afford me an afylum. I was on the enfuing day affailed by a host of hypochondriafts, attended by their respective advisers, who, while my own nervous malady was raging at its full height, ftunned me with the various details of their imaginary woes, and excruciated
me the whole day with their unfounded ails and tormenting lamentations. The friendly approach of night at length relieved me from their importunities; but my fpirits had been fo exhaufted, my feelings fo vexed, my patience fo tired, and the fenfibilities of my mind so aggravated, by the perfecution I had endured, that
"Tir'd Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep,"
fled from my eyes; and I lay restless upon my couch, alive only to my miferies, in a state of anguish more infupportable than my bitterest enemies would, I hope, have inflicted on me. About noon on the enfuing day, while I was endeavouring to procure on the fofa a fhort repose, the Princefs ORLOw, accompanied by two other very agreeable Ruffian ladies, whose company and conversation it was both my pride and my pleafure frequently to enjoy, fuddenly entered my apartment, to enquire after my health, of the ftate of which they had received an account only a few hours before: but fuch was the petulance of temper into which my difordered mind betrayed me, that I immediately rofe, and, with incivil vehemence, requested they would not disturb me. The fair intruders inftantly left the room. About an hour afterwards, and while I was reflecting on the impropriety of my con
duct, the Prince himself honoured me with a vifit. He placed himself on a chair clofe by the couch on which I lay, and, with that kind affection which belongs to his character, enquired, with the tendereft and moft fympathizing concern, into the cause of my diforder. There was a charm in his kindness and attention that foftened, in fome degree, the violence of my pains. He continued his vifit for fome time; and when he was about to leave me, after premising that I knew him too well to suspect that superstition had any influence in his mind, faid, "Let me advise you, whenever you find yourself in so waspish and petulant a mood, as you must have been in when you turned the Princess and her companions out of the room, to endeavour to check the violence of your temper; and I think you will find it an excellent expedient for this purpose, if, while any friend is kindly enquiring after your health, however averse you may be at the moment to fuch an enquiry, instead of driving him fo uncivilly away, you would employ yourself in a filent mental repetition of The Lord's Prayer; it might prove very falutary, and would certainly be much more fatisfactory to your mind." No advice could be better imagined than this was to divert the emotions of impatience, by creating in the mind new objects of attention, and turning the raging current of diftempered thought into a P 2
more pure and peaceful channel. Experience, indeed, has enabled me to announce the efficacy and virtue of this expedient. I have frequently, by the practice of it, defeated the fury of the petulant paffions, and completely subdued many of those acerbities which vex and teize us in the hours of grief, and during the forrows of fickness. Others also, to whom I have recommended it, have experienced from it fimilar effects. The Prince," my guide, philofopher, and friend," a few weeks after he had given me this wife and falutary advice, confulted me respecting the difficulty he frequently laboured under in fuppreffing the violence of those transports of affection which he bore towards his young and amiable confort, and which, in a previous conversation on philofophic fubjects, I had seriously exhorted him to check, under a conviction, that a fteady flame is more permanent and pure than a raging fire. He afked me, with fome concern, what expedient I could recommend to him as most likely to control thofe emotions which happy lovers are fo anxious to indulge. "My dear friend," I replied, "there is no expedient can furpass your own; and whenever the intemperance of paffion is in danger of fubverting the dictates of reason, repeat the Lord's Prayer, and I have no doubt you will foil its fury."
When the mind is thus enabled to check and regulate the effects of the paffions, and bring back the temper to its proper tone and rational bias, the ferenity and calmnefs of SOLITUDE affifts the atchievement, and completes the victory. It is then so far from infufing into the mind the virulent poifons we have before described, that it affords a foft and pleafing balm to the foul; and, instead of being its greatest enemy, becomes its highest bleffing and its warmest friend.
Solitude, indeed, as I have already obferved, is far from betraying well-regulated minds either into the miseries of melancholy, or the dangers of excentricism. It raifes a healthy and vigorous imagination to its nobleft production, elevates it when dejected, calms it when disturbed, and reftores it, when partially difordered, to its natural tone. It is, as in every other matter, whether phyfical or moral, the abuse of SOLITUDE which renders it dangerous: like every powerful medicine, it is attended, when mifapplied, with the most mischievous confequences; but when properly administered, is pleasant in its taste, and highly falutary in its effects. He who knows how to enjoy it, can
To live in SOLITUDE is with TRUTH to dwell;