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from the world, may be corrected by the urbanity of Society, and by the company and conversation of the learned and polite.*
PETRARCH, while in the prime of life, and amidst the happiest exertions of his extraordinary genius, quitted all the feducing charms of fociety, and retired from Love and Avignon, to indulge his mind in literary pursuits, and to relieve his heart from the unfortunate paffion by which it was enthralled. No fituation he conceived was fo favourable for thefe purposes as the highly romantic and delightful folitude of Vaucluse. It was fituated within view of the Mediterranean Sea, in a little valley, inclosed by a semi-circular barrier of rocks, on a plain as beautiful as the X 3 vale
* "I am fure," fays LORD SHAFTSBURY, "that both HOMER and VIRGIL heartily joined in a love of RETIRENot only the best authors, indeed, but the beft company, require this feafoning. Society cannot be rightly enjoyed, without abftinence and feparate thought. All grows infipid, dull, and tiresome, without the help of fome intervals of retirement. Lovers do not understand the intereft of their loves, who, by their good will, would never be parted for a moment. Friends are not difcreet who wish to live together on fuch terms. What relish then muft the world have, that common world of mixed and undistinguished company, without a little SOLITUDE? without stepping now and then afide out of the road and beaten track of life, that tedious circle of noise and fhew, which forces wearied mankind to feek relief from every poor diverfion?"
vale of Tempe. The rocks were high, bold, and grotesque; and the valley was divided by a river, along the banks of which were meadows and pastures of a perpetual verdure. A path, on the left fide of the river, led, in gentle windings, to the head of this vast amphitheatre. At the foot of the highest rock, and directly in front of the valley, was a prodigious cavern, hollowed by the hand of Nature, from whence arofe a fpring almost as celebrated as that of Helicon. The gloom of the cavern, which was acceffible when the waters were low, was tremendous. It confifted of two excavations; the one forming an arch of fixty feet high; and the other, which was within, of thirty feet. In the centre of this fubterraneous rock was an oval bafon, of one hundred and eight feet diameter, into which that copious ftream which forms the river SORGIA rifes filently, without even a jet or bubble. The depth of this bason has eluded all attempts to fathom it. In this charming retreat, while he vainly endeavoured, during a period of twenty years, to forget, he enabled himself to endure the abfence of his beloved LAURA, and to compare, with the highest fatisfaction, the pure pleasures of rural retirement with the falfe joys of a vicious and corrupted court, the manners and principles of which, indeed, he had always had good fenfe enough to discover and despise.
defpife. But this Solitude, with all its charms, could not at length prevent him from returning to the more fplendid and bufy fcenes of public life. The advantages he had derived from a retreat of twenty years would, he conceived, enable him to mix with the world, without the danger of being corrupted by its vices; and, after reasoning with himself for fome time in this way, he fuddenly abandoned the peaceful privacy of Vaucluse, and precipitated himself into the gayest and most active scenes of a luxurious city. The inhabitants of Avignon were amazed to behold the hermit of Vauclufe, the tender fugitive from Love, the philofophic contemner of Society, the eloquent champion of Solitude, who could fcarcely exift, except in the midst of romantic rocks and flowery forefts, fhining all at once the bright ftar of the fashionable hemisphere, and the choice fpirit of every private and public entertainment.
We're fadly ignorant, when we hope to find