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SECTION VII.

ALTAMONT.

The following account of an affecting, mournful exit, is related by Dr. Young, who was prefent at the melancholy fcene.

THE fad evening before the death of that noble youth, whose last hours fuggefted these thoughts, I was with him. No one was there, but his phyfician, and an intimate whom he loved, and whom he had ruined. At my coming in, he faid,-" You and the phyfician are come too late.-I have neither life nor hope. You both aim at miracles. You would raise the dead!"

Heaven, I faid, was merciful-" Or," exclaimed he," I could not have been thus guilty. What has it not done to blefs, and to fave me?-I have been too ftrong for Omnipotence! I have plucked down ruin."I faid, the blefsed Redeemer,-"Hold! hold! you wound me!-That is the rock on which 'I fplit-I denied his name!"

Refufing to hear any thing from me, or take any thing from the phyfician, he lay filent, as far as fudden darts of pain would permit, till the clock ftruck: Then with vehemence ;-" Oh! time! time! it is fit thou shouldft thus ftrike thy murderer to the heart !— How art thou fled for ever!-A month!-Oh, for a fingle week! I afk not for years; though an age were too little for the much I have to do."

On my faying, we could not do too much; that heaven was a blessed place

"So much the worfe.-'Tis loft! 'tis loft!-Heaven is to me the fevereft part of hell!”

Soon after I propofed prayer. "Pray you that can. I never prayed. I cannot pray:-Nor need I. Is

not Heaven on my fide already? It clofes with my confcience. Its feverest strokes but fecond my own.”

His friend being much touched, even to tears at this (who could forbear? I could not)-with a most. affectionate look, he faid, "Keep thofe tears for thyself. I have undone thee.-Doft weep for me? that's cruel. What can pain me more?"

Here his friend, too much affected, would have left him." No, ftay-thou ftill mayft hope;-therefore hear me. How madly have I talk'd! How madly hast thou listened, and believed! but look on my present state, as a full answer to thee, and to myself. This body is all weakness and pain; but my foul, as if ftung up by torment to greater ftrength and fpirit, is full powerful to reafon; full mighty to fuffer. And that, which thas triumphs within the jaws of immortality, is, doubtlefs, immortal-And, as for a Deity, nothing less than an Almighty could inflict what I feel."

I was about to congratulate this passive, involuntary confessor, on his afserting the two prime articles of his creed, extorted by the rack of nature, when he thus, very passionately:-" No, no! let me speak on.. I have not long to speak.-My much injured friend! my foul, as my body, lies in ruins; in fcattered fragments of broken thought-Remorfe for the past, throws my thought on the future. Worfe dread of the future, ftrikes it back on the paft. I turn, and turn, and find no ray. Didft thou feel half the mountain that is on me, thou wouldst ftruggle with the martyr for his ftake; and bless Heaven for the flames!

that is not an everlafting flame; that is not an unquenchable fire."

How were we ftruck! yet, foon after, ftill more. With what an eye of diftraction, what a face of de

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fpair! he cried out:-"My principles have poifoned my friend; my extravagance has beggared my boy! unkindness has murdered my wife!-And is there another hell?-Oh! thou blafphemed, yet indulgent LORD GOD! Hell itself is a refuge, if it hide me from thy frown!"

Soon after his understanding failed. His terrified imagination uttered horrors not to be repeated, or ever forgotten. And ere the fun (which, I hope, has feen few like him) arose, the gay, young, noble, ingenious, accomplished, and most wretched Altamont, expired!

If this is a man of pleafure, what is a man of pain? How quick, how total, is their tranfit! In what a difmal gloom they fet for ever! How fhort, alas! the day of their rejoicing!-For a moment they glitter— they dazzle. In a moment, where are they? Oblivion covers their memories. Ah! would it did! Infamy fnatches them from oblivion. In the long-living annals of infamy their triumphs are recorded. Thy fufferings ftill bleed in the bofom, poor Altamont! of the heart-ftricken friend-for Altamont had a friend. He might have had many. His tranfient morning might have been the dawn of an immortal day. His name might have been gloriously enrolled in the records of eternity. His memory might have left a fweet fragrance behind it, grateful to the furviving friend, falutary to the fucceeding generation. With what capacities was he endowed! with what advantages, for being greatly good! But with the talents of an angel, a man may be a fool. If he judges amifs in the fupreme point, judging right in all elfe, but aggravates his folly; as it shows him wrong, though blefsed with the beft capacity of being right.

DR. YOUNG.

CHAPTER VII.

DIALOGUES.

SECTION 1.

DEMOCRITUS AND HERACLITUS *.

The Vices and Follies of Men Should excite Compafsion rather

than Ridicule.

I

DEMOCRITUS.

FIND it impossible to reconcile myself to a melancholy philofophy.

HERACLITUS.

And I am equally unable to approve of that vain philofophy, which teaches men to despise and ridicule one another. To a wife and feeling mind, the world appears in a wretched and painful light.

DEMOCRITUS,

Thou art too much affected with the state of things; and this is a fource of mifery to thee.

HERACLITUS.

And I think thou art too little moved by it. Thy mirth and ridicule bespeak the buffoon, rather than the philofopher. Does it not excite thy compafsion, to fee mankind fo frail, fo blind, fo far departed from the rules of virtue?

* Democritus and Heraclitus were two ancient philofophers, the former of whom laughed, and the latter wept, at the errors and follies of mankind.

DEMOCRITUS.

I am excited to laughter, when I fee fo much impertinence and folly.

HERACLITUS.

And yet, after all, they, who are the objects of thy ridicule, include, not only mankind in general, but the perfons with whom thou liveft, thy friends, thy family, nay even thyself.

DEMOCRITUS.

I care very little for all the filly perfons I meet with; and think I am juftifiable in diverting myself with their folly.

HERACLITUS.

If they are weak and foolish, it marks neither wifdom nor humanity, to infult rather than pity them. But is it certain, that thou art not as extravagant as they are?

DEMOCRITUS.

I prefume that I am not; fince, in every point, my fentiments are the very reverse of theirs.

HERACLITUS.

There are follies of different kinds. By conftantly amufing thyself with the errors and mifconduct of others, thou mayft render thyself equally ridiculous and culpable.

DEMOCRITUS.

Thou art at liberty to indulge fuch fentiments; and to weep over me too, if thou haft any tears to spare. For my part, I cannot refrain from pleafing myself with the levities and ill-conduct of the world about me. Are not all men foolish or irregular in their lives?

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