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bellyache neither will creditors insult thee, nor want oppress, nor hunger bite, nor nakedness freeze thee. The whole hemisphere will shine brighter, and pleasure spring up in every corner of thy heart. Now, therefore, embrace these rules and be happy. Banish the bleak winds of sorrow from thy mind, and live independent. Then shalt thou be a man, and not hide thy face at the approach of the rich, nor suffer the pain of feeling little when the sons of fortune walk at thy right hand: for independence, whether with little or much, is good fortune, and placeth thee on even ground with the proudest of the golden fleece. Oh, then, be wise, and let industry walk with thee in the morning, and attend thee until thou reachest the evening hour for rest. Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul, and never forget to have a penny when all thy expenses are enumerated and paid: then shalt thou reach the point of happiness, and independence shall be thy shield and buckler, thy helmet and crown; then shall thy soul walk upright, nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which offers it wears a ring set with diamonds.
THE HANDSOME AND DEFORMED LEG.
THERE are two sorts of people in the world, who, with equal degrees of health and wealth, and the other comforts of life, become, the one happy and the other miserable. This arises very much from the different views in which they consider things, persons, and events, and the effect of those different views upon their own minds.
In whatever situation men can be placed, they
may find conveniences and inconveniences; in whatever company, they may find persons and conversation more or less pleasing; at whatever table, they may meet with meats and drinks of better and worse taste, dishes better and worse dressed; in whatever climate, they will find good and bad weather; under whatever government, they may find good and bad laws, and good and bad administration of those laws; in whatever poem or work of genius, they may see faults and beauties; in almost every face and every person, they may discover fine features and defects, good and bad qualities.
Under these circumstances, the two sorts of people above mentioned fix their attention, those who are disposed to be happy on the conveniences of things, the pleasant parts of conversation, the welldressed dishes, the goodness of the wines, the fine weather, &c., and enjoy all with cheerfulness. Those who are to be unhappy, think and speak only of the contraries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and by their remarks sour the pleasures of society, offend personally many people, and make themselves everywhere disagreeable. If this turn of mind was founded in nature, such unhappy persons would be the more to be pitied. But as the disposition to criticise and to be disgusted is, perhaps, taken up originally by imitation, and is, unawares, grown into a habit, which, though at present strong, may nevertheless be cured; when those who have it are convinced of its bad effects on their felicity, I hope this little admonition may be of service to them, and put them on changing a habit which, though in the exercise it is chiefly an act of imagination, yet has serious consequences in life, as it brings on real griefs and misfortunes. For, as many are offended by, and nobody loves this sort of people, no one shows them more than the most common civility and respect, and scarcely that; and this frequently puts them
out of humour, and draws them into disputes and contentions. If they aim at obtaining some advantage in rank or fortune, nobody wishes them success, or will stir a step or speak a word to favour their pretensions. If they incur public censure or disgrace, no one will defend or excuse, and many join to aggravate their misconduct, and render them completely odious. If these people will not change this bad habit, and condescend to be pleased with what is pleasing, without fretting themselves and others about the contraries, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them, which is always disagreeable, and sometimes very inconvenient, especially when one finds one's self entangled in their quarrels.
An old philosophical friend of mine was grown, from experience, very cautious in this particular, and carefully avoided any intimacy with such people. He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer to show him the heat of the weather, and a barometer to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there being no instrument invented to discover, at first sight, this unpleasing disposition in a person, he for that purpose made use of his legs; one of which was remarkably handsome, the other, by some accident, crooked and deformed. If a stranger, at the first interview, regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him. If he spoke of it, and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my philosopher to have no farther acquaintance with him. Everybody has not this two-legged instrument; but every one, with a little attention, may observe signs of that carping, fault-finding disposition, and take the same resolution of avoiding the acquaintance of those infected with it. I therefore advise those critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy people, that, if they wish to be respected and beloved by others and happy in themselves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg.
ON HUMAN VANITY.
MR. FRANKLIN, Meeting with the following curious little piece the other day, I send it to you to republish, as it is now in very few hands. There is something so elegant in the imagination, conveyed in so delicate a style, and accompanied with a moral so just and elevated, that it must yield great pleas-·· ure and instruction to every mind of real taste and virtue.
Cicero, in the first of his Tusculan questions, finely exposes the vain judgment we are apt to form of human life compared with eternity. In illustrating this argument, he quotes a passage of natural history from Aristotle, concerning a species of insects on the banks of the river Hypanis, that never outlive the day in which they are born.
To pursue the thought of this elegant writer, let us suppose one of the most robust of these Hypanians, so famed in history, was in a manner coeval with time itself; that he began to exist at break of day, and that, from the uncommon strength of his constitution, he has been able to show himself active in life, through the numberless minutes of ten or twelve hours. Through so long a series of seconds, he must have acquired vast wisdom in his way, from observation and experience.
He looks upon his fellow-creatures who died about noon to be happily delivered from the many inconveniences of old age; and can, perhaps, recount to his great grandson a surprising tradition of actions before any records of their nation were extant. The young swarm of Hypanians, who may be advanced one hour in life, approach his person with respect, and listen to his improving discourse. Everything he says will seem wonderful to their short-lived generation. The compass of a day will
be esteemed the whole duration of time; and the first dawn of light will, in their chronology, be styled the great era of their creation.
Let us now suppose this venerable insect, this Nestor of Hypania, should, a little before his death, and about sunset, send for all his descendants, his friends and his acquaintances, out of the desire he may have to impart his last thoughts to them, and to admonish them with his departing breath. They meet, perhaps, under the spacious shelter of a mushroom, and the dying sage addresses himself to them after the following manner:
"Friends and fellow-citizens! I perceive the longest life must, however, end: the period of mine is now at hand; neither do I repine at my fate, since my great age has become a burden to me, and there is nothing new to me under the sun: the changes and revolutions I have seen in my country, the manifold private misfortunes to which we are all. liable, the fatal diseases incident to our race, have abundantly taught me this lesson, that no happiness can be secure and lasting which is placed in things that are out of our power. Great is the uncertainty of life! A whole brood of our infants have perished in a moment by a keen blast! Shoals of our straggling youth have been swept into the ocean by an unexpected breeze! What wasteful desolation have we not suffered from the deluge of à sudden shower! Our strongest holds are not proof against a storm of hail, and even a dark cloud damps the very stoutest heart.
"I have lived in the first ages, and conversed with insects of a larger size and stronger make, and, I must add, of greater virtue than any can boast of in the present generation. I must conjure you to give yet further credit to my latest words, when I assure you that yonder sun, which now appears westward, beyond the water, and seems not to be far distant from the earth, in my remembrance