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path we travelled in; but he was restrained from it by the kind endeavours of our abovementioned companion.
We had now gotten into the most dusky silent part of the island, and by the redoubled sounds of sighs, which made a doleful whistling in the branches, the thickness of air which occasioned faintish respiration, and the violent throbbings of heart which more and more affected us, we found that we approached the grotto of Grief. It was a wide, hollow, and melancholy cave, sunk deep in a dale, and watered by rivulets that had a colour between red and black. These crept slow and half congealed amongst its windings, and mixed their heavy murmurs with the echo of groans that rolled through all the passages. In the most retired part of it sat-the doleful being herself; the path to her was strewed with goads, stings; and thorns; and her throne on which she sat was broken into a rock, with ragged pieces pointing upwards for her to lean upon. A heavy mist hung above her; her head oppressed with it reclined upon her arm; thus did she reign over her disconsolate subjects, full of herself to stupidity, in eternal pensiveness and the profoundest silence. On one side of her stood Dejection just dropping into a swoon, and Paleness wasting to a skeleton; on the other side were Care inwardly tormented with imaginations, and Anguish suffering outward troubles to suck the blood from her heart in the shape of vultures. The whole vault had a genuine dismalness in it, which a few scattered lamps, whose bluish flames arose and sunk in their urns, discovered to our eyes with increase. Some of us fell down, over
come and spent with what they suffered in the way, and were given over to those tormentors that stood on either hand of the presence; others, galled and mortified with pain, recovered the entrance where Patience, whom we had left behind was still waiting to receive us.
• With her (whose company was now become more grateful to us by the want we had found of her) we winded round the grotto, and ascended at the back of it out of the mournful dale in whose bottom it lay. On this eminence we halted; by her advice, to pant for breath; and lifting our eyes, which till then were fixed downwards, felt a sullen sort of satisfaction, in observing through the shades what numbers had entered the island. This satisfaction, which appears to have ill-nature in it, was excusable, because it happened at a time when we were too much taken up with our own concerns to have respect to that of others; and therefore we did not consider them as suffering, but ourselves as not suffering in the most forlorn estate. It had also the groundwork of humanity and compassion in it, though the mind was then too dark and too deeply engaged to perceive it; but as we proceeded onwards, it began to discover itself, and, from observing that others were unhappy, we came to question one another when it was that we met and what were the sad occasions that brought us together. Then we heard our stories, we compared them, we mutually gave and received pity, and so by degrees became tolerable company:
• Å considerable part of the troublesome road was thus deceived; at length the openings among
the trees grew larger, the air seemed thinner, it lay with less oppression upon us, and we could now and then discern tracks in it of a lighter grayness, like the breakings of day, short in duration, much enlivening, and called in that country, Gleams of Amusement. Within a short while these gleams began to appear more frequent, and then brighter, and of a longer continuance; the sighs that hitherto filled the air with so much dolefulness, altered to the sound of common breezes, and in general the horrors of the island were abated.
When we had arrived at last at the ford by which we were to pass out, we met with those fashionable mourners who had been ferried over along with us, and who, being unwilling to go as far as we, had coasted by the shore to find the place, where they waited our coming; that, by showing themselves to the world only at the time when we did, they might seem also to have been among the troubles of the grotto." Here the waters that rolled on the other side so deep and silent were much dried up, and it was an easier matter for us to wade over. ::•The river being crossed, we were received upon the further bank by our friends and acquaintance, whom Comfort had brought out to congratulate our appearance in the world again. Some of these blamed us for staying so long away from them, others advised us against all temptations of going back again: every one was cautious not to renew our trouble, by asking any particulars of the journey; and all concluded, that in a case of so much melancholy and affliction we could not have made choice of a fitter companion than Patience. Here Patience, appearing serene at her praises, delivered us over to Comfort. Comfort smiled at his receiving the charge; immediately the sky purpled on that side to which he turned, and double day at once broke in upon me.
Melius, pejus, prosit, obsit, nit vident nisi quod lubent. ;
. , TER. Heaut. Better or worse, profitable or disadvantageous, they see nothing
but what they list.
WHEN men read, they taste the matter with which they are entertained according as their own respective studies and inclinations have prepared them, and make their reflections accordingly. Some perusing Roman writers would find in them, whatever the subject of the discourses were, parts which implied the grandeur of that people in their welfare or their politics. As for my part, who am a mere Spectator, I drew this morning conclusions of their eminence in what I think great, to wit, in having worthy sentiments, from the reading a comedy of Terence. The play was the Self-Tormentor. 'It is from the beginning to the end a perfect picture of human life, but I did not observe in the whole one passage that · could raise a laugh. How well disposed must that people be who could be entertained with satisfaction by so sober and polite mirth? In the first scene of the comedy, when one of the old men accuses the other of impertinence for interposing in his affairs, he answers, “I am a man, and can not help feeling any sorrow that can arrive at man. It is said, this sentence was réceived with an universal applause. There can not be a greater argument of the general good understanding of a people, than a sudden consent to give their approbation of a sentiment which has no emotion in it. If it were spoken with ever so great skill in the actor, the manner of uttering that sentence could have nothing in it which could strike any but people of the greatest humanity, nay, people elegant and skilful in observations upon it. It is possible he might have laid his hand on his breast, and with a winning insinuation in his countenance, expressed to his neighbour that he was a man who made his case his own; yet I'll engage a player in CoventGarden might hit such an attitude a thousand times before he would have been regarded. I have heard that a minister of state, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, had all manner of books and ballads brought to him,* of what kind soever, and took great notice how much they took with the people; upon which he would, and certainly might, very well judge of their present dispositions, and the most proper way of applying them according to his own purposes. What passes on the stage, and the reception it meets with from the audience, is a very useful instruction of this kind. According to what you may observe on