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Lord of the generous arts, that win command,
By noble counsel, or by valorous hand,
He knew no rivals in the dastard knaves,
Who spring to wealth from Lucre's base-born slaves; 20
One, on whose breast with more resplendent fire
But jocund was its hall; and gay the feast
Rough were the scenes, as was the master's mind,
When War's alarms no more around him rag'd,
From morn to eve, woods, plains, and vales and hills
No toil fatigues him, and no danger stays;
Then home to gorgeous halls and blazing fires,
O age of luxury! O days of ease!
The restless, vigorous, soul ye ne'er can please!
And heath and sunshine all the landscape fills;
And fiends of Hell, and sprites of loathsome Pain,
The loaded bosom purge, and bid it flame
Of blest Ambition, up to Heaven aspire!"*
* I had just finished this Essay, when I received the two following from a most valuable and respected Correspondent.
No. II. On the effects of rural scenery. "These are thy glorious works, Parent of good!" MILTON.
THE pride and vanity of man, in order to distinguish him from the inferior animals of the creation, instead of having recourse to that reason by which he alone was formed "after the image" and "in the likeness" of his Maker, has led him to imagine a thousand frivolous and trifling marks of difference. Hence one philosopher defines him to be a laughing, and another a weeping animal. One makes the chief criterion between him and brutes, to be, that he walks upon two legs and is not covered with feathers; and another, with an affectation of piety, that he walks upon two legs and looks up to heaven; "Os Hominis sublime dedit, cœlumque tueri jussit." One, that he is the most perfect of creatures; and another, that he is the most helpless. So that, in short, the most inconsiderable varieties of form and manners have served them as sufficient foundations on which to build the most important of all generic distinctions; although in reality a negro, from under the equator, differs more in mere external appearance from a Greenlander, or an inhabitant of Terra del Fuego, than either of them does from several other animals.
But though it may be very truly asserted, and few 'persons will now be disposed to contradict it, that the only real and certain difference between us and all other creatures, consists in the inestimable gift of reason; still this does not completely solve the
difficulty; for beasts also have some degree of understanding; and the wisest of men have never yet been able to explain the exact analogy which the internal faculties of the "half reasoning elephant," and the acute instinct of the dog, bear to our boasted understanding.
There is however one faculty of man, connected indeed with reason; but wholly independent of the exercise of its higher powers, which has, I believe, been entirely overlooked in all the various speculations upon this subject, and which yet seems to form a very marked ground of distinction between the human race and brutes. This is the delight occasioned to the mind by rural scenery; so that I would define man as an "animal capable of receiving pleasure from the beauties of Nature." Of this there is not the least ground for supposing that other creatures are at all susceptible. No horse, or dog, has ever been observed to stop to enjoy the view from a hill; to admire the rising or setting sun; or to choose to repose in a shady valley unless from the want of its shelter from the heat. A dog indeed will frisk in the snow, and, as Cowper says, will
"Shake his powder'd coat, and bark for joy:"
but he is never seen to admire the frozen fog which hangs on the tree, nor the glitter of the sunbeams on the icicle which is suspended from the roof; and the horse bounds over the verdant mead with as much pleasure in a dreary marsh as on the mountain's top,
But if this be greater, still perhaps it may be said