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being unable to ford the River, took up a Resolution to wait, till the Stream was all run by:
Ther. Here, I fansy, We must take leave of your Countryman. If He adheres to his Resolution, We shall find Him in the very fame Situation, when Breakfast is over; and may resume our Subject, just where it is discontinued.
• Vain Man, defift: Such flatt'ring Hopes forego:
It flows, and flows, and will for ever flow.
Scenes of the Country are inexpressibly o pleasing. Take, who will, the gilded
de Saloon, and the silken Settee; so long as I can shelter myself under the Canopy of such a spreading Beech, and use one of its coarse, mis-fhapen Roots for my Seat.
'Tis true, We see no longer those splendid Brocades, and elegant Toupees, which distinguish the Park and the Mall. But we have, full in our View, a Multitude of honest Rustics; pursuing their chearful Labours in yonder Meadow. Some, mowing the luxuriant Herbage. Some, spreading it to the Sun, or raising it into regular Cocks. Others, loading their Waggons with the Hay, or clearing the
Ground with their Rakes. The Ground, cleared :: of its soft Incumbrance, appears freha and green,
like another Spring. While the Exhalations of the tedded Grass, floating in the Air, give a rural Perfume to the Gale.-And which, my Aspasio, which are the most valuable Objects ? The little Labourers of the Hive, that enrich themselves and regale their Masters ? Or the gay Flutterers of the Garden, whose whole Life is nothing but Sport; and their highest Character is, to be insignificantly pretty ? .
Afp. I understand you, Theron, and have the Satisfaction to agree with You. In this Retirement, We hear none of the wanton and corrupting Airs of the Opera; no, nor the majestic and ennobling Melody of the Oratorio *.-But We have a Band of Music, stationed in the Grove; and a Concert of native Harmony, warbling from the Boughs. We are entertained with the Mufic, which charmed the hunan. Ear, long before + Jubal found out his Instruments; and Thousands of Years before Handel composed his Notes.-The Bullfinch, and a Multitude of little tuneful Throats, strike the Key. The Thrush below, and the Sky-lark responsive from above, diversify and exalt the Strain. The Blackbird, somewhat like the solemn Organ, with Notes perfectly mellow, and gracefully sonorous, crowns the Choir. While the Turtle's melancholy Voice, and the murmuring Water's plaintive Tone, deepen and complete the universal Symphony.
* Majestic and ennobling.—This, I think, is the true Character, and expresses the real Tendency, of the Oratorio. Nevertheless, it may not be improper to observe; that if We carry a trilling or irreligious Spirit to the Entertainment; if We attend to the musical Airs, but disregard those sacred Truths, which enter into the Composition ; such a Behaviour will be little better than a Profanation of holy Things. I fear, it will be one Species of taking GOD's adorable and glorious Name in vain.
+ Gen. iv. 21.
This Music constituted the first Song of Thanksgiving, and formed the first vocal Praise, which the All-gracious CREATOR received, from his new-made World. This is neither the Parent of Effeminacy, nor a Pander for Vice; but refines the Affections, even while it amuses the Imagination. : Ther. Yes; all the Entertainments of Nature, are calculated to secure our Innocence, as well as to gratify our Fancy. And what is another very agreeable Circumstance, these Gratifications which afford the sublimest Pleasure, are exhibited gratis. While those, which enervate the Mind, and debauch the Affections, must be dearly purchased. Every one cannot gain Admittance into the Boxes or the Pit, when some celebrated Tragedy is brought upon the Stage. But every one may behold the beauteous Exhibitions of Spring, and the finished Productions of Autumn. All may contemplate the Machinery of Nature, and the Wonders of Creation. Thereby enjoying'a far more exquisite Amusement, without any of the Guilt, or any of the Danger. .
The Inhabitants of yonder Villages, have never beheld the splendid Procession, which folemnizes thë Coronation of a Monarch ; nor the gaudy Illuminations, which distinguish the Anniversary of his Birth: But they fee, almost every Morning, a much nobler Spectacle displayed in the East. They see the great Ruler of the Day, or rather the Envoy from Day's eternal SOVEREIGN; making his Entry amidst the Spaces of the Sky.-The Heavens are ftrewed with Colours, which outvie the Pinks and Carnations. The Grass is decked with Deiv-drops, and every Plant is ftrung, as it were, with Pearls. All VOL. I. - X 4
around the Darkness retires, and sweet refreshing Gales arise.-At length the magnificent Luminary appears. And what is all the oftentatious Pomp of Kings? What is all the Glitter of the most brilliant Courts? Compared with his transcendent Luftre? -This Spectacle we may behold, without Loss of Time, or Prejudice to Health. Nay, We cannot behold it, without improving one, and redeeming the other. So beneficial are even the Pleasures, which Nature yields ! So serviceable the very Diversions, to which she invites !
Afp. Thus gracious is the Almighty MAKER, in the Constitution of material Things. The Subftantial and the Valuable, are open to every One; are accessible by all. Only the Tinsel and the Trappings, are the Property of a Few; the poor Prerogative of Wealth.
No less gracious is GOD, in the Disposal of Spiritual Favours. These, though infinitely more excellent, yet are equally free. We are invited to buy them, without Money, and without Price *.. What do you give for the Benefits of the rising Sun, or the Delights of this rural Melody? The Case is much the same, with regard to the Righteousness, by which We are justified, and all the Blessings of Salvation.
Ther. This brings to our Remembrance the Countryman, whom we left on the Banks of the River, And, for aught I can see, Theron and the Rustic are pretty much upon a footing. The first, as far from acceding to your Notions; as the last, is from gaining his Point.
Asp. *' Isai. Ina Bo