Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

THE

ADVENTURER.

No. 94. SATURDAY, SEPT. 29, 1753.

Juv.

Monstro quod ipse tibi possis dare.

What I show,
Thyself may freely on thyself bestow.

DRYDEN.

" TO THE ADVENTURER.

" SIR,

“ You have somewhere discouraged the hope of idleness by showing, that whoever compares the number of those who have possessed fortuitous advantages, and of those who have been disappointed in their expectations, will have little reason to register himself in the lucky catalogue.

“ But as we have seen thousands snbscribe to a raffle, of which one only could obtain the prize; so idleness will still presume to hope, if the advantages, however improbable, are admitted to lie within the bounds of possibility. Let the drone, therefore, be told, that if by the error of fortune he obtains the stores of the bee, he cannot enjoy the felicity; that the honey which is not gathered by industry will be eaten without relish, if it is not wasted in riot; and that all who become possessed of the immediate object of their hope, without any

VOL. III.

B

[merged small][ocr errors]

sues its

[ocr errors]

efforts of their own, will be disappointed of enjoyment.

“No life can be happy but that which is spent in the prosecution of some purpose to which our powers are equal, and which we, therefore, prosecute with success; for this reason it is absurd to dread business upon pretence that it will leave few intervals to pleasure. Business is that by which industry purpurpose, and the

purpose of industry is seldom disappointed: he who endeavours to arrive at a certain point, which he perceives himself perpetually to approach, enjoys all the happiness which nature has allotted to those hours that are not spent in the immediate gratification of appetites by which our own wants are indicated, or of affections by which we are prompted to supply the wants of others. The end proposed by the busy is various as their temper, constitution, habits, and circumstances: but in the labour itself is the enjoyment, whether it be pursued to supply the necessaries or the conveniences of life, whether to cultivate a farm or decorate a palace; for when the palace is decorated, and the barn filled, the pleasure is at an end till the object of desire is again placed at a distance, and our powers are again employed to obtain it with apparent success. Nor is the value of life less than if our enjoyment did not thus consist in anticipation; for by anticipation, the pleasure which would otherwise be contracted within an hour is diffused through a week; and if the dread which exaggerates future evil is confessed to be an increase of misery, the hope which magnifies future good cannot be denied to be an accession of happiness.

“ The most numerous class of those who presume to hope for miraculous advantages is that of gamesters. But by gamesters, I do not mean the gentlemen who stake an estate against the cunning of

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

those who have none; for I leave the cure of lupatics to the professors of physic: I mean the dissolute and indigent: who in the common phrase put themselves in Fortune's way, and expect from her bounty that which they eagerly desire, and yet believe to be too dearly purchased by diligence and industry; tradesmen who neglect their business to squander in fashionable follies more than it can produce; and swaggerers who rank themselves with gentlemen merely because they have no business to pursue.

“The gamester of this class will appear to be equally wretched whether his hope be fulfilled or disappointed; the object of it depends upon a contingency, over which he has no influence; he pursues no purpose with gradual and imperceptible success, and, therefore, cannot enjoy the pleasure which arises from the anticipation of its accomplishment; his mind is perpetually on the rack; he is anxious in proportion to the eagerness of his desire, and his inability to effect it; to the pangs of suspense succeed those of disappointment; and a momentary gain only imbitters the loss that follows. Such is the life of him who shuns business because he would secure leisure for enjoyment; except it happens, against the odds of a million to one, that a run of success puts him into the possession of a sum sufficient to subsist him in idleness the remainder of his life; and in this case, the idleness which made him wretched while he waited for the bounty of fortune will necessarily keep him wretched after it is bestowed: he will find that in the gratification of his appetites he can fill but a small portion of his time, and that these appetites themselves are weakened by every attempt to increase the enjoyment which they were intended to supply; he will, therefore, either doze away life in a kind of listless indolence,

« ForrigeFortsett »