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objects of their affection with extravagant transport; they transfer to them their own dispositions ; they make no allowance for differences of condition or state of mind; and expect returns suitable to their own 'unreasonable ardours. They are disappointed; they feel pain; in proportion to the violence of the disappointed passion, is the pang of repulse. This rouses a sense of wrong, and excites their resentment. The new feelings operate with as much force as the former. No enquiry is made concerning the reasonableness of the conduct they would produce. Resentment and indignation are felt; and merely because they are felt, they are deemed just and becoming.
Cordelia was the favourite daughter of Lear. Her sisters had replied to him, with an extravagance suited to the extravagance of his affection. He expected much more from Cordelia. Yet her reply was better suited to the relation that subsisted between them, than to the fondness of his present humour. He is disappointed, pained, and provoked. No gentle advocate resides in his bosom to mitigate the rigour of his displeasure. He follows the blind impulse' of his resentment; reproaches and abandons Cordelia.
Let it be so; thy truth then be thy dower :
Unhappy are they who have established no system concerning the character of their friends; and who have ascertained, by the aid of reason or observation, no measure of their virtues or infirmities. No affectionate inmate possesses their bosoms, the vicegerent of indulgent affection, to plead in your behalf, if from inadvertency, or the influence of a wayward, but transient mood, affecting either you or themselves, you act differently from your wonted conduct, or differently from their expectations. Thus their appearances are as variable as that of the camelion: they now shine with the fairest colours; and in an instant they are changed into sable. In vain would you ask for a
You may enquire of the winds; or question their morning dreains. Yet they are ardent in protestations ; they give assurances of lasting attachment; bui they are not to be trusted. Not that they intend to deceive you. They have no such intention. They are vessels without rudder or anchor, driven by every blast that blows. Their assurances are the colours impressed by a sunbeam on the breast of a watery cloud: they are formed into a beautiful figure: they shine for a moment with every exquisite tint; in a moment they vanish, and leave nothing but a drizzly shower in their stead.
III. Those who are guided by inconsiderate feeling, will often appear variable in their conduct, and of course irresolute. There is no variety of feeling to which persons of great sensibility are more liable, than that of great elevation or depression of spirits. The sudden and unaccountable transitions from the one to the other, are not less striking, than the vast difference of which we are conscious in the one mood or in the other. In an elevated state of spirits, we form projects, entertain hopes, conceive ourselves capable of great exertion, think highly of ourselves, and in this hour of transport, undervalue obstacles or opposition. In a moment of depression, the scene is altered: the sky lowers; nature ceases to smile; or if she smile, it is not to us; we feel ourselves feeble, forsaken, and hopeless; all things, human and divine, have conspired against us. Having no adequate opinion of ourselves, or no just apprehension of the state of opinions concerning us, we think that no great exertion or display of merit is expected from us, and of course we grow indifferent about our conduct. Thus the mind, at one instant, aspires to heaven, is bold, enterprising, disdainful, and supercilious: the wind changes-we are baffled or fatigued; and the spirit formerly so full of ardour, becomes humble and passive.
Lear had suffered insult and ingratitude from his eldest daughter. He boils with resentment; he expresses it with imprecations, and leaves her: but his mind, harassed and teased, suffers sore agitation, and is enfeebled. He looks of course for relief; indulges confidence in his second daughter ;
from her he expects consolation ; anticipates a kindly reception; yields to that depression of mind, which is connected with the wish and expectation of pity; he longs to complain ; and to mingle his tears with the sympathetic sorrows of 'Regan. Thus entirely reduced, he discerns, even in Regan, symptoms of disaffection. Yet, in his present state, he will not believe them. They are forced upon his observation; and Kent, who was exiled for wishing to moderate his wrath against Cordelia, is obliged to stimulate his displeasure at Regan. Yet, in the weakness of his present depression, and longings for affectionate pity, he would repose on her tenderness, and addresses her with full confidence in her love:
No, Regan, thou shalt never have my curse.
'Tis not in thee
Thou better know'st
In the whole intercourse between Lear and Regan, we see a contest between Lear's indignant and resentful emotions, excited