Sombre thoughts and fancies often require a little real soil or substance to flourish in; they are the dark pine-trees which take root in, and frown over the rifts of the scathed and petrified heart, and are chiefly nourished by the rain of unavailing tears, and the vapors of fancy.
We readily excuse paralytics from labor; and shall we be angry with a hypochondriac for not being cheerful in company? Must we stigmatize such an unfortunate person as peevish, positive, and unfit for society? His disorder may no more suffer him to be merry, than the gout will suffer another to dance. The advising a melancholic to be cheerful is like bidding a coward to be courageous, or a dwarf be taller.
Out of the ashes of misanthropy benevolence rises again; we find many virtues where we had imagined all was vice, many acts of disinterested friendship where we had fancied all was calculation and fraudand so gradually from the two extremes we pass to the proper medium; and, feeling that no human being is wholly good or wholly base, we learn that true knowledge of mankind which induces us to expect little and forgive much. The world cures alike the optimist and the misanthrope.