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For the Literary Magazine.

new year's day

A Fragment.

........WHEN we reach a new year's
day, we reach an eminence in the
journey of life, where we are natu-
rally prompted to pause, from
which we have an opportunity of
seeing a large portion of the road
we have passed, and are powerfully
induced to cast our view forward in
search of futurity. Each one who
has attained this height looks back
and looks forward on a scene, and
with emotions, peculiar to himself.
What are my emotions? what is
the scene which I have passed, and
what the prospects which futurity
discloses to my anxious view?

Thirty-four years have now gone
over me. They still find me on the
surface of the earth alive, erect.
What has become of all those who
came into existence at the same
time! How many have come to an
untimely end! How many have
been cut off ere the prime of life!
How many of my own favourite
companions, my chosen friends, now
sleep in an early grave! And how
chequered have been their destinies!

My earliest and infantile play-
mate, with whom I used to play
and con the ABC together,
though born to elevated prospects,
endowed with good capacity, and
improved by a learned education,
trod the paths of idleness and dissi-
pation, which terminated in the loss
of reason. For years he resided in
the hospital for lunatics, and it is not
many months since his body, long
infected with the decay which had
previously devoured his mind, was
consigned to a nameless grave.

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The period of infancy past, it was
my lot to form the most intimate
alliance with a youth, whose moral
habits were as blameless as his stu-
dious propensities were laudable.
The neglect of a nurse, in child-
hood, made him an incurable cripple,
and contributed, no doubt, to stimu-
late his zeal in those pursuits which
promised him, in usefulness and
glory, a compensation for his bodily

After much self-debate he devot-
ed himself to the medical science;
but, alas! his intense application
soon overturned his already totter-
ing fabric, and he died before his
twentieth year. Many times, dur-
ing our intercourse, had he occasion
to sit beside my sick bed, and often
did he predict that ere the next sun
should rise, I should draw my last
breath. Yet it was my lot to follow
him to his grave.

Since that period many have been
the friendships which accident has
led me to form. As often as my
choice was made, did death step to
ravish my beloved companion from
my arms. It is not many months
since I witnessed the departure of
the third among them.

Why, in thus dealing out destruc-
tion, has a mysterious destiny spar-
ed me? My merits have been un-
speakably inferior to those whose
loss I lament. The spacious circle
of the world, and the small circle of
relations and friends, would have
had much less reason to deplore my
death than theirs. They were the
pride, the boast, the hope of all
connected with them. I have hi-
therto lived, and, such is the omni-
potence of evil habits, shall hereaf-
ter live without glory to myself, or
felicity or benefit to those around

I have been most unfortunate in
possessing a character, and imbib-
ing habits, which merit nothing but
poverty and ignominy; which have
invariably and incessantly commit-
ted to hazard life, health, fame, and
competence. Most fortunate have
I been in possessing friends, and
meeting circumstances, which sup-

plied the place of merit, and have
given me every good that fancy
could image, in spite of my own
nefarious indolence, or perverse ac-

Always has my heart sighed for
a conjugal companion. What has
ever been my favourite, though
hopeless, dream? That a woman,
in whom personal, intellectual, and
moral excellence should be enshrin-
ed, should give herself to me. That
I should ever light on such a being;
that such a being, when found,
should ever deign to bind herself to
me; that my own condition should
ever be such, when such a consent-
ing being were found, as to allow
us the choice of the inseparable life,
were always regarded as impossi-
ble. They were phantoms of a gay,
ideal world, laboriously created, and
illumining my fancy for a moment,
merely to leave, when they with-
drew, a more dreary and palpable
obscurity behind them.

In this has a benign Providence
been particularly propitious. Do I
not possess all that I wished? All
that surpassed my hopes, and far
outstripped my deserts, has show-
ered itself down upon me; and this
anniversary has risen with more
felicities to my view, than any for-
mer one: felicities which want no-
thing but stability and long continu-
ance to make full the cup of my

Jan. 1, 1805. x.

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