"Free from vices,...
"Free from vices, free from care,
Age has no pain, and youth no snare."
But in the middle of all this felicity, one blow from unseen Providence
unhinged me at once; and not only made a breach upon me inevitable and
incurable, but drove me, by its consequences, into a deep relapse of the
wandering disposition, which, as I may say, being born in my very blood,
soon recovered its hold of me; and, like the returns of a violent
distemper, came on with an irresistible force upon me. This blow was the
loss of my wife. It is not my business here to write an elegy upon my
wife, give a character of her particular virtues, and make my court to
the sex by the flattery of a funeral sermon. She was, in a few words,
the stay of all my affairs; the centre of all my enterprises; the engine
that, by her prudence, reduced me to that happy compass I was in, from
the most extravagant and ruinous project that filled my head, and did
more to guide my rambling genius than a mother's tears, a father's
instructions, a friend's counsel, or all my own reasoning powers could
do. I was happy in listening to her, and in being moved by her
entreaties; and to the last degree desolate and dislocated in the world
by the loss of her.