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247 Two Years Ago,
Under the Trees,
7 What we see by, and what we see,
What Time bas Taken and Left,
885 Washington Irving,
ASTRONOMERS assure that the the fresh budding spring! Whom does amount of light and heat we receive it not recall to youth and hope? How from the stars is, by no means, incon- ' tranquillizing the golden October ! siderable. Sun helps sun, and we are When will it be known how much manindebted for light and warmth to every kind are indebted to the Indian sumstar that shines.
mer? What lessons of calmness, of There is something analogous in our moderation, of peace and good-will toculture. To the great luminaries of ward men, are here! History is colored Science and Learning we attribute the by the spring and the autumn. moulding of our minds and the enlight- Thanks for the twilight! It educates ening of our understandings, and give us in piety, cools the fevers and lulls little credit to the thousand subtle influ- the passions of the day. How medici. ences that play upon us from star, and nal a walk on the calm June evening, or tree, and field, and mountain, yea, from a row on the lake or river. All men are every form and product of nature. Who religious then. A perennial gladness are our teachers ?
seizes one—a gladness as of love re
quited, as of a lost paradise regained; • More servants wait on man Than he'll take notice of.'
and sorrow, pain, crime, disappoint
ment seem to be removed to an imSilently and invisibly the elements measurable distance—seem to belong to are changing the face of the continents another world than this. What a bath and the bed of the sea ; so agencies are is to the body, such, in these halcyon at work, unknown and unheeded, that days, is wood and lake to the soul. mould and fashion our characters be- They purify, they invigorate, they reyond our thought or will. How much new youth and hope. No associations, constancy has the day taught us ! How no counsels or philosophies, mould has the night revealed the stars of character like these. All good thoughts thought and imagination! Who will and feelings these beneficent, these sumreport what night has given to litera- mery influences bring out. If a man ture?
has charity, then is he most charitable ; In like manner, who shall measure if mercy, then is he most merciful; if the effect of the seasons upon charac- humility, then is he most humble. If ter? How inspiring and invigorating he is angry, his anger dies; if harassed, TOL. LIIIL
he becomes tranquil; if sorrowing, he improving his taste and cultivating his finds comfort and consolation. Nature, perception of form and color? Oh! the in these forms, takes us by the palm, sweet and pure ministrations of flowers ! like a great mother, and soothes and If their good effects upon the race were calms us, and inspires feelings of peace balanced against its tomes--one might and harmony.
say tons-of theology, how would the A school or a seminary diffuses scale poise ? knowledge, and elevates the standard of It cannot be denied that the moral intelligence in the community where it influence of all lovely objects is invariais located; but a lake, or a river, or a bly on the side of right. Vice and sin mountain prospect, goes deeper — it are deformities, and at war with the reaches the character, and cultivates eternal laws of God; beauty shames the sentiment of beauty and the feeling and refutes them, and suggests a return of reverence. The influence of Nature to virtue and rectitude. To people is uniformly in the direction of the living in hovels and immersed in filth, character and the moral sense, and is,' poisoned by foul air and pinched with therefore, constant and inevitable. cold and hunger, crime comes easily. Knowledge soon makes itself felt; the It is not difficult to understand that; understanding is readily awakened. but stately halls, cultivated associates, You can put facts and ideas into a spacious parks, extensive views, the man's head almost as easily and as pal- accessories of wealth and position, are pably as you can put coppers into his supporters of virtue, and stand mute pocket, or food into his stomach; but but eloquent witnesses against irreguappeal to the perception of beauty orlarity and disorder. Crime loves dens the moral principle-in short, address and cheerless places, and hence our yourself to his soul, instead of to any prisons serve rather to harden and conpower or faculty of his mind, and your firm their victims than to mollify and progress is slower and less obvious, be- reform them. The air and the suncause the grounds are deeper and more shine, plenty of room, good food, cleanfundamental. Not in days, but in years, liness and exercise, a fine prospect, is the result noticeable. What the stars flowers and pictures, gentle looks and and the blue sky have taught us, let the kind words, are more efficient instrucenturies answer. What our lakes, and mentalities than manacles and gloomy rivers, and mountain scenery are doing cells to recall men to themselves, and for us, time will tell. A few genera- convince them that a life of order has tions, and these large and lofty features more comforts than one of disorder. of our inland scenery shall reappear in Let me not, in this connection, overthe character of the people, and inspire look the Fine Arts in their influence on brave and beautiful lives.
character — especially music, the 'dis• How close akin is what is fair to embodied art.' There are few powerwhat is good !' Beauty, in whatever fuler instrumentalities than this to tame form, is a friend of virtue and a tacit and humanize men. Under its influencouragement to right living. Mount- ence we are capable of all good things. ain and landscape reassure us. On the Music liberates ; it lifts up, it raises us hill, I can feel and utter what, in my at once above the tyranny of circumstudy, was beyond my grasp. I break stances. There is a vast difference bedown my prison-walls, and partake, in tween being towed off the sand-bar and some degree, of the largeness of my being floated off by the incoming tide. vision. Even a well-kept lawn may Music invariably floats one a little ; it serve to remind one of the virtue of begins under us-back of us, and we neatness and regularity. Who can ride triumphantly where before our walk through a flower-garden without keel ploughed the bottom. Nothing
seems impossible--I am ready to under- trees may always be relied on to protake any thing; the air seems suddenly duce improved fruit, and could by no to have acquired new properties; a new possibility be made to yield crabs—if charm is imparted to the commonest ob- genius and beauty come thus authentijects, and I rise at once into the regions cated, and are thus inevitable, a family of poetry and heroism. And when ought to go on producing great men forlifted to a higher plane of thought and ever, and surfeit society with no inferior feeling, we never quite settle back to article. But we are not up to that yet. the old low-water mark—it is expansion, A great man seems only a lucky throw reinforcement, growth. A view from a of the dice, and it would be strange mountain-top does not leave us quite that if, in so many trials, there was not where it found us; our horizon is always occasionally a success. Given genius as a little larger for it. In this way the a possibility, and somebody's child will fine arts minister to us. They awaken be a genius. admiration and enthusiasm, and draw us But from a given number of noisy off from personal matters and selfish boys, you cannot, on à priori grounds, ends.
predict a great man. Of course, as the Culture adheres to the blood. The number approximates towards the mil. first races are not scholars and philoso- lions, the chances that there may be & phers. As man was the last and finish- genius among them increases ; but can ing stroke of creation, so the intellect is you put your finger on him, or, from a the latest and highest growth of man. knowledge of each one's history and anIn the soil the more recent deposits are tecedents, point him out ? the finest, and, likewise, in families the Still, we say, culture adheres to the best blood is from the most cultivated blood, reaches the organization, the sources. Have not the doctrines of grain and temperament, and if nature Isomerism a deeper meaning? If lime was allowed perfect expression in this in the bone or iron in the veins pos. matter, a family would never deteriosesses properties that do not belong to rate, never run out, and society be it in its primitive condition in rock or made up of only fair women and brave earth, may there not be a like tendency men. Why is New England making in the blood to mount and refine also ? the literature of this country? Because Great men are not always, or even com- she has the most brains undoubtedly; monly, the parents of great men ; fine yes, and also because she has the best manners and a fine susceptibility to cul- blood, the most cultivated men and ture in parents do not always reäppear women to breed geniuses from. in the child; but why? No doubt the Culture is the best remedy for materitendency is to transmit mental traits alism. Indeed, its chief object is to and powers, and that this beneficent de- overthrow this mud-deity, and make sign of Nature is frustrated must be laid man a believer in principles and ideas, to the account of unfavorable material In the long run, what is of any account conditions. It is an evidence of our im- but ideas ? and what is wisdom but the perfect civilization, and of the irregular- perception of law? The grossest mateity of our lives. It indicates dispropor- rialists I know of are the spiritualists. tion and a want of fitness, and favors Indeed, what ism is free from it-is not the view that great men and handsome walled in by it, with only a loop-hole women are rather an exception, a lucky out into the open day? Give me wincoincidence, and not the result of culti-dows, yea, and what is better, give me vated and well-ordered lives. If great the great Out-of-Doors itself. What men are a natural product, a legitimate vulgar worshippers we are! We almost result of conditions that made it thus, make a commodity of religion, and vie and not otherwise, as improved fruit- with each other to see who shall mo
nopolize the trade. Churches are as the boy will cover the moon with a hostile as rival shops in a country-town. copper cent, and may be think the cent For shame! Are we not brothers ? Is the larger. God a respecter of persons ? Can you Travellers in Africa remark, that fence in the heavens ? Run your wall where the natives are the most warnever so far, and build it never so high, like, as a tribe, they are the most kind and still outside is the same blue sky and humane as individuals, and the con
verse. So culture kills these petty perLet Diogenes find me a man who sonal feelings, and begets largeness and believes in principles — who is not munificence of soul. shaking with vulgar fears and per- Coleridge was going to detect an unturbations, as if laboring under the ap- cultivated man by the construction of prehension that the universe was going his sentences ; but this is not the root to miscarry.
of the matter. Look at his deducWhat is materialism ? It is this : tions—his application of the facts. Must Not to believe in ideas, but in expe- every thing have a personal bearing ? dients; to doubt that justice prevails Can he put a liberal construction on and law governs; not to see that virtue your words ? Can he appreciate pure is its own reward and vice its own. blue sky, or truth divested of its acpunishment. Must you have wages for cidental relations, and as it stands abdoing right? must your charity be seen solutely in nature ? Does he set up a and heard of men ? Can you not wait? part against the whole? Does he think are you afraid people will underrate one side all right and the other all your good qualities ? must you tell how wrong ? Uncultivated women are fiendmůch you know ? must you proselyte ish and gossipy ; uncultivated men bigevery man you meet? are you vain, oted and selfish. Persons, places, and proud, impatient, intolerant? What is politics — what else do people talk materialism ? A condition of the ear- about? Gossip, gossip, gossip, and a lier races, and the office of culture is to constant pinning of épithets and rude take this out of a man and to impart remarks to people behind their backs; to him somewhat of the freedom and you shall hear little else than this in largeness of the ideal.
any community. Our cheap press and Akin to this influence of culture are multiplicity of books add to people's its effects in liberalizing and unperson- tongues without much increasing their alizing people, giving largeness and gen- brains, as a slight shower, or what the erosity to their views, and removing farmer calls a spirt,' roils the brook, that intensely personal element which without materially effecting its volume. must give every thing a name and a To be sure, a 'spirt' relieves the drouth place, and which sticks so doggedly to a a little, but oh! if we could only go a fact that is present to the senses, in little deeper, though it did take more opposition to a principle that is present time; if we could only reach the fountonly to the intellect. This is a trick of ain and enlarge and facilitate matters women and under-bred persons. Shall there ! we be so ungallant as to say that wo- There is no perspective in a vulgar men are personal and gossipy; and mind; all is flat, dull surface; hence that they make the poorest philosophers the want of liberality and intellectual in the world, albeit the ideal seems tolerance—the want of sky-room. The habitually nearer to them than to the lesson of life, according to a high auother sex? Women cannot club things; thority, is to accept what the years say cannot grasp the mass. They will cite against the days, and what the centua fact in refutation of your argument, ries say against the years - a process and think the matter settled ; so, too, which common people are very apt to