Page images
PDF
EPUB

They were always jealous of the beauty of each other, of a quality to which solicitude can add nothing, and from which detraction can take nothing away. Many were in love with triflers like themselves; and many fancied that they were in love, when in truth they were only idle.—282.

It is the care of a very great part of mankind to conceal their indigence from the rest; they support themselves by temporary expedients, and every day is lost in contriving for the morrow.–284.

Let us not imagine evils which we do not feel, nor injure life by misrepresentations. I cannot bear that querulous eloquence which threatens every city with a siege like that of Jerusalem, that makes famine attend on every flight of locusts, and suspends pestilence on the wing of every blast that issues from the south.-290.

OF the blessings set before you make your choice and be content. No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring; no man can, at the same time, fill his cup from the source and from the mouth of the Nile.—297.

“ GREAT Princess," said Imlac,“ do not reproach yourself for your virtue, or consider that as blameable by which evil has accidentally been caused. Your tenderness for the timidity of Pekuah was generous and kind. When we act according to our duty, we commit the event to Him by whose laws our actions are governed, and who will suffer done to be finally punished for obedience. When, in prospect of some good, whether natural or moral, we break the rules prescribed us, we withdraw from the direction of superior wisdom, and take all consequences upon ourselves. Man cannot so far know the connection of causes and events as that he may venture to do wrong in order to do right. When we pursue our end by lawful means, we may always console our miscarriage by the hope of future recompense.

When we consult only our own policy, and attempt to find a nearer way to good by overleaping the settled boundaries of right and wrong, we cannot be happy even by success, because we cannot escape the consciousness of our fault ; but, if we miscarry, the disappointment is irremedially embittered. How comfortless is the sorrow of him who feels at once the pangs of guilt, and the vexation of calamity which guilt bas brought upon him! This at least is the present reward of virtuous conduct, that no unlucky consequence can oblige us to repent it.”-307.

Men of various ideas and fluent conversation are commonly welcome to those whose thoughts bave been long fixed upon a single point, and who find the images of other things stearing away.-325.

INTEGRITY without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.327.

“ DISORDERS of intellect," answered Imlac, “happen much more often than superficial observers will easily believe. Perhaps, if we speak with rigorous exactness, no human mind is in its right state. There is no man whose imagination does not sometimes predominate over his reason, who can regulate his attention wholly by his will, and whose ideas will come and go at his command. No man will be found in whose mind airy notions do not sometimes tyrannise and force him to hope or fear beyond the limits of sober probability. All power of fancy over reason is a degree of insanity ; but while this power is such as we can control and repress, it is not visible to others, por considered as any deprivation of the mental faculties : it is not pronounced madness but when it becomes ungovernable, and apparently influences speech or action.”—332.

NOTHING is more common than to call our own condition the condition of life.—337.

NO DISEASE of the imagination is so difficult of cure as that which is complicated with the dread of guilt: fancy and conscience then act interchangeably upon us, and so often shift their places that the illusions of one are not distinguished from the dictates of the other. If fancy presents images not moral or religious, the mind drives them away when they give it pain; but when melancholic notions take the form of duty they lay hold on the faculties without opposition, because we are afraid to exclude or banish them. For this reason the superstitious are often melancholy, and the melancholy almost always superstitious.-342.

GOLDSMITH.-VICAR OF WAKEFIELD. (1822.)

A book may be amusing with numerous errors, or it may be very dull without a single absurdity. The hero of this piece unites in himself the three greatest characters upon earth : he is a priest, a husbandman, and the father of a family. He is drawn as ready to teach and ready to obey; as simple in affluence and majestic in adversity. In this age of opulence and refinement, whom can such a character please ? Such as are fond of high life will turn with disdain from the simplicity

of his country fireside ; such as mistake ribaldry for humour will find no wit in his harmless conversation; and such as have been taught to deride religion will laugh at one whose chief stores of comfort are drawn from futurity.- Advertisement.

I was ever of opinion that the bonest man who married and brought up a large family, did more service than he who continued single and only talked of population. From this motive I had scarcely taken orders a year before I began to think seriously of matrimony, and chose my wife, as she did her wedding-gown, not for a fine glossy surface, but such qualities as would wear well.- 1.

Thus we lived several years in a state of much happiness ; not but that we sometimes had those little rubs which Provi. dence sends to enhance the value of its favours.--3.

HANDSOME is that handsome does.-4.

BEING convinced by experience that the days of courtship are the most happy of our lives, I was willing enough to lengthen the period.—7.

PREMATURE consolation is but the remembrancer of sorrow. -10. Let us draw

upon

content for the deficiencies of fortune.11.

His mind had leaned upon their adulation ; and that support taken away, he could find no pleasure in the applause of his heart, which he had never learnt to reverence.-16.

He now, therefore, found that such friends as benefits bad gathered round him were little estimable ; he now found that a man's own heart must be ever given to gain that of another.

The humblest fortune may grant happiness, which depends not on circumstances, but constitution. -17.

Though the same room served us for parlour and kitchen, that only made it the warmer.-18.

I always thought fit to keep up some mechanical forms of good breeding, without which freedom ever destroys friendship. -19.

We are not to judge of the feelings of others by what we might feel if in their place. However dark the habitation of the mole to our eyes, yet the animal itself finds the apartment sufficiently lightsome.-29.

“TURN, gentle hermit of the dale,

And guide my lonely way,
To where yon taper cheers the vale

With hospitable ray.

“For here forlorn and lost I tread,

With fainting steps and slow;
Where wilds, immeasurably spread,

Seem length’ning as I go."
“Forbear, my son," the hermit cries,

“ To tempt the dangerous gloom; For yonder faithless phantom flies

To lure thee to thy doom.
“ Here to the houseless child of want

My door is open still:
And though my portion is but scant,

I give it with good will.
“ Then turn to-night, and freely share

Whate'er my cell bestows;
My rushy couch and frugal fare,

My blessing, and repose.
No flocks that range the valley free

To slaughter I condemn;
Taught by that Power that pities me

I learn to pity them :
“But from the mountain's

grassy

side A guiltless feast I bring, A scrip with herbs and fruits supplied,

And water from the spring. “Then, pilgrim, turn, thy cares forego;

All earth-born cares are wrong;
Man wants but little here below,

Nor wants that little long."
Soft as the dew from heaven descends,

His gentle accents fell:
The modest stranger lowly bends,

And follows to the cell.
Far in a wilderness obscure

The lowly mansion lay;
A refuge to the neighb’ring poor,

And strangers led astray.
No stores beneath its humble thatch

Requir'd a master's care ;
The wicket, opening with a latch,

Receiv'd the harmless pair.

And now, when busy crowds retire

To take their evening rest,
The hermit trimm’d his little fire,

And cheer'd his pensive guest;
And spread his vegetable store,

And gayly press'd and smil'd; And skill'd in legendary lore,

The ling'ring hours beguild.
Around in sympathetic mirth,

Its tricks the kitten tries ;
The cricket chirrups in the hearth,

The crackling faggot flies.
But nothing could a charm impart

To soothe the stranger's woe;
For grief was heavy at his heart,

And tears began to flow.
His rising cares the hermit spied,

With answering care oppress’d: “And whence, unhappy youth," he cried,

“ The sorrows of thy breast ?
“From better habitations spurn’d,

Reluctant dost thou rove?
Or grieve for friendship unreturn'd,

Or unreguarded love ?
“Alas ! the joys that fortune brings

Are trifling and decay ;
And those who prize the paltry things,

More trifling still than they.
"And what is friendship but a name;

A charm that lulls to sleep ;
A shade that follows wealth or fame,

But leaves the wretch to weep?
And love is still an emptier sound,

The modern fair one's jest;
On earth unseen, or only found

To warm the turtle's nest. “For shame, fond youth, thy sorrows hush,

And spurn tbe sex!” he said: But while he spoke a rising blush

His love-lorn guest betrayed.

« PreviousContinue »