Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

31. Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere

Heaven did a recompense as largely send
He gave to misery (all he had) a tear,

He gained from heaven ('t was all he wished) a friend. 32. No further seek his merits to disclose,

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, (There they alike in trembling hope repose,

The bosom of his Father and his God.

GRAY.

CXXVII. — ARCHIMEDES.

1. ARCHIME'DES was born in the year 287 before the Christian era, in the island of Sicily and city of Syracuse. Of his childnood and early education we know absolutely nothing, and nothing of his family, save that he is stated to have been one of the poor relations of King Hiéro, who came to the throne when Archime'dēs was quite a young man, and of whose royal patronage he more than repaid whatever measure he may have enjoyed. There is no more characteristic anecdote of this great philosopher than that relating to his detection of a fraud in the composition of the royal crown. Nothing, certainly, could more vividly illus'trate the ingenuity, the enthusiasm, and the complete concentration and abstraction of mind, with which he pursued whatever problem was proposed to him.

2. King Hiero, or his son Gelon, it seems, had given out a certain amount of gold to be made into a crown, and the workman to whom it had been intrusted had at last brought back a crown of corresponding weight. But a suspicion arose that it had been alloyed with silver, and Archimedes was applied to by the king, either to disprove or to verify the allegation. The great problem, of course, was to ascertain the precise bulk of the crown in its existing form ; for, gold being so much heavier than silver, it is obvious that if the weight had been in any degree made up by the substitution of silver, the bulk would be proportionately mcreased. Now, it happened that Archimedes went to take a dath while this problem was exercising his mind, and, on approaching the bath-tub, he found it full to the very brim. It instantly occurred to him that a quantity of water of the same bulk with his own body must be displaced before his body could be immersed.

3. Accordingly, he plunged in; and while the process of dis. placement was going on, and the water was running out, the idea suggesteu itself to him, that by putting a lump of gold of

the exact weight of the crown into a vessel full of water, and then measuring the water which was displaced by it, and by afterwards putting the crown itself into the same vessel after it had again been filled, and then measuring the water which this, too, should have displaced, the difference in their respective bulks, however minute, would be at once detected, and the fraud exposed. “As soon as he had hit upon this method of detection," we are told, “ he did not wait a moment, but jumped joyfully out of the bath, and, running naked towards his own house, called out with a loud voice that he had found what he had sought. For, as he ran, he called out in Greek, Eurēka, Ei Eurēka.'”

4. No wonder that this veteran geom'eter, rushing through the thronged and splendid streets of Syracuse, naked as a pair of his own compasses, and making the welkinEl ring with his triumphant shouts, — no wonder that he should have rendered the phrase, if not the guise, in which he announced his success, familiar to all the world, and that “ Eureka, Eureka," should thus have become the proverbial ejaculation of successful invention and discovery in all ages and in all languages, from that day to this! The solution of this problem is supposed to have led the old philosopher not merely into this ecstatical exhibition of himself, but into that line of hydrostaticalEl investigation and experiment which afterwards secured him such lasting renown. And thus the accidents of a defective crown and an overflowing bath-tub gave occasion to some of the most remarkable demonstrations of ancient science.

R. C. WINTHROP.

CXXVIII. — LORD ULLIN'S DAUGHTER.

A CHIEFTAIN, to the Highlands bound, cries, “ Boatman, do not tarry
And I'll give thee a silver pound to row us o'er the ferry.”
“ Now, who be ye, would cross Lochgyle, this dark and stormy water?"
“0, I’m the chief of Ulva’s isle, and this Lord Ullin's daughter
“ And fast before her father's men three days we've fled together;
For should he find us in the glen, my blood would stain the heather.
His horsemen hard behind us ride ; should they our steps discover,
Then who will cheer my bonny bride when they have slain her lover ?''
Outspoke the hardy Highland wight, “I'll go, my chief — I'm ready :
It is not for your silver bright, but for your winsome lady :
And, by my word, the bonny bird in danger shall not tarry :
So, though the waves are raging white, I 'll row you o'er the ferry."
By this the storm grew loud apace, the water-wraither was shrieking,
And in the scowl of heaven each face grew dark as they were speaking
But still as wilder blew the wind, and as the night grew drearer,
Adown the glen rode armëd men, their trampling sounded nearer.

O, haste thee, haste !” the lady cries, “though tempests round us

gather ;
I'll meet the raging of the skies, but not an angry father.”
The boat has left a stormy land, a stormy sea before her ;
When, 0, tvo strong for human hand, the tempest gathered o'er her.

And still they rowed amidst the roar of waters fast prevailing :
Lord Ullin reached that fatal shore, his wrath was changed to wailing ;
For sore dismayed, through storm and shade, his child he did discover,
One lovely arm she stretched for aid, and one was round her lover !

“ Come back ! come back !” he cried in grief, “ across this stormy water ; And I'll forgive your Highland chief, my daughter ! 0, my daughter !”

T was vain the loud waves lashed the shore, return or aid preventing : The waters wild went o’er his child, and he was left lamenting.

CAMPBELL

CXXIX. -THE FREE MIND. 1. I CALL that mind free, which masters the senses, which pro tects itself against the animal appetites, which penetrates beneath the body and rec'ognizes its own reality and greatness. I cail that mind free, which escapes the bondage of matter; which, instead of stopping at the material universe and making it a prison wall, passes beyond it to its Author, and finds, in the radiant signatures which that universe everywhere bears of the infinite Spirit, helps to its own spiritual enlargement.

2. I call that mind free, which sets no bounds to its love, which recognizes in all human beings the image of God and the rights of his children, which delights in virtue and sympathizes with suffering wherever they are seen, which conquers pride, anger, and sloth, and offers itself up a willing victim to the cause of mankind.

3. I call that mind free, which is not passively framed by outward circumstances, which is not swept away by the torrent of events, which is not the creature of accidental impulse, but which bends events to its own improvement, and acts from an inward spring, from immutable principles which it has deliberately espoused.

4. I call that mind free, which protects itself against the usurpations of society, which does not cower to human opinion, which feels itself accountable to a higher tribunal than man's, which respects a higher law than fashion, which reverences itself too much to be the slave or tool of the many or the few.

5. I call that mind free, which, through confidence in God and iw the power of virtue, hus cast off all fear but that of wrong

· doing which no menace or peril can enthral, which is calm in the midst of tumults, and possesses itself, though all else be lost.

6. Finally, I call that mind free, which, conscious of its affinity with God, and confiding in his promises by Jesus Christ, devotes itself faithfully to the unfolding of all its powers; which transcends the bounds of time and death, which hopes to advance forever, and which finds inexhaustible power, both for action and suffering, in the prospect of immortality.

CHANNING.

CXXX. — ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS. 1. KNOW BEFORE YOU SPEAK. — There is a story of Sheridan having once apparently quoted a passage from a Greek poet in the House of Commons, when in reality he only uttered a gabble resembling Greek. An honorable gentleman who spoke after him fully assented to the application of the passage to the case in question. How ineffably ridiculous must that man have appeared when Sheridan disclosed the trick! This is a dishonor

to which every one is exposed who, in any way, however slight , or negative, affects to appear knowing where he is ignorant.

2. PERFECTION NO TRIFLE. — A friend called on Michael An'. gelo, El who was finishing a statue ; sometime afterwards he called again ; the sculptor was still at his work; his friend, looking at the figure, exclaimed, “You have been idle since I saw you ast.” — “By no means,” replied the sculptor ; “I have retouched this part, and polished that; I have softened this feature, and brought out this muscle; I have given more expression to this lip, and more energy to this limb.” – “Well, well,” said his friend, “but all these are trifles.” — “It may be so," replied Angelo, “ but recollect that trifles make perfection, and that perfection is no trifle.”

3. TRUE GENEROSITY. — Sir Philip Sidney, at the battle near Zutphen, 1 displayed the most undaunted courage. He had two horses killed under him; and, whilst mounting a third, was wounded by a musket-shot out of the trenches, which broke the bone of his thigh. He returned about a mile and a half on horseback to the camp ; and, being faint with the loss of blood, and parched with thirst from the heat of the weather, he called for drink. It was presently brought him ; but, as he was putting the vessel to his mouth, a poor wounded soldier, who happened to be carried along at that instant, looked up to it with wistful eyes. The gallant and generous Sidney took the flagon from his

lips, just when he was going to drink, and delivered it to the soldier, saying, “ Thy necessity is greater than mine."

4. MORAL AND PHYSICAL COURAGE. — At the battle of Water loo, two French officers were advancing to charge a much supe. rior force. The danger was imminent, and one of them displayed evident signs of fear. The other, observing it, said to him, “Sir I believe you are frightened.” — “Yes," returned the other, “I am; and if you were half as much frightened, you would run away.” This anecdote exhibits in a happy light the difference between moral and physical courage.

The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
For that were stupid and irrational ;
But he whose noble soul its fear sublues,
And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.

5. RELIGION THE CEMENT OF SOCIETY. — Religion is the cement of all virtue, and virtue the moral cement of all society. A society composed of none but the irreligious could not exist. It is related that three German robbers, having acquired by vari. ous robberies what amounted to a very valuable booty, agreed to divide the spoil, and to retire from so dangerous a vocation. When the day which they had appointed for this purpose arrived, one of them was despatched to a neighboring town to purchase provisions for their last carousal. The other two secretly agreed to murder him on his return, that they might come in for one-half of the plunder, instead of a third. They did so. But the murdered man was a closer calculator even than his assassins, for he had previously poisoned a part of the provisions, that he might appropriate unto himself the whole of the spoil. This precious trium'virates were found dead together, — a signal instance that nothing is so blind and suicidal as the selfishness of vice.

6. HABITS OF OBSERVATION. – The ignorant have often given credit to the wise for powers that are permitted to none, merely because the wise have made a proper use of those powers that are permitted to all. The little Arabian tale of the derviser shall be the comment of this proposition. A dervis was journeying alone in the desert, when two merchants suddenly met him. “You have lost a camel,” said he to the merchants. “Indeed, we have,” they replied. — “Was he not blind in his right eye, and lame in his left leg ? " said the dervis. — “He was,” replied the merchants. — “ Had he not lost a front tooth ?" said the dervis.

“ He had," rejoined the merchants. "And was he not loaded with honey on one side, and wheat on the other ?”

“ Most certainly he was,” they replied, “and as you have seen

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »