Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

- kameness.
the earth, without losing what may be called its personal identity
the great minds of antiq'uity continue to hold their ascendency
over the opinions, manners, characters, institutions, and events of
all ages and nations, through which their post'humous compositious
have found way, and been made the earliest subjects of study,
the highest standards of morals, and the most perfect examples.
of taste, to the master pinds in eyery state of civilized society."

5. Words are the te-liiélés by which thought is made visible
to the eye and intelligible to the mind of another; they are the le
ou palpable forms of ideas, without which these would be intangibles Z orn

as the spirit that conceives or the breath that would utter them.
And of such influence is speech or writing, as the conductor of
thought, that, though all words do not last forever,”—and it is
well for the peace of the world, and the happiness of individuals,
that they do not, — yet even here every word has its date and its
effect; so that with the tongue or the pen we are continually
doing good or evil to ourselves or our neighbors.

6. On a single phrase, expressed in anger or affection, in
levity or seriousness, the whole progress of a human spirit
through life, – perhaps even to eternity, — may be changed from
the direction which it was pursuing, whetherl03 right or wrong.
For in nothing are the power and indestructibility of words more
signally exemplified than in small compositions, such as stories,

essays, 1 parables, El songs, proverbs, and all the minor and more locanimexquisite forms of composition. It is a fact, not obvious, per

V haps, but capable of perfect proof, that knowledge, in all eras
I which have been distinguished as enlightened, has been propa-
unbteniented more by tracts than by volumes.
tylniut. In the youth of the Roman com'monwealth, during a quar-

rel between the patricians and plebē’ians, El when the latter had
separated themselves from the former, on the plea that they
would no longer labor to maintain the unproductive class in in.
dolent luxury, Menēnius Agrippa, by the well-known fables of a
schism in the human body, in which the limbs mutinied against
the stomach, brought the secēders to a sense of their dūty and
interest, and rec'onciled a feud which, had it been further in-
flamed, might have destroyed the state, and turned the history
of the world itself thenceforward into an entirely new channel,
by interrupting the tide of events which were carrying Rome to
the summit of dominion. The lesson which that sagacious
pātriot taught to his countrymen and contemporaries," he taught
to all generations to come. His fable has already, by more than
a thousand years, survived the einpire which it rescued from
premature destruction.

14*

[ocr errors]

Lastin

14*

8. The other instance of a small form of words, in which dwells, not an immortal only, but a divine spirit, is that prayer which our Saviour taught his disciples.El How many millions and millions of times has that prayer been preferred by Chris. tians of all denominations! So wide, indeed, is the sound thereof gone forth, that daily, and almost without intermission, from the ends of the earth, and afar off upon the sea, it is ascending to heaven like incense and a pure offering; nor needs it the gift of prophecy to foretell, that, though “ heaven and earth shall pass away," these words of our blessed 16 Lord “ shall not pass away," till every petition in it has been answered, till the kingdom of God shall come, and his will be done in earth as it is in heaven.

JAMES MONTGOMERY.

LXXI. — THE PUFFERS. 1. A PIOUS Brahmin, it is written, made a vow that on a certain day he would sacrifice a sheep; and on the appointed morning he went forth to buy one. There lived in his neighborhood three rogues who knew of his vow, and laid a scheme for profiting by it. The first met him and said, “0, Brahmin, wilt thou buy a sheep? I have one fit for sacrifice.” — “ It is for that very purpose,” said the holy man, “ that I came forth this day.”

2. Then the impostor opened a bag, and brought out of it an unclean beast, an ugly dog, lame and blind. Thereon the Brahmin cried out, “ Wretch, who touchest things impure, and utterest things untrue! callest thou that cur a sheep?” — “ Truly," answered the other, “it is a sheep of the finest fleece and of the sweetest flesh. O, Brahmin, it will be an offering most accept able to the gods.” — “Friend,” said the Brahmin, .either thou or I must be blind.”

3. Just then one of the accom'plices came up. “Praised be the gods," said this second rogue, “ that I have been saved the trouble of going to the market for a sheep! This is such a sheep as I wanted. For how much wilt thou sell it?" When the Brahmin heard this, bis mind waved to and fro, like one swinging in the air at a holy festival. “Sir," said he to the new comer, “take heed what thou dost; this is no sheep, but an unclean cur.” — “0, Brahmin," said the new comer, “thou art drunk or mad.”

4. At this time the third confed'erate drew near. “Let us ask this man,” said the Brahmin, " what the creature is, and I

will stand by what he shall say.” To this the others agreed, and the Brahmin called out, “ O, stranger, what dost thou call this beast ?” “Surely, 0, Brahmin,” said the knave, “it is a fine sheep.”

5. Then the Brahmin said, “Surely the gods have taken away iny senses ; ” and he asked pardon of him who carried the dog, and bought it for a measure of rice and a pot of ghee,52 and offered it up to the gods, who, being wroth at this unclean sacri fice, smote him with a sore disease in all his joints.3

6. Thus, or nearly thus, if we remember rightly, runs the story of the Sanscritei Æsop.Et The moral, like the moral of every fables that is worth the telling, lies on the surface. The writer evidently means to caution us against the practices of puffers, — a class of people who have more than once talked the public into the most absurd errors.

7. It is amusing to think over the history of most of the pub lications which have had a run during the last few years. The publisher is often the publisher of some periodical work. In this periodical work the first flourish of trumpets is sounded. The peal is then echoed and reëchoed by all the other periodical works over which the publisher, or the author, or the author's cotërie, El may have any influence.

8. The newspapers are for a fortnight filled with puffs of all the various kinds which Sheridan has recounted, — direct, oblique, and collusive. Sometimes the praise is laid on thick, for simple-minded people. “Pathetic," "sublime,” “ splendid,” " graceful, brilliant wit,” “ exquisite humor,""* and other phrases equally flattering, fall in a shower as thick and as sweet as the sugar-plums at a Roman carnival.

9. Sometimes greater art is used. A sinëcureki has been offered to the writer if he would suppress his work, or if he would even soften down a few of his incom'parable portraits. A distinguished military and political character has challenged the inimitable sătirist of the vices of the great; and the puffer is glad to learn that the parties have been bound over to keep the peace.

10. Sometimes it is thought expedient that the puffer should put on a grave face, and utter his på nëgyr’ices in the form of admonition! “ Such attacks on private character cannot be too much condemned. Even the exubërant wit of our author, and the irresistible power of his withering sarcasm, are no excuse for that utter disregard which he manifests for the feelings of others.”

11. That people who live by personal slander should practise these arts is not surprising. Those who stoop to write calumni. ous books may well stoop to puff them ; – and that the basest of

all trades should be carried on in the basest of all manners, is quite proper, and as it should be. But how any man who has the least self-respect, the least regard for his own personal dige nity, can condescend to persecute the public with this rag-fa ir importunity, we do not understand.

12. Extreme poverty may, indeed, in some degree, be an excuse for employing these shifts, as it may be an excuse for steal. ing a leg of mutton. But we really think that a man of spirit and delicacy would quite as soon satisfy his wants in the one way as in the other.

MACAULAY.

LXXII. - IIYMN OF THE HEBREW MAID.
1. WHEN Israël, 1 of the Lord beloved,

Out from the land of bondage came,
Her fathers' God before her moved,

An awful guide, in sinoke and flame.
By day, along the astonished lands,

The cloudy pillar glided slow;
By night, Arabia's crimsoned sands

Returned the fiery column’s glow.
2. Then rose the choral hymn of praise,

And trump and timbrell answered keen;
And Zion'sEs daughters poured their lays,

With priest's and warrior's voice between.
No portents now our foes amaze,

Forsaken Israel wanders lone :
Our fathers would not know Thy ways,

And Thou hast left them to their own.

3. But, - present still, though now unseen!

When brightly shines the prosperous day,
Be thoughts of 'Thee a cloudy screen

To temper the deceitful ray.
And, O! when stoops on Judah’sEl path

In shade and storin the frequent night,
Be Thou, long-suffering, slow to wrath,

A burning and a shining light!

4. Our harps we left by Babelig: streams,

The tyrant's jest, the Gentile'sEl scorn ;
No censer round our altar beams,

And mute are timbrel, harp, and horn ;
But Thou hast said, The blood of goat,

The flesh of rams, I will not prize ;
A contrite heart, a humble thought,

Are mine accepted sacrifice.

SCOTT.

LXXIII. — THE BRAVE MAN. 1. Loud let the Brave Man's praises swell

As organ blast, or clang of bell ! El
Of lofty soul and spirit strong,

He asks not gold, — he asks but song!
Then glory to God, by whose gift I raise
The tribute of song to the Brave Man's praise !

2. The thaw-wind came from the southern sea,

Dewy and dark o'er Italy ;.
The scattered clouds fled far aloof,

As flies the flock before the wolf";
It swept o'er the plain, and it strewed the wood,
And it burst the ice-bands on river and flood.

3. The snow-drifts melt, till the mountain calls

With the voice of a thousand water-falls;
The waters are over both field and dell,

Still doth the land-flood wax and swell;
And high roll its billows, as in their track
They hurry the ice-crags,- a floating wrack.u

4. On pillars stout, and arches wide,

A bridge of granite stems the tide ;
And midway o'er the foaming flood.

Upon the bridge the toll-house stood ,
There dwelleth the toll-man, with babes and wife,
0, toll-man! 0, toll-man! quick! flee for thy life!

5. Near and more near the wild waves urge ;

Loud howls the wind, loud roars the surge ;
The toll-man sprang on the roof in fright,

And he gazed on the waves in their gathering might “ All-merciful God! to our sins be good! We are lost! we are lost! The flood! the flood !”

6. High rolled the waves! In headlong track

Hither and thither dashed the wrack!
On either bank u prose the flood;

Scarce on their base the arches stood !
The toll-man, trembling for house and life,
Out-screams the storin with his babes and wife.

7. High henves the food-wreck, -- block on block

The sturdy pillars feel the shock;
On either arch the surges break,

On either side the arches shake.
They totter! they sink 'neath the whelming wave!
All-merciful Heaven, have pity and save!

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »