Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

nants at the head of the tiger, who was, at the moment, sharp ening his teeth and claws against the so'clect of a column. Here was a defiance! The animal, feeling himself struck, turned his head, and, seeing his adversary standing in the middle of the arena, rushed with a single bound towards him. But the gladiator avoided the assault by stooping nearly to a level with the earth; and the tiger, with a howl of rage, fell some paces distant from the mark at which he had aimed in his spring.

8. Rising to his feet, the gladiator, by the same maneuvre, El thrice bafiled the fury of his savage enemy. At length the tiger approached him with slow, cautious, cat-like steps. The eyes of the beast glittered like flame; his tail was straight, his tongue already bloody, and he showed his teeth, and protruded his nose, as if to snuff his prey with the more certainty. But this time it was the gladiator who made a leap. At the moment the beast drew near to seize him, he cleared him by a bound which called down the furious applauses of the spectators, already mastered by the emotions which this extraordinary struggle excited.

9. At length, after having for some time fatigued his ferocious foe, the gladiator, more wearied by the exclamations of the crowd than by the delays of a combat which had seemed so unequal at the outset, awaited with firm-set foot the approach of the tiger. The latter ran panting towards him, with a howl of satisfaction. A cry of horror, perhaps of joy also, escaped at the same time from the occupants of all the benches, as the ani. mal, raising himself on his hind legs, placed his fore-pawss on the naked shoulders of the gladiator, and thrust forward his jaws to devour him. But the gladiator bent backward to protect his head, and seizing, with both his stiffened arms, the animal's silken neck, he squeezed it with such force, that the tiger, without letting go his hold, struggled violently to throw up his head, and let the air reach his lungs, the passage to which was closed, as if by a vice, by the gladiator's hands.

10. The gladiator, however, perceiving that with his loss of blood his strength was failing him, under the tenacious claws of his antagonist, now redoubled his efforts to hasten the termination of the contest; for, with its prolongation, his chances were diminishing every moment. Erecting himself on his feet, and bearing with all his weight on his enemy, whose legs bent under the pressure, he broke the ribs of the animal, and made the jammed chest give forth a gurgling sound, followed by an effusion of blood and foam from the tightened throat.

11. Then, all at once, half-raising himself, and disengaging his shoulders, a shred of flesh from which remained attached to one of the animal's claws, the victor placed a knee upon the tiger's palpitating flank, and pressed upon him with a force which the prospect of victory redoubled. The gladiator felt the tiger struggle a moment under him; and, tightening his pressure, he saw the beast's muscles stiffen, and his head, one moment lifted, full upon the sand, his jaws half-opened and covered with foam, his teeth locked, and his eyes extinct.

12. A general acclamation from the spectators ensued , 25 and the gladiator, whose triumph had reänimated his strength, rose to his feet, and, seizing the monstrous carcass, threw it far from him, as a trophy, beneath the imperial box.

ORIGINAL TRANSLATION FROM THE FRENCH

xxx. — THE GOVERNMENT OF THE THOUGHTS. 1. LET us consider our thoughts as so much company, and inquire, which of them one would wish to exclude and send away, - which to let in and receive ?132 It is much easier to prevent disagreeable visitants from entering, than to get rid of them when they are entered. It will be a great matter, therefore, 3 to have a trusty porter at the gate, — to keep a good guard at the door by which bad thoughts come in, and to avoid those occa. sions which commonly excite them.

2. In the first place, then, it may be taken for granted, no one would choose to entertain guests that were peevish and die contented with everything. Their room is certainly much better than their company. They are uneasy in themselves, and will soon make the whole house so; like wasps, that not only are restless, but will cause universal uneasiness, and sting the family. Watch, therefore, against all thoughts of this kind, which do but chafe and corrode the mind to no purpose. It is equally a Christian's interest and dutyło to learn, in whatsoever state he is, therewith to be content.

3. There is another set of people, who are not the most comfortable companions in the world; such as are evermore anxious about what is to happen, - fearful of everything, and apprehensive of the worst. Open not the door to thoughts of this complexion ; since, by giving way to tormenting fears and suspicions of some approaching danger, or troublesome event, you not only anticipat, but double the evil you fear; and undergo much more from the upprehension of it before it comes, than from the whole weight of it when it is present. Are not all these events under the direction of a wise and gracious Providence ?128 Learn to trust God and be at peace. “In quietness and peace shall bo your strength.”

4. You esteem it a dreadful thing to be obliged to live with persons who are passionate and quarrelsome. You undoubiedly judge right; it is like living in a house that is on fire. Dismiss therefore, as soon as may be, all angry and wrathful thoughts. They canker the mind, and dispose it to the worst temper in the world, – that of fixed malice and revenge. Never ruminate upon past injuries and provocations. Anger may steal into the heart of a wise man, but rests only in the bosom of fools, The apostle's precept is, “let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” The Pythagoreans, Ei a sect of heathen philosophers, are said to have practised it literally; who, if at any time in a passion they had broken out into abusive language, before sunset, gave each other their hands, and with them a discharge from all injuries, and so parted friends. Above all things, be sure to set a guard on the tongue, while the angry fit is upon you. In anger, as well as in a fever, it is good to have the tongue kept smooth and clean.

5. Whoever has been much con versant with the world, must have often met with silly, trifling, and unreasonable people, who will talk forever about nothing. How far preferable is solitude to such society! There are silly, trifling, and unreasonable thoughts, as well as persons; such are always about, and, if care be not taken, they will get into the mind we know not how, and seize and possess it before we are aware. There is little difference whether we spend the time in sleep, or in these waking dreams. They ought to be dismissed, because they keep out better company.

6. There is something particularly tiresome in your projectors and castle-builders, who will detain you for hours with relations of their probable and improbable schemes. One should never be at home to this sort of visitants.90 Give your porter, therefore, directions to be in a more special manner upon his guard against all wild and extravagant thoughts, all vain and fantastical imaginations. It is unknown how much time is wasted by many persons in these airy and chimerical47 schemes, while they neglect their duty to God and man, and even their own worldly interest; thus losing the substance by grasping at the shadow,94 and dream. ing themselves princes, till they awake beggars.

7. There is one sort of guests who are no strangers to the mind of man. These are gloomy and melancholy thoughts. There are times and seasons when, to some, everything appears dismal and disconsolate, though they know not why. A black cloud hangs hovering over their minds, which, when it falls in showers through their eyes, is dispersed, and all is serene again. This is often purely mechanical, and owing either to some fault

m the bodily constitution, 40 or some accidental disorder in the animal frame. It comes on in a dark month, a thick sky, and an east wind. Constant employment and a cheerful friend are two excellent remedies. Certain," however, it is, that, whatever means can be devised, they should instantly and incessantly be used to drive away such dreary and desponding imaginations.

8. It is needless to say that we should repel all impure thoughts; because, if we possess a fair character, and frequentl good company, it is to be hoped they will not have the assurance to knock at our door. Lastly — with abhorrence reject immediately all profane and blasphemous thoughts. When the body is disordered, the mind will be so too; and thoughts will arise in it of which no account can be given. But let those who are thus afflicted know, for their comfort, the bare thoughts will not be imputed to them for sins, while they do not cherish and encourage them, but, on the contrary, exert all their endeavors to espel and banish them; which, with prayers and help from above, will not fail of success in the end.

9. These, then, are the thoughts against which you should carefully guard : such as are peevish and discontented, anxious and fearful, passionate and quarrelsome, silly and trifling, vain and fantastical, gloomy and melancholy, impure, profane, and blasphemous. A formidable band ! to whose importunity, more or less, every one is subject. Reason, aided by the grace of God, must watch diligently at the gate, either to bar their entrance, or drive them away forthwith when entered, not only as impertinent, but mischievous intruders, that will otherwise forever destroy the peace and quiet of the family.

10. The best method, after all, perhaps, is to contrive matters so as always to be preëngaged when they come ; engaged with better company; and then there will be no room for them. For, other kinds of thoughts there are, to which, when they stand at the door and knock, the porter should open immediately; which you should let in and receive, retain and improve, to your soul's health and happiness.

11. The grand secret in this, as in many other cases, is employment. An empty house is everybody's property. All the vagrants about the country will take up their quarters in it. Always, therefore, have something to do, and you will always have something to think about. God has placed every person in some station ; and every station has a set of duties belonging to it. Did we not forget* or neglect these, evil thoughts would suel

or admission in vain. Indeed, they would not come near our dwelling, any more than idle, vain, profligate people would think of visiting and teasing a man who labored constantly for his daily bread.

12. And let no one imagine, as too many are apt to do, that it is a matter of indifference what thoughts he entertains in his heart, since the reason of things concurs with the testimony of Scripture, to assure us that “the though of foolishness," when allowed by us, “is itself sin.” Therefcie, in the excellent words of an excellent poet,

“Guard well thy thoughts — our thoughts are heard in heaven.”

“Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the of life.”

HORNE (ABRIDGI..

XXXI. — SELECT PASSAGES IN VERSE.

1. — ULYSSES?141 Dog. - Anon.
WHEN wise Ulysses, El from his native coast
Long kept by wars, and long hy tempests tost,
Arrived at last, poor, old, disguised, alune, 131 —
To all his friends, and even his queen, unknown';
Changed as he was with age, and toils, and cares,
Furrowed his reverend face, and whitell his hairs';
In his own palace forced to ask his bread',
Scorned by those slaves his former bounty fed',
Forgot of all his own domestic crew';
The faithful dog alone his master knew':
Unfed, unhoused, neglected, on the clay,
Like an old servant, now cashiered, si he lay :
And, though even then expiring on the plain,
Touched with resentment'l of ungrateful man,
And longing to behold his ancient lord again,
Him when he saw, he rose, and crawled to meet,
"T was all he could, and fawned, and licked his feet
Seized with dumb joy ; then, falling by his side,
Owned his returning lord, looked up, and died.

2. — FEIGNED COURAGE. — Miss Lamb.
Horatio, of ideal courage vain,
Was flourishing in air his father's cane;
And, as the fumes of valor swelled his pate,
Now thought himself this hero, and now that ;
“ And now,” he cried, “ I will Achillëse be ;
My sword I brandish ; see the Trojans flee!
Now I'll be Hector, El when his angry blade
A lane through heaps of slaughtered Grecians made!
And now, by deeds still braver, I'll evince
I am no less than Edwardei the Black Prince.
Give way, ye coward French !” As thus he spoke,
And aimed in fancy a sufficient stroke

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »