Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

that a neighbor" of his had found a pan of money under ground, having dreamed of it three nights running before. These tidings were daggers to th£. heart of poor Whang. "Here am I," says he, "toilmg and moiling from morning till night for a few paltry farthings, while neighbor Thanks only goes quietly to bed and dreams himself into thousands before morning. O, that I could dream like him! With what pleasure would I dig round the pan! How slyly would I carry it home! not even my wife should see me: and then, O, the pleasure of thrusting one's hand into a heap of gold up to the elbow!"

4. Such reflections only served to make the miller unhappy; he discontinued his former assiduity; he was quite disgusted with small gains, and his customers began to forsake him. Every day he repeated the wish, and every night laid himself down in order to dream. Fortune, that was for a long time unkind, at last, however, seemed to smile on his distresses, and indulged him with the wished-for vision. He dreamed that under a certain part of the foundation of his mill there was concealed a monstrous pan of gold and diamonds, buried deep in the ground, and covered with a large flat stone.

5. He concealed his good luck from every person, as is usual in money dreams, in order to have the vision repeated the two succeeding nights, by which he should be certain of its truth. His wishes in this, also, were answered; he still dreamed of the same pan of money in the very same place. Now, therefore, it was past a doubt; so, fretting up early the third morning, he repaired alone, with a mattock in his hand, to the mill, and began to undermine that part of the wall to which the vision directed him.

6. The first omen of success that he met was a broken ring; digging still deeper, he turned up a hcrase-tile, quite new and entire. At last, after much digging, he came to a broad flat stone, but then so large that it was beyond man's strength to remove it. "Here !" cried he, in raptures, to himself; "here it is; under this stone there is room for a very large pan of diamonds indeed. I must e'en go home to my wife, and tell her tho whole affair, and get her to assist me in turning it up."

7. Away, therefore, he goes, and acquaints his wife with every circumstance of their good fortune. Her raptures on this occa' sion may easily be imagined. She flow round his neck and em braced him in an ecstasy of joy; but these transports," however did not allay their eagerness to know the exact sum; returning, therefore, together to the same place where Whang had beec digging, there they found — not, indeed, the expected treasure — but the mill, their only support, undermined and fallen.

GOLDSMITH.

CIV. — THE PLANETS AND HEAVENLY BODIES.

1. It is not for us to say whether inspiration revealed to th» Psalmist the wonders of modern astronomy. But even though the mind be a perfect stranger to the science of these enlightened times, the heavens present a great and an elevating spectacle, — nn immense con'cave" reposing upon the circular boundary of the world, and the innumerable lights which are suspended from on high, moving with solemn regularity along its surface. It seems to have been at night that the piety of the Psalmist" was awakened by this contemplation, when the moon and the stars were visible, and not when the sun had risen in his strength, and thrown a splendor around him, which bore down and eclipsed" all the lesser glories of the firmament.

2. And there is much in the scenery of a nocturnal sky to lift the soul to pious contemplation. The moon and these stars, what are they? They are detached from the world, and they lift us above it. We feel withdrawn from the earth, and rise in lofty abstraction from this little theatre" of human passions and human anxieties. The mind abandons itself to revery, and is transferred in the ecstasy of its thoughts to distant aud unexplored regions. It sees nature in the simplicity of her great elements, and it sees the God of nature invested with the high attributes of wisdom and majesty.

3. But what can these lights be? The curiosity of the human mind is insatiable; and the mechanism of these wonderful heavens has, in all ages, been its subject and its employment. It has been Reserved for these latter times to resolve this great and interesting question. The sublimest powers of philosophy have been called to the exercise, and astronomy may now bo. looked1 upon as the most certain and best-established of the. sciences.

4. We all know that every visible object appears less in mag nitude as it recedes from the eye. The lofty vessel, as it retires from the coast, shrinks into littleness, and at last appears in the form of a small speck on the verge of the horizon." The eagle with its expanded wings is a noble object; but when it takes its flight into the upper regions of the air, it becomes less to the eye, and is seen like a dark spot upon the vault of heaven. The samo is true of all magnitude. The heavenly bodies appear small to the eye of an inhabitant of this earth only from the immensity of their distance. When we talk of hundreds of millions of miles, it is not to be listened to as incredible. For remember that we are talking of those bodies which are scattered over the immens* ity of space, and that space knows no termination. The conception is great and difficult, but the truth is unquestionable.

5 By a process of measurement which it is unnecessary at present to explain, we have ascertained first the distance and then the magnitude of some of those bodies which roll in the firmament; that the sun, which presents itself to the eye under so diminutive a form, is really a globe, exceeding, by many thousands of times, the dimensions of the earth which we inhabit; that the moon itself has the magnitude of a world; and that even a few of those stars, which appear like so many lucid points to the unassisted eye of the observer, expand into large circles upon the application of the telescope," and are some of them much larger than the ball which we tread upon, and to which we proudly apply the denomination of the universe.

6. Now, why should we think that the great Architect" of nature, supreme in wisdom as he is in power, would call these stately mansions into existence, and leave tbem unoccupied? When we cast our eye over the broad sea, and look at the country on the other side, we see nothing but the blue land stretching obscurely over the distant horizon. We are too far away to perceive the richness of its scenery, or to hear the sound of its population. Why not extend this principle to the still more distant parts of the universe? What though, from this remote point of observation, we can see nothing but the naked roundness of yon planetary orbs? Are we, therefore, to say that they are so many vast and unpeopled solitudes; that desolation reigns in every part of the universe but ours; that the whole energy of the divine attributes is expended on one insignificant corner of these mighty works, and that to this earth alone belongs the' bloom of vegetation, or the blessedness of life, or the dignity of rational and immortal existence? Chalmers.'

CV. — THOUGHTS ON EARLY RISING.
1. Habits Of Great .men. Anonymous.11

Whatever may be the quantity of sleep required, early rising is essential to health, and promotes longevity." Almost all men who have distinguished themselves in science," literature, and the arts, have been early risers. The industrious, the activeminded, the enthusiasts in pursuit of knowledge or gain, are up betimes at their respective occupations, while the sluggard wastes the most beautiful period of his life in pernicious slumber Homer, Virgil, and Horace, are all represented aseapty risers the same was the case with .faley, Priestley, and Buffon; th« last of whom ordered h s servant to awaken him every morning, and compel him to get up by force if he evinced any reluctance; for which service he was rewarded with a crown each day, which recompense he forfeited if he did not oblige his master to get out of bed before the clock struck six.

Bishops Jewel andUiurnet rose every morfcing at four o'clock. Sir Thomas More dick the same thing. JSapoleon was an early risay; so were Frederick the Great, Charles the Twelfth, and Washmgton. Sir Walter"Scott, during the greater part of his life, rose by five o'clock; and his literary work was accomplished chiefly before breakfast. FTShklin and nearly all the great men of the American revolution were early risers; so were Daniel Webster and John Quincty^Adams. That early rising tends to prolong life appears to be clearly proved. One of the most eminent judges of England — Lord Mansfield — was at the pains of collecting some curious evidence on this subject. When he presided in his judicial capacity over the court, he questioned every old person who appeared at the bar respecting his habits; and all agreed on one point—that of being early risers.

Falsely luxurious, will not man awake,
And, springing from the bed of sluth, enjoy
The cool, the fragrant, and the silent hour,
To meditation due and sacred song; —
Wildered and tossing through distempered dreams,
Who would in such a gloomy state remain
Longer than nature craves, when every Muse
And every blooming pleasure wait without
To bless the wildly-devious morning walk?

2. The Morning Hour. Daniel Webster.

The air is tranquil, and its temperature mild. It is morning, and a morning sweet, and fresh, and delightful. Everybody knows the morning in its metaphor'ical" sense, applied to so many objects, and on so many occasions. The health, strength, and beauty, of early yearj, lead us to call that period the "morning of life." Of a lovely young woman we say, she is "bright as the morning," and no one doubts why Lucifer" is called the "son of the morning." But, the morning itself few people, inhabitants of cities, know anything about. Among all our good people, not one in a thousand sees the sun rise once a year. They know nothing99 of the morning.

Their idea of it is, that it is that part of the day which comes along after a cup of colfee and a beef-steak, or a piece of toast With them, morning is not a new issuing of light, a new burst* ing1<* forth of the sun, a new waking up of all that has life, from a sort of temporary death, to behold again the works of God, the heavens and the earth; it is only part of the domestic day, belonging to breakfast, to reading the newspapers, answering notes, sending the children to school, and giving ojdora for dinner. The first streak of light, the earliest purpling of the\ast, which the lark" springs up to greet, and the deeper coloring into orange and red, till atHength the "glorious sun is seen, regBnt of day," this they never enjoy, for they never see it.

Beautiful descriptions of the morning abound in all languages, but they are the strongest, perhaps, in those of the East, where the sun is often an object of worship. King David speaks of taking to himself the "wings of the morning." This is highly poetical and beautiful. The wings of the morning are the beams of the rising sun. Rays of light are wings. It is thus said that the Sun of righteousness shall arise, "with healing in his wings," a rising sun which shall scatter life, health, and joy, throughout the universe. Milton has fine descriptions of morning; but not so many as Shakspeare, from whose writings pages of the most beautiful im'agery, all founded on the glory of the morning, might be filled.

I never thought that Adam had much the advantage of us, from having seen the world while it was new. The manifestations of the power of God, like his mercies, are "new every morning," and fresh every moment. We see as fine risings of the sun as ever Adam saw, and its risings are as much a miracle now as they were in his day, and I think a good deal more, because it is now a part of the miracle that for thousands and thousands of years he has come to his appointed time, without the variation of a millionth part of a second. Adam could not tell how this might be. I know the morning—I am acquainted with it, and ^ love it. I love it, fresh and sweet as it is, a daily new creation, breaking forth and calling all that have life, and breath, and being, to new adoration," new enjoyments, and new gratitude.

3. How To Risk Early. Anonymous.

To spring up from bed at the first moment of waking is easy enough for people habituated to it; but how to acquire the habit, — there118 is the master-work. In this, as in all other virtuous resolves, to act upon the first impulse is the only policy. It is said of women, and of garrison commanders, that if they pause upon a proposition, if they suffer themselves to be brought to

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »