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the " ancient0 mariner," by guardian spirits — " each one a lovely light" — who stood as beacons to my course. Infirm health, and a natural love of reading, happily threw me, instead of worse society, into the company of poets, philosophers, and sages — to me good angels and ministers of grace. From these silent instructors— who often do more than fathers, and always more than god-fathers, for our temporal and spiritual interests — from these mild monitors, — no importunate tutors, teasing mentors,1" moral task-masters, obtrusive advisers, harsh censors, or wearisome lecturers, but delightful associates, — I learned something of the divine, and more of the human, religion.
They were my interpreters in the house beautiful of God, and my guide among the delectable mountains of Nature. They reformed my prejudices, chastened my passions, tempered my heart, purified my tastes, elevated my mind, and directed my aspirations. I was lost in a chaos of undigested problems, false theories, crude fancies, obscure impulses, bewildering doubts, when these bright intelligences called my mental world out of darkness, like a new creation, and gave it " two great lights," Hope and Memory, — the past for a moon, and the future for a sun.
"Hence have I genial seasons; hence have I
Smooth passions, smooth discourse, and joyais thoights;
And thus, from day to day, my little boat
Bocks in its harbor, lodging peaceably. —
Blessings be with them, and eternal praise, —
The poets, — who on earth have made us heirs
Of truth and pure delight, by heavenly lays!
0, might my name be numbered among theirs,
How gladly would I end my mortal days !" *— Thomat Hood.
2. The Worth Of Books. — It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds; and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours. God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages. Books are the true levellers. They give to all, who will faithfully use them, the society, the spiritual presence, of the best and greatest of our race. No matter how poor I am. No matter, though the prosperous of my own time will not enter my obscure dwelling. If the Sacred Writers will enter and take u'p their abode under my roof, — if Milton will cross my threshold to sing to me of Paradise, and Shakspeare to open to me the worlds of imagination and the workings of the human heart, and Franklin to enrich me with his
practica wisdom, — I shall not pine for intellectual companionship; and I may become a cultivated man, though excluded from what is called the best society in the place where I live. — Channing.
3. Moral Influence Of A Literary Taste. — To a young man away from home, friendless and folorn in a great city, the hours of peril are those between sunset and bed-time; for the moon and stars see more of evil in a single hour than the sun in his whole day's circuit. The poet's visions of evening are all compact' of tender and soothing images. It brings the wanderer to his home, the child to his mother's arms, the ox to his stall, and the weary laborer to his rest. But to the gentle-hearted youth who is thrown upon the rocks of a pitiless city, and stands " homeless amid a thousand homes," the approach of evening brings with it an aching sense of loneliness and desolation, which comes down upon the spirit like darkness upon the earth. In this mood, his best impulses become a snare to him, and he is led astray because he is social, affectionate, sympathetic, and warm-hearted. If there be a young man thus circumstanced within the sound of my voice, let me say to him that books are the friends of the friendless, and that a library is the home of the homeless. A taste for reading will always carry you to converse with men who will instruct you by their wisdom and charm you by their wit, who will soothe you when fretted, refresh you when weary, counsel you when perplexed, and sympathize with you at all times. Evil spirits, in the middle ages, were exor'cised and driven away by bell, book, and candle; you want but two of these agents, the book and the candle. — Hillard.
4. Desirableness Of A Taste For Reading. — Were I to pray for a taste which should stand me in stead under every variety of circumstance, and be a source of happiness and cheerfulness to me during life, and a shield against its ills, however things might go amiss and the world frown upon me, it would be a taste for reading. Give a man this taste, and the means of gratifying it, and you can hardly fail of making him a happy man; unless, indeed, you put into his hands a most perverse selection of books. You place him in contact with the best society in every period of history, — with the wisest, the wittiest, the tenderest, the bravest, and the purest characters who have adorned humanity. You make him a denizen of all nations, a contemporary" of all ages. The world has been created for him.— Sir John Herschel.
5. The Habit Of Reading May Be Abused. — A man may as well expect to grow stronger by always eating, as wiser by always reading. Too much overcharges nature, and turns more Into disease than nourishment. It is thought and digestion which make Looks serviceable, and give health and vigor to the mind. Better read not at all than read bad, unprofitable books. "There are those persons," says Locke, "who are very assiduous in reading, and yet do not much advance their knowledge by it. They are delighted with the stories that are told, and, perhaps, can tell them again, for they make all they read nothing but history to themselves; but, not reflecting on it, not making to themselves observations from what they read, they are very little improved by all that crowd of particulars that either pass through, or lodge themselves in, their understandings. They dream on in a constant course of reading and cramming themselves, but, not digesting anything, it produces nothing but a heap of crudities." Be not seduced by any eloquence of style, sophistry of argument, or seeming novelty and boldness of thought, into a distrust of any truth which your own immortal soul, in its highest aspirations, has approved, and which the monitions of conscience, no less than the assurances of Holy Writ, impel you to regard as sacred.
CLXXXVI. — CAPTURE OF A WHALE.
1. The monotony of the calm was suddenly broken by the long-expected cry, "There she blows!" from the man at the mast-head. — " Whereaway?" demanded the captain. — "Three points off the lee bow, sir." — " Raise up your wheel. Steady!" —" Steady, sir." —" Mast-head, ahoy! Do you see that whale now ?"— " Ay, ay, sir. A school" of sperm whales! There she blows! There she breathes!"—"Sing out! Sing out every time!" —"Ay, ay, sir. There she blows! There — there — there — she blows!" —"How far off?" — "Two miles and a half." — "So near? Call all hands! Clew up the fore-topgallant-sail — there! belay!" Hard down your wheel! Haul back the main-yard! Get your tubs in your boats! Bear a hand! Clear your falls! Stand by all to lower! All ready1"
— "All ready, sir." — " Lower away!"
2. Down went the boats with a splash. Each boat's crew sprang over the rail, and in an instant the larboard, starboard, and waist boats were manned. There was great rivalry in getting the start. The waist boat got off in pretty good time, and away went all three, dashing the water high over their bows. Nothing could be more exciting than the chase. The larboard boat, commanded by the mate, and the waist boat, by the second mate, were head and head. "Give way, my lads, give way!" ehouted our headsman; "we gain on them; give way A long steady stroke — that's the way to tell it"
3. The chase was now truly soul-stirring. Sometimes the laroard, then the starboard, then the waist boat took the lead. It was a severe trial of skill and muscle. After we had run two miles at this rate, the whales turned flukes," going straight to windward. "Now for it, my lads!" cried our headsman. "We '11 have them the next rising. Now pile it on! A long, steady pull! That's it! That's the way! Those whales belong to us. Don't give out! Half an hour more, and they 're our whales." On dashed the boat, clearing its way through the rough sea, as if the briny element were blue smoke. The whale we pursued, however, turned flukes before we could reach him. When he appeared again above the surface of the water, it was evident that he had gone a good distance while down, gaining on us nearly a mile.
4. The chase was now almost hopeless, as the whale was making to windward rapidly. A heavy black cloud was on the hori'zon, portending an approaching squall, and the bark was fast fading from sight. Still we were not to be baffled by discouraging circumstances of this kind, and we braced our sinews for a grand and final effort. The wind had by this time increased almost to a gale, and the heavy black clouds were scattering far and wide. Part of the squall had passed off to leeward," and entirely concealed the bark. Our situation was rather unpleasant, in a rough sea, the other boats out of sight, and each moment the wind increasing. We continued to strain every muscle till we were hard upon the whale. Tabor sprang to the bow," and stood by it with the harpoon.
5. "Softly, softly, my lads!" said the headsman. — " Ay, ay, sir." —"Hush-h-h! Softly ! Now's your time, Tabor!" Tabor let fly the harpoon, and buried the iron. "Stern all!" thundered the headsman. "Stern all!" And as we rapidly backed from the whale, he flung his tremendous flukes high in the air, covering us with a cloud of spray. He then plunged down under water, making the line whiz as it passed through the chocks." When he rose to the surface again, we hauled up, and the second mate stood ready in the bow to despatch him with lances.
6. "He is spouting blood!" said Tabor; "he is a dead whale. He will not need much lancing." It was true enough; for, before the officer could get within dart's reach of him, the monster commenced his dying struggles. The sea was crimsoned with his blood. We lay upon our oars a moment to witness his last throes, and when he had turned his head towards the sun a loud simultaneous cheer burst from every lip. j. Ross Rrowne.
CLXXXVII. —THE PASSIONS: AN ODB
1 When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
2. First, Fear156 his hand, its skill to try,
Amid the chords bewildered laid:
3. Next, Anger rushed; his eyes on fire
In lightnings owned his secret stings;
And swept with hurried hand the strings.
4. With woful measures wan Despair —
Low, sullen sounds! —his grief beguiled;
5. But thou, 0 Hope! with eyes so fair,
What was thy delighted measure?
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
0. And longer had she sung — but, with a frown,