Изображения страниц

oppo'nents. Other people are satisfied too, and think no more of the error they were once disposed to censure. “0, he acted according to his conscience; there is no more to be said.”

5. Now, this would be all very well if conscience were one uniform prompter of good, and preventive of bad, in the breasts of all men. But conscience is a quality which every man possesses only in a certain extent, in proportion as he may have been originally gifted with it, and as he may have cultivated it through life. An individual may have a conscience so very small, or so very dull, that it forms no obstacle to the worst indulgences : he may be so very stupid, in regard to all speculative questions, that the conscience he thinks he acts upon is only a blind supposition of the truth.

6. In these cases conscience is no excuse. The most flagitious criminal might make it a plea for arrest of judgment; the most unenlightened of human beings might sit down upon it in selfsatisfied ignorance; the bigot might adopt it as a sanction for a war against his species. Nine-tenths of all the worst mischief, negative and positive, that ever afflicted the world, is traceable to conscience. The duty of man is to improve those faculties which enable him to think and act correctly. He must make his conscience a good conscience, and then, but then only, will he be entitled to honor in acting upon it.

7. Akin to this error is one which makes meaning well an . excuse for everything. Nay, some not only excuse all kinds of follies and mischiefs by telling themselves and others that they mean well, but they make it a regular boast as a primary rule of conduct, and take not the least care for anything else. They will deliberately go on from day to day in a course injurious to both themselves and others, and, reposing indolently upon their good intentions, neglect all fair opportunities of advantage, all feasible natural means of accomplishing their ends, and finally, perhaps, allow the broad wheel of ruin to come over them, with. out making an effort to get out of the way.

8. There is also a great sect of philanthropists, who, taking no · pains to ascertain the true means of promoting human happiness, and possibly prepossessed in favor of many things which are adverse to it, form, in reality, through the very respect that 18 paid to their well-meaning impenetrability, the greatest existing obstacles to the object they profess to have in view. Men can never be sufficiently vigilant in guarding against this easy palliation of error and prejudice; their duty is to see that they both mean well, and take the proper means for forming a sound judgw.ent and constructing a correct rule of action. CHAMBERS.


1. True Glory. — Miltor..
They err who count it glorious to subdue
By conquest far and wide, to overrun
Lärge countries, and in field great battles win,
Great cities by assault; what do these worthies
But rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave
Peaceable nations, neighboring or remote,
Made captive, yet deserving freedom more
Than those their conquerors, who leave behind
Nothing but ruin wheresoe 'er they rove,
And all the flourishing works of peace destroy,
Then swell with pride, and must be titled gods,
Great benefactors of mankind, deliverers,
Worshipped with temple, priest, and sicrifice;
One is the son of Jove, EI of MarsEl the other ;
Till conqueror Death discover them scarce men,
Rolling in brutish vices, and deformed,
Violent or shameful death their due reward.
But if there be in glory aught of good,
It may by means far different be attained,
Without ambition, war, or violence;
By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,
By patience, temperance.

Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more,
For Lycidas, El your sorrow, is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor :
So sinks the day-star in the ocean-bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky;
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high
Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves
Where, other groves, and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
In the blessed kingdoins meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops and sweet societies,
That sing, and, singing, in their glory move,
And wipe the tears forever from his eyes.

3. TRUTH. — Cowper. The only amaranthineni flower on earth Is virtue; the only lasting treasure, truth.

But what is truth? 'Twas Pilate'gel question put
To truth itself, that deigned him no reply.
And wherefore? will not God impart flis light
To them that ask it! — Freely : 't is his joy,
His glory, and his nature, to impart.
But w the proud, uncandid, insincere,
Or negligent inquirer, not a spark.
What pearl is it that rich men cannot buy,
That learning is too proud to gather up;
But which the poor and the despised of all
Seek and obtain, and often lind unsought?
Tell me, and I will tell thee what is truth.

But most by numbers judge a poet's song;
And smooth or rough, with them is right or wrong :
In the bright Musee though thousand charms conspire,
Her voice is all these tuneful fools admire;
Who haunt Parnassuski but to please their ear,
Not mend their minds ; as some to church repair,
Not for the doctrine, but the music there.
Thesel 16 equal syllables alone require,
Though oft the ear the open vowels tire ;
While ex'pletivegei their feeble aid do join,
And ten low words oft creep in one dull line ;
While they ring round the same unvaried chimes,
With sure returns of still expected rhymes ;
Where'er you find “ the cooliny western breeze,".
In the next line it " whispers through the trees;”
If crystal streams “ with pleasing murmurs creep,”.
The reader 's threatened (not in vain) with “ sleep; '
Then, at the last and only couplet, fraught
With some unmeaning thing they call a thought,
A needless Alexandrineki ends the song,
That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.
Leave such to tune their own dull rhyines, and know
What's roundly smooth, or languishingly slow;
And praise the easy vigor of a line,
Where Denham's strength and Waller's sweetness join.
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance ;
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
"T is not enough no harshness gives offence,
The sound must seems an echo to the sense :
Soft is the strain when zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax El strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow;
Not so when swift Camillaci scours the plair,
Flies o’er the unbending corn, and skims along the main

[ocr errors]

What is the bigot's torch, the tyrant's chain?
I smile on death, if heavenward Hope remain !
But, if the warring winds of nature's strife
Be all the faithless charter of my life,
If Chance awaked (inexorable power!)
This frail and feverish being of an hour;
Doomed o'er the world's precarious scene to sweep,
Swift as the tempest travels on the deep,
To know Delight but by her parting smile,
And toil, and wish, and weep, a little while ;-
Then melt, ye elements, that formed in vain
This troubled pulse, and visionary brain !
Fade, ye wild flowers, memorials of my doom !
And sink, ye stars, that light me to the tomb !

Eternal Hope! when yonder spheres sublime
Pealed their first notes to sound the march of Time,
Thy joyous youth began – but not to fade.-
When all the sister planets have decayed,
When wrapt in fire the realms of ether glow,
And Heaven's last thunder shakes the world below,
Thou, undismayed, shalt o’er the ruins givile,
And light thy torch at Nature's funeral pile !

A Famous hen 's my story's theme,

Who ne'er was known to tire
Of laying eggs, but then she'd scream
So loud o’er every egg, 't would seem

The house must be on fire.
A turkey-cock, who ruled the walk,

A wiser bird and older,
Could hear 't no more, so off did stalk

Right to the hen, and told her:
“ Madam, that scream, I apprehend,

Does nothing to the matter;
It surely helps the egg no whit;
Then lay your egy, and done with it!
I pray you, madam, as a friend,

Cease that superfluous clatter !
You know not how 't goes through my head!"
“ Humph! very likely!" madam said,
Then, proudly putting forth a leg:
“ Uneducated barnyard fowl !
You know no more than any owl
The noble privilege and praise
Of authorship in modern days, –

I'll tell you why I do it:
First, you perceive, I lay my egg,
And then - review it."

C. T. BROOKS (FROM THE GERMAN). CXCII. — TIE CHAMELEON. 1. OFT has it been my lot to mark

A proud, conceited, talking spark,
With eyes that hardly served at most
To guard their master 'gainst a post;
Yet round the world the blade has been
To see whatever could be seen,
Returning from his finished tour, Ei
Grown ten times perter than before.
Whatever word you chance to drop,
The travelled fool your mouth will stop,
“ Sir, if my judgment you ’ll allow,
I've seen, and sure I ought to know.”
So begs you 'd pay a due submission,
And acquiesce in his decision.

2. Two travellers of such a cast,

As o'er Arabia's wilds they passed,
And on their way, in friendly chat,
Now talked of this, and then of that,
Discoursed a while, 'mongst other matter,
Of the Chameleon'gel form and nature.
“ A stranger animal," cries one,
“ Sure never lived beneath the sun :
A lizard's body lean and long,
A fish's head, a serpent's tongue;
Its foot with triple claw disjoined ;
And what a length of tail behind!
How slow its pace! and then its hue,
Who ever saw so fine a blue!”.

3. “ Hold there!” the other quick replies,

66 "T is green ; I saw it with these eyes,
As late with open mouth it lay,
And warmed it in the sunny ray ;
Stretched at its ease the beast I viewed,
And saw it eat the air for food.”

4. “I've seen it, sir, as well as you,

And must again affirm it blue
At leisure I the beast surveyed,
Extended in the cooling shade."

5. “ 'T is green, 't is green, sir, I assure ye!"

“ Green!” cries the other, in a fury;
" Why, sir, d' ye think I 've lost my eyes?” em
“ 'T were no great loss," the friend replies;
“ For, if they always serve you thus,
You 'll find them of but little ase."

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »