« PreviousContinue »
EN I find to be a sort of beings very badly constructed, as they are generally more easily provoked than reconciled, more disposed to do mischief to each other than to make reparation, much more easily deceived than undeceived, and having more pride and even pleasure in killing than in begetting one another; for without a blush they assemble in great armies at noonday to destroy, and when they have killed as many as they can, they exaggerate the number to augment the fancied glory.
In what light we are viewed by superior beings may be gathered from a piece of late West India news. A young angel of distinction being sent down to this world on some business, for the first time, had an old courier-spirit assigned him as a guide. They arrived over the seas of Martinico, in the middle of the long day of obstinate fight between the fleets of Rodney and De Grasse. When, through the clouds of smoke, he saw the fire of the guns, the decks covered with mangled limbs, and bodies dead or dying; the ships sinking, burning, or blown into the air; and the quantity of pain, misery, and destruction, the crews yet alive were thus with so much eagerness dealing round to one another, he turned angrily to his guide, and said: "You blundering blockhead, you are ignorant of your business; you undertook to conduct me to the earth, and you have brought me into hell!" "No, Sir," says the guide, "I have made no mistake; this is really the earth, and these are men. Devils never treat one another in this cruel manner; they have more sense, and more of what men (vainly) call humanity."-Franklin.
No man is the absolute lord of his life. -Owen Meredith.
T is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the
horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in; glittering like the morning star, full of life and splendor, and joy. Oh! what a revolution! and what a heart must I have to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor and of cavaliers ☛ I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of Chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished for ever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiments and heroic enterprise is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.-Edmund Burke.
E make daily great improvements
in moral philosophy; the discovery of a plan, that would induce and oblige nations to settle their disputes without first cutting one another's throats When will human reason be sufficiently improved to see the advantage of this? When will men be convinced, that even successful wars become misfortunes, who unjustly commenced them, and who triumphed blindly in their success, not seeing all its consequences.-Franklin.
HE presence that thus in it, that it leaves the possessor
ERFECT love has this advantage
of it nothing farther to desire. There is one object (at least) in which the soul finds absolute content, for which it seeks to live, or dares to die. The heart has, as it were, filled up the moulds of the imagination. The truth of passion keeps pace with and outvies the extravagance of mere language. There are no words
so fine, no flattery so soft, that there is not a sentiment beyond them, that it is impossible to express, at the bottom of the
heart where true
love is. What idle sounds the comable creature, anmon phrases, adorgel, divinity, are! What a proud reflection it is to have a feeling answering to all these, rooted in the breast, unalterable unutterable, to which all other feelings are light and vain! Perfect love reposes on the object of its choice, like the halcyon on the wave; and the air of heaven is around it.-William Hazlitt
rose strangely beside the
passed! All the
Over the shoulders and slopes of
I saw the white daisies go down to
A host in the sunshine, an army in
The people God sends us to set
The bobolinks rallied them up
The orioles whistled them out of
And all of their saying was, “Earth,
And all of their dancing was,
"Daisies," by Bliss Carman
LAY very little stress either upon asking or giving advice. Generally speaking, they who ask advice know what they wish to do, and remain firm to their intentions. A man may allow himself to be enlightened on various points, even upon matters of expediency and duty; but, after all, he must determine his course of action for himself. -Wilhelm von Humboldt. de de
Bed is a bundle of paradoxes; we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it withregret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late.-Colton.
UT the iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy, and deals with the memory of men without distinction to merit of perpetuity. Who can but pity the founder of the pyramids? Herostratus lives that burnt the temple of Diana, he is almost lost that built it; Time hath spared the epitaph of Adrian's horse, confounded that of himself. In vain we compute our felicities by the advantages of our good names, since bad have equal durations; and Thersites is like to live as long as Agamemnon Who knows whether the best of men be known, or whether there be not more remarkable persons forgot, than any that stand remembered in the known account of Time?...
Oblivion is not to be hired; the greater part must be content to be as though they had not been; to be found in the register of God, not in the record of man. . . . The number of the dead long exceedeth all that shall live. The night of time far surpasseth the day, and who knows when was the Equinox? Every hour adds unto that current arithmetic, which scarce stands one moment. And since death must be the Lucina of life, and even Pagans could doubt whether thus to live were to die; since our longest sun sets at right descensions, and makes but winter arches, and therefore it can not be long before we lie down in darkness and have our light in ashes; since the brother of Death daily haunts us with dying Mementoes, and Time that grows old itself bids us hope no long duration, diuturnity is a dream and folly of expectation. Darkness and light divide the course of
Time, and oblivion shares with memory a great part even of our living beings; we slightly remember our felicities, and the smartest strokes of affliction leave but short smart upon us.
In vain do individuals hope for immortality, or any patent from oblivion, in preservations below the Moon. . . . But man is a noble animal, splendid in ashes and pompous in the grave, solemnizing nativities and deaths with equal lustre, nor omitting ceremonies of bravery in the infamy of his nature. Sir Thomas Browne.
Sun set and evening star,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
When that which drew from out the
Twilight and evening bell,
OW it appears to me that almost any Man
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell may, like the spi-
der, spin from his own inwards his own airy Citadelthe points of leaves and twigs on which the spider begins her work are few, and she fills the air with a beautiful circuiting. Man should be content with as few points to tip with the fine Web of his Soul, and weave a tapestry empyrean-full of symbols for his spiritual eye, of softness for his spiritual touch, of space for his wandering, of distinctness for his luxury. . . . I was led into these thoughts, my dear Reynolds, by the beauty of the morning operating on a sense of Idleness. I have not read any Books-the Morning said I was rightI had no idea but of the Morning, and the Thrush said I was right.
What we can do for another is the test of powers; what we can suffer for is the test of love.-Bishop Westcott.
For tho' from out our bourne of Time
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
Crossing the Bar," by Alfred Lord Tennyson
A picture is a poem without words.
E that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men, which both in affection and means have married and endowed the public. Yet it were great reason that those that have children should have greatest care of future times, unto which they know they must transmit their dearest pledges. Unmarried men are best friends, best masters, best servants; but not always best subjects; for they are light to run away-and almost all fugitives are of that condition. A single life doth well with churchmen, for charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool. It is indifferent for judges and magistrates; for if they be facile and corrupt, you shall have a servant five times worse than a wife. For soldiers, I find generals commonly, in their hortatives, put men in mind of their wives and their children, and I think the despising of marriage amongst the Turks maketh the vulgar soldier more base. Certainly, wife and children are a kind of discipline of humanity; and single men, though they be many times more charitable, because means are less exhaust, yet, on the other side, they are more cruel and hardhearted (good to make severe inquisitors), because their tenderness is not so oft called upon. Wives are young men's mistresses; companions for middle age, and old men's nurses; so that a man may have a quarrel to marry when he will
But yet he was reputed one of the wise men that made answer to the question when a man should marry: "A young man, not yet; an elder man, not at all."-Francis Bacon.
Success lies, not in achieving what you aim at, but in aiming at what you ought to achieve, and pressing forward, sure of achievement here, or if not here, hereafter.-R. F. Horton.
IBERIUS, maintaining an honor
able and just cause, and possessed of eloquence sufficient to have made a less creditable action appear plausible, was no safe or easy antagonist, when, with the people crowding around the hustings, he took his place and spoke in behalf of the poor. "The savage beasts," said he," in Italy, have their particular dens, they have their places of repose and refuge; but the men who bear arms, and expose their lives for the safety of their country, enjoy in the meantime nothing in it but the air and light; and, having no houses or settlements of their own, are constrained to wander from place to place with their wives and children." He told them that the commanders were guilty of a ridiculous error, when, at the head of their armies, they exhorted the common soldiers to fight for their sepulchers and altars; when not any amongst so many Romans is possessed of either altar or monument, neither have they any houses of their own, or hearths of their ancestors to defend. They fought indeed and were slain, but it was to maintain the luxury and the wealth of other men. They were styled the masters of the world, but had not one foot of ground they could call their own.-Plutarch.
LL real and wholesome enjoyments possible to man have been just as possible to him since first he was made of the earth as they are now; and they are possible to him chiefly in peace. To watch the corn grow, and the blossoms set; to draw hard breath over plowshare or spade; to read, to think, to love, to hope, to pray-these are the things that make men happy.... Now and then a wearied king, or a tormented slave, found out where the true kingdoms of the world were, and possessed himself, in a furrow or two of garden ground, of a truly infinite dominion. -John Ruskin. Great minds have purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them-Washington Irving.
KNOW not whether others share in my feelings on this point; but I have often thought that if I were compelled to forego England, and to live in China, and among Chinese manners and modes of life and scenery, I should go mad. The causes of my horror lie deep; and some of them must be common to others › Southern Asia, in general, is the seat of awful images and associations. As the
cradle of the human race, it would alone have a dim and reverential feeling connected with it. But there are other reasons. No man can pretend that the wild, barbarous and capricious super stitions of Africa, or of savage tribes elsewhere, affect him in the way that he is affected by the ancient, monumental, cruel and elaborate religions of Indostan, etc. The mere antiquity of Asiatic things, of their institutions, histories, modes of faith, etc., is so impressive, that to me the vast age of the race and name overpowers the sense of youth in the individual A young Chinese seems to me an antediluvian man renewed. Even Englishmen, though not bred in any knowledge of such institutions, can not but shudder at the mystic sublimity of castes that have flowed apart, and refused to mix, through such immemorial tracts of time; nor can any man fail to be awed by the names of the Ganges or the Euphrates. It contributes much to these feelings, that Southern Asia is, and has been for thousands of years, the part of the earth most swarming with human life: the great officina gentium. Man is a weed in those regions. The vast empires also, into which the enormous population of Asia has always been cast, give a further sublimity to the feelings associated with all Oriental names or images. In China,
over and above what it has in common with the rest of Southern Asia, I am terrified by the modes of life, by the manners, and the barrier of utter abhorrence and want of sympathy placed between us by feelings deeper than I can analyze. I could sooner live with lunatics or brute animals. All this, and much more than I can say, or have time to say, the reader must enter into before he can comprehend the unimaginable horror which these dreams of Oriental imagery and mythological tortures impressed upon me. Under the connecting feeling of tropical heat and ver
tical sunlights, I brought together all creatures, birds, beasts, reptiles, all trees and plants, usages and appear
ances, that are found in all tropical regions, and assembled them together in China or Indostan. From kindred feelings, I soon brought Egypt and all her gods under the same law. I was stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at, by monkeys, by parroquets, by cockatoos. I ran into pagodas; and was fixed, for centuries, at the summit or in secret rooms; I was the idol; I was the priest; I was worshiped; I was sacrificed. I fled from the wrath of Brama through all the forests of Asia; Vishnu hated me; Seeva laid wait for me. I came suddenly upon Isis and Osiris: I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and the crocodile trembled at. I was buried, for a thousand years, in stone coffins, with mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal pyramids. I was kissed, with cancerous kisses, by crocodiles; and laid, confounded with all unutterable slimy things, amongst reeds and Nilotic mud
Do you fear the force of the wind, The slash of the rain?
Go face them and fight them,
Go hungry and cold like the wolf,
The skin of your cheek will tan, You'll grow ragged and weary and
But you'll walk like a man!
"Do You Fear the Wind?" by Hamlin Garland
I thus give the reader some slight abstraction of my Oriental dreams, which always filled me with such amazement