صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

THE BRIDE’S FAREWELL. Why do I weep --to leave the vine,

Whose clusters o'er me bend ?
The myrtle-yet, O! call it mine

The flowers I loved to tend ?
A thousand thoughts of all things dear,

Like shadows o'er me sweep!
I leave my sunny childhood here,

O therefore let me weep! .
I leave thee, sister--we have play'd

Through many a joyous hour,
Where the silvery green of the olive shade

Hung dim o'er fount and bower!
Yes! thou and I, by stream, by shore,

In song, in prayer, in sleep,
Have been as we may be no more.

Kind sister, let me weep!'
I leave thee, father!-Eve's bright moon

Must now light other feet,
With the gather'd grapes, and the lyre in tune,

Thy homeward steps to greet!
Thou in whose voice, to bless thy child,

Lay tones of love so deep,
Whose eye o'er all my youth hath smiled,---

I leave thee-let me weep!
'Mother! I leave thee on thy breast

Pouring out joy and wo,
- I have found that holy place of rest

Still changeless-yet I go!
Lips that have lullid me with your strain,

Eyes that have watch'd my sleep!
Will earth give love like yours again ?

Sweet mother, let me weep! bir

A MAN'S HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON THE

PLEASURES OF HOME. The younger Pliny has very justly observed, that of actions that deserve our attention, the most splendid are not always the greatest. Fame, and wonder, and applause, are not excited but by external and adventitious circumstances, often distinct and separate from virtue and heroism. Eminence of station, greatness of effect, and all the favours of fortune, must concur to place excellence in public view; but fortitude, diligence, and patience, divested of their show, glide unobserved through the crowd of life, and suffer and act, though with the same vigour and constancy, yet without pity and without praise.

This remark may be extended to all parts of life. Nothing is to be estimated by its effect upon common eyes and common ears. A thousand miseries make silent and invisible inroads on mankind, and the heart feels innumerable throbs, which never break into complaint. Perhaps, likewise, our pleasures are for the most part equally secret, and most are borne up by some private satisfaction, some internal consciousness, some latent hope, some peculiar prospect, which they never communicate, but reserve for solitary hours, and clandestine meditation.

The main of life, is, indeed, composed of small incidents and petty occurrences; of wishes

for objects not remote, and grief for disappointments of no fatal consequence; of insect vexations which sting us and fly away, impertinences which buzz a while about us, and are heard no more; of meteorous pleasures which dance before us, and are dissipated; of compliments which glide off the soul like other music, and are forgotten by him that gave and him that received them.

Such is the general heap out of which every man is to cull his own condition: for as the chemists tell us, that all bodies are resolvable into the same elements, and that the boundless variety of things arises from the different proportions of very few ingredients; so a few pains and a few pleasures are all the materials of human life, and of these the proportions are partly allotted by Providence, and partly left to the arrangement of reason and of choice.

As these are well or ill disposed, man is for the most part happy or miserable. For very few are involved in great events, or have their thread of life entwisted with the chain of causes on which armies or nations are suspended; and even those who seem wholly busied in public affairs, and elevated above low cares, or trivial pleasures, pass the chief part of their time in familiar and domestic scenes; from these they came into public life, to these they are every hour recalled by passions not to be suppressed; in these they have the reward of their toils, and to these at last they retire.

The great end of prudence is to give cheerfulness to those hours which splendour cannot gild, and acclamation cannot exhilarate; those soft intervals of unbended amusement, in which a man shrinks to his natural dimensions, and throws aside the ornaments or disguises, which he feels in privacy to be useless encumbrances, and to lose all effect when they become familiar. To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tends, and of which every desire prompts the prosecution.

It is, indeed, at home that every man must be known by those who would make a just estimate either of his virtue or felicity; for smiles and embroidery are alike occasional, and the mind is often dressed for show in painted honour and fictitious benevolence.

Every man must have found some whose lives, in every house but their own, were a continual series of hypocrisy, and who concealed under fair appearances bad qualities, which, whenever they thought themselves out of the reach of censure, broke out from their restraint, like winds imprisoned in their cayerns, and whom every one had reason to love, but they whose love a wise man is chiefly solicitous to procure. And there are others who, without any show of general goodness, and without the attractions by which popularity is conciliated, are received among their own families as bestowers of happiness, and reverenced as instructers, guardians, and benefác tors.

· The most authentic witnesses of any man's character are those who know him in his own family, and see him without any restraint or rule of conduct, but such as he voluntarily prescribes to himself. If a man carries virtue with him into his private apartinents, and takes no advantage of unlimited power, or probable secrecy; if we trace him through the round of his time, and find that his character, with those allowances which mortal frailty must always want, is uniform and regular, we have all the evidence of his sincerity that one man can have with regard to another: and, indeed, as hy. pocrisy cannot be its own reward, we may, without hesitation, determine that his heart is pure,

The highest panegyric, therefore, that private virtue can receive, is the praise of servants. For, however vanity or insolence may look down with contempt on the suffrage of men undignified by wealth, and urrenlightened by education, it very seldom happens that they commend or blame without justice. Vice and virtue are easily distinguished. Oppression, according to Harrington's aphorism, will be felt by those who cannot see it; and, perhaps, it falls out very often that, in moral questions, the philosophers in the gown, and in the livery, differ not so much in their sentiments, as in their language, and have equal power of discerning right, though they cannot point it out to others with equal address.

There are very few faults to be committed

« السابقةمتابعة »