صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

from restraint. But since the maxim does not include these gentlemen, the avocation of the collegian entitles him to no peculiar privileges.

The consideration, then, is future. It is well the Future is a wealthy banker. Many and heavy drafts are made upon him--so many and so heavy, indeed, that the only matter of surprise is, that they are so often honored. Extraordinary privileges of the kind claimed, however, are accorded to no person, at any age ; and every man during every portion of his life employs more rather than less than the privileges rightly belonging to him. The Future possesses no greater license than is requisite for itself. To borrow license from it is absurd.

Privileges should be granted to those who need them. The idea of favor received indicates inferiority. Give dainty viands to the effeminate; the strong man is better without them. The collegian should be, if he is not, this stout man who scorns to be the recipient of paltry favors. Indeed, he should need less rather than more privileges than others enjoy. The examples of antiquity should teach him true manliness. From these he should learn the stern excellences of the Roman, and the tender refinement of the Greek ; and with both he should blend the more practical sense of the present.

To the Intellectual, the true student fills a beaker to the brim, and quaffs right heartily to this the fairest and the truest mistress. But if we are intellectual men, we are no less imperatively called upon to honor every dictate of conscience, every law of the land, than the most ignorant Caffre. Nor if both the intellectual and moral responsibilities which devolve upon us are honored, are we set free from our obligations as social beings. To perform a certain class of duties, does not make another class less obligatory. The complete man is not only intellectual, but he is also a moral and a social being

The truth is, college students not only are not licensed persons, but they are those who least of all should desire to have extraordinary privileges accorded to them.

II.

That TALENTED MEN NEED NOT STUDY.

The adoption of this idea as an axiom, is pernicious in the extreme. It has given rise to as much falsehood as any single notion that ever gained currency. Those whose cast of mind does not allow them to acquire quickly, being ambitious of reputation as men of talent, toil in secret when they dare not toil openly. College tradition gives a case in pointi- .

* Once upon a time” a youth entered college, full of ambitious hopes and with the brightest prospects of success. He very much resembled the Alpine pedestrian of Longfellow :

“ His brow was sad; his eye beneath
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath, .
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,

Excelsior!" He soon adopted the maxim that study is unnecessary for a person of talent; and, of course, unnecessary for him. His days were spent among bis fellows in listless idleness, or when found at his room he was almost invariably abed and asleep. He never was seen to study, unless perhaps to glance over his lesson just before he went in to recite; and yet his recitations were models—so accurate, so fluent, so beautiful. It was not long before he won a golden reputation as a man of talent. College for once was unanimous. A genius was verily among them. Imitators in great numbers arose, who all succeeded admirably in equaling his apparent neglect of study ; but none could equal him in the recitation room.

The health of the reputed genius, however, in process of time be. gan to fail. His ruddy complexion was changed to sallow, and his flashing eye lost its lustre. Yet he was not one who frequented places of dissipation; he was noted for keeping early hours. Others, who had constitutions much more frail, and who studied long and faithfully, showed no signs of weakness or disease. Still every one observed that the common favorite was fast failing. Consumption was attacking the citadel of life ; an iron constitution was completely broken down, and the messengers of death were already revelling in the halls of his heart. Our friend (he was everybody's friend, and why not ours ?) had always refused to receive a room-mate. Though the most sociable of men, he uniformly chose to occupy a room alone. Senior year arrived. He had reached the threshold of college, attended by well-nigh the proudest reputation as a scholar that ever so young a man had won. But a

"change

Came o'er the spirit of his dream ;" for dream it was. By accident he was discovered at midnight studying under his bed! And thus he had passed almost through his course. It was his custom to darken his window at night; and to prevent discovery or even suspicion, he would crouch beneath his bed, and study, study, while others were enjoying their calm repose. To gain a character for not laboring, he labored much more severely than any of his fellows. His health was failing; and after all his toil, to his brilliant career was added a disgraceful close. No one could avoid despising him for his paltry trick, which had succeeded but too well even for himself. As his early course had been eminently bright, so its termination was one of palpable darkness. Unlike the falling star, his path downward was not illuminated : his brilliance in an instant was extinguished forever.

The life of this man in college was a continuous lie. And such, to

a greater or less degree, must be that of every person who adopts the maxim that talent is an all-sufficient substitute for study, and who yet succeeds in the various departments of intellectual effort.

But the maxim is equally pernicious to those who have too much magnanimity to live a lie. It leads such persons to squander time and invaluable opportunities. Frequently the most promising portion of our students are injured by it. Conscious of innate talent, they dislike the reputation of drudges. Very many, not actually indolent, thus imbibe a disrelish for labor. Quickness of conception enables some of them to rank respectably among their fellows. But those of strong, profound minds suffer irreparable injury. Their time is worse than wasted ; habits of thought are acquired of the most prejudicial nature. Men cannot expect to possess every one the same characteristics. Great quickness of conception and great profundity of thought are not often found united in the same individual. And it is worse than folly for the profound person to ape the ready man. It is not the rapid traveler that gathers treasures from the earth; but he who stops, and delves, and drills.

Nature lives by toil;
Beast, bird, air, fire, the heavens and rolling world,
All live by action. Hence the joys of health ;
Hence strength of arm, and clear judicious thought;

Hence corn and wine and oil, and all in life delectable." But with the mind it is preëminently true, that it grows by action. The ball of snow which the urchin forms with his puny hands acquires by constant rolling such magnitude that the stout man cannot move it. The mind, too, by continual revolutions grows until the universe cannot limit its labors, until it becomes only less than Divinity.

The idea is full of stern grandeur, that the Almighty is the Greatest Laborera Without cessation, He worketh. While mortals yield to weariness, He guideth and governeth all things. The most gifted of men are those who are least unlike—not to say alike-Him. They are then, other things being equal, those who are capable of the most consecutive and most effectual labor, in the highest departments of intellectual effort.

Hence, talent implies the ability and consequent obligation to do mental work. How palpable is the fallacy to employ it as an excuse for neglecting any kind of intellectual labor !

E. H. R.

AN INTRODUCTION,

WRITTEN IN THE ALBUM OF MISS ****, OF VIRGINIA.

SINCE a pure and treasured being, whose sweet face my fancy seeing,
Thrills with pleasure, bids me write a Preface to her Album here;
Though my verse may prove high treason to the Muse that rhymes with reason,
Yet 'twill spring at any season on a theme to Memory dear;
Spring unbidden, flow unchidden, gush perennial all the year.

In the Editorial column, staining first this unstained volume,
In a mood half sad, half mirthful, “ Open Sesame !" I cry:
Wide the door swings : “Walk in, ladies; walk in, gentlemen, whose trade is
Verse ; and ye whose life the shade is; sate the ear and feast the eye :
Gay or tearful, grave or cheerful, drain your wits and inkstands dry.”

III.

Who can guess this Album's pages ? filled by those of various ages ; .
One with Youth's pulsations bounding; one in Manhood cool and strong ;
One with years and sorrows laden, to whose ears his long-lost maiden,
'Mid the halls his childhood played in, trills no more the evening song :
Dark and dreary, worn and weary, drags his lingering life along.

IV.

Sisters, cousins, aunts and brothers, followed by a host of others,
Here will trace their autographic words of friendship, feigned or true ;
Lovers, by their loves made frantic; grave philosophers grown antic;
Poets pensive, pale, romantic, weaving thoughts of moonlight hue;
Some from passion, some from fashion, here will shed the inky dew.

V.

What may be the special motive, that I, too, have hung my votive
Tablet in this paper temple, of which you the goddess are ?
Not to crave in courtly Latin, or in English, soft as satin,
Some small corner in your matin orisons, or evening prayer:
Hope's wild fever with me never in such happiness may share.

VI.

When thy star that now so gaily decks its sphere, shall gleam all palely
O'er thy muffled footsteps, creeping far along Life's sounding shore,
And thy backward Thought retraces all the old familiar graces
Of the friends whose faded faces thou shalt see, ah! neverinore;
Though still faintly float their saintly voices o'er the ocean's roar;

VII.
Then may Memory's gentle finger on these lines in kindness linger,
Traced by one whose steps were lonely through this dank terrestrial fen;
Whom nor Love, nor Power, nor Glory, nor the splendid classic story,
Conned in legends, grand and hoary, wakes to genuino joy again;
Since no mother, sire, or brother, links him to this world of men.

VIII.
May'st thou never know how lonely is his path, who wanders, only
Circled by the silent musings, which have lost their early spell ;-
Cease, my heart, thy doleful dreaming, and assume a happier seeming,
With the servent prayer that beaming Joy round her may ever dwell !
Lovely maiden, blossom-laden, here I breathe a warm farewell.

ORPHANOS.

• PEDESTRIANIANA.

Puck.-How now, Spirit! whither wander you?
Fairy-Over hill, over dale,

Thorough bush, thorough briar,
Over park, over pale,

Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere.”

Midsummer Night's Dream.

READER! were you ever “ tired of brick and mortar ?" Did you ever get weary of the din of business, and the eternal hubbub of city life? Have you ever sickened at the glare of dusty streets, stretching away under brown-coated elms and maples no longer green, till the aching eye was withdrawn in very pain from their loathsome monotony ? Have you at any time in your remembrance, especially your college remembrance, seated yourself in your big arm-chair, near an open window, on a hot summer's day, tossed your heels upon a table, looked out of said window with the hope of seeing something fresh, something verdant, and then turned away almost in desperation, certainly, with disgust, an actual nausea, as you saw nothing but long rows of white painted flaring houses standing in dreary perspective, limned against a glowing sky, and all glistening with a horrible brightness in a flood of fervid sunlight ? When, as the “ dog-days” slowly circled by, and Sirius still wheeled up nightly on his burning path, ascendant and ascending star, you have become fatigued with weeks and months of that severe though wholesome toil which our Alma Mater imposes on her children, and with brain crazed and bewildered by the ceaseless hum and stir about you, have hurried off to the comparative silence of your own quiet room, have you not then, dear reader, been conscious of an intense desire to be away, far away from the “ busy haunts” and

VOL. XIV.

38

« السابقةمتابعة »