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squire's coat must be laced, and it is but reasonable we should pay the expense. For what is a tree worth while standing? and what signifies who comes after you? Why should an heir pinch himself or grudge any expenses, while there is a bit of timber on the estate?
"You know an old tree loves to prate; and therefore you will excuse me if I have been too free with my tongue. 'Twas not, i you, to preserve my old trunk, which must otherwise soon decay of itself, that I opened my mouth: I was in hopes that advice from an oak might make more impression than any animate being can give. My brothers of Dodona, you may remember, were often consulted; and why should a British tree be denied the free liberty of speech?
"By this time, I fancy, you are heartily tired of my harangue, and wish me to return to my dumbness again. I will not detain you any longer than to make one petition. You will, I am afraid, have too much reason to remember me when I am dead and gone! all I beg of you now is, if I must fall, to send me with the rest of my brethren to Plymouth, to be thence transported to one of his majesty's docks. Whatever ship I have the honour to be employed in, they
may depend on my firmness and integrity; in a word, I shall fall with pleasure, if I fall to serve my country."
The reader, I suppose, would be glad to know what was the consequence of this speech. He will doubtless imagine it had such an effect on the mind of the young fellow, as induced him not only to spare the old tree, but to reform his evil courses. Shall I tell him the truth? Why our Prodigus heard all that was said without any concern; and as soon as the oak had done speaking, he ordered his workmen to proceed. When immediately, as Virgil has it,
Ferro accisam crebrisque bipennibus instant,
ENEID IL 627. STUDENT, vol. i. p. 12.
Adfirmabant autem, quod essent soliti stato die ante Jucem convenire, carmenque Christo quasi Deo dicere secum invicem: seque sacramento non in scelus aliquod obstringere, sed ne furta, ne latrocinia, ne adulteria committerent, ne fidem fallerent, ne depositum appellati abnegarent.
They affirmed that they met on a certain stated day before it was light, and addressed themselves in a form of prayer to Christ, as to some god: binding themselves by a solemn oath, not for the purposes of any wicked design, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up. MELMOTH.
HONOUR, like happiness, though universally discoursed of, has never yet been justly defined. It is a kind of chameleon, which assumes a different colour in different situations. In a woman it is chastity, and in a soldier valour. While we endeavour to ascertain its properties, it rises in a new shape; we are going perhaps. to draw its picture from the heart of a hero, and it catches our eyes in the delicacy of a Clarissa: till, at last, wearied with observing its operations through so many characters, we give up the pursuit without ever losing sight of the game.
I own it an arduous undertaking to attempt
fixing this volatile spirit; to venture upon a subject where so many have been bewildered; and to attempt in an essay the nature of a science which is the darling of the polite and gay, and has been long an enigma to the learned and contemplative.
How much shall I disappoint the men of gallantry without reason, of daring without courage, of nice punctilio without common decency, the women of exactness in their play-debts without charity to their neighbours,— and all the other votaries of false honour, when I presume to affirm that the principle of true honour is religion! When honour is established upon this foundation, it strikes its root into the very centre, and extends its branches to heaven. Its ornaments are intrinsically valuable, and its essential properties lovely and engaging. The solid excellences of virtue are adorned with all the graces that affability and true politeness can bestow; and those graces of affability and politeness are confirmed and made durable by the more important excellences of virtue.
To prove that real honour has its rise from religion, we need only consider those points in which the nicety of it is allowed to be more particularly conspicuous: and if these are all naturally contained in religion when improved
to their highest perfection, it must necessarily follow, that religion certainly comprehends honour in its most refined state; or in other words, that honour is then most real and illustrious, when it has religion for its basis.
Among the efforts of honour, there is none more universally admired than the noble fortitude of the hero, who maintains his post against the united force and artifice of his enemy; who prefers his character of intrepidity to the preservation of his life; and though many opportunities might offer of retaining the one by abandoning the other, chooses rather to fall valiantly in the station where his military duty has placed him, than to lengthen out a life without glory, and gradually fall into oblivion, even sooner than into the grave.-Such a behaviour is undoubtedly brave it has honour for its constituent, and justly exalts the name of the person who can exert it.
But how mean does even this behaviour appear, when laid in the scale against the resolved and uniform Christian, firm against persecution, wary against temptation, and superior to contempt! who maintains the post his Creator has given him, not against men, spears, chariots, and horses, not against human policy and perishable weapons (for these are scarce worthy of