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And crops with chilling hand the bloom of life.
aerial forms their souls possess; Forms, like the glorious body of their Lord, Glowing with beauty and immortal bloom.
A DIALOGUE ON LOQUACITY.
Enter STEPHEN. Stephen. L bably heard of Foote,
: if not, it is out of my power to tell you any thing about him, except this; he had but one leg, and his name was Samuel. Or, to speak more poetically, one leg he had, and Samuel was his name. This Foote wrote a farce, called the Alderman; in which he attempted to ridicule a well-fed magistrate of the city of London. This last, hearing of the intended affront, called upon the player, and threatened him severely for his presumption. Sir, says Foote, it is my business to take off people. You shall see how well I can take myself off. So out of the room he went, as though to prepareThe Alderman sat waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and I have forgotten the rest of the story; but it ended vee comically. So I must request of you, to muster up your wit, and each one end the story to his own liking. You are all wondering what this story leads to. Why, I'll tell you; Foote's farce was called the Alderman, ours is called the Medley; his was written according to rule, ours is composed at loose ends. Yet loose as it is, you will find it made up, like all other pieces, of nouns, pronouns, verbs, participles, adverbs, conjunctions, articles, adjectives, prepositions, and interjections. Now, words are very harmless things; though I confess that much depends upon the manner of putting them together. The only thing to be settled is, that, if you should dislike the arrangement, you will please to alter it, till it suits you.
Enter TRUMAN. Truman. What are you prating about, at such a rate?
Steph. I am speaking of Sam Foote, and prepositions, and adverbs, and many other great characters.
Tru. Now, don't you know that your unruly tongue will be the ruin of you? Did you ever see a man who was foaming and frothing at the mouth as you are, that ever said any thing to the purpose? You ought always to think before you speak, and to consider well to whom you speak, and the place and time of speaking.
Steph. Pray who taught you all this wordly wisdom?
Tru. My own experience, Sir; which is said to be the best school-master in the world, and ought to teach it to every man of common sense.
Steph. Then, do not imagine that you possess any great secret. “Keep your tongue between your teeth is an old proverb, rusted and crusted over, till nobody can tell what it was first made of. Prudence, indeed, teaches the same. So prudence may teach a merchant. to keep his vessels in port for fear of a storm at sea. But nothing venture, nothing have” is my proverb. Now, suppose all the world should adopt this prudence, what a multitude of mutes we should have! There would be an end of news, law-suits, politics, and society. I tell you, Sir, that busy tongues are like main springs; they set every thing in motion.
Tru. But where's a man's dignity, all this time, while his tongue is running at random, without a single thought to guide it?
Steph. His dignity! that indeed! Oyt upon parole, where it ought to be. A man's dignity! as though tve came into the world to support dignity, and by an
affected distance to make our friends feel their inferiority. I consider men like coins, which, because stamped with men's heads, pass for more than they are worth. And when the world is willing to treat a man better than he deserves, there is a meanness in endeavouring to extort more from them.
Tru. But shall a man speak without thinking? Did you ever read the old proverb, “ Think twice, before you speak once?”
Steph. Yes, and a vile one it is. If a man speak from the impulse of the moment, he'llspeak the meaning of his heart; and will probably speak the truth. But if he mind your musty proverb, there will be more pros and cons in his head, more hems and haws in his delivery, than there are letters in his sentences. To your sly, subtle, thinking fellows, we owe all the lies, cheating, hypocrisy, and double dealing there is in the world.
Tru. But you know that every subject has its sides; and we ought to examine, reflect, analyze, sift, consider, and determine, before we have a right to speak; for the world are entitled to the best of our thoughts. What would you think of a tradesmen, who should send home your coat, boots, or hat, half finished? You might think him a very honest-hearted fellow; but you'd never employ him again.
Steph. Now, was there any need of bringing in tai. lors, cobblers, and hatters, to help you out? They have nothing to do with this subject.
Tru. You don't understand me. I say, if you would never employ such workmena second time, why should you justify a man for turning out his thoughts half finished? The mind labours as actually in thinking upon, and maturing a subject, as the body does in the field, or on the shop-board. And, if the farmer knows when his grain is ready for the sickle, and the mechan ic, when his work is ready for his customer, the man, who is used to thinking, knows when he is master of his
subject and the proper time to communicate his thoughts with ease to himself and advantage to others.
Steph. All this is escaping the subject. None of your figures, when the very original is before you. You talk about a man's mind, just as if it were a piece of ground, capable of bearing flax and hemp. You have fairly brought forward a shop-board, and mounted your tailor upon it. Now I have no notion of any cross-legged work in my inner man. In fact, I don't understand all this process of thinking. My knowledge upon all subjects is very near the root of my tongue, and I feel great relief, when it gets near the tip.
Tru. Depend on it that thousands have lost fame and even life by too great freedom of speech. Treasons, murders, and robberies, have been generally discovered by the imprudent boasting of the perpetrators.
Steph. Depend on it, that our world has suffered far more by silent, than by prattling knaves. Suppose every man were to speak all his thoughts, relate all his actions, declare all his purposes, would the world be in danger of crimes? No; be assured, that magistrates, bailiffs, thief-takers, prisons, halters, and gallows, all owe their dignity to the contrivance of your sly, plodding mutes.
Tru. You have let off from the tip of your tongue a picked company of dignified substantives; but take notice that my doctrine does not extend to the midnight silence of robbers; but to a due caution and reserve in conveying our thoughts to the world. And this I hope ever to observe. And if you determine on a different course, rest assured, that the consequence will not be very pleasant.
[Exit. Steph. Consequences! That's counting chickens before they are hatched. Dignity of human nature! Pretty words! just fit to be ranked with the hanor of thieves, and the courage of modern duellists.
, Heav'ns awful thunders rolling o'er his head; Convolving clouds the billowy skies deform, And forky flames emblaze the black’ning storm. See the descending streams around him
See the sage Rittenhouse, with ardent eye,
To guide the sailor in his wand'ring way,