Page images

Bend thou to his good-will, and subserve his holy purposes,
Till in thee, and those around thee, grow a little heaven upon

Humbly, as a grateful almsman, beg thy bread of God, -
Bread for thy triple estate, for thou hast a trinity of nature:
Humility smootheth the way, and gratitude softeneth the heart:
Be, then, thy prayer for pardon mingled with the tear of penitence;
Yea, and while, all unworthy, thou leanest on the hand that should

smite, Thou canst not from thy fellows withhold thy less forgiveness. To thy Father thy weaknesses are known, and thou hast not hid

thy sin ;

Therefore ask him, in all trust, to lead thee from the dangers of

temptation; While the last petition of the soul that breatheth on the confines

of prayer, Is deliverance from sin and the evil one, the miseries of earth and

hell. And wherefore, child of hope, should the rock of thy confidence be

sure ? Thou knowest that God heareth, and promiseth an answer of peace; Thou knowest that he is King, and none can stay his hand; Thou knowest his power to be boundless, for there is none other ; And to him thou givest glory, as a creature of his workmanship and

favor, For the never-ending term of thy saved and bright existence.


FOR what, then, was I born? — to fill the circling year
With daily toil for daily bread, with sordid pains and pleasures ? -
To walk this checkered world, alternate light and darkness,
The day-dreams of deep thought followed by the night-dreams of
For more than these, my soul, thy God hath lent thee life.
Is, then, that noble end to feed this mind with knowledge,
To mix for mine own thirst the sparkling wine of wisdom,
To light with many lamps the caverns of my heart,
To reap, in the furrows of my brain, good harvest of right rea-

fancy? To be one in a full procession ? - to dig my kindred clay ? To decorate the gallery of art ? — to clear a few acres of forest ?

sons? -
For more than these, my soul, thy God hath lent thee life.
Is it to grow stronger in self-government, to check the chafing will,
To curb with tightening rein the mettled steeds of passion,
To welcome with calm heart, far in the voiceless desert,
The gracious visitings of Heaven that bless my single self? —
For more than these, my soul, thy God hath lent thee life.
To aim at thine own happiness, is an end idolatrous and evil;
In earth, yea, in heaven, if thou seek it for thyself, seeking thou shalt

not find. Happiness is a roadside flower, growing on the highways of Use

fulness; Plucked, it shall wither in thy hand; passed by, it is fragrance to

thy spirit; Love not thine own soul, regard not thine own weal, Trample the thyme beneath thy feet; be useful, and be happy

Thus unto fair conclusions argueth generous youth,
And quickly he starteth on his course, knight-errant to do good.
His sword is edged with arguments, his vizor terrible with censures;
He goeth full mailed in faith, and zeal is flaming at his heart.
Yet one thing he lacketh, the Mentor of the mind,
The quiet whisper of Discretion, — Thy time is not yet come.
For he smiteth an oppressor; and vengeance for that smiting
Is dealt in double stripes on the faint body of the victim;
He is glad to give and to distribute; and clamorous pauperism

While honest labor, pining, hideth his sharp ribs :
He challengeth to a fair field that subtle giant Infidelity,
And worsted in the unequal fight, strengtheneth the hands of error;
He hasteth to teach and preach, as the war-horse rusheth to the

battle, And, to pave a way for truth, would break up the Apennines of

prejudice: He wearieth by stale proofs, where none looked for a reason, And to the listening ear will urge the false argument of feeling.

So hath it often been, that, judging by results,
The hottest friends of Truth have done her deadliest wrong.
Alas! for there are enemies without, glad enough to parley with a

traitor, And a zealot will let down the drawbridge, to prove his own

prowess : Yea, from within will he break away a breach in the citadel of truth, That he may fill the gap for fame, with his own weak body.

ZEAL without judgment is an evil, though it be zeal unto good: Touch not the ark with unclean hand, yea, though it seem to totter. There are evil who work good, and there are good who work evil, And foolish backers of Wisdom have brought on her many re

proaches. Truth hath more than enough to combat in the minds of all men, For the mist of sense is a thick veil, and sin hath warped their wills: Yet doth an officious helper awkwardly prevent her victory, These thy wounded hands were smitten in the house of friends :To point out a meaning in her words, he will blot those words with

his finger; And winnow chaff into the eyes, before he hath wheat to show: He will heap sturdy logs on a faint, expiring fire, And with a room in flames, will cast the casement open; By a shoulder to the wheel downhill harasseth the laboring beast, And where obstruction were needed, will harm by an ill-judged


A VESSEL foundereth at sea, if a storm have unshipped the rudder;
And a mind with much sail shall require heavy ballast.
Take a lever by the middle, thou shalt seem to prove it powerless;
Argue for truth indiscreetly, thou shalt toil for falsehood.
There is plenty of room for a peaceable man in the most thronged

assembly :
But a quarrelsome spirit is straitened in the open field:
Many a teacher, lacking judgment, hindereth his own lessons ;
And the savory mess of pottage is spoiled by a bitter herb:
The garment woven of a piece is rashly torn by schism,
Because its unwise claimants will not cast lots for its possession.

DISCRETION guide thee on thy way, nobly-minded youth,
Help thee to humor infirmities, to wink at innocent errors,

To take small count of forms, to bear with prejudice and fancy;
Discretion guard thine asking, discretion aid thine answer,
Teach thee that well-timed silence hath more eloquence than

speech, Whisper thee, thou art Weakness, though thy cause be strength, And tell thee, the keystone of an arch can be loosened with least

labor from within. The snows of Hecla lie around its troubled, smoking Geysers; Let the cool streams of prudence temper the hot spring of zeal; So shalt thou gain thine honorable end, nor lose the midway prize, So shall thy life be useful, and thy young heart happy.


YEt once more, saith the fool, yet once, and is it not a little one? Spare me this folly yet an hour, for what is one among so many ? And he blindeth his conscience with lies, and stupefieth his heart

with doubts; Whom shall I harm in this matter? and a little ill breedeth much

good; My thoughts, are they not mine own? and they leave no mark

behind them; And if God so pardoneth crime, how should these petty sins affect

hiin? So he transgresseth yet again, and falleth by little and little, Till the ground crumble beneath him, and he sinketh in the gulf

despairing. For there is nothing in the earth so small that it may not produce

great things, And no swerving from a right line, that may not lead eternally

astray. A landmark tree was once a seed; and the dust in the balance

maketh a difference; And the cairn is heaped high by each one flinging a pebble : The dangerous bar in the harbor's mouth is only grains of sand;


And the shoal that hath wrecked a navy is the work of a colony of

worms: Yea, and a despicable gnat may madden the mighty elephant; And the living rock is worn by the diligent flow of the brook. Little art thou, O man, and in trifies thou contendest with thine

equals, For atoms must crowd upon atoms, ere crime groweth to be a giant. What, is thy servant a dog ?- not yet wilt thou grasp the dagger, Not yet wilt thou laugh with the scoffers, not yet betray the inno

cent; But, if thou nourish in thy heart the reveries of injury or passion, And travel in mental heat the mazy labyrinths of guilt, And then conceive it possible, and then reflect on it as done, And use, by little and little, thyself to regard thyself a villain, Not long will Crime be absent from the voice that doth invoke him

to thy heart, And bitterly wilt thou grieve, that the buds have ripened into


A SPARK is a molecule of matter, yet may it kindle the world;
Vast is the mighty ocean, but drops have made it vast.
Despise not thou a small thing, either for evil or for good;
For a look may work thy ruin, or a word create thy wealth :
The walking this way or that, the casual stopping or hastening,
Hath saved life and destroyed it, hath cast down and built up

fortunes. Commit thy trifles unto God, for to him is nothing trivial; And it is but the littleness of man that seeth no greatness in a

trifle. All things are infinite in parts, and the moral is as the material, Neither is any thing vast, but it is compacted of atoms. Thou art wise, and shalt find comfort, if thou study thy pleasure in

trifles, - For slender joys, often repeated, fall as sunshine on the heart: Thou art wise, if thou beat off petty troubles, nor suffer their sting

ing to fret thee; Thrust not thine hand among the thorns but with a leathern glove. Regard nothing lightly which the wisdom of Providence hath

ordered ; And therefore consider all things that happen unto thee or unto


« PreviousContinue »