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I will conclude with some precepts and reflections of the son of Sirach upon this subject: “Be swift to hear, and if thou hast understanding, answer thy neighbour; if not, lay thy hand upon thy mouth. Honour and shame is in talk. A man of an ill tongue is dangerous in his city, and he that is rash in his talk shall be hated. A wise man will hold his tongue, till he see opportunity; but a babbler and a fool will regard no time. A backbiting tongue hath disquieted many ; strong cities hath it pulled down, and overthrown the houses of great men. The tongue of a man is his fall; but if thou love to hear, thou shalt receive understanding."
9.--ROGER ASCHAM AND LADY JANE GREY.
LANDOR. WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR, an eminent living writer, was born in 1775. He published a volume of poems when he was eighteen; and has at various periods of his life enriched the poetry of his country with productions of no common merit. Mr. Landor was the early friend of Southey ; but, unlike his friend, his early opinions have clung to him through life. This circumstance may account for some of the asperity, and some of the neglect, which it has been Mr. Landor's fate to encounter-in many respects very undeservedly. The first series of his · Imaginary Conversations,' from which the following dialogue is extracted, was published in 1824; a second series appeared in 1836. His complete works were, in 1846, collected in two large closely printed volumes, sold at a cheap rate; and we have no doubt that the collection will be acceptable to a great body of readers, who will thus, for the first time, make the acquaintance of an author who, although his opinions may sometimes be singular and paradoxical, has a genuine • love for all that is beautiful and ennobling in human thoughts and actions, and who has rarely been excelled as a prose writer in fertility and power.
As a fit introduction to this Conversation, we subjoin a passage from Roger Ascharn's celebrated “Scholemaster,' describing the character and pursuits of Lady Jane Grey :
“ And one example, whether love or fear doth work more in a child, for virtue and learning, I will gladly report, which may be heard with some pleasure, and followed with more profit. Before I went into Germany, I came to Brodegate in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble Lady Jane Grey, to whom I was exceedingly much behold
ing. Her parents, the Duke and the Duchess, with all the household, gentlemen and gentlewomen, were hunting in the park ; I found her in her chamber reading Phædon Platonis in Greek, and that with as much delight, as some gentlemen would read a merry tale in Bocace. After salutation, and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her why she would lose such pastime in the park : smiling she answered me: · I wis, all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure that I find in Plato; alas, good folk, they never felt what true pleasure meant.' And how came you, madam,' quoth I, “to this deep knowledge of pleasure, and what did chiefly allure you unto it, seeing not many women, but very few men, have attained thereunto?' 'I will tell you,' quoth she, . and tell you a truth, which perchance ye will marvel at. One of the greatest benefits that ever God gave me, is, that he sent me so sharp and severe parents, and so gentle a schoolmaster. For when I am in presence either of father or mother, whether I speak, keep silence, sit, stand or go, eat, drink, be merry or sad, be sewing, playing, dancing, or doing anything else, I must do it, as it were, in such weight, measure, and number, even so perfectly as God made the world, or else I am so sharply taunted, so cruelly threatened, yea presently sometimes, with pinches, nips, and bobs, and other ways which I will not name, for the honour I bear them, so without measure misordered, that I think myself in hell, till time come
antly, with such fair allurements to learning, that I think all the time nothing, whiles I am with him. And when I am called from him, I fall on weeping, because, whatsoever I do else, but learning, is full of grief, trouble, fear, and whole misliking unto me. And thus my book hath been so much my pleasure, and bringeth daily to me more pleasure and more, that in respect of it, all other pleasures, in very deed, be but trifles and troubles unto me.' I remember this talk gladly, both because it is so worthy of memory, and because also it was the last talk that ever I had, and the last time that ever I saw that noble and worthy lady.”]
Ascham. Thou art going, my dear young lady, into a most awful state; thou art passing into matrimony and great wealth. God hath willed it: submit in thankfulness.
Thy affections are rightly placed and well distributed. Love is a secondary passion in those who love most, a primary in those who love least. He who is inspired by it in a high degree, is inspired by honour in a higher: it never reaches its plenitude of growth and perfection but in the most exalted minds. Alas! alas!
Jane. What aileth my virtuous Ascham? What is amiss? why do I tremble?
Ascham. I remember a sort of prophecy, made three years ago : it is a prophecy of thy condition and of my feelings on it. Recollectest thou who wrote, sitting upon the sea-beach, the evening after an excursion to the Isle of Wight, these verses ?
Invisibly bright water! so like air,
And, held the bench, not to go on so fast. Jane. I was very childish when I composed them; and, if I had thought any more about the matter, I should have hoped you had been too generous to keep them in your memory as witnesses against
Ascham. Nay, they are not much amiss for so young a girl, and there being so few of them, I did not reprove thee. Half an hour, I thought, might have been spent more unprofitably; and I now shall believe it firmly, if thou wilt but be led by them to meditate a little on the similarity of situation in which thou then wert to what thou art now in.
Jane. I will do it, and whatever else you command; for I am weak by nature and very timorous, unless where a strong sense of duty holdeth and supporteth me. There God acteth, and not his creature. Those were with me at sea who would have been attentive to me if I had seemed to be afraid, even though worshipful men and women were in the company; so that something more powerful threw my fear overboard. Yet I never will go again upon the water.
Ascham. Exercise that beauteous couple, that mind and body, much and variously, but at home, at home, Jane ! indoors, and about things indoors; for God is there too. We have rocks and quicksands on the banks of our Thames, 0 lady, such as ocean never heard of; and many (who knows how soon !) may be engulfed in the current under their garden walls.
Jane. Thoroughly do I now understand you. Yes, indeed, I have read evil things of courts; but I think nobody can go out bad who entereth good, if timely and true warning shall have been given.
Ascham. I see perils on perils which thou dost not see, albeit thou art wiser than thy poor old master. And it is not because Love hath blinded thee, for that surpasseth his supposed omnipotence; but it is because thy tender heart, having always leant affectionately upon good, hath felt and known nothing of evil.
I once persuaded thee to reflect much ; let me now persuade thee to avoid the habitude of reflection, to lay aside books, and to gaze carefully and stedfastly on what is under and before thee.
Jane. I have well bethought me of my duties : 0 how extensive they are! what a goodly and fair inheritance! But tell me, would you command me never more to read Cicero and Epictetus and Plutarch and Polybius? The others I do resign : they are good for the arbour and for the gravel walk: yet leave unto me, I beseech you, my friend and father, leave unto me for my fireside and for my pillow, truth, eloquence, courage, constancy.
Ascham. Read them on thy marriage-bed, on thy child-bed, on thy death-bed. Thou spotless undrooping lily, they have fenced thee right well. These are the men for men: these are to fashion the bright and blessed creatures whom God one day shall smile upon in thy chaste bosom. Mind thou thy husband.
Jane. I sincerely love the youth who hath espoused me; I love him with the fondest, the most solicitous affection; I pray to the Almighty for his goodness and happiness, and do forget at times, unworthy suppli. cant! the prayers I should have offered for myself. Never fear that I will disparage my kind religious teacher, by disobedience to my husband in the most trying duties.
Ascham. Gentle is he, gentle and virtuous : but time will harden him: time must harden even thee, sweet Jane! Do thou, complacently and indirectly, lead him from ambition.
Jane. He is contented with me, and with home.
Ascham. Ah Jane! Jane! men of high estate grow tired of contentedness.
Jane. He told me he never liked books unless I read them to him: I will read them to him every evening; I will open new worlds to him richer than those discovered by the Spaniard : I will conduct him to treasures, O what treasures ! On which he may sleep in innocence and peace.
Ascham. Rather do thou walk with him, ride with him, play with
him, be his faery, his page, his everything that love and poetry have invented; but watch him well; sport with his fancies, turn them about like the ringlets round his cheek; and if he ever meditate on power, go toss up thy baby to his brow, and bring back bis thoughts into his heart by the music of thy discourse.
Teach him to live unto God and unto thee; and he will discover that women, like the plants in woods, derive their softness and tenderness from the shade.
10.-DEJECTION: AN ODE.
COLERIDGE. (SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE was born on the 20th of October, 1772, at Saint Mary Ottery, Devonshire, of which parish his father was the vicar. His early education was in that noble institution, Christ's Hospital; and having there attained the scholastic rank of Grecian, he secured an exhibition to Jesus College, Cambridge, 1791. But he quitted the University without taking a degree, having adopted the democratic opinions of the day in all their extreme results. This boyish enthusiasm eventually subsided into calmer feelings. He gave himself up to what is one of the first duties of man-the formation of his own mind. His character was essentially contemplative. He wanted the energy necessary for a popular writer; and thus people came to fancy that he was an idle dreamer. What he has left behind him will live and fructify, when the flashy contributions to the literature of the day of four-fifths of his contemporaries shall have utterly perished. There is no man of our own times who has incidentally, as well as directly, contributed more to produce that revolution in opinion, which has led us from the hard and barren paths of a miscalled utility, to expatiate in the boundless luxuriance of those regions of thought which belong to the spiritual part of our nature, and have something in them higher than a money value. Since Mr. Coleridge's death in 1834 some of his works have been collected and republished in a neat form and at a moderate price :-The Poetical Works, 3 vols. ;-The Friend, a Series of Essays, 3 vols. ;-Aids to Reflection, 2 vols. ;-On the Constitution of Church and State, 1 vol. ;-Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit, I vol. ;-Literary Remains, 4 vols. To these will be added his · Biographia Literaria,' a new edition, in 2 vols. These publications were chiefly superintended by his accomplished nephew, Mr. Henry Nelson Coleridge, whose early death was a public loss.]