Page images
PDF
EPUB

observe those who have been allured by her smiles, who have listened to her temptations. Are they not meagre? are they not sickly? are they not spiritless?

Their short hours of jollity and riot are followed by tedious days of pain and dejection; she hath debauched and palled their appetites, that they have now no relish for her nicest dainties: her votaries are become her victims; the just and natural consequence which God hath ordained in the constitution of things, for the punishment of those who abuse his gifts.

But who is she, that with graceful steps, and with a lively air, trips over yonder plain? The rose blusheth on her cheeks; the sweetness of the morning breatheth from her Jips; joy, tempered with innocence and modesty, sparkleth in her eyes; and from the cheerfulness of her heart she singeth as she walks.

Her name is Health; she is the daughter of Exercise and Temperance; their sons inhabit the mountains; they are brave, active, and lively; and partake of all the beauties and virtues of their sister.

Vigor stringeth their nerves; strength dwelleth in their bones; and labor is their delight all the day lung. The employments of their father excite their appetites, and the repasts of their mother refresh them. To combat the passions, is their delight; to conquer evil habits, their glory. Their pleasures are moderate, and therefore they endure; their repose is short, but sound and undisturbed. Their blood is pure; their minds are serene; and the physician knoweth not the way to their habitations.

ANGER.

As the whirlwind in its fury teareth up trees, and deformeth the face of Nature, or as an earthquake in its convulsions overturneth cities; so the rage of an angry man throweth mischief around him: danger and destruction wait on his hand.

But consider, and forget not, thine own weakness; so shalt thou pardon the failings of others. Indulge not thyself in the passion of anger; it is whetting a sword to wound thy own breasi, or murder thy friend.

If thou Dearest slight provocations with patience, it shall be imputed unto thee for wisdom; and if thou wipest them from thy remembrance, thy heart shall feel rest, thy mind shall not reproach thee.

Do nothing in thy passion. Why wilt thou put to sea in the violence of a storm? If it be difficult to rule thine anger, it is wise to prevent it: avoid, therefore, all occasions of falling into wrath; or guardjhyself against them whenever they occur.

Harbor not revenge in thy breast; it will torment thy heart, and discolor its best inclinations.

Be always more ready to forgive than to return an injury: he that watches for an opportunity of revenge, lieth in wait against himself, and draweth down mischief on his own head.

A mild answer to an angry man, like water cast upon the fire, abateth his heat; and from an enemy, he shall become thy friend.

Consider how few things are worthy of anger; and thou wilt wonder that any but fools should be wroth. In folly or weakness it always beginneth; but remember, and be well assured, it seldom concludeth without repentance. On the heels of Folly treadeth Shame; at the back of Anger standeth Remorse.

WOMAN.

Give ear, fair daughter of Love, to the instructions of Prudence; and let the precepts of Truth sink deep in thine heart: so shall the charms of thy mind add lustre to thy form; and thy beauty, like the rose it resembleth, shall retain its sweetness when its bloom is withered.

In the spring of thy youth, in the morning of thy days, when the eyes of men gaze on thee with delight; ah! hear with caution their alluring words; guard well thy heart, nor listen to their soft seducements.

Remember thou art made man's reasonable companion, not the slave of his passion; the end of thy being is to assist him in the toils of life, to soothe him with thy tenderness, and recompense his care with soft endearments.

Who is she that winneth the heart of man, that subdueth him to love, and reigneth in his breast? Lo! yonder she walketh in maiden sweetness, with innocence in her mind, and modesty on her cheek. Her hand seeketh employment; her foot deligbteth not in gadding abroad.

She is clothed with neatness; she is fed with temperance ; humility and meekness are as a crown of glory circling her head. Decency is in all her words; in her answers are mildness and truth. Submission and obedience are the lessens of her life; and peace and happiness her reward.

Before her steps walketh Prudence; Virtue attendeth at her right hand. The tongue of the licentious is dumb in her presence; the awe of her virtue keepeth him silent.

When Scandal is busy, and the fame of her neighbor is tossed from tongue to tongue, if Charity and Good-nature open not her mouth, the ringer of Silence resteth on her lip. Her breast is the mansion of goodness; and therefore she suspecteth no evil in others.

Happy were the man that should make her his wife; happy the child that shall call her mother.

She presideth in the house, and there is peace; she commandeth with judgment, and is obeyed. She ariseth in the morning; she considers her affairs; and appointeth to every one their proper business.

The care of her family is her whole delight; to that alone she applieth her study: and elegance with frugality is seen in her mansions. The prudence of her management is an honor to her husband, and he heareth her praise with silent delight. She informeth the minds of her children with wisdom: she fashioneth their manners from the example of her own goodness.

The word of her mouth is the law of their youth; the motion of her eye commandeth their obedience. She speaketh, and her servants fly; she pointeth, and the thing is done: for the law of love is in their hearts; her kindness addeth wings to their feet.

In prosperity she is not puffed up; in adversity she healeth the wounds of Fortune with patience.

The troubles of her husband are alleviated by her counsels, and sweetened by her endearments ; he putteth his heart in her bosom, and receiveth comfort.

Happy is the man that hath made her his wife; happy the child that calleth her mother.

RICH AND POOR.

The man to whom God hath given riches, and a mind to employ them aright, is peculiarly favored, and highly distinguished. He looketh on his wealth with pleasure; because it affordeth him the means to do good.

He protecteth the poor that are injured; he suffereth not the mighty to oppress the weak. He seeketh out objects of compassion ; he inquireth into their wants; he relieveth them with judgment, and without ostentation. He assisteth and revvardeth merit; he encourageth ingenuity, and liberally promoteth every useful design.

He carrieth on great works; his country is enriched, and the laborer is employed: he formeth new schemes, and the arts receive improvement. He considereth the superfluities of his table as belonging to the poor, and he defraudeth them not. The benevolence of his mind is not checked by his fortune. He rejoiceth therefore in riches, and his joy is blameless.

But woe unto him that heapeth up wealth in abundance, ana rejoiceth alone in the possession thereof; that grindeth the face of the poor, and considereth not the sweat of their brows.

He thriveth on oppression without feeling; the ruin of his brother disturbeth him not. The tears of the orphan he drinketh as milk; the cries of the widow are music to his ear. His heart is hardened with the love of wealth; no grief or distress can make impression upon it.

But the curse of iniquity pursueth him; he liveth in continual fear. The anxiety of his mind, and the rapacious desires of his own soul, take vengeance upon him for the calamities he hath brought upon others.

O! what are the miseries of poverty, in comparison with the gnawings of this man's heart!

Let the poor man comfort himself, yea, rejoice; for he hath many reasons. He sitteth down to his morsel in peace; his table is not crowded with flatterers and devourers. He is not embarrassed with dependants, nor teased with the clamors of solicitation. Debarred from the dainties of the rich, he escapeth all their diseases. The bread that he eateth, is it not sweet to his taste? the water he drinketh, is it not pleasant to his thirst? yea, far more delicious than the richest draughts of the luxurious. His labor preserveth his health, and produceth him a repose to which the downy bed of Sloth is a stranger. He limiteth his desires with humility; and the calm of contentment is sweeter to his soul than the acquirements of wealth and grandeur.

Let not the rich, therefore, presume on his riches, nor the poor despond in his poverty; for the providence of God dispenseth happiness to them both, and the distribution thereof is more equally made than the fool can believe.

BENEVOLENCE.

When thou considerest thy wants, when thou beholdest thy imperfections, acknowledge his goodness, O Man ! who honored thee with reason, endowed thee with speech, and placed thee in society to receive and confer reciprocal helps and mutual obligations.

Thy food, thy clothing, thy convenience of habitation, thy protection from the injuries, thy enjoyment of the comforts and the pleasures of life, thou owest to the assistance of others, and couldst not enjoy but in the bands of society. It is thy duty, therefore, to be friendly to mankind, as it is thy interest that men should be friendly to thee.

As the rose breatheth sweetness from its own nature, so the heart of a benevolent man produceth good works.

He enjoyeth the ease and tranquillity of his own breast; and rejoiceth in the happiness and prosperity of his neighbor. He openeth not his ear unto slander; the faults and the failings of men give pain to his heart. His desire is to do good, and he searcheth out the occasions thereof: in removing the oppression cf another, he relieveth himself.

From the largeness of his mind, he comprehendeth in his wishes the happiness of all men; and from the generosity of his heart, he endeavoreth to promote it.

EDWARD YOUNG. 1681—1765.

Edward Yotjwg, the celebrated author of the « Night Thoughts," was born at Upham, in Hampshire, in 1681. He was educated at Oxford, where lie took his degree of Bachelor of Civil Law in 1714, and his Doctor's degree in 1719. That he was distinguished for his ingenuity and learning above his fellow-students and contemporaries, is known by a complaint of Tindal the infidel, who said, «The other boys I can always answer, because I know where they have their arguments, which I have read a hundred times: but that fellow Young is continually pestering me with something of his own." After publishing a number of poetical pieces of rather indifferent merit, in 1721 he gave to the public his tragedy of "Revenge," which is one of the finest efforts of his genius; but unforninately it was written after the model of the French drama, and though the thoughts are refined and full of imagination, and a true poetic feeling pervades the whole, it has hardly vitality enough to keep it alive as a drama.

In 1725 he published the first of his Satires, and in three or four years the other six followed, under the title of "The Love of Fame, the Universal Passion." They are evidently the production of a mind rendered acute by observation, enriched by reflection, and polished with wit; and they abound in ingenious and humorous allusions. Their chief defect is in the perpetual exaggeration of the sentiment. Goldsmith says, that "they were in higher reputation when published than they stand at present;" nnd that "Young seems fonder of dazzling than of pleasing, of raising our admiration for his wit than of our dislike of the follies he ridicules."1

In 1728 Young entered the church, and was appointed chaplain to George the Second. Three years after, he married Lady Elizabeth Lee, daughter of the Earl of Litchfield, and widow of Colonel Lee. She died in 1741, leaving one son. A daughter whom she had by her former husband, and who was married to Mr. Temple, son of Lord Palmerston, died in 1736, and Mr. Temple four years after. It has generally been believed that Mr. and Mrs. Temple were the Philander and Nureissa of the Night Thoughts. Mrs. Temple died of a consumption, at Lyons, on her way to Nice, and Young accompanied her to the continent.2 Some, most inconsiderately, have identified Young's son with the Lorenzo of the Night Thoughts. This is absurd, for when this character of the finished infidel was drawn by the father, the son was only eight years old.

1 Essay on English Poetry. Young** Satires were published before Urate of Pope. t To her death at Lyons the two lines In Night Third doubtless allude, for the city authorities refused to allow her to be burled In "consecrated" ground

"While Nature melted, Superstition raved;
That mourn'd Uic dead, and this denied a grave."

« PreviousContinue »