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everywhere, remembers his native one as such a place of enjoyment, has all his friendly recollections so fixed upon his mind at sea, and has so much to tell and to hear when he returns, that change and separation lose with him the most heartless part of their nature. He also sees such a variety of customs and manners, that he becomes charitable in his opinions altogether; and charity, while it diffuses the affections, cannot
the old ones go. Half the secret of human intercourse is to make allowance for each other.
When the officer is superannuated or retires, he becomes, if intelligent and inquiring, one of the most agreeable old men in the world, equally welcome to the silent for his card-playing, and to the conversational for his recollections. He is fond of astronomy and books of voyages, and is immortal with all who know him for having been round the world, or seen the Transit of Venus, or had one of his fingers carried off by a New Zealand hatchet, or a present of feathers from an Otaheitean beauty. If not elevated by his acquirements above some of his humbler tastes, he delights in a corner-cupboard holding his cocoa-nuts and punchbowl, has his summer-house castellated and planted with wooden cannon, and sets up the figure of his old ship, the Britannia or the Lovely Nancy, for a statue in the garden, where it stares eternally with red cheeks and round black eyes, as if in astonishment at its situation.
Chaucer, who wrote his “ Canterbury Tales” about four hundred and irty years ago, has among his other characters in that work a SHIPMAN, who is exactly of the same cast as the modern sailor-the same robustness, courage, and rough-drawn virtue, doing its duty, without being very nice in helping itself to its recreations. There is the very dirk, the complexion, the jollity, the experience, and the bad horsemanship. The plain, unaffected ending of the description has the air of a sailor's own speech, while the line about the beard is exceedingly picturesque, poetical, and comprehensive. In copying it out, we shall merely alter the old spelling where the words are still modern.
"A Shipman was there, wonnéd far by west;
His barge yclepéd was the Magdelain.” When about to tell his tale, he tells his fellow-travellers that he shall chink them so merry a bell,
“That it shall waken all this company :
But it shall not be of philosophy,
There is but little Latin in my maw.” The story he tells is a well-known one in the Italian novels, of a monk who made love to a merchant's wife, and borrowed a hundred francs of the husband to give her. She accordingly admits his addresses during the absence of her good man on a journey. When the latter returns, he applies to the cunning monk for repayment, and is referred to the lady, who thus finds her mercenary behaviour outwitted.
* He rode upon a hack-horse, as well as he could.
DEATHS OF LITTLE CHILDREN.
GRECIAN philosopher, being asked why he wept for the
death of his son, since the sorrow was in vain, replied,
“I weep on that very account.” And his answer became his wisdom. It is only for sophists to pretend that we,
whose eyes contain the fountains of tears, need never give way to them. It would be unwise not to do so on some occasions. Sorrow unlocks them in her balmy moods. The first bursts may be bitter and overwhelming; but the soil on which they pour would be the worse without them. They refresh the fever of the soul,—the dry misery, which parches the countenance into furrows, and renders us liable to our most terrible “flesh-quakes."
There are sorrows, it is true, so great, that to give them some of the ordinary vents is to run a hazard of being overthrown. These we must rather strengthen ourselves to resist; or bow quietly and drily down in order to let them pass over us, as the traveller does the wind of the desert. But where we feel that tears would relieve us, it is false philosophy to deny ourselves at least that first refreshment; and it is always false consolation to tell people that because they cannot help a thing, they are not to mind it. The true way is, to let them grapple with the unavoidable sorrow and try to win it into gentleness by a reasonable yielding. There are griefs so gentle in their very nature, that it would be worse than false heroism to refuse them a tear. Of this kind are the deaths of infants. Particular circumstances may render it more or less advisable to indulge in grief for the loss of a little child; but, in general, parents should be no more advised to repress their first tears on such an occasion, than to repress their smiles towards a child surviving, or to indulge in any other sympathy. It is an appeal to the same gentle tenderness; and such appeals are never made in vain. The end of them is an acquittal from the harsher bonds of affliction,-from the tying down of the spirit to one melancholy idea.
It is the nature of tears of this kind, however strongly they may gush forth, to run into quiet waters at last. We cannot easily, for the whole course of our lives, think with pain of any good and kind person whom we have lost. It is the divine nature of their qualities to conquer pain and death itself; to turn the memory of them into pleasure ; to survive with a placid aspect in our imaginations. We are writing, at this moment, just opposite a spot which contains the grave of one inexpressibly dear to us. We see from our window the trees about it, and the church-spire. The green fields lie around. The clouds are travelling over-head, alternately taking away the sunshine and restoring it. The vernal winds, piping of the flowery summer-time, are nevertheless calling to mind the far distant and dangerous ocean, which the heart that lies in that grave had many reasons to think of. And yet the sight of this spot does not give us pain. So far from it, it is the existence of that grave which doubles every charm of the spot ; which links the pleasures of our childhood and manhood together; which puts a hushing tenderness in the winds, and a patient joy upon the landscape ; which seems to unite heaven and earth, mortality and immortality, the grass of the tomb and the grass of the green field, and gives a more maternal aspect to the whole kindness of nature. It does not hinder gaiety itself. Happiness was what its tenant, through all her troubles, would have diffused. To diffuse happiness, and to enjoy it, is not only carrying on her wishes, but realising her hopes; and gaiety, freed from its only pollutions, malignity and want of sympathy, is but a child playing about the knees of its mother.
The remembered innocence and endearments of a child stand us instead of virtues that have died older. Children have not exercised the voluntary offices of friendship ; they have not chosen to be kind and good to us; nor stood by us, from conscious will, in the hour of adversity. But they have shared their pleasures and pains with us as well as they could: the interchange of good offices between us has, of necessity, been less mingled with the troubles of the world ; the sorrow arising from their death is the only one which we can associate with their memories. These are happy thoughts that cannot die. Our loss may always render them pensive ; but they will not always be painful. It is a part of the benignity of nature, that pain does not survive like pleasure, at any time; much less where the cause of it is an innocent one. The smile will remain reflected by memory; as the moon reflects the light upon us, when the sun has gone into heaven.
When writers like ourselves quarrel with earthly pain (we mean writers of the same intentions, without implying, of course, anything about abilities or otherwise), they are misunderstood it they are supposed to quarrel with pains of every sort. This would be idle and effeminate. They do not pretend, indeed, that humanity might not wish, if it could, to be entirely free from pain ; for it endeavours at all times to turn pain into pleasure, or at least to set off the one with the other; to make the former a zest, and the latter a refreshment. The most unaffected dignity of suffering does this; and, if wise, acknowledges it. The greatest benevolence towards others, the most unselfish relish of their pleasures, even at its own expense, does but look to increasing the general stock of happiness, though content, if it could, to have its identity swallowed up in that splendid contemplation. We are far from meaning that this is to be called selfishness. We are far, indeed, from thinking so, or of so confounding words. But neither is it to be called pain, when most. unselfish; if disinterestedness be truly understood. The pain that is in it softens into pleasure, as the darker hue of the rainbow melts into the brighter. Yet even if a harsher line is