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they shall be damned if they do not believe him the tyrant he is described : they think they shall be damned also if they do not gratuitously ascribe to him the virtues incompatible with damnation. Being so unworthy of praise, they think he will be particularly angry at not being praised. They shudder to think themselves better, and hasten to make amends for it by declaring themselves as worthless as he is worthy.
GREAT DISTINCTION TO BE MADE IN BIGOTS. There are two sorts of religious bigots, the unhealtliy and the unfeeling. The fear of the former is mixed with humanity, and they never succeed in thinking themselves favourites of God; but their sense of security is embittered by aversions which they dare not own to themselves, and terror for the fate of those who are not so lucky. The unfeeling bigot is a mere unimaginative animal, whose thoughts are confined to the snugness of his own kennel, and who would have good one in the next world as well as in this. He secures a place in heaven as he does in the Manchester coach or a Margate hoy. Never mind who suffers outside, woman or child. We once found ourselves by accident on board a hoy which professed to “sail by Divine Providence.” Walking about the deck at night to get rid of the chilliness which would occasionally visit our devotions to the starry heavens and the sparkling sea, our foot came in contact with something white, which was lying gathered up in a heap. Upon stooping down, we found it to be a woman. The Method ists had secured all the beds below, and were not to be disturbed.
SUPERSTITION THE FLATTERER OF REASON, We are far from thinking that reason can settle everything. We no more think so than that our eyesight can see into all existence. But it does not follow, on that account, that we are to take for granted the extremest contradictions of reason. Why should we? We do not even think well enough of reason to do so. For here is one of the secrets of superstition. It is
$O angry at reason for not being able to settle everything, that it runs in despair into the arms of irrationality,
GOOD IN THINGS EVIL.
“God Almighty !
So, with equal wisdom and good-nature, does Shakspeare make one of his characters exclaim. Suffering gives strength to sympathy. Hate of the particular may have a foundation in love for the general. The lowest and most wilful vice may plunge deeper, out of a regret of virtue. Even in envy may be discerned something of an instinct of justice, something of a wish to see universal fair play, and things on a level.--" But there is still a residuum of evil, of which we should all wish to get rid.”-Well then, let us try.
ARTIFICE OF EXAGGERATED COMPLAINT. Disappointment likes to make out bad to be worse than it is, in order to relieve the gnawing of its actual wound. It would confuse the limits of its pain ; and, by extending it too far, try to make itself uncertain how far it reached.
CUSTOM, ITS SELF-RECONCILEMENTS AND CONTRADICTIONS.
Custom is seen more in what we bear than what we enjoy. And yet a pain long borne so fits itself to our shoulders that we do not miss even that without disquietude. The novelty of the sensation startles us. Montaigne, like our modern beaux, was uneasy when he did not feel himself well braced up and tightened in his clothing. Prisoners have been known to wish to go back to their prisons; invalids have missed the accompaniment of an old gunshot wound ; and the world is apt to be very angry with reformers and innovators, not because it is in the right, but because it is accustomed to be in the wrong. This is a good thing, and shows the indestructible tendency of nature to forego its troubles. But then reformers and innovators must arise, upon that very ground. To quarrel with them upon a principle of avowed spleen, is candid, and has a self-knowledge in it. But to resent them as impertinent or effeminate, is at bottom to quarrel with the principle of one's own patience, and to set the fear of moving above the courage of it.
ADVICE It has been well observed, that advice is not disliked because it is advice, but because so few people know how to give it. Yet there are people vain enough to hate it in proportion to its very agreeableness.
HAPPINESS, HOW WE FOREGO IT. By the same reason for which we call this earth a Vale of
a Tears, we might call heaven when we got there a Hill of Sighs : for, upon the principle of an endless progression of beatitude, we might find a still better heaven promised us, and this would be enough to make us dissatisfied with the one in possession. Suppose that we have previously existed in the planet Mars; that there are no fields and trees there, and that we nevertheless could imagine them, and were in the habit of anticipating their delight in the next world. Suppose that there was no such thing there as a stream of air, as a wind fanning one's face for a whole summer's day. What a romantic thing to fancy! What a beatitude to anticipate ! Suppose, above all, that there was no such thing as love. Words would be lost in anticipating that.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,” &c. Yet when we got to this heaven of green fields and fresh airs, we might take little notice of either, for want of something more ; and even love we might contrive to spoil pretty odiously.
[NOTE.—This essay was one of Lamb's favourites, together with those on the “Deaths of Little Children” and “Coaches.”—E. O.]
AY-DAY is a word which used to awaken in the minds
of our ancestors all the ideas of youth, and verdure,
and blossoming, and love, and hilarity; in short, the union of the two best things in the world, the love of nature, and the love of each other. It was the day on which the arrival of the year at maturity was kept, like that of a blooming heiress. They caught her eye as she was coming, and sent up hundreds of songs of joy.
“Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
These songs were stopped by Milton's own friends the Puritans, whom in his old age he again differed with, most likely on these very points, among others. But till then they appear to have been as old, all over Europe, as the existence of society. The Druids are said to have had festivals in honour of May.
Our Teutonic ancestors had undoubtedly; and in the countries which had constituted the Western Roman Empire, Flora still saw thanks paid for her flowers, though her worship had gone away.*
The homage which was paid to the Month of Love and Flowers may be divided into two sorts, the general and the individual. The first consisted in going with others to gather May, and in joining in sports and games afterwards. On the first of the month, “the juvenile part of both sexes,” says Bourne, in his “Popular Antiquities," were wont to rise a little after midnight, and walk to some neighbouring wood, where they broke down branches from the trees, and adorned them with nosegays and crowns of flowers. When this was done, they returned with their booty about the rising of the sun, and made their doors and windows to triumph in the flowery spoil. The after part of the day was chiefly spent in dancing round a May-pole, which, being placed in a convenient part of the village, stood there, as it were, consecrated to the Goddess of Flowers, without the least violation offered to it in the whole circle of the year.” Spenser, in his “Shepheard's Calendar," has de tailed the circumstances in a style like a rustic dance.
“Youth's folke now flocken in--everywhere,
Sicker this morowe, no longer agoe,
* The great May holiday observed over the west of Europe was known for centuries, up to a late period, under the name of the Beltein or Beltane. Such a num. ber of etymologies, all perplexingly probable, have been found for this word, that we have been surprised to miss among them that of Bel-temps, the fine time or
Thus Printemps, the first time or prime season, is the spring. + Buskets-Boskets-Bushes-from Boschetti, Ital.
# Yode, went. $ Tabrere, a tabourer.