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This beautiful and beauty-making power.
Joy, virtuous Lady! Joy that ne'er was given,
A new Earth and new Heaven
We in ourselves rejoice!
All melodies the echoes of that voice,
There was a time when, though my path was rough,
This joy within me dallied with distress, And all misfortunes were but as the stuff
Whence Fancy made me dreams of happiness :
But oh! each visitation
My shaping spirit of imagination-
But to be still and patient, all I can;
From my own nature all the natural man
This was my sole resource, my only plan : Till that which suits a part infects the whole, And now is almost grown the habit of my
Hence, viper thoughts, that coil around my mind,
Reality's dark dream!
Which long has raved unnoticed. What a scream
Of agony by torture lengthened out
Bare craig, or mountain-tairn*, or blasted tree,
Methinks were fitter instruments for thee,
Thou Actor, perfect in all tragic sounds! Thou mighty Poet, e'en to frenzy bold !
What tellist thou now about?
"Tis of the rushing of a host in rout,
And all that noise, as of a rushing crowd,
A tale of less affright,
And tempered with delight,
'Tis of a little child
Upon a lonesome wild, Not far from home, but she hath lost her way; And now moans low in bitter grief and fear, And now screams loud, and hopes to make her mother hear.
'Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep: Full seldom may my friend such vigils keep!
* Tairn is a small lake, generally if always applied to the lakes up in the mountains, and which are the feeders of those in the valleys. This address to the Stormwind will not appear extravagant to those who have heard it at night, and in a moun
Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of healing,
And may this storm be but a mountain birth,
With light heart may she rise,
Gay fancy, cheerful eyes,
O simple spirit, guided from above,
[An Apophthegm is properly speaking, a pithy saying. An Aphorism is a precept, or rule of practice. Plutarch made a collection of Apophthegms which are for the most part what we call Anecdotes. Lord Bacon's collection of Apophthegms is almost wholly of the same character. In a preface to this collection our great English philosopher writes as follows:
"Julius Caesar did write a collection of apophthegms, as appears in an epistle of Cicero: I need say no more for the worth of a writing of that nature. It is pity his work is lost, for I imagine they were collected with judgment and choice; whereas that of Plutarch and Stobæus, and much more the modern ones, draw much of the dregs. Certainly they are of excellent use. They are mucrones verborum, pointed speeches. Cicero prettily calls them salinas, salt pits, that you may extract salt out of and sprinkle it where you will. They serve to be interlaced in continued speech. They serve to be recited, upon occasions, of themselves. They serve, if you take out the kernel of them and make them your own. I have, for my recreation in my sickness, fanned the old, not omitting any because they are vulgar [common), for many vulgar ones are excellent good; nor for the meanness of the person, but because they are dull and flat, and adding many new, that otherwise would have died.”
We shall devote a few 'Half-hours' to this amusing branch of literature, selecting, without chronological order, from many books :-)
DESIRE OF KNOWLEDGE.—Dr. Johnson and I [Boswell] took a sculler at the Temple Stairs, and set out for Greenwich. I asked him if he really thought a knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages an essential requisite to a good education. Johnson. "Most certainly, Sir; for those who know them have a very great advantage over those who do not. Nay, Sir, it is wonderful what a difference learning makes upon people even in the common intercourse of life, which does not appear to be much connected with it.”
“And yet,” said I, “people go through the world very well, and carry on the business of life to good advantage, without learning." Johnson. “Why, Sir, that may be true in cases where learning cannot possibly be of any use ; for instance, this boy rows us as well without learning as if he could sing the song of Orpheus to the Argonauts, who were the first sailors." He then called to the boy, “What would you give, my lad, to know about the Argonauts ?” “Sir," said the boy, “ I would give what I have.” Johnson was much pleased with his answer, and we gave him a double fare. Dr. Johnson then turning to me, “Sir,” said he, desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being, whose mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all that he has, to get knowledge.”—Boswell. Life of Johnson.
DECAYED GENTRY.—It happened in the reign of King James, when Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, was Lieutenant of Leicestershire, that a labourer's son of that country was pressed into the wars; as I take it to go over with Count Mansfeldt. The old man at Leicester requested his son might be discharged, as being the only staff of his age, who by his industry maintained him and his mother. The earl demanded his name, which the man for a long time was loth to tell (as suspecting it a fault for so poor a man to confess the truth), at last he told his name was Hastings. Cousin Hastings,” said the earl, “we cannot all be top branches of the tree, though we all spring from the same root; your son, my kinsman, shall not be pressed !” So good was the meeting of modesty in a poor, with courtesy in an honourable person, and gentry I believe in both. And I have reason to believe, that some who justly own the surnames and blood of Bohuns, Mortimers, and Plantagenets (though ignorant of their own extractions), are hid in the heap of common people, where they find that under a thatched cottage, which some of their ancestors could not enjoy in a leaded castle -contentment, with quiet and security. – FULLER. Worthies.-Art. Of Shire-Reeves or Shiriffes.
GOLDSMITH.—Colonel O'Moore, of Cloghan Castle in Ireland, told me an amusing instance of the mingled vanity and simplicity of Goldsmith, which (though, perhaps, coloured a little, as anecdotes too often are) is characteristic at least of the opinion which his best friends entertained of Goldsmith. One afternoon, as Colonel O’Moore and Mr. Burke were going to dine with Sir Joshua Reynolds, they observed Goldsmith (also on his way to Sir Joshua's) standing near a crowd of people, who were staring and shouting at some foreign women in the windows of one of the houses in Leicester Square. “ Observe Goldsmith,” said Mr. Burke to O'Moore, “and mark what passes between him and me by and by at Sir Joshua's." They passed on, and arrived before Goldsmith, who came soon after, and Mr. Burke affected to receive him very coolly. This seemed to vex poor Goldsmith, who begged Mr. Burke would tell him how he had had the misfortune to offend him. Burke appeared very reluctant to speak; but, after a good deal of pressing, said “ that he was really ashamed to keep up an intimacy with one who could be guilty of such monstrous indiscretions as Goldsmith had just exhibited in the square.” Goldsmith, with great earnestness, protested he was unconscious of what was meant.
Why,” said Burke, “ did you not exclaim, as you were looking up at those women, what stupid beasts the crowd must be for staring with such admiration at those painted jezebels; while a man of your talents passed by unnoticed?” Goldsmith was horror-struck, and said, “ Surely, surely, my dear friend, I did not say so?” “Nay,” replied Burke, “if you
had not said so, how should I have known it?” “ That's true," answered Goldsmith, with great humility: “I am very sorry--it was very
foolish : I do recollect that something of the kind passed through my mind, but I did not think I had uttered it.”—Notes in Croker's edition of Boswell's Johnson.
ILLUSTRIOUS PRISONERS.—Queen Elizabeth, the morrow of her coronation, went to the chapel; and in the great chamber, Sir John Rainsforth, set on by wiser men, (a knight that had the liberty of a buffoon,) besought the queen aloud—“That now this good time, when prisoners were delivered, four prisoners, amongst the rest, mought likewise have their liberty who were like enough to be kept still in bold." The queen asked, “Who they were ?” and he said, “ Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who had long been imprisoned in the Latin tongue, and now he desired they mought go abroad among the people in English.” The queen answered, with a grave countenance, It were good,