페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

awed the fierce democracy and "fulmined over skin, a hide with scruff overgrown, and fabby Greece.” With inauspicious gods and adverse cheeks, and such wrinkles as many a grandam ape fate was he born, whom his father, blear-eyed is seen to scrape in her wizened jowl in Tabraca's with the grime of the glowing mass sent from the thick woods. coal, the pincers, sword-forging anvil, and sooty Euripides (Fr. Incert. 48) – Vulcan, to study rhetoric.

“Oh old age, in what hopes of pleasure thou indulgest? Milton (“Paradise Regained,” bk. iv. I. 267) says of Demos

Every man wishes to reach thee: and having made trial, rethenes:

pents: as there is nothing worse in mortal life."

Antiphanes (Fr. Com. Gr. p. 570, M.) says:“Thence to the famous orators repair,

“Our life much resembles wine; when there is only a little Those ancients, whose resistless eloquence

remaining, it becomes vinegar: for all the ills of human naWielded at will that fierce democraty."

ture crowd to old age as if it were a workshop."

Antiphanes (Fr. Com. Gr. p. 514, M.) says:-
FAME.

"Oh old age, how much desired and blest thou art by all

men, then when thou art present, how sad and full of misery! So much greater is the thirst for fame than gen

no one speaks well of thee, but every one, who speaks wisely, erous deeds. For who is willing to embrace vir-speaks ill of thee." tue herself, if thou takest away its reward? And Compare Hamlet's speech to Polonius, and “As You Like yet, in former days, this desire of a few for glory | It" (act ii. sc. 7):

“ His big manly voice, has been the ruin of their native land; that long

Turning again towards childish treble, pipes ing for immortality and those monumental in

And whistles in its sound." scriptions to grace the marble that guard their Mrs. Thrale (* Three Warnings "):ashes; though to rend these the destructive

“The tree of deepest root is found strength of the barren fig-tree is sufficient. Since

Least willing still to quit the ground; even to sepulchres themselves fate hath fore-or

'Twas therefore said, by ancient sages,

That love of life increased with years dained their day of doom. Weigh the dust of

So much, that in our later stages Hannibal. How many pounds wilt thou find in

When pains grow sharp, and sickness rages, that mighty general! Yet this is he who will not

The greatest love of life appears." be confined within the limits of Africa, lashed by! the Mauritanian ocean, and stretching even to the

BEAUTY AND MODESTY. steaming Nile, and then again to tảe races of the

For rarely do we meet in one combined Ethiopes and their tall elephants,

A beauteous body and a virtuous mind.
Byron thus expresses the same idea:-
“Weighed in the balance, hero dust

PRAYER TO THE GODS.
Is vile as vulgar clay;

Must, then, men pray for nothing? If thou take
Thy scales, Mortality! are just
To all that pass away."

my advice, thou wilt allow the gods themselves to

decide what is best for us and most suitable for GLORY.

our circumstances. For instead of our imaginary

bliss, the gods will give us real good. In truth, What then ensued? Oh glory! this self-same

man is dearer to the gods than to himself. Led on man is conquered, and flying with headlong haste

by the impulse of our feelings, by blind and head. to exile, sits, a mighty and strange suppliant, at

long passion, we petition for wife and children; the palace door of the Bithynian king till his maj

but they aloite know what kind of wife and chilesty be pleased to wake. That soul, whose frown

dren they will prove. That, however, you may alarmed the world, shall be put an end to neither

have something to pray for and may present at their by swords, nor stones, nor javelins, but a ring will

shrines thy pious offerings, be this thy prayer: be the avenger of Canna's fatal field and its

| Vouchsafe me health of body and peace of mind; mighty carnage. Fly, madman, climb the rugged Alps that thou mayest please the rhetoricians and

pray for a firm soul, proof against the threats of

death, that reckons the closing scene of life among be a theme at school! One world was too small

nature's kindly boons, that can patiently endure for the youth of Pella. He gasps for breath within

the labors of life, that is able to restrain anger the narrow limits of the universe, poor soul, as

and desire alike, and counts the cares and toils of though immured in Gyaros' small rock or tiny Se

Hercules to be far preferable to the wanton nights, riphos. When, however, he shall have entered

rich banquets, and downy couch of Sardanapalus. within Babylon's brick walls, he will be content

I teach thee what blessings thou canst bestow on with a sarcophagus. Death alone proclaims the

thyself. The only certain road to peace of mind true dimensions of our puny frames.

is through a virtuous life. If we were wise, we Valerius Maximus (viii. 14) puts these words into the mouth should see, O Fortune, nothing divine in thee; it is of Alexander:** Ah me miserable! that I have not yet got possession of

we ourselves that have made thee a goddess, and oue world."

placed thy throne in heaven.

Socrates in Plato (Alcib. ii. 5):-
DESCRIPTION OF OLD AGE.

"That poet, Alcibiades, was not far from being a wise per

son, who, finding himself connected with some senseless “Life, length of life! give many years, 0 Jupi- friends, doing and praying for things which it would be better." This thou prayest for whether sick or well. ter for them to be without, though they thought otherwise, But with what unceasing and grievous ills is made use of a prayer in common for all to this effect: 'O old age loaded? First of all, a face hideous and

Jupiter, our king, grant to us whatever is good, whether we

eous and pray for it or not; but avert what is evil, even though we ghastly, changed from its former self; for a smooth I offer our prayers to obtain it.'"

And in respect to children, Socrates says (Alcib. ii. 5):

So Milton says: "And in regard to children, you will find in the same way

. “To know how that some persons, after having prayed that they might

That which before us lies in daily life, be blessed with them, have, when they are born, found them

Is the prime wisdom." selves overwhelmed in the greatest calamities and miseries. For some, whose children are given over to work all unclean

THE GOOD. ness with greediness,' have passed their whole lives in sorrow: wbile others, though their children were well-behaved, having THE GOOD, ALAS, ARE FEW! “The valued file," lost them, have felt the sorrows of life not less acutely than | Less than the gates of Thebes, the mouths of Nile! the others, wishing that their children had never been born." Shakespeare (“Antony and Cleopatra," act ii. sc. 1):

So Genesis xviii. 32:

“And he said, ... Peradventure, ten shall be ound there. “We ignorant of ourselves, Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers

And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake."
Deny us for our good; so find we profit,
By losing of our prayers."

THE GODS AS WITNESSES. “Health of body and peace of mind." This is what Epi

For 'tis so common, in this age of ours, curus prayed for (Diog. Laërt. vi. 131):

“Neither to have pain in body, nor to be troubled in spirit.” | So easy, to contemn the Immortal Powers, So Jeremiah vi. 16:

That, can we but elude man's searching eyes, “Ask where is the good way and walk therein, and ye shall We laugh to scorn the witness of the skies. find rest for your souls."

KNOW THYSELF.

SLOWNESS OF PUNISHMENTS AND FATES OF MEX. I should with reason despise that man who knows how much Atlas soars above all other

All powerful though the wrath of the gods may

be, yet certainly it is slow-paced. If, therefore, mountains in Africa, and yet is ignorant how much a small purse differs from an iron-bound

they prepare to punish all the guilty, when will chest. “Know thyself " came down from heaven

they come to me? But, besides, I may perchance to be impressed in living characters upon thy

find that the divinity may be appeased by prayers:

it is not unusual with him to pardon such perjuheart, and even pondered in thy thoughts.

ries as these. Many commit the same crimes with KNOW THYSELF.

results widely different. One man is crucified as In great concerns and small, one must know

a reward of his villany, another ascends a throne. one's own measure even when going to buy a fish,

Euripides (Fr. Incert. 2) says: lest thou shouldst long for a mullet, when thou,

“Vengeance advancing boldly will not strike you-be Dot

ou afraid-in front, nor any other wicked man, but creeping hast only money for a gudgeon in thy purse. silently and with slow foot, will grasp the scoundrels when What is to be the end of thee if thy throat she falls in with them." widens as thy pockets shrink; when thy patri Young says: mony and whole fortune is squandered on thy “One to destroy is murder by the law, belly, that deep abyss, which can hold everything,

And gibbets keep the lifted hand in awe;

To murder thousands takes a specious name, land, cattle, horses, silver, gold.

War's glorious art, and gives immortal fame."
PLEASURES.

MONEY.
Our very sports by repetition tire,
But rare delight breeds ever new desire.

And money is bewailed with deeper sighs,

Than friends or kindred, and with louder cries. AVARICE. Some men do not make fortunes for the sake of

PHILOSOPHY. living, but, blinded by avarice, live for the sake of Divine philosophy weeds from our breast, by money only.

degrees, full many a vice and every kind of error REMORSE.

She is the first to teach us what is right: for re Man, wretched man, whene'er he stoops to sin,

venge is ever the abject pleasure of an abjeet Feels, with the act, a strong remorse within.

mind. Be assured of this, since no one delighti

more in revenge than poor weak womankind CONSCIENCE.

Yet why should you imagine that those havi

escaped whom their mind, weighed down by : By the verdict of his own breast no guilty man is

sense of guilt, keeps in constant terror and lashes ever acquitted.

with an invisible thong, while conscience, as thei MODERATION.

tormentor, plies a scourge unmarked by huma

eyes? Nay, fearful is their punishment, and fa Let us lay aside all inordinate complaints. A man's grief ought never to show itself beyond due

more terrible than those which the sanguinar)

Cæditius invents or Rhadamanthus; bearing, a bounds, but be proportioned to the blow it has

they do, in their own breast, day and night, a received.

witness against themselves. WISDOM BY EXPERIENCE.

WICKEDNESS DEVISED IS DONE, Yet we deem those too happy who, with daily For, IN THE EYE OF HEAVEN, a wicked deed life for their instructress, have learnt of old ex Devised, is done. perience to endure the inconveniences of life and Shakespeare (“King John," act iv. sc. 2) says:not shake off the yoke.

"The deed which both our tongues held vile to name.**

Byron says:

THE JEWS. "What is the sin which is not Sin in itself! Can circumstances make sin

Some, whose fate it is to have a father who revOr virtue?"

erences the Sabbath, bow down to nothing except "Man punishes the action, but God the intention." the clouds and the Divinity of heaven; regarding

with equal loathing the flesh of man and swine, folTHE NATURE OF WICKED MEN,

lowing the tradition of their fathers. Soon, too, The nature of the wicked is in general fickle and they submit to circumcision. Taught to deride variable. While they are engaged in their evil the Roman ritual, they study, observe, and reverdeeds, they have resolution, and more than enough.ence those Jewish statutes found in the mystic When they have accomplished their foul acts, then volume of Moses-such as never point the road or it is that they begin to feel the difference between make the fountain known except to the circumright and wrong.

cised alone. But their bigot father taught them

this, who whiled away each seventh revolving day NATURE FIXED,

in sloth, and kept aloof from life's daily duties. Incapable of change, Nature still Recurs to her old habits.

AVARICE.

“ What does the world say ! How sounds the HEAVEN NEITHER DEAF NOR BLIND.

loud trumpet of slanderous fame?” “What matThou wilt exult in the bitter punishment of the ters that to me?” says he; “I had rather have a hated scoundrel, and at length with joy confess lupin's pod added to my store than that the whole that no one of the gods is either deaf or blind like neighborhood should praise me, if I am to be Tiresias,

cursed with the scant produce of a small estate." A PETTY TYRANT.

Diphilus (Fr. Com. Gr. p. 1091, M.) says:

“If it were not for the love of grasping, there would not be Who, the stern tyrant of his small domain, a single wicked man in the world. That shows the real love The Polypheme of his domestic train.

of money, when, forgetting to look at what is just, thou art

| altogether the slave of gain." PATERNAL EXAMPLE.

RICHES. The examples of vice that we witness at home

For he who wishes to become rich, wishes to becorrupt us more speedily and sooner when they in

come so speedily. sinuate themselves into our minds sanctioned by those op whom our earliest thoughts dwell. Such

So Proverbs xxviii. 20:

“ He that maketh haste to be rich, shall not be innocent." practices may, perhaps, be spurned by one or two youths whose hearts have been formed by God

MONEY. with kindlier art and moulded of a purer clay.

Gain smells sweet from any source. Let this But their sire's footsteps, though they deserve to

saying be always on thy tongue--worthy of the be shunned, lead on the rest, and the path of in

gods, and even of Jove himself-No one asks thee reterate profligacy that has long been pointed out

how thou gettest it, but get it thou must. to them lures them on.

This alludes to Vespasian's answer to Titus (Suet. Vesp. 23). 80 2 Timothy iii. 18:** But evil men and seducers shall was worse and worse, de

VICE. ceiving, and being deceived."

No one thinks it enough to sin just so much as YOUTH,

thou allowest, they go far beyond the limit asSince we are all too ready to follow the example signed them. set by the depraved and wicked: a Catiline thou

WEALTH. mayest see in any people under any sky, but a Brutus or a Cato thou wilt nowhere find. Let no

Wretched is the guardianship of a large fortune. immodest sight or word approach the doors which close upon your child.

NATURE AND WISDOM.

Nature and wisdom never are at strife.
CHILDREN.
His child's unsullied purity demands the deepest

SUPERSTITION. reverence at a parent's hand. When thou art con Oh holy nations! Sacro-sanct abodes! templating some base deed, forget not thy child's Where every garden propagates its gods. tender years, but let the presence of thy infant

BIGOTRY. son act as a check on thy headlong course to sin. So Ephesians vi. 4;

On both sides a deadly hate arises on this ac* And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but count, because each hates its neighbor's gods, bebring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

lieving those only to be gods which itself wor

ships. EVIL EXAMPLE. With what front canst thou exercise the powers

THE WICKED. of a father, thou who thyself, though tottering on Now earth, grown old and frigid, rears with pain the verge of the grave, dost worse than this ? A pigmy brood, a weak and wicked train.

Mke

FEELING HEARTS.

comprised in 142 books, of these cnly 35 have deNature proclaims that she has given mankind scended, though we possess summaries of the rest. feeling hearts by giving us tears. This is the

CHILDREN. greatest boon that she has bestowed upon us. In this way she bids us sympathize with the misfort

Children, a bond of union than which the huunes of a sorrowing friend, bewail the prisoner's man heart feels none more endearing. fate or the misery of the orphan, compelled to

WOMEN. summon his guardian to court that he may recover his inheritance, so soft his tresses and so bedewed To these persuasions was added the soothing with tears that thou wouldst doubt his sex and behavior of their husbands themselves, who take him for a girl. It is as Nature bids when we urged, in extenuation of the violence they had mourn some young maiden conveyed to the grave

veved to the grave been tempted to commit, the excess of passion before her time, or some infant just shown on

I and the force of love: arguments than which earth and hurried to the tomb. For what good!

at good there can be none more powerful to assuage the man, who that is worthy of the mystic torch, such

irritation of the female mind. an one as Ceres' priest would have him be, ever

THE BAD. deems the woes of others not his own? This it is that distinguishes us from the brute creation, and

Evil is fittest to consort with its like. therefore we alone, gifted with superior powers

FATHERLAND. and capable of things divine, fitted for the practice and reception of every useful art, have re

Affection for the soil itself, which, in length of ceived from high heaven a moral sense denied to time, is acquired from habit. creatures prone and downward bent. In the be

A KING. ginning the Almighty Creator of this vast fabric breathed life in them, a reasoning soul in us, that

A king was a human being; from him a request

king mutual kindness might be lighted up in our hearts

might be obtained, whether right or wrong; with to return the good which others did us.

him there was room for favor, and for acts of kindness; he could be angry, and he could forgive; he

knew a distinction between a friend and an enemy, BEARS AGREE.

LAW. Bears, savage to others, are yet at peace among themselves.

Law is deaf, inexorable, calculated rather for Theocritus (Idyll ix. 31) says, in like manner:

the safety and advantage of the poor than of the “Cicala is dear to cicala, ant to ant, hawks to hawks; but

rich, and admits of no relaxation or indulgence, if to me the Muse and song."

its bounds are transgressed. Men being liable to It is the common proverb

so many mistakes, to have no other security but “ Birds of a feather flock together."

innocence is a hazardous situation. So Ecclesiasticus xiii. 16:“All flesh consorteth according to kind, and a man will

FACTION. cleave to his like." And again (xxvii. 10):

A spirit of faction, and men's regard to their “The birds will return to their like."

own private interests, things which ever did, and
ever will impede the public counsels.
So Matthew xxiv. 12:-

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

CIVIL DISSENSIONS.
LIVY.

Civil dissensions, the only infection, the only
BORN B.C. 59—DIED A.D. 17.

poison that operated, so as to set limits to the

| duration of great empires. Livius, the celebrated Roman historian, born at Patavium, the modern Padua, B.C. 59, in the con

HONOR DECLINED. sulship of Cæsar and Bibulus, spent the greater So true it is, that honor prudently declined, part of his life at Rome, where his literary talents often comes back with increased lustre. gained him the patronage and friendship of Au-! So Matthew xviii. 4:gustus. He must have enjoyed great influence at “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little the imperial court and became so distinguished child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." that a Spaniard, as Pliny (Ep. ii. 3) tells us, travelled from Cadiz to Rome solely for the purpose

GRATIFICATION OF WISHES. of seeing him, and when he had satisfied his curi | The gratification of their wishes, as is generally osity, immediately returned home. He was mar- | the case, instantly begat disgust. ried, and left at least two children. These are all the particulars that have come down to us respect

PRESENT SUFFERINGS. ing him. The only extant work of Livy is a His- Men feel more sensibly the weight of present tory of Rome, extending from the foundation of sufferings than of such as exist only in appreben- | "he city to the death of Drusus, B.c. 9, which was sion.

GREAT ANIMOSITIES.

| most ready on every occasion to undertake the Great contests generally excite great animosi- largest share of toil and danger, is the least active

in plundering.

ties.

PRIDE.

WAR.
That the punishments which attended pride and War has its laws as well as peace.
cruelty, though they might come late, were not
light.

FORTUNE.
LIBERTY.

When Fortune is determined upon the ruin of a

people, she can so blind them as to render them So difficult is it to preserve moderation in the insensible to danger even of the greatest magniasserting of liberty, while, under the pretence of tude. a desire to balance rights, each elevates himself in

WOE. such a manner as to depress another; for men are apt, by the very measures which they adopt to

Woe to the vanquished! free themselves from fear, to become the objects

ADVERSITY. of fear to others, and to fasten upon them the burden of injustice which they have thrown off Adversity reminds men of religion. from their own shoulders, as if there existed in

So Psalm Lxxviii. 3:nature a perpetual necessity either of doing or of “I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and suffering injury.

my spirit was overwhelmeul." PRIVATE INTEREST.

WOMAN. It results from the nature of the human mind.' The merest trifles will often affect the female that he, who addresses the public with a view to mind. his own particular benefit, is studious of rendering

Those ON A LEVEL WITH US. himself more generally agreeable than he who has

It is certain that scarcely any man can bear to no other object but the advantage of the public.

be surpassed by those nearest their own level. A GOOD NAME.

FATE. The loss of reputation and the esteem of man

| As it frequently happens that men, by endeavkind are of importance beyond what can be esti

| oring to shun their fate, run directly upon it. mated. FACTIONS.

THE BRAVE. Factions which have proved, and will ever cond! The event afforded a proof that fortune assists tinue to prove, a more deadly cause of downfall to the brave. most states than either foreign wars, or famine,

ENVY. or pestilence, or any other of those evils, which

Envy, like flame, soars upwards.
men are apt to consider as the severest of public
calamities and the effects of divine vengeance.

THE FAVOR OF GOD.
NECESSITY.

The issue of every human undertaking depends Necessity is the last and strongest weapon.

chiefly on men's acting either with or without the

favor of the gods. REWARDS. There was nothing which men would not under

KINGS. take, if for great attempts great rewards were Kings being not only free from every kind of proposed.

impediment, but masters of circumstances and sea

sons, make all things subservient to their designs, MERIT.

themselves uncontrolled by any. Success, as on many other occasions, attended merit.

THE GAULS.

In their first efforts they are more than men, yet PUBLIC FAVORS.

| in their last they are less than women. Honors and public favors sometimes offer themselves the more readily to those, wbo have no am

THE ASSAILANT. bition for them.

He who makes the attack has ever more confiPLEASURE.

dence and spirit than he who stands on the defen

sive. Toil and pleasure, in their natures opposite, are yet linked together in a kind of necessary connec

DEPRESSING THE SUPERIOR. tion.

The practice of depressing the merit of his su

perior-a practice of the basest nature, and which THE BRAVE MAX.

has become too general, in consequence of the faIt is generally the case, that the man who is I vorable success so often attending it.

[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »