« 이전계속 »
Yes! I must die-blow on, sweet breeze, blow on!
Still, long she nursed him; tender thoughts meantime
One day he lighter seemed, and they forgot
She placed a decent stone his grave above,
She would have grieved, had friends presumed to spare
Here will she come, and on the grave will sit,
Diedrich Knickerbocker's New-England Farmer.-W. IRVING.
THE first thought of a Yankee farmer, on coming to the years of manhood, is to settle himself in the world-which means nothing more than to begin his rambles. To this end, he takes to himself for a wife some buxom country heiress, passing rich in red ribands, glass beads and mock tortoise-shell combs, with a white gown and morocco shoes for Sunday, and deeply skilled in the mystery of making apple-sweetmeats, long sauce, and pumpkin pie. Having thus provided himself, like a pedlar, with a heavy knapsack, wherewith to regale his shoulders through the journey of life, he literally sets out on his peregrinations.
His whole family, household furniture, and farming utensils, are hoisted into a covered cart; his own and wife's wardrobe packed up in a firkin-which done, he shoulders his axe, take staff in his hand, whistles "Yankee doodle," and trudges off to the woods, as confident of the protection of Providence, and relying as cheerfully on his own resources, as ever did a patriarch of yore, when he journeyed into a strange country of the Gentiles. Having buried himself in the wilderness, he builds himself a log-hut, clears away a corn-field and potato-patch, and, Providence smil ing upon his labors, he is soon surrounded by a snug farm, and some half a score of flaxen-headed urchins, who, by their size, seem to have sprung all at once out of the earth, like a crop of toadstools.
But it is not the nature of this most indefatigable of speculators to rest contented with any state of sublunary enjoyment improvement is his darling passion; and having thus improved his lands, the next state is to provide a mansion worthy the residence of a landholder. A huge
palace of pine-boards, immediately springs up in the midst of the wilderness, large enough for a parish church, and furnished with windows of all dimensions; but so rickety and flimsy withal, that every blåst gives it a fit of the ague. By the time the outside of this mighty air-căstle is completed, either the funds or the zeal of our adventurer are exhausted, so that he barely manages to half finish one room within, where the whole family burrow together, while the rest of the house is devoted to the curing of pumpkins, or storing of carrots and potatoes, and is decorated with fanciful festoons of dried apples and peaches.
The outside remaining unpainted, grows venerably black with time; the family wardrobe is laid under contribution for old hats, petticoats, and breeches to stuff into the broken windows; while the four winds of heaven keep up a whistling and howling about the aërial palace, and play as many unruly gambols as they did of yore in the cave of Eolus. The humble log-hut, which whilom nestled this improving family snugly within its narrow but comfortable walls stands hard by, ignominious con ́trăst! degraded into a cowhouse or pig-sty; and the whole scene reminds one forcibly of a fable, which I am surprised has never been recorded, of an aspiring snail, who abandoned his humble habitation, which he had long filled with great respectability, to crawl into the empty shell of a lobster, where he could no doubt have resided with great style and splendor, the envy and hate of all the pains-taking snails in his neighborhood, had he not accidentally perished with cold in one corner of his stupendous mansion.
Being thus completely settled, and, to use his own words, "to rights," one would imagine that he would begin to enjoy the comforts of his situation, to read newspapers, to talk politics, neglect his own business, and attend to the affairs of the nation, like a useful or patriotic citizen; but now it is that his wayward disposition again begins to operate. He soon grows tired of a spot where there is no longer any room for improvement, sells his farm-his air-căstle, petticoatwindows and all, reloads his cart, shoulders his axe, puts himself at the head of his family, and wanders away in search of new lands, again to fell trees, again to clear cornfields, again to build a shingle-palace, and again to sell off, and wander.
On the dangers of moral sentiment, unaccompanied with active virtue.-ALISON.
Or the various appearances of melancholy weakness in youth, none is more general or more fatal to every duty or hope of the christian, than that, where the youthful taste is exalted above the condition in which life is to be passed. The faithful parent, or the wise instructer of the young, will ever assiduously accommodate the ideas of excellence to the actual circumstances and the probable scenes in which their future years are to be engaged; and every condition of life undoubtedly affords opportunities for the highest excellence of which our nature is susceptible. If, on the other hand, these hours are neglected,—if the fancy of youth be suffered to expand into the regions of visionary perfection,-if compositions, which nourish all these chimerical opinions, are permitted to hold an undue share in the studies of the young, if, what is far more, no employments of moral labor and intellectual activity are afforded them to correct this progressive indolence, and give strength and energy to their opening minds, there is much danger that the seeds of irremediable evil are sown, and that the future harvest of life will be only feebleness, and contempt, and sorrow.
If, in the first place, it is to the common duties of life they advance, how singularly unprepared are they for their discharge! In all ranks and conditions, these duties are the same ;—every where sacred in the eyes of God and man ;— every where requiring activity, and firmness, and perseverance of mind;-and every where only to be fulfilled by the deep sense of religious obligation. For such scenes, however, of common trial and of universal occurrence, the characters we are considering are ill prepared.-Their habits have given them no energy or activity;-their studies have enlightened their imaginations, but not warmed their hearts; their anticipations of action have been upon a romantic theatre, not upon the humble dust of mortal life.
It is the fine-drawn scenes of visionary distress to which they have been accustomed, not the plain circumstances of common wretchedness.-It is the momentary exertions of generosity or greatness which have elevated their fancy, not the long and patient struggle of pious duty.—It is before
an admiring world that they have hitherto conceived themselves to act, not in solitude and obscurity, amid the wants of poverty, the exigencies of disease, or the deep silence of domestic sorrow. Is it wonderful that characters of this enfeebled kind should sometimes recoil from the duties to which they are called, and which appear to them in colors so unexpected?--that they should consider the world as a gross and vulgar scene, unworthy of their interest, and its common obligations as something beneath them to perform; and that, with an affectation of proud superiority, they should wish to retire from a field in which they have the presumption to think it is fit only for vulgar minds to combat?
If these are the opinions which they form on their entrance upon the world and all its stern realities, it is the "fountain from which many waters of bitterness will flow.' Youth may pass in indolence and imagination, but life must necessarily be active; and what must be the probable character of that life which begins with disgust at the simple, but inevitable duties to which it is called, it is not difficult to determine.
From hence come many classes of character with which the world presents us, in what we call its higher scenes, and which it is impossible to behold without a sentiment of pity, as well as of indignation; in some, the perpetual affectation of sentiment, and the perpetual absence of its reality; in others, the warm admiration of goodness, and the cold. and indignant performance of their own most sacred duties; in some, that childish belief of their own superior refinement, which leads them to withdraw from the common scenes of life and of business, and to distinguish themselves only by capricious opinions and fantastic manners; and in others, of a bolder spirit, the proud rejection of all the duties and decencies which belong only to common men,-the love of that distinction in vice which they feel themselves unable to attain in virtue, and the gradual but too certain advance to the last stages of guilt, of impiety, and of wretchedness. Such are sometimes the "issues" of a once promising youth! and to these degrees of folly or of guilt, let the parents and the instructers of the young ever remember, that those infant hearts may come, which have not been "kept with all diligence," and early exercised in virtuous activity.
Amid these delusions of fancy, life, meanwhile, with all