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'Pretty! 'tis beautiful! Its price ?" A guinea ; there was another left.”

The visitor's horses smoked off to the suburb; a third flowering plant stood on the spot whence the first had been taken. The second guinea was paid, and the second chosen fuchsia adorned the drawing-room of her second ladyship. The scene was repeated, as new comers saw, and were attracted by the beauty of the plant. New chariots flew to the gates of old Lee's nurseryground. Two fuchsias, young, graceful, and bursting into healthy flower, were constantly seen on the same spot in his repository.

He neglected not to gladden the faithful sailor's wife by the promised gift; but, ere the flowerseason closed, three hundred golden guineas chinked in his purse, the produce of the single shrub of the widow of Wapping—the reward of the taste, decision, skill, and perseverance of old Mr. Lee.

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SOME lives are purely didactic. While reading them, we sit before the professor's chair, and listen to prelections. Not that there is an ostentatious parade of instruction; the best lessons are ever conveyed unobtrusively; they are given rather as an influence and an example, than as an oration. The life of Michael Angelo is of this character : a sentence from his lips reveals to us his whole life : he teaches us by his own teachable spirit. This great man, one of the princes—if it be not more appropriate to call him a high priest of the art— was ever learning. The two ends of his life meet

in one.

The first anecdote of him shows him, when only a painter's apprentice, and desirous of painting a fish, going to the fish-market to look at the eyes

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of a fish, to notice its colour, and the delicacy of its fins.

When the Cardinal Farnese found him solitary, one day, amidst the ruins of the Coliseum, and expressed his surprise, he said, “I go yet to school.” One of his last drawings is a sketch of an old man with a beard, in a go-cart, an hourglass before him, and the motto, Ancora imparo (I still learn).*

Certainly, every life is didactic. Every life, or the model of it, might be thrown into the form of an aphorism ; every life has some central lesson, and this might be obtained, distilled, and presented to the reader. A ruling passion, or a ruling principle, governs each; it is sometimes thickly overlaid with the biographer's style, and wrapped round with bandaging words; but even through all it may be detected. Volcanoes would be vainly covered with pie-crust,—and the impulses that have made a life worthy to be written at all, cannot well be hidden, even by the wor and most ragged biographer : the central thought, the leading emotion, disseminates itself over the life.

How delightful to find one really so ! to read the history of a mind thus complete! How rare to find one! and how still more rare to find the

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* Characteristics of Painters, by Henry Reeve.

fingers able to hold the pen to record such a lifea life like that of Canova ; so pure in its devotion to art! so lofty in its sympathies ! so sublime and self-denying in its aspirations ! so full of lessons which may be serviceable, not only to the pro

, secution of the artist's life, but like all true lessons, available for every ardent disciple in every school.

Or a life like that of Washington—a life of such calm, high wisdom; a man who could not be moved to corruption, or to triumph; the model of a senator, whose life, ever since his death, has been reading to us lessons of the æsthetics of government. Few names have attained to a place of such importance in history, as Washington.Its simplicity is astonishing to eyes accustomed only to the pomp of modern princes, and to the glare of modern warriors.

Such lives as these are, in the memory, like impressive paintings, in subdued colour. Turn to them whenever we will, we find the mingled prudence and power, which they develope, have lessons for the government and mastery of our own lives; and we recognise in this, one of the uses of superior men,--the subjecting us to the monarchy of their higher example and will, -the acknowledgment of their more lofty method of life.

In this didactic classification of great lives, it is instructive to contrast the life with, and the life, without method ; and it will be found, the acting with or without plan,—the submission of the life to some great ruling principles, or the holding it loose to every impulse—this makes the great difference between men and men. The literary life has unfortunately abounded with illustrations of this methodless being; and, as this forms one of the prime lessons of biography, we may linger over some illustrations, frequently as ludicrous as they are affecting. An anecdote or two often are as lamps to the knowledge of a whole lifebiography.

The life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge was one mournfully without method ; and to this is to be ascribed the fact, that he did so little, compared with his vast endowments. Look at him in early life, when he and Southey were lecturing together at Bristol. He had requested his friend to permit him to deliver a lecture, for which the futuro laureate was engaged, “On the Rise, Progress, and Decline of the Roman Empire ;" and then troubled himself no farther about the matter.

“At the usual hour," says Mr. Cottle, “the room was thronged ; the moment for commencement arrived ; patience was preserved for a quarter

-for half an hour-but still no lecturer. At length it was communicated to the impatient assembly, that a circumstance, sincerely to be re

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