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not sometimes glow into the refulgency of the morning star?
Now, as it appears to me, there is a good ambition, and a bad ambition. Two ingredients go to constitute the latter : an unworthy end; and pleasure felt in rising by another's fall or detriment. It is, of course, to this worldly and culpable sort of ambition that our Poet's observations apply. Such ambition, though universally censured, as I have before remarked, strange to say, is almost as universally indulged in. From Alexander of Macedon, who wept that he had no more barbarian worlds to conquer ; and the modern “Man of Fate " who lately held the civilized world in a state of terror, elevating himself at the expense of the bodies and souls of some millions of his fellow-creatures-down to Beau Brummell, whose summum bonum was setting the fashion of a coat, or the tie of a neckcloth—from the inhabitants of princely palaces, down to the village politicians in their pot-houses, all, all are cursed with ambition, of some sort or degree !
“Yea, man and birds are fain of climbing high!" And, alas ! it boots not that observation shews they often get a fearful tumble for their pains; it would seem that experience has no beneficial effect on these climbers, who would still fain try their hands at a rise strongly resembling the slippery pole at a country fair,
Of all the species of ambition, the political and military are the most mischievous, involving as they do the happiness or misery of large masses. Warlike ambition, feeding on human blood, one would think could hardly be looked upon with other feelings than those of horror and detestation; but it may be viewed in another light—that of its preposterous absurdity; and I cannot refrain from quoting an apt illustration of its latter characteristic, from one of the wisest works of the present century.*
* Sartor Resartus.
“A little dog, in mad terror, was rushing past : some human imps had tied a tin-kettle to its tail: thus did the agonized creature, loud jingling, career through the whole length of the town, and became notable enough. Fit emblem of many a conquering hero, to whom fate (wedding fantasy to sense as it often elsewhere does) has malignantly appended a tin-kettle of ambition to chase him on; which, the faster he runs, urges him the faster, the more loudly, and the more foolishly!”
AN G E R.
Stay, my lord,
Be advis'd ;
King Henry VIII. Act i. Scene 1.
* Mr. Stevens acutely suggests that the Poet here had in his mind the passage
in Daniel chap. iii. ver. 22. “Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the Alanie of tire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshac, and Abednego."
ANGER REPENTS TOO LATE.
Menenius. This tiger-footed rage, when it shall find
Coriolanus. Act ii. Scene ),
The advice here given as to the proper mode of subduing anger, is certainly the best, if it can be followed. Only reason with your own anger, and you will generally see its folly and conquer it. The common maxim is admirable enough in its way: “ When you are angry, count twenty before you speak!” with this qualification, however,that it is one of those things much easier said than done. The fact is, that the rage is generally spent, before the reason comes ; and the more the pity.
Dangerous and wicked as anger always is, it is perhaps peculiarly mischierous in private life, where sympathy and amiability make up a great part of our daily nourishment–indeed there is no fault that tends more to embitter domestic happiness, or is more apt to be infectious, in spite of the wholesome truth that" a soft answer turneth away wrath.” It is a melancholy reflection too, that the human mind, allowing pain to make a deeper and stronger impression than pleasure, a few hot and hasty words will sometimes undo the effect of a month's customary kindness. Well may such considerations warn all the amiably disposed" to set a guard upon their tongue !”
B E N E V O L E N C E.
There's none Can truly say, he gives, if he receives.*
Timon of Athens. Act i, Scene 2.
King Lear. Poor naked wretches, wheresve'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides, Your loop'd and window'd raggedness defend you From seasons such as these? Oh, I have ta'en Too little care of this! Take physic, Pomp, Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel; That thou may'st shake the superflux to them, And shew the heavens more just.
King Lear. Act iii. Sceve 4.
* Meaning “if he receives any thing iu return for his gift."