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Many have thought that cheerfulness is constitutional, and arises from a peculiar quality or flow of the blood; and it is difficult to avoid admitting the existence of an innate cheerfulness, on observing the extraordinary buoyancy and rebound of spirits exhibited by some persons after exposure to calamities of the most bitter and poignant description. Nevertheless, though a constitutional cheerfulness may sometimes exist, it must not, therefore, be supposed that such a desirable quality may not also be obtained by striving for it. Desirable I say, for Rosalind's philosophy appears to me to be a true one, Many as are the trials of this life, and fleeting as are its enjoyments, on reckoning the sum total of them, it does not appear to me that sadness should be the result. The truth is, we are too apt to count our troubles as hardships and undeserved, and pass over the mass of happiness within our experience, and within our reach, as a commonplace sort of property that is merely our due. Add to this the persuasion, which ought to be found in every religious mind, that all is for the best in the end; and it will be found that cheerfulness is a Christian duty, as well as a politic philosophy. The reasons in favour of cultivating it are innumerable.
Shakspere, in all his varied knowledge, was by no means ignorant of human physiology, and his observations on cheerfulness inducing health and long life, are full of truth. This particular effect of a cheerful habit of mind alone may well persuade to its cultivation.
In lauding cheerfulness, many writers, however, have gone much farther than Shakspere. He was a man that seldom sacrificed truth for the sake of startling his readers with a striking piece of originality-a vice so much in fashion in our days. Touching this subject, Mr. Carlyle has gone some lengths in saying that“no man who has once wholly and heartily laughed can be altogether irreclaimably bad.” He has perhaps kept on the safe side in this rather strange assertion, inasmuch as no man (laugher or no laugher) can be assumed to be altogether irreclaimably bad. But he has been entirely eclipsed in this matter, by Madame Von Gæthe, (the poet's mother) who has propounded the following maxim :-“ Amuse thyself and be merry--for he who laughs can commit no deadly sin!” Alas for the character and consistency of the whole brood of fashionable melo-dramatic authors, who invariably make their unprincipled heroes and heroines commit murders, and all manner of“ deadly sins," with the accompaniment either of " hellish laughter," "a diabolical grin,”“ a horrid chuckle," or for the want of something better, ha!” thrice repeated.
Laughter is such a facinating topic, that it may possibly be recurred to again in these pages.
CO N T E N T M E N T.
Corin. I earn that I eat; get that I wear; owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness; glad of other men's good, content with my harm.
As you like it. Act iii, Scene 2.
Iden. Lord, who would live turmoiled in the court,
2nd part King Henry VI. Act iv. Scene 10.
King Henry VIII. Act ii. Scene 3.
lago. Poor and content, is rich and rich enough; But riches, fineless,* is as poor as winter To bim that ever fears he shall be poor.
Othello. Act iii. Scene 3,
The prevalence of restless discontent in nearly all classes of our community is a melancholy fact; and worthy of the deepest consideration. Its causes and remedies, if properly treated of, would in themselves fill a volume; I will only therefore remark in this place, that one of the most absurd forms in which it exhibits itself is, in one class aping the customs and manners (not always the best) of the classes above them in rank. I am told that the virtue of contentment is beautifully apparent in the domestic life of Switzerland, and indeed of many other parts of the European continent, where men of the highest eminence in learning, and women of the most brilliant and accomplished minds, live happy and satisfied in a humble sphere of society, with a smaller income than many a forgeman makes in our English iron foundries.
Who so cursed as we, with that vulgar vice the love of gentility? We have much to learn.
CO U R A G E.
SHOULD BE PROMPT.
Austria. By how much unexpected, by so much
King John. Act ii. Scene 1.
K. Richard II.
They well deserve to have That know the strong'st and surest way to get.
King Richard II. Act iü. Scene 3.
Hotspur. Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
1st part King Hen. IV. Act ii. Scene 3.
AFFECTED BY IMAGINATION.
Morton. My lord, your son had only but the corps,* But shadows, and the shows of men, to fight;
* Meaning “corpses." Amongst the vulgar in some parts of England, the singular“ corp," and plural “corps," are still in use.