網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

than myself. You should encourage your daughter to talk over with you what she reads; and as you are very capable of distinguishing, take care she does not mistake pert folly for wit and humor, or rhyme for poetry, which are the common errors of young people, and have a train of ill consequences. The second caution to be given her, (and which is most absolutely necessary,) is to conceal whatever learning she attains, with as much solicitude as she would hide crookedness or lameness: the parade of it can only serve to draw on her the envy, and consequently the most inveterate hatred, of all he and she fools, which will certainly be at least three parts in four of her acquaintance. The use of knowledge in our sex, besides the amusement of solitude, is to moderate the passions, and learn to be contented with a small expense, which are the certain effects of a studious life; and it may be preferable even to that fame which men have engrossed to themselves, and will not suffer us to share. If she has the same inclination (I should say passion for learning that I was born with, history, geography, and philosophy will furnish her with materials to pass away cheerfully a longer life than is allotted to mortals. I believe there are few heads capable of maling Sir Isaac Newton's calculations, but the result of them is not difficult to be understood by a moderate capacity.

It is a saying of Thucydides, that ignorance is bold, and knoirledge reserved. Indeed, it is impossible to be far advanced in it without being more humbled by a conviction of human ignorance than elated by learning. At the same time I recommend books, I neither exclude work nor drawing. I think it is scandalous for a woman not to know how to use a needle. I was once extremely fond of my pencil, and it was a great mortification to me when my father turned off my master, having made a considerable progress for the short time I learned. My over-eagerness in the pursuit of it had brought a weakness in my eyes, that made it necessary to leave off; and all the advantage I got was the improvement of my hand. I see by hers, that practice will make her a ready writer : she may attain it by serving you for a secretary, when your health or affairs make it troublesome to you to write yourself; and custom will make it an agreeable amusement to her. She cannot have too many for that station of life which will probably be her fate. The ultimate end of your education was to make you a good wife, (and I have the comfort to hear that you are one ;) hers ought to be to make her happy in a virgin state. I will not say it is happier, but it is undoubtedly safer than any marriage. In a lottery, where there is (at the lowest computation) ten thousand blanks to a prize, it is the most prudent choice not to venture. I have always been so thoroughiy persuaded of this truth, that, notwithstanding the flattering views

[graphic]

Bit now she is gone, and has left me belind;
What a marvellous change on a sudden I find
When things were as fine as could possibly be,
I thought 'twas the spring; but, alas! it was shie.

539

I had for you, (as I never intended you a sacrifice to my vanity) I thought I owed you the justice to lay before you all the hazards attending matrimony: you may recollect I did so in the strongest manner. Perhaps you may have more success in the instructing your daughter; she has so much company at home, she will not need seeking it abroad, and will more readily take the notions you think fit to give her. As you were alone in my family, it would have been thought a great cruelty to suffer you no companions of your own age, especially having so many near relations, and I do not wonder their opinions influenced yours. I was not sorry to see you not determined on a single life, knowing it was not your father's intention; and contented myself with endeavoring to make your home so easy, that you might not be in haste to leave it.

I am afraid you will think this a very long, insignificant letter. I hope the kindness of the design will excuse it, being willing to give you every proof in my power that I am your most affectionate mother.

With suzh a companion, to tend a few sheep,
To rise up and play, or to lie down and sleep,
I was so good-humord, so cheerful and gay,
My heart was as light as a feather all day.
But now I so cross and so peevish am grown,
So strangely uneasy as never was known.
My fair one is gone, and my joys are all drown'
And my heart--I am sure it weighs more than a pound

111.
The fountain that wont to run sweetly along,
And dance to soft murmurs the pebbles among;
Thou know'st, little Cupid, if Phæbe were there,
Twas pleasure to look at, 'twas music to hear;
But now she is absent, I walk by its side,
And still as it murmurs do nothing but chide.
Must you be so cheerful while I go in pain?
Peace there with your bubbling, and hear me complain.

IV.
When my lambkins around me would oftentimes play,
And when Phæbe and I were as joyful as they,
How pleasant their sporting, how happy the time,
When spring, love, and beauty were all in their prime!
But now in their frolics when by me they pass,
I fling at their fleeces a handful of grass:
Be still, then I cry; for it makes me quite mad,
To see you so merry while I am so sad.

[graphic]

JOHN BYROM. 1691—1763. Join Byrom, the son of a linen-draper at Manchester, was born in 1691, and at the age of seventeen entered the University of Cambridge. Here he cultivated with great assiduity a taste for elegant letters, and especially for poetry, to which, even in his earliest years, he had shown a marked properisity. After taking his degree, he obtained a fellowship in the university, through the influence of Dr. Richard Bentley, whose daughter Joanna is the « Phæbe” of his pastoral poem, the best of his poetical efforts. As be declined “taking orders," he vacated his fellowship, and soon after married. Having no profession, he went to London, and supported himself by teaching short-hand writing, till, by the death of his elder brother, he inherited the family estate, and spent the remainder of his life in easy circumstances, de yoting his time to literary pursuits. He died on the 28th of September, 1763, in the seventy-second year of his age.

Byrom's best piece is his pastoral poem of « Colin and Phæbe," remarkable for its easy and flowing versification, and its sprightliness of thought He also wrote a poem on “Enthusiasm," and one on the Immortality of the Soul." His comic poem, entitled “The Three Black Crows," has a most ess cellent moral in it, well illustrating the nature of Rumor, the Fama" of Virgil. The Spectator is indebted to him for four or five numbers, of which Nos. 380 und 593 are upon the nature and use of dreams.

My dog I was ever well pleased to see
Come wagging his tail at my fair one and me;
And Phebe was pleased too, and to my dog said,

Come bither, poor fellow; and patted his head.
But now, when he's fawning, I with a sour look
Cry, Sirrah! and give him a blow with my crook.
And I'll give him another; for why should not Tray
Be as dull as his master, when Phæbe's away!

TI.
When walking with Phæbe, what sights have I seen.
How fair was the flower, how fresh was the green!
What a lovely appearance the trees and the shade,
The com-fields and hedges, and every thing made!
But now she has left me, though all are still there
They none of them now so delightful appear:
Twas naught but the magic, I find, of her eyes,
Made so many beautiful prospects arise.

A PASTORAL.

1.

My time, O ye Muses, was happily spent,
When Phæbe went with me wherever I went;
Ten thousand sweet pleasures I felt in my breast:
Sure never fond shepherd like Colin was blest;

Sweet music went with us both all the wood through..
The lark, linnet, throstle and nightingale too;

But now she is gone, and has left me beliind;
What a marvellous change on a sudden I find
When things were as fine as could possibly br',
I thought 'twas the spring; but, alas! it was she.

II. With such a companion, to tend a few sleep, To rise up and play, or to lie down and sleep, I was so good-humor'd, so cheerful and gay, My heart was as light as a feather all day. But now I so cross and so peevish am grown, So strangely uneasy as never was known. My fair one is gone, and my joys are all drown', And my heart-I am sure it weighs more than a pound.

III. The fountain that wont to run sweetly along, And dance to soft murmurs the pebbles among; Thou know'st, little Cupid, if Phæbe were there, 'Twas pleasure to look at, 'twas music to hear; But now she is absent, I walk by its side, And still as it murmurs do nothing but chide. Must you be so cheerful while I go in pain? Peace there with your bubbling, and hear me complain.

IV. When my lambkins around me would oftentimes play, And when Phæbe and I were as joyful as they, How pleasant their sporting, how liappy the time, When spring, love, and beauty were all in their prime! But now in their frolics when by me they pass, I filing at their fleeces a handful of grass : Be still, then I cry; for it makes me quite mad, To see you so merry while I am so sad.

[ocr errors]

My dog I was ever well pleased to see
Come wagging his tail at my fair one and me;
And Phæbe was pleased too, and to my dog said,
“Come hither, poor fellow;" and patted his head.
But now, when he's fawning, I with a sour look
Cry, Sirrah! and give him a blow with my crook.
And I'll give him another; for why should not Tray
Be as dull as his master, when Phæbe's away?

VI. When walking with Phæbe, what sights have I seen. How fair was the flower, how fresh was the green! What a lovely appearance the trees and the shade, The corn-fields and hedges, and every thing made! But now she has left me, though all are still there They none of them now so delightful appear: 'Twas naught but the magic, I find, of her eyes, Made so many beautiful prospects arise.

VII. Sweet music went with us both all the wood ihrough.. The lark, linnet, throstle and nightingale too;

Winds over us whisperid, Rocks by us did bleat,
And chirp went the grasshopper under our feet.
But now she is absent, though still they sing on,
The woods are but lonely, the inelody's gone :
Her voice in the concert, as now I have found,
Gave every thing else its agreeable sound.

vill.
Rose, what is become of thy delicate hue?
And where is the violet's beautiful blue ?
Does aught of its sweetness the blossom beguile?
That meadow, those daisies, why do they not sinile?
Al! rivals, I see what it was that you dress'd
And made yourselves fine forma place in her breast;
You put on your colors to pleasure her eye,
To be pluck'd by her land, on her bosom to die.

IX.

How slowly Time creeps, till my Phæbe return!
While amidst the soft zephyr's cool breezes I burn!
Methinks if I knew whereabouts he would treal,
I could breathe on his wings, and 'twould melt down the ead.
Fly swifter, ye minutes, bring hither my dear,
And rest so much longer for't when she is here
Ah, Coiin! old Time is full of delay,
Nor will budge one foot faster for all thou canst say.

Will no pitying power that hears me complain,
Or cure my disquiet or soften my pain?
To be cured, thou must, Colin, thy passion remove;
But what swain is so silly to live without love?
No, Deity, bid the dear nymph to return,
For ne'er was poor shepherd so sadly forlorn.
Ah! what shall I do? I shall die with despair!
Take liced, all ye swains, how ye part with your fair

THE THREE BLACK CROWS.

Two honest tradesmen meeting in the Strand,
One took the other, briskly, by the hand;
Hark-ye, said hic, 'tis an odd story this
About the Crows -I don't know what it is,
Replied his friend.-No! I'm surprised at that;
Where I came from it is the common chat;
But you shall hear; an odd affair indeed!
And, that it happen'd, they are all agreed:
Not to detain you from a thing so strange,
A gentleman, that lives not far from Change,
This week, in short, as all the alley knows,
Taking a puke, has thrown up three black crows.--
Impossible !-Nay, but it's really true;
I have it from good hands, and so may you.-
From whose, I pray?-So having named the man,
Straight to inquire Lis curious :omrade ran.

Sir, did you tell-relating the affair-
Yes, sir, I did: and if it's worth your care,
Ask Mr. Such-a-one, he told it me,
But, by the by, 'twas two black crows, not three.-

Resolved to trace so wondrous an event,
Whip, to the third, the virtuoso went;
Sir-and so forth-Wly, yes; the thing is fact,
Though in regard to number, not exact;
It was not tuo black crows, 'twas only one,
The truth of that you may depend upon,
The gentleman himself told me the case-
Where may I find him ?- Why, in such a place.

Away goes he, and having found him out,
Sir, be so good as to resolve a doubt.
Then to his last informant he referra,
And begg'd to know, if true what he had heard ?
Dill you, sir, throw up a black crow?--Not I-
Bless me! how people propagate a lie!
Black crows have been thrown up, three, two, and one ;
And here, I find, all comes, at last, to none !
Did you say nothing of a crow at all?
Crow--crow-perhaps I might, now I recall
The matter over--And, pray, sir, what was 't ?
Why, I was horrid sick, and, at the last,
I did throw up, and told my neighbor so,
Soinething that was-as black, sir, as a crow.

WILLIAM KING. 1685—1763. Dr. William Kıxg, born at Stepney, in Middlesex, in 1085, “ was known and esteemedl," says his biographer, “ by the first men of his time for wit and learning, and must be allowed to have been a polite scholar, an excellent orator, and an elegant and easy writer, both in Latin and English.” He died in 1763, having sketched his own character in an elegant epitaph, in which, while he acknowledges liis failings, he claims the praise of benevolence, temperance, and fortitude. The work by which he is now chiefly known is that from which the following extracts are taken— Political and Literary Anecdotes of his own Times."

VIRGIL. Most of the commentators on the Greek and Roman poets think it sufficient to explain their author, and to give us the various readings. Some few indeed have made us remark the excellency of the poet's plan, the elegance of his diction, and the propriety of his thoughts, at the same time pointing out as examples the most striking and beautiful descriptions. Ruæus, in his comment on Virgil, certainly excelled all his fellow-laborers, who were appointed to explain and publish a series of the Roman classics for the use of the Dauphin. His mythological, historical, and geo graphical notes are a great proof of his learning and diligence. But he hath not entered into the spirit of the author, and dis

« 上一頁繼續 »