網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Harbor not revenge in thy breast; it will torment thy heart, and discolor its best inclinations.

Be always more ready to forgive than to return an injury: he that watches for an opportunity of revenge, lieth in wait against himself, and draweth down mischief on his own head.

A mild answrer to an angry man, like water cast upon the fire, abateth his heat; and from an enemy, he shall become thy friend.

Consider how few things are worthy of anger; and thou wilt wonder that any but fools should be wroth. In folly or weakness it always beginneth; but remember, and be well assured, it seldom concludeth without repentance. On the heels of Folly treadcth Shame; at the back of Anger standeth Remorse.

WOMAN.

Give ear, fair daughter of Love, to the instructions of Prudence; and let the precepts of Truth sink deep in thine heart: so shall the charms of thy mind add lustre to thy form; and thy beauty, like the rose it resemblcth, shall retain its sweetness when its bloom is withered.

In the spring of thy youth, in the morning of thy days, when the eyes of men gaze on thee with delight; ah! hear with caution their alluring words; guard well thy heart, nor Listen to their soft seducements.

Remember thou art made man's reasonable companion, not the slave of his passion; the end of thy being is to assist him in the toils of life, to soothe him with thy tenderness, and recompense his care with soft endearments.

Who is she that winneth the heart of man, that subdueth him to love, and reigneth in his breast? Lo! yonder she walketh in maiden sweetness, with innocence in her mind, and modesty on her cheek. Her hand seeketh employment; her foot delighteth not in gadding abroad.

She is clothed with neatness; she is fed with temperance ; humility and meekness are as a crown of glory circling her head. Decency is in all her words; in her answers are mildness and truth. Submission and obedience are the lessons of her life; and peace and happiness her reward.

Before her steps walketh Prudence; Virtue attendeth at her right hand. The tongue of the licentious is dumb in her presence; the awe of her virtue keepeth him silent.

When Scandal is busy, and the fame of her neighbor is tossed irom tongue to tongue, if Charity and Good-nature open not her mouth, the finger of Silence resteth on her lip. Her breast is the mansion of goodness; and therefore she suspecteth no evil in others

Happy were the man that should make her his wife; happy the child that shall call her mother.

She presideth in the house, and there is peace; she comroandeth with judgment, and is obeyed. She ariseth in the morning; she considers her affairs; and appointeth to every one their proper business.

The care of her family is her whole delight; to that alone she applieth her study: and elegance with frugality is seen in her mansions. The prudence of her management is an honor to her husband, and he heareth her praise with silent delight. She infonneth the minds of her children with wisdom: she fashioneth their manners from the example of her own goodness.

The word of her mouth is the law of their youth; the motion of her eye commandeth their obedience. She speaketh, and her servants fly; she pointeth, and the thing is done: for the law of love is in their hearts; her kindness addeth wings to their feet.

In prosperity she is not puffed up; in adversity she healeth the wounds of Fortune with patience.

The troubles of her husband are alleviated by her counsels, and sweetened by her endearments; he putteth his heart in her bosom, arid receiveth comfort.

Happy is the man that hath made her his wife; happy the child that calleth her mother.

RICH AND POOR.

The man to whom God hath given riches, and a mind to employ them aright, is peculiarly favored, and highly distinguished. He looketh on his wealth with pleasure; because it affordeth him the means to do good.

He protecteth the poor that are injured; he suffereth not the mighty to oppress the weak. He seeketh out objects of compassion ; he inquireth into their wants; he relieveth them with judgment, and without ostentation. He assisteth and rewardeth merit; he encourageth ingenuity, and liberally promoteth every useful design.

He carrieth on great works; his country is enriched, and the laborer is employed: he formeth new schemes, and the arts ro ceive improvement. He considereth the superfluities of his table as belonging to the poor, and he defraudeth them not. The be nevolence of his mind is not checked by his fortune. He rejoiceth therefore in riches, and his joy is blameless.

But woe unto him that heapeth up wealth in abundance, and rejoiceth alone in the possession thereof; that grindeth the face of the poor, and considereth not the sweat of their brows.

He thriveth on oppression without feeling; the ruin of his brother disturbeth him not. The tears of the orphan he drinketh as milk; the cries of the widow are music to his ear. His heart is hardened with the love of wealth; no grief or distress can make impression upon it.

But the curse of iniquity pursueth him; he liveth in continual fear. The anxiety of his mind, and the rapacious desires of his own soul, take vengeance upon him for the calamities he hath brought upon others.

O! what are the miseries of poverty, in comparison with the gnawings of this man's heart!

Let the poor man comfort himself, yea, rejoice; for he hath many reasons. He sitteth down to his morsel in peace; his table is not crowded with flatterers and devourers. He is not embarrassed with dependants, nor teased with the clamors of solicitation. Debarred from the dainties of the rich, he escapeth all their diseases. The bread that he 'eateth, is it not sweet to his taste? the water he drinketh, is it not pleasant to his thirst? yea, far more delicious than the richest draughts of the luxurious. His labor preserveth his health, and produceth him a repose to which the downy bed of Sloth is a stranger. He limiteth his desires with humility; and the calm of contentment is sweeter to his soul than the acquirements of wealth and grandeur.

Let not the rich, therefore, presume on his riches, nor the poor despond in his poverty; for the providence of God dispenseth happiness to them both, and the distribution thereof is more equally made than the fool can believe.

BENEVOLENCE.

"When thou considerest thy wants, when thou beholdest thy imperfections, acknowledge his goodness, O Man ! who honored thee with reason, endowed thee with speech, and placed thee in society to receive and confer reciprocal helps and mutual obligations.

Thy food, thy clothing, thy convenience of habitation, thy protection from the injuries, thy enjoyment of the comforts and the pleasures of life, thou owest to the assistance of others, and couldst not enjoy but in the bands of society. It is thy duty, therefore, to be friendly to mankind, as it is thy interest that men should be friendly to thee.

As the rose breatheth sweetness from its own nature, so the heart of a benevolent man produceth good works.

He enjoyeth the ease and tranquillity of his own breast; and rejoiceth in the happiness and prosperity of his neighbor. He npeneth not his ear unto slander; the faults and the failings of men give pain to his heart. His desire is to do good, and he searcheth out the occasions thereof: in removing the oppression of another, he relieveth himself.

From the largeness of his mind, he comprehendeth in his wishes the happiness of all men; and from the generosity of his heart, he endeavoreth to promote it.

EDWARD YOUNG. 1681—17?5.

Edward Tor/ire, the celebrated author of the ■ Night Thoughts," was born at Upham, in Hampshire, in 1681. He was educated at Oxford, where lie took his degree of Bachelor of Civil Law in 1714, and his Doctor's degree in 1719. That he was distinguished for his ingenuity and learning above his fellow-students and contemporaries, is known by a complaint of Tindal the infidel, who said, "The other boys I can always answer, because I know where they have their arguments, which I have read a hundred times: but that fellow Young is continually pestering me with something of his own." After publishing a number of poetical pieces of rather indifFerent merit, in 1721 he gave to the public his tragedy of "Revenge," which is one of the finest efforts of his genius; but unfortunately it was written after the model of the French drama, and though the thoughts are refined and full of imagination, and a true poetic feeling pervades the whole, it has hardly vitality enough to keep it alive as a drama.

In 1725 he published the first of his Satires, and in three or four years the other six followed, under the title of "The Love of Fame, the Universal Passion." They are evidently the production of a mind rendered acute by observation, enriched by reflection, and polished with wit; and they abound in ingenious and humorous allusions. Their chief defect is in the perpetual exaggeration of the sentiment Goldsmith says, that "they were in higher reputation when published than they stand at present;" and that "Young seems fonder of dazzling than of pleasing, of raising our admiration for his wit than of our dislike of the follies he ridicules."1

In 1728 Young entered the church, and was appointed chaplain to George the Second. Three years after, he married Lady Elizabeth Lee, daughter of the Earl of Litchfield, and widow of Colonel Lee. She died in 1741, leaving one son. A daughter whom she had by her former husband, and who was married to Mr. Temple, son of Lord Palmerston, died in 1736, and Mr. Temple four years after. It has generally been believed that Mr. and Mrs. Tem pie were the Philander and Narcissa of the Night Thoughts. Mrs. Temple died of a consumption, at Lyons, on her way to Nice, and Young accompanied her to the continent* Some, most inconsiderately, have identified Young's son with the Lorenzo of the Night Thoughts. This is absurd, for when this character of the finished infidel was drawn by the father, the son was only eight years old.

1 Essay on English Poetry. Young's Satires were published before those of Pone,
f To her death at Lyons the two Uncs In Night Third doubtless allude, for the city authorities re.
fused to allow her to be buried In "consecrated" grounds

*' While Nature melted, Superstitio.i raved;
That mourn'd the dead, and this denied * grave."

Of the Night Thoughts, which were published from 1742 to 1744, Young's favorite and most finished poem, it may be said that they show a mind stored with reading and reflection, purifled by virtuous feelings, and supported by religious hope. There are in them gTeat fertility of thought and luxuriance of imagination, uncommon originality in style, and an accumulation of argument and illustration which seems almost boundless.1 "In this pocni," says Dr. Johnson, "Young has exhibited a very wide display of original poetry, vnriegated with deep reflections and striking allusions; a wilderness of thought, in which the fertility of fancy scatters flowers of every hue, and of every odor."

In 1750 Dr. Joseph Warton paid a very just and elegant tribute to the poetical reputation of Young, by dedicating to him his roost learned and instructive "Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope." Young was at that time the only survivor of that brotherhood of poets who had adorned and delighted the preceding age, and among whom Pope shone with such unrivalled lustre. In 17C2, when he was upwards of fourscore, Young printed his poem of :' Resignation," in which, for the first time, a decay of his powers is manifested. In April, 1765, he closed his long, useful, and virtuous life. He had performed no duty for the last three or four years, but he retained his intellects to the last

In his personal manners, Young is said to have been a man of very social habits, and the animating soul of every company with whom he mixed. Nobody ever said more brilliant things in conversation. Dr. Warton, who knew him well, says that he was one of the most amiable and benevolent of men, most exemplary in his life and sincere in his religion. If he stooped below the dignity of his high profession, in courting worldly favor and applause, as without doubt he did, no one lias more convincingly shown how utterly worthless was the object of this inconsistent ambition.

As a poet, if he ranks not in the first class, he takes a very high place in the second. If his taste be not the purest, or his judgment not always the best, he has an exuberance, a vigor, and an originality of genius, which amply atone for all his defects. As respects the moral influence of his poetry, there has been and can be but one opinion. No one can rise from the studious reading of the Night Thoughts, without feeling more the value of time, and the importance of improving it aright, both for the life that now is, and for that which is to come. It is a book full of the purest and noblest sentiments, which, if followed, cannot fail of making us wiser and better.

INTRODUCTION TO THE NIGHT THOUGHTS. THE VALUE OF TIME.
THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL.

Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where Fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes;
Swift on his downy pinion flies from woe,
And lights on lids unsullied with a tear.

From short (as usual) and disturb'd repose,
1 wake: How happy they, who wake no morel
Yet that were vain, if dreams infest the grave.

1 Ve Life, by Rev. J. Mitford. Head, also, bla Life by Dr. Johnson—a biographical sketch la Drake's Essays—and another In the sixth volume of Campbell's Specimens. The criticisms of U* latter, however I tsnnot consider just.

« 上一頁繼續 »