Page images

Thus to him our life is something more than a jest, and he addresses the time-killer, the mammon worshipper, the casino-loving mortal in some such language as that text in the Koran, “The heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, think ye they were created in jest ?” Is this earth merely for you to sport and frolic your existence upon ? No. “ Your life is but a little gleam of time between two eternities; no second chance is given you for evermore. Sweep away all frothiness and falsehood from your heart, and struggle unweariedly to acquire what is possible for every man—a free, open, and humble soul.” Perhaps the doctrine for which Carlyle has been most abused and misunderstood is the one so often associated with his name, that “Might is Right.” He has been accused of being a blind idolater of brute force, a worshipper of success, &c. Carlyle does propound the doctrine that “ Might is Right,” but not in the vulgar meaning of the phrase. We will state his doctrine as concisely as we can.

The Devil did not make this world, but God. He rules also, and only His work can succeed. Is not His name the All-mighty. Sentence of death is recorded against all error and falsehood in the world, and in that stern, deep battle between “Might and Right” we have but to await the issue. Yea, Might is Right, — the might of Truth, Wisdom, and Valour is ever the mightiest. All the strength of innumerable armies, with sword, steel, and cannon-the blaze of bonfires, with all the pomp, glory, and parade of the Universe-cannot support an unjust thing. “ Await the issue. That which is right and just alone can have the victory. The cause thou fightest for, so far as it is true, no further, yet precisely so far, is sure of victory. The falsehood alone of it will be conquered, will be abolished, as it ought to be ; but the truth of it is part of Nature's own laws, co-operates with the world's eternal tendencies, and cannot be conquered."


“Man could direct his ways by plain reason, and support his life by tasteless food; but God has given us wit, and flavour, and brightness, and laughter, and perfumes, to enliven the days of man's pilgrimage and to 'charm his pained steps over the burning marl.'”—Rev. Sydney Smith.

What a dull, plodding, tramping, clanking would the ordinary intercourse of Society be without wit to enliven and brighten it !”Archdeacon Hare.

As long liveth the merry man, they say,

As doth the sorry man, and longer by a day.”

“ Another sayd sawe doth men advise,
That they be together both merry and wise.”

Old Comedy, Ralph Roister Doister,"

Published 1566.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

AN is the only animal to whom has been given the

faculty of laughing. This is one of the many. valuable privileges Nature has bestowed upon him. Laughter is a most healthful exercise; and the man who has not the faculty to perceive the ludicrous, nor a healthy secretion of good humour in his nature, suffers both in body and mind-becomes dyspeptic and melancholic; for laughter assists digestion, and clears off bad humours from the brain. Laughter,” says Dr. Hufeland, “is one of the greatest helps to digestion with which I am acquainted; and the custom prevalent among our forefathers of exciting it at table by jesters and buffoons, was founded on true medical principles.” Harvey, the discoverer of the circulation of the blood, says : “When the regions about the thorax and lungs are stimulated by laughter, the system resumes, &c., and the arterial vessels perform their functions with ease.” But we need not multiply medical testimony to a fact that is obvious. We can almost fancy some doctor of the future prescribing to his patient a dose of laughter, and when taken to be well

« PreviousContinue »