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18 26 36 51
66 82 88 94 99 107 116 128 136 144
Streets of London,...
173 179 183 190 196 201 206 211 215 219 221 233
126 1st line Ist verse--for "seamen," read seaman.
STREETS OF LONDON.
In few places are the “lights and shadows" of life more strongly and vividly contrasted than in the streets of a great metropolis ; where bloated wealth and hollow-eyed poverty trudge side by side, and gay, fluttering vanity and squalid wretchedness gaze strangely at each other. It is dramatic, but unpleasant; at least until custom has produced the callousness of heart requisite to enable a man to look philosophically on all human sorrow, save his own peculiar portion. Before he has arrived at this state, however, a stroll through the streets of a crowded city is apt to be uncommonly beneficial. It generates a series of practical sermons, for which every poor distressed object furnishes an eloquent text, tending to inculcate gratitude for his own station, charity for the miseries, and toleration for the frailties of others. A back street in London shows a man a few of the realities of life. To use a pu
gilistic phrase, “ it takes the conceit out of him." I am sometimes sorrier for my own disappointments than for any person's ; and occasionally pity and indulge in the tenderest and most delicate sympathy imaginable towards myself, on account of any trivial inconvenience or privation to which I may happen to be subjected; but I have never entered a London by-lane in this frame of mind without walking out "a wiser and a sadder man" at the other end." There is a vast deal of difference between fanciful or poetical unhappiness and harsh prose misery-plain, unvarnished, substantial misery, arising from tangible wants and physical sufferings. It is too much the fashion of the world to exaggerate and swell into undue importance half real and half imaginary mental woes, and to sneer at and undervalue common bodily evils. Your young poets and lady poetesses (heaven bless them !) and indeed all persons of genteel sensibilities, are continually plunging into the extreme depths of desolation on what would appear to a
man rather insufficient grounds. But going arithmetically to work, it will be a tolerably-sized grief which produces as much pain as a prolonged, stinging tooth-ache; and six-and-thirty hours, or upwards, without victuals, must be almost as bad to bear as slighted love, notwithstanding the