Page images
PDF
EPUB

OF THE POWER OF CUSTOM.

Custom is not ill defined to be another Nature, and certainly there is not any thing so much mistress of our inclinations and manners, or that hath so long a being with mankind. Therefore it is with so much difficulty persons change their notions of policy or religion, which have been established in their minds from their early infancy; their opinions, however wrong, seem true, and the pleasing familiarity with them takes off all those deformities which another may behold. From hence it is that almost every nation censures the laws, customs, and doctrines of every other as strange and unjust ; but are confirmed in their own follies beyond a possibility of conviction. The difference of customs and laws of nations is so prodigious, that it may not be unpleasant to instance some, which are esteemed by those who are educated in them as entirely consistent with justice, humanity and politeness. There are a people who account it the greatest act of tenderness, piety, and religion to kill their parents when they come to such an age, and then eat them. There are kingdoms where children havo no right to inheritance, and brothers and nephews are accounted the next heirs; where chastity in unmarried women is in no esteem; they may lawfully, and without loss of reputation, be prostitutes, yct, when married, they are miracles of chastity and fidelity to their husbands. Where they never have any marriages, and therefore children only own their mothers, not being able to guess at the father. Where women are looked on with such contempt, that they kill all the native women and purchase wives of their neighbours to supply their use. Where it is the fasbion to turn their backs on him they salute, and never look upon the man they intend to honour. Where the greatest beaus stink most, and instead of a ribband they wear cross their shoulders as a badge of honour, the guts of a sheep. It would be endless to quote all the absurdities which Custom in different places warrants to be reasonable. By these instances we see the grossest follies are accounted sacred if customary, and the fashion handsome and agreeable, though never so shocking to an unbiassed spectator.

As custom and education have such strong prevalency over the minds of men, how careful should parents be in giving their children not a narrow confined method, but a generous and noble way of thinking; to teach them even from their youth, that there are errors, and that when, with an impartial inquiry, they find them, they should know how to retract them, and not to let the false step they made at their first setting out keep them in a wrong path through the whole journey of life afterwards; for too often, as Mr. Dryden

tells us,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The tythe he took scarce press'd his planched floor
He

gave up all for comforts to the poor,
The rich approv'd him tho' he flattered not
But censured all where’jnstice' was forgot,
Beside the church he kept a little school,
And every trtant trembled at his rule; "....
The village children (for he lov'd them well)
Forgot their play when Goodwin left his cell,
Forgot to con’rude rhymes upon the tomb
Or hunt the painted.fly from bloom to bloom,
Nor pluck'd the butterflow'rs with cups of brass,
Nor pick'd the daisies-pi’d, from out the grass,
At his approach they drop'd their gigs and toys
And check'u the current of their wanton joys,
Marshall'd in rank the church-way path'along
And lost in gravity the prierile song.
Respectful stood to do his rev'rence grace
And serap'd the foot, and bow'd the shining face,
Nor pass'd their loves unnoticed by the seer
To this a plumb he gave, to that a pear,
And yet severe he dealt the chast’ning birch
To those who talk'd loo loud, or slept in church,
Where modest spinsters were on Sundays seen
With mits and bibs as silver penny's clean,
To these he taught to shun the ways of strife
And learn the duties of the village wife,

While many a rustic from his pious tongue
Forgot to rove and toild to rear his young,
Nor spent by pot-house fire his labour's price
Like lazy sots the slaves of rags and vice,
In brief he liv'd so all the world might see
What heav'n approves, and ev'ry priest should be
Till bent with age his silver hairs no more
Could grace the scene his tongue had bless'd before,
Adown he sunk, unlike the sons of guile,
Squar'd with the world and left it with a smile:
He's gone they cry, the idol of the heart,
Who brake his loaf and gave the pilgrim part,
Our pastor's gone--and like the peaceful snail
Has left behind a long and shining trail:
Where spreading Yew-bows bend a sombre screen
These modest lines upon his stone are seen.

FINIRE VITAM.
Perhaps, hereafter when the turf below

- Eternal sileńce wraps me in her vest, Some kindred tongue may kindly ask to know

What mode of faith inspired a parent's breasta
These humble lines may serve in full to show,

With Atheist infidel I never trod
Nor dealt the fires fanatic tongues bestow,

Nor smil'd concurrent to the ptic's nod,

But charm’d with nature's laws,

Ador'd the great first cause,
Look'd grateful round the world, and bless'd its God!

Still as if nature fear'd the spot should fade
Her brightest bounties are around display'd,
Unnumber'd daises when the spring appears
Dress his green sods, and shed their vernal tears,
And when the summer darts a burning ray
The stronger plants their broader leaves display :
The ample flow'r that loves the morning light
Here meets the sun and moans his loss at night,
The sacred holy-oak the dæmon's dread
Rears to’ard the village spire its bloomy head,
Mingles its beauties 'midst the funeral gloom
And sheds a fragrance round the good man's tomb,
Where sings the redbreast thro' the circling year
His tranquil requium 'till the stars appear.

Such was our priest, and still the rustic's tell
He can't be wrong who lives! and dies ! so well.

T. N. SINGULAR ANECDOTES.

During the extreme distresses to which Louis Duke of Anjou was reduced, in his unfortunate expedition against Na. ples, he dispatched the Signeur de Craon into France, to procure a supply of money, but this Nobleman after having raised a considerable sum, instead of carrying it to his master, squandered it at Venice, 'in entertainments and courtezans. On his return to Paris, the Duke of Berry accused him as the author of his brother's death; and having afterwards committed assassination in the streets, he was obliged to take shelter in the Bretagne, where the Duke received and protected him. Charles (the Sixth King of France) instigated by his Ministers, demanded the criminal; and on the Duke's refusal, prepared to seize him by force.' He set out in person, at the head of a considerable army. As he continued his march through a forest, between Mans and La Blecke, in the day-time, a tall man, black, and hideous, came from among the trees, and seizing his horse's bridle, cried out, “Arrete Roi! ou vas tue? Tu es trahi,"—then disappeared. The King, however, pursued his journey, in defiance of this denunciation; when a second accident, purely casual, produced on hiin effects the most violent and unhappy. It was in the month of August, and the heats were insupportable. A page, who carried the King's lance, being fallen asleep on his horse, let it fall upon a helmet which another bore before him; the noise which this caused, the sight of the lance, and the words of the phantom returning all at once to the King's imagination, he thought they were going to deliver him to his enemies, and this apprehension working strongly on his senses, produced an instant fit of madness. He drew his sword, and striking furiously at all those about him, killed and wounded several, before any one had force or address enough to save him; they effected it at last. The King, spent with his efforts, fell into a sort of lethargic swoon, and in this condition they carried him, tied down in a cart, to the City of Mans. The story of the man in the wood, appears, at first sight, so apparently fictitious, that one should certainly be induced to Treat as such, if superadded to the universal testimony of the cotemporary writers, some of them did not give us reason to believe that the Duke of Burgundy set on foot this engine. He was the strict ally of the Duke of Bretagne; he had strongly opposed the King's march; he was become unnecessary and powerless. Charles had only just recovered from a fever at Amiens, in which he had given some symptoms of a disordered understanding, which the phantom and fright were extremely calculated, in that superstitious and barbarous age, to frighten into frenzy..

This miserable Princess (Charles the Fifth's mother) finished her life before the Emperor's abdication. She survived her husband Arch Duke Philip, forty-nine years, and was above seventy at her own disease. Her attachment to him; and his untimely death, chiefly contributed to deprive her of her intellects. She was shut up in the Castle of Torde, sillas, almost abandoned, sleeping upon straw, which she sometimes wanted. Hér only recreation was to fight with cats, and to crawl upon the tapestry with which her a partments were hung. Such was the lamentable destiny of Fer. dinand and Isabella's daughter; of the mother of two Emperors and four Queens.

" TO THE ARTIFICIAL ROSE,'?

Respectfully inscribed to Miss Harriet B*

BY T. W.

[ocr errors]

Let others love, and worship paltry gold

The source from whence man's greatest evils flows,
While I with joy thy crimson hue's behold

And all enraptur'd love my blushing Rose. .

The Amusing Chronicle is published at No. 6, Gilbert's Passage, Portugal Street, and served at the houses of the subscribers, in the same manner as hewspapers and magazines.

[ocr errors]

G. Stobbs, Printer, Catheriuc Street, Strand.

« PreviousContinue »