Page images
PDF
EPUB

think of the patriotic courage of those ancient Romans : for example, Marcus Curtius, who threw himself into a gulf, because it was superstitiously believed it would never close until the most precious thing in the city should be thrown into it. Manlius Torquatus, who put his son to death, as an example to those who should disregard his consular authority. The poor but most virtuous Fabricius; and the noble-minded Regulus. These and many other Roman heroes may serve as types of the difficulty attending patriotism, when the world was so little prepared to acknowledge it in those minor virtues which, in our days, constitute a patriot.

"Pro bono publico” meant not fine-sounding speeches, but fine and dauntless actions.

“For what is glory but the blaze of fame pas

Milton has written, but the ancient Romans

earned not renown and glory at such a price ; peaceable days may understand the line, but magnanimous actions of yore earned death for the sad reward, and the last.

Yet far be it from our ideas to believe that no patriotism can exist unless most Herculean feats be performed. Even in youth, man may begin his lesson of selfdenial; for a selfish man cannot possibly be a patriot, and no young man need be so tied down by custom, tuition, or the example of others, as to leave into their hands that reigning feeling of the ambition of good, which none but himself can so effectually ripen to maturity.

Young England must begin by considering his country as a vast inheritance in which he will have a portion; and amidst the moderate relaxation which all studious minds require he can, even in his pleasures, begin his lesson

of patriotism by encouraging native talent. Conscience and honour, in youth, are the protectors to guide their possessor safely, to manhood : and it is in youth that bad advice, bad example, and native indolence conspire to seduce the mind from its more exalted channel.

To travel in other lands for instruction is a laudable amusement; but to travel, not only to drive away ennui, but to court it, under the shape of every degenerate pleasure, this is the pursuit of too many of those whom we now address as “ Young England.” We should not like to see young men tied to one country, though it be their own, but they should travel for higher views than the mere gratification of that all-absorbing hero-Self. That mysterious thing, Intellect, requires a vast field and change of scene to bring it to perfection ; and the myrtle garland twines

more surely around the brow whereon distant air has wafted—wafted, but left no weight, no shadow—wafted, only to purify, instruct, and command, to render nearer and dearer to the heart the enjoyment of our own free Island. Young England, glory lies at thy feet ! but, to use the words of our popular comedy, ye must "stoop to conquer” . : Think not that the young lordlings will be more conducive to England's welfare than the poor, but industrious, youths who rank in the University upon the Nation's list. If ye receive the Nation's bounty in the shape of instruction, ye can return it in the shape of patriotism,—for not to the politician alone belong duty and affection to his country, but to the clergyman, the lawyer, the physician, the tradesman, the author, and soldier.

Take heed, Young England, thy collegiate days, the freshest, the purest in the annals

of thy life, may also be the least useful. The Indian sells his gold for glittering baubles, the Collegian sells his time for fleeting pleasure. The Indian may not repent his bargain, unless education steps in to teach him the value of gold; but the Collegian must repent, for the world will teach him the loss of time, and talents misused. Youth is, indeed, the time when the soul and body are in their primeval stage; the weight of care has not borne away a single energy, the earth seems a vast stage of delight,-ambition in its infancy has virtue for its guide.

Riches are not required as sure helps to the road of fame, its votaries are of a miscellaneous kind; but let them be in any grade, they have all been equal in one thing—they have all been young.

The Rubicon is past when ye have moved

« PreviousContinue »