Page images
PDF
EPUB

templating these exquisite productions of genius. We may be delighted by the beauty of a statue, amazed by the triumph of manual dexterity, which it exhibits, or we may be interested in its associations with the past or the future. Or there is a Utilitarian and economical way of considering the matter, which was well illustrated by two artisans, when Chantry's bronze statue of George the Fourth was first exhibited, “ What a lot o’penny pieces all this here copper would have made," observed one.

.”—“ Ay, never mind, Jack!" said his companion, pointing at the figure" it will cost a deal less to keep he, than it does to keep the live un !"

A contemporary writer has asked, why we attach so little value to the wax figures in the perfumers' shops, which approach much nearer to nature than the most elaborate marble bust; but he must have forgotten that all works of art are estimated in the mingled ratio of their difficulty, utility, and permanence, not by their mere similitude to the object imitated. 66 You would not value the finest head cut out upon a carrot,” said Dr. Johnson. Here he was right, but he was wrong when he added that the value of statuary was solely owing to its difficulty; for its durability, we might almost say its perpetuity, gives it an almost immeasurable advantage over a perishable painting.

SEA-the. Three-fourths of what we might call the earth-the dwelling-place of whales, walruses, porpoises, seals, sailors, and other monsters.

Strange that we often lose our way in travelling by land, where we have only to follow our nose, pursue the high roads chalked out for us, and read the sign posts set up for our guidance; while in traversing the pathless deep, with none to ask, and no sea-marks to direct, with nothing to peruse but the blank main and the illegible sky, a vessel seldom fails, however long and remote may be her voyage, to steer direct into her destined harbour. This is the proudest victory of science; the greatest triumph of man over the elements. The little round compass is the ring that marries the most distant nations to each other. Commerce is the parent of civilisation ; the coasts and ports of a country will be always found more polished than the inland parts. The sea, therefore, shall ever receive the homage of my profound respect, but I cannot admire it. Hunt has justly defined it as a great monotonous idea. So little do I like it, that I care not to dwell upon it, even with my pen.

SECRETS.—A secret is like silence-you cannot talk about it, and keep it; it is like money-when once you know there is any concealed, it is half discovered. “ My dear Murphy !” said an Irishman to his friend, “why did you betray the secret I told you ?" “ Is it betraying you call it ? Sure, when I found I was’nt able to keep it myself, did'nt I do well to tell it somebody that could ?"

SECTS.-Different clans of religionists, the very variety and number of which should inculcate mutual respect and toleration, instead of hatred, and that odious self-worship, which many people imagine to be worship of the Creator.

Embracing those whom Europe holds,
The Christian catalogue unfolds

About a hundred different sects,
And due indulgence it should teach
To every follower of each ;

If for a moment he reflects,
The chances are against his own,
Just as one hundred are to one,

SELF-LOVE.—Thinking the most highly of the individual that least deserves our regard. The self-love of most men consists in pleasing themselves, but there are some cases where it displays itself in pleasing others. In neither is it altogether to be conden ed, for our sensibilities may be too weak, as well as too strong, and they who feel little for them

selves, will feel little or not at all for others. Nothing can be more different than fortitude and insensibility; the one being a noble principle, the other, a mere negation; and yet they are often confounded.

SERMONS.-Sometimes theological opiates—sometimes religious discourses, attended by many who do not attend to them, and when published, purchased by many who do not read them. It is in vain to expect much eloquence or originality in these productions ;—first, because most clergymen have a horror of novelty, lest it should be deemed unorthodox: and, secondly, because they want all motive for the bold and full developement of their talents. To rise above the regular routine of the pulpit, will neither improve their present position, nor add to their chances of future preferment; for the ruling church powers, jealous of all enthusiasts, and still more so of original thinkers, had much rather promote a weak respectable man, who will submit to be led, than a strongminded zealous divine who might aspire to lead-and, perhaps, to innovate !

“How comes it,” demanded a clergyman of Garrick“ that I, in expounding divine doctrines, produee so little effect upon my congregation, while you can so easily arouse the passions of your auditors by the representation of fiction ?" The answer was short and pithy. “ Because I recite false. hoods as if they were true, while you deliver truths as if they were false.”

SERVANTS—Liveried deputies, upon whose tag-rag-andbobtail shoulders we wear our own pride and ostentation; household sinecurists, who invariably do the less, the less they have to do; domestic drones, who are often the plagues, and not seldom the masters of their masters. Many who have now become too grand for grand liveries, and will not shoulder the shoulder-knot, are only to be distinguished from those whom they serve by their better looks and figures, and more

magisterial air. Let no man expect to be well attended in a large establishment; where there are many waiters, the master is generally the longest waiter. A Grand Prior of France, once abusing Palapret for beating his lackey, he replied in a rage, “ Zooks, Sir, he deserves it; I have but this one, and yet I am every bit as badly served as you who have twenty.”

SET-DOWN—That species of rebuke familiarly termed a set-down, when it has been merited by the offending party, and is inflicted without an undue severity, is generally very acceptable to every one but its object. An empty coxcomb, after having engrossed the attention of the company for some time with himself and his petty ailments, observed to Dr. Parr, that he could never go out without catching cold in his head. “No wonder,” cried the doctor, pettishly, “ you always go out without anything in it.” Another of the same stamp, who imagined himself to be a poet, once said to Nat. Lee, “ Is it not easy to write like a madman, as you do?" “No; but it is very easy to write like a fool, as you do.”

SETTLER_Tom Hood, in one of his delightful Comic Annuals, has an engraving of a colonist meeting a settler in the form of an infuriated lion, who with bristling mane seems prepared to give the stranger a passport down his throat. We may encounter a less formidable, but equally conclusive settler, without stirring from our own fire-sides, and afford a proof at the same time, that a bad thing put into the mouth will sometimes bring a good thing out of it. An epicure, while eating oysters, swallowed one that was not fresh. “Zounds, waiter !” he ejaculated, making a wry face, “ what sort of an oyster do you call this?" A native, Sir," replied the wielder of the knife. “ A native !-I call it a settler, so you need not open any more. What's to pay ?"

SCHOOLS. It may be questioned, whether the separation of brothers and sisters from each other, and of both from their parents, by sending them to school, be not injurious to domestic morals, and therefore hurtful to all parties. That scholars may derive many advantages from attending public or private institutions cannot be denied; but their residence should be at home, for such would seem to be the intention of nature; and the constant intercourse of parents and children cannot be otherwise than mutually beneficial. Men should be fathers of their sons's minds as well as bodies. Whatever a youth may lose in the classics, by being educated altogether at home, he will gain in morality, and the family affections; while he will pick up, by what may be termed insensible education, more general knowledge than will be generally possessed by an Etonian or Harrow boy of twice his age. Latin and Greek are worth having, but not if they cost more than their value. The licentious intrigues of Heathen gods, and the loose morality of Pagan writers, are not the safest reading at that period of life, when evil impressions are the most easily made, and the most difficult to eradicate. What is the value of mere scholarship? There ought to be a satisfactory answer to this question, for a whole life is often given for its acquirement. And after all, it is not the knowledge locked up in the learned languages; it is not the treasure, but the casket; not the nut, but the shell, upon which our classical students crack their critical teeth. Bowing down to the shrine, not to the divinity, what wonder that we so rarely hear of a learned Theban or senior wrangler after he quits his monkish Alma Mater. He knows nothing, does nothing, thinks of nothing, by which the world may be benefited or enlightened. Modern History—the British ConstitutionPolitical Economy-General Science, have found, but a small part of his education, for they are not noticed by the commentators, either upon Lycophron's Cassandra, or the Prometheus Vinctus. If only one half of the time lavished upon the dead languages had been devoted to philosophical researches, many a scholar, who is now forgotten, might have left behind

« PreviousContinue »