Imatges de pÓgina
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with their extremes. Notwithstanding this authority, my wife, whose skin is almost Moorish, persists in wearing a white hat, which gives her the look of a perfect Yarico. Declined walking out with her this morning, unless she changed it, which she obstinately refused, after wrangling with me for half an hour; and, as I was determined to exercise my martial authority, I went out without her. Is it not astonishing that a person of the smallest reflection or good sense should stubbornly contend about such a mere trifle? She has a monstrous disposition to domineer, which I am resolved to resist.

Met Harvey in my promenade, who told me, that as there had been no committee at Brookes's or Arthur's since I withdrew my name, there was still time to reinstate it, which he kindly undertook to do for me. "Hurried on myself to the Alfred and Union, and got there just in time to take down the notices. How excessively fortunate! Acting the hermit in London won't do: I hate affectation of any sort. Long evenings at home I hate still worse. One must have some resources; for the romance of life like all other romances, ends with marriage. The Rovers, Sir Harry Wildairs, Lovebys, and other wild gallants of the old comedies, never appear upon the stage after this ceremony; their freaks

over-their “occupation's gone”--they are presumed to have become too decent and dull for a dramatist. Their loves were a lively romance e ; their marriage is flat history. The uncertainty of bachelorship unquestionably gives a charm to existence; a married man has nothing farther to expect; he must sit down quietly, and wait for death. A single one likes to speculate upon his future fate ; he has something to look forward to, and while he is making up his

mind to what beauty he shall offer his hand, he roves amid a harem of the imagination, a sort of mental Polygamist.

A man may be for tunate in wedlock, but if he is not

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I certainly thought my wife had some smartness of conversation, but I find that it only amounts to a petulant dicacity. Swift explains the process by which I was deceived when he says "A very little wit is valued in a woman, as we are pleased with a few words spoken plain by a parrot.” Perhaps he solves the difficulty better when he adds in another place—“ Women are like riddles; they please us no longer when once they are known.”

Told of a bon-mot launched by my friend Taylor, on the occasion of my nuptials. Old Lady Dotterel exclaiming that she feared I had been rather wild, and was glad to hear I was going to be married

So am I too,” cried Taylor ; but, after a moment's consideration, added in a compassionate tone" although I don't know why I should say so, poor fellow, for he never did me any harm in his life.” Went to the play-one of Reynold's comedies. Used to laugh formerly at the old fellow's reply, when he is told that bachelor's are useless fellows, and ought to be taxed-“So we ought Ma'am, for it is quite a luxury.' Admitted the fact, but could not join in the roar. Not a bad joke of the amateur, who, on examining the Seven Sacraments painted by Poussin, and criticising the picture of Marriage, exclaimed-“I find it is difficult to make a good marriage even in painting.” Maitre Jean Piccard tells us, that when he was returning from the funeral of his wife, doing his best to look disconsolate, and trying different expedients to produce a tear, such of the neighbours as had grown-up daughters and cousins came to him, and kindly implored him not to be inconsolable, as they could give him ano. ther wife. Six weeks after, says Maître Jean, I lost my cow, and, though I really grieved upon this occasion, not one of them offered to give me another. St. Paul may have been a very wise man in his dictum about marriage ; but he is still wiser who contents himself with doing well, and leaves it to others to do better,

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THE LIBRARY.

* Books, like men their authors, have but one way of coming into the world, but there are ten thousand to go out of it, and return no more.”

Tale of a Tube

Let us take off our hats and march with reverent steps, for we are about to enter into a library—that intellectual heaven wherein are assembled all those master spirits of the world who have achieved immortality ; those mental giants who have undergone their apotheosis, and from the shelves of this literary temple still hold silent communion with their mortal votaries. Here, as in one focus, are concentrated the rays of all the great luminaries, since Cadmus, the inventor of letters, discovered the noble art of arresting so subtle, volatile, and invisible a thing as Thought, and imparted to it an existence more durable than that of brass and marble. This was, indeed, the triumph of mind over matter; the lighting up of a new sun; the formation of a moral world only inferior to the Almighty fiat that produced Creation. But for this miraculous process of eternizing knowledge, the reasoning faculty would have been bestowed upon man in vain : it would have perished with the evanescent frame in which it was embodied; human experience would not extend beyond individual life; the wisdom of each generation would be lost to its successor, and the world could never have emerged from the darkness of barbarism. Books have been the great civilizers of men. The earliest literature of every country has been probably agricultural ; for subsistence is the most pressing want of every new community : abundance, when obtained, would have to be secured from the attacks of less industrious savages; hence the necessity for the arts of war, for eloquence,'hymns of battle, and funeral orations. Plenty and security soon introduce luxury and refinement; leisure is found for

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writing and reading : literature becomes ornamental as well as useful ; and poets are valued, not only for the delight they afford, but for their exclusive power of conferring a celebrity more durable than all the fame that.can be achieved by medals, statues, inonu. ments, and pyramids, or even by the foundation of cities, dynasties, and empires.

This battered, soiled, and dog's-eared Homer, so fraught with scholastic reminiscences, is the most sublime illustration of the preservative power of poetry that the world has yet produced. Nearly three thousand years have elapsed since the body of the author reverted to dust, and here is his mind, his thoughts, his very words, handed down to us entire, although the language in which he wrote has for many ages become silent

upon the earth. This circumstance, however, is rather favourable to endurance; for a classic poem, like the Phænix, rises with renewed vigour from the ashes of its language. He who writes in a living tongue, casts a flower upon a running stream, which buoys it up and carries it swimmingly forward for a time, but the rapidity of its flight destroys its freshness and withers its form; when, the beauties of its leaves being no longer recognizable, it soon sinks unnoticed to the bottom. A poem in a dead language is the same flower poised upon a still, secluded fountain, whose unperturbed waters gradually convert it into a petrifaction, unfad. ing and immutable. To render Achilles invulnerable he was dipped into the river of the dead, and he who would arm his work against the scythe of Time must clothe it in an extinct language. When the Chian bard wandered through the world reciting his unwritten verses, which then existed only as a sound, Thebes with its hundred gates flourished in all its stupendous magnificence, and the leathern ladies and gentlemen who grin at us from glass cases, under the denomination of mummies, were walking about its streets, dancing in its halls, or perhaps

prostrating themselves in its temples before that identical Apis, or Ox-deity, whose thigh-bone was rummaged out of the sarcophagus in the great pyramid, and transported to England by Captain Fitzclarence. Three hundred years rolled away after the Iliad was composed, before the she-wolf destined to nourish Romulus and Remus prowled amid the wilderness of the seven hills, whereon the marble palaces of Rome were subsequently to be founded. But why instance mortals and cities that have sprung up and crumbled into dust, since an immortal has been called into existence in the intervening period ? Cupid, the god of love, is no where mentioned in the works of Homer, though his mother plays so clistinguished a part in the poem, and so many situations occur where he would infallibly have been introduced, had he been then enrolled in the celestial ranks. It is obvious, therefore, that he was the production of later mythologists; but, alas ! the deity and his religion, the nations that worshipped him, and the cities where his temples were reared, are all swept away in one common ruin. Mortals and immortals, creeds and systems, nations and empiresa all are annihilated together. Even their heaven is no more. Hyænas assemble upon Mount Olympus instead of deities : Parnassus is a desolate waste ; and the silence of that wilderness, once covered with laurel groves and gorgeous fanes, whence Apollo gave out his oracles, is now only broken by the occasional crumbling of some fragment from the rocky summit of the two-forked hill, scaring the wolf from his den and the eagle from her cliff.

And yet here is the poem of Homer fresh and youthful as when it first emanated from his brain ; nay, it is probably in the very infancy of its existence, only in the outset of its career, and the generations whom it has delighted are as nothing compared to those whom it is destined to charm in its future progress to eternity. Contrast this majestic

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