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“Exempt from public haunt,
He who draws out the hidden harmonies of nature into new combinations, possesses a fountain of pure and inexhaustible gratification. The musician has a perpetual resource against ennui; he can sooth the heart, while he delights the ear; his art, like charity, is twice blessed_“it blesseth him that gives, and him that takes ;" he is generally a happy man.
We have considered some of those avocations that associate us with nature and the physical world ; let us now briefly notice some of those that place us in relation with man and morals, beginning with the professions. Nothing so strikingly illustrates the total nullity and blindness to which human reason may be reduced by the force of long continued habit, titular honours, and external pomp, as the fact, that men of even good sense and humanity can become enamoured of a military life. As a matter of necessity, I arraign not its existence; but that it should be ever embraced as an affair of
preference, is somewhat astounding. Strip it of its externals, view it abstractedly, analyze its nature and object, and if the word glory cannot alter the immutable truth of principles, nor a gold epaulette metamorphose every action of its wearer, we cannot cease to wonder that men should be so infatuated as to worship a painted devil for an angel. That it is the road to wealth, honours, rank, may be very true ; but does it conduce to happiness? That is an inquiry which may be left to its professors to solve.
Medicine and surgery will hold out few attractions to those who are not prepared to sear their hearts as a preliminary qualification for their practice. Painful and distressing profession ! that turns to us perpetually the darkest side of human nature, subjects us to the harrowing repetition of mental wo and bodily anguish, to sickness, decay, death; while it exposes to us moral as well as physical deformity, by bringing to our cognisance the selfishness of friends, the hollowness of relatives, the hypocrisy of heirs. It has been observed, that as we become acquainted with physical evils we despise death, and as we are familiarised with the evils of society we despise life. Medical men are liable to both impressions, and the result is not unfrequently manifest in their sentiment and temperament, which are rarely enviable. There may be some, who, in the lofty consciousness of dispensing health or allaying pain, of preserving domestic ties unsevered, and the link of friendship unbroken, enjoy an exquisite gratification, that atones to them for manifold annoyances and miseries. Let such men be venerated ; for what are the momentary sufferings of the martyr, who gives his body to the flames, compared to his who offers up his mind as a perpetual and living sacrifice for the good of others ?
The law is nothing but a vast arena of the vices and evil passions of mankind, where its professors, stripping off their moral clothing, appear as gladiators to fight for victory, not for justice ! · To stand in the midst of a wrangling crowd, and constitute a focus for all its hateful feelings, to be made the confident of “ wretched rogues forlorn,” to be the depositary of their offences, to witness perjury, to advocate wrong, and oppose truth and justice, when hired to do it by a client; and finally, to be promoted to the bench, that you may listen all day long to the evidence of repulsive crimes, and condemn their miserable perpetrators to the prison or the gallows: this, too, is a course which, as society is constituted, must be run by some, and may be run by many, with public applause and the rewards of dignity and riches ; but is it a career to be selected by him who
is balancing as to what course of life to choose ? I submit questions without presuming to apply an answer.
But the church-ay, here, indeed, we cannot be at a loss; and he who feels within himself that he can faithfully, conscientiously, and holily discharge the duties of a minister of the gospel, may be assured that he is embracing the happiest and most dignified of all professions. But if he be actuated by the spirit of a church rather than of a religion-if the odium theologicum can find a place in his bosom, and he seek to establish or oppose a sect rather than a principle-above all, if he be capable of desecrating the office, by associating it with political feeling and interested motives-let him pause upon
the threshold, for he cannot probably step forward with advantage to others, and certainly not with benefit to himself.
The career of politics will find few advocates among those who are more solicitous for mental peace than for worldly advancement. The field is narrow, the combatants fierce : cupidity and shame embitter their exertions: triumph is exposed to acerbity and perpetual irritation ; failure adds the stings of en vay to the mortification of defeat. Such are the trials to which the actors are exposed, and even the writers upon politics cannot altogether escape the contagion of their hatefulness. Machiavel could not have been a happy man, any more than the kings, ministers, and diplomatists, who were eager to avail themselves of his crooked, unprincipled, and heartless subtlety.
This analysis might easily be extended ; but if I have not said enough to determine “ What life to choose,” I have at least indicated what to avoid ; so that if the reader be wise in his wishes, I may safely ejaculate, in bidding him adieu-"Dii tibi dent
quæ velis !"
MIND AND BODY.
Veluti in speculum,
Sars mind to body, t'other day,
As on my chin I plied my razor,
Your real phiz, or cheat the gazer?
That youthful face, which bloom'd as sleek
As Hebe's, Ganymede’s, Apollo's,
Is falling into fearful hollows.
The crow's fell foot hath set its sign
- Beside that eye which dimly twinkles; And look! wbat means this ugly line?
Gadzooks, my friend, you're getting wrinkles!
Would now inspire them with a panic;
Or else you'll soon be aldermanic.
At sight of that mismantled tor,
My very heart, I must confess, aches :
You now are balder than Lord Essex.
Since Wayte's decease your teeth decline :
Finding no beautifier near 'em,
Well may they call him-“ edax rerum."
Of their two laughter-nursing dimples,
(Between ourselves) a brace of pimples !
So careless are you, or so thrifty,
A sad mistake when nearing fifty.
Before you reckon more offences,
Of all these dismal consequences.
The sword, you know, wears out the sheath;
By steam are brazen vessels scatter'd;
The surface must be torn and shatter'd.
Have not your passions, hopes, and fears,
Their tegument of clay outwearing,
To cause the ravage you 're declaring ?
Of age-no wrinkles of the spirit:
Your purse be shared with starving merit :
No avarice in your breast has started:
Sour, garrulous, or narrow-hearted:
(Howe'er its features may be shaded)
And keep the moral part unfaded.
The head and heart's joint emanation;
Free from the body's devastation.
Counting by years, how folks have blunder'd.
And Fontenelle at near a hundred !
ACCOUNT OF AN APPARITION, Seen at Star Cross, in Devonshire, the 23d of July, 1823. “ 'Tis true, 'tis certain, man, though dead, retains
Part of himself; the immortal mind remains :
Ajrial semblance and an empty shade." POPE.