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am a painter!" It was an idle thought, a boy's conceit; but it did not make me less happy at the time. I used regularly to set my work in the chair, to look at it through the long evenings; and many a time did I return to take leave of it, before I could go to bed at night. I remember sending it with a throbbing heart to the exhibition, and seeing it hung up there by the side of one of the Honourable Mr. Skeffington (now Sir George). There was nothing in common between them, but that they were the portraits of two very good-natured men.
but not sure, that I finished this portrait (or another afterwards) on the same day that the news of the battle of Austerlitz came. I walked out in the afternoon, and, as I returned, saw the evening-star set over a poor man's cottage, with other thoughts and feelings than I shall ever have again. Oh, for the revolution of the great Platonic year, that those times might come over again! I could sleep out the three hundred and sixty-five thousand intervening years very contentedly !- The picture is left; the table, the chair, the window where I learned to construe Livy, the chapel where my father preached, remain where they were; but he himself is gone to rest, full of years, of faith, of hope, and charity!
Damon and Pythias. When Damon was sentenced by Dionysius of Syracuse to die on a certain day, he begged permission, in the interim, to retire to his own country, to set the affairs of his disconsolate family in order. This the king intended peremptorily to refuse, by granting it, as he conceived, on the impossible condition of his procuring some one to remain as hostage for his return, under equal forfeiture of life. Pythias heard the conditions, and did not wait for an application upon the part of Damon. He instantly offered himself as security for bis friend; which being accepted, Damon was immediately set at liberty. The king and all the courtiers were astonished at this action; and, therefore, when the day of execution drew near, his majesty had the curiosity to visit Pythias, in his confinement. After some conversation on the subject of friendship, in which the king delivered it as his opinion, that self-interest was the sole mover of human actions; as for virtue, friendship, benevolence, love of one's country, and the like, he looked upon them as terms invented by the wise, to keep in awe and impose upon the weak—“My lord," said Pythias, with a firm voice and noble aspect, “ I would it were possible that I might suffer a thousand deaths, rather than my friend should fail in any article of his honour. He cannot fail therein, my lord. I am as confident of his virtue, as I am of my own existence. But I pray, I beseech the gods, to preserve the life and integrity of my Damon together. Oppose him, ye winds! prevent the eagerness and impatience of his honourable endeavours, and suffer him not to arrive, till, by my death, I shall have redeemed a life a thousand times of more consequence, of more value, than my own; more estimable to his lovely wife, to his precious little innocents, to his friends, to his country. O leave me not to die the worst of deaths in my Damon!” Dionysius was awed and confounded by the dignity of these sentiments, and by the manner in which they were uttered: he felt his heart struck by a slight sense of invading truth; but it served rather to perplex than undeceive him.
The fatal day arrived. Pythias was brought forth, and walked amidst the guards with a serious, but satisfied air, to the place of execution. Dionysius was already there; he was exalted on a moving throne, that was drawn by six white horses, and sat pensive, and attentive to the prisoner. Pythias came; he vaulted lightly on the scaffold, and, beholding for some time the apparatus of death, he turned with a placid countenance, and addressed the spectators: “My prayers are heard,” he cried,“ the gods are propitious! You know, my friends, that the winds have been contrary till yesterday. Damon could not come; he could not conquer impossibilities; he will be here to-morrow, and the blood which is shed to-day shall have ransomed the life of my friend. O could I erase from your
every doubt, every mean suspicion, of the honour of the man for whom I am about to suffer, I should go to my death, even as I would to my bridal. Be it sufficient, in the mean time, that my friend will be found noble; that his truth is unimpeachable; that he will speedily prove it; that he is now on his way, hurrying on, accusing himself, the adverse elements, and the gods: but I hasten to prevent his speed. Executioner, do your office.” As he pronounced the last words, a buzz began to rise among the remotest of the people—a distant voice was heard—the crowd caught the words, and,"stop, stop the execution," was repeated by the
whole assembly. A man came at full speed-the throng gave way to his approach: he was mounted on a steed of foam: in an instant, he was off his horse, on the scaffold, and held Pythias straitly embraced. You are safe,” he cried,
you are safe. My friend, my beloved friend, the gods be praised, you are safe! I now have nothing but death to suffer, and am delivered from the anguish of those reproaches which I gave myself, for having endangered a life so much dearer than my own.” Pale, cold, and halfspeechless, in the arms of his Damon, Pythias replied, in broken accents—“ Fatal haste !—Cruel impatience! What envious powers have wrought impossibilities in your favour?-But I will not be wholly disappointed.—Since 1 cannot die to save, I will not survive you.” Dionysius heard, beheld, and considered all with astonishment. His heart was touched; he wept; and, leaving his throne, he ascended the scaffold. “Live, live, ye incomparable pair!" he cried, " ye have borne unquestionable testimony to the existence of virtue! and that virtue equally evinces the existence of a God to reward it. Live happy, live renowned: and, oh! form me by your precepts, as ye have invited me by your example, to be worthy the participation of so sacred a friendship.”
Fool of Quality
On the Abuse of Genius, with reference to the Works
of Lord Byron. I have endeavoured to show, that the intrinsic value of genius is a secondary consideration, compared with the use to which it is applied; that genius ought to be estimated chiefly by the character of the subject upon which it is employed, or of the cause which it advocates-considering it, in fact, as a mere instrument, a weapon, a sword, which may be used in a good cause, or in a bad one; may be wielded by a patriot, or a highwayman; may give protection to the dearest interests of society, or may threaten those interests with the irruption of pride, and profligacy, and folly—of all the vices which
the curse and degradation of our species. I am the more disposed to dwell a little upon this subject, because I am persuaded that it is not sufficiently attended to—nay, that in ninety-nine instances out of a hundred, it is not attended to at all! That works of imagination are perused, for the
sake of the wit which they display; which wit not only reconciles us to, but endears to us, opinions, and feelings, and habits, at war with wisdom and morality—to say nothing of religion. In short, that we admire the polish, the temper, and shape of the sword, and the dexterity with which it is wielded; though it is the property of a lunatic, or of a bravo; though it is brandished in the face of wisdom and virtue; and, at every wheel, threatens to inflict a wound, that will disfigure some feature, or lop some member; or, with masterly adroitness, aims a death-thrust at the heart! I would deprive genius of the worship that is paid to it, for its own sake. Instead of allowing it to dictate to the world, I would have the world dictate to it -dictate to it, so far as the vital interests of society are affected. I know it is the opinion of many, that the moral of mere poetry is of little avail; that we are charmed by its melody and wit, and uninjured by its levity and profaneness; and hence, many a thing has been allowed in poetry, which would have been scouted, deprecated, reviled, had it appeared in prose: as if vice and folly were less per: nicious, for being introduced to us with an elegant and insinuating address; or, as if the graceful folds and polished scales of a serpent, were an antidote against the venom of its sting.
There is not a more prolific source of human error, than that railing at the world, which obtrudes itself so frequently upon our attention, in the perusing of Lord Byron's poems
s—that sickness of disgust, which begins its indecent heavings, whensoever the idea of the species forces itself upon him. The species is not perfect; but it retains too much of the image of its Maker, preserves too many evidences of the modelling of the hand that fashioned it, is too near to the hovering providence of its disregarded, but still cherishing Author, to excuse, far less to call for, or justify, desertion, or disclaiming, or revilings, upon the part of any one of its members. I know not a more pitiable object, than the man, who, standing upon the pigmy eminence of his own self-importance, looks round upon the species, with an eye that never throws a beam of satisfaction on the prospect, but visits with a scowl, whatsoever it lights upon. The world is not that reprobate world, that it should be cut off from the visitation of charity; that it should be represented, as having no alternative, but to inflict or bear. Life is not one continued scene of
wrestling with our fellows. Mankind are not for ever grappling one another by the throat. There is such a thing as the grasp of friendship, as the outstretched hand of benevolence, as an interchange of good offices, as a mingling, a crowding, a straining together, for the relief, or the benefit of our species. The moral he thus inculcates, is one of the most baneful tendency. The principle of self-love-implanted in us for the best, but capable of being perverted to the worst of purposes—by a fatal abuse, too often disposes us to indulge in this sweeping depreciation of the species, founded upon some fallacious idea of superior value in ourselves; with which imaginary excellence we conceive the world to be at war. A greater source of error cannot exist. We are at once deprived of the surest prop of virtue-distrust of onr own pretensions, and compound, as it were, with our fellows, for an interchange of thwartings and jostlings; or else, withdrawing from all intercourse with them, commune with rocks, and trees, and rivers; fly from the moral region of sublimity and beauty, to the deaf, voiceless, sightless, heartless department of the merely physical one.
Harley's Death. There are some remembrances,” said Harley, “which rise involuntarily on my heart, and make me almost wish to live. I have been blessed with a few friends, who redeem my opinion of mankind. I recollect, with the tenderest emotion, the scenes of pleasure I have passed among them—but we shall meet again, my friend, never to be separated. There are some feelings which perhaps are too tender to be suffered by the world. The world, in general, is selfish, interested, and unthinking; and throws the imputation of romance, or melancholy, on every temper more susceptible than its own. I cannot but think, in those regions which I contemplate, if there is any thing of mortality left about us, that these feelings will subsist;—they are called--perhaps they are-weaknesses, here;- but there may
be some better modifications of them in heaven, which may
deserve the name of virtues.” He sighed, as he spoke these last words. He had scarcely finished them, when the door opened, and his aunt appeared, leading in Miss Walton. My dear,” said she, “here is Miss Wal.