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tial hand of the giver. The few geniuses, (few indeed in comparison to the number of those who lay claim to that high distinction,) so far from being the happiest, are often the most wretched of mortals. The irritableness and spleen of distinguished authors, and especially of poets, are proverbial. The same texture and tone of the system which qualify them for soaring into the regions of fancy, and painting nature in all her hues, do utterly disqualify them, at least in many instances, for enjoying, in an equal measure with the rest of mankind, the coinmon comforts and blessings of life. Not to mention the bitterness of rivalry and the torments of jealousy, which they are fated to feel and endure. So that, as regards ease and comfort, plain common sense with controlled passions, is far better than genius, when taxed, as it so often is, with morbid sensibility, and with passions violent and ungovernable.

The greatest Beauties, are seldom the most amiable, the most discreet and respectable, or the most happy, of women; while, not rarely, their very beauty has been their ruin.

And, indeed, if we were to make a general survey of the extraordinary gifts of nature, and should weigh together, in an even balance, their advantages and disadvantages, as respects the comfort of the possessors, we should find, that in many instances, if not in most, the latter are fully equal to the former.

Neither are the gifts of Fortune exempt from heavy and grievous taxation. Vast wealth brings upon its possessor a load of incessant care, generates dispositions and feelings incompatible with quiet enjoyment, and often makes profligates of her children. Nay, even Power, that idol of human ambition—even Power, for which riches themselves are chiefly coveted, is often accompanied with more of vexation than of substantial enjoyment. Royalty itself has its disquietudes and direful vexations; often the crown that is platted for it, is

a crown of thorns.” Mary, Queen of England, and joint partner in the throne, in a letter to her husband, William the Third, then in Ireland, thus pathetically describes the troubles of her exalted station :-" I must see company on set days. I must laugh and talk, though

never so much against my will. I must grin when my heart is ready to break, and talk when my heart is so oppressed that I can scarce breathe. All my motions are watched, and all I do so observed, that if I eat less or speak less, or look more grave, all is lost in the opinion of the world.”—How unenviable is such a lot as this, and yet how envied !

While reading, in General Lee's Memoirs, that Washington, when speaking on the subject of death, used often to declare that he would not repass his life even were it in his option, I was touched with a momentary surprise. What! methought, can it be so ? The man whose life was covered with giory beyond that of almost any other mortal-could he be unwilling to travel over again the same brilliant path, and to enjoy anew the same high honors !-Could he find such a life tedious and irksome ! A few moment's reflection was sufficient, however, to convince me that the thing was neither incredible nor wonuerful. In the seven years' war and the eight years of his administration, his solicitude and anxiety, lest haply, by some improper step he should commit the interests of his country, far outweighed, in all probability, every thing of real enjoyment that mere human power and greatness can bestow. Nor is it unreasonable to think, that during those fifteen anxious years, many a day laborer, nay, many a menial servant, enjoyed a greater portion of unalloyed worldly comfort, than diel the illustrious man whom the world held in such admiration.

The object of the foregoing train of reflections is not to decry Genius, cr Beauty, or Riches, or Power; but rather to evince, that man or woman, in moderate circumstances, and ungifted with any uncommon enduwments, may be quite as happy without these splendid distinctions, as those are who possess them. For the enjoyment of every essential comfort that this world can afford, there is need only of health and competence, 10gether with a contented inind, a pure conscience and a thankful heart.

Between the periods of birth and burial, how short the space! How very soon will come the time, when, with all the vast generation now treading this stage of mor. tality, no distinctions but of the moral kind will remain!

CHAP. XV.

Of the inestimable value of a pious, discreet, and faith

ful Mother.

It has been often observed, that some of the most illustrious of human characters were early moulded to the model of excellence by the maternal hand. Of this I might adduce, from the records of history, no small number of instances; but for the present shall mention only one.

Sir Philip Sidney-born about the middle of the sixteenth century-was the wonder of the age in which he lived; for though he died at a little more than thirty, his fame, as a wise and profound statesman, was spread over all Europe. Nor was he less distinguished for religious and moral virtues, and particularly for generosity and tenderness of nature. It has been remarked of him, that the most beautiful event of his life, was his death.” Receiving a mortal wound in a battle in Flanders, the moment after he was wounded, and thirsty with the excess of bleeding, he turned away the water from his own lips, to give it to a dying soldier, with these words,—“Thy necessity is still greater than mine."

This extraordinary man was indebted, for the rudiments of his education, to his illustrious and excellent mother, the eldest daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, who, in a preceding reign had been beheaded. “Her tender melancholy, occasioned by the tragical events in her family, together with the mischance of sickness, that had impaired her beauty, inclined her to hide herself from the gay world, and to bestow her attentions almost exclusively upon the education of her children.” “It was her delight,” says a biographer of Sir Philip, “ to form their early habits; to instil into their tender minds the principles of religion and virtue; to direct their passions to proper objects; to superintend not only their serious occupation, but even their amusements.”

Had the loftiness of the house of Northumberland not been fallen; had lady Mary, the eldest daughter of that house, been a leader of fashion at the royal court-ma

distinction to which her rank would have fully entitled her-her Philip would, in no probability, have been the exalted character that he was.

To see a mother, herself highly accomplished, and capable of shining in the first circles of fashionable life; to see her forego the pleasure of amusement and the ambition of show, for the sake of bestowing personal attentions upon her children; to see her spend the best of her days in fashioning their minds and manners upon the purest models, guiding them with discretion, and alluring them to the love of excellence, alike by precept and example; to see this, is to behold one of the most charming of spectacles any where furnished in this fallen world.

And what though it be not in the power of such a mother to make a Philip Sidney of her son ? What though nature has gifted her children with no uncommon strength or brightness of intellect? Yet, with the divine blessing, she may have such influence upon the moral frame of their young and tender minds, that they shall be disposed to improve their natural talents, such as they are, and to employ them honorably. The benefits, in this respect, which highly capable inothers might confer on their children during a few of the first years of their earthly existence, are far beyond the power of calculation; since these benefits would likely descend from one generation to another, down to distant posterity. “Delightful task!”'In comparison with the pure and sublime enjoyment which the faithful perforınance of it gives, poor and wretched indeed is the whole sum of pleasure that can possibly be extracted from the amusements of fashion.

Lamentable, however, would be the condition of things in this respect, if either wealth, or rank, or superior talents, or any great degree of literary acquirements, were indispensably necessary, in a mother, to fit her for the noble and all-important task which that relation devolves upon her. So far from it, a woman of mere plain sense, whose reading extends but little beyond the divine volume that contains our holy religion, and whose worldly circumstances are narrow and even indigent, is capable, nevertheless, of conferring unspeaka

ble benefits upon her little ones. As she is the first in their hearts, so, in their esteem, she is the first of women.--Her example is their model; they copy her ways; they hang upon her lips. The moral and religious lore inculcated with maternal tenderness by her, they never quite forget; and very often it is the ineans of forming their characters for life.

Precious is the mother, whether of high or low degree, who, in this respect, acts the real mother to the best of her abilities. Hardly can she fail of stamping upon the minds of her younglings, some salutary impressions which will never be quite effaced. Except the rare instances of most unnatural perverseness, their hearts will ever cleave to her. They will not forsake her when she is old. Their filial kindnesses will soothe and solace the infirmities and decays of her age. And when she is called “to put off the mortal and put on the immortal clothing,” the genuine expressions of their hearts will be—“ We loved, but not enough, the gentle hand that reared us.-Gladly would we now recal that softest friend, a mother, whose mild converse and faithful counsel we in vain regret.

"*

* Alden's collection of American Epitaphs, &c. No. 485.

CHAP. XVI.

Truth said of Boys, which Boys will ne'er believe.

OUR life is beset with perils at every step, but no period of it is perhaps quite so perilous as that in which the boy is stepping into manhood. Then it is that his feeling is fervid, his hope vivid, and his self-confidence at the highest. Then it is that he listens with most rapture to the voice of the siren, that his heart is most susceptible to the allurements of pleasure; and it is then that he spurns alike the trammels of restraint and the counsels of friendship:

Untaught by experience, he despises the experience of others ; wise in his own conceit, he scorns the moni

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