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Of a Scornful Temper-instanced in Lady Blazon.
THE progress of the great king Alp Arslan, was retarded by the governor of Berzem; and Joseph, the Carizman, presumed to defend his fortress against the powers of the East. When he was produced a captive in the royal tent, the Sultan, instead of praising his valor, severely reproached his obstinate folly, and the insolent replies of the rebel provoked a sentence, that he should be fastened to four stakes and left to expire in that painful situation. At this command the desperate Carizman, drawing a dagger, rushed headlong toward the throne; the guards raised their battle-axes; their zeal was checked by Alp Arslan, the most skilful archer of the age; he drew his bow, but his foot slipped, the arrow glanced aside, and he received in his breast the dagger of Joseph, who was instantly cut in pieces. The wound was mortal, and the Turkish prince bequeathed a dying admonition to the pride of kings"In my youth," said Alp Arslan, "I was advised by a sage, to humble myself before God, to distrust my own strength, and never to despise the most contemptible enemy. Í have neglected these lessons; and my neglect has been deservedly punished. Yesterday, from an eminence I beheld the numbers, the discipline, and the spirit of my armies: the earth seemed to tremble under my feet, and I said in my heart, surely thou art the king of the world, the greatest and most invincible of warriors. These armies are no longer mine; and in the confidence of my personal strength, I now fall into the hand of an assassin." Upon the tomb of the Sultan was this teaching inscription: "O ye who have seen the glory of Alp Arslan, exalted to the heavens, repair to Mara, and you will behold it buried in the dust!"
Whether the above cited Turkish narrative be matter of fact, or a moralizing fable, it is of interesting import. It strikingly pourtrays the instability of human greatness. It teaches impressively, that in humility is safety; that a haughty spirit goeth before a fall; and
that the highest of mortals are not so far exalted above the lowest, as to warrant toward them disdainful feelings and behaviour.
Of all the various modifications of pride, the most intolerably disgusting is scornfulness of temper and carriage. Vanity is condescending and courteous; it praises and flatters, to be praised and flattered in reAffectation always has the laudable aim of pleasing, though it always misses it. Ambition is often polite, and "stoops to conquer." But scorn has no covering; it is naked deformity, without a shade, and without a single undisgusting feature. It is a foul stain upon rank and wealth; it is a loathsome canker in the rose-bud of beauty. Not only is it disgusting, but it enflames with the bitterest and most enduring resentment and rage. The wounds of scorn's inflicting, no balm can cure, no ointment can mollify; they continue to ulcerate and burn, not unfrequently after more serious injuries are forgotten forgiven. It is easier to bear a blow of the hand, than a disdainful expression of the tongue. Almost any injury is more easily got over than downright contempt. The mere look of disdain is felt like the thrust of a sword. A scornful cast of the eye, or a contemptuous air, generates a hatred of the most desperate kind and character. In very deed, it is beyond the strength of unhallowed human nature to forgive those who scorn us and treat us with scorn. It is not so hard to return love for hatred, as to return love for scorn. Nor are instances uncommon in which the scornful are repaid in their own coin; being made to suffer the contempt of the very persons whom they had contemned. The age we live in teems with instances of this sort.
Parents can hardly do their children a greater inju ry, than by encouraging in them a scornful temper: a temper so directly repugnant to the example, the precepts, and the whole tenor of the religion of our divine Redeemer; a temper whose odiousness, neither beauty, nor talent, nor any accomplishments of person or splen dor of condition, can countervail. And yet, strange to tell! there are parents-parents professing a veneration for the christian religion-whose lessons of instruc
tion tend to encourage in their children a disdainful deportment towards such as are considered their inferiors in rank, wealth, or personal accomplishments. The little miss must hold up her head, and hold it still higher, if she has beauty. The seeds of scornful pride thus planted in young minds, take so deep a root as to be seldom eradicated in mature age: scornfulness of feeling and manner becomes a habit, which even the severest discipline in misfortune's school very seldom mends.
Nothing is to be scorned but vice, and the proper scorn of vice itself, is mingled with pity for the vicious. It is enough to despise folly and shun it, to hate vice, and guard ourselves, and warn others, against it. At the same time we should not forget that every person, however degraded by folly and vice, still claims the privilege of a fellow creature, and, as such, is more entitled to our compassion than deserving of our scorn.
One observation more, and I have done. Nothing so bloats with scorn a low-bred shallow mind, as the sudden transition from narrow circumstances to wealth. Mrs. Blazon was reared in the shade of humble life. But the wheel of fortune that turned so many down, chanced to raise her aloft, and now she figures away among the fashionists of the age. Whatever appears before her in Poverty's livery, she disdains at the core of her heart. Her standing topic, whenever she displays herself to her company, is the disgusting vileness of female domestics. Despicable herd! All lazy, or dishonest, or too proud for the meanness of their condition. She hath sorted, and tried, and changed them, many times over, and she verily believeth there is scarcely to be found a real good one in all this 'versal world.
Of the Contempt of Womankind.
"When pain and sickness wring the brow,
THE man who expresses or feels a general contempt of womankind, evinces, thereby, either that his acquaintance has been mostly with the baser sort, or that his heart is devoid of the common sensibilities of our nature. A satire upon Woman! It is revolting; it is dastardly and brutish. Of women, as well as of men, there are the artful and treacherous, the unfeeling and cruel, the mischievous, the disgusting.-The sex, nevertheless, is entitled to a high degree of respect, esteem and love.
Of one in the dark age, who was the gloomiest of bigots and the most ruthless of persecutors, it is storied, that "he never looked in the face of a woman, or spoke
In like manner
"aside the devil turn'd,”*
when the first of female forms presented itself before him.
Woman was "the last, best gift," to man: and what though she was first in the transgression? Was she not principal, also, in the restoration? When the Divine Restorer, born of a woman, was in poverty and need, who were they that ministered to him? Women.When the disciples had fled through fear, who stood by, and so deeply sympathized in his last agonies, undismayed by the ferocious countenances of the murderous throng? Women. Who so affectionately prepared the embalming spicery, and were the first to visit the sacred tomb? Women. To whom have all the after generations been most indebted for the pious culture of infancy and childhood? To Women.
The Eternal Wisdom has, if I may use the expression, cast the minds of the two sexes in different moulds,
each being destined to act in a sphere peculiarly its
"For contemplation he, and valour form'd,'
The one is destined and fitted for the more active and perilous scenes; the other for the duties and trials of domestic life: the one to protect, the other to lean on the arm of her protector: the one to exhibit the sterner virtues; the other the milder: the one possessing more of active courage; and the other, more of fortitude, of resignation, and of unweariable patience, and more of the benevolent affections.
This is nature's distinctive line, which, on the part of female character, can never be overleaped without producing disgust or ridicule. Hence it is, that, of all affectation, none is more displeasing than a woman's affecting the spirit and manners of the other sex. We have a sort of admiration of the heroic intrepidity of Spartan ladies; of their contempt of danger; of the stoical apathy, or rather exultation, with which they received the news of their sons and husbands dying bravely in battle. We admire them as prodigies, but neither love nor esteem them as women. And why is it that the atheistical fair is regarded with such singular horror? why is the foul oath, the heaven daring blasphemy, doubly horrible in the ear of decency, when proceeding from the lips of woman? It is because we contrast the outrage with the attributes of timidity, gentleness, delicacy and sensibility, belonging more particularly to the
One of the most deplorable wants in woman, is the want of heart; the want of genuine sensibility, of the radical affection of sympathy and benevolence. It is a want, for which neither beauty, nor wit, nor the rarest accomplishments of person or mind, can by any means compensate. On the other hand, the most attractive graces of the female character, are not the artificial and showy, but those of a meek and quiet spirit, and of beneficent dispositions, guided by moral principle and the discretion of sound sense:-in a word, graces the same that our holy religion inculcates and inspires.