Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the rejection of a licentious overture than with the rebellion of a province; and poured out the blood of his subjects with the same gaiety and indifference as he did a glass of wine. He had no idea of his obligations to the State, and only laid aside the private gentleman to become the tyrant of his people. Charles was popular in his life-time, Cibber tells us, because he used to walk out with his spaniels and feed his ducks in St. James's Park. History has consigned his name to infamy for the executions under Jeffries, and for his league with a legitimate despot, to undermine the liberties of his country.

What is it, then, that makes a great Prince ? Not the understanding Purcell or Mozart, but the having an ear open to the voice of truth and justice! Not a taste in made-dishes, or French wines, or court-dresses, but a fellowfeeling with the calamities of hunger, of cold, of disease, and nakedness! Not a knowledge of the elegances of fashionable life, but a heart that feels for the millions of its fellowbeings in want of the common necessaries of life! Not a set of brilliant frivolous accom

plishments, but a manly strength of character, proof against the seductions of a throne! He, in short, is a patriot King, who without any other faculty usually possessed by Sovereigns, has one which they seldom possess,-the power in imagination of changing places with his people. Such a King may indeed aspire to the character of a ruling providence over a nation; any other is but the head-cypher of a court!

ON THE CONDUCT OF LIFE;

OR,

ADVICE TO A SCHOOLBOY.

MY DEAR LITTLE FELLOW,

You are now going to settle at school, and may consider this as your first entrance into the world. As

my

health is so indifferent, and I may not be with you long, I wish to leave you some advice (the best I can) for your conduct in life, both that it may be of use to you, and as something to remember me by. I may at least be able to caution

you against my own errors, if nothing else.

As we went along to your new place of destination, you often repeated that “you durst say they were a set of stupid, disagree

able people,” meaning the people at the school. You were to blame in this. It is a good old rule to hope for the best. Always, my dear, believe things to be right, till you find them the contrary; and even then, instead of irritating yourself against them, endeavour to put up with them as well as you can, if you cannot alter them. You said “You were sure you should not like the school where you were going.” This was wrong. What you meant was that you did not like to leave home. But you could not tell whether you should like the school or not, till you had given it a trial. Otherwise, your saying that you should not like it was determining that you would not like it. Never anticipate evils; or, because you cannot have things exactly as you wish, make them out worse than they are, through mere spite and wilfulness.

You seemed at first to take no notice of your school-fellows, or rather to set yourself against them, because they were strangers to you. They knew as little of you as you did of them; so that this would have been a reason for their keeping aloof from you as well, which you

would have felt as a hardship. Learn never to conceive a prejudice against others, because you know nothing of them. It is bad reasoning, and makes enemies of half the world. Do not think ill of them, till they behave ill to you; and then strive to avoid the faults which you see in them. This will disarm their hostility sooner than pique or resentment or complaint.

I thought you were disposed to criticise the dress of some of the boys as not so good as your own.

Never despise any one for any thing that he cannot help-least of all, for his poverty. I would wish you to keep up appearances yourself as a defence against the idle sneers of the world, but I would not have you value yourself upon them. will neither be the dupe nor victim of vulgar prejudices. Instead of saying above—“Never despise any one for any thing that he cannot help”- I might have said, “Never despise any one at all;"' for contempt implies a triumph over and pleasure in the ill of another. It means that you are glad and congratulate yourself on their failings or misfortunes. The

I hope you

« ZurückWeiter »