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Ere evening to be trodden like the grass
In its next verdure, when this fiery mass
Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,
Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay,
The morn the marshalling in arms,—the day
Battle's magnificently-stern array !
The earth is covered thick with other clay,
The Blind Teacher.-PROFESSOR McVICAR.
The life of Mr. Nelson was a striking exemplification of that resolution which conquers fortune. Total blindness, after a long, gradual advance, came upon him about his twentieth year, when terminating his college course. It found him poor, and left him, to all appearance, both penniless and wretched, with two sisters to maintain, without money, without friends, without a profession, and without sight. Under such an accumulation of griefs, most minds would have sunk; but with him it was otherwise. At all times proud and resolute, his spirit rose at once into what might well be termed a fierceness of independence. He resolved within himself, to be indebted for support to no hand but his own. His classical education, which,
from his feeble vision, had been necessarily imperfect, he now determined to complete, and immediately entered upon the
apparently hopeless task, with a view to fit himself as a teacher of youth. He instructed his sisters in the pronunciation of Greek and Latin, and employed one or other constantly in the task of reading aloud to him the classics usually taught in the schools.
A naturally faithful memory, spurred on by such strong excitement, performed its oft-repeated miracles; and in a space of time incredibly short, he became master of their contents, even to the minutest points of critical reading. In illustration of this, the author remembers on one occasion, that, a dispute having arisen between Mr. Nelson and the classical professor of the college, as to the construction of
passage in Virgil, from which his students were reciting, the professor appealed to the circumstance of a comma in the sentence, as conclusive of the question. * True,” said Mr. Nelson, coloring with strong emotion ; "but permit me to observe," added he, turning his sightless eye-balls towards the book he held in his hand, “ that in my Heyne edition it is a colon, and not a comina.” At this period, a gentleman, who incidentally became acquainted with his history, in a feeling somewhere between pity and confidence, placed his two sons under his charge, with a view to enable him to try the experiment. A few months' trial was sufficient; he then fearlessly appeared before the public, and at once challenged a comparison with the best established classical schools of the city of New York.
The novelty and boldness of the attempt attracted general attention; the lofty confidence he displayed in himself excited respect; and soon his untiring assiduity, his real knowledge, and a burning zeal, which, knowing no bounds in his own devotion to his scholars, awakened somewhat of a corresponding spirit in their minds, completed the conquest. His reputation spread daily, scholars flocked to him in crowds, competition sank before him, and, in the course of a very few years, he found himself in the enjoyment of an income superior to that of any college patronage in the United States, with to him the infinitely high
er gratification of having risen above the pity of the world, and fought his own blind way to honorable independence. Nor was this all : he had succeeded in placing classical education on higher ground than any of his predecessors or contemporaries had done; and he felt proud to think that he was in some measure a benefactor to that college, which, a few years before, he had entered in poverty and quitted in blindness.
Ingenuity of the Ant-Lion.-N. A. Review.
No creature displays greater talent in providing for his own subsistence than the ant-lion, an insect which is particularly fond of ants, but has neither strength to master them in a fair field, nor fleetness to run them down. Indeed, its means of progression are very unfavorable to the chase, as it can only move backwards, and that with a halting gait; its appearance is so uninviting, that other insects think twice before they go near it; it will eat no meat except what it has slaughtered with its own hands. With this fastidiousness and these disabilities, one would say that the creature had a reasonable prospect of starving to death. This, however, is not his opinion ; he knows that stratagem is sometimes an overmatch for strength; he therefore selects a place where he may construct a pitfall for a trap, generally choosing a loose soil, which can be excavated with least trouble. The way
in which he goes to work is entirely his own. He first describes a circle, to mark the rim of his pit; then, placing himself on the inside of this circular furrow, he pushes himself backward under the sand, making the hind part of his body serve as a ploughshare; then, using his fore leg for a shovel, he heaps a load of earth upon his
head, which is flat and square; then, giving his head a jerk, he tosses the earth to the distance of several inches. Thus he goes round the circle; then he marks and shovels out another furrow inside the former, and so on till he reaches the centre of the circle. In order that the whole burden may not come upon one leg, when he has finished one furrow, he proceeds with the next in an opposite direction. Should he come to a bit of gravel, he lays it on his head, and flings it out; should the stone be too large, he shoulders it, and carries it on his back up the sloping side of the pit ; if this cannot be done, he either leaves the pit, or works the stone into the wall. The pit, when completed, is conical, sloping down to a point, where the ant-lion takes his station, and, in order thạt other insects may not suspect his object, covers himself with sand. When idle and thoughtless insects see this pit, they must needs look in to see what it is, and what it is for ; but as they indulge their curiosity, the sand gives way under them, and down they go. If they attempt to escape by climbing the side, it yields beneath their feet, and the ant-lion beneath pelts them with sand in such a manner, as soon to put an end to their endeavors : having fed upon his prey, the aht-lion, in order to save his reputation, throws the skin to a considerable distance. After having led this life for two years, the ant-lion is promoted to the rank of a fly,
Proper Method of Education.-PROFESSOR JARDINE.
The beneficial effects of a philosophical education are numerous. In the first place, it is calculated to engraft upon the minds of the students a strong habit of reflection and inquiry. Not only are the powers of reason improved and invigorated, and thereby rendered more efficient, as
the instruments for prosecuting science and literature, but, what is of much greater consequence, the talent of using them is at the same time acquired, and the young man finds that the gifts of nature are made available to all the higher purposes of his education, as well as the noblest objects of his intellectual existence.
The daily necessity, which this mode of instruction imposes upon the pupil, of forming distinct notions; of attending to the evidence on which his judgments are founded; of arranging his thoughts ; of determining, by means of analysis and induction, the links which constitute a chain of reasoning; and, above all, of expressing his ideas in correci and perspicuous language, can scarcely fail to produce mental habits of acuteness, activity and discrimination. ow, here, the practical method of teaching philosophy rests its main claim to notice on this characteristic circumstance, that it sets little value on the mere communication of knowledge, whether by books or by lecture, compared with the immense importance of exercising the minds of young persons on the knowledge which is thus conveyed to them. As far as an acquaintance with a few facts in science is considered, the attendance of young men on the lectures of a professor is viewed as carrying with it hardly any advantage whatever. A little well-directed reading would accomplish the same end, just as effectually, and at much less expense.
To render academical studies useful, therefore, the student must not be allowed to act the part of a mere recipient. On the contrary, he must be taught to ruminate on what he hears; to pass it all through the channels of his own mind; to arrange and digest it; to write on it; to reason on it; and, finally, to make it his own by combining with it his own thoughts and reflections. He is to regard the lecture not simply as the history of philosophical research, or even as the authoritative vehicle of scientific conclusions, but principally as the means of supplying him with those materials, on which he is to employ his