Abbildungen der Seite

him, which made him seem so much like one of them that it made me feel so strangely again, so that I could not speak loud, but whispered softly,

Willie | Willie !' but it did not awake him ; then I laid my hand upon him very gently, but he was so cold that it made me start so ; when I found that he did not get warm all night, I put the bed-clothes tight around him, and did not try to wake him again.”'

A strange chill crept through the mother's heart as she listened, and rising from the breakfast-table she hastened to the children's room. She found her little Willie lying on the bed-side, pale, cold, but very beautiful, in that sleep which knows no waking.

[blocks in formation]

TWELVE! Twelve ! Twelve! 'tis twelve o'clock;
Shrill, shrill, crows the watchful cock;
Tick! Tick! Tick! goes the mantle clock !
Slow, slow, solemnly,

Swings the pendulum,

And the moments come-
Come, come, silently,
Go, go, steadily,
At each swinging to, to—fro, from

of the pendulum.
Come, come, come, seek a genial berth,
Close, close up to the blazing hearth;
Wbilst round, round rolls the wintry earth,
And the stars, stars, brightly,
With the moon, moon nightly,

In their courses move;
All keeping, telling time,

With a kind of mystic rhyme;
For the universe of shining, rolling spheres,
Is a vast wonderous clock, as it appears,

GI broad, deep and high,
Made to measure ages by;
And upon its dial face

God, and men, and angels trace,
Times and seasons as they go, go—come, come-

As they go and come.
List ! List ! List! Softly creep the years along,
Grey, grey, grey hairs grow my hair among.
Shadows lengthen, and life's evening time:

Comes, like the autumn sear,

Comes nearer every year ;
Soon shall I hear its vesper chime.
Every swinging to, to—fro, fro-

Of the pendulum :
Every charge of times and seasons as they run-

As they go and come,
Nearer brings the moment ever,
When for me all years forever,

Shall have come and gone.

[blocks in formation]

To bewail the lamentable changes that have taken place in the world, and to speak in praise of old times, is a kind of charter which has long been enjoyed by old people. If we have kept a diary, and compared the entries made-last year with those made thirty or fifty years ago, we can hardly persuade ourselves that the two were made by the same hand, or even by an inhabitant of the same world. Surely,' we say, “ the former times were better than these !" Finding that we cannot figure away as we once used to do, we fondly turn to times and seasons when we showed ourselves off to better advantage. This was done by those who went before us and will, no doubt, be done by those who shall follow.

This inclination on the part of age to run back half a century, or perhaps three-score years, is not confined to any particular class of people. It may be observed in rich and poor, whether they live in town or country. “ Times are not as they have been !” “Things are very different now from what they once were !” and “Matters are come to a pretty pass now a days !” are expressions that most aged people have occasionally in their mouths. True it is that they get laughed at for them, and that they do not always make converts to their opinion; but, for all this, their opinion is most tenaciously entertained.

To own the truth, there is a kind of " caste" among aged people which never will, or can be given up. It is dear to us, and we cling to it till the day of our death. We say to ourselves, “ Young people are stronger than we are, and we acknowledge it; but we are wiser than young people are, and they ought to acknowledge this in their turn." Whether, therefore, we express it or not, it is a settled thing that our caste" is a grade higher than theirs. A young fox-hunter, who has a few thousands a year, may give bimself what airs he pleases, and pass by his aged neighbor with disdain ; but the old man, if a kind-hearted one, will be sure to mutter to himself, “Poor fellow! he has not cut his wise teeth yet ; he will know better by and by." And if he benot kind-hearted, his language will be somewhat stronger.

You have heard old people, no doubt, indulge themselves in praising the days gone by, and in dispraising more modern times. When past times and present time are put in the scales by them, past times are sure to be full of tale and weight, and present times are equally sure to kick the beam.

“Fine doings, now-a-days !" cries the village dame, sitting in her old arm-chair, with a stick in ber hand, and a pair of spectacles on her nose. “ Fine doings ! I have seen times that I shall never see again. More's the pity-farmers had hard hands then, and dressed like farmers. Their sons held the plough, and knew nothing of the boarding-school; their daughters milked the cows, and tended the dairy, and never saw a piano in their lives. Farmers wives were not then fine ladies, but took their

own produce to market. Eggs were then three dozen for a quarter of a dollar, and fresh butter sixpence a pound !"

“Those were the times,” observes the gray-haired hair-dresser, whose shaking fingers can hardly handle his scissors. “There has never been much good among us since people left off hair-powder. I have had as many as a dozen wigs on my blocks at once in a morning, all wanted in a hurry, and as many gentlemen and ladies to attend at their own houses. Men looked like men in those days, not like the scare-crows they do now.”

“Ah,” exclaims the old citizen, who wears his few remaining hairs powdered and tied in a small tail, and who continues to attend his warehouse from ten to four, though he is worth half a million : “business is not what it used to be. Things are sadly changed of late for the worse. Profits are less, and risks are greater. More money was to be made in a month when I first began business, than can be made in a year now.”

“ It had not used to be so !" cries out the white-headed grandfather, in reproving his graceless grandson for his pert behavior to his parents. “When I was a boy, I durst as well have eat my own fingers as answered my father and mother in that manner; but lads are men now, before they have half a dozen hairs on their chins. No respect! no duty! no filial affection ! the times are clean altered. Old men kuow nothing now-adays, and youngsters know every thing !"

In this way it is, that we gray-beards give vent to our emotions, confirming one another in opinions which the older we grow the closer we hold. I am not aware that much mischief can arise from our high estimation of days gone by; but I do wish that youth and age thought more favorably than they do of each other.

The prepossession in favor of age, on the part of old men, is pretty much reversed in the opinion of young men. Now, my opinion is, that old men should give way a little, and not take it for granted that judgment and wisdom cannot enter a head whose brows are not graven with age. We should not write the matter down as a Median or Persian law, that old things are better than new. Remember the words of Holy Writ, “Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these ? (nor, Why are the present better than the former ?) for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this." Eccl. 7: 10.

The question should not be, Are the times better ? but, Are we better? Not, Are we making fortunes ? but, Are we making progress on our way to heaven? What can it matter to us, who have so few sands remaining in the glass of life, whether we are great or little, figures or ciphers, some-bodies or no-bodies, in the estimation of others ? We have had our day, and ought to be thankful; and we ought, also, to be willing that others should have their day too.

But while I thus speak, it appears reasonable that young men should give way a little too, and not be over-hasty in concluding that a man has no further business in the world, merely because he speaks slowly, walks softly, and thinks more deeply than he used to do. With a little bearing and forbearing, youth and age, young men and old men, may go on very well together; but without this forbearance, we rudely jostle one another, or tread on each other's toes.

He who would receive respect, be he young or old, should be willing to pay it, while a knowledge of our own infirmities should render us very compassionate towards all around. Oh that we could at all times, in the midst of our prepossessions and prejudices, "abhor that which is evil,” and “cleave to that which is good !" “ Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;" and in honor prefer one another. Rom. 12 : 9, 10.





That we should do,
We should do when we would, for this world changes
And bath abatements and delays as many

As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents. FORTUNE is like the market, where often if you can wait a little, the price will fall. Again, it is sometimes like the Sybil's offer—first in full

, then, after a part consumed ; again, after another part, the same price being still demanded for the rest, as originally for the whole. For occasion (as it is commonly said) first presents her locks in front, and then, no hold being taken, turns a bald noddle; or, at first, offers the handle of the bottle, and, on your neglecting to seize that, next the belly which can hardly be clasped.

There is surely no greater wisdom, than well to time the beginning of things. Dangers are no longer trivial, if they once seem light; and they have more frequently overtaken men by deceiving them, than affected them by force. Nay it were better to meet some dangers halfwaythough they come not near-than to keep too long a watch upon their approach ; because, if a man watch too long, he is likely to fall asleep. On the other hand, to be deceived with shadows (as some have been when the moon was low and shone on their enemies' backs) and so fire off before the time, or to teach dangers to come on by over-early bustling towards them, is another extreme.

The ripeness of the occasion, must ever be well weighed, and generally it is good to commit the beginnings of all great actions to Argus with his hundred eyes, and the end to Briareus with his hundred hands; first to watc'ı well, and then to speed. The helmet of Pluto which makes the politic man invisible, is secresy in council and celerity in execution ; for when the affair has once come to the point of performance, no caution is comparable to celerity; like a bullet which cuts the air so swiftly, that it escapes the sight.

But affected despatch is one of the most dangerous things to business that can be, resembling what the physicians call pre-digestion, or hasty digestion, which is sure to fill the body full of crudities and secrete the seeds of disease. Therefore measure not despatch by the number or continuance of sittings, but by the advancement of business. As in the race, it is not the large stride or high lift that makes the speed; so in business, the keeping close to the matter, and not undertaking too much at once, produces despatch. It is the care of some only to proceed rapidly for the time, or to contrive some false periods of work, in order that they may seem to be men of business; but it is one thing to shorten by contracting; another, by cutting off; and business, so handled at sev. eral meetings, goes commonly backward and forward in an unsteady manner. I knew a wise man who had a proverb, when he saw men hasten to a conclusion—"Stay a little, that we may make an end the sooner

On the other hand, real despatch is a rich thing; for time is the measore of business, as money is of goods, and business is a costly article, where there is little despatch. The Spartans and Spaniards have been noted to be of little expedition : "Let my death come from Spain,” is a saying-"for then it will be sure to be long in coming” Hear patiently those who give the first information in business, and direct them rather in the beginning than interrupt them in the course of their speeches; for he that is put out of his own arrangement, will be sure to wander and be more tedious than if he had been allowed to go ou in his own course. Sometimes it is seen that the moderator is more troublesome than the speaker. Iterations are commonly loss of time. But there is no gain of time equal to that effected by often repeating the state of the question, for it chases away many a frivolous speech as it is coming forth. Long and curious speeches are as fit for despatch as a robe with a long train is for a race.

Prefaces, passages, excuses, and other matters personal to the speaker, are great consumers of time, and though they seem to proceed from modesty, are often mere ostentation and for display. Yet beware of being too practical, when there is any impediment or obstruction in man's wills; for pre-occupation of mind always requires preface of speech, like a fomentation applied to the surface to make the unguent enter. Above all things, order and distribution and singling out of parts, is the life of despati h, provided the distribution be not too subtle : for he that does not divide, will never enter well into business, and he that divides too much will never come out of it clearly. To select your time is to save time, and an unseasonable motion is but beating the air.

There are three parts of business: the preparation, the examination and the completion; whereof, if you wish despatch, let the middle only, (the examination) be the consideration and work of many, the first and last, of a few. Proceeding upon something written, for the most part, facilitates despatch ; for though it be wholly rejected, yet that negation is more pregnant of direction than an iudefinite proposition, as asbes are more productive than dust.

Business, by a certain sort of men, is thought a mark of capacity an 1 honor; their souls seek repose in motion as children do by being rocked in a cradle. They intrude themselves indifferently wherever there is any thing to be done; and are without life, when not in the bustle of affairs. In negotus sunt negotu causa : they only seek business for business sake. Whatever they take in hand they do it with the utmost power and vehemence. This sharpness and violence more binder than advance the execution of what we undertake, fill us with impatience against slow or contrary events and with heat and suspicion against those with whom

« ZurückWeiter »