Abbildungen der Seite

and then darting on its prey, We may


that Nature knows no pause.

3. She builds up or she destroys, but she moves ever forward. It is with her as with her little trickling servant, the brook, of which a great poet has written, that

"Men may come, and men may go,

But I go on forever.” But when here, man does come and go; and although, in the aggregate, he is a busy creature, working forever with brain and hand, still in the individual he is much given to indolence.

4. Now-a-days many people are proud of doing nothing, and inflate themselves with the wicked vanity, holding a prescriptive right of being indolent. But of all pride—and all of it is more or less without foundation, and foolish altogether-that which builds itself upon a right to be idle and to do nothing, is the most foolish and baseless.

5. The man who is merely rich and lazy, and who has inherited sufficient money to keep him from the necessity of labor, has surely no good and sufficient reason to be proud. His position, if wisely looked at, is not a happy

It is true that he may be said to be independent so far as a man can be. His progenitors have worked for him, and their accumulated labors, when invested in the funds or in an estate, put him out of the rank of those to whom glorious necessity forms the impetus of work. But, at the best, this state is without honor, and is somewhat contemptible.

6. The indolent man is of little use in a state. He is born to consume, and not to produce. The poorest haymaker, hedger and ditcher, or cobbler, whose labor pays for his daily existence, is a more useful, and therefore a more noble, man with regard to the commonwealth. Leisure, which is very good when indulged in after hard work, is poison to the soul and body too.

7. "I look upon indolence as a sort of suicide," said Lord Chesterfield, writing to his son; "for by it the mı?


[ocr errors]

is efficiently destroyed, although the appetite of the brute may survive. A man who has no immediate necessity for work sinks from one state of quiescence to another. From the mere custom of inactivity, all labor becomes at first distasteful, and afterwards hateful. The muscles, being unused, grow weak and flabby; the body, after some struggles, relinquishes the desire to work, and the mind shares the laziness of its lower companion.”

8. Yet, if there be one thing which can conquer the ills of life, which will make all things pleasant and all difficulties easy, it is industry, the great opponent and conqueror of that rust of mind of which we have been speaking. “There is no art or science which is too difficult for industry to attain to; it is the very gift of tongues," said Lord Clarendon, "and makes a man understood and valued in all countries. It is the philosopher's stone, and turns all metals, and even stones, into gold, and suffers no want to break into his dwelling."

9. The rough Abernethy's advice to a lazy rich man, full of gout and idle humors, unhappy and without appetite, troubled with over-indulgence, and pampered with soft beds and rich food, was to “live upon sixpence a day and earn it,”—a golden sentence, a Spartan maxim, which would save half the ill-temper, the quarrels, the bickerings and wranglings of the poor rich people, and would rub the rust off many a fine mind, which is now ugly and disfigured from want of use.

10. There is no time to be lost. He who would make his mark in the world must be up and doing. Our younger men should look to this; luxury has produced indolence, and that in its turn has bred doubt and unhappiness. “Too many of our young men," says Channing, "grow up in a school of despair.” Of despair, because of idleness and folly; they believe nothing because they do nothing.

11. A divine benediction attends on true work; its spirit is indeed the little fairy which turns everything to gold; and that man or woman who instils into his or her children



habits of industry, who teaches self-dependence, "to scorn delights, and live laborious days," does much better than they who, after working painfully themselves, leave to their children a fortune which will corrupt by inducing an indolence that will surely prove a curse.





E patient! oh, be patient! Put your ear against the earth;

birthHow noiselessly and gently it upheaves its little way, Till it parts the scarcely broken ground, and the blade stands

up in day.


Be patient! oh, be patient! The germs of mighty thought Must have their silent undergrowth must underground be

wrought, But as sure as there's a Power that makes the grass appear, Our land shall be green with liberty, the blade-time shall be



Be patient! oh, be patient !-go and watch the wheat-ears

grow— So imperceptibly that ye can mark nor change nor throeDay after day, day after day, till the ear is fully grownAnd then again day after day, till the ripened field is brown.


Be patient! oh, be patient!-though yet our hopes are green, The harvest-fields of freedom shall be crowned with sunny

sheen. Be ripening! be ripening !-mature your silent way, Till the whole broad land is tongued with fire on freedom's harvest-day.



S the

OME years ago I was in one of the wildest recesses of

the Perthshire Highlands. It was in autumn, and the little school-supported mainly by the chief-was to be examined by the minister, whose native tongue, like that of his flock, was Gaelic, and who was often awkward and ineffectual, and sometimes unconsciously indecorous in his English,

2. It was a great occasion: the keen-eyed, firm-limbed, brown-cheeked little fellows were all in a buzz of excitement as we came in, and before the examination began every eye was looking at us strangers as a dog looks at his game, or when seeking it; they knew everything we had on, everything that could be known through their senses.

I never felt myself so studied and scrutinized before. If any one could have examined them upon what they thus mastered, he would have come away astonished, and, I trust, humble.

3. Well, then, the work of the day began; the mill was set a-going, and what a change! In an instant their eyes were like the windows of a house with the blinds down; no one was looking out; everything blank; their very features changed-their jaws fell, their cheeks flattened, they drooped and looked ill at ease-stupid, drowsy, sulky—and getting them to speak, or think, or in any way to energize, was like trying to get any one to come to the window at three of a summer morning, when, if he does come, he is half awake, rubbing his eyes and growling.

4. So with my little Celts. They were like an idle and half-asleep dog by the fireside, as contrasted with the dog on the hill and in the joy of work; the form of dog and boy are there-he, the self of each, was elsewhere. I noticed that anything they really knew roused them somewhat; what they had merely to transmit or pass along, as if they were a tube through which the master blew the of knowledge into our faces, was performed as stolidly as if they were nothing but a tube.



5. At last the teacher asked where Sheffield was, and was answered; it was pointed to by the pupil as a dot on the skeleton


And now came a flourish. “ What is Sheffield famous for ?" Blank stupor, hopeless vacuity till he came to a sort of sprouting Dougal Cratur-almost as wee, and as shaggy about the head, as my own terrier, whom I saw at that moment through the open door careering after a hopeless rabbit, with much benefit to his muscles and his wind—who was trembling with keenness. He shouted out something which was more like "cutlery” than anything else, and was received as such amid our rapturous applause.

6. I then ventured to ask the master to ask small and red Dougal what cutlery was; but from the sudden erubescence of his pallid, ill-fed cheek, and the alarming brightness of his eyes,

I saw at once that he did n't himself know what it meant. So I put the question myself, and was not surprised to find that not one of them, from Dougal up to a young strapping shepherd of eighteen, knew what it was.

7. I told them that Sheffield was famous for making knives, and scissors, and razors; and that cutlery meant the manufacture of anything that cuts. Presto! and the blinds were all up, and eagerness, and wits, and brains at the window. I happened to have a jack-knife, with "Rodgers & Sons, Sheffield,” on the blade. I sent it round, and finally presented it to the enraptured Dougal. Would not each one of those boys know that knife again when he saw it, and be able to pass a creditable competitive examination on all its ins and outs? and would n't they remember "cutlery” for a day or two?

8. Well, the examination over, the minister performed an oration, of much ambition and difficulty to himself and to us, upon the general question, and a great many other questions, into which his Gaelic subtilty fitted like the mists into the hollows of a mountain, with, it must be allowed, a somewhat similar tendency to confuse and conceal what was beneath; and he concluded with thanking the chief, as he well might, for his generous support of this “aixlent

« ZurückWeiter »