« PreviousContinue »
him not dishonourable but wretched, fastens on him a misery for life, from which no laws can free him, and under which religion alone can support him."-Vol. i. p. 69.
I beg leave once more to revert to the reviewer. In closing his criticism, after he had employed his feeble weapons to destroy the work, he very inconsistently declares that he "bears testimony to the talents, the good sense, and the real piety of the writer. There occur, every now and then, in her productions very original and very profound observations. Her advice is very often characterized by the most amiable good sense, and conveyed in the most brilliant and captivating style." With this "good sense," these "talents," and that knowledge of human nature, which furnished these "very original and very profound observations," how excessively and singularly unfortunate must this lady have been, to have made every one of her chief characters so despicable as they are stated by this writer !
To conclude: Celebs is a work of great merit. It has been objected to it, that it is barren of incident. True, there is no intrigue-no excursion to Gretna Green-no seduction of married women, and abandonment by them of large families of helpless children,-no matter for Doctors' Commons, and suits for crim. con.-no enchanted castlesand none of the like trumpery, with which novels and romances teem. This trash is trite. It costs but little mind. A boarding-school miss, who had been a quarter of a year a subscriber to a circulating library, could write a novel of this kind. But the chief recommendation of the present work, and the highest recommendation that can be given of any literary production,-is its practical usefulness. There is no rank or class in society, but may derive advantage from a careful perusal of it. The characters are ably drawn, and well supported. Never was there a stronger reproof of the folly into which many people fall, of separating morality, or good works from religion, and making religion alone, independent of the aid of its indispensible attendant, allsufficient. The style is in some few instances careless and defective, and wants a little more of the lima labor. And the authoress is not very happy in her introduction of French phrases-" her affairs are delabrés," c. &c. But there are specks in the sun and the faults of this work are of that kind. Such is its excellence, that I entertain a hope, that when the crude effusions of the "beardless boys" who manage a part of the Edinburgh Review, are consigned to the gloomy caves of oblivion, Celebs will be a standard work, and read by our children with pleasure and profit.
I cannot resist the impulse of stating that it is a proud triumph and a proof of the correct taste and sound sense of the American people, that
while the booksellers' shelves groan under the weight of inferior works, Celebs, although first published in this country a few weeks since, has already undergone a third edition.
*** The writer of "My Pocket Book," began two other sets of papers, "The Inquirer," and "The Monitor," which he intended to have continued regularly in conjunction with the present series. But from the increase of the correspondence of The Port Folio, and the consequent interruptions in the chain of connexion, he has been induced to combine the three sets into one-and introduce the whole of the matter intended for the others under the present head.
THE SENTENTIOUS, OR SERIOUS WORLD.
Concise maxims, like the following, if they do not always sparkle with wit are generally replete with wisdom. All of them deserve to be read, many of them deserve to be remembered.
TREAT every man with civility, but very few with familiarity. The advice of Polonius is admirable.
The theory of virtue is good, but the practice is a great deal better. If your son is incorrigibly vicious, the army or the navy are the best schools you can send him to.
Before you can be considered as a man of sound judgment, you must be able to see an object in every point of view, and then without partiality, to give a clear and decisive opinion.
Nothing teaches the method of detecting cheats with so much certainty as the knowledge of slight of hand. Without jesting, the noted Breslaw would have made an excellent magistrate.
Give praise where praise is due, but deal out censure with a sparing hand.
Pay your debts of sin at different times. A death-bed repentance is too great a sum to pay at once.
If you are a wise man, turn your literary labours to account; and if you are rich, you will find poor in abundance to take off your profits.
When you mean to do a good action, do not deliberate about it.
Never go into company when you are drunk, unless you know that the company is as drunk as yourself,
When you have many strangers at table, avoid introducing a forward blustering man. His noise and nonsense will efféctually seal up the mouths of the company, and you will have the mortification of passing an unpleasant day from your own want of discernment.
When you are at another person's table, never call for bread, beer, or wine, in an authoritative manner.
Truth is clothed in white. But a lie comes forth with all the colours of the rainbow.
It is observed that in those countries where God does most for man, that man does least for himself.
Before you make a promise, consider well its importance, and when made, engrave it upon the tablet of your heart.
A woman without a heart, has generally a good heart, which serves her to plague every person who is so unfortunate as to have any concern with her.
Eat and drink with moderation, keep the body open, rise early, take moderate exercise, and you will have little occasion for the doctor. Where there is one man honest from principle, there are ten men honest from prudence.
It is often more politic to give money than to lend it.
A wife, who is only mistress of a frivolous style of conversation, is a poor companion over a dull fire in a long winter's evening, unless her husband be as foolish as herself.
When a woman means to engage in a second marriage, having young children dependent upon her, she ought to make an honourable and suitable provision for them, previous to her intended act of folly.
A dull man, who reads a great deal and has a retentive memory may be an instructive companion for a lively youth, who wishes to be thought learned without the trouble of reading.
What a time-serving man gains by assiduity, he loses in reputation. We can bear with a man who is only peevish when the wind is in the east; but it is intolerable to live with a man who is peevish in every point of the compass.
Keep to your parish church, though your parson may be a block
When you are about doing a dishonourable act, consider what the world will think of you when it is completed.
Obstinacy and Ignorance are twins.
Without the free use of the four elements, fire, air, earth, and water, man could not possibly exist. And yet he is at perpetual variance with three of them. It rains too much, the air is foggy, and the heat of the sun is intolerable.
We are never contented but when our wishes are gratified, and yet what a strange world would it be if all our wishes were to be gratified. Your future character in life greatly depends on the company you associate with at the university. The idlers flock about a fresh man like so many recruiting serjeants.
Man, with all his skill and industry, is to be told that in skill and industry, he is outdone by the humblebee, whose labours are regular and incessant.
We ought not to behold the sun with indifference, for were he suddenly withdrawn from our system, all nature would instantly become a solid mass of ice, which would remain so, till the day of general conflagration.
Were it possible for us to examine the human body through the skin and integuments as a watchmaker does a watch, we should be struck with astonishment at so much wonderful machinery, confined in so small compass.
A good countenance is a letter of recommendation, though an irregular set of features should not always raise our prejudice.
Chew a bit of anchovy, and it will instantly restore the tone of voice, when lost by public speaking.
An artful woman soon gets the better of an artless man. The story of Sampson and Delilah is managed with extreme delicacy.
When you make a visit of ceremony, take care not to make it too long.
A vulgar way of speaking, loud talking, and an awkward display of his person, make a young man appear in an unfavourable light.
A man who takes the trouble of writing a book, should take the further trouble of making a good index for the benefit of reviewers, who have occasion to look no further.
A lie in a newspaper makes two paragraphs.
It is with men as with barrels, the emptiest make the most sound.
From habit the fingers are taught to run rapidly over a musical instrument. May not habit be made to do the same thing with the imagination.
It is a great misfortune to be tired of home.
The atmosphere is a compound; and as its component parts are different in different countries, the air, of necessity, becomes healthy or otherwise,
THE LAUGHING WORLD.
THE russet leaves of autumn falling fast on the plain, the moaning of sullen night winds, and all the presages of gloom and desolation, and winter now conspiring to make melancholy man still more melan、 choly, it imports us, by every laudable device, to dispel the influence of the depressing Power of the Season. Spleen, assisted by Autumn, too often exhibits before the terrified eye a dismal Phantasmagoria of hideous objects, and the tortured heart shrinks at the horrible spectaele. Let us avert our regards from these phantoms of terror, and console ourselves in the absence of jocund Spring and Summer, with the company of Wit and Merriment, those boon companions, who, in the decline and even the darkness of the year, are always as lively as Youth, and as brilliant as Hesper. Seated before ruddy fires, surrounded by mirthful friends, and illuminated by the lamps of Ra diance, let us laugh and shake in Rabelais' easy chair, and chuckle over Drollery, like the following, which, trust us, gentle readers, will cause you to forget the decay of the year, and the flight of Time.
QUIZZICAL CRITIQUE ON THE SONG OF BILLY TAYLOR."
"Ettragicus plerumque dolet sermone pedestri:
"Si curat cor,spectantis, tetigisse querela."
Hor. Art Poet.
I hope that I shall not appear to degrade the office of criticism by making a ballad the subject of it, especially since that now before me is of so excellent a nature. If it is objected to, I must shelter myself under the authority of Addison, who has written a critique on Chevy-Chace, to which, I venture to affirm, this ballad is infinitely superior. That I may not appear too presumptuous in my assertion, let us proceed to the examination of this justly celebratedpoem. I call it a poem-I had almost called it an epic, seeing it has a beginning, middle and end: the action is one, namely the death of the hero Taylor: it is replete with character, and full of sentiment, not delivered with the laboured declamation of Lucan, but suggested by incidents the most interesting and touching. Let us first examine it verse by verse. thor has no tedious prelude, not even an invocation; but, like Homer, immiediately enters into the middle of his subject, and in a few words gives us the name, character and amour of his hero. Observe the gayety of the opening
"Billy Tayler was a brisk young feller,
How admirably, how judiciously is this jocund beginning contrasted with the melancholy sequel! how affecting to the reader's feelings when he reflects how soon Billy's joy will be damped! Unhappy Taylor!-Let us proceed to the next lines;