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And, as they gently, fondly, trace
In beauty near me she did stand,
I felt her touch but as a breath,
That shadow'd all with ashy hue;
And then-oh! then, at length, I knew The form I gazed upon in love
Was not an earthly thing;
To tell me she was passing home-
She breathed upon my car a sigh,
"I've come afar, I've come to thee, My own beloved!
I have track'd the waves of the murmuring
To stand once more
With thee-my own beloved!
My mother is gazing on my face,
Away from my mother's weeping eyes, And the deep, deep sound of my brother's sighs.
"I've come afar-I've come afar,
Upon my lips a kiss did seem,
So gentle was its thrill;
Did seem to strive with death awhile,
Like Hope amid a dream of tears.
I gazed upon that shadowy thing-
ON THE FEMALE CHARACTER, WITH ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE POWERS OF THE MIND.
"The superior advantages of boys' education are, perhaps, the sole reason of their superiority. Learning is equally attainable, and, I think, equally valuable, for the satisfaction arising from it, to a woman as a man."-Knox.
WHEN We contemplate the history of the female character, we cannot avoid being struck with the fact, that it has been its lot to have met with a very uncertain reception from the other sex. We find from classical authority, that even among the nations of civilized Greece and Rome, the female was far from re
ceiving that meed of estimation which she might justly claim; and however superior may have been her station and rank in society, the unhappy female who dwells in savage and uncivilized countries, is still far below her just and merited grade and in no point is this degradation more remarkable than as
it respects the powers of the mind. lities of her bosom, she has tamed To a certain extent, the female the rage of stern and undaunted has been ever valued; but that ex- warriors; by the winning softness tent has always been made subser- of her manners, and the endearing vient to the will and pleasure of the amiableness of her mind, she has other sex. As a creature condu- won over the hardened and misancive to the temporal advantage, or thropic wretch, or melted the recknecessary to gratify the pleasure of less monster into lamblike meekman, the female has been generally ness. Could we ask the men who regarded; but viewed as a being lived in by-gone ages, whether, pre-eminently calculated as a com- with all their neglect and contempt panion, to cheer, to solace, to enli- of female powers, they were not ven, and to advise-as the possess- greatly influenced, and greatly beor of a mind to edify and delight by nefited by them; should we not find her intellectual treasures-how has that almost all would be forced to the female character been neglect- testify, however reluctantly, in the ed, despised, and undervalued ! affirmative ?
Yet, how variously soever the female character may have been estimated in different ages and countries, it cannot be denied, that it has stood forth with a prominency peculiarly its own. Shall we not find that in great and illustrious events, which have been connected with the welfare and fate of nations, females have frequently been conspicuous, not merely as accidentally causing the scale to preponderate, but as displaying exalted powers of mind? We can turn over no page of history, but we shall find some trace of woman; and let it be decided by matter of fact, whether we do not discover the female mind in many of its recorded transactions. It will not be only as an individual branch of animal creation, but as a being possessing in a pre-eminent degree rich endowments of intellectual energy, that woman will appear in the annals of human kind.
While on the one hand we shall discover that by female instrumentality the most atrocious deeds have, been committed, and the most determined hostility excited; thereby proving furens quid femina possit ;yet on the other hand it has more frequently happened, that, by an uncommon penetration and sagacity of thought, she has foreseen important mutations, and has at times almost glanced at unwonted contingencies. By the exquisite sensibi
We, who happily live in an age and nation where the female is exalted to her full degree of prominency in society, and to the full display of her influence, can be at no loss to discover the cause of her moral degradation. It has been frequently declared that we are indebted to Christianity for the proper estimation of the female sex, and that, owing to a want of this system, the nations of antiquity, and those of the present day where woman is still enthralled in ignorance and debased by servitude, underrate and still contemn this amiable part of human kind. It is indeed the heavenly influence of Christianity which has taught man how to estimate the other branch of his race; it has shown him that she possesses a rational soul, and intellectual powers of no mean capacity; that she is calculated to be a constant blessing and advantage to him in all circumstances of his life-to delight him by her enlivening fancy to advise him by her wise counsel
and to solace him by her sympathizing soul. While it distinctly recognizes the dependence of woman as the "weaker vessel" upon her more powerful companion, and enjoins due submission on her part; it fully establishes her allotted sphere, and affords abundant scope for the sway of her mind. Education, following upon the footsteps of her divine predecessor, has invited
the female race to a participation than a misfortune? And is there not somewhat of ill-nature and ingratitude in repaying her who has been conducive to an evening's entertainment, even though it be with a profusion of talk, with the shafts of ridicule and the flashes of wit?
of her inestimable blessings ;-and enriching by her solid information, instructing by her judicious advice, and adorning by her elegant accomplishments, has succeeded in placing her lovely pupils upon a distinguished eminence in the social and public stations. Thus, fitted by her natural powers, and improved by her useful acquirements, the female is now qualified for every path of life in which she may be called to walk. As a companion, she now adorns the most valuable society; as a relative, she discharges her duties with affectionate assiduity; and as a Christian, she shines with modest and undimming lustre, as a faithful and becoming attendant upon the Sun of Righteousness.
The value and influence of woman can be proved from the most ordinary occurrences of life. Let us merely glance at a party of the other sex in which conversation may be supposed to flag, or a want of inclination to prevent its full tide of interest-what will be the result, if female company be introduced into the circle? Immediately some congenial topic is excited; decline ing interest is revived; the feelings are aroused, and, in a short period, the delights of society are found to be "the feast of reason and the flow of soul." Such a case is neither far-fetched nor uncommon; it may be met with in our daily intercourse with each other; in the social circle, or in the more public assembly.
Much indeed has this fact been ridiculed, and the effects of female society have been jocularly traced to the inquietude of woman's tongue; often has its loquacity been the subject of the witling's lash, and the satirist's acumen. It cannot be denied that very often a woman may use her tongue with more profuseness than propriety, and sometimes deluge us with a torrent of declamation; yet ought we not to esteem the use of the tongue in woman a blessing rather 29 ATHENEUM, VOL. 5, 3d series.
The paths of literature invite us to inspect the displays of female mind which are therein exhibited. The question need not now be asked, "what can woman do in the literary circle ?" Her influence there is now placed beyond a doubt; her value estimated as it ought to be. Indeed, to such a degree has female talent been exerted, that instead of "what can woman do?" it may with more propriety be asked-"what ought she to do?"-for certainly there is a question depending upon the great fact; and it is no unnatural interrogatory-"how far ought a woman to carry her literary researches and labors, consistently with the other duties which more peculiarly and appropriately belong to her?" It cannot be disputed that no female is justified in poring over the stores of learning, to the neglect of other more apparent duties, and in intermeddling with those subjects which seem not exactly consistent with correct notions of female character.
It has sometimes been objected that men are insensible to the value of a female mind embued with extensive knowledge, and well versed in literature; but the objection is now, I think, almost exploded, or if it retain any force, only so, in cases such as those to which I have above alluded. In some instances we may have to complain with Old Thrifty in the Spectator, of our female virtuosos departing out of their proper sphere, and whilst they should have been considering the proper ingredients for a sack-posset," bringing forward "a dispute concerning the magnetic virtue of the loadstone, or perhaps the pressure of the atmosphere.' (Spectator, No. 242.) Still, notwithstand
ing all the candor which has been manifested toward female learning, and the favorable impressions made by a lady of talent, it must be acknowledged, that "a blue-stocking beauty is a gentleman's aversion." "That learning belongs not to the female character, and that the female mind is not capable of a degree of improvement equal to that of the other sex, are narrow and unphilosophical prejudices. The past and present times exhibit most honorable instances of female learning and genius." (Knox's Essays, No. 142.) In the deeper and more exalted departments of classical knowledge, the name of Dacier stands high, while that of Elizabeth Carter cannot be forgotten. Fortunate might the Grecian sage think himself, could he look through the vista of past ages, in having his ethical maxims arrayed in an English garb, by so fair a hand. The genius of Mrs. More has reached too high a pitch of glory to be passed over in silence. Her numerous works testify the extent and importance of her knowledge, and how well qualified are her talents to do justice to any subject which she might undertake. In the region of elegant literature we have a host of fair authoresses who have adorned their country and themselves. Who has not heard of the "moral tales of an Edgeworth; the popular romances of a Radcliffe; and the useful labors of a Smith and a Barbauld?" To tell each favorite name would swell a long catalogue of fair ones more appropriate for the counter of a bibliopolist than for the pages of a brief essay.
But who that loves the muse can fail to give his meed of praise to the female lyre? Who that has heard the nervous touches which resound from the lyre of Hemans, will venture to accuse the Nine of partiality in the distribution of their favors to the other sex alone? And let us not forget to notice one prominent trait which invariably marks the progress of female genius. All its
labors are directed, as is fitting, to the promotion of the sacred cause of virtue, truth, and religion. To quote the language of one of the eminent ladies above referred to:
"Let such women as are disposed to be vain of their comparative petty attainments, look up with admiration to those two contemporary shining examples, the venerable Elizabeth Carter, and the blooming Elizabeth Smith. them let our young ladies contemplate profound and various learning chastened by true Christian humility. In them let them venerate acquirements which would have been distinguished in university, meekly softened and beautifully shaded by the gentle exertion of every domestic virtue, the unaffected exercise of every feminine employment." (More's Calebs, v. 2, p. 245.)
Who will then deny to the female mind the blessings of education, and the acquirements of knowledge? While there should ever be a due regard to providential circumstances of life, and no woman is warranted to neglect a greater duty for a minor one, it must be allowed that the lady of taste and knowledge has a far greater advantage than the lady who is without them; and in every point of view is calculated to confer a greater blessing on her friends and connexions. If a woman be ignorant, she will lose many delights herself, and deprive others of many. "I do not mean (to cite again the language of Mrs. More) that learning is absolutely necessary, but a man of taste who has an ignorant wife, cannot in her company think his own thoughts, nor speak his own language; his thoughts he will suppress, his language he will debase, the one from hopelessness, the other from compassion. He must be continually lowering and dilating his meaning, in order to make himself intelligible. This he will do for the woman he loves, but in doing so he will not be happy. She who cannot be entertained by
his conversation, will not be convinced by his reasoning, and at length he will find out, that it is less trouble to lower his own stand
ard to hers, than to exhaust himself in the vain attempt to raise hers to his own." (Cœlebs, v. 2, p. 234.):
AN ADVENTURE AT ROTTERDAM. BY MRS. HOFLAND.
"I tell the tale as it was told to me."
EXCEPTING from necessity, or the impulses of ambition and avarice, which create their own necessities, a Spanish gentleman rarely travels -at least he seldom did so during the last century. Love, music, the exercises in which his rank in life rendered it imperative that he should excel-riding, dancing, and fencing, together with the adornment of his person, occupied the early season of life pride and indolence left little employment for the remainder, save what was demanded by the confessor, or consumed by the cigar.
It nevertheless happened, that Don Antonio del Puyes had an idea that "home-keeping youths have homely wits," and, to the surprise of his neighbors, he sent his second son, Raymondo, to finish his education at Paris, after which it was his intention to purchase for him a commission in the army. As, however, he returned at a time of profound peace, and with an inordinate desire to travel, the father manifested no objection, and a rich bachelor uncle, whose favorite he had always been, furnished abundant funds for the pirpose. They were probably both proud to exhibit beyond the environs of Saragossa, where they and their ancestors had resided from time immemorial, a young man who had been the pride of Oviedo for his acquirements, and subsequently the admiration of a small, but courtly circle in Paris-who was in manners and accomplishments the beau ideal of a Spanish cavalier, had "blue blood" on both sides, was probably the handsomest man in his own country, and would be so in any which he might visit.
The reading of Don Raymondo
had lately been directed to the history of the emancipation of the Seven United Provinces from the Spanish yoke, and, with a liberality seldom displayed by a Spaniard, but which was natural to his age and with his education, he not only rejoiced in their success, but cherished an ardent desire to form a personal acquaintance with their inhabitants. Generous and enthusiastic, he longed to witness and share the blessings of that triumphant liberty, which their forefathers had achieved by valor never surpassed and fortitude never equaled. A total stranger to commerce, and to the obligations which it imposes and the consequences to which it leads, our traveller thought only of independence and industry as relative terms, and expected to find every Dutchman a hero in his sentiments, a Hercules in his labors, surrounded indeed by a morass, but rendering it an Eden, so far as the power of human ingenuity can effect such a change.
To Holland, therefore, his first views were directed, and, crossing the Peninsula, he embarked at Oporto for Rotterdam, taking thence letters of introduction for the Hague, which could hardly fail to ensure him the power of forming intimate acquaintance with the great and worthy of the land to which he was bound. His voyage was tedious, and, at one period, dangerous, in consequence of which his arrival at the long-desired haven was rendered doubly agreeable ; and, on reaching a comfortable inn, which, in the cleanliness and elegance of its appointments, formed a striking contrast to the miserable