Page images

but caress them even amid the agonies of death; and the occupation in which the females of brute animals seem to take most delight, is that of suckling their offspring. Maternal affection is the balm by which nature imparts to the heart of a mother an ample compensation for all her sufferings. The desire of fruitfulness is the brightest charm in the cestus of Venus; nay, it seems to be the only one that can be valuable in the estimation of chaste and virtuous women. These are the priestesses who keep alive the sacred fire of Vesta; and perish that contemptible wretch, who, instead of being warmed with this pure flame, burns with a gross and brutal lust!

The following short rules may be useful to instruct the young mother in her duty, and should be strictly attended to by the nurse to whose care the child is committed :

1. Never to feed the child but at the times fixed by the mother for his meals.

2. Never to give him any kind of food but that which is prescribed by his mother.

3. To use him, as much as possible, to sleep at certain hours.

4. On no account to give him any medicine without his mother's knowledge.

5. To let him be perfectly easy and clean in his dress.

6. To play with him, and talk to him in a lively manner, but not with violence, so as to hurry his spirits, or fatigue him.

7. To avoid jogging him upon the knee, or Alinging him backward, so as to throw the blood suddenly into his head.

8. To stop with him, in order to let him look at objects that attract his attention, and handle them also ; to tell him the names of things he looks at or handles.

9. Never to give him what he cries for, but to divert his attention to some other object.

10. To be patient with him when he is wilful, and to take him to his mother when he cannot be managed without difficulty.

11. To make it her constant practice to speak her words distinctly, and never to imitate the imperfect language of the child in talking to him.

Campbell, in his “ Pleasures of Hope,” gives the following domestic scene, in which the influence of hope on parental affection is well pourtrayed :

Lo! at the couch where infant beauty sleeps,
Her silent watch the mournful mother keeps;
She, while the lovely babe unconscious lies,
Smiles on her little son with pensive eyes,
And weaves a song of melancholy joy-

Sleep, image of thy father, sleep, my boy;
No ling’ring hour of sorrow shall be thine;
No sigh that rends thy father's heart and mine:
Bright as his manly size, the son shall be
In form and soul; but ah! more blest than he.
Thy fame, thy worth, thy filial love at last,
Shall soothe this aching heart for all the past.
With many a smile my sorrows shall repay,
And chase the world's ungenerous scorn away:
And say, when summon'd from the world and thee,
I lay my head beneath the willow tree,
Wilt thou, sweet mourner! at my stone appear,
And soothe my parted spirit ling'ring near?
Oh! wilt thou come, at ev’ning hour, to shed
The tears of memory o'er

my narrow bed;
With aching temples on thy hand reclin'd,
Muse on the last farewell I leave behind ;
Breathe a deep sigh to winds that murmur low,
And think on all my love and all my woe?”.
So speaks Affection, ere the infant eye
Can look, regard, or brighten in reply;
But when the cherub lip hath learnt to claim
A mother's ear by that endearing name;
Soon as the playful innocent can prove
A tear of pity, or a smile of love,
Or cons his murm’ring task beneath her care,
Or lisps, with holy look, his ev’ning pray'r,
Or gazing, mutely pensive, sits to hear
The mournful ballad warbled in his ear;
How fondly looks admiring Hope the while,
At every artless tear, and every smile;
How glows the joyous parent to descry

A guileless bosom, true to sympathy! Now proceed the pleasures of a father, walking with his children:

And as they wander with a keen delight,
If but a leveret catch their quicker sight,

Down a green alley, or a squirro) then
Climb the gnarld oak, and look and climb again;
If but a moth Ait by, an acorn fall,
He turns their thoughts to Him who made them all;
These with unequal footstep following fast,

These clinging by his cloak, unwilling to be last. On the return from such delightful excursions, animated by the pleasures of love, the admiring husband thus addresses his lovely spouse

O how I lov'd the pretty creatures,

While round my knees they fondly clung ;
To see them look their mother's features,

To hear them lisp their mother's tongue ! And, looking forward to advanced life, he exclaims,

And when with envy Time transported

Shall think to rob us of our joys,
You'll in your girls again be courted,

And I go wooing with the boys. Conversation with children is highly interesting to a sensible man. He beholds in them the book of nature in an uncorrupted edition. Children appear as they really are, and as they are not misled by systems, passions, or learning, judge of many things better than grown persons; they receive many impressions much sooner, and are not guided by so many prejudices as the latter. In short, if you wish to study men, you must not neglect to mix with the society of children. It is a sacred duty to give them no offence whatever, to abstain in their company from all wanton discourses and actions, and to display in their presence benevolence, faith, sincerity, decency, and every other virtue; in short, to contribute as much as possible to their improvement; for their ductile and uncorrupted mind is as ready to receive good impressions as it is open to the seeds of vice, and I may safely maintain, that the degeneracy of mankind is greatly owing to the imprudence and inconsideration with which people of a maturer age deport themselves in the presence of children. Let, therefore, all your discourses and actions be graced with truth when you are in their sou


ciety. Condescend in a becoming manner to that tone which is intelligible to them, carefully avoid teasing and vexing them, as is the custom of many people; for this has the most lamentable effect upon their temper.

The following lines express a father's wishes for his children :

In peaceful Arts, oh! may the youth I love,

Śpend the long tenor of their happy days;
And smit with Science, seek the silent grove,

Or court the Muses in immortal lays !
Adown the stream of time glide gently on,

Nor listen to ambition's sounding voice;
Nor prostrate reason from her mental throne;

And drown her whispers in tumultuous joys.
Or if, by fate or choice, to business led,

And doom'd to move in trade's contracted sphere;
With steady steps the paths of honour tread,

And fame and riches shall attend them here.
Or beats your breast to view some foreign land,

And spread the sail of commerce o'er the main ;
Where happy climes, and temp’rate seasons bland,

With native plenty deal the untill'd plain.
Go! and attend to virtue's sacred call,

Through boundless space the Deity presides,
And neither cares distress, nor fears appal,

The hallow'd heart that conscious virtue guides.
With noble soul disdain the partial view,

The social ties that link mankind revere,
To love, to honour, and to friendship true,

Their holy dictates hold for ever dear.
With pity's drop bedew affliction's smart,

With lenient hand the pangs of misery heal;
To mild benevolence resign your heart,

And learn the sacred luxury-to feel.
So shall your days through varied life be bless'd,

And smiling peace your guiltless steps surround,
The soul repose in present good possessid,

And, Time no more, with boundless joy be crown'd. The helpless condition in which children enter the world was intended by the Almighty, in co-operation with that parental love which exists in almost every bosom, to secure for them such kindness, protection, and support, as are necessary to prepare them for active life. Parents are certainly designed, by the Creator himself, to act, for a time, as his representatives; it is consequently their duty to inculcate an undeviating regard for his honour, in bringing them up. They will, therefore, endeavour to gain the love of their children ; and to make them dutiful and obedient to themselves in early life, not merely for the personal comfort themselves may reasonably hope to enjoy in return; but also, that, by the habitual exercise of filial affection and obedience towards them, their visible benefactors and earthly parents, they may be prepared to love, honour, and obey their heavenly Father, the author, preserver, and protector of all things ; and to feel for Him the higher sentiments of piety and devotion. In order, then, to accomplish the great purpose of educating children so as to promote the honour of God, both father and mother should take the divine example for their pattern, and the re. vealed will of God for their rule.

Brettell, in his “ Country Minister," draws the following beautiful picture of social bliss in retirement:

When tranquil evening brought the hours serene,
Then love and friendship bless'd the social scene ;
For friends he found, in that secluded spot,
Dear to his heart, and ne'er to be forgot.
Then too his children, emulous to please,
Play'd round the blazing hearth, or climb his knees,
With infant fondness, using many a wile
To gain a kiss, or win an envied smile :
Their artless sports the happy parents share,
And in their mirth forget each anxious care;
Still pleas'd to see their infant offspring blest,
Till weary nature claim'd her usual rest.
The kind good night,' the parting kiss bestow'd
By tender lips, where pure affection glow'd';
The children laid in slumbers calm and deep,
By love maternal sweetly sung to sleep :
The parlour clear'd, and trimın'd the cheerful fire,
Amusements follow'd, never known to tire.
Whilst the industrious wife the needle plies,
Leans o'er her work, or, with averted eyes,

« PreviousContinue »