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A Round of Proverbs.
A ROUND OF PROVERBS.
What can't be cur'd must be endur'd. This is a consolatory saying, applicable to persons under the pressure of some inevitable calamity; and advises to make a virtue of necessity, and not aggravate, but alleviate the burden by patient bearing.
Fast bind, Fast find.
This proverb teaches, that people being generally base and perfidious, it is a good point of prudence to be upon our guard against treachery and impositions in all our dealings and transactions, either by buying, selling, borrowing, or lending, in order to preserve a good understanding, and a lasting friendship, among natural correspondents.
Like Father, like Son.
This proverb does not only intimate the force of nature, but also of example; as much the strength of imagination, and practice in the latter, as the violent bent of inclination in the former. It is true that children, though not always, are ge nerally like the father or mother in their minds. as well as their bodies; the facul ties of the former, commonly run in the blood; and as for the features and complexions of the latter, they often look as if they were cast in the same mould. But I presume the point of the proverb is chiefly directed at their examples; and that, such as are the parents, as to vice or virtue, such are, too commonly, the children; and that the ill examples of a vicious father, almost universally tend to the debauching a son; when the good precepts and examples of a virtuous father, go a great way to the forming a virtuous
Birds of a feather flock together.
Every fowler knows the truth of this proverb; but it has a further meaning than the association of irrational creatures, it intimates that society is a powerful attractive; but that likeness is the lure that draws people of the same kidney together. A covey of partridges in the country, is but an emblem of a company of gossips in a neighbourhood; a knot of sharpers at the gaming-table; a pack of rakes at the tavern, &c. That one fool loves another; one fop admires another; one blockhead is pleased at the assurance, conceit, and affectation of another; and therefore herd together.
Harm watch, Harm catch.
This proverb intimates, that malice, spite and envy, are generally self-murderers upon the upshot: that to intend, study, or contrive any harm to our neighbours, is birdlime all over, and will catch ourelves at last. This though persons are,
generally apt to forget in the raging of their anger, or in insensibility, is a trite adage.
Sue a beggar, and catch a louse. This proverb is a witty lampoon upon all Indiscreet and vexatious law-suits, commenced against insolvent people; for what can be more ridiculous than to sue a beg gar, when the action must needs cost more than he is worth? it puts a man's prudence quite out of question, though it puts his satisfaction of revenge and malice quite out of doubt; for, according to another proverb, what can we have of a cat but her skin.
Many hands make light work.
This proverb is a proper inducement to animate persons to undertake any vir tuous attempt, either for the relief of the distressed, the succour of the oppressed,or the vindication and defence of religion and property, against potent oppressors or invaders; for that, however difficult and insurmountable the attempt may appear to a feeble few, yet an united force will make it not only practicable, but easy
The more haste, the less speed.
This proverb is a good monition to calmness and sedateness in the manage ment of any business; it is a reprehen sion to precipitate and hurrying tempers, who frequently, by over-cagerness, mar what is under their hands; it is much the same in sense with our common proverb, haste makes waste; and there are several proverbs in several languages to the same purport; Qui trop se baste en chemtrast, en beau chemin se jourvoye souvent, say the French: Qui nimis propere, minis prospere, and nimium properans serius absolvit the Latins; and it likewise answers to the festina lente: and according. ly, tarry a while, that we may make an end the sooner, was the common saying of Sir Amias Pawlet.
Too much of one thing is good for nothing.
This proverb is an apopthegm of one of the seven wise men of Greece. Some attribute it to Thales, and some to Solon. It is generally applied by way of reprchension to such persons who, when by some witty drollery or banter, they find they have diverted the company, pleased with the conceit of their own wit, they either draw it to that length, 'tis so fine that no Lody can perceive it but themselves; or they carry on their jest till it grows trou blesome and nauseous, forgetting, that though a little wit in company, like salt at a table, makes conversation relishing, yet they must love savoury bits very well that can dine out of a salt cell..
On a still and peaceful evening I was persuaded, for the benefit of my health, to step into a boat upon the sea-shore, and enjoy the refreshing serenity of the sky and sea. Pushing off, we glided along a smooth surface, and seemed to behold a new heaven in the waters below us. I was insensibly led into a train of pleasing, though at times melancholy reflections. Here, said I to myself, is a striking emblem of the different conditions of human life, the danger of youth, the friendships of the world, and the fears of old age. Youth is a giddy and a thoughtless season. Having no experience of danger, the young are most exposed to it, and often there is but a plank, as at this moment, between them and the other world. `Their little sensibilities, sometimes indeed awakened by the companion of their dropping down before them, are however soon dissipated, and their agitations calmed by those scenes which quickly supply the place of the passing shadow that has left them for ever! I looked at the frail bark in which I was sitting, and gave an involuntary shrink back from the gulf around and below me, while my companions, unconscious of danger, were laving the waters with their hands, and smiling upon the tomb of thousands of their fellow-creatures. Alas! that they should thus disregard the warnings of experience, and shut their eyes when on the brink of a precipice! Alas, that they should not earlier learn wisdom, and tremble at the perils which surround them! Thus yielding myself up to despondency, I remembered the words of the poet,
Reflections in a Boat.
"Where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise."
My thoughts now took a new turn. The pleasures of my youth rushed upon my mind, and I mourned in silence, that youth and happiness were so short-lived. Return, ye moments of unmingled joy-O return! Leave me for ever ye wild passions, ye gnawing cares, ye terrible fears! The paradise of my youth is now a wilderness!-Danger is nothing to the continual dread of it. Pain is easily borne, which reminds not of ills
I felt the full weight of my condition upon my soul. The tinge of the setting sun upon the sea, and the distant sound of music from the shore, with the slight agitation produced by a gust of wind--only served to remind me of what I was. And what are all the friendships of the world, said I, but like the troubled sea around me. How quickly they follow in succession, but like the waves of the sea, leave behind them no durable impressions. The bark of fortune had now brought me into the midst of this busy, restless scene. The tide of social goy had now hurried me along, and I rejoiced in the smiles of ny fellow men. Reclining at rest, I thought the ocean would never rise up against my bark, but would be proud to bear me its waves. The world seemed then to look upon me with upon pleasure, and a circle of friends seemed devoted to my happiness. In seasons of festivity they rejoiced in my presence; and at all times courted my favour by flattering my vanity. Often in the giddy moment, I felt happy that I was a tenant of such a world; but the dream is fled, and I awoke to solitude and troubles. Alas! alas! what a treacherous world we live in! friends there are-but how abundant the friendless. I thought not how soon my bark may be shipwrecked, and covered with the waves; I thought not how fearful we are to trust ourselves to the mercy of the sea, and how often our confidence is betrayed! I thought not, how we sink unheeded and forgotten; how the waters settle over us and are still, as if we had never been on its surface! But the storm of adversity has come, and where is the friend who had vowed a thousand times that he would never leave me; where is the stay on which I had vainly trusted; my bark is left alone to the winds and the wayes, and the friends of my pleasures stand immovable as the hills around
Reflections in a Boat.
me. Why then, O why is there such a thing as friendship in the world? Why should we live upon smiles and promises unstable, and inconstant as the sea?
But the sun had now set, the mists were coming over the opposite hills and night drawing on insensibly, warned us to make towards the shore. Such, thought I, is the night of old age, it creeps upon us. Thus does the giddy course of life fade away, and we becoine more calm and thoughtful. With the full experience of what we have been, we shudder to think what we are, and what we shall be. The dangers which had long escaped our notice, being shaded by the vanities of the world, and the prevailing strength of our constitution, now rise up sensibly to our minds, and alarm us most when we are least able to avoid them. No period therefore of man's life is more subject to fears than old age, and at no other period of life are they more reasonably entertained. For if there is but a plank between man in his best estate and the other world, old age is continually standing upon that plank, and it is every day sensibly decaying. Their sun is set for ever, and the night is dark and cheerless. And night is too often the season of storms, said I to myself, as I looked upon the waters, and observed the rising spray. Ah me! old age is indeed the winter of man, without the hope of ever in this life enjoying a calm. But what then, is this life all? Is there no port but the grave to welcome our approach, and to shelter us when the storm is past? Must we close our eyes in eternal night? Why then the dread of something after night?—The thought set my mind at rest, and I felt as if I were already immortal. My fancy wandered into the other world, and I drew near the pure fountain of peace and joy. The storms of life
vanished away; a delightful stillness pervaded my frame, and I rose far above this world, and all its perishing enjoyments. Here I found the sure guardian of youth the never-failing friend of man, and the stay and hope of old age.
Glasgow, December, 1818.
On Imaginary Beings.
ON IMAGINARY BEINGS.
Now a' ye superstitious foks,
Wha to yoursels mak' stumblin' blocks ;
An' in your heated brains prolific,
Hatch witches, ghaists an' deils terrific,
Wi' that respeck to phrenzy due,
TO THE EDITOR.
Gif gray hairs, an' auld age comman' attention an' respect, I can lay claim to the previlege, for my head is as white as the driftet snaw, an' I'm within a few ooks o' seventy. I therefore houp ye'll exerceese your patience a few minutes, while I express my thochts on a subject, the readin' o' your Mirror has set adrift i' my min'.
In the first num'er, a paragraph written by yoursel', attracket my particular notice. After relatin' the story o' twa fairies, ye say, "our minds are naturally impressed with thankfulness, for being delivered from the fetters of ignorance and superstition, which gave birth to fairies, brownies, and other imaginary beings, &c." This, Sir, is true. I have been thankfu' for mair nor fifety years for being clear o' the mists o' superstition, the belief ovisions, an' creatures bred i' the fancy:-however dinna think I'm a Sadducee; I believe in angels, an' spirits, gude an evil, but
-I'm one who firm denies.
That spirits now are seen by mortal eyes.
I was happy in the idea that you, an' your learn't frien's wad be the means, wi' your writin's, to root out, an' clear awa' the scanty remains o' fause an' delusive notions frae 'mang us; but I was disappointed, an vext, to see aught or nine pages o' the last num'er o' the Mirror occupiet by Vetus, pleadin' the cause o' superstition, an' visionary opinions; against wham I lift my testimony;-an', Sir, after what ye said on the point, I wadna thocht ye wad hae plac't him amang sae mony soun' outhors: your beuk. I am afraid o' this binky, scatterin' his errors athort the lan'; for he seems deep learn't, an' has busket up