Page images
PDF
EPUB

NOTES.

P. 66, 1. 17.
Our pathway leads but to a precipice ;
See Bossuet, Sermon sur la Résurrection.

P. 66, 1. 28.
We fly; no resting for the

foot we find; “ I have considered,” says Solomon, “all the works that are under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” But who believes it, till Death tells it us? It is Death alone that can suddenly make man to know himself. He tells the proud and insolent, that they are but abjects, and humbles them at the instant. He takes the account of the rich man, and proves him a beggar, a naked beggar. He holds a glass before the eyes of the most beautiful, and makes them see therein their deformity; and they acknowledge it.

O eloquent, just, and mighty Death! whom none could advise, thon hast persuaded; what none have dared, thou hast done; and whom all the world have flattered, thou only hast cast out and despised: thou hast drawn together all the far-stretched greatness, all the pride, cruelty and ambition of man, and covered it all over with these two narrow words, Hic jacet.

Raleigh.

P. 67, 1, 14. Through the dim curtains of Futurity. Fancy can hardly forbear to conjecture with what temper Milton surveyed the silent progress of his work, and marked his reputation stealing its way in a kind of subterraneous current through fear and silence. I cannot but conceive him calm and confident, little disappointed, not at all dejected, relying on his own merit with steady consciousness, and waiting, without impatience, the vicissitudes of opinion, and the impartiality of a future generation.

JOHNSON.
After 1. 14, in the MS.
O'er place and time we triumph; on we go,
Ranging at will the realms above, below;
Yet, ah, how little of ourselves we know !
And why the heart beats on, or how the brain
Says to the foot, “ Now move, now rest again.”
From age to age we search and search in vain.

P. 67, 1. 27.

Do what he will, fic. These ideas, whence are they derived; or, as Plato would have expressed himself, how were they acquired? There could not be a better argument for his doctrine of a præ-existent state.

P. 68, 1. 15.

But soon 'tis past This light, which is so heavenly in its lustre, and which is

every

where and on every thing when we look round us on our arrival here; which, while it lasts, never leaves us, rejoicing us by night as well as by day and lighting up our very dreams; yet, when

it fades, fades so fast, and, when it goes, goes out for ever—we may address it in the words of the Poet, words which we might apply so often in this transitory life. Too soon your value from your loss we learn!

Epistles in Verse, ii. P. 68, 1. 17.

like the stone That sheds awhile a lustre all its own, See “ Observations on a Diamond that shines in the dark.”

BOYLE's Works, I. 789.

P. 69, 1. 3. Schooled and trained up to Wisdom from his birth;

Cicero, in his Essay De Senectute, has drawn his images from the better walks of life; and Shakspeare, in his Seven Ages, has done so too. But Shakspeare treats his subject satirically; Cicero as a Philosopher. In the venerable portrait of Cato we discover no traces of “ the lean and slippered Pantaloon."

Every object has a bright and a dark side ; and I have endeavoured to look at things as Cicero has done. By some however I may be thought to have followed too much my own dream of happiness; and in such a dream indeed I have often passed a solitary hour. It was Castle-building once; now it is no longer so. But whoever would try to realize it, would not perhaps repent of his endeavour.

P. 69, 1. 5. The hour arrives, the moment wished and feared;

A Persian Poet has left us a beautiful thought on this subject, which the reader, if he has not met

[ocr errors]

with it, will be glad to know, and, if he has, to re-
member.

Thee on thy mother's knees, a new-born child,
In tears we saw, when all around thee smiled.
So live, that, sinking in thy last long sleep,

Smiles may be thine, when all around thee weep.
For my version I am in a great measure indebted to
Sir William Jones.

P. 71, l. 11.

These are My Jewels !The anecdote here alluded to, is related by Valerius Maximus, Lib. iv. c. 4.

P. 71, 1. 13. Suffer these little ones to come to me!In our early Youth, while yet we live only among those we love, we love without restraint, and our hearts overflow in every look, word, and action. But when we enter the world and are repulsed by strangers, forgotten by friends, we grow more and more timid in our approaches even to those we love best.

How delightful to us then are the little caresses of children! All sincerity, all affection, they fly into our arms; and then, and then only, we feel our first confidence, our first pleasure.

P. 71, l. 14.

he reveres The brow engraven with the Thoughts of Years;

This is a law of Nature. Age was anciently synonymous with power; and we may always observe that the old are held in more or less honour as men are more or less virtuous. Shame,” says Homer, “bids

years."

the youth beware how he accosts the man of many

“ Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of an old man.” Leviticus.

Among us, and wherever birth and possessions give rank and authority, the young and the profligate are seen continually above the old and the worthy: there Age can never find its due respect. But among many of the ancient nations it was otherwise; and they reaped the benefit of it. Rien ne maintient plus les mæurs, qu'une extrême subordination des jeunes gens envers les vieillards. Les uns et les autres seront contenus, ceux-là par le respect qu'ils auront pour les vieillards, et ceux-ci par le respect qu'ils auront pour eux-mêmes.

MONTESQUIEU. P. 72, 1. 1. Like Her most gentle, most unfortunate, Before I went into Germany, I came to Brodegate in Leicestershire, to take my leave of that noble Lady Jane Grey, to whom I was exceeding much beholding. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess, with all the Household, Gentlemen and Gentlewomen, were hunting in the park. I found her in her chamber, reading Phædo Platonis in Greek, and that with as much delight as some Gentlemen would read a merry tale in Boccace. After salutation, and duty done, with some other talk, I asked her, why she would lose such pastime in the park? Smiling, she answered me; “I wist, all their sport in the park is but a shadow to that pleasure that I find in Plato.”

ROGER ASCHAM,

P

« PreviousContinue »