Puslapio vaizdai

eminence and command. It was natural that, in the exercise of his power, he should be eo immitior quia toleraverat, that, though his heart was undoubtedly generous and humane, his demeanour in society should be harsh and despotic. For severe distress he had sympathy, and not only sympathy, but munificent relief. But for the suffering which a harsh world inflicts upon a delicate mind he had no pity; for it was a kind of suffering which he could scarcely conceive. He would carry home on his shoulders a sick and starving girl from the streets. He turned his house into a place of refuge for a crowd of wretched old creatures who could find no other asylum: nor could all their peevishness and ingratitude weary out his benevolence. But the pangs of wounded vanity seemed to him ridiculous; and he scarcely felt sufficient compassion even for the pangs of wounded affection. He had seen and felt so much of sharp misery, that he was not affected by paltry vexations; and he seemed to think that everybody ought to be as much hardened to those vexations as himself. He was angry with Boswell for complaining of a headache, with Mrs. Thrale for grumbling about the dust on the road or the smell of the kitchen. These were, in his phrase, "foppish lamentations," which people ought to be ashamed to utter in a world so full of sin and sorrow. Goldsmith, crying because the Good-natured Man had failed, inspired him with no pity. Though his own health was not good, he detested and despised valetudinarians. Pecuniary losses, unless they reduced the loser absolutely to beggary, moved him very little. "People, whose hearts had been softened by prosperity might weep," he said, " for such events; but all that could be expected of a plain man was not to laugh." He was not much moved even by the spectacle of Lady Tavistock dying of a broken heart for the loss of her lord. Such grief he considered as a luxury reserved for the idle and wealthy. A washerwoman, left a widow with nine small children, would not have sobbed herself to death.

A person who troubled himself so little about small or sentimental grievances, was not likely to be very attentive to the feelings of others in the ordinary intercourse of society. He could not understand how a sarcasm or a reprimand could make any man really unhappy. "My dear doctor," said he to Goldsmith, "what harm does it do to a man to call him Holofernes ?" "Pooh, ma'am," he exclaimed to Mrs. Carter, "who is the worse for being talked of uncharitably ?" Politeness has been well defined as benevolence in small things. Johnson was impolite, not because he wanted benevolence, but because small things appeared smaller to him than to people who had never known what it was to live no fourpence-halfpenny a day.

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BORN at Bristol, August 12th, 1774; distinguished as one of the most brilliant and voluminous writers of modern times, whether in prose or verse. In 1813 he became poet-laureate, and died at Greta, March 21st, 1843, having been a victim to paralysis the last three years of his life.

Though now no more the musing ear
Delights to listen to the breeze,
That lingers o'er the greenwood shade,
I love thee, Winter! well.

Sweet are the harmonies of Spring,
Sweet is the Summer's evening gale,
And sweet the autumnal winds that shake
The many colour'd grove.

And pleasant to the sober'd soul
The silence of the wintry scene,
When Nature shrouds herself, entranced
In deep tranquillity.

Not undelightful now to roam
The wild heath sparkling on the sight;
Not undelightful now to pace
The forest's ample rounds.

And see the spangled branches shine
And mark the moss of many a hue
That varies the old tree's brown bark,

As o'er the gray stone spreads.

And mark the cluster'd berries bright
Amid the holly's gay green leaves;
The ivy round the leafless oak

That clasps its foliage close.
So Virtue, diffident of strength,
Clings to Religion's firmer aid,
And, by Religion's aid upheld,
Endures calamity.

Nor void of beauties now the Spring,
Whose waters hid from summer sun
Have soothed the thirsty pilgrim's ear
With more than melody.

The green moss shines with icy glare ;
The long grass bends its spear-like form;
And lovely is the silvery scene

When faint the sun-beams smile.


Reflection too may love the hour
When Nature, hid in Winter's grave,
No more expands the bursting bud,
Or bids the flowret bloom;

For Nature soon in Spring's best charms
Shall rise revived from Winter's grave,
Expand the bursting bud again,

And bid the flower rebloom.



THIS Homer of England, alike resembling the bard of Chios in his blindness and his poetical glory, was born in Bread-street, in 1608, and, after a life devoted to learning, conscientious opposition to infringements on national liberty, and the production of immortal poems, died in 1674. The two following poems are "household words" in English literature.

Hence loathed Melancholy,

Of Cerberus, and blackest midnight born,

In Stygian cave forlorn,

'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sighs unholy, Find out some uncouth cell,

Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings,
And the night raven sings;

There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks,
As ragged as thy locks,

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou goddess fair and free,
In Heav'n yclep'd* Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth
With two sister Graces more
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore:
Or whether (as some sages sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the spring.
Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-maying,
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew,
Fill'd her with thee a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair.†

Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,

* Named.

+ Graceful.

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