« AnteriorContinuar »
Ch''I t'ami piu della vita
Pastor. Fido, act iii. scene 3.
Ah! cruel, will you not believe
That you are dearer far to me
Repair, and ask each shrub and tree,
My heart-felt groans? and ask the deer,
And left their grass awhile to hear;
Long soften'd by my plaints and sighs,
And echo back my piteous cries.
Writing Letters. How often do we bear persons, well educated, talk of the difficulty and irksomeness of writing a letter, and do not seem to feel that these complaints are disgraceful to them, or rather to their teachers. An eminent philosopher has expressed himself strongly, and justly, on this neglect in education. “ The writing of a letter has so much to do in all the occurrences of life, that no gentleman can avoid shewing himself in this kind of writing.
Occasions will daily force him to make this use of his pen, which, besides the consequences that in bis affairs his well or ill managing of it draws after it, always lays him open to a severer examination of his breeding, sense, and abilities."-J. Locke on Education, p. 290.
Many a man who has been bred at a public school, has, in after life, beavily regretted his negligence of this art; “ which," as Locke says, “ is the easiest, and consequently the first sort of abstract reasoning which the mind commonly bears, or accustoms itself to; and is of so general use in all parts of life and business, that scarce any thing is to be done without it. This is certain, a man cannot bave loo much of it, or too perfectly. He should begin, therefore, to be exercised in counting as soon and as far as he is capable of it, and do something in it every day till he is master of the art of numbers.”—Ibid,
The Abuse of Logic. As making speeches (on all occasions, and in places which it may be needless to mention) seems a foible observable in the present age, the following observations of the same philosopher may be worth attention. " If the use and end of right reasoning be to have right notions and a right judgment of things, to distinguish betwixt truth and falsehood, and to act accordingly, be sure not to let your son be bred up in the art of disputing, either practising it himself or admiring it in others; unless, instead of an able man, you desire to have him an insignificant wrangler, opiniated in discourse, and priding himself in contradicting others, or what is worse, thinking there is no such thing as truth to be sought, but only victory, in disputing." - Ibid.
In another place, this excellent philosopher says, “ In short, the way and perfection of logical disputes is that the opponent never takes any answer, nor the respondent ever yields to any argument. This neither of them must do, whatever becomes of truth and knowledge, unless he will pass for a poor baffled wretch, and lie under the disgrace of not being able to maintain what. ever he has once affirmed, which is the great aim and glory in disputing.”—Locke on Edu.p. 286.
Satellites in this Lower World. As the luminous bodies in the regions above have their attendant stars of inferior lustre, so it is on earth. In our days, Gray had his Mason, Hume his Adam Smith, Warburton his Hurd, Dr. Johnson his Boswell, &c. They all seemed to acknowledge their borrowed lights, and to have been happy to move in orbits of which the greater luminous bodies formed the centre, and to have quietly undergone the state of eclipse, whenever their stars of greater magnitude chose
cover them with the shade and darkness of larger discs. When a man submits to the superior talents of another only in common things, we are very candid to his humility ; but in cases of religion and morals, all this reverence to another's opinion is weak and unmanly.
A singular Recantation (intended). Thomson, the author of the Seasons, was of a most ingenuous disposition, which the following anecdotes will shew in a very strong light, as it is told by his ingenious countryman. “Thomson was so often put to the blush for the undeserved incense which he had offered in the heat of an enthusiastic disposition, misled by popular applause, that he had resolved to retract, in his last will, all the encomiums which he had thus prematurely bestowed, and to stigmatize the unworthy by name :--a laudable scheme of poetical justice; the execution of wbich was fatally prevented by
untimely death."-Preface to the Miscellaneous Works of Tobias Smollet, M. D, Edinburgh, 1817, 6 vols. 8vo.
A man who has few or no resources within himself to fill up the chasm that want of society occasions, and yet is desirous of solitude, acts no better that he who should purchase a large empty house, and is too poor in purse to put any furniture in it. The mansion must soon go to ruin. A man who quits the world, should manage as a skilful general does on leaving the main body of the enemy, have some little places with friends before him, and on both sides to secure his retreat. A few quiet and rational neighbours are sufficient to him who in solitude,
Exempt from public haunt,
As You Like It,
There are many men in society who, without one grain of imagination, one spark of ingenuity, gain the character of men of wit, at the expense of others. Their memories are good, though their invention is barren, and their garrulity and animal