« AnteriorContinuar »
remarks on the lesson of every day as it was read ; until his father, finding the contest with nature likely in this case to turn out in vain, at last consented that he should proceed to the University. He had been but a short time, however, at Cambridge, when his father died; and this event leaving him almost literally penniless, compelled him with a heavy heart to bid farewell also to this new theatre of his ambition. Yet these cruel disappointments, and a long succession of other struggles with indigence and misfortune by which they were followed, did not prevent Parr from attaining eventually the distinction he merited, and becoming one of the greatest scholars of his time. Such early difficulties form often, indeed, the very influences to which no small portion of the future eminence of their victims is to be attributed. The late illustrious mathematician, Lagrange used to say, that he certainly never should have been the mathematician he had turned out, if he had been born to a fortune instead of having to make his own way to one.
It is related of the painter Joseph Ribera, commonly called LO SPAGNOLETTO, that after having for some time pursued his art at Rome in great indigence, he was patronized by one of the cardinals, who, giving him apartments in his palace, enabled him to live at his ease; but that, after a while, finding himself growing indolent amid his new comforts and luxuries, he actually withdrew himself from their corrupting influence, and voluntarily returned to poverty and labor, thus exhibiting the choice of Hercules in real life, and verifying the beautiful fiction of Xenophon.
Rise, O young friend-rise reader of the Guardian, and say no longer that you are too poor to be wise. The path to the pleasant eminences of science lie open to all, and in most of cases-yes in most of cases—the rich loiter, while the poor crowd on and gain the prize.
The herbage to the ground;
Which scatters freshness round.
From drops at random flung,
Drop from a parent's tongue.
OUR EARLY LOVES.
BY ELIA. Ah! those were glorious days—the days of our boyhood ! How our blood tingles in the veins when we think of them! The old school-house, which rang with the peals of our merry laughter. Those joyous, light-hearted laughs which children only have; we have them not now; a sickly smile perhaps, or boisterous explosion, that exercises the lungs and lips only, not the heart. Then, too, the play-ground, I can get see the hole, made to roll the ball into; the shinnies too—I can get see the old holes in the school-house where we hid them after play.
In those plays we all displayed the germs of our character. And now when I look upon my mates grown up, it is a rare instance not to find that developed which I can dimly remember as theirs when we played together. We can remember who always kept good balls, paddles, shinnies; who were honorable and just who cheated and lied—who, by cunning arguments, convinced the more unsophisticated—they come now before me as I beckon to them and stand clearly out-I find them but the duplicates of the present, on a smaller scale. The recollections of our school-days are essentially the same the world over. Still when we compare them we find in ours in America a wilder freedom; the birch dared not to be used so arbitrarily-our parents, still retaining the untamed spirit and unconventionalized manners of the early settlers, would not permit unwarrantable exercise of arbitrary power-just released from the stamp-act, and the galling contempt of Britain, they took our part—we were too free some of us had better been birched a little more. .
One reminiscence of our boyhood comes back to us like a fairy dream; but has more-we feel assured of its reality. Memory loves to linger fondly over it. Its light shining through the "rose-colored vial” tinges that part of life with its soft hues, making it lovely to look upon, and suffusing the encrusted heart of manhood with tenderness, and making it soft and new as it was then. We are apt when looking back, to forget the thorns and think only of the flowers. In the landscape behind us “distance lends enchantment to the view.” Behind and before us all looks beautiful ; it is only where we stand that there are sharp rocks and painful footing; it is only above us that the dark cloud hangs—the east, the west, the north, and the south are clear as “Italia's sky.” It is well it is so. We laugh at the past and prepare for the future. What is this pleasing reminiscence ? It is our early loves. How innocent they were ! How from all mercenary thought and lustful desire ! There they are brightly pictured free from taint or spot. Sure angel's wwwwwww loves could scarce be more pure! How pretty and guiltless, how enchanting and fairy were our day dreams then! They were not crushed ! No! It seems one happy circumstance that those delightful, dream-like visions which a youthful, inexperienced, and uncorrupted fancy formed for us, and put up along our imaginary way, are not cruelly crushed and torn down over our heads blinding, disturbing and discouraging. No! he who made us was more thoughtful and kind. Time, the “Assuaging Goddess," as she showed us more of the world and a corresponding capacity to take it in ; as she showed how different life is from what we imagined, kindly and gradually made known to us the impossibility of their realization. Not rude was she, nor did it jar us to discover it, but we went on building again, again to be quietly swept away. So quietly and del. icately is this done, that we scarcely feel regret for them. The world has appeared in a new light. The building did not suit. It was a mere "airy nothing." Let it go, another is easily built.
But our early loves. They seem so free from the motives which afterwards influence us. We see no wealth; we see no rank and family ; even beauty seems to have very little to do with them, but innocence casts a halo of beauty around every one. It is the commingling of pure and happy spirits—the guileless heart goes out, like the tendrils of the creeper, eager to catch something to cling and twine around ; almost unconscious of what it seeks, the gentle air blows it hither and thither, until as by chance, we might say, it caught the unknown object, innocently entwines itself, sure in that time of life of finding the object as good and guileless as itself. There is too an individuality about it that is pleasing. The hills of our native valley are the bounds of our world. We know little beyond the circle of acquaintance. Notwithstanding we have read of a world out beyond, that idea is too vast for our undeveloped minds to comprehend, and it is as though it were not. In fact Byron's prayer is almost realized,
"Oh that the desert were my dwelling place,
With one fair spirit for my minister.” It is the littleness of our world, and the absence of those motives which afterward distract us, we seem to be alone. We have no rivalry, or at least we have not yet the hardihood to endeavor to supplant. Indeed though we meet no return we are in blissful ignorance of it. We live on a smile and build on a glance. So unsophisticated are we, that the possibility or probability of the fair object of our thoughts not loving us never enters our mind, but we live on in a sort of presumed certainty. There are butterflies then too, as well as afterwards, and there are
young hearts that are steadfast and loyal. Some have impressions, like the light fleecy clouds they fit along the smiling sky, and rapidly float away to join the innumerable throng that went before, and mingle with them in one confused, indiscriminate mass; never recalled and only remembered when seen far away hovering dimly on the edge of the horizon.
There are others which the stout and loyal young heart has never effaced, and though perhaps never renewed, they are remembered with leasure. They are the lights which shed their mellowing rays `pon the landscape which is behind, and look lovingly upon him as he gazes back with moistened eye and softened heart, after being rudely buffeted, and forgetting them for the time being, amid sterner scenes. There they linger, seemingly always departing yet never going, until when about stepping into the boat, when “the fair mermaid pilot calls him away” to another land, they come up nearer and become as yesterday; driving away the rough and painful recollections of middle life, gently taking their place, to gladden reflection and give an imitation of far purer joys.
FEMALE EDUCATION. There does not appear any reason why the education of women should differ in its essentials, from that of men. The education which is good for human nature is good for them. They are a part—and they ought to be in a much greater degree than they are, a part of the effective contributors to the welfare and intelligence of the human family. In intellectual as well as in other affairs, they ought to be fit helps to man. The preposterous absurdities of chivalrous times still exert a wretched influence over the character and allotment of women. Men are not polite but gallant; they do not act towards women as to beings of kindred habits and character, as to beings who, like the other portion of mankind, reason, and reflect, and judge, but as to beings who please, and whom men are bound to please. Essentially there is no kindness, no politeness in this, but selfishness and insolence. He is the man of politeness who evinces his respect for the female mind. He is the man of insolence who tacitly says, when he enters into the society of women, that he needs not to bring his intellects with him. I do not mean to affirm that these persons intend insolence, or are conscious always of the real character of their habits: they think they are attentive and polite; and habit has become so inveterate, that they really are not pleased if a woman by the vigor of her conversation, interrupts the pleasant trifling to
which they are accustomed.' Unhappily, a great number of women themselves prefer this varnished and gilded contempt to solid respect. They would rather think themselves fascinating than respectable. They will not see, and very often they do not see, the practical insolence with which they are treated : yet what insolence is so great as that of half a dozen men, who, having been engaged in an intelligent conversation, suddenly exchange it for frivolity if ladies enter.
For this unhappy state of intellectual intercourse, female education is in too great a degree adapted. A large class are taught less to think than to shine. If they glitter, it matters little whether it be the glitter of gilding or of gold. To be accomplished is of greater interest than to be sensible. It is of more consequence to this class to charm by the tones of a piano, than to delight and invigorate by intellectual conversation. The effect is reciprocally bad. An absurd education disqualifies them for intellectual exertion, and that very disqualification perpetuates the degradation. I say the degradation, for the word is descriptive of the fact. A captive is not the less truly bound because his chains are made of silver and studded with rubies.
The intellectual education of females is certainly not what it ought to be, or what it might be. Some waste their hours over “grammar books," and "geography books,” and lesson booksover Latin sometimes, and Greek; and, if the remark can be adventured on, over stitching and hemming too. Something must be amiss when a girl is kept two or three hours every day in acquiring the art of sewing. What that something is—whether it is practised like parsing, because it is common, or whether more accurate proficiency is expected than reason would prescribe, I presume not to determine; but it may safely be concluded, that if a portion, equal to a fourth or a third part of those years which are afforded to that mighty subject, the education of the human mind, is devoted to the acquisition of one manual art like this—more is devoted than any one who reasons upon the subject can justify.
If then we were wise enough to regard women, and if women were wise enough to regard themselves, with that real practical respect to which they are entitled, and if the education they received was such as that respect would dictate, we might hereafter have occasion to say, not as it is now said, that in "England women are queens,” but something higher and greater; we might say that in every thing social, intellectual, and religious, they were fit to co-operate with man, and to cheer and assist him in his endeavors to promote his own happiness, and the happiness of his family, his country, and the world.