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And hath he ceased his jour - ney - ing, And to the 1—'
land of spi - rits flown? A - las! the day set low - er - ing Whose
Death felled his earth - ly te - ne - ment, And chilled the life - blood
round the heart; Yet, though on fa - tal er - rand sent, He could not
It would be a painfully exciting study, could we make it from its living authorities, whither precisely we are travelling under our present escort of evil precedents, false principles. It would take us to the first commencements of domestic relations, to examine carefully what maxims and rules there bear sway. Remembering that every thing in morals and taste, according to its nature, has its right and wrong, we should be anxious to ascertain whether the every-day questions of disposition, behavior, intercourse, were measured by the immutable standard of the just and true, or merely on the mercurial scale of out-door decisions. We could forecast with some accuracy the grown-up destinies of a household of youth by learning whether children or parents held the family sceptre. If a boy or girl at two years of age has taken possession of the Beat of power, and at ten or twelve has not resigned it, there in all likelihood is the beginning of an agency of life-long disturbance in the community. If there be thousands of just such incipient rebellions against reason and right feeling in the land, we can judge of the prospects of our future social equilibrium. It is a nice thing to steady a pyramid on its apex— too nice for successful practice. Nor would it be aside from our search to observe concerning matters of mere taste, whether there was an intelligent effort to develop the soul's innate eense of beauty and fitness, or a slavish sensitiveness to the decrees of fashion; whether nature were chiefly consulted as the teacher of a true loveliness, or the quarterly expansions and contractions of a Parisian costume-plate. Overhearing, among the older members of a domestic circle, the long and eager discussion of some gay party, just come off, with a copious admixture of keen criticism and malicious satire over the dress ond bearing, the style and entertainment of the company, we might discover where the more youthful listeners were taking the lessons of vanity and pride, of envy and ill-will, and wasteful extravagance, to teach again, by-and-by, to their
own of&pring, both by precept and example. Did that forward lad learn to speak irreverently of the gray locks of venerable old age; did he catch the spirit of revolt against his instructor or employer, from contemptuous expressions dropped in his ear by elder men, who forgot who was noting every word, every tone of the jest and the laugh of rude disrespect I Are he juvenile germs of evil among us on a fearful scale, like plants growing under the forced heat of our conservatories, but for no purposes of beauty or usefulness f
We are a precocious people, and for better or worse, we ripen very early. We seem determined to show the world that our doctrine of popular sovereignty is a perfect philosopher's stone, to transmute whatever it touches into the shine and the shimmer of gold. And so, that we may all glitter in the general glory, we beat out the precious metal very thin, and lay it over immense varieties of all qualities of substances; and in the wondrous flashings of this tinsel, we dream that we are really as costly as we are brilliant. We ignore the iron age of homespun virtues, of modest worth, and value things by their surfaces. We elevate folly and neglect wisdom; pretension, and forget proficiency. We run by the doors of truth and probity, to huzza at the heels of noisy ambition and impudent charlatanry. Quackery and humbug are the twin gods of the million. Thousands act as if they believed that a chief end of life is to be imposed upon. We seem determined to distance competition in our devotion to popular absurdities and vices. We are a " fast" people, and we rather feel complimented by being told so. Old heads and prudent are in small demand, save to make money for the juniors to spend. The "Potiphar Papers" are said to be no caricature of life in the metropolis. And, as if to outdo even transatlantic dissipation, our genteelest circles rather patronize a semi-drunkenness as haul ton, which no respectable female society in Europe would tolerate even in their