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[Sir Thomas Overbury was a gentleman of good family, born at Compton Scorfen, in Warwickshire, in 1581. He was educated at Oxford. He became a great favourite in the Court of King James the First, bot soon fell a sacrifice to the jealousy of the infamous Earl of Somerset, who caused him to be poisoned in the Tower, in the 33d year of his age. Those concerned in the murder were afterwards brought to justice.
He was the author of The Wife, and other poems; and of Characters,' from which the following is an extract. He was reputed one of the most accomplished men of his time.]
A FAIR and happy milkmaid is a country wench, that is so far from making herself beautiful by art, that one look of hers is able to put all face-physic out of countenance. She knows a fair look is but a dumb orator to commend virtue, therefore minds it not. All her excellences stand in her so silently, as if they had stolen upon her without her knowledge. The lining of her apparel, which is herself, is far better than outsides of tissue; for though she be not arrayed in the spoil of the silk-worm, she is decked in innocence, a far better wearing. She doth not, with lying long in bed, spoil both her complexion and conditions: nature hath taught her too immoderate sleep is rust to the soul; she rises therefore with Chanticlere, her dame's cock, and at night makes the lamb her curfew. In milking a cow, and straining the teats through her fingers, it seems that so sweet a milk-press makes the milk whiter or sweeter; for never came almond-glore, or aromatic ointment on her palm to taint it. The golden ears of corn fall and kiss her feet when she reaps them, as if they wished to be bound and led prisoners by the same hand that felled them. Her breath is her own, which scents all the year long of June, like a new-made haycock. She makes her hand hard with labour, and her heart soft with pity; and when winter evenings fall early, sitting at her merry wheel, she sings defiance to the giddy wheel of fortune. She doth all things with so sweet a grace, it seems ignorance will not suffer her to do ill, being her mind is to do well, She bestows her year's wages at next fair, and in chusing her garments, counts no bravery in the world like decency. The garden and bee-hive are all her physic and surgery, and she lives the longer for it. She dares go alone and unfold sheep in the night, and fears no manner of ill, because she means none; yet, to say truth, she is never alone, but is still accompanied with old songs, honest thoughts, and prayers, but short ones: yet they have their efficacy, in that they are not palled with ensuing idle cogitations. Lastly, her dreams are so chaste, that she dare tell them; only a Friday's dream is all her superstition; that she conceals for fear of anger. Thus lives she, and all her care is, she may die in the spring time, to have store of flowers stuck upon her winding-sheet.
STORY OF A BETROTHED PAIR;
From Crabbe's Borough.
[Mr. Crabbe is a living writer of the most original excellence. He has published several volumes of Poetry, in which he has chosen for his subjects the peculiar virtues and vices, blessings and miseries, of humble life. He has looked upon the Labouring Classes with the most diligent observation; and he has written concerning them in a manner that must awaken the most Christian feelings in themselves, and the warmest benevolence in those who have the means of doing them service, The following pathetic story is a beautiful specimen of his powers. Mr. Crabbe is a Clergyman of the Church of England.]
YES! there are real mourners-I have seen
Happy he sail'd, and great the care she took
He call'd his friend, and prefac'd with a sigh
Would I could see my Sally, and could rest C My throbbing temples on her faithful breast, And gazing go!-if not, this trifle take, And say, till death I wore it for her sake: Yes! I must die-blow on, sweet breeze, blow on! 'Give me one look before my life be gone;
Oh! give me that, and let me not despair,
He had his wish, had more; I will not paint
Still long she nurs'd him; tender thoughts meantime Were interchang'd, and hopes and views sublime. To her he came to die, and every day She took some portion of the dread away; With him she pray'd, to him his Bible read, Sooth'd the faint heart, and held the aching head She came with smiles the hour of pain to cheer; Apart she sigh'd; alone, she shed the tear; Then, as if breaking from a cloud, she gave Fresh light, and gilt the prospect of the grave.
One day he lighter seem'd, and they forgot
She plac'd a decent stone his grave above,
She would have griev'd, had friends presumed to spare
Here will she come and on the grave will sit,
THE CHARACTER OF A HAPPY LIFE.
[By Sir Henry Wotton.]
[Sir Henry Wotton was born in 1568. He was educated at Winchester, and as New College, Oxford; and after travelling through most of the countries of Europe, was employed by King James I. as his Ambassador to several of the Foreign Courts. As a reward for his faithful services, he was appointed (although a Layman) Provost of Eton College, in 1623, where he died 1639.
The latter days of this accomplished Scholar were spent in literary retirement, during which he composed many valuable works in History, Science, and Poetry, of which the following is an interesting specimen.]
The Christian Monitor;
LECTURES ON THE BIBLE.
A FAMILIAR acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures is absolutely incumbent upon all who have the means of reading them. In these days, when Education is open to every one, few can stand excused for remaining ignorant of the Word of God. But it is not found that the most ignorant are always the most disinclined to this study. It is disheartening to observe the number of those who, with every qualification to examine the Bible for themselves, still leave it on the shelf, or open it but for form's sake on Sundays. To such we would remark, that they little know its value even as an historical work, as a book of mere amusement, still less its importance as containing all that is essential to Salvation. Thousands neglect it as a dull Book, and tens of thousands refuse to unclasp it lest they should find themselves condemned in every page.
Many persons rest satisfied with a confused notion of its contents, and think their duty performed by reading a Chapter now and then as a Task. Such readers know as little of the Bible as of the Koran, and if suddenly called upon to give an account of it, would be utterly at a loss what to answer. More persons of Education share in this gross ignorance than are willing to confess it. We are persuaded that many well acquainted with the general history and literature of their country, are more ignorant of the Bible than the humblest Charity-Boy.
Sensible of the importance of doing all in our power to lessen the number of those who are yet strangers to the Sacred Writings, we propose to lay before our Readers a Summary Account of the Books of the Old and New Testament, to enable any of our Readers who may not hitherto have had leisure or inclination to seek such informa tion for themselves, more clearly to perceive the connection and mutual dependence of the several parts of Scripture.
These Lectures are the substance of a course of familiar addresses personally delivered on board one of His Majesty's Ships on a foreiga station. The cordiality with which they were received, and the high satisfaction the author experienced from this endeavour to