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the soulless pen, and the snow-white, virgin paper.
Your soul is measuring itself by itself, and saying its own sayings: there are no sneers to modify its utterance,-no scowl to scare; nothing is present but you and your thought. Utter it then freely-write it down-stamp it-burn it in the ink!-There it is, a true soul-print!
3. Oh, the glory, the freedom, the passion of a letter! It is worth all the lip-talk of the world. Do you say, it is studied, made up, acted, rehearsed, contrived, artistic? Let me see it then; let me run it over: tell me age, sex, cir'cumstances, and I will tell you if it be studied or reäl; if it be the mērèst lip-slang put into words, or heart-talk blazing on the paper.
4. I have a little packet, not very large, tied up with narrow crimson ribbon, now soiled with frequent handling, which far into some winter's night I take down from its nook upon my shelf, and untie, and open, and run over, with such sorrow and such joy, such tears and such smiles, as I am sure make me, for weeks after, a kinder and holiër man.
5. There are in this little packet letters in the familiar hand of a mother what gentle admonition-what tender affection! God have mercy on him who outlives the tears that such admonitions and such affection call up to the eye! There are others in the budget, in the delicate and unformed hand of a loved and lost sister;-written when she and you were full of glee, and the best mirth of youthfulness: does it harm you to recall that mirthfulness? or to trace again, for the hundredth time, that scrawling postscript at the bottom, with its 's so carefully dotted, and its gigantic t's so carefully crossed, by the childish hand of a little brother?
6. I have added latterly to that packet of letters: I almost need a new and longer ribbon; the old one is getting too short. Not a few of these new and cherished letters, a former Reverie has brought to me; not letters of cold praise, saying it was well done, artfully executed, prettily imagined-no such thing; but letters of sympathy-of sympathy which means sympathy.
7. It would be cold and dastardly work to copy them; I am too selfish for that. It is enough to say that they, the kind writers, have seen a heart in the Reveric-have felt that it was real, true. They know it: a secret influence has told it. What matters it, pray, if literally there was no wife, and no dead child,
and no coffin, in the house? Is not feeling, feeling; and heart, heart? Are not these fancies thronging on my brain, bringing tears to my eyes, bringing joy to my soul, as living as any thing human can be living? What if they have no material type-no objective form? All that is crude,-a mere reduction of ideality to sense-a transformation of the spiritual to the earthy-a leveling of soul to matter.
8. Are we not creatures of thought and passion? Is any thing about us more earnest than that same thought and passion? Is there any thing more real,-more characteristic of that great and dim destiny to which we are born, and which may be written down in that terrible word-FOREVER? Let those who will, then, sneer at what in their wisdom they call untruth--at what is false, because it has no material presence: this does not create falsity; would to Heaven that it did!
9. And yet, if there was actual, material truth, superadded to Reverie, would such objectors sympathize the more? No!-a thousand times, no; the heart that has no sympathy with thoughts and feelings that scorch the soul, is dead also-whatever its mocking tears and gestures may say-to a coffin or a grave! Let them pass, and we will come back to these cherished letters.
10. A mother who has lost a child, has, she says, shed a tear -not one, but many-over the dead boy's coldness. And another, who has not, but who trembles lest she lose, has found the words failing as she reads, and a dim, sorrow-borne mist spreading over the page. Another, yet rejoicing in all those family ties that make life a charm, has listened nervously to careful reading, until the husband is called home, and the coffin is in the house—"Stop!" she says; and a gush of tears tells the rest. Yet the cold critic will say "It was artfully done." A curse on him! it was not art; it was nature.
11 Another, a young, fresh, healthful girl-mind, has seen something in the love-picture-albeit so wcak-of truth; and has kindly believed that it must be earnest. Ay, indeed is it, fair and generous one,-earnest as life and hope! Who, indeed, with a heart at all, that has not yet slipped away irreparably and forever from the shores of youth-from that fairy-land which young enthusiasm creates, and over which bright dreams hover-but knows it to be real? And so such things will be
real, till hopes are dashed, and Death is come. Another, a father, has laid down the book in tears.-God bless them all! How far better this, than the cold praise of newspaper paragraphs, or the critically contrived approval of colder friends!
12. Let me gather up these letters carefully,—to be read when the heart is faint, and sick of all that there is unreal and selfish in the world. Let me tie them together, with a new, and longer bit of ribbon,-not by a love knot, that is too hard -but by an easy slipping knot, that so I may get at them the better. And now they are all together, a snug packet, and we will label them, not sentimentally (I pity the one who thinks it), but earnestly, and in the best meaning of the term-REMEMBRANCERS OF THE HEART. D. G. MITCHELL.
55. SELECT PASSAGES IN PROSE.
I. GOOD USE OF MEMORY.
CAN not too strongly urge upon the of committing to memory the choicest passages in prose and poëtry in English literature. What we learn thoroughly when young, remains by us through life. "Sir," said the great Dr. Johnson to Boswell,' "in my early days I read very hard. It is a sad reflection, but a true one, that I knew almost as much at eighteen as I do now. My judgment, to be sure, was not so good; but I had all the facts. I remember very well when I was at Oxford, an old gentleman said to me, 'Young man, ply your book diligently now, and acquire a stock of knowledge; for when years come unto you, you will find that pōring upon books will be but an irksome task.'
II. INJUDICIOUS HASTE IN STUDY.-LOCKE.
THE eagerness and strong bent of the mind after knowledge, if not warily regulated, is often a hinderance to it. It still presses into further discoveries and new objects, and catches at
'James Boswell, the friend and biographer of Dr. Johnson, born 1740, and died 1795.
"John Locke, a name than which there is none higher in English philosophical literature, author of the
celebrated "Essay Concerning the Human Understanding," was born at Wrington, near Bristol, England, on the 29th of August, 1632, and died at Oates, in Essex, on the 28th of October, 1704.
the variety of knowledge, and therefore often stays not long enough on what is before it, to look into it as it should, for haste to pursue what is yet out of sight. He that rides post through a country may be able, from the transient view, to tell in general how the parts lie, and may be able to give some loose description of here a mountain and there a plain, here a morăss' and there a river; woodland in one part and savannas in another. Such superficial ideas and observations as these he may collect in galloping over it; but the more useful observations of the soil, plants, animals, and inhabitants, with their several sorts and properties, must necessarily escape him; and it is seldom men ever discover the rich mines without some digging. Nature commonly lodges her treasures and jewels in rocky ground. If the matter be knotty, and the sense lies deep, the mind must stop and buckle to it, and stick upon it with labor, and thought, and close contemplation, and not leave it until it has mastered the difficulty and got possession of truth.
But here, care must be taken to avoid the other extreme: a man must not stick at every uselèss nicety, and expect mysteries of science in every trivial question or scruple that he may raise. He that will stand to pick up and examine every pebble that comes in his way, is as unlikely to return enriched and laded with jewels, as the other that traveled full speed. Truths are not the better nor the worse for their obviousness or difficulty, but their value is to be measured by their usefulness and tendency. Insignificant observations should not take up any of our minutes; and those that enlarge our view, and give light toward further and useful discoveries, should not be neglected, though they stop our course, and spend some of our time in a fixed attention:
STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for orna
1 Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor of England under James I., author of the "Instauratio Magna," was born in London on 22d of January, 1561, and died in 1626. The immortal Englishman possessed a mind so vast, with powers so varied, that it can not be said that any one depart
ment of labor, or species of activity, belonged to him peculiarly. From early manhood Bacon was immersed in public affairs, intrusted with very onerous functions: in the first rank of jurisconsult, he moved in the work of reforming and arranging the laws of England; as a statesman, he la
ment, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshaling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is slōth ; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar: they perʼfect nature, and are perfected by experience-for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give fōrth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation.
Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man: and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.
IT is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds, and these invaluable means of communication are in the reach of all. In the best books great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of
bored effectively in promotion of the British treaty of Union; as a historian, he produced the first meritorious history in English literature,
viz., the “ Reign of Henry VII. ;" as orator and writer, he had no equal in his age; and, besides, he renovated Philosophy.