Imagens das páginas

trees, with the yellow leaf sleeping on its bosom, and the trout roaming fearlessly about its limpid waters; while some rustic temple or sylvan statue, grown green and dark with age, gives an air of classic sanctity to the seclusion.

3. These are but a few of the features of park scenery; but what most delights me is the creative talent with which the English decorate the unostentatious abodes of middle life. The rudest habitation, the most unpromising and scanty portion of land, in the hands of an Englishman of taste, becomes a little paradise. With a nice discriminating eye, he seizes at once upon its capabilities, and pictures in his mind the future landscape.

4. The sterile spot grows into loveliness under his hand; and yet, the operations of art which produce the effect are scarcely to be perceived. The cherishing and training of some trees; the cautious pruning of others; the nice distribution of flowers and plants of tender and graceful foliage; the introduction of a green slope of velvet turf; the partial opening to a peep of blue distance, or silver gleam of water, all these are managed with a delicate tact, a pervading yet quiet assiduity, like the magic touchings with which a painter finishes up a favorite picture.

5. To this mingling of cultivated and rustic society may also be attributed the rural feeling that runs through British literature; the frequent use of illustrations from rural life; those incomparable descriptions of nature that abound in the British poets - that have continued down from "the Flower and the Leaf" of Chaucer, and have brought into our closets all the freshness and fragrance of the dewy landscape.

[ocr errors]

6. The pastoral writers of other countries appear as if they had paid nature an occasional visit, and become acquainted with her general charms; but the British poets have lived and reveled with her- they have wooed her in her most secret haunts they have watched her minute caprices. A spray could not tremble in the breeze, a leaf could not rustle to the ground, a diamond drop could not patter in the stream, a fragrance could not exhale from the humble violet, nor a daisy unfold its crimson tints to the morning, but it has been noticed by these impassioned and delicate observers, and wrought up into some beautiful morality.

[blocks in formation]

What's in a name?-that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Romeo and Juliet.

1. ADAM gave the name, when the Lord had made his creature, For God led them in review, to see what man would call them : As they struck his senses, he proclaimed their sounds,

A name for the distinguishing of each, a numeral by which it should

be known:

He specified the partridge by her cry, and the forest prowler by his


The tree by its use, and the flower by its beauty, and everything according to its truth.

2. There is an arbitrary name, whereunto the idea attacheth;
And there is a reasonable name, linking its fitness to idea:
Yet shall these twain run in parallel courses,

Neither shalt thou readily discern the habit from the nature.
For mind is apt and quick to wed ideas and names together,
Nor stoppeth its perception to be curious of priorities;
And there is but little in the sound, as some have vainly fancied,
The same tone in different tongues shall be suitable to opposite ideas
3. Yea, take an ensample in thine own; consider similar words:
How various and contrary the thoughts those kindred names produce;
A house shall seem a fitting word to call a roomy dwelling,
Yet there is a like propriety in the small smooth sound, a mouse:
Mountain, as if of a necessity, is a word both mighty and majestic,—
What heed ye, then, of fountain? — flowing silver in the sun.

4. Many a fair flower is burdened with preposterous appellatives,
Which the wiser simplicity of rustics entitled by its beauties;
And often the conceit of science, loving to be thought cosmopolite,*
Shall mingle names of every clime, alike obscure to each.

There is wisdom in calling a thing fitly; name should note particulars Through a character obvious to all men, and worthy of their instant acceptation.

5. The herbalist had a simple cause for every word upon his catalogue,

But now the mouth of Botany is filled with empty sound;

And many a peasant hath an answer on his tongue, concerning some vexed flower,

Shrewder than the centipede phrase wherewithal philosophers invest it. 6. For that, the foolishness of pride, and flatteries of cringing homi


Strew with chaff the threshing-floors of science; names perplex them


The entomologist, who hath pried upon an insect, straightway shall endow it with his name;

* One who is at home in every place-a citizen of the world

It had many qualities and marks of note,

but in chief, a vain ob


The geographer shall journey to the pole, through biting frost and


And, for some simple patron's sake, shall name that land, the happy : 7. The fossilist hath found a bone, the rib of some huge lizard, And forthwith standeth to it sponsor, to tack himself on reptile immortalities:

The sportsman, hunting at the Cape, found some strange-horned ante


The spots are new, the fame is cheap, and so his name is added.
Thus, obscurities encumber knowledge, even by the vanity of men
Who play into each other's hand the game of giving names.

8. Various are the names of men, and drawn from different wells; Aspects of body, or characters of mind, the creature's first idea: And some have sprung of trades, and some of dignities or office; Other some added to a father's, and yet more growing from a place : Animal creation, with sciences and things, their composites, and near associations,

[ocr errors]

Contributed their symbolings of old, wherewith to title men :

And heraldry set upon its cresture the figured attributes as ensigns
By which, as by a name concrete, its bearer should be known.

9. Egypt opened on the theme, dressing up her gods in qualities;
Horns of power, feathers of the swift, mitres of catholic dominion,
The sovereign asp, the circle everlasting, the crook and thong of justice,
By many mystic shapes and sounds displayed the idol's name.

10. Thereafter, high-plumed warriors, the chieftains of Etruria and Troy,

And Xerxes, urging on his millions to the tomb of pride, Thermopylæ,
And Hiero, with his bounding ships all figured at the prow,
And Rome's Prætorian standards, piled with strange devices,
And stout crusaders pressing to the battle, locked in shining steel,·
These, all in their speaking symbols, earned, or wore, a name.

11. Eve, the mother of all living, and Abraham, father of a multi tude,

Jacob the supplanter, and David the beloved, and all the worthies of old time,

Noah, who came for consolation, and Benoni, son of sorrow,

Kings and prophets, children of the East, owned each his title of significance.

12. There be names of high descent, and thereby storied honors; Names of fair renown, and therein characters of merit :

But to lend the lowborn noble names, is to shed upon them ridicule and


Yea, many weeds run rank in pride, if men have dubbed them cedars. And to herald common mediocrity with the noisy notes of fame, Tendeth to its deeper scorn; as if it were to call the mole a mammoth.

13. Yet shall he find the trader's babe dignified with sounding titles, And little hath the father guessed the harm he did his child:

For either may they breed him discontent, a peevish repining at his station,

Or point the finger of despite at the mule in the trappings of an elephant:

And it is a kind of theft to filch appellations from the famous,
A soiling of the shrines of praise with folly's vulgar herd.

14. Prudence hath often gone ashamed for the name they added to 'his father's,

If minds of mark and great achievements bore it well before ;

For he walketh as the jay in the fable, though not by his own folly; Another's fault hath compassed his misfortune, making him a martyr to his name.

15. Who would call the tench* a whale, or style a torch Orion?† Yet many a silly parent hath dealt likewise with his nursling. Give thy child a fit distinguishment, making him sole tenant of a name, For it were a sore hindrance to hold it in common with a hundred ; ‡ In the Babel of confused identities fame is little feasible,

The felon shall detract from the philanthropist, and the sage share honors with the simple:

Still, in thy title of distinguishment, fall not into arrogant assumption, Steering from caprice and affectations; and for all thou doest, have a


16. He that is ambitious for his son should give him untried names, For those that have served other men haply may injure by their evils; Or otherwise may hinder by their glories; therefore set him by himself, To win for his individual name some clear specific praise.

17. There were nine Homers, all goodly sons of song; but where is any record of the eight?

One grew to fame, an Aaron's rod, and swallowed up his brethren:
Who knoweth? more distinctly titled, those dead eight had lived;
But the censers were ranged in a circle, to mingle their sweets without
a difference.

18. Art thou named of a common crowd, and sensible of high aspirings?

It is hard for thee to rise,-yet strive: thou mayst be among them a


Art thou named of a family, the same in successive generations?

It is open to thee still to earn for epithets, such a one, the good or


19. Art thou named foolishly? show that thou art wiser than thy fathers, Live to shame their vanity or sin by dutiful devotion to thy sphere. Art thou named discreetly? it is well, the course is free;

No competitor shall claim thy colors, neither fix his faults upon thee;
Hasten to the goal of fame between the posts of duty,

And win a blessing from the world, that men may love thy name;
Yea, that the unction of its praise, in fragrance well deserving,
May float adown the stream of time, like ambergris at sea;

So thy sons may tell their sons, and those may teach their children,
He died in goodness, as he lived; and left us his good name.

[ocr errors]

* A fish of the carp family, found in fresh-water ponds in Europe, and generally about a foot long.

+ The brightest constellation in the southern hemisphere.

If this advice were followed, it would obviate the inconveniences arising from the present confusion of names.

§ Museus was a prophet mentioned by Virgil. He flourished under Cecrops, the second King of the Athenians. To him is attributed a poem, on the story of Hero and Leander, which Scaliger pronounces superior to the poems of Homer.

R. G. P

20. And more than these: there is a roll whereon thy name is writ


See that, on the Book of Doom, that name is fixed in light:

Then, safe within a better home, where time and its titles are not found,
God will give thee his new Name, and write it on thy heart:
A Name better than of sons, a Name dearer than of daughters,
A Name of union, peace and praise, as numbered in thy God.

[ocr errors]


On Reading. - Enfield.

READING can be considered as a mere amusement only oy the most vulgar or the most frivolous part of mankind. Every one, whom natural good sense and a liberal education have qualified to form a judgment upon the subject, will acknowledge that it is capable of being applied to an endless variety of useful purposes. This is, indeed, sufficiently evident, without any studied proof, from the nature of the thing. 2. For, what is reading but a method of conferring with men who, in every age, have been most distinguished by their genius and learning, of becoming acquainted with the result of their mature reflections, and of contemplating at leisure the finished productions of their inventive powers? From such an intercourse, conducted with a moderate share of caution and judgment, it must be impossible not to derive innumerable advantages.

3. The principal uses of reading may perhaps not improperly be referred to two objects, the improvement of the understand. ing and the exercise of imagination; whence books may be distinguished by two leading characters, Instructive and Interesting; and will be divided into two classes, Works of Knowledge and Works of Taste.

4. Between the two kinds of reading which books thus classed afford, there is one characteristic difference. In works which are merely intended to communicate knowledge, writing is made use of only as a vehicle of instruction; and therefore nothing further is necessary, or perhaps desirable, than that they should express the facts, or truths, which they are intended to teach, with perfect perspicuity of conception, arrangement and diction.

5. But in works of taste, the writing itself becomes a principal object of attention, as a representation of nature, more or less accurate, according to the powers which the writer possesses

« AnteriorContinuar »