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The justice' of our historian is not the justice of one day universally. The character he has hit upon to embody the fifth age' is not, perhaps, as applicable now as it was then. But Shakepeare himself was a 'justice, when he wrote the ages, not though as he painted him. It is his own age that, in our view, he fails to describe with perfect truth. But it has almost passed into an axiom that no man can write the history of his own times or of his own life. Then how can a justice describe a justice ? No American could at this time write the history of the administration of Andrew Jackson with impartiality; and it is satisfactory to think, that the life of John Quincy Adams will be written by some one in the next generation. The man looks with truth upon his boyhood, his loves, and his battles, but he does not know himself. The justice' is the age of wisdom, but not the wisdom of its own nature and time, but of the past.
A man may be a fool at thirty, and yet die a sage. Let him who has gleaned no knowledge at forty, who is a dupe, a bigot, and a sneak at this age, keep as much out of sight as possible. His case is hopeless. It is told as a great wonder in the history of mind, that Sheridan was a dull boy. Now he is called a dull boy who does not get his lessons at school, who hates books ; and it is precisely those minds that are not easily trammelled and harnessed by false systems of education, that are most likely to turn out well. Why expect the fruit before the harvest ? Why look for wisdom in the ages of experience ? Byron's early poetry was perhaps justly ridiculed. He who is a wonder as a boy, is rarely distinguished as a man. The boyhood of a distinguished man may be made to become a wonder, when read by the light of his manly deeds; when we have the key of his character at hand to decipher the riddle of his waywardness or dullness in his youth. The fruits that are early ripe are often wormeaten and unsound, and the minds that are precocious and forward, never arrive at perfect strength. Let him who is cosseted in his early years as a genius, content to stand upon the sandy foundation of a pretty thought, or a flowery college exercise, beware of neglecting the common; beware of neglecting those paths to wisdom which lie open to be trod in the market places of mankind.
The steps to the justice' or age of wisdom, are regularly progressive. A man may not jump the ‘lover' or the soldier' with impunity. This is the reason why some are never wise, because they are never boys, lovers, and soldiers, in a natural way; they are hurried, by ambitious and impatient parents, who always look at their children through magnifying glasses, over the early disciplinary ‘ages.' A boy is a lover when he should be playing ball; he passes into action when he should be sighing like furnace, and he becomes a long, lean, lank 'justice,' with no portliness nor .wise saws' in which to play his part.
Many poets who have been worshipped, were not men in independence, self-reliance, and resolution. Like the wandering harpers, the minstrels of old, they have been welcome in castle hall, in lady's bower. They have had the freedom of the world granted to them ; and by common consent have been supposed to be free from
the rules and obligations which bind working, every-day men. Their excesses have been pardoned as venial eccentricities, and all their
strangeness viewed as the peculiarities of genius. Persons very wise in their own estimation, fall into the palpable inconsistency of ridiculing those who would elevate common life into its real importance, and who would consecrate in poetry, not the wild, the
supernatural, the exaggerated, but simple action, way-side truth, the humble, the pure, the lowly; the cottage, not the palace; the cottager, not the king. Those very persons who now cry out so louldly against transcendentalism, the vague, the false, as they call it, are the men who, by their patronage and praise, have been the advocates of those who, so they wrote well, they were content should live very badly. They prefer
Byron and Goldsmith, the one an exile by his own ill-regulated passions, the other a vagabond and gambler, to Wordsworth, with his worship of nature, and his saint-like life.
Goldsmith never was a wise man or.justice.' He travelled widely, and mixed extensively with mankind.
He is wise by fits and starts, just in proportion as he follows his practical knowledge; and he is a fool in his new clothes, and at cards, and with his wine. Poor Goldy! We love thee while we condemn thee. We use thy faults for argu
for the benefit of truth; thy virtues need no trumpet. And thou thyself, in thy purified state, free from duns, landladies, and thy superiors in talk, who prevented thee irksomely from realizing at the moment the inward strength thou wert conscious of possessing, now robed in immortal clothing with no base, earthly senses to distract thy spirit, as thou indulgest thy roving propensities in speeding from world to world, in thy pursuits of divine history, if thou art stopping to look over my shoulder as I indite thy name, in the reckless generosity of thy nature, art willing for all sacrifices of thine own! Thou knowest my motive! Thou forgivest the apparent wrong! Come, let me read to thee the Deserted Village,' in this richly-bound volume of your works! A poor tribute, this gilding and binding, to thy merit! Know that thou art read in many a carefully worn book, by the light of the kitchen fire; that all know thee and love thee, and all acknowledge that 'e'en thy failings lean to virtue's side!'
Man was made to be a father, to have a family altar, to provide for the wants of his children. These acts develope his nature, and make him a “justice.' How foolish to suppose a house capable of erecting itself, or to suppose a human being can be wise without experience!
Those young men who are starting in life with high hopes, and who, in a noble spirit, have counted the cost of their undertaking, and determined upon the sacrifice, should not be discouraged when a young genius arises and shoots by them in their plodding course, seeming to take by intuition what costs them so much work. Let them recollect, that almost all those who lived in the body, years ago, and are not yet dead in the heart of the world, did not produce their lasting fruits until they had become 'justices;' been experienced in life, suffered its pangs, its ineffable miseries, and undergone its labor. Men may have a wonderful aptness in storing in their minds the knowledge of past ages, a retentive memory, a musical ear, fine taste, i. e., a good balance of the senses, the selections of the ear not offending the eye, and so through all, and yet be wanting, no matter how showy they may be, in a power to originate a single valuable idea. The makers are few; the sellers, the transporters, the box-fillers, the binders, many. For a young man to feel his faults, to know and lament his deficiencies, is the surest token of inherent soundness. He must not expect to be a “justice' in a hurry. Let him work, and patiently bide his time.
The early successes of the genius make him satisfied with himself, and endanger his mental health. He is apt to stop to contemplate his own elevation; to reap his reward, ere it is ripe for the plucking; while the late reapers gain the full harvest, pressed down and running over. If any one is anxious to test the truth of these remarks, we refer him to the eminent lawyers, profound philosophers, and eloquent and sound preachers of this or any time. Those men who have held the first places in the world's action, its honors and respect, as a general thing, either spent their youth in manual labor or some drudgery or other. After the age of twenty-five, many have begun their book-education, already educated to no common strength, and have sat with boys on a recitation bench, at school and college, and been taught by their juniors. They have had the courage and philosophy to do all this, and more, to support themselves through this iron labor (for books, words, signs, are no trifle to a man who has all his life been used to the real thing itself,) by services, in a menial capacity, so called, to the college; and then have by inches mounted the 'steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar,' and been rewarded for their chivalry and manliness. These are the justices,' and we hope they have their bellies with good capon lined,' or mutton or beef-steak, as they recount the history of their early struggles to their children. Surely it is no disgrace to a man to go well fed, let him be never so intellectual and philanthropic !
Wisdom is not always employed for good, and we must needs confess that most of the charlatanry in the world is perpetrated by middle-aged gentlemen or justices.' It is rarely the case that youth lends itself to a set piece of imposition. It may be driven to shifts, be led into crime, and plunged in despair, which very state is a proof of a not seared conscience. But a man must be long drilled, tightly cramped, and have seen a great deal of life, (we take the view of Shakspeare,) before he will be willing to put on the garb of wise saws and modern instances,' and play a part. The enthusiasm of youth passed, the hurry and bustle of action being over, many a man, being taught, by conscience and his wisdom, to read the selfishness and wickedness of his own heart, about whose purity and fitness for death he has had no time to consider, does try, at least, to assume the exterior, the reality of which he so much needs, and which bis moral nature demands, of virtue and sobriety; and without making any bones' about it, he joins churches; is enrolled in societies for the suppression of every thing, no matter what, so it bears the name of 'reform ;' begins to look grave; comb out his curls; keep a little memorandum-book of wise sayings; feed that disposition in the world to look up to the solemin quackery of humbug, and so ‘he plays his part.
Such an one, having learned the pleasures of temperance by the pains of excess, the folly of passion by the comforts of a constant equanimity, is prepared to enjoy an inferior kind of happiness in the gratifications of sense. He knows the rules of his stomach. You
do not catch him guzzling beer and oysters of a morning. He eschews cocktails, slings, and the whole tribe of toddies, and, ‘his fair round belly, with good capon lined,' he sips his weak brandy and water, or his diluted sherry, with the air of a man who is no novice, and who can predict to a shade the coats of his tongue at sunrise. Enviable justice! Thou worldly-wise, thou respectable man, through what dangers hast thou passed! How many severe head-aches and severe mortifications, sometimes burnt, and again only singed, has Time carried you! Where didst thou learn that voice, that swell and froth of utterance? Where that port, that measured gait, the blending of stage dignity and commercial consequence? Where learnedst thou the carriage of that cane ? What tailor made thy coat, the flaps so broad and respectable ?- and where gottest thou that hat, that looks new and old in a breath, with just enough of wear about it? I see thou hast a wife ; and she too, inestimable woman ! begins to fill out into respectability. Who could suppose either of you ever danced ? You seem to have been for ages what you now are. You look no older to-day than yesterday, or six years ago. Were you ever young? Did those eyes severe' in wisdom, ever look love, drop the tear of pity, or glisten with delight? Did those compressed lips ever cry ma,' or imprint a warm kiss ? Good justice, thou art not much to blame, but there certainly is a good deal to laugh at in your mock solemnity. You are acting a part. God speed you harmlessly to the end of the fifth act !
Now-laying aside the true justice, a man all benevolence and charity, who has learned to look as a philosopher and Christian upon the errors of man, who deals in large principles, and trades wholesale in virtue — there is your justice-merchant, your justice-deacon, your justice-parson, your justice-quack, your justice-reformer, and your justice-of-the-peace. The first makes no allowance for any body's faults but his own; the second sleeps in church, and votes a member out of meeting for getting in his hay on a showery Sunday; the third preaches what he does not believe; the fourth gives medicines he never takes himself; the fifth is crazy about the public virtue, to the neglect of all inward piety; the sixth often gets his appointment because fit for nothing else, or as a reward for twenty years' service to a party. Some of these do and some do not wear beards of formal cut. Some only shave once a week, out of compliment to a clean shirt. All are large eaters ; many sly drinkers. All are full of wise saws and modern instances, and so they play their part.'
HOPE is a goddess fairest seen,
BY GRACE GRAFTON.
In a beautiful valley, which had long since been redeemed from the rude hand of nature, and over which the art of man had spread the blessings of civilization, a noble mansion reared its walls. In the midst of a spacious plain it stood, and peace and plenty were there.
This goodly dwelling was inhabited by a dame called Virtue, who not only maintained order and discipline within its walls, but over the whole valley shed the influence of her wise laws and sober regulations. Virtue was a comely matron, and pleasant to look upon, when she wore a smile upon her brow, and walked abroad through peaceful scenes, to the natural beauty of which her prudence had added an air of sweet security. The majesty of a queen sat upon her brow, and the purity of an angel; and there was at times something so winning in her tranquil smile, that an unfortunate wretch who had often looked on her from a distance with wistful eyes, ventured one evening to approach under the shadow of twilight, and implore her protection.
The supplicant was one of those erring daughters of humanity for whom Vice, the great arch enemy of Virtue, bad set his snares, and not in vain. Poor fool ! - she had unwarily entered his enticing paths, and becoming sorely entangled, had made a desperate effort to retrace her steps; but not unscathed did she escape ; she had lost her fairest ornaments, and many a thorn bad pierced her feet and rent her garments.
Thus blemished and bent with shame, she appeared before Virtue, and humbly asked permission to tread the same road, and follow at a distance on her chaste footsteps.
Scarcely had this dejected form presented itself, when a sudden change came over the face of Virtue. As though a wintry wind had swept over her, she stood chilled and rigid, and scarcely opening her lips, motioned sternly with her raised arm to the sinner to depart. But not so was this child of error to be daunted. Still lingering near the sweet abode of Virtue, she haunted her steps, and hung upon her robe, and entreated beseechingly to be allowed once more to wind her way in silent obscurity through those paths of peace. Unii, observing ever that she was repulsed with scorn and abhorrence, she stepped aside, and fell once more into the snares of Vice, where fearful ills beset her, and evil fellowship corrupted. The blandishments of Pleasure and Wantonness, those thoughtless satellites of Vice, gave transient relief from the anguish of remorse, and with companions like unto these she revelled a while, forgetful of the charms of innocence, and indignant at the frowns of Virtue ; for a change had passed over her soul, from the moment she was cast off, degraded, from her last interview with that prudent and dignified lady. They never met again, except by chance, when, sad and weary, this wretched wanderer made a last feeble effort to regain her footing within the outskirts of Virtue's beautiful domain. Well might she struggle, for a yawning abyss was near, and many a fatal warning told her that her backward steps were sliding thitherward. But it