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like the pit of a theatre. Before hearing the sermon we imagined it must have been built so, but ere it was through we concluded that the depression of the pulpit was rather to be ascribed to the weight of former discourses. The parson was an aged man, and with deference we say it, quite too old to preach ; not but that he had had life and spirit in him, for we saw his eye light up more than once, when, after church, we conversed with him and he told us of the scenes he had passed through in his earlier days, the battles of the revolution, but the fire flickered feebly now and he deserved the title “ Emeritus.” But we can hardly forgive him for one thing; he put us out of conceit with a favorite character of ours-the old parson in Goldsmith's “ Deserted Village.” Previous to the sermon he read a chapter from Isaiah, in which the prophet speaks of the thirsty earth's drinking in the rain, &c. and supposing that this was part of his discourse, one of the Trio remarked that he stole that idea from the Ode of Anacreon, so beautifully translated by Moore, commencing,
“ Observe, when mother earth is dry,
She drinks the droppings of the sky." This error, though, he could “ pardon more easily than his quoting from Shakspeare and calling him Shaking Peter !"
In the afternoon there was no preaching, and, preferring to do nothing rather than attend the Episcopal Church and hear the “ Father of all Freshmen" execute psalm tunes on the flute, to the delight of a gaping crowd, verdant as himself, we staid at home.
The next day we were to return, and the carriage having been brought to the door we were about to start, when Topboots, merry as usual, insisted on driving. To this we had decided objections'; however, considering it no more than fair to reason with a rational man rationally, we determined in this way to convince him of the folly of his wish. So one of us helped him in and handed the reins while the other unfastened the buckles by which they were attached to the bits, and all being at last right, we told him to drive on.
“ But get in.”
“ Well," and he chirrupped to the horse, who, not feeling the bit move, stood still.
“I say, Topboots, draw in the lines ; you must keep a taught rein.”
“ Yes, I will, but he don't pull at all; I can sling him back into the buggy. See here !” and he gave a jerk which drew the lines clear out and came near throwing himself out behind.
“Well, I don't see him in there, and I reckon I'd better drive."
“Well, drive, but if the d-d horse had only kept hold of his end I would have pulled him in.”
“ Of course you would, my dear Topboots, but good bye,” and the carriage dashed off toward the house of refuge amid three loud cheers from our friends we left behind. We stopped there to gaze a few moments and then left for Yale, where we arrived safely in the evening, well satisfied with our three days “ keeping tavern."
JACK F. New York City.
SONG OF A GUARDIAN SPIRIT. Maiden, wherefore do thine eye-lids
Drop upon thy face a tear? Maiden, wherefore do thy features
Tell there's something dark they fear? Have sad doubts of late appalled thee ?
Chilling fears disturbed thy breast ? From these harsh and cruel bodings,
Never here shalt thou find rest. Lethe's stream alone can cover
Treachery, such as thou hast borne ; Ah! poor maiden, by thy lover,
Long since thy fond heart was torn.
Did'st thou not behold the storm-cloud,
Hiding from the moon the sight, When thou, in his truth confiding,
Unto him thy troth did’st plight? Heard'st thou not the night-wind sighing,
Whispering faintly through the air, “Maid, the flower he now is culling,
Soon will wither-Maid, beware ?"
Felt thou not the hand that moved thee
From th' enchantment of his smile? Know'st thou not I wished to save thee,
With thy heart so free from guile? Maiden, fairest, tears most bitter,
Did I weep for thee that night; Well I knew the vows were falsehoods,
That were vowed thee in my sight. Banish, then, thy hope of meeting
Him who hast thy truth betrayed; He has left thee to thy sorrow,
Poor, forsaken, love-lorn maid. Onward, down that valley, gaze on
Water, dark-yea, black as Hell!
Fair! alas, thou knowest well.
Mark—thou see'st thy face so fair ;
Now it is no longer there.
Maiden, one hope yet is left thee;
Thy fair fame thou yet canst save;
Go-farewell! make it thy grave!
July 17th, 1846.
W. B. I.
THE STUDY OF HISTORY.
BY W. W. H.:
After passing through the dry details of college life, some time may be pleasantly and profitably spent in pursuing studies of a more intellectual character. Among which studies, none have a greater tendency to enrich and enlarge the mind than that of History. The vast field of Knowledge which it presents, demands the exercise of man's highest intellectual faculties. Equally distinct from the abstractness of Philosophy and the fervid license of Poetry, it calls in requisition both the understanding and the imagination; and if pursued with impar. tiality, its fruits will repay the most constant application. But if prejudice is allowed to intrude, the vastest acquirements become a mere heap of rubbish, bearing as little resemblance to a true knowledge of History as the flattering artist's profile of his noble patron did to the complete physiognomy. The deficient feature is undrawn. Or, had the opposite profile been presented, the impression would have been equally erroneous. Combine the two, and a perfect portrait is formed.
The love of History has its source in self-love, common alike to all ages and nations. The memoirs of former actors on the world's stage excite communings with our own hearts, and direct the imagination to the dim perspective of the Future, when our own acts shall be presented to the scrutiny of an impartial posterity. In childhood, the tales of a garrulous nurse first engage our attention. The cruelties of a Bluebeard cause our infantine eyes to sparkle with anger at the oppressor, or melt in compassionate tears for his hapless victims. In youth, we hang in rapture over the pictured pages of Romance, and in maturity we dwell with pleasure on the instructive lessons of History. The primary periods of every nation are characterized by rude attempts in poetic History. The ancient Britons celebrated the achievements of their ancestors in the songs of their Druids. These inflamed the tribes' martial spirit, while marching to battle. The war-chant of the American Indian is an enumeration of his great chief's valiant exploits, which enables him to brave death, and triumph over the agonies of the stake.
Of the students of History there are several classes, each of whom have a different aim in view. That of one is amusement. Another class consists of those who are desirous of collecting materials which will facilitate their intercourse with society. Their ambition seeks no higher gratification than the praises of a ball-room coterie. They luxuriate in the glitter of conversation. There are other classes, needless to mention, with all of whom the exalted powers of History are perverted to ignoble purposes. With such, the acquisitions of a lifetime are productive of no real benefit, for all knowledge which does not tend to improve the morals of the possessor or the society in which he moves, is nothing more than a creditable kind of ignorance.
But we will dwell no longer on the improper use of History. Our object is to point out its benefits. Nothing is more calculated to contract and entangle the operations of the mind, than sectional or national prejudice. The Chinese government, until a recent period, prohibited all intercourse with foreign nations. In consequence of this policy, they have become wedded to institutions which the gradual advancement of civilization, and the diffusion of knowledge, have supplanted, and they are now enveloped in that mental darkness which once overspread the globe. Dam a body of water within the enclosures of a mountain, and unless fresh rivulets flow in to wash off the impurities of decomposition, it will become a stagnant pool, foul in itself, destructive to the purity of the surrounding atmosphere, a slimy den for croaking frogs. Such is the influence of national prejudice. Let the mind revolve in the same small orbit, and it will never acquire force sufficient to expand its circle. But once open to it the rich sources of History, the useless chaff will be winnowed away, and the nutritious grain alone remain. Moisten the germ and the beauteous plant will shoot forth. He who has never wandered from his native village, lives and dies in ignorance. But let him view the manners of distant nations, his mental vision becomes clearer and his heart more charitable. He is able to appreciate the excellences and sympathize with the misfortunes of his fellow-men, even if they are not fellow-citizens. The same benefits arise from a study of History.
Of all riddles, the human heart is the most difficult of solution. The most intricate mechanism of art is explained by close examination. But our knowledge of the mainspring to man's actions, even the most intimate friend's, is imperfect. In History, this disguise is torn off ; some clue is found to unravel the mystery. The Poet says, with truth,
“ Distance lends enchantment to the view.” Virtues for which the living man received no due reward, shed a balo of glory around the dead. Prejudice, and the jealousy of party, may, for a while, obscure merit, but justice will be meeted out by an impartial posterity. Vice may rise and flourish on the shoulders of cunning and hypocrisy, but time will rend away the veil and expose its loathsome nakedness. The grave is a sweet retreat for the upright of soul, but in truth a dreadful reckoner for those whose conscience has been seared by crime. The lapse of a few centuries or years explains the cause of an Alexander's grief, or tests the sincerity of a Napoleon's patriotism.
History has been termed philosophy teaching by examples, and, in this view, we consider a study of it the most beneficial. We are so VOL. XI.
organized by nature that in all our actions we are, in part, guided by the precedents of others. In early years we are influenced, for good or evil, by our parents and those to whom we look for advice and protection. As we advance in life, the sphere of influence is extended. and we begin to look abroad for examples by which to form our character. At this period, History is the most useful of all studies. Then we can appreciate the justice of Cervantes, where he says, “ the mother of Truth is History, that rival of Time, that repository of great actions, witness of the Past, example and pattern of the Present, and oracle of future ages.” The voice of Nature pays involuntary homage to the great and illustrious. Where admiration exists the character will, in some measure, be assimilated to those by whom it is inspired. The faculties of the soul are quickened, refined, and expanded by a survey of the conduct of mankind. Tacitus truly observed, “ Pauci prudentia, honesta ab deterioribus, utilia ab noxus discernunt ; plures aliorum eventes docentur.” Every generation, which has inhabited the earth since its formation, was guided by its predecessor. This is the most important cause of the advancement of civilization. Principles are tested by experience. The good are preserved and adopted as examples, and the bad are repudiated. Thus every succeeding age is an improvement on the former. “The whole world is a school, of which History and Experience are the teachers.” The truth of this theory will appear by an attentive study of the life and character of the most distinguished men. Homer, with a masterly hand, delineated the character of an Achilles ; Alexander strove to imitate Achilles ; Cæsar, Alexander ; Charles XII., Cæsar; and Napoleon followed and surpassed them all.
We might point out isolated instances of those who imitated none; in other words, never made a study of History, and yet received the praises of their fellow-men. But such examples are extremely rare. Patrick Henry, independent of historical knowledge, was the most eloquent orator of his age. But will any one deny that a study of Demosthenes would have added brighter Justre to his genius? From the powerful impression made by the living upon those who are subjected to their influence, we can form an estimate of that which is exerted by the revered departed. While marching through the drear deserts of Northern Europe, the army of Charles XII. became exhausted from the want of water. A soldier, with great difficulty, obtained a small quantity and presented it to the King, who, in the presence of his thirsting army, poured it upon the earth. This heroic example revived the drooping spirits of the soldiers, and thenceforward they cheerfully encountered hardships, in which their leader participated.
So wonderful is the force of example. “Mitius jubetur exemplo.” The institutions of the Romans afford arguments elucidative of almost every subject within the range of human comprehension. Among which, we admire none more than that of adorning their halls with the bustos of their ancestors. These fired the living and aroused within them a spirit of noble emulation. In the learned language of Sallust, “ Memoria rerum gestarum eam flammam egregiis viris in pectore cres