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TO AN INFANT AT ITS BIRTH. 203 around him suggested various expedients, by which he might evade the dangerous post assigned him. He made them the following heroic reply: “I thank you, my friends, for your solicitude — I know I can easily save my life, but who will save my honor, should I adopt your advice P”
TO AN INFANT AT ITS BIRTH.
HAIL! little tender flower
Whose bud has scarce an hour,
Midst storms thou'st shown thy head;
Thicken around thy bed,
But guardian hands are near
Lest winds in wild career
Then, tender flower, arise,
Shoot upwards to the skies
And though the garden'd earth
Immortal is thy birth,
And though thy lowly form
Thou'lt yet survive the storm,
THERE are many more shining qualities in the mind of man, but there is none so useful as discretion; it is this which gives a value to all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper times and places, and turns them to the advantage of the person who is possessed of them.
Without it, learning is pedantry, and wit impertinence; nay, virtue itself looks like weakness. Discretion not only shows itself in words, but in all the circumstances of action; and is like an under agent of Providence, to guide and direct us in the ordinary chances of life.
THE reply of Charles the Second, when importuned to communicate something of a private nature, deserves to be engraven on the heart of every man. “Can you keep a secret?” asked the subtle monarch. “Most faithfully,” returned the nobleman. “So can I,” was the laconic, and severe answer of the king.
PIEty is the only proper and adequate relief of decaying man. He that grows old without religious hope, as he declines into imbecility, and feels pains and sorrows incessantly crowding upon him, falls into the gulf of bottomless misery, in which every reflection must plunge him deeper, and where he finds only new gradations of anguish, and precipices of horror.
He that would pass the latter part of his life with honor
WALTER SCOTT. — COMPANY. 205
and decency, must, when he is young, consider, that he shall one day be old, and remember when he is old, that he has once been young. An old age, unsupported with matter for discourse and meditation, is much to be dreaded. No state can be more destitute than that of him, who, when the delights of sense forsake him, has no pleasures of the mind.
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
SIR WALTER Scott, when a boy, gave very slight indications of genius, nor did he shine in his early career as a scholar. In Latin, he did not advance far until his tenth year, when Dr Paterson succeeded to the school at Musselburg, where young Scott then was. Dr Blair, on a visit to Musselburg, soon after Dr Paterson took charge of the school, accompanied by some friends, examined several of the pupils, and paid particular attention to young Scott. Dr Paterson thought it was the youth's stupidity that engaged the Doctor's notice, and said, “My predecessor tells me that boy has the thickest skull in the school.”—“May be so,” replied Dr Blair, but through that thick skull, I can discern many rays of future genius.” How fully the prediction has been verified, need not be told.
CHOICE OF COMPANY.
ENDEAvor, as much as you can, to keep good company, and the company of your superiors; for you will be held in estimation according to the company you keep. By superiors, I do not mean so much with regard to birth, rank or condition, as merit, and the light in which they are considered in the world.
— Mercy is twice blessed;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings!
It is an attribute of God himself!
STAND ! the ground's your own, my braves'
Will ye give it up to slaves 1
Will ye look for greener graves 7
What's the mercy despots feel ?
Hear it in that battle peal |
Read it on yon bristling steel !
Fear ye foes who kill for hire :
GOOD EXAMPLE. — TRUTH. 207
In the God of battles trust'
Living under the influence of a bright example, is to the soul, what breathing a pure, wholesome air is to the body. We find ourselves mended and improved, and invigorated by both, without any sensible impression made upon us, and without perceiving how the happy change is brought about.
When people offer us advice, it often seems to argue a kind of superiority which sometimes piques and offends us. We are apt to set ourselves against it, out of mere pride. — But we cannot possibly be angry at a man for taking care of his own conduct, for going on the right road himself, and leaving us to follow him or not, as we think fit.
THE Egyptians of old ever used to wear a golden chain, beset with precious stones, which they styled truth, intimating that to be the most illustrious ornament. The sacred writings tell us that “God is truth,” and therefore to pervert the use of our speech, which so remarkably distinguishes us from the beasts that perish, must be a high offence to him.