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dullest face of the most unsocial man that meets the eye. Trees and stones are less suggestive materials. In crowds, we catch, whether we will or not, a part of the enthusiasm of the day. The mind is excited by the frequent impressions.
THE misery and sorrow which appear in large cities, and turn many away, should only speak of humanity and equality, for all are equal in suffering.
THERE are some thoughts that can never be gained in the crowd, and in most instances the mind must seek in retirement for fineness and delicacy of perception. In solitude, we separate the real from the untrue, and so return to the world to handle its topics with more strength; to seize the heart of the subject with greater directness.
The only way to respect the feelings and sensibilities of others, is to gain a knowledge of ourselves. We reason of others from our own stock of ideas, and feel for them in proportion to our possession of home-felt passion.
Solitude, by itself, is chastening. To know the air silent around us, that there is not a voice within hearing through the palpable darkness, is to be conscious of an awful presence, kindred to the stillness of the grave.
We should come forth from retirement not unsocial misanthropists, but like the prophet of old, our very countenances radiant with benevolence, to shine upon the world.
Let the man then be spared and reverenced, who finds his aliment in solitude; who cares more for the feast of his own thoughts, than for the tables of rich citizens; who thanks God for his leisure, and weaves dreams of happiness for mankind.
Remember the solitude of Milton in his blindness.
THE greater part of the world, most men of business, are never alone one half hour out of the day. Is it a wonder that there is a lack of individuality in society, or that so few men are ever in advance of the circumstances of life?
THE word Vulgar. This word has done a great deal toward keeping up a social prejudice against much honesty, integrity, and worth, in the poorer classes of society. What is low-lived is said to be vulgar, from the Latin vulgus; but this meaning has been altered by Christianity, by the improvements of society, from physical causes, and the diffusion of education generally, since the Romans.
By vulgar' should be understood whatever is lax, because it is untrue, or opposed to the laws of propriety.' It is vulgar not to speak to a man in a common dress, if he can tell you something new. is vulgar to laugh at a man, when you should weep with him. There is a vulgarity of soul as well as of manners. The highest instance of vulgarity is unmitigated contempt. Lying is extreme vulgarity.
Vulgar is the antipodes to Noble; and the use of the latter word may throw some light on the former. Noble is a word no longer confined to a nobleman by birth; it has descended to all classes, while the other word should have risen as well.
ASSERTING the truth confidently, on all occasions, does not needfully imply proselytism, by which I mean, personal conversion to some particular tenets. The truth may be felt, without the man who utters it being seen. Proselytism is a local spirit; Truth is universal. One is of man, the other is of GOD; one may be wrong, the other will secure the right in the end.
GENTLENESS of mind is the foundation of good manners, for a man may very easily be more clownish with his tongue than with his legs, after he has learned all that the dancing-master, can teach. Some people have an awkwardness in their tone of voice. The mind is as much out of its place in untimely or improper curiosity, as the legs would be on the table.
SOME persons must be alone, to do any thing. They must have it all to themselves. They are advocates for Truth, and yet loth that any one should join them in defending it. This is not necessarily selfish. The mind is so delicate in its perceptions, that it is over nice; so cautious of itself, that it distrusts others, and loves the truth it has itself sought out, so well, that it suspects with the jealousy of affection -the zeal of others not to be so pure and devoted.
THE habit of criticism may easily be carried too far; though the best class of critics are the most tolerant persons. Many things must be received as they are, with open hands, trustingly, confidingly, without our being aware that we are even tolerant. We must leave the reflex satisfaction of the wise man, to be happy with the fool. They who are not sometimes satisfied without being critical, are like those unhappy kings who will never eat of a dish for fear of getting poisoned, till they have somebody to taste it for them.
Ir is commonly people who are half-educated, that are guilty of affectation. The clown is genuine; so are the deep scholar, the poet, and the true wit.
THE best opposition to error, is the assertion of truth without controversy. This is the Gorgon's shield, that turns all her enemies to stone. It was said by the Highest Truth, I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.'
As we are brought up in society, it requires much Art to get back to Nature to clear away prejudices, common-places, and treat a
subject in a natural, easy manner; not formal art, but that care and study supplied best by the cultivation of Taste, which is enough of a natural faculty, to preserve us from the artificial.
THE way to be just, is to honor genuineness and sincerity, wherever we find it; and the way to be wise, is to test this habitually.
THE pursuit of Truth is like the act of swimming. You must first trust yourself to the waters; to be borne up by them.
SENTIMENT is to passion what, in the intellectual faculties, fancy is to imagination.
THE first early sunshine after rain, 'the childhood of the day,' or the rainbow at even, are promises that after clouds, 'joy cometh in the morning.' Fear not doubts or depression. The heart is elastic, and cannot be crushed: in its lowest state, the hour of death, poor humanity is only about to put on its best garments. The religion which saves man from fear, and does most for Hope and Love, the directness and grasp of Faith before the uncertain issues of Intellect, is the best; and this is the day-spring of the New Testament.
SENTIMENTAL people are often hypocrites, or rather contradict their professions, because when the image of a vice is once brought before the mind, whether to condemn or approve, it cannot be let go, without a little tampering. The only way is, to flee vice altogether. Observe how naturally denunciations against scandal, for instance, are followed by a few examples of it in notorious persons; and so the evil tongue, that was a moment ago so fair-spoken, is now let loose.
Should be worn on the breast of the poor pilgrim of earth, like an amulet. It is a charm, a prestige, that calls out the finer order of nature, with calm ideas of morality and elevated joy.
BY THE AUTHOR OF THE AMERICAN IN PARIS,' 'LETTERS FROM LOndon,' etc.
DEAR MR. EDITOR: What shall I say you are intent upon, these burning Ides of June? Anxious, no doubt, whether VAN or the GENERAL may win the honors of October, and whether the old or a new set of rogues had better mismanage the republic; wondering what IRVING will delight us with in the next KNICKERBOCKER, and whether the Great Western will not soon arrive, bringing us Boz, and Hook, and Blackwood, and 40x10g May; in deep meditation with your friends, the serious day being ended, whether it is better to dine on a surloin at Paine's, or on petits plats at Delmonico's; tempering the 'Syrian heats' of the evening in a matrimonial promenade, and refrigeratory ices at Niblo's.
Take my advice, and deceiving your clients by the postern gate, leave the trader to cheat his customers, the politician to wear his conscience out in lying, and his understanding in cavilling; the penurious niggard to watch upon his hoarded chests; and pass a month of the year with me and the turtle-doves, in the quiet nunnery of our village. Country air dissipates the bad humors engendered by the luxurious city; and occasional fits of poverty are grateful and genteel recreations, and have been commended by the poets:
'gratæ divitibus vices, Mundæque parvo sub lare pauperum Cenæ.'
Reclining rashly under the hemlock, perfumed 'as to our locks' with the bay-rum or fragrant cologne, we will eat pic-nics upon the green turf, the champaigne stretching its long neck over the margin of the basket; and then we will talk gods and goddesses! not of the tariff, or opium wars,' or abolition of negroes, or how much of national glory, or acres of territory, may accrue from the 'Boundary Question;' or whether rags may be a fit representative of the precious metals; or of that nonentity, an honest and well-governed commonwealth; but of what lies within the sphere of human comprehension and human affections, and of which it is shameful to be ignorant; of what brand is the wine; which has the prettier eyes, Blaise or Helen; or which, perchance, is the more aerial and elastic, Fanny Elssler or the mountain mist; and which the sweeter, Caradori's smile or the morning rays upon the moist roses. Why, dear friend, waste our thoughts upon indefinite reasonings, or torture our minds with cares for a life needy of so little; and why encourage appetites that are insatiate, since all that is necessary to happiness and rosy health, (I call to witness the nine hundred Dutch virgins of Schuylkill county,) is to eat sour-krout, and talk Dutch? That you may know to what delights you are invited, and choose the period of your visit, I will give you briefly an outline of our seasons and their enjoyments.