« PreviousContinue »
gacy that they know the world, an example which might be dangerous, but that the world knows them. Accomplishments are sociable—but nothing so sociable as a cultivated mind.
ACTION—is Life. It is not work that kills 'men: but worry. Work is healthy and invigorating; you can scarce put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is rust upon the blade. It is not the revolution, but the friction, which wears out machinery.
Carlyle says, “men do less than they ought, unless they do all that they can.” And again, “the kind of speech in a man betokens the kind of action you will get from him.”
Also, it is written, “ of every noble action, the intent is to give worth reward--vice punishment."
ACTOR—Vivid conception, and keen sensibility, will not of themselves make a good actor; but it may be questioned whether a good actor can be made without them. Rare indeed is the physical and moral combination that produces a superior performer, as will at once appear if we compare the best amateur with a second or even a third-rate professional actor. What miserable mummery are private theatricals! At those given last year at Hatfield House, old General G- was pressed by a lady to say whom he liked best of all the actors. Notwithstanding his usual bluntness, he evaded the question for some time, but being importuned for an answer, he at length growled,—“ Well, madam, if you will have a reply, I liked the prompter the best, because I heard the most of him, and saw the least of him ! "
ADDRESS—Generally a string of fulsome compliments and professions, indiscriminately lavished upon every king or individual in authority, in order to assure him of the particular, personal, and exclusive veneration in which he is held by those who, being the very obedient humble servants of circumstances, would pay equal homage to Jack Ketch, if he possessed equal power. In the latter case, they would perhaps attempt to dignify his person and his office by some courteous periphrase, or concealing both beneath the appropriate veil of a dead language, would speak of him as- Vir excellentissimus, strangulandi peritus.
In a Shrewsbury Address to James I., his loyal subjects expressed a wish that he might reign over them as long as sun, moon, and stars should endure.—“I suppose, then,” observed the monarch, “they mean my successor to reign by candlelight.”
ADMIRATION–We always love those who admire us, says Rochefoucauld, but we do not always love those whom we admire. From the latter clause an exception might have been made in favor of self, for self-love is the source of selfadmiration; and this is the safest of all loves, for most people may indulge it without the fear of a rival.
ADVERSITY—is very often a blessing in disguise, which by detaching us from earth and drawing us towards heaven, gives us, in the assurance of lasting joys, an abundant recompense for the loss of transient ones. “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.” Many a man in losing his fortune has found himself, and been ruined into salvation ; for though God demands the whole heart, which we could not give him when we shared it with the world, he will never reject the broken one, which we offer him in our hour of sadness and reverse, Misfortunes are moral bitters, which frequently restore the healthy tone of the mind, after it has been cloyed and sickened by the sweets of prosperity. The spoilt children of the world, like their juvenile namesakes, are generally a source of unhappiness to others, without being happy in themselves.
ADMITTING yourself out of court, a legal phrase, signifying a liberality of concession to your opponent by which you destroy your own cause. This excess of candor was well illustrated by the Irishman, who boasted that he had often skated sixty miles a day. “Sixty miles!” exclaimed an auditor—" that is a great distance : it must have been accom
plished when the days were longest.”—“To be sure it was; I admit that," cried the ingenious Hibernian.
ADVICE-Almost the only commodity which the world is lavish in bestowing, and scrupulous in receiving, although it may be had gratis, with an allowance to those who take a quantity. We seldom ask it until it is too late, and still more rarely take it while there is yet time to profit by it. Great tact and delicacy are required, either in conferring or seeking this perilous boon, for where people do not take your counsel they generally take offence; and even where they do, you can never be sure that you have not given pain in giving advice. We have our revenge for this injustice. If an acquaintance pursue some unfortunate course, in spite of our dissuasions, we feel more gratified by the confirmation of our evil auguries, than hurt by the misfortunes of our friend; for that man must be a sturdy moralist who does not love his own judgment better than the interest of his neighbors. This may help to explain Rochefoucauld's dictum, that there is something, even in the misfortunes of our best friends, which is not altogether displeasing to us.
To decline all advice, unless the example of the giver confirms his precepts, would be about as sapient as if a traveller were to refuse to follow the directions of a finger-post, unless it drew its one leg out of the ground, and walketi, or rather hopped after its own finger.
Good Advice is one of those injuries which a good man ought, if possible, to forgive; but at all events to forget at once.
ADULTERER—One who has been guilty of perjury, commonly accompanied with ingratitude and hypocrisy, an offence softened down by the courtesy of a sympathizing world, into “ a man of gallantry, a gay person somowhat too fond of intrigue;" or a woman “ who has had a little slip, committed a faux pas," &c.—“ Pleasant but wrong," was the apology of the country squire, who being detected in an intrigue with the
frail rib of his groom, maintained that he had not offended against the law, since we are only commanded not to sin with another man's wife, whereas, this was his own man's wife.
AFFECTION—filial-an implanted instinct, exalted by a feeling of gratitude and a sense of duty.-The Roman daughter who nourished her imprisoned father, when condemned to be starved to death, from her own breast, has generally been adduced as the noblest recorded instance of filial affection ; but the palm may almost be contested by an Irish son, if we may receive without suspicion the evidence of a fond and doting father—" Ah now, my darlint !” exclaimed the latter, when his boy threatened to enlist in the army—“would you be laving your poor ould father that dotes upon ye? You, the best and the most dutiful of all my children, and the only one that never struck me when I was down!"
AFFLICTION-A French writer, arguing, perhaps, from the analogy of the English language, wherein two negatives constitute an affirmative, observes that deux afflictions mises ensemble peuvent devenir une consolation, an experiment which few, we apprehend, will be anxious to try. Man has been termed the child of affliction, an affiliation of which the writer does not recognize the truth; but for the benefit of those who hold a contrary opinion, he ventures to plagiarize a few stanzas versified from a prose apologue of Dr. Sheridan:
Affliction one day, as she hark'd to the roar
Of the stormy and struggling billow,
With the branch of a weeping willow.
Jupiter, struck with the noble plan,
As he roamed on the verge of the ocean,
Endued it with life and motion.
A creature so glorious in mind and in frame,
So stamp'd with each parent's impression,
Each claiming the right of possession.
“He is mine," said Affliction; "I gave him his birth,
I alone am his cause of creation "-
"I gave him,” said Jove, “animation."
The gods, all assembled in solemn divan,
After hearing each claimant's petition,
And thus settled his fate's disposition.
“Let Affliction possess her own child, till the woes
Of life cease to harass and goad it;
And his spirit to Jove, who bestowed it.” :
AGE-old-an infirmity which nobody knows. Nothing can exceed our early impatience to escape from youth to manhood, and appear older than we are, except our subsequent anxiety to obtain the reputation of being younger than we are. The first longing is natural, for Hope is before us, and it seems possible to anticipate that which we must soon reach ; but the second is a weakness, not less strange than general, for we cannot expect to recover that from which we are perpetually flying, or avoid that to which we are incessantly approaching. If by putting back our own date we could arrest the great clock of time, there would be an intelligible motive for our conduct. Alas! the time-piece of old Chronos never stops.
Women, who imagine their influence to depend upon their personal attractions, naturally wish to preserve their youth. It is in their power to do so; for she who captivates the heart and the understanding, never grows old: and as men are generally estimated by their moral and intellectual, rather than their baptismal recommendations; as a philosopher of fifty is preferred, by all those whose preference is worth having, to a fool of twenty, there is something very contemptible in a male horror of senility. So prevalent, however, is the feeling, that, with the exception of one individual, who has obtained an enviable immortality as “middle age HALLAM,” we have no chronology for man ånd women at, or beyond the meridian of life. They are all“ persons of a certain age,” which is the most