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After contemplating these things, I turned my eyes towards the top of the mountain, where the air was always pure and exhilarating, the path shaded with laurels and other evergreens, and the effulgence which beamed from the face of the goddess seemed to shed a glory round her votaries. “Happy," said I, “are they who are permitted to ascend the mountain!” But while I was pronouncing this exclamation with uncommon ardor, I saw standing beside me a form of diviner features and a more benign radiance. “Happier,” said she, “are those whom Virtue conducts to the mansions of Content !”
“What," said I, “ does Virtue then reside in the vale ?” “I am found," said she, “in the vale, and I illuminate the mountain ; I cheer the cottager at his toil, and inspire the sage at his meditation. I mingle in the crowd of cities, and bless the hermit in his cell. I have a temple in every heart that owns my influence; and to him that wishes for me I am already present. Science may raise you to eminence, but I alone can guide you to felicity:" While the goddess was thus speaking, I stretched out my arms towards her with a vehemence which broke my slumbers. The chill dews were falling around me, and the shades of evening stretched over the landscape. I hastened homeward, and resigned the night to silence and meditation.
XV. - HOME.
CONDER. [From a volume entitled Star in the East, and other poems, by JOSIAH CONDER, published in London, in 1824. Mr. Conder was also the author of a Dictionary of Geography, and the compiler of a work in thirty small volumes, called The Modern Traveller. He died in December, 1855, aged 65.]
That is not home where, day by day,
These walls no lingering hopes endear,
There are who strangely love to roam,
There is no home in halls of pride;
It is a presence undefined,
My love, forgive the anxious sigh –
And think that life is fleeting fast,
XVI. - THE DISCONTENTED PENDULUM.
[JANE TAYLOR was born in London, September 23, 1783, and died April 12, 1824 Her father was a writer of books, and one of her brothers is the celebrated author of The Natural History of Enthusiasm, Saturday Evening, &c. She wrote Display, a tale, Essays in Rhyme on Murals and Manners, Original Poems for Infant Minds, (a favorite book with children, and deservedly so,) and Rhymes for the Nursery. She also contributed many articles to the Youth's Magazine, under the signature of Q. Q., conveying sound moral and religious instruction in an attractive style. These were collected and published after her death, and they have been republished in this country. Her writings are all excellent in their tone and spirit, and of considerable literary merit.
The Discontented Pendulum – which first appeared in the Youth's Magazine is an admirable specimen of the allegory; a form of composition in which the real interest, or primary object, is communicated by a discourse which has also a secondary or subordinate meaning. Here we have a supposed conversation between the several portions of a kitchen clock; but this would have no interest or value but for the moral truth intended to be conveyed; and this latter forms the primary subject. The first conception of this particular instrument, or medium, is very ingenious and happy, bocause it permits the analogy to be carried along to the end in the most natural manner possible. Once starting with the clock, all the rest seems to suggest itselle The moral lesson taught is of much practical value; and the duties of life would be lightened if we could all come to the same cheerful state of mind that the pondo. lam did.)
An old clock, that had stood for fifty years in a farmer's kitchen without giving its owner any cause of complaint, tariy one summer's morning, before the family was stirring, suudenly stopped.
Upon this the dial plate (if we may credit the fable) changed countenance with alarm; the hands made an ineffectual effort to continue their course; the wheels remained motionless with surprise ; the weights hung speechless ; each member felt disposed to lay the blame on the others. At length the dial instituted a formal inquiry as to the cause of the stagnation ; when hands, wheels, weights, with one voice, protested their innocence. But now a faint tick was heard below, from the pendulum, who thus spoke :
“I confess myself to be the sole cause of the present stoppage, and am willing, for the general satisfaction, to assign my reasons. The truth is, that I am tired of ticking." Upon hearing this, the old clock became so enraged that it was on the point of striking.
“ Lazy wire !” exclaimed the dial plate, holding up its hands.
“ Very good,” replied the pendulum; “it is vastly easy for you, Mistress Dial, who have always, as every body knows, set yourself up above me, – it is vastly easy for you, I say, to accuse other people of laziness; you, who have had nothing to do all the days of your life but to stare people in the face, and to amuse yourself with watching all that goes on in the kitchen. Think, I beseech you, how you would like to be shut
up for life in this dark closet, and wag backwards and forwards, year after year, as I do."
“ As to that,” said the dial, “is there not a window in your kouse on purpose
you to look through ?” “ For all that,” resumed the pendulum, “it is very dark here ; and although there is a window, I dare not stop, even for an instant, to look out. Besides, I am really weary of my way of life ; and if you please, I'll tell you how I took this disgust at my employment. This morning I happened to be calculating how many times I should have to tick in the course only of the next twenty-four hours : perhaps some of you, above there, can give me the exact sum.”
The minute hand, being quick at figures, instantly replied, “ eighty-six thousand four hundred times.”
"Exactly so," replied the pendulum. “Well, I appeal to you all if the thought of this was not enough to fatigue one. And when I began to multiply the strokes of one day by those of months and years, really it is no wonder if I felt discouraged at the prospect: so, after a great deal of reasoning and hesitation, thinks I to myself, I'll stop."
The dial could scarcely keep its countenance during this harangue ; but, resuming its gravity, thus replied :
“Dear Mr. Pendulum, I am really astonished that so useful and industrious a person as you are should have been overcome by this sudden suggestion. It is true you have done a great deal of work in your time. So have we all, and are likely to do; and, although this may fatigue us to think of, the question is, whether it will fatigue us to do. Would you, now, do me the favor to give about half a dozen strokes, to illustrate my argument ? ”
The pendulum complied, and ticked six times at its usual pace. “Now," resumed the dial, “may I be allowed to inquire, if that exertion was at all fatiguing or disagreeable to you?”
“Not in the least," replied the pendulum ; "it is not of six strokes that I complain, nor of sixty, but of millions.”
Very good,” replied the dial; “but recollect that although you may think of a million strokes in an instant, you are required to execute but one; and that, however often you may hereafter have to swing, a moment will always be given you to swing in." That consideration staggers me, I confess,” said the
“ Then I hope," resumed the dial plate, we shall all im, mediately return to our duty; for the maids will lie in bed till noon if we stand idling thus.”