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The “Connoisseur" abounds in wit and a very pleasant species of humor. The book, however, is rather diverting than improving; yet, under the form of irony, many useful truths are conveyed with great success. There is no elevation of sentiment, and no sublime discourses on religion and morality; but there is a great deal of good sense expressed with good-humored drollery. The authors were by nature possessed of wit, and had acquired a very considerable knowledge of the classics.
Every one of these works is calculated to promote good sense and virtue ; and whatever may be the defects of each, the variety of their manners is well suited to the variety of dispositions and of tastes which occur in the mass of mankind.
Essays, No. xxviii.
ON THE HAPPINESS OF DOMESTIC LIFE.
An active life is exposed to many evils which cannot reach a state of retirement; but it is found, by the uniform experience of mankind, to be, upon the whole, productive of the most happiness. All are found desirous of avoiding the listlessness of an unemployed condition. Without the incentives of ambition, of fame, of interest, of emulation, men eagerly rush upon hazardous and painful enterprises. There is a quick succession of ideas, a warm flow of spirits, an animated sensation, consequent on exertion, which amply compensates the chagrin of disappointment and the fatigue of attention.
One of the most useful effects of action is, that it renders repose agreeable. Perpetual rest is pain of the most intolerable kind. But a judicious interchange of rest and motion, of indolent enjoyment and strenuous efforts, gives a true relish of life, which, when too tranquil, is insipid, and when too much agitated, disgustful.
This sweet repose, which is necessary to restore, by relaxing the tone of the weary mind, has been sought for by the wisest and greatest of men at their own fireside. Senators and heroes have shut out the acclamations of an applauding world to enjoy the prattling of their little ones, and to partake the endearments of family conversation. They knew that even their best friends, in the common intercourse of life, were in some degree actuated by interested motives in displaying their affection; that many of their followers
tures of a game at play. All the sentiments of uncontrolled nature display themselves to the view, and furnish matter for agreeable reflection to the mind of the philosophical observer. To partake with children in their little pleasures is by no means unmanly. It is one of the purest sources of mirth. It has an influence in amending the heart, which necessarily takes a tincture from the company that surrounds us. Innocence as well as guilt is communicated and increased by the contagion of example. And the great Author of evangelical philosophy has taught us to emulate the simplicity of the infantine age. He seems indeed himself to have been delighted with young children, and found in them, what he in vain sought among those who judged themselves their superiors, unpolluted purity of heart.
Among the great variety of pictures which the vivid imagination of Homer has displayed throughout the Iliad, there is not one more pleasing than the family piece which represents the parting interview between Hector and Andromache. It deeply interests the heart while it delights the imagination. The hero ceases to be terrible, that he may become amiable. We admire him while he stands completely armed in the field of battle; but we love him more while he is taking off his helmet that he may not frighten his little boy with its nodding plumes. We are refreshed with the tender scene of domestic love, while all around breathes rage and discord. We are pleased to see the arm which is shortly to deal death and destruction among a host of foes, employed in caressing an infant son with the embraces of paternal love. A professed critic would attribute the pleasing effect entirely to contrast; but the heart has declared, previously to the inquiries of criticism, that it is chiefly derived from the satisfaction which we naturally take in beholding great characters engaged in tender and amiable employments.
Essays, No. xl.
ON SIMPLICITY OF STYLE.
Food that gives the liveliest pleasure on the first taste frequently disgusts or reptition; and those things which please the palate
the sublimest books that the world can exhibit. They are also truly simple; and the reader is the more affected by their indisputable sublimity, because his attention is not wearied by ineffectual attempts at it. He who is acquainted with Longinus will remember that the instances adduced by that great pattern of the excellence he describes, are not remarkable for a glaring or a pompous style, but derive their claim to sublimity from a noble energy of thought, modestly set off by a proper expression.
No author has been more universally approved than Xenophon. Yet his writings display no appearance of splendor or majesty ; nothing elevated or adorned with figures; no affectation of superfluous ornament. His merit is an unaffected sweetness which no affectation can obtain. The graces seem to have conspired to form the becoming texture of his composition. And yet, perhaps, a common reader would neglect him, because the easy and natural air of his narrative rouses no violent emotion. More refined understandings peruse him with delight; and Cicero has recorded that Scipio, when once he had opened the books of Xenophon, would with difficulty be prevailed with to close them. His style, says the same great orator and critic, is sweeter than honey, and the muses themselves seem to have spoken from his mouth.
To write in a plain style appears easy in theory; but how few in comparison have avoided the fault of unnecessary and false ornament! The greater part seem to have mistaken unwieldy corpuience for robust vigor, and to have despised the temperate habit of sound health as meagreness. The taste for finery is more general than for symmetrical beauty and chaste elegance; and many, like Nero, would not be content till they should have spoiled, by gilding it, the statue of a Lysippus.
Essays, No. xv.
CHARLES WOLFE, 1791–1823.
CHARLES WOLFE, the youngest son of Theobald Wolfe, Esq., was born in Dublin on the 14th of December, 1791. As a youth, he showed great precocity of talent, united to a most amiable disposition. After the usual preparatory stadies, in which he distinguished himself, he entered the University of Dublin in 1809. He immediately attained a high rank for his classical attainments, and for his true poetic talent; and the first year of his college course he obtained a prize for a poem upon “ Jugurtha in Prison.” Before he left the university, he wrote a number of pieces of poetry that were truly beautiful, but especially that one on which his fame chiefly rests, the “ Lines on the Burial of Sir John Moore.”
In 1814, he took his bachelor's degree, and entered at once upon the study of divinity. In 1817, he was ordained as curate of the church of Ballyclog, in Tyrone, and afterward of Donoughmore. His most conscientious and incessant attention to his duties in a wild and scattered parish soon made inroads upon his health, and he was advised to go to the south of France as the most likely means to avert the threatened malady-consumption. He remained but little more than a month at Bordeaux, and returned home, appearing to have been benefited by the voyage. But the fond hopes of his friends were soon to be blasted--the fatal disease had taken too strong a hold upon its victim-and, after a protracted illness, accompanied with much suffering, which he bore with great Christian fortitude and patience, he expired on the 21st of February, 1823, in the thirtysecond year of his age.'
THE BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE."
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
The sods with our bayonets turning-
And the lantern dimly burning.
Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
With his martial cloak around him.
And we spoke not a word of sorrow:
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.
And smooth'd down his lonely pillow,
And we far away on the billow!
· The following eloquent tribute to his memory was written by the Rev. Dr. Milier of Trinity College, Dublin, author of the Lectures on Modern History:"-"le combined eloquence of the first order with the zeal of an apostle. During the short time in which he held a curacy in the diocese of Armagh, he so wholly devoted himself to the discharge of his duties in a very populous parish, that be exbausteid his strength by exertions dispropor. tioned to his constitution, and was cut off by disease in what should have been the bloon of youth. This zeal, which was too powerful for his bodily frame, was yet controlled by a vigorous anii manly intellect. which all the arlor of religion and poetry could never urre
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him-
In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
When the clock struck the hour for retiring; And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing. Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame fresh and gory: We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone
But we left him alone with his glory.'
I might not weep for thee;
That thou couldst mortal be:
The time would e'er be o'er,
And thou shouldst smile no more!
And think 'twill smile again;
That I must look in vain!
What thou ne'er left'st unsaid;
Sweet Mary! thou art dead !
All cold and all serene-
And where thy smiles have been!
That seemest still mine own;
And I am now alone!
Thou hast forgotten me;
* "Charles Wolfe has been one of the few who have gained probable immortality from a casual gleam of inspiration thrown over a single poem, consisting of only a few stanzas, and these, too, little more than a spirited version from the prose of another. But the lyric is indeed full of fervor and freshness; and his triumph is not to be grudged.”—D. M. Moir,
9 This song was written to one of Wolfe's favorite melolies, the Irish air “Grumachree,” for which he thought no words had ever been composed which came up to his idea of the peculiar pathos which pervades the whole of that strain. When asked if he had any real inrilent in view, or alluded to any particular person, he said
* That he had sun the air