Obrazy na stronie

ACADEMY. In this country an academy for reforming and establishing the English Language could be expected to do but little. If an academician's place were profitable, it would be given by interest; if attendance were gratuitous, it would bc rarely paid; and no man would endure the least disgust. Unanimity is impossible, and dem bate would separate the assembly. - But suppose the philological decree made and promulgated; what would be its authority? In absolute governinents, there is sometimes a gene, ral reverence paid to all that has the sanction of power and the countenance of greatness. How little this is the state of our country, needs not be told. We live in an age in which it is a kind of public sport to refuse all respect that cannot be enforced. The edicts of an English academy would probably be read by many, only that they might be sure to disobey them."

That our language is in perpetual danger of corruption cannot be denied; but what prevention can be found. The present manners of the nation would deride authority, and therefore nothing is left but that every writer should criticise bimself,

Life of Roscommon.

AGE : It has been found by the experience of mankind, that not even the best seasons of life are able to supply sufficierit gratifications without anticipating uncertain felicities : it.cannot, surely, be supposed that old age,vorn with labors, harrassed with anxieties, and tortured with diseases, should have any gladness of its own, or feel any satisfaction

s from

from the contemplation of the present-All the comfort that now can be expected must be rccalled from the past, or borrowed from the future: the past is very soon exhausted; all the events or actions of which the memory can afford pleasure, are quickly recollected; and the future lies beyond the grave, where it can be reached only by virtue and devotion.

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 a 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.

Rambler, vol. 2, p. 91. Custom so far regulates the sentiments, at least of common minds, that I believe men inay be generally observed to grow less tender as they advance in age. .

Ibid. p. 140. . To the long catalogue of the inconveniences of old age, which moral and satirical writers have so copiously displayed, may be often added the loss of fame.

Ibid. vol. 3, p. 130. Length of life is distributed impartially to very different modes of life in very different climates. A cottager grows old over his oaten cakes, like a citizen at a turtle feast. He is indeed seldom incommoded by corpulence: Poverty preserves hiin from sinking under the burthen of himself, but he escapes no other injury of time.

Western Islands, p. 193.


He that would pass the latter part of his life with honour 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.

Rambler, vol. 1, p. 304.

Age seldom fails to change the conduct of youth. We grow negligent of time in proportion as we have less remaining, and suffer the last part of life to steal from us in languid preparations for future undertakings, or slow approaches to remote advantages, in weak hopes of some fortuitous occurrence, or drowsy equilibrations of undetermined counsel. Whether it be that the aged, having tasted the pleasures of man's condition, and found them delusive, become less anxious for their attainment, or that frequent miscarriages have depressed them to despair, and frozen them to inactivity; or that death shocks them more as it advances upon them, and they are afraid to remind themselves of their decay, or discover to their own hearts that the time of trifling is past.

Ibid. vol. 3, p.. 32. The truth of many maxims of age gives too little pleasure to be allowed till it is felt, and the miseries of life would be increased beyond all human power of endurance, if we were to enter the world with the same opinions we carry from it.

Ibid. vol. 4, p. 195. It is one of the melancholy pleasures of an old man to recollect the kindness of friends, whose kindness he shall experience no more.

Treatise on the Longitude, p. 148


An old age unsupported with matter for discourse and meditation, is much to be dreaded. No state can be moro destitute than that of him, ... who, when the delights of sepse forsake him, has no pleasures of the mind,

. . Notes upon Shakspeare, vol. 9. p. 249. · There is sometimes a dotage encroaching upon wisdom, that produces contradictions. Such a man is positive and confident, because he knows that his mind was once strong, and knows not that it is becónxe weak. Such a man fails not in general principles, but fails in the particular application. He is knowing in retrospect, and ign norant in foresight. While he depends upon his memory, and can draw from his repositories of knowledge, he utters weighty sentences, and gives useful counsel; but as the mind gets enfeebled, he loses the order of his ideas, and entangles him. self in his own thoughts, till he recovers the leading principle and falls again into its former train.

Ibid. vol. 10, p. 241. ..


Enlarge my life with multitude of days,
In health and sickness, thus the suppliant prays ;
Hides from himself his state, and shuns to know
That life protracted is protracted woe.
Time hovers o'er, impatient to destroy,
And shuts up all the passages of joy:
In vain the gifts their bounteous seasons pour
The fruit autumnal and the vernal flower; .
With listless eyes the dotard views the store, i
He views and wonders that they please no more..
Now pall the tasteless meats and joyless wines,
And luxury with sighs her slave resigns.


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Approach, ye minstrels, try the soothing strain,
And yield the tuneful lenitives of pain.
No sound, alas ! would touch th' impervious ear,
Tho' dancing mountains witness Orpheus near.
No lute nor lyre his feeble power attend,
Nor sweeter music of a virtuous friend ; -
But everlasting dictates crowd his tongue,
Perversely grave or positively wrong.
The still returning tale, and ling’ring jest,
Perplex the fawning niece and pamper'd guest;
While growing hopes scarce awe the gath'ring sneer,
And scarce a legacy can bribe to hear;
"The watchful guests still hint the last offence,
The daughter's petulance--the son's expence;
Improve his heady rage svith treach'rous skill,
And mould his passions till they make his will.

Unnumber'd maladies his joints-invade,
Lay siege to life, and press the dire blockade;
But unextinguish'd av'rice still remains,
And dreaded losses aggravate his pains;
He turns, with anxious heart and crippled hands,
His bunds of debts and mortgages of lands;
Or views his coffers with suspicious eyes,
Unlocks his gold, and counts it till he dies: .

But grant the virtues of a temp?rate prime
Bless with an age exempt from scorn or crime,
An age that melts in unperceiv'd decay,
And glides in modest innocence awawi
Whose peaceful day benevolence endears,
Whose night congratulating conscience cheers,
The gen’ral fav’rite as the gen’ral friend;
Such age there is, and who would wish its end?

Yet e'en on this her load misfortune flings,...
To press the weary minutes' flagging wings;
New sorrow rises as the day returns,
A sister sickens, or a daughter mourns,
Now kindred merit fills the sable bier,
Now lacerated friendship claims a tear;


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