« PoprzedniaDalej »
And what am I, then? Heaven's unnumbered host, — Though multiplied by myriads, and arrayed
In all the glory of sublimest thought, Is but an atom in the balance, weighed Against thy greatness; is a cipher brought Against infinity! O, what am I, then?-Nought!
Nought! But the effluence of thy light divine,
As shines the sunbeam in a drop of dew.
Thou art directing, guiding all, thou art!
Direct my understanding, then, to thee;
I hold a middle rank 'twixt heaven and earth,
Close to the realms where angels have their birth, Just on the boundaries of the spirit land!
The chain of being is complete in me;
I can command the lightning, and am dust!
Whence came I here, and how so marvellously
Creator, yes! thy wisdom and thy word
Thy light, thy love, in their bright plenitude
O'er the abyss of death, and bade it wear
Its heavenly flight beyond this little sphere,
O, thoughts ineffable! O, visions blest!
Though worthless our conceptions all of thee, Yet shall thy shadowed image fill our breast, And waft its homage to thy Deity.
God! thus alone my lowly thoughts can soar;
Thus seek thy presence, Being wise and good;
EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION.
cub, tub, such, much, son, come, some; - punish, study, comfort, combat ; — above, among, enough.
Feeling and Sentiment.
I WISH to say a few words upon two very different modifications of that feeling of sympathy for one another, both in joy and sorrow, which is common to the whole human race. By sentiment, I mean to express the abstract of that idea of which sentimental is the concrete. It is keenly and
GEORGE S. HILLARD.
vividly alive to whatever afflicts humanity, and if, by an act of volition, it could convert sorrow into joy, the exercise of this power would turn this world into a Paradise; but it shrinks from the toil, the privations, and the sacrifices, which must be endured long after the thrilling impulse of charity has subsided, by him who would be a faithful laborer in the noble cause of humanity. It rather selects those forms of distress which have somewhat of a romantic beauty and interest, which are gratifying to the taste, the contemplation of which may throw him into that luxurious and dream-like melancholy which unnerves the soul, and makes it unfit for efficient action; but it recoils from the smoke, the dirt, the coarse language, and the uncouth manners, which, in this world of stern realities, usually attend upon extreme want.
Feeling, on the other hand, cares for none of these things. It flies to the relief of distress, in however offensive a shape it may appear. Its sensibilities are less keen, and its impulses less strong, than those of Sentiment, but its good deeds are far more numerous and valuable. It relieves distress, partly from a sense of duty, and partly from the exquisite gratification which it derives from so doing. It is entirely independent of taste; it is enough for it to know that there is a human being that can, by its efforts, be made happier; and it makes no difference how disagreeable the suffering individual may be, or how distasteful the situation in which he is placed.
There is, also, another difference between them. The man of sentiment may have his sensibilities called forth by a tale of suffering, which the sober man of feeling listens to with cold indifference, because he knows the distress to be the result of indolence or vice; while, if it be undeserved, and the effect of uncontrollable circumstances, he will give diligent heed to it, though it be of so common-place and every-day a nature, as not to awaken the attention of the other at all. Sentiment is more vivid in its emotions, Feeling more last
ing. Sentiment is often eloquent where Feeling is silent; Sentiment often weeps where Feeling appears unmoved. But by the next hour, Sentiment will have forgotten all about it, while Feeling is busily occupied in contriving ways and means for speedy and effectual relief.
Sentiment is eloquent at all public charitable meetings, where Feeling is a quiet listener; while Feeling is seen in the cold garrets and damp cellars, where some poor sufferer is left alone with his God to die, and where Sentiment, with its delicate nerves, would faint with horror. Sentiment will head a subscription-paper with a glowing appeal in behalf of the distressed object; but Feeling will go about from house to house to solicit contributions. Sentiment talks beautifully on the duties of charity, benevolence, and sympathy for misfortune; but Feeling practises them. Sentiment will weep with those that mourn; but Feeling comforts them.
There are two men of my acquaintance, of nearly the same age, property, and standing in society, one of whom is a man of feeling, and the other a man of sentiment. Sentiment is rather a more gifted man than Feeling; writes and talks well; and on no subject does he write or speak so often and so well, as on the duty of doing good to each other. Feeling never wrote a paragraph in the newspapers, nor spoke where ten people could hear him; but there is not a cellar or a garret in Broad Street which he has not visited; and there are hundreds of people that pray for him every day of their lives. Sentiment is the admiration of his acquaintances; Feeling, the delight of his friends.
No better illustration can be given of the difference between them, than was shown in their conduct on one particular occasion. A common friend of theirs had died suddenly, under circumstances of peculiar affliction, leaving a large family nearly destitute. Sentiment heard of his death as he was going to an evening party, where he spoke of his departed friend, and of his irreparable loss to his widow and children, in such a way as to bring tears
into the eyes of all who heard him; but in a short time the conversation turned upon other subjects, and Sentiment became as lively and entertaining as ever. Feeling also heard of it as he was going to the same party, and he turned about and went home; for he loved his friend too well to feel in the mood to join a gay crowd while he was yet unburied. The next day Sentiment sat down and wrote a beautiful letter to the bereaved widow, while Feeling went about and collected a subscription for her use. Sentiment published an eloquent obituary notice of his friend, while Feeling paid his funeral expenses. Feeling adopted one of his sons, and educated him, while Sentiment named one of his own after him.
EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION.
– pull, full, puss, push, would, could, should, wood, foot, look ; — pulley, fully, fuller, pulpit, cushion.
Same Subject, concluded.
I HAVE two cousins, in whom the two qualities of feeling and sentiment are more strikingly displayed than in any persons of my acquaintance. I shall call one of them by the familiar name of Mary, and the other by the more romantic one of Matilda, assigning to each an appellation somewhat consistent with her character. Mary has a great deal of strong sense, uniform cheerfulness, and a fund of deep and quiet feeling. Matilda has more imagination, more liveliness, more enthusiasm, and more sentiment. Mary is slow in forming attachments, and is very constant to her old friends; but Matilda is apt to be bewitched with new faces
GEORGE S. HILLARD.