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A NATIVE grace
Before Al Hassan's blooming child.
When, through some shades of earthly feeling,
Like light through summer foliage stealing,
How tasteless then whatever can be given ?
Oh who can speak the vigorous joys of health ?
Rampant with life, their joy all joy exceeds:
LESSON L XXI.
THE WISE AND AMIABLE WOMAN. The woman, whom I would exhibit to your view, possesses a sound understanding. She is virtuous, not from impulse, instinct, and a childish simplicity; for she knows that evil exists, as well as good; but she abhors the former, and resolutely chooses the latter. As she has carefully weighed the nature and consequences of her actions, her moral principles are fixed; and she has deliberately formed a plan of life, to which she conscientiously adheres. Her character is her own; her knowledge and virtues are original, and are not the faint copies of another character. Convinced that the duty of every human being, consists in performing well the part which is assigned by divine Providence, she directs her principal attention to this object; and, whether as a wife, a mother, or the head of a family, she is always diligent and discreet
She is exempt from affectation, the folly of little minds. Far from her heart is the desire of acquiring a reputation, or of rendering herself interesting, by imbecilities and imperfections. Thus she is delicate, but not timid: she has too much good sense, ever to be afraid where there is no danger; and she leaves the affectation of terror to women, who, from the want of a correct education, are ignorant of what is truly becoming. She is still fu ther removed from the affectation of sensibility; she has sympathy and tears for the calamities of her friends; but there is no artificial whining on her tongue; nor does she ever manifest more grief than she really feels.
In so enlightened an understanding, humility appears with peculiar grace. Every wise woman must be humble; because every wise woman must know, that no human being has any. thing to be proud of. The gifts, which she possesses, she has received; she cannot therefore glory in them, as if they were of her own creation. There is no ostentation in any part of her behavior: she does not affect to conceal her virtues and talents, but she never ambitiously displays them. She is still more pleasingly adorned with the graces of mildness and gentleness.
Her manners are placid, the tones of her voice are sweet, and her eye benignant; because her heart is meek and kind. From the combination of these virtues arises that general effect, which is denominated loveliness; a quality which renders her the object of the complacence of all her friends, and the delight of every one who approaches her. Believing that she was born, not for herself only, but for others, she endeavors to communicate happiness to all who are around her.
Her children, those immortal beings, who are committed to her care, that they may be formed to knowledge and virtue, are the principal objects of her attention. She sows in their minds the seeds of piety and goodness; she waters them with the dew of heavenly instruction; and she eradicates every weed of evil, as soon as it appears. Thus does she benefit the church, her country, and the world, by training up sincere
Christians, useful citizens, and good men. It is scarcely necessary to observe, that, with so benevolent a heart, she remembers the poor, and that she affords them, not only pity, but substantial relief.
As she is a wise woman, who is not afraid to exercise her understanding, her experience and observation soon convince her, that the world, though it abounds with many pleasures, is not an unmixed state of enjoyment. While, therefore, she is careful to bring no misfortunes on herself by imprudence, folly, and extravagance, she looks with a calm and steady eye on the unavoidable afflictions through which she is doomed to pass; and she arms her mind with fortitude, that she may endure, with resolution and cheerfulness, the severest trials.
When sickness and distress at last come, she submits to them with patience and resignation. A peevish complaint does not escape from her lips; nor does she once murmur because the hand of her heavenly Father lies heavy upon her. She is, if possible, more serene, more mild, more gentle, on the bed of disease, than she was in the seasons of health and felicity. So affectionate is she to her surrounding friends, and so grateful for the attentions which they pay to her, that they almost forget that she suffers any pain.
The love of God crowns all her virtues: religion is deeply fixed in her heart; but here, as in all her behavior, she is without parade. Her piety is sincere and ardent, but humble and retired.
A mind, in which strength and gentleness are thus united, may be compared to the soft light of the moon, which shines with the perpetual rays of the sun. We are, at first view, ready to imagine that it is more lovely than great, more charming than dignified; but we soon become convinced, that it is filled with true wisdom, and endowed with noble purposes.
RESPECTING the talents and merits of Mrs. Sigourney, there will be no doubt nor cavil. She has nobly won her high place in the literature of our country. In all her works, varied as they are in style and subject, one purpose, the purpose of doing good, is recognized as the governing motive. In her prose writings, this zeal of heart is the great charm. She always describes nature with a lover's feelings for its beauties, and with much delicacy and taste; still we think her talent for description is much more graceful and at home
the measured lines of her poetry, than in her best prose. Her genius brightens in the Muses' smile, and she can command by that spell, as Prospero could with his staff, the attendance of the “ delicate spirit” of Fancy, which,like Ariel, brings
“ Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not:" and those “ solemn breathing strains” that move conscience to its repentant work, or lift the trusting and contrite soul to heaven.
“Who can describe Niagara ?” exclaimed Mrs. Butler, in the agony of her admiration. Mrs. Sigourney has described it, and worthily too; and this single poem would be sufficient to establish her fame. It does more and better, it stamps her as the devoted Christian; for except faith in the “ dread Invisible” had sustained her genius, and trust in the Savior had kept warm the fount of sympathy in her heart, she could not have surrounded a theme so awful, strange, and lonely, with such images of beauty and hope.
Female poetic writers owe their happiest efforts to religious feeling. Devotion seems to endow them with the martyr's glowing fervency of spirit. In the actual world the path of woman is very circumscribed, but in that “better land,” her imagination may range with the freedom of an angel's wing. And there the genius of Mrs. Sigourney delights to expatiate. This constant uplifting of her spirit has given a peculiar cast to her language and style; rendering the stately blank verse measure the readiest vehicle of her fancies. She has a wonderful command of words, and the fetters of rhyme check the free
expression of her thoughts. She is also endowed with a fine perception of the harmonious and appropriate, and hence the smooth flow of the lines, and the perfect adaptation of the language to the subject. These qualities eminently fit her to be the eulogist of departed worth, and incline her to elegiac