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4. Health is equally neglected, and with equal impropriety, by the votaries of business and the followers of pleasure. Some men ruin the fabric of their bodies by incessant revels, and others by intemperate studies; some batter it by excess, and others sap it by inactivity. Yet it requires no great ability to prove that he loses pleasure who loses health; and that health is certainly of more value than money, because it is by health that money is procured, and by health alone that money is enjoyed.
Nor love, nor honor, wealth, nor power,
With health all taste of pleasure flies.-GAY. 6. Ah! what avail the largest gifts of Heaven,
When drooping health and spirits go amisa !
Yet what but high-strung health this dancing pleasure breeds.—THOMSON. 8. Health is indeed so necessary to all the duties, as well as pleasures of life, that the crime of squandering it is equal to the folly; and he that for a short gratification brings weakness and diseases upon himself, and for the pleasure of a few years passed in the tumults of diversion and clamors of merriment condemns the maturer and more experienced part of his life to the chamber and couch, may be justly reproached, not only as a spendthrift of his own happiness, but as a rob ber of the public-as a wretch that has voluntarily disqualified himself for the business of his station, and refused that part which Providence assigns him in the general task of human nature.
LESSON 1.—THE VILLAGE SCHOOL OF OLDEN TIME. [The reading of this inimitable piece of description, in which the most delicate satire is conveyed under the guise of profound admiration, requires, especially in the third verse, the ironical tone of mock laudation and respect.]
1. Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way
With blossom'd furze unprofitably gay-
The village master taught his little school'.
I knew him well, and every truant knew :
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The love he bore to learning was in fault'.
'Twas certain' he could write', and cipher' too;
GOLDSMITH. | FURZE, a beautiful evergreen shrub, with 3 PRE-BĀGE', foreshow; predict. brilliant yellow flowers, abundant on the 4 GAUGE (gāj), to measure the contents of a English commons.
cask, barrel, or other vessel. 2 TERMB, probably here referring to the terms
or times when the courts were to be held.
LESSON II.—THE RIGHTEOUS NEVER FORSAKEN. 1. It was Saturday night, and the widow of the Pine Cottage sat by her blazing fagots, with her five tattered children at her side, endeavoring, by listening to the artlessness of their prattle, to dissipate the heavy gloom that pressed upon her mind. For a year, her own feeble hands had provided for her helpless family, for she had no supporter, no friend to whom to apply, in all the wide, unfriendly world around. That mysterious Providence, the wisdom of whose ways is above human comprehension, had visited her with wasting sickness, and her little means had become exhausted. It was now, too, mid-winter, and the snow lay heavy and deep through all the surrounding forests, while storms still seemed gathering in the heavens, and the driving wind roared amid the bounding pines, and rocked her puny mansion.
2. The last herring smoked upon the coals before her; it was the only article of food she possessed, and no wonder her forlorn, desolate state brought up in her lone bosom all the anxieties of a mother, when she looked upon her children; and no wonder, forlorn as she was, if she suffered the heartswellings of despair to rise, even though she knew that He whose promise is to the widow and to the orphan can not forget his word. Providence had many years before taken from her her eldest son, who went from his forest home to try his fortune on the high seas, since which she had heard no note or tidings of him; and in latter time, by the hand of death, she had been deprived of the companion and staff of her earthly pilgrimage in the person of her husband. Yet to this hour she had been upborne; she had not only been able to provide for her little flock, but had never lost an opportunity of min. istering to the wants of the miserable and destitute.
3. The indolent may well bear with poverty while the ability to gain sustenance remains. The individual who has but his own wants to supply may suffer with fortitude the winter of want; his affections are not wounded, his heart not wrung. The most desolate in populous cities may hope, for charity has not quite closed her hand and heart, and shut her eyes on misery. But the industrious mother of helpless and depending children, far from the reach of human charity, has none of these to console her. And such a one was the widow of the Pine Cottage; but as she bent over the fire, and took up the last scanty remnant of food to spread before her children, her spirits seemed to brighten up, as by some sudden and myste, rious impulse, and Cowper's beautiful lines came uncalled across her mind :
"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
He hides a smiling face." 4. The smoked herring was scarcely laid upon the table when a gentle rap at the door, and loud barking of a dog, attracted the attention of the family. The children flew to open it, and a weary traveler, in tattered garments, and apparently indifferent health, entered and begged a lodging and a mouthful of food; said he, “it is now twenty-four hours since I have tasted bread.” The widow's heart bled anew as under a fresh complication of distresses; for her sympathies lingered not round her fireside. She hesitated not, even now; rest, and share of all she had, she proffered to the stranger. “We shall not be forsaken,” said she, “or suffer deeper for an act of charity.”
5. The traveler drew near the board ; but when he saw the scanty fare, he raised his eyes toward Heaven with astonishment, “And is this all your store ?” said he; "and a share of this do you offer to one you know not ? then never saw I charity before! But, madam,” said he, continuing,“ do you not wrong your children by giving a part of your last mouthful to a stranger ?” “ Ah!" said the poor widow, and the teardrops gushed into her eyes as she said it, “I have a boy, a darling son, somewhere on the face of the wide world, unless Heaven has taken him away, and I only act toward you as I would that others should act toward him'. God, who sent manna from heaven, can provide for us as he did for Israel; and how should I this night offend Him, if my son should be a wanderer, destitute as you, and he should have provided for him a home, even poor as this, were I to turn you uprelieved away.”
6. The widow ended, and the stranger, springing from his seat, clasped her in his arms: “God indeed has provided your son a home, and has given him wealth to reward the goodness of his benefactress—my mother'! oh, my mother'!"
7. It was her long-lost son, returned to her bosom from the Indies. He had chosen that disguise that he might the more completely surprise his family; and never was surprise more perfect, or followed by a sweeter cup of joy. That humble residence in the forest was exchanged for one comfortable, and indeed beautiful, in the valley; and the widow lived long with her dutiful son, in the enjoyment of worldly plenty, and in the delightful employments of virtue; and at this day the passer-by is pointed to the willow that spreads its branches above her grave.—New York Spectator.
LESSON III.—THE FAMILY MEETING. [The reading of this piece requires a slow delivery, with much pathetic tenderness) 1.
We are all here'!
Ali who hold each other dear.
We're all'—all here,
We're not all here!