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The lowing herd; the sheepfold's simple bell;
The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love,
The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark;
Deep mourns the turtle in sequester'd bower,
The beauties of Nature.-BEATTIE.
And all the dread magnificence of Heaven,
The advantages of a taste for natural history.-WOOD. When a young person who has enjoyed the benefit of a liberal education, instead of leading a life of indolence, dissipation, or vice, employs himself in studying the marks of infinite wisdom and goodness which are manifested in every part of the visible creation, we know not which we ought most to congratulate, the public, or the individual. Selftaught naturalists are often found to make no little progress in knowledge, and to strike out many new lights, by the mere aid of original genius and patient application. But the well educated youth engages in these pursuits with peculiar advantage. He takes more comprehensive views, is able to consult a greater variety of authors, and, from the early habits of his mind, is more accurate and more methodical in all his investigations. The world at large, therefore, cannot fail to be benefited by his labors; and the value of the enjoyments, which at the same time he secures to himself, is beyond all calculation. No tedious, vacant hour ever makes him wish for he knows not what-complain, he knows not why. Never does a restless impatience at having nothing to do, compel him to seek a momentary stimulus to his dormant powers in the tumultuous pleasures of the intoxicating cup, or the agitating suspense of the game of chance. Whether he be at home or abroad, in every different clime, and in every season of the year, universal nature is before him, and invites him to a banquet richly replenished with whatever can invigorate his understanding, or gratify his mental taste. The earth on which he treads, the air in which he moves, the sea along the margin of which he walks, all teem with objects that keep his attention perpetually awake, excite him to healthful activity, and charm him with an ever varying succession of the beautiful, the wonderful, the useful, and the new. And if, in conformity with the direct tendency of such occupations, he rises from the creature to the Creator, and considers the duties which naturally result from his own situation and rank in this vast system of being, he will derive as much satisfaction from the anticipation of the future, as from the experience of the present, and the recollection of the past. The mind of the pious naturalist is always cheerful, always animated with the noblest and most benign feelings. Every repeated observation, every unexpected discovery, directs his thoughts to the great Source of all order, and all good; and harmonizes all his faculties with the general voice of nature.
* Pron. kwire.
his plan, And form to his the relish of their souls."
The pleasures of a cultivated Imagination.— DUGALD
The attention of young persons may be seduced, by well selected works of fiction, from the present objects of the senses, and the thoughts accustomed to dwell on the past, the distant or the future ; and in the same proportion in which this effect is, in any instance, accomplished, “ the man,” as Dr. Johnson has justly remarked, “is exalted in the scale of intellectual being.' The tale of fiction will probably be soon laid aside with the toys and rattles of infancy ; but the habits which it has contributed to fix, and the powers which it has brought into a state of activity, will remain with the possessor, permanent and inestimable treasures, to his latest hour.
Nor is it to the young alone that these observations are to be exclusively applied. Instances have frequently occurred of individuals, in whom the power of imagination has, at a more advanced period of life, been found susceptible of culture to a wonderful degree. In such men, what an accession is gained to their most refined pleasures ! What enchantments are added to their most ordinary pereeptions! The mind awakening, as if from a trance, to a new existence, becomes habituated to the most interesting aspects of life and of nature; the intellectual eye“ is purged of its film;" and things the most familiar and unnoticed, disclose charms invisible before.
The same objects and events which were lately beheld with indifference, occupy now all the powers and capacities of the soul: the contrast between the present and the past serving only to enhance and to endear so unlooked for an acquisition. What Gray has so finely said of the pleasures of vicissitude, conveys but a faint image of what is experienced by the man, who, afier having lost in vulgar occupations and vulgar amusements, his earliest and most precious years, is thus introduced at last to a new heaven and a new earth :
“ The meanest floweret of the vale,
The effects of foreign travel have been often remarked, not only in rousing the curiosity of the traveller while
abroad, but in correcting, after his return, whatever habits I of inattention he had contracted to the institutions and man
ners among which he was bred. It is in a way somewhat analogous, that our occasional excursions into the regions of imagination increase our interest in those familiar realities from which the stores of imagination are borrowed. We learn insensibly to view nature with the eye of the painter and the poet, and to seize those " happy attitudes of things” which their taste at first selected ; while, enriched with the accumulations of ages, and with “the spoils of time," we unconsciously combine with what we see, all that we know and all that we feel; and sublime the organical beauties of the material world, by blending with them the inexhaustible delights of the heart and of the fancy.
The happiness of animals a proof of the divine benevolence.
In a spring noon or a summer evening, on whichever side we turn our eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon our view.
“ The insect youth are on the wing." Swarms of new-born flies, are trying their pinions in the air. Their sportive motions, their gratuitous activity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, testify their joy, and the exultation which they feel in their lately discovered faculties.
A bee amongst the flowers in spring, is one of the most cheerful objects that can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all enjoyment: so busy and so pleased: yet it is only a specimen of insect life, with which, by reason of the animal being half domesticated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with that of others. The whole winged insect tribe, it is probable, are equally intent upon their proper employments, and under every variety of constitution gratified, and perhaps equally gratified, by the offices which the Author of their nature has assigned to them.
But the atmosphere is not the only scene of their enjoy
Plants are covered with little insects, greedily sucking their juices, and constantly, as it should seem, in the act of sucking It cannot be doubted but that this is a state of gratification. What else should fix them so closely to the operation, and so long? Other species are running about, with an alacrity in their motions, which carries with it every mark of pleasure. Large patches of ground are sometimes half covered with these brisk and sprightly natures.
If we look to what the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish frequent the margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These are so happy, that they know not what to do with themselves. Their attitudes, their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, their frolics in it, all conduce to show their excess of spirits, and are simply the effects of that excess. Walking by the seaside, in a calm evening, upon a sandy shore, and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or rather, very thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the height, perhaps, of half a yard, and of the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and always retiring with the water.
When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be so much space, filled with young shrimps, in the act of bounding into the air, from the shallow margin of the water, or from the wet sand. If any motion of a mute animal could express delight, it was this: if they had meant to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done it more intelligibly. Suppose, then, what there is no reason to doubt, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification and pleasure have we here before our view!
The young of all animals appear to receive pleasure simply from the exercise of their limbs and bodily faculties, without reference to any end to be attained, or any use to be answered by the exertion. A child, without knowing any thing of the use of language, is in a high degree delighted with being able to speak. Its incessant repetition of a few articulate sounds, or, perhaps, of a single word which it has learned to pronounce, proves this point clearly. Nor is it less pleased with its first successful endeavors to walk, or rather, to run, (which precedes walking,) although entirely ignorant of the importance of the attainment to its future life, and even without applying it to any present purpose. A child is delighted with speaking, without having