« ElőzőTovább »
Or when the silence of a son, who would have written of his welfare,
Racketh a father's bosom with sharp-cutting fears,
For a letter, timely writ, is a rivet to the chain of affection,
And a letter, untimely delayed, is as rust to the solder.
The pen, flowing with love, or dipped black in hate,
Or tipped with delicate courtesies, or harshly edged with censure,
Hath quickened more good than the sun, more evil than the sword,
More joy than woman's smile, more woe than frowning fortune ;
And shouldst thou ask my judgment of that which hath most profit in the
For answer take thou this, The prudent penning of a letter.
Thou hast not lost an hour, whereof there is a record;
A written thought at midnight shall redeem the livelong day.
Idea is a shadow that departeth, speech is fleeting as the wind,
Reading is an unremembered pastime: but a writing is eternal:
For therein the dead heart liveth, the clay-cold tongue is eloquent,
And the quick eye of the reader is cleared by the reed of the scribe.
As a fossil in the rock, or a coin in the mortar of a ruin,
So the symbolled thoughts tell of a departed soul:
The plastic hand hath its witness in a statue, and exactitude of vision in
And so, the mind, that was among us, in its writings is embalmeil.
PRODIGALITY hath a sister Meanness, his fixed antagonist heart-fellow,
Who often out-liveth the short career of the brother she despiseth:
She hath lean lips and a sharp look, and her eyes are red and hungry;
But she sloucheth at his gait, and his mouth speaketh loosely and
Let a spendthrist grow to be old, he will set his heart on saving,
And labour to build up by penury that which extravagance threw down:
Even so, with most men, do riches earn themselves a double curse ;
They are ill-got by tight dealing : they are ill-spent by loose squan-
dering Give me enough, saith Wisdom ;—for he feareth to ask for more ; And that by the sweat of my brow, addeth stout-hearted Independence : Give me enough, and not less, for want is leagued with the tempter; Poverty shall make a man desperate, and hurry him ruthless into crime; Give me enough, and not more, saving for the children of distress; Wealth ofttimes killeth, where want but hindereth the budding : There is green glad summer near the pole, though brief and after long
winter, But the burnt breasts of the torrid zone yield never kindly nourishment. Wouldst thou be poor, scatter to the rich,—and reap the tares of in
gratitude; Wouldst thou be rich, give unto the poor ;—thou shalt have thine own
with usury : For the secret hand of Providence prospereth the charitable all ways, Good luck shall he have in his pursuits, and his heart shall be glad with.
Yet perchance he never shall perceive, that even as to earthly gains,
The cause of his weal, as of his joy, hath been small givings to the poor
In the plain of Benares is there found a root that fathereth a forest,
Where round the parent banian-tree drop its living scions;
Thirstily they strain to the earth, like stalactites in a grotto,
And strike broad roots, and branch again, lengthening their cool ar-
And the dervish madly danceth there, and the faquir is torturing his flesh,
And the calm brahmin worshippeth the sleek and pampered bull;
At the base lean jackalls coil, while from above depending
With dull malignant stare watcheth the branch-like boa.
Even so, in man's heart is a sin that is the root of all evil;
Whose fibres strangle the affections, whose branches overgrow the mind:
And oftenest beneath its shadow thou shalt meet distorted piety,-
The clenched and rigid fist, with the eyes upturned to heaven,
Fanatic zeal with miserly severity, a mixture of gain with godliness,
And him, against whom passion hath no power, kneeling to a golden
The hungry hounds of extortion are there, the bond, and the mortgage,
and the writ, While the appetite for gold, unslumbering, watcheth to glut its maw:And the heart, so tenanted and shaded, is cold to all things else; It seeth not the sunshine of heaven, nor is warmed by the light of charity.
For covetousness disbelieveth God, and laugheth at the rights of men ;
Spurring unto theft and lying, and tempting to the poison and the knife;
It sundereth the bonds of love, and quickeneth the flames of hate ;
A curse that shall wither the brain, and case the heart with iron.
Content is the true riches, for without it there is no satisfying,
But a ravencus all-devouring hunger gnaweth the vitals of the soul.
The wise man knoweth where to stop, as he runneth in the race of for-
tune, For experience of old hath taught him that happiness lingereth midway; And
many in hot pursuit have hasted to the goal of wealth, But have lost, as they ran, those apples of gold,—the mind and the power
to enjoy it
THERE is no greater evil among men than a testament framed with injus
Where caprice hath guided the boon, or dishonesty refused what was due.
Generous is the robber on the highway, in the open daring of his guilt,
To the secret coward, whose malice liveth and harmeth after him.
Who smoothly sank into the tomb with the smile of fraud upon his face,
And the last black deed of his existence was injury without redress;
For deaf is the ear of the dead, and can hear no palliating reasons;
The smiter is not among the living, and Right pleadeth but in vain.
Yet shall the curse of the oppressed be as blight upon the grave of the
Yea, bitterly shall that handwriting testify against him at the judgment.
I saw the humble relation that tended the peevishness of wealth,
And ministered with kind hand to the wailings of disease and discontent;
I noted how watchfulness and care were feeding on the marrow of her
youth, How heavy was the yoke of dependence, loaded by petty tyranny; Yet I heard the frequent suggestion - It cannot be but a little longer, Patience and mute submission shall one day reap a rich reward. So, tacitly enduring much, waited that humble friend, Putting off the lover of her youth until the dawn of wealth: And it came, that day of release, and the freed heart could not sorrow, For now were the years of promise to yield their golden harvest: Hope, so long deferred, sickly sparkled in her eye, The miserable past was forgotten, as she looked for the happier future, And she checked, as unworthy and ungrateful, the dark suspicious
thought That perchance her right had been the safer, if not left alone with honour: But, alas, the sad knowledge soon came, that her stern task-master's will Hath rewarded her toil with a jibe, her patience with utter destitution !-Shall not the scourge of justice lash that cruel coward, Who mingled the gall of ingratitude with the bitterness of disappointment: Shall not the hate of men, and vengeance, fiercely pursuing, Hunt down the wretched being that sinneth in his grave ? He fancied his idol self safe from the wrath of his fellows, But Hades rose as he came in, to point at him the finger of scorn; And again must he meet that orphan maid to answer her face to face,
And her wrongs shall cling around his neck, to hinder him from rising
with the just : For his last most solemn act hath linked his name with liar, And the crime of Ananias is branded on his brow!
A good man commendeth his cause to the one great Patron of innocerce,
Convinced of justice at the last, and sure of good meanwhile.
He knoweth he hath a Guardian, wise and kind and strong,
And can thank Him for giving, or refusing, the trust or the curse of
His confidence standeth as a rock; he dreadeth not malice nor caprice,
Nor the whisperings of artful men, nor envious secret influence;
He scorneth servile compromise, and the pliant mouthings of deceit;
He maketh not a show of love, where he cannot concede esteem ;
He regardeth ill-got wealth, as the root most fruitful of wretchedness,
So he walketh in strict integrity, leaning on God and his right.
No gain, but by its price ; labour, for the poor man's meal,
Ofttimes heart-sickening toil, to win him a morsel for his hunger :
Labour, for the chapman at his trade, a dull unvaried round,
Year after year, unto death; yea, what a weariness is it!
Labour, for the pale-faced scribe, drudging at his hated desk,
Who bartereth for needful pittance the untold gold of health;
Labour, with fear, for the merchant, whose hopes are ventured on the
Labour, with care, for the man of law, responsible in his gains;
Labour, with envy and annoyance, where strangers will thee wealth ;
Labour, with indolence and gloom, where wealth falleth from a father;
Labour unto all, whether aching thews, or aching head, or spirit,-
The curse on the sons of men, in all their states, is labour.
Nevertheless, to the diligent, labour bringeth blessing:
The thought of duty sweeteneth toil, and travail is as pleasure ;
And time spent in doing hath a comfort that is not for the idle,
The hardship is transmuted into joy, by the dear alchemy of Mercy
Labour is good for a man, bracing up his energies to conquest,
And without it life is dull, the man perceiving himself useless :
For wearily the body groaneth, like a door on rusty hinges,