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there is a sun. These thoughts have been well expressed by an invalid :
“Out of my first home, warm and bright,
“Out of my last home, dark and cold,
I shall pass to the city whose streets are gold;
There is another saying which the clergy have frequent opportunities to know is singularly just: “ Zeal is fit only for wise men, but is found mostly in fools.”
These examples will verify the definition of proverbs with which we began our article, that they are the witty wisdom of a nation. We dwell a few moments on others with special reference to their poetry, satire, and wit.
The absurd tendency of men to reprove others for faults of which they are equally guilty, has been ridiculed in every variety of form in the proverbs of all nations. In English it is thus expressed : “ The ketile calls the pot black." "The kiln calls the oven, 'burnt-house.” The Italians have it in this form: “ The pan says to the pot, Keep off or you'll smutch me.” The Spaniards say : “ The raven cried to the crow--Avaunt, blackamoor.” The Germans have it thus: “ One ass nick-named another long-ears." In a Catalan variation of this proverb there is an exquisite drollery and humor : “ Death said to the man with his throat cut, How ugly you look !” The transfer to Death of the disgust which a dying man may be well supposed to feel for him, is a rare touch of wit. Charles Dickens, in his Bleak House, has not given us a more terrible idea of the harrowing delays of the Court of Chancery in England, than is packed into a little sentence, which has both a frightful earnestness and a sardonic grin: “ Hell and Chancery are always open."
The finest passages of the best poems have not richer and truer poetry than is to be found in many of the proverbs of the people. We have already quoted that exquisite English proverb: “Gray hairs are death's blossoms." The Italian, “ Time is an inaudible file," is not less admirable. What a
noble sentiment is this: “Fame is the perfume of noble deeds." The Turkish proverb, how characteristically national and expressive, “ Death is a black camel which kneels at every man's gate," that is, for the purpose of taking up a coffin. The Japanese saying, “ There are no fans in hell,” is strikingly national and suggestive. The following, from the Chinese, though too long and artificial to come up to our standard of its proper form, is yet highly poetical and wise: “ Towers are measured by their shadows, and great men by their calumniators."
The fine wit of proverbs is usually displayed in connection with an equally admirable poetic form. One of them, which is sure to live through every generation, is, though familiar, well worth quoting, for the sake of the gloss made upon it by the author of Guesses at Truth : “Hell is paved with good intentions.” The gloss is this: "Pluck up the stones, ye sluggards, and break the devil's head with them!” A ridiculous boasting before the world of the peculiar excellence of all a man owns, is well set off by a Scotch saying: "A man may love his house well without riding on the ridge.” Proverbs spare no classes of persons and no forms of vice. Niggardly charity is well expressed by the Germans: "He will swallow an egg and give away the shell in alms.” Learned folly, as the greatest of all, is thus humorously described : “A fool, unless he knows Latin, is never a great fool.”
A fine and subtle knowledge of the human heart is constantly displayed in these wise witicisms. The Italian says: “If pride were an art, how many graduates we should have.” The English saying: "As proud go behind as before,” is emphatically American in its application. What a reproach is conveyed in this often too just hit at the ingratitude and forgetfulness of children: “ One father supports ten children. Ten children can not support one father." There is a delicate touch in this French word: “It is easy to go afoot when one leads one's horse by the bridle." It is not difficult, but rather pleasant to change from rest to labor, from ease to hardness, from dignity and state to condescension, when rest, and ease, and dignity may be resumed at will. Admirably humorous is this description of forced and unreal resignation : “ Welcome death ! said the rat when the trap went down." The blacks in the Island of Hayti embody their ridicule of the mulattoes in a proverb, through which you can see the white of contorted eyes and the grin of ivory teeth. It appears that the mulatoes, in imitation of the whites, frequently fight bloodless duels. The negroes say: "Mulattoes fight; kids die.” The government of the tongue is thus recommended : “He who says what he likes shall hear what he does not like.” Unreasonable expectation of finding perfection in an imperfect world, is thus expressed in English, “ He expects better bread than can be made of wheat;" and thus in Portuguese : “He that will have a horse without fault let him go afoot.” Very admirably is procrastination set forth by this proverb of the Spanish : "By the street of by-and-by you arrive at the house of never.” In these proverbs, and in many others, the wisdom and poetry and wit are combined; and it is because they thus constitute a three-fold cord that they are not soon broken.
In no particular are the characteristic differences of nations more displayed than in those proverbs concerning women, matrimony, and love. Many of the Italian and Spanish are shameful; and such as can not be repeated. They show a low estimate of woman. They are almost always sneering, sarcastic, and sensual. Very different are the German. They are affectionate, laudatory, and pleasant. The English are various in their character. While many of them are coarse, and many sarcastic, there are many also that are cheerful, affectionate, and refined. One is at first surprised to find among them so many that ridicule and banter women. For although it be one of these proverbs that “England is the paradise of women,” it is nevertheless true, as an old collector of proverbs has said in reference to this subject: “ That it is worth noting that in no country in the world are men so fond of, so much governed by, so wedded to their wives, yet hath no language so many proverbial invectives against women.” The truth is, that while in the Spanish and Italian ridicule and invective there is seen to be sincerity and passion, in the English it is evident that it is mere badinage and fun. It is the compensation which men make to themselves for knowing how fully and gladly they are bound in silken chains. It seems to be characteristic of Englishmen and Americans, that those who most admire women most play off their wit against them. Women are not wanting in the power of making just reprisals, but unfortunately for them, and fortunately for men,
their proverbs are not printed. We should be indisposed to quote a few of this class of proverbs, if we did not believe that these remarks explain their seeming severity. One can see a good-natured and affectionate smile behind them all. The fact that when a man begins particularly to admire one woinan, he strives to hide it by a general satire of the sex, is not unfrequently the occasion of the discovery of his passion.
The first proverb which we quote on this subject is suggested by the last remark: "Love and a cough can not be hid.” In vain does a man endeavor to retreat behind raillery and pretended invective. Here are some good-natured and pleasant sayings about matrimony: “A good wife makes a good husband.” “There is a good wife in the country and every man thinks he has her." Here is a cheerful picture of rural happiness: "A little house well filled, a little land well tilled, a little wife well willed." But besides such genial proverbs, it must be confessed that there are many that are of a different character. Woman's supposed inability to keep a secret is thus cruelly satirized : "A woman conceals what she knows not." Her supposed possession of the earliest news is most unkindly put: "He that telleth his wife news is but newly married.” Her ready command of tears for lesser occasions is thus ungallantly and unfeelingly described : "As great a pity to see a woman weep as to see a goose go bare-foot.” The Jews are particularly severe on women. In one of their Liturgies they render thanks to God that they were not women. In the spirit of that thanksgiving is the proverb: "When an ass climbs a ladder we may find wisdom in a woman.” The Italians have a saying to this effect: "It is a sad house where the hen crows louder than the cock.” In the same vein is the English saying: “One tongue is enough for a woman."
From this rapid survey it will be apparent that proverbs are an inexaustible repository of poetry, wit, and wisdom. We conclude in the spirit of our subject, by reminding onr readers that "An oak is not felled at one chop," and that if the few chips which we have cut off from the old proverb-tree, the growth of centuries, have the fragrance and value of the sandal wood, they would do well often to rest beneath its shadow and carry away its spicy twigs !
ART. III.—RECENT GERMAN APOLOGETICS.
Das Apostolische und das Nachapostolische Zeitalter. Mit Rück
sicht auf Unterschied und Einheit in Lehre und Leben. Dargestellt von GOTTHARD VICTOR LECHLER, Doctor der Philosophie, Dekan zu Knittlingen, K. Würtemberg. Zweite, durchaus umgearbeitete Auflage der von der Teyler'schen theologischen Gesellschaft gekrönten Preisschrift. Stuttgart.
Verlag von Rudolf Besser. 1857. Apologie des Christenthums in Briefen für gebildete Leser. Eine
gekrönte Preisschrift von C. H. STIRM, Kön. Würtembergischem Ober-Consistorialrath, Doctor der Philosophie und Theologie. Zweite vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage. Stuttgart. E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlag. 1856.
The character of the defenses of Christianity form an accurate key to the character of the attack which those defenses are constructed to meet. In England, the solid historical ontworks of Lardner and Paley bore witness to the fact that English skepticism, availing itself of the practical character of the people with whom it had to deal, brought its attacks to bear upon the proof of revelation, not upon its meaning. In France the enthusiastic eloquence of Bossuet, and the keen irony of Pascal, showed that there wit was to be encountered. In Germany, however, the attack has been far different. It exhibits neither the dashing effrontery of English infidelity nor the brilliant wit of French. The infidel treatises of Paine meet with no circulation in Germany; those of Voltaire but little. The German skeptic does not plumply contradict; he does not smartly ridicule. He simply doubts. But this doubt, to a speculative nation, is an agency peculiarly powerful. An assault may be readily resisted ; a citadel may be made bombproof; but when in the garrison itself there exists a hostile power, which, if it does not corrupt, at least bewilders and mystifies, the battle may be lost as effectually as if the works