our work, mine convinced me that that which was not honest could not be truly useful.

7. I continued employed in my father's business for two years, that is, till I was twelve years old. But my dislike to the trade continuing, my father took me to walk with him.

8. We saw joiners, bricklayers, and other mechanics at their work. My father wished to observe my inclination, and to fix it on some trade or profession that would keep me on land. It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen handle their tools.

9. From my infancy I was passionately fond of reading, and all the money that came into my hands was laid out in purchasing books. This bookish inclination at length determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already one son, James, of that profession.

10. In 1717, my brother James returned from England with a press and letters to set up his business in Boston. I liked it much better than that of my father, but still had a hankering for the sea. In a little time I made great progress in the business, and became a useful hand to my brother.

II. I now had access to better books. An acquaintance with the apprentices of booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a small one, which I





was careful to return soon, and clean. Often I sat up in my chamber reading the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed in the evening and to be returned in the morning.

12. As prose writing has been of great use to me in the course of my life, and was a principal means of my advancement, I shall tell you how I acquired what little ability I may be supposed to have in that way.

13. About this time, I met with an odd volume of the “Spectator.”! I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished if possible to imitate it.

14. With that in view, I took some of the papers, and making short hints of the sentiments in each sentence, laid them by a few days. Then, without looking at the book, I tried to complete the papers again. I tried to express each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should occur to me.

15. Then I compared my “Spectator” with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a

1«Spectator,” a series of famous articles published in England by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele.



readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have had before this time if I had gone on making verses. Therefore, I took some of the tales in the “Spectator,” and turned them into verse. After a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, I turned them back again.

16. I also sometimes jumbled my collection of hints into confusion, and, after some weeks, endeavored to reduce them into the best order before I began to form the full sentences and complete the subject. This was to teach me method in the arrangement of the thought.

17. The time I allotted for writing exercises and for reading was at night, or before work began in the morning. Now it was that, being on some occasion made ashamed of my ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed learning when at school, I took a book on arithmetic, and went through the whole by myself with the greatest ease.

18. My brother had, in 1720 or 1721; begun to print a newspaper. It was the second that appeared in America, and was called the New England Courant. I was employed to carry the papers to the customers, after having worked in composing the types, and printing off the sheets.

19. My brother had some ingenious men among his friends, who amused themselves by writing little


pieces for this paper, which gained it credit and made it more in demand. These gentlemen often visited us, and, hearing their conversation, I was excited to try my hand among them.

20. But, being still a boy, and suspecting that my brother would object to printing anything of mine in his paper, if he knew it to be mine, I disguised my hand. I wrote an anonymous paper and put it at night under the door of the printing house. It was found in the morning, and communicated to his friends when they called in as usual. They read it in my hearing, and I had the exquisite pleasure of finding it met with their approbation.

21. I suppose that I was rather lucky in my judges, and that they were not really so very good as I believed them to be. Encouraged by this attempt, I wrote and sent in the same way to the press several other pieces that were equally approved.



1. She sat at the upper chamber, — 'twas a summer

of long ago, — And looked through the gable window at the river

that ran below,

And over the quiet pastures, and up at the wide

blue sky, And envied the jay his freedom, as he lazily

flitted by.

2. Yet patiently at her spinning, in a halo of happy

light, She wrought, though a shimmer was rippling o'er

the bending wheat in sight, — Though the rose and magnolia were yielding their

fragrance from every spray, And the hollyhocks at the doorway had never

looked half so gay.

3. She saw, as her wheel kept whirling, the leisure

of Nature, too; The beautiful holiday weather left nothing for her

to do: The cattle were idly grazing, and even the frisky

sheep, · Away in the distant meadows, lay under the shade


4. So sitting, she heard sweet laughter, and a bevy

of maidens fair, With babble of merry voices, came climbing the

chamber stair.

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