« AnteriorContinuar »
j erforraing duty, — he to be insulted and outraged by such an estimate of his services, and such a conception of his character, — why, it could provoke in him nothing but an instantaneous burst of indignation and abhorrence ! — and, in his reply, you will find that these emotions strain: the language of reproof-beyond the stern courtesy of military decorum.
7. The war ended, and our independence acknowledged, the time came when American liberty, threatened by anarchy, was to be re-organized in the Constitution of the United States. As president of the convention which framed the constitution, Washington powerfully contributed to its acceptance by the states. The people were uncertain as to the equity of its compromise of opposing interests, and adjustment of clashing claims.
8. By this eloquent and learned man they were advised to adopt it; by that eloquent and learned man they were advised to reject it: but there, at the end of the instrument
N itself, and first among many eminent and honored names, was the bold and honest signature of George Washington, a signature which always carried with it the integrity and the influence of his character; and that was an argument stronger even than any furnished by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay.
A Parental Ode to my Son, aged Three Years and Five Months. — Thomas Hood.
1. Thou happy, happy elf!
(But stop — first let me kiss away that tear ;)
Thou tiny image of myself!
(My love, he's poking peas into his ear !)
Thou merry, laughing sprite!
With spirits feather light,
Untouched by sorrow, and unsoiled by sin,
(Good heavens! the child is swallowing a pin !)
2. Thou little tricksy Puck! With antic toys so funnily bestuck,
Light as the singing bird that wings the air,
(The door! the door! he '11 tumble down the stair !)
Thou darling of thy sire!
(Why, Jane, he' 11 set his pinafore afire !)
Thou imp of mirth and joy!
3. Thou cherub —but of earth;
Fit play-fellow for Fays by moonlight pale,
In harmless sport and mirth,
(That dog will bite him, if he pulls its tail!)
Thou human humming-bee, extracting honey
From every blossom in the world that blows,
Singing in youth's Elysium ever sunny,
(Another tumble — that's his precious nose !)
Thy father's pride and hope!
(He '11 break the mirror with that skipping-rope !)
With pure heart newly stamped from nature's mint,
(Where did he learn that squint ?)
4. Thou young domestic dove!
(He '11 have that jug off, with another shove !)
Dear nursling of the hymeneal nest!
(Are those torn clothes his best ?)
Little epitome of man!
(He '11 climb upon the table, that's his plan !)
Touched with the beauteous tints of dawning life,
(He's got a knife !)
Thou enviable being!
No storms, no clouds, in thy blue sky foreseeing,
5. Toss the light ball — bestride the stick,
(He's got the scissors, snipping at your gown !)
Thou pretty opening rose!
(Go to your mother, child, and wipe your nose!)
Balmy, and breathing music like the south,
(He really brings my heart into my mouth !)
Fresh as the .morn, and brilliant as its star,
(I wish that window had an iron bar!)
Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove,
(I '11 tell you what, my love,
I cannot write, unless he's sent above !)
Distinction between Power and Activity. — Combe.
1. There is a great distinction between power and activity of mind; and it is important to keep this difference in view. Power, strictly speaking, is the capability of thinking, feeling, or perceiving, however small in amount that capability may be; and in, this sense it is synonymous with faculty: action is the exercise of power; while activity denotes the quickness, great or small, with which the action is performed, and also the degree of proneness to act.
2. The distinction between power, action and activity, of the mental faculties, is widely recognized by describers of human nature. Thus Cowper says of the more violent affective faculties of man : —
"His passions, like, the watery stores that sleep
Beneath the smiling surface of the deep,
Wait but the lashes of a wintry storm,
To frown, and roar, and shake his feeble form." — Hope.
Again : —
"In every heart
— The Task, B. 5.
3. Dr. Thomas Brown, in like manner, speaks of latent . propensities; that is to say, powers not in action. "Vice already formed," says he, "is almost beyond our power: it is only in the state of latent propensity that we can with much reason expect to overcome it by the moral motives which we are capable of presenting." And he alludes to the great extent of knowledge of human nature requisite to enable us "to distinguish this propensity before it has expanded itself, and even before it is known to the very mind in which it exists, and to tame those passions which are never to rage."
4. In Crabbe's Tales of the Hall a character is thus described : —
"He seemed without a passion to proceed,
"Nature," says Lord Bacon, "will be buried a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion or temptation; like as it was with JEsop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end till a mouse ran before her." In short, it is plain that we may have the capability of feeling an emotion, — as anger, fear or pity, — and that yet this power may be inactive, insomuch that, at any particular time, these emotions m_y be totally absent from the mind; and it is no less plain, that we may have the capability of seeing, tasting, calculating, reasoning, and composing music, without actually performing these operations.
5. It is equally easy to distinguish activity from action and power. When power is exercised, the action may be performed with very different degrees of rapidity. Two individuals may each be solving a problem in arithmetic, but one may do so with far greater quickness than the other; in other words, his faculty may be more easily brought into action. He who solves abstruse problems slowly, manifests much power with little activity; while he who can quickly solve easy problems, and them alone, has much activity with little power. The man who calculates difficult problems with great speed manifests, in a high degree, both power and activity of the faculty of Number.
6. As commonly employed, the word power is synonymous with strength, while by activity is usually understood quickness of action, and great proneness to act. As it is desirable, however, to avoid every chance of anlbiguity, to high degrees of power I shall apply the terms energy, intensity, strength, or vigor; while to great activity I shall apply the terms vivacity, agility, rapidity, or quickness.
7. In physics, strength is quite distinguishable from quickness. The balance-wheel of a watch moves with much rapidity, but so slight is its impetus, that a hair would suffice to stop it; the beam of a steam-engine progresses slowly and massively through space, but its energy is prodigiously great.
8. In muscular action these qualities, are recognized with equal facility as different. The greyhound bounds over hill and dale with animated agility; but a slight obstacle would counterbalance his momentum, and arrest his progress. The elephant, oh the other- hand, rolls slowly and heavily along; but the impetus of his motion would sweep away an impediment sufficient to resist fifty greyhounds at the summit of their speed.
9. In mental manifestations (considered apart from organization), the distinction between energy and vivacity is equally palpable. On the stage Mrs. Siddons and Mr. John Keiable were remarkable for the solemn deliberation of their manner, both in declamation and in action; and yet they were splendidly gifted with energy. They carried captive at once the sympathies and the understanding of the audience, and made every man feel his faculties expanding, and his whole mind becoming greater, under the influence of their power.
10. Other performers, again, are remarkable for agility of action and elocution, who, nevertheless, are felt to be feeble and ineffective in rousing an audience to emotion. Vivacity is their distinguishing attribute, with an absence of vigor. At the bar, in the pulpit, and in the senate, the same distinction prevails.
11. Many members of the learned professions display great fluency of elocution and felicity of illustration, surprising us with the quickness of their parts, who, nevertheless, are felt to be neither impressive nor profound. They exhibit acuteness without depth, and ingenuity without comprehensiveness of understanding. This also proceeds from vivacity with little energy.
12. There are other public speakers, again, who open heavily in debate, — their faculties acting slowly but deeply, like the first heave of a mountain wave. Their words fall like minute-guns upon the ear, and to the superficial they appear about to terminate ere they have begun their efforts.
13. But even their first accent is one of power; it rouses and arrests attention: their very pauses are expressive, and indicate gathering energy to be embodied in the sentence that is to come. When fairly animated, they are impetuous as the torrent, brilliant as the lightning's beam, and overwhelm and take possession of feebler minds, impressing them irresistibly with a feeling of gigantic power.
14. The distinction between vivacity and energy is well illustrated by Cowper, in one of his letters. "The mind and body," says he, "have in this respect^ striking resemblance of each other. In childhood they are both nimble, but not strong; they can skip and frisk about with wonderful agility, but hard labor spoils them both. In maturer years they become less active, but more vigorous, more capable of fixed application, and can make themselves sport with that which a little earlier would have affected them with intolerable fatigue." * * * * * Exercise greatly increases activity, as well as power, and hence arise the benefits of education.