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not altogether arbitrary. They are founded upon an analogy which is much more easily felt than defined; and delicacy of sensibility to this species of decency is the mark of a noble and generous mind. It is what is commonly called, especially when associated with solid virtue, dignity of character. This was the kind of fitness which Themistocles had his eye on, when he rebutted the imputation growing out of his want of a common accomplishment: "I cannot fiddle, but I know how to make a small town a great city." It was not for a man, whose mind was intent upon. grand and lofty aims, to be stooping to the amusements of the giddy and the gay. This same spirit was exemplified in Nehemiah, when he indignantly rejected an unworthy proposal: "And I said, should such a man as I flee? who is there that being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in." In contrast to these cases is the conduct of Nero, fiddling when Rome was on fire, and disguised as a charioteer, when an atrocious persecution was going on. The life

of the bloody Jeffreys is not more distinguished by the savage depravity of his heart, and the prostitution of his office to the most wicked and corrupt designs, than by the brutal ferocity of his manners, and the degradation of his rank by the most shameful and revolting indecencies. He had as little sense of decorum as of duty.

There may be refinement of external manners and scrupulous attention to outward decorum, as the results of education and habit, without sensibility to beauty and without moral culture. Accomplishments may be mechanically imparted and mechanically used. But in these cases, they are cold and repulsive. They want the freshness and glow of nature and of life. They are truly graceful only when they are the genuine expressions of the spirit of the mind. He, therefore, that would aspire to the praise of dignity of character, must study at once the general excellence of his nature and his particular sphere as an individual. He must aim at worth as a man, and at propriety as such a man. He

must cherish a nice discernment of the beautiful and becoming, and not permit himself to become familiar with the little, the degrading, and the mean.

It is in their relaxations and amusements. that men are most apt to forget what is due to their character. When the eye of the world is upon them, or when they are engaged in their pursuits of business, they are not so likely to unbend. But in their hours of recreation they not unfrequently compound with their dignity. This is particularly the case with the young, at that most important period of their lives, when they are laying the foundations of their future characters. Colleges and universities, both in this country and Europe, have suffered from no cause more severely than inattention on the part of their students, to what was due to the station they occupy. The indecency of their amusements has been the bane of these seats of learning, and has counteracted the effect, in multiplied instances, of the most faithful instruction. Antecedently to experience, we

should form a fine picture of a youthful student-we should figure him as one whose mind was expanding in knowledge--who was beginning to taste the sweetness of truth-to relish the beautiful and admire the good. We should expect him to be animated with a just sense of the dignity of his pursuits, to breathe their refinement, and to reflect, in all his conversation and deportment, the elevating influence of letters. His amusements and recreations, we should naturally think, would be impregnated with the same spirit. The groves in which he walked, the place in which he dwelt, we should spontaneously image to our fancy, as the abodes of quiet, tranquillity, and peace. But how sadly are these anticipations too often disappointed. "Let him," says the biographer of Bacon, "who is fond of indulging in dream-like existence, go to Oxford, and stay there; let him study this magnificent spectacle, the same under all aspects, with its mental twilight tempering the glare of noontide, or mellowing the shadowy moonlight; let him wander in

her sylvan suburbs, or linger in her cloistered halls; but let him not catch the din of scholars or teachers, or dine or sup with them, or speak a word to any of the privileged inhabitants; for if he does, the spell will be broken, the poetry and the religion gone, and the palace of enchantment will melt from his embrace into thin air." If the vain and frivolous agitations of their wit were all that disfigured our seats of learning, the evil would not be so intolerable. But how ill do turbulence, riot, and disorder, boisterous mirth, coarse ribaldry and even open profanity, comport with the temple which has been consecrated to letters. The case is immeasurably worse, when a low standard of opinion endures, if it does not sanction, flagrant breaches of morality. It is the influence of these abuses which, in too many cases, has rendered public schools and colleges, in the language of Dr. Arnold, "nurseries of vice." "Those who are dismissed from the parental roof," complains the same illustrious teacher, "frank, open, ingenuous and pure, soon lose

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