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which, by a kind of happy contagion, she communicates to all about her. If any misfortune has befallen her, she considers that it might have been worse, and is thankful to Providence for an escape. She rejoices in solitude, as it gives her an opportunity of knowing herself; and in society, because she communicates the happiness she enjoys. She opposes every man's virtues to his failings, and can find out something to cherish and applaud in the very worst of her acquaintance. She opens every book with a desire to be entertained or instructed, and therefore seldom misses what she looks for. Walk with her, though it be on a heath or a common, and she will discover numberless beauties, unobserved before, in the hills, the dales, the brooms, the tracks, and the variegated flowers of weeds and poppies. She enjoys every change of weather and of season, as bringing with it some advantages of health or convenience. In conversation, you never hear her repeating her own grievances, or those of her neighbours, or (what is worst of all) their faults and imperfections. If anything of the latter kind is mentioned in her hearing, she has the address to turn it into entertainment, by changing the most odious railing into a pleasant raillery. Thus, Melissa, like the bee, gathers from every weed; while Arachne, like the spider, sucks poison from the fairest flowers. The consequence is, that of two tempers, once very nearly allied, the one is for ever sour and dissatisfied the other always pleased and cheerful; the one spreads a universal gloom-the other a continual sunshine.-World.
THE CANAL AND THE BROOK.
A DELIGHTFULLY pleasant evening succeeding a sultry summer day, invited me to take a solitary walk; and leaving the dust of the highway, I fell into a path which led along a pleasant little valley watered by a small meandering brook. The meadow ground on its banks had been lately mown, and new grass was springing up with a lively verdure. The brook was hid in several places by the shrubs that grew on each side, and intermingled their branches. The sides of the valley were roughened by small irregular thickets, and the whole scene had an air
of solitude and retirement uncommon in the neighbourhood of a populous town. The Duke of Bridgewater's canal crossed the valley, high raised on a mound of earth, which preserved a level with the elevated ground on each side. An arched road was carried under it, beneath which the brook that ran along the valley was conveyed by a subterraneous passage. I threw myself upon a green bank, shaded by a leafy thicket, and resting my head upon my hand, after a welcome indolence had overcome my senses, I saw, with the eyes of fancy, the following
The firm-built side of the aqueduct suddenly opened, and a gigantic form issued forth, which I soon discovered to be the genius of the canal. He was clad in a loose garment of russet hue. A mural crown, indented with battlements, surrounded his brow. His naked feet were discoloured with clay. On his left shoulder he bore a huge pickaxe; and in his right hand he held certain instruments, used in surveying, and levelling. His looks were thoughtful, and his features harsh. The breach through which he proceeded instantly closed, and with a heavy tread he advanced into the valley. As he approached the brook, the deity of the stream arose to meet him. He was habited in a light green mantle, and the clear drops fell from his dark hair, which was encircled with a wreath of water-lily, interwoven with sweet-scented flag; an angling rod supported his steps. The genius of the canal eyed him with a contemptuous look, and in a hoarse voice thus began:-"Hence, ignoble rill! with thy scanty tribute, to thy lord the Mersey; nor thus waste thy almost exhausted urn in lingering windings along the vale. Feeble as thine aid is, it will not be unacceptable to that master-stream himself; for, as I lately crossed his channel, I perceived his sands loaded with stranded vessels. I saw, and pitied him for undertaking a task to which he is unequal. But thou, whose languid current is obscured by weeds, and interrupted by mistaken pebbles; who losest thyself in endless mazes, remote from any sound but thy own idle gurgling; how canst thou support an existence so contemptible and useless? For me, the noblest work of art, who hold my unremitting course from hill to hill, over hills and rivers; who pierce the solid rock for my passage, and connect unknown lands with distant seas; wherever
I appear, I am viewed with astonishment, and exulting commerce hails my waves. Behold my channel thronged with capacious vessels for the conveyance of merchandise, and splendid barges for the use and pleasure of travellers; my banks crowned with airy bridges, and huge warehouses, and echoing with the busy sounds of industry! Pay, then, the homage due from sloth and obscurity to grandeur and utility."
"I readily acknowledge," replied the deity of the brook, in a modest accent, "the superior magnificence, and more extensive utility, of which you so proudly boast; yet, in my humble walk, I am not void of a praise less shining, but not less solid, than yours. The nymph of this peaceful valley, rendered more fertile and beautiful by my stream; the neighbouring sylvan deities, to whose pleasure I contribute, will pay a grateful testimony to my merit. The windings of my course, which you so much blame, serve to diffuse over a greater extent of ground the refreshment of my waters; and the lovers of nature and the muses, who are fond of straying on my banks, are better pleased that the line of beauty marks my way, than if, like yours, it were directed in a straight, unvaried line. They prize the irregular wildness with which I am decked as the charms of beauteous simplicity. What you call the weeds, which darken and obscure my waves, afford to the botanist a pleasing speculation of the works of nature, and the poet and painter think the lustre of my stream greatly improved by glittering through them. The pebbles which diversify my bottom, and make these ripplings in my current, are pleasing objects to the eye of taste; and my simple murmurs are more melodious to the learned ear than all the rude noises of your banks, or even the music that resounds from your stately barges. If the unfeeling sons of wealth and commerce judge of me by the mere standard of usefulness, I may claim no undistinguished rank. While your waters, confined in deep channels, or lifted above the valleys, roll on, a useless burden to the fields, and are only subservient to the drudgery of bearing temporary merchandises, my stream will bestow unvarying fertility on the meadows during the summer of future ages. Yet I scorn to submit my honours to the decision of those whose hearts are shut up in taste and sentiment: let me appeal to nobler judges. The philosopher and poet, by
whose labours the human mind is elevated and refined, and opened to pleasures beyond the conception of vulgar sounds, will acknowledge that the elegant deities who preside over simple and natural beauty have inspired them with their charming and instructive ideas. The sweetest and most majestic bard that ever sung has taken a pride in owning his affection for woods and streams; and while the stupendous monuments of Roman grandeur, the columns which pierced the skies, and the aqueducts which poured their waves over mountains and valleys, are sunk in oblivion, the gently-winding Mincius still retains his tranquil honours. And when thy glories, proud Genius, are lost and forgotten,—when the flood of commerce which now supplies thy urn is turned into another course, and has left thy channel dry and desolate, the softly-flowing Avon shall still murmur in song, and his banks receive the homage of all who are beloved by Phoebus and the Muses."-Aitkin.
THE CHOICE OF HERCULES.
You have oftentimes, I dare say, heard and read of the many brave exploits of the great and noble Hercules; and how that men of old held him in high regard, because his feeling heart prompted him to succour the distressed, and his mighty arm ever defended the weak and feeble. I am now going to relate something which a wise man hath handed down concerning him, and from which you may learn a good and useful lesson.
Whilst he was yet a very little boy, Hercules had frequently heard the wise men of his day talking about the pleasures of virtue and honour, and the miseries of wickedness and vice. When he grew up, and began to think, his thoughts were much occupied by what he had heard; but the more he pondered the sayings of the wise, the more he was perplexed, and could not tell what course of life it would be most prudent for him to follow. In order, therefore, to make up his mind, he one day retired from the busy haunts of men, and sought a quiet, secluded spot, where he could, without interruption, meditate upon so important a matter. He had not sat there long, before his attention was drawn to two objects which his eyes
dimly saw in the distance. As they came near, he perceived they were two tall and lovely women. The one was fair and beautiful to look upon, and of noble bearing. Her body was adorned with purity; her eyes with modesty; her whole demeanour was such as befitted a wise and prudent woman; and her dress was of pure and spotless white. The other was somewhat stouter than her companion. Her lovely complexion appeared whiter and ruddier than it really was; and she seemed to be taller of stature than a mortal. Her large, glaring eyes were cast wildly around her; and the dress which she wore was one of matchless beauty and elegance.
As they drew nearer to the place where Hercules was sitting, the former advanced with the same steady pace as she had hitherto done; but the latter, desirous of obtaining the first hearing, quickened her steps, and running up to the youth, said, “I see, O Hercules, that thou art in a great strait, being troubled by contending thoughts, and not knowing what course of life to follow for the future. If, therefore, thou wilt only give ear unto my words, and choose me for thy friend, I will lead thee by a most pleasant and easy way, and thou shalt have abundance of all that can cheer and delight thee, and not a pang of sorrow shall rend thy heart. For never shalt thou be harassed by thoughts of war, or worn down by the cares and anxieties of business. Thy only thoughts shall be of what it will most delight thee to eat and drink; what it will give thee the greatest joy to see and hear; in the society of what boon companions thou wilt most agreeably spend thy time; how thou mayest sleep most sweetly and softly, and how thou mayest be able to obtain all this and more without the slightest care or labour. And think not for a moment that there shall, at any time, be a lack of any of these things. Thou shalt drink deep of pleasures ever new and varying, so that they shall not pall for their sameness. Whatever can delight the mind, charm the eye, and gratify the taste, it shall be an easy matter for thee to have. Others shall toil for thee, and thou shalt reap the rich fruit of their labours. For thou shalt take whatsoever it pleaseth thee; inasmuch as it is my prerogative (of which I justly boast) to give unto my willing followers facilities for enjoyment and profit from every quarter,"