Page images

If any man can convince me and bring home to me that I do not think or act aright, gladly will I change; for I search after truth, by which man never yet was harmed. But he is harmed who abideth on still in his deception and ignorance.

Do not think that what is hard for thee to master is impossible for man; but if a thing is possible and proper to man, deem it attainable by thee.

Persevere then until thou shalt have made these things thy own.

Like a mariner who has doubled the promontory, thou wilt find calm, everything stable, and a waveless bay.

-Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.





O thou that for an hundred years

Didst lightly tread the ancestral hall, Yet sawest thy brethren bathed in tears, Cut down ere ripe, and round thee fall,—

Well didst thou deem long life the measure Of long enjoyment to the wise,

To fools alone devoid of pleasure;

Thou wouldst not die as the fool dies.

Robbed of thy titles, lands, and health,
With man and fortune in disgrace,
In wisdom didst thou seek thy wealth,
Thy peace in friendship to thy race.

With thine eleven grandchildren met,
Thou couldst at will become the boy;
And, thine own sorrows to forget,

Couldst lose thyself in others' joy,

*See Note B

Couldst mount thy horse when past fourscore,
And climb steep hills, and on dull days
Cheer the long hours with learned lore,
Or spend thy wit on tales and plays.

In summer, thou wast friend of flowers,
And, when the winter nights grew long,
And music cheered the evening hours,
Still clearest was the old man's song.

Thus, while thy calm and thoughtful mind
The ravages of time survived,

Three generations of mankind

Dropped round thee, joyless and short-lived.

Thou sawest the flowers of youth decay,
Half dried and withered through excess,
Till, nursed by virtue's milder ray,
Thy green age grew to fruitfulness.

Thou sawest life's barque on troubled seas
Long tossed; care's clouds thy skies o'ercast;
But calm content, with moderate breeze,
Brought thee to wisdom's port at last.

Life's evening, wherein most behold
Their season of regrets and fears,

Became for thee an age of gold,

And gave thee all thy happiest years.

As gentle airs and genial sun

Stay winter's march when leaves grow sere,

And, when the summer's race is run,

With a new summer crown the year;

So temperance, like that lingering glow
Which makes the October woods so bright,
Did on thy vale of years bestow
A glorious autumn of delight.

What useful lessons might our race
From thy so sage experience draw!
Earth might become a joyous place,

Would man but reverence nature's law.

Soar folly, self, and sense above;
Govern each mutinous desire;
Nor let the sacred flame of love
In passion's hurricane expire.

No wondrous works of hand or mind

Were thine; God bade thee stand and wait,

A living proof to all thy kind

That a wise man may master fate.

Happy that life around whose close

The virtues all their rainbows cast,

While wisdom and the soul's repose
Make age more blest than all the past!


HERE* is a story in the "Arabian Nights' Tales"

of a king who had long languished under an

ill habit of body, and had taken abundance of remedies to no purpose. At length, says the fable, a physician cured him by the following method: he took a hollow ball of wood, and filled it with several * See Note C

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »