Page images

panions; for time will have been busy with its changes, and new associations will have been formed. Scarcely a lineament of the disposition which once existed may remain, and both the joys of former days, and the companions who shared in them, may no longer be remembered. We shall, indeed, just be alone in the midst of strangers; and the remainder of our years must we wear out, as it were, in solitude, deprived of those comforts which give such beams of consolation to the afternoon of life, which cheer and support man as he journeys to the grave.

Better then, we naturally exclaim, would it have been for us that we had never wandered so far; if such are to be the consequences, surely we have deceived ourselves-surely we have judged most unwisely in ever straying from our home. What are all the riches we can accumulate, or all the knowledge we can acquire, or even all the honours we can attain, by our wandering, if the probability is, that ere we have had time to enjoy them, we will be taken from them? What are all the wonders a foreign country can


present, or all the luxuries it can give, if we are to buy them at the expense of far truer, though perhaps less glaring, enjoyments? What, in a word, is every thing else, if we are to resign all that ever interested our bosoms--if we are to give up that happiness which is above every other, and which, having once given up, we shall probably never taste again? Happier by far, is the

poor peasant, who, though earning his bread by the hardest labour, yet eats it in his happy home, in his native healthy atmosphere. Happier, surely, is he who, with just enough to keep him above the world, has his kindred and kind companions around him, and enjoys the little which Heaven has bestowed on him, in the society of those he loves, and in the place that infancy has naturalized and made pleasing to him. Ah! happy are they in whose hearts contentment dwells; who, satisfied with humble joys, have never given place to a wandering or an aspiring thought. And well would it have been for us, had we checked, as it came forth, every wandering desire, and never have allowed either curiosity, or the hope of wealth or distinction, or any other enticement whatever, to draw us from our first and happiest state. It would have saved us many a pang, had we moderated our desires and kept ourselves at peace in the situation we were placed in; had we held fast the humble blessings we possessed, which, little as we valued them then, we now find to be inestimable, instead of wandering in search of those which it is probable we may never find, and which, even if we do find them, may not give us the satisfaction we counted on.

These are the reflections which are apt to arise as we draw to the strange land ; and certainly they are, in so far, true. The joys of home are by far the sweetest ; and he with but a little in the bosom of his family, if he feels as he ought, will have far more comfort than the man of thousands, in the land of strangers. But though the re, flections be natural, though they have even truth to recommend them, they ought not to be much indulged; for it would suit very ill indeed if they were received and acted on. Circumstances will

occur, which render it absolutely necessary that we should travel far, and leave all behind, and leave it perhaps for ever; and therefore it is well that all do not possess the same quiet and unenterprising disposition; that there are some who will never give place, or at least never allow themselves to be overcome by such reflections as these. . When we reflect that the bright aspect which society now presents, the immense progress which science has made, the knowledge, the prosperity, the beauty of nations in general, are the fruits of the wandering and the enterprising mind, we see how good it is that such minds have been. When we look at the

of history, and see it abounding and sparkling with the noble deeds of the wanderer, when we see what has been achieved in the cause of Freedom, and in the cause of Philanthropy, by the efforts of those who forsook all, and sacrificed much, and entered upon labours and hardships the most distressing, and fronted even dangers they were likely to perish in; we see the value of the daring spirit ; we see how happy it is that such men have been; how necessary that such should be. Nay, when we look even into the common and private scenes of life, we very soon discover the frequent necessity and expediency of the disposition. When we look into the concerns just of the domestic circle, we are not long in finding out, that it is indeed a fortunate thing, that while some prefer the quiet pleasures of home to the more dangerous, though more enticing ones, abroad, and sit contented, others have stronger and more towering feelings, and hesitate not, if it seem necessary, to embrace the latter.


And therefore he who is approaching a foreign shore, if he does wisely, will endeavour to suppress as much as possible these feelings of despondency. They cannot afford him the least relief; they can only lay an additional load

upon the mind which has perhaps already enough to burden it. He may not be able to forget altogether his sacrifices ; he may not be able to forget altogether his dangers; but he should strive

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »