« AnteriorContinuar »
two parts will do no more than defray thy extraordinaries, which always surmount the ordinary by much: otherwise thou shalt live like a rich beggar, in continual want; and the needy man can never live happily or contentedly; for every disaster makes him ready to mortgage or sell; and that gentleman who sells an acre of land sells an ounce of credit, for gentility is nothing else but ancient riches; so that if the foundation shall at any time sink, the building must need follow. So much for the first precept.
Bring thy children up in learning and obedience, yet without outward austerity. Praise them openly, reprehend them secretly. Give them good countenance and convenient maintenance according to thy ability, otherwise thy life will seem their bondage, and what portion thou shalt leave them at thy death they will thank death for it, and not thee. And I am persuaded that the foolish cockering of some parents, and the overstern carriage of others, causeth more men and women to take ill courses than their own vicious inclinations. Marry thy daughters in time, lest they marry themselves. And suffer not thy sons to pass the Alps, for they shall learn nothing there but pride, blasphemy, and atheism. And if by travel they get a few broken languages, that shall profit them nothing more than to have one meat served in divers dishes. Neither, by my consent, shalt thou train them up in wars; for he that sets up his rest to live by that profession can hardly be an honest man or a good Christian; besides it is a science no longer in request than use; for soldiers in peace are like chimneys in summer.
III Live not in the country without corn and cattle about thee; for he that putteth his hand to the purse for every expense of household is like him that putteth water in a sieve. And what provision thou shalt want, learn to buy it at the best hand; for there is one penny saved in four betwixt buying in thy need and when the markets and seasons serve fittest for it. Be not served with kinsmen, or friends, or men intreated to stay; for they expect much and do little; nor with such as are amorous, for their heads are intoxicated. And keep rather two too few than one too many. Feed them well and pay them with the most, and then thou mayest boldly require service at their hands. IV Let thy kindred and allies be welcome to thy house and table; grace them with thy countenance and further them in all honest actions; for by this means thou shalt so double the bond of nature as thou shalt find them so many advocates to plead an apology for thee behind thy back; but shake off those glowworms, I mean parasites and sycophants, who will feed and fawn upon thee in the summer of prosperity, but in adverse storm they will shelter thee no more than a harbor in winter. "
BEWARE of suretyship for thy best friends; he that payeth another man's debts seeketh his own decay; but if thou canst not otherwise choose, rather lend thy money thyself upon good bonds, although thou borrow it; so shalt thou secure thyself, and pleasure thy friend. Neither borrow money of a neighbor or a friend, but of a stranger, where paying it, thou shalt hear no more of it; otherwise thou shalt eclipse thy credit, lose thy freedom, and yet pay as dear as to another. But in borrowing of money be precious of thy word, for he that hath care of keeping days of payment is lord of another man's purse.
UNDERTAKE no suit against a poor man without receiving much wrong; for besides that thou makest him thy compeer, it is a base conquest to triumph where there is small resistance; neither attempt law against any man before thou be fully resolved that thou hast right on thy side; and then spare not for either money or pains; for a cause or two so followed and obtained will free thee from suits a great part of thy life.
VII Be sure to keep some great man thy friend, but trouble him not with trifles; compliment him often with many yet small gifts, and of little charge; and if thou hast cause to bestow any great gratuity, let it be something which may be daily in sight; otherwise in this ambitious age, thou shalt remain like a hop without a pole, live in obscurity, and be made a football for every insulting companion to spurn at.
TOWARDS thy superiors be humble, yet generous; with thine equals familiar, yet respective; towards thine inferiors show much humanity and some familiarity, -as to bow the body, stretch forth the hand, and to uncover the head, with such like popular compliments. The first prepares thy way to advancement, the second makes thee known for a man well bred, the third gains a good report, which once got is easily kept; for right humanity takes such deep root in the minds of the multitude, as they are easilier gained by unprofitable courtesies than by churlish benefits; yet I advise thee not to affect or neglect popularity too much; seek not to be Essex; shun to be Raleigh.
IX Trust not any man with thy life, credit, or estate; for it is mere folly for a man to enthrall himself to his friend, as though, occasion being offered, he should not dare to become his enemy.
Be not scurrilous in conversation, nor satirical in thy jests; the one will make thee unwelcome to all company, the other pull on quarrels, and get thee hatred of thy best friends; for suspicious jests, when any of them savor of truth, leave a bitterness in the minds of those which are touched; and, albeit, I have already pointed at this inclusively, yet I think it necessary to leave it to thee as a special caution; because I have seen many so prone to quip and gird, as they would rather leese their friend than their jest; and if, perchance, their boiling brain yield a quaint scoff, they will travail to be delivered of it as a woman with child. These nimble fancies are but the froth of wit.
LIHU BURRITT, “the Learned Blacksmith,” was one of those
strong original thinkers who are impelled to write more by
the strength of the thought itself than by the desire for reputation. The man who learns half a dozen languages at a blacksmith's forge is always likely to betray himself in faults of style and to show a lack of information on points which are familiar to those who have done little more than submit apathetically to the routine of methodical education. But if he be a real thinker as Burritt was, this will be forgotten for the sake of his message. Burritt's prose is poetical without being florid, and at times he is strikingly eloquent. He was born at New Britain, Connecticut, December 8th, 1811, and was wholly self-educated. The reputation made by his earlier essays published in 1848 as «Sparks from the Anvil” led him to give up the forge and devote himself to literature and political reforms of various kinds. He died March 7th, 1879. Besides «Sparks from the Anvil,” he published “Olive Leaves ” and “Chips from Many Blocks.”
A POINT OF SPACE
The diameter of the earth's orbit is, as it were, the pocket rule
of the astronomer, with which he measures distances which
the mind can no more grasp than infinity. This star measure is one hundred and ninety millions of miles in length. This the astronomer lays down on the floor of heaven, and drawing lines from its extremities to the nearest fixed star, or a centre, he finds the angle thus subtended by this base line to be not quite one second! By the simple Rule of Three he then arrives at the fact that the nearest fixed star is 21,000,000,000,000 miles distant.
From another simple calculation it follows that in the space around our solar system devoid of stars, there is room in one dimension, or in one straight line, for 12,000 solar systems; in two dimensions, or in one plane, there is room for 130,000,000 of
solar systems; and in actual siderial space of three dimensions there is room for 1,500,000,000,000 solar systems the size of our own.
Nay, good farmer, do not look so unbelievingly. Your boy need not graduate from the district school to prove all this. One and one-half million millions of solar systems as large as ours might be set in the space which divides between it and its nearest neighbor. And if we might assume the aggregate population of our solar system to be 20,000,000,ooo, then there would be room enough for 30,000,000,000,000,000,000 of human beings to live, love, and labor in the worlds that might be planted in this same starless void.
Nay, good man of the tow frock, hold on a moment longer. Our sun is but a dull, hazy speck of light in the great milky way, and Doctor Herschel says he discovered fifty thousand just such suns in that highway of worlds, in a space apparently a yard in breadth and six in length. Think of that a moment! and then that no two of them all are probably nearer each other than twenty billions of miles; and then, that the starless space between their solar systems might contain 1,500,000,000,000 of similar systems! Multiply these spaces and these systems by a hundred millions, and you will have numbered the world that a powerful glass will open to your view, from one point of space.
Again, multiply these systems by twenty thousand millions, and you will have three billion trillions of human beings, who might dwell in peace and unity in that point of space which Herschel's glass would disclose to your vision.
And you ask despairingly, What is man? We will tell you what he is in one respect: the Creator of all these worlds is his God.
Complete. From «Thoughts and Things
at Home and Abroad.»
THE CIRCULATION OF MATTER
The earth moves, lives, and acts; it begets and sustains life in | all its varieties of organization. It breathes, and its breath
becomes an atmosphere as essential to the vegetable as to the animal creation. That atmosphere, modified to every genial temperature, laden with sunbeams, rain, and dewdrops, respires