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JANE TAYLOR, 1783-1824.

JANE TAYLOR, the second daughter of Isaac Taylor,' was born in London on the 23d of September, 1783. When she was in her fourth year, her father, who was an engraver, removed with his little family to Lavenham, in Suffolk, about sixty-two miles north of London. Confined as she had been to the narrow bounds of a city life, her spirits here soon broke forth with emotions of pleasure at the new objects around her, quite unusual at that age, and it was soon seen that she was a child of no common endowments. As early as her eighth year, it is believed she began to write verses, which she showed to no one but to her elder sister, for whom she entertained an affection of the warmest character. In 1796, Mr. Taylor felt it his duty to accept the earnest invitation of a Congregational church at Colchester, in Essex, to become their pastor, and accordingly he removed thither. Here he found an enlarged and a more intelligent society; and when he had been there about two years, Jane, then about fifteen years of age, formed with her sister and six or eight young friends a little society for the reading of original essays, and the promotion of their intellectual improvement. Here was an admirable field for the exercise of her powers, and she doubtless performed her part well; but being naturally diffident, and knowing that she was one of the youngest members of the society, she never put herself forward in their exercises. Besides, she felt that she had other duties to perform, and with most commendable assiduity she assisted her mother in the various employments incident to a growing family, taking, with her sister, alternate weeks in all the household affairs.

In the spring of the year 1802, Jane Taylor visited London for the first time since her childhood. Here she formed various inestimable and lasting friendships, from which she derived, through the remainder of her life, much of her highest enjoyment, and to which she was wont to attribute the happiest influence upon her character. The first piece of hers which appeared in print was her poem of "The Beggar's Boy," which was published in 1804 in a work called "The Minor's Pocket Book." The approbation it met with encouraged her to write more, and soon a little volume appeared, entitled "Original Poems for Infant Minds," and another, "Rhymes for the Nursery," in both of which she was assisted by her sister. These soon obtained extensive circulation, and were republished in this country.2

Toward the close of the year 1810, Mr. Taylor resigned his ministerial charge at Colchester, and about the same time the next year removed with his family to Ongar, having accepted the invitation of the Congregational church there, to be

Commonly known as "Isaac Taylor of Ongar." He (the father as distinguished from Isaac Taylor the son) is the author of the following works: "Addresses to Youth at School;" "Advice to the Teens:" "Book of Martyrs, for the Young" "Bunyan Explained to a Child:" "Beginnings of British Biography;" "Character Essential to Success in Life;" "Scenes in England." &c.; "Hints to Youth Leaving School:"Elements of Thought;" "Wonders of Nature and Art:" "European Biography;" and a few other minor works for youth.

* Of these books the Quarterly Review remarks: "The writers of these rhymes have far better claims to the title of poet than many who arrogate to themselves that high appellation."

come their pastor. Here Jane and her sister formed a design of opening a school for young ladies, but the project was not carried into effect. In 1815, Jane published a tale on which she had been engaged for two or three years, called "Display," which was received with very great favor; and the next year appeared her "Essays in Rhyme on Morals and Manners." Soon after the publication of this admirable and instructive little volume, she made a public profession of her faith in Christ, and became a member of the church at Ongar, under the pastoral care of her father. By this time her health began to give way under too constant application to study, and it soon became evident that her disease was of a pulmonary character. This, however, did not cause her to give up her pen, for between 1816 and 1822 she contributed, from time to time, to the "Youth's Magazine," those excellent pieces signed "Q. Q.," which consist of religious and moral precepts, and interesting information, all given in a simple and beautiful style, and of which it has justly been said, "they cannot be too highly praised."

During the latter years of Miss Taylor's life, notwithstanding her feeble health, she was constantly engaged in works of benevolence. She originated at Ongar a ladies' working society for the poor, became a constant and most laborious teacher in the Sunday-school, and gave instruction to the children of the poor, one afternoon in the week, in writing and arithmetic. During all this time the slow, but certain progress of her complaint, prevented her from attempting to execute some literary projects which she had had in contemplation. It was now deemed by her friends advisable that she should take short journeys, from time to time, for the benefit of her health; but these were of no permanent benefit, and she returned home to die. Almost the last words she was able to utter, in her extreme weakness, were, on the morning of the 12th of April, 1824,-"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me;" and on the evening of that day she calmly breathed her last.

Of the character of Miss Taylor's writings, there can be but one opinion. If conveying valuable instruction to the youthful mind in a most pleasing and interesting manner, and impressing upon it the soundest principles of morality and religion in a style calculated to win the affections and to determine the resolution to take the right path-if this be doing good, then few will be found to have exerted a wider and purer influence, and to have better "answered life's great end," than Jane Taylor of Ongar.


A slanting ray of evening light
Shoots through the yellow pane;
It makes the faded crimson bright,
And gilds the fringe again;

The window's gothic framework falls
In oblique shadow on the walls.

"The verses of Jane Taylor on her "Squire's Pew" is a lyric of exquisite originality and beauty, which I take some credit to myself for having rescued from comparative obscu rity."-D. M. MOIR.

And since those trappings first were new
How many a cloudless day,
To rob the velvet of its hue,

Has come and pass'd away!
How many a setting sun hath made
That curious lattice-work of shade!

Crumbled beneath the hillock green
The cunning hand must be,

That carved this fretted door, I ween,
Acorn, and fleur-de-lis;

And now the worm hath done her part
In mimicking the chisel's art.

In days of yore (as now we call)
When the first James was king,
The courtly knight from yonder hall
Hither his train did bring;

All seated round in order due,

With broider'd suit and buckled shoe.

On damask cushions, set in fringe,
All reverently they knelt:
Prayer-books, with brazen hasp and hinge,
In ancient English spelt,

Each holding in a lily hand,

Responsive at the priest's command.

Now, streaming down the vaulted aisle,
The sunbeam, long and lone,
Illumes the characters awhile
Of their inscription stone;

And there, in marble hard and cold,
The knight and all his train behold.

Outstretch'd together, are express'd
He and my lady fair;

With hands uplifted on the breast,
In attitude of prayer;

Long visaged, clad in armor, he,-
With ruffled arm and bodice, she.

Set forth in order ere they died,
The numerous offspring bend;
Devoutly kneeling side by side,
As though they did intend
For past omissions to atone,
By saying endless prayers in stone.

Those mellow days are past and dim,
But generations new,

In regular descent from him,

Have fill'd the stately pew;

And in the same succession go,

To occupy the vault below.

And now, the polish'd, modern squire,

And his gay train appear,



Who duly to the hall retire,

A season, every year,

And fill the seats with belle and beau,
As 'twas so many years ago.

Perchance, all thoughtless as they tread
The hollow sounding floor,

Of that dark house of kindred dead,
Which shall, as heretofore,

In turn, receive, to silent rest,
Another, and another guest,-

The feather'd hearse and sable train,
In all its wonted state,

Shall wind along the village lane,

And stand before the gate;

Brought many a distant country through,
To join the final rendezvous.

And when the race is swept away,
All to their dusty beds,

Still shall the mellow evening ray
Shine gayly o'er their heads;
While other faces, fresh and new,
Shall occupy the squire's pew.


A monk, when his rites sacerdotal were o'er,
In the depth of his cell with its stone-cover'd floor,
Resigning to thought his chimerical brain,

Form'd the simple contrivance we now shall explain:
In youth 'twas projected; but years stole away,
And ere 'twas complete he was wrinkled and gray;
But success is secure unless energy fails;
And at length he produced The Philosopher's Scales.

What were they?-you ask: you shall presently see;
These scales were not made to weigh sugar and tea;
Oh no;-for such properties wondrous had they,
That qualities, feelings, and thoughts they could weigh;
Together with articles small or immense,

From mountains or planets, to atoms of sense.

The first thing he tried was the head of Voltaire,
Which retain'd all the wit that had ever been there;
As a weight, he threw in a torn scrap of a leaf,
Containing the prayer of the penitent thief;
When the skull rose aloft with so sudden a spell,
As to bound like a ball on the roof of the cell.

Next time he put in Alexander the Great,
With a garment that Dorcas had made-for a weight;
And though clad in armor from sandals to crown,
The hero rose up, and the garment went down.

A long row of alms-houses, amply endow'd,
By a well-esteem'd Pharisee, busy and proud,
Now loaded one scale, while the other was prest
By those mites the poor widow dropp'd into the chest ;-

Up flew the endowment, not weighing an ounce,

And down, down, the farthing's worth came with a bounce.

Again, he perform'd an experiment rare;

A monk, with austerities bleeding and bare,
Climb'd into his scale; in the other was laid
The heart of our Howard, now partly decay'd;

When he found, with surprise, that the whole of his brother
Weigh'd less, by some pounds, than this bit of the other.

By further experiments (no matter how)

He found that ten chariots weigh'd less than one plough.
A sword, with gilt trappings, rose up in the scale,
Though balanced by only a ten-penny nail;
A shield and a helmet, a buckler and spear,
Weigh'd less than a widow's uncrystallized tear.
A lord and a lady went up at full sail,

When a bee chanced to light on the opposite scale.
Ten doctors, ten lawyers, two courtiers, one earl,
Ten counsellor's wigs full of powder and curl,
All heap'd in one balance, and swinging from thence,
Weigh'd less than some atoms of candor and sense;—
A first-water diamond, with brilliants begirt,
Than one good potato, just wash'd from the dirt;
Yet, not mountains of silver and gold would suffice,
One pearl to outweigh-'twas the "pearl of great price."


Dear reader, if e'er self-deception prevails,
We pray you to try The Philosopher's Scales:
But if they are lost in the ruins around.

Perhaps a good substitute thus may be found:-
Let judgment and conscience in circles be cut,

To which strings of thought may be carefully put:
Let these be made even with caution extreme,

And impartiality use for a beam:

Then bring those good actions which pride overrates,
And tear up your motives to serve for the weights.


When sanguine youth the plain of life surveys,

It does not calculate on rainy days;

Some, as they enter on the unknown way,

Expect large troubles at a distant day;

The loss of wealth, or friends they fondly prize;
But reckon not on ills of smaller size,

Those nameless, trifling ills, that intervene,
And people life, infesting every scene;
And there, with silent, unavow'd success,

Wear off the keener edge of happiness:

Those teasing swarms, that buzz about our joys
More potent than the whirlwind that destroys;
Potent, with heavenly teaching, to attest
Life is a pilgrimage, and not a rest.

That lesson, learned aright, is valued more
Than all Experience ever taught before;

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