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strictness observe my servants, and direct each action. Pleasure is free ; and if, like Springlove in the old play, they have their suit to present, 'touching the time of year' when the season seems to call them to the open fields and commons, to the thorn hedges and the wild woods, I do not require them to abjure their practice or to forsake nature.” It inspires the same policy with regard to children ; it does not complain like Waspe of his boy, saying, “ I dare not let him walk alone, for fear of learning tunes which he will sing at supper. If he meet but a carman in the street, and I find him not talk to keep him off on him, he will whistle him and all his tunes over at night in his sleep! He has a head full of bees !” It says generally, take a lesson from the forest, and educate the feelings of the young by kindness, not by enforcing shame upon delinquents, for soft rain slides to the root and nourishes, where great storms make a noise, wet but the skin in the earth, and run away in a channel.
“ Bad conduct and even bad temper,” it continues, are more frequently the result of unhappy circumstances than of an unhappy organization. Never fear spoiling children by making them too happy. Happiness is the atmosphere in which all good affections growthe wholesome warmth necessary to make the heart-blood circulate healthily and freely ; unhappiness is the chilling pressure which produces here an inflammation, there an excrescence, and, worst of all, the mind's green and yellow sickness-ill-tem
Such are the maxims of all those old men of whom we read in histories as having been eminently honoured and loved. Take the example of Luca Signorelli : “During his stay in Arezzo,” says Vasari, “ his abode was in the Casa Vasari, where I was then a child of eight years ; and I remember that the good old man, who was exceedingly courteous and agreeable, having heard from the master who was teaching me letters that I attended to nothing in school but drawing figures, turned round to my father and said to him, ' Antonio, let little George by all means learn to draw ; for even though he should afterwards apply to learning, still the knowledge of design, if vot profitable, cannot fail to be honourable.' Then turning to me he said, “Study well, little kinsman.' He added many other things respecting me which I refrain from repeating, because I know that I have been far from justifying the opinion which that good old man bad of me. Being told that I suffered from bleeding at the nose, he bound a jasper round my neck with his own hand, and with infinite tenderness; this recollection of Luca will never depart while I live.” For those who are no longer children old age of this kind would have the same indulgence. Let free-born youth, it says, when stricter training is proposed, have
per *' »
* Fam. Herald.
its hours of youth ; when yoked, and those light vanities purged
As jewels rubb'd from dust, or gold new burnish'd !" Life, without a companion is a sea of danger, young man, to your
'Tis not the name neither
She makes the pilot, and preserves the husband.” These are the lessons of that old age which feels the attraction of all central truth. In general, on all the world, it does not invoke curses, but blessings ; it does not, like some pious persons, exult in the thought that those whom they dislike in this world are sure to be everlastingly tormented in the next: it does not wish to believe that others are enemies of God, nor does it every moment express its conviction that He will show his power “contra folium quod vento rapitur.” To qualify men for presenting themselves as those pseudo-privy councillors of God who know the exact judgment that awaits each sinner, old age
left to its centripetal influence is clearly inefficient. As a late poet says,
“ There wants a certain cast about the eye ;
A certain lifting of the nose's tip,
In scorn of all that is beneath the sky."
“ Well ! be the graceless lineaments confest !
I do enjoy this bounteous, beauteous earth ;
Age probably has the memory of fond affection in early years ; memory, too, so strong that it seems as if the past were present -not only recalling the time, the place, the person, but all the surrounding objects, the temperature of the air, its fragrance, its colour, a certain local impression, which can still fill it with delight. Sweet is the dew of this memory, and pleasant the balm of this recollection. It knows what it is under some verdant shade to lie and laugh as in Elysium, or in a boat to gaze upon one whose sweet and winning soul imparts by voice and looks softness and beauty to all nature. What a little matter, then, lingers in this memory, and seems to defy time, verifying the lines
“ A thing of beauty is a joy for ever :
Its loveliness increases; it will never
A bower quiet for us !” An arch taunt levelled from that boat at a swimming youth with swans about him, or his retort, equally childish and goodhumoured ; a strawberry reached from a certain hand to the lips of the rower, while tugging against the stream between some sultry banks that make it seem flowers, like those of our dear familiar Thames from Kew to Twickenham-these are the things that are never forgotten. The recollection of these affections, of these imaginings light as air, leaves no stings within the conscience of age, but only a tone of infinite tenderness, and sometimes of melancholy; it nourishes in it a disposition to love, and to let others love, and to be merciful ; to pardon the follies of its species, and what is human, while canonized saints advise it to be indulgent to its own. It nourishes therefore a close affinity with a religion that thoroughly humanizes thought, that enables men to convert life into truth, and to impart the facts of its experience into its doctrine, rendering it wholesome, kind, forgiving. Love has done that, and then nothing but what is central suits its notions of wisdom. It has affinity with a religion that magnifies love, friendship, kindness, that prepares a home where every tongue speaks in fondness, whose inmates live in the happy exchange of innocent pleasures ; who, instead of envying and seeking to vie with others, are made cheerful by seeing their cheerfulness, and satisfied with what they themselves possess ; who, unlike those that find nothing to please or elevate them, and whose constant study is to show perpetual ways of finding fault, cull joys innumerable from daily wants and daily cares, happy in making happy, and blessing in being themselves blest. Such old age hears the central voice as being that, not of a tyrant or a step-dame, but of a fond natural mother ; it hears its lessons of charity as if they could be expressed in the lines of a modern poet, beginning
“I'd make the world a palace home,
And ope its happy gates ;
And they should have no hates !
And all should bloom within ;
And bliss her reign begin!
And men be filled with mirth;
To tread the flow'ry earth!
Her rule should be divine ;
Alike to live and shine !
In mystic gardens grown;
And Love should be my throne !
And elevate the mind;
And teach them to be kind #!" In fine, such old age verifies the truth of the observation that those who become acquainted with the noble pleasure of administering kindness to others find a tie which binds them to life, even if there was scarcely any other attraction to render life desirable. Now where there is a happy consciousness of using life, thus there must be affinity with a religion which identifies itself with internal joy and contentment; and we have repeatedly observed that central principles render life happy by inspiring these feelings ; therefore between old age and those principles a close relationship exists, even in regard to this last attribute ; which observation can in consequence, like the preceding results, direct those who are on this road to find their own centre in that faith which alone combines all those principles in one.
The last affinity which we may distinguish as existing between old age and Catholicism consists in the effective desire which they both generate, notwithstanding the results just noticed, of a future and happier existence. It is difficult to say whether there is more pleasure or pain in memory. Both are in it so abundantly that the poor heart overflows with them. Age has not the quality of the river Lethe, to make men forget their relations, their friends, those who were linked with them in intimate affection, those who loved them as woman only loves, and those whom they loved. One cannot wonder to hear it say of its own past youth and manhood
“ My mates were blithe and kind !
To cast a look behind *.” Since I lost my brother, the bishop of Aosta,” says the Count de Maistre, “I am but half alive. By degrees I am departing." What will they say who have to look back to find some still fonder being ? Words are incompetent to express the thoughts and memories which move them sometimes most profoundly, though only to be recalled by relating something as insignificant as Rosseau's sleeping near Lyons in a niche of the wall after a fine summer's day, with a nightingale perched above his head. What is intimate in the thoughts and memories themselves, that which chases every other image from before it by its incomparable beauty, flashes across the mind like lightning, and is gone before they can attempt to trace in what it consists. They only can distinguish something that seems too trilling, not to say ridiculous, to mention -some walk perhaps years ago with a beloved friend at sunset ; some remark then made at the beauty of a bird or flower ; some moments then spent in watching a swan, or perhaps gathering blackberries merrily in a wood, hearing together some sweet music in a garden on a summer's day. These by means of associations are visions of bliss, but of departed bliss, and such as they believe can never return for them in this world. Thus a tone of sadness steals over the mind that recol. lects what no longer exists here below; and this prepares it for contemplating without bitterness the passing away to a different sphere where new hopes present themselves, resting on ground that satisfied the reason of a Leibnitz and a Bossuet. Even if all could be brought back for a time, still they know there would be a time to take leave again of all. When Protesilaus asks permission to return to life for one day to see again his bride, Plutus replies to him, Είτα τι σε ονήσει μίαν ημέραν αναβιώνει, μετ' ολίγον τα αυτά οδυρούμενον ; The aged are drawn therefore towards what will not pass away, and towards a religion of hopes. When invited by it to advance they would fain, as poets say,
“Reply in hope—for they are worn away,
And death and love are yet contending for their prey." There is in fact nothing stronger gr more congenial to human hearts, let them be of what kind they may, than the wish