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Though this fair world so radiant with light,
To thee, lay shrouded in perpetual night;
Creative Genius, conscious of her power,
Framed thee a world with mountain, tree and flower,
And glassy lake, reflecting from its breast
The mirrored forms that there in beauty rest;
And e'en the muse, obedient to thy call,
Kindled thy fancy, and inspired thy soul
To rapturous song, of love and story olů,
Of memories faded, and of hearts grown cold

For the particulars of the life of Miss Brown, we are chiefly indebted to the celebrated Dr. Kitto, author of “The Lost Senses.” She was born, it appears, in 1816, at Stranolar, in the county of Donegal. There is little known of her parents, except that her father was postmaster of the village. When but eighteen months old, she lost her sight by the smallpox.

And in consequence of this misfortune, her early education, like that of most blind children, was neglected. It is commonly supposed, that blind persons can derive no benefit from the ordinary methods of instruction used at common schools. This we think is a mistaken notion. It is true, a blind child cannot perform an example in arithmetic on a common slate, or demonstrate a geometrical figure drawn upon the black-board, but he may recite in the classes or mental arithmetic, and receive oral lessons from the teacher in geography, grammar, and, in short, all the branches usually taught at common schools.

Our young author not only gained a knowledge of the rudiments of grammar, but added a considerable stock of words to her vocabulary, by hearing her brothers and sisters con aloud their lessons. From her earliest years, Frances Brown evinced a love for poetry. At seven years of


she made her first attempt at writing verse, by throwing into rhyme the Lord's Prayer. Up to this time a few psalms, of the Scotch version, Watts' Divine Songs, and some old country songs, formed the extent of her poetical knowledge. As she grew older, her memory was strengthened by committing pieces of poetry from the provincial newspapers. These furnished rich food for the mind, and were no doubt well digested, as she was in the habit of frequently repeating them for her own amusement. As books were at this time scarce in her remote neighborhood, Susan Gray, The Gentle Shepherd, Mungo Park’s Travels, Robinson Crusoe, were among the first of her book acquaintances. " I have often heard them read by my relatives," says she, “and remember to have taken a strange delight in them, when, I am sure, they were not half understood." These soon created in her a passion for fiction and romance; a taste by no means commendable, but much preferable, we think, to that distaste for all reading which dry history is likely to


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cultivate, if placed too soon in the hands of young persons. By this we would not be understood to encourage novel reading, yet rather such than none at all. Furnish the mind with food of some kind, or it will devour its own puny offspring, and at last feed upon its own vitality. One who has been blind from infancy, will be likely to suffer most from such neglect.

When the mind cannot look out upon God's perfect work, or be permitted to catch one glance at the book of nature thrown open to the view of kindred minds, yet feels an inward consciousness of powers it cannot put forth, of inspirations and desires it can never gratify, when it has tried in vain to break its prison house and roam at large over the broad field of nature, its gaze is turned inward upon itself ; but only sees, by the faint light of its expiring energies, its own moral deformity. Our authoress, however, did not thus pine under her afflictions. Through the sunshine of her young heart floated many a bright vision. Relating in part her early history, she says: “It was a great day for me when the first of Sir Walter Scott's works fell into my hands. It was the Heart of Mid Lothian,' and was lent me by a friend, whose family were rather better provided with books than most in our neighborhood. My delight in the work was very great, even then; and I contrived by means of bor

; rowing, to get acquainted in a very short time with the greater part of the works of its illustrious author, for works of fiction, about this time, occupied all my

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thoughts. I had a curious mode of impressing on my memory what had been read, namely, lying awake, in the silence of the night, and repeating it all over to myself. To that habit I probably owe the extreme tenacity of memory which I now possess ; but, like all other good things, it had its attendant evil, for I have often thought it curious that, whilst I never forgot any scrap of knowledge collected, however small, yet the common events of daily life slip from my memory so quickly, that I can scarcely find anything again which I have once laid aside."

Miss Brown had now reached a period in life, when dreams of love and romance lose much of their interest, and fancies gradually give place to facts. Historical novels were laid aside, and the more wonderful romance of history itself now attracted her attention. Baine's History of the French War, and Hume’s History of England, were read by her with avidity. About this time, a friend presented her with that vo. luminous work, the “Universal History,” in twentytwo volumes, which made her acquainted with the histories of Greece and Rome, and other ancient nations. The fund of information thus acquired was afterwards increased from

other sources. These historical studies making a knowledge of geography necessary, she began to acquire this in the mode already indicated, viz. by learning the lessons of her brothers and sisters. In order to obtain a more perfect knowledge of the relative situation of distant places, she sometimes requested a friend who could trace maps, to place her finger upon some well known spot, the situation of which was already known to her, and then conduct the fingers of the other hand to any place in the map, the situation of which she desired to ascertain. By this plan, having previously known how the cardinal points were placed, she was enabled to form a tolerably correct idea, not only of the boundaries and magnitude of various countries, but also of the courses of rivers and mountain chains. In her eagerness to gain a knowledge of geography, it seems rather surprising that the present plan of constructing maps for the blind, did not suggest itself to her mind. Had some friend glued upon her map tangible lines, marking the boundaries of the different divisions, and by other elevations indicatin; the course of rivers, mountain chains, and the localities of principal towns, it would have enabled her to pursue the study of geography with little or no in convenience.


It may be well to remark here, in this connection (and perhaps be better understood,) that blind per sons find no difficulty in retaining images, or ideas of the form of bodies, if their true shape has been once positively ascertained by the sense of touch. Hence, it will be seen that ideal maps and diagrams may be drawn by them, and impressed upon the memory with all their lines and angles distinctly marked. Though these images present no differences in color, there are marked differences in the smoothness, or asperity, of their surfaces. Those who can only retain the im

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