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there is a certain task assigned too, though what that task be, few know till the best part of life be past. But there is one duty common to us all.—The eldest of poets set wide the gates of Virtue and Honour at the approach of Toil.
The Hogarth of the fifteenth century represented on the walls of one of our City Halls the triumphs of Riches and of Poverty.
In a golden car, with pampered steeds, sat Plutus, with Fortune smiling by his side. From well-filled urns he cast gold to the thronging crowd. Cræsus and Tantalus, and other heroes of fable, famed for their riches and their misfortunes, swelled the triumph. But mark! Disease and Degeneracy limped painfully on either side the car, and Nemesis looked down from the clouds above with an avenging frown.
In a squalid cart drawn by oxen, sat Poverty, lean, pale, and ragged. Behind, was a wretched train of beggary and want. But before this car there marched with erect air, Memory, the intelligence of man; Experience, his guide; Industry, his providence; and Hope, his comforter. At either side walked lusty shapes of Labour, with healthy cheerful looks, and manly tools.
The thoughtful artist used his brush as a pen, and on the plastered wall inscribed imperishable truths. Of the two Processions, that of Poverty is the most hopeful.
Perhaps, if our view were clearer, we should see that there is more order in the reign of Fortune than we can now perceive or understand; and that, in the great scheme of society, each being has that part allotted to him which he is best able to fulfil. But what company was ever yet satisfied with the stage-manager's cast of characters ?
As in the days of Horace, every one still complains of his lot ;—the sailor sighs for land; the merchant for independence; the ruler for ease. This may be natural; but let us have some faith in the dispositions which are above our control, and cease to repine at arrangements we cannot amend.
If a ship's crew were cast upon a desert island, whether would they show most wisdom in lazily repining at the cruelty of fortune, or in breaking up and cultivating the ground? But if it be rocky and barren? No matter. Their complaints would be senseless! They must subdue the soil—or die!
One word more. This narrative is styled a Romance. In that spirit it has been composed, and in that spirit it should be read. Our judgment of a picture materially depends on our viewing it in a place and by a light adapted to its expression.
“ One of those forms which flit by us when we
Are young, and fix our eyes on every face;
In momentary gliding, the soft grace,
In many a nameless being, we retrace;
It was almost evening, on a day in early June, when a distinguished party assembled at a fête at Chiswick began to break up. Outside the lodge-gates there was all the confusion of a Jenny Lind night at the Opera. A dozen carriages were shouted for at once; and amid the rolling of wheels and the trampling of horses were heard names of historic fame, of political celebrity, of hereditary grandeur, of fashionable note, bawled forth by the hoarse voice of the ragged runners who attend the routs of the great, as if to bring in more
marked contrast the extremes of London life. Coachmen in their state dresses lolled in easy dignity on their cushioned boxes, condescending to hear they were called when they had slept out their nap, or ended their gossip. A thousand splendid equipages were crowded together, indicating by their faultless appointments the rank and the wealth of a choice aristocratic assemblage.
The fineness of the day, and the brilliancy of the fête, had collected a crowd of those idlers who are readily attracted by any unusual occurrence, or by the chance of gaining a glimpse of personages whose actions are the public talk. Amid this crowd there was one young man whose dress and appearance would have excited notice in any assemblage less motley, or where there was less to attract the gaze of the multitude. He seemed to have newly arrived from the country. His figure was very tall, and as yet scarcely set in the firmness of manhood. His clothes, disguising its fine proportions, gave to it a lank and awkward aspect. They were black, but much worn and very dusty. The coat, too large, yet too small for him, hung from his shoulders in creases down the back, giving no indication whatever of the shape it covered. As