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propose to return. But temptation succeeds temptation, and one compliance prepares us for another; we in time lose the happiness of innocence, and solace our disquiet with sensual gratifications. By degrees, we let fall the remembrance of our original intention, and quit the only adequate object of rational desire. We entangle ourselves in business, immerge ourselves in luxury, and rove through the labyrinths of inconstancy, till the darkness of old age begins to invade us, and disease and anxiety obstruct our way. We then look back upon our lives with horror, with sorrow, with repentance; and wish, but too often vainly wish, that we had not forsaken the ways of virtue.

“ Happy are they, my son, who shall learn from thy example not to despair, but shall remember that though the day is past, and their strength is wasted, there yet remains one effort to be made; that reformation is never hopeless, nor sincere endeavours ever unassisted; that the wanderer may at length return, after all his errors; and that he who implores strength and courage from above, shall find danger and difficulty give way before him. Go, now, my son, to thy repose.; commit thyself to the care of Omnipotence; and, when the morning calls again to toil, begin anew thy journey and thy life.”



On! quit for awhile the halls of mirth,
And tell me where are the gems of earth ?
“The gems of earth are the diamond's blaze,
The emerald's light, and the ruby's rays,
The sapphire pale, and the topaz stone,
Which have gorgeous lustre on beauty thrown.”

No! these are but baubles which pride may please, So look not to these for the gems

of earth, No! not to these !

The gems of earth-oh, where are they found ?
“Where the ruby wine goes mantling round,
In the eye of the Bacchant flashing bright,
Where the wit is loud and the spirit is light:
In the mines that encompass the shining ore
That the world's gay vot'ries still adore ?"
No! the wine and the gold awhile may please,
But look not to these for the gems of earth,

No! not to these !

“Oh! the gems of earth dwell on beauty's cheek,
When the half uttered vow the blushes speak,
In the halo that beams round woman's smile,
In her lip that the coldest heart can guile;
In the rarest bird—in the sweetest flower,
That sings or blooms in my lady's bower."
No! smiles may be false, nor beauty please,
So look not to these for the gems of earth,

No! not to these !

I'll tell thee where are the gems of earth,
Where have those precious treasures birth;
Not where the glittering jewels may shine,
Not in bright gold nor sparkling wine,
Not in the light upon beauty's brow,
Idols are these to which pride may bow;
Yet know ere thou seekest thy mates in mirth,
Faithful hearts are the gems of earth.

Earth's gems are these !


John RuskIN.

It is a strange thing how little, in general, people know about the sky. It is the part of creation in which Nature has done more for the sake of pleasing man, more for the sole and evident purpose of talking to him and teaching him, than in any other of her works; and it is just the part in which we least attend to her. There are not many of her other works in which some more material or essential purpose than the mere pleasing of man is not answered by every part of their organization; but every essential purpose of the sky might, so far as we know, be answered if, once in three days or thereabouts, a great, ugly, black rain-cloud were brought up over the blue, and everything wellwatered, and so all left blue again till next time, with, perhaps, a film of morning and evening mist for dew. And, instead of this, there is not a moment of any day of our lives when Nature is not producing scene after scene, picture after picture, glory after glory, and working still upon such exquisite and constant principles of the most perfect beauty, that it is quite certain that it is all done for us, and intended for our perpetual plea

And every man, wherever placed, however far from other sources of interest or of beauty, has this doing for him constantly. The noblest scenes of the earth can be seen and known but by few; it is not intended that man should live always in the midst of them: he injures them by his presence; he ceases to feel them if he be always with them. But the sky is for all; bright as it is, it is not "too bright nor good for human nature's daily food;" it is fitted, in all its functions, for the perpetual comfort and exalting of the heart; for the soothing it, and purifying it from its dross and dust. Sometimes gentle, sometimes capricious, sometimes awful; never the same for two moments together; almost human in its passions, almost spiritual in its tenderness, almost diville in its infinity, its appeal to what is immortal in us is as distinct as its ministry of chastisement or of blessing to what is mortal is essential. And yet we never attend to it; we never make it a subject of thought, but as it has to do with our animal sensations; we look upon all by which it speaks to us more clearly than to brutes, upon all which bears witness to the intention of the Supreme, that we are to receive more from the covering vault than the light and the dew which we share with the weed and the worm, only as a succession of meaningless and monotonous accidents, too common and too vain to be worthy of a moment of watchfulness or a glance of admiration. If, in our moments of utter idleness and insipidity, we turn to the sky as a last resource, which of its phenomena do we speak of? One says it has been wet, and another it has been windy, and another it has been



Who, among the whole chattering crowd, can tell me of the forms and precipices of the chain of tall white mountains that gilded the horizon at noon yesterday? Who saw the narrow sunbeam that came out of the south, and smote upon their summits, until they melted and mouldered away in a dust of blue rain ? Who saw the dance of the dead clouds, when the sunlight left them last night, and the west wind blew them before it like withered leaves ? All has passed unregretted or unseen; or, if the apathy be ever shaken off, even for an instant, it is only by what is gross or what is extraordinary; and yet it is not in the broad and fierce manifestations of the elemental energies, not in the clash of the hail, nor the drift of the whirlwind, that the highest characters of the sublime are developed. God is not in the earthquake nor in the fire, but in the still small voice. They are but the blunt and the low faculties of our nature, which can only be addressed through lampblack and lightning. It is in quiet and subdued passages of unobtrusive majesty; the deep, and the calm, and the perpetual; that which

must be sought ere it is seen, and loved ere it is understood; things which the angels work out for us daily, and yet vary eternally, which are never wañting, and never repeated; which are to be found always, yet each found but once. It is through these that the lesson of devotion is chiefly taught and the blessing of beauty given. (From the " Stones of Venice." By permission of Messrs.

Šmith and Elder.)



Let the young go out, in these hours, under the descending sun of the year, into the fields of nature. Their hearts are now ardent with hope,—with the hopes of fame, of honour, or of happiness; and, in the long perspective which is before them, their imagination creates a world where all may be enjoyed. Let the scenes which they now may witness, moderate, but not extinguish their ambition ;-while they see the yearly desolation of nature, let them see it as the emblem of mortal hope ;-while they feel the disproportion between the powers they possess, and the time they are to be employed, let them carry their ambitious eye beyond the world ;—and while, in these sacred solitudes, a voice in their own bosom corresponds to the voice of decaying nature, let them take that high decision which becomes those who feel themselves the inhabitants of a greater world, and who look to a being incapable of decay.

Let the busy and the active go out, and pause for a time amid the scenes which surround them, and learn the high lesson which nature teaches in the hours of its fall. They are now ardent with all the desires of

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