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felt its melody, that therefore all were qualified to produce it? Was the taste for music so general ?-far otherwise. well might gentlemen contend, that all who were delighted with the strains of poetry could produce them; that all who stood in mute amazement at the finished painting, might, by instruction, have produced it: in short, that there was no such thing as genius in the world,-no variation in the intellectual powers of man, but such as education produced. It should be observed, moreover, that there are national, as well as individual tastes; and, surely, music is not science in which this nation excels, nor by which it is likely, or even desirable, that it should become distinguished; as must be inferred from its very language, interesting as that language confessedly is. This is proved by another fact, of all others most in point. Although so much time is devoted to music, and although many too much excel in it, yet are the plodding notes, to which our attention is often called, any thing but music.
Lord Chesterfield tells his son, he does not wish him to become a piper or fiddler: at this we need not be surprised, seeing music has so little tendency to advancement and fame in the world, the great objects of that nobleman's ambition. It is worthy of remark, that great musicians are seldom well informed, -a sad consequence, which could scarcely be avoided, seeing perfection in the art is the business of a life.
If dancing was confined to healthful amusement and graceful deportment, objections to it would not have been made; but it is its association with expensive dress, and not with becoming attire, and the temptation it presented to be much from home, which constituted the danger. It, in common with the accomplishments in general, drew off the mind from substantial acquirements, and rendered retirement, although so beneficial, irksome; it led the young lady to value herself on mere trifling ornaments, rather than on solid acquirements; it led her to place that estimate on personal beauty, which was only due to moral and intellectual worth; it taught her to elevate that into a matter of importance, which at best was but a polite amusement.
Although, it would be readily granted, that, generally speaking,
“ Those move easiest who have learned to dance," yet, it is remarkable, that an evening may be spent in polite society, without its being possible to ascertain who had or had not learned this art. A gentleman, sometime since, advocat dancing most warmly, and contending that a short interview would prove who had enjoyed its advantages, turning to a polite individual in the company, said it was evident
he had learned to dance, which, unfortunately for his argument, was not the fact. Indeed, an obliging disposition, and an observance of the manners of the well-behaved, will often do more to produce the real advantages sought from this art, than all the lessons of the foreign masters on those who had not such a disposition. While there had been those who have proved awkward without this accomplishment, there had been those who have, after all, practised its steps and forms so egregiously, as to excite equal ridicule with the former: as the little tradesman, who, having obtained the honour of an admission to his sovereign, bowed and scraped, advanced and repeated his manœuvres so formally, that the prince asked an attendant, “What that little black devil could want figuring away there ?" It may
proper to endeavour to correct an error, into which the admirers of female accomplishments seem to have fallen, in their eulogy on the study of languages. They represent it as the means by which the middle classes, in this age of knowledge, are to preserve their rank in the scale of society; to which there needs no other reply, than an appeal to fact. Do we observe, in these female linguists, their moral or intellectual superiority advanced ? Language is a medium of knowledge, but scarcely can it be called knowledge itself. It is not acquaintance with languages, but the application of them, that will effect these great ends. A lady may speak with the Parisian accent, as many pronounce their own language, with fluency and grace, who, in point of real knowledge, are not better informed than many deserving individuals in the lower walks of life.
But, without noticing again each of the accomplishments, let the remarks of a pious clergyman on this subject be quoted:
-“ * The mistaken opinions respecting the proper end of personal accomplishments, and the extravagant opinions of their worth, which, either the inculcation of wrong principles, on the subject, or the neglect of impressing those which are just, establishes in the youthful mind, extend their influence to all matters similar in their nature to such accomplishments, and capable of being united with them in promoting one common purpose. Hence, that fondness for the arts of dress and exterior decoration, to which the female sex, anxious to call in every adventitious and to heighten its native elegance and beauty, feels itself inclined by an inherent bias, is stimulated and cherished in the years of childhood; and, instead of being sedulously taught to restrict itself within the bounds which reason and Christian moderation prescribe, is trained up to fill the largest measure of excess which shall be established by pride, vanity, or fashion. There are well-intentioned mothers, who urge the necessity of taking pains to encourage in their daughters a certain degree of attachment to dress, of solicitude respecting the form and texture of their habiliments, lest they should afterwards degenerate into slatterns. It would perhaps be not less reasonable studiously to excite in boys a relish for the taste of spirituous liquors, lest in process of time they should impair their health by abstemiousness. An ancient philosopher defined woman to be an animal fond of dress.' And the additional experience of 2000 years does not appear greatly to have invalidated his conclusion."
* Rev. T. Gisborne's Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex, 9th Ed. ch. 4.
But for the imperfection of human nature, and of the present state of being, it would be desirable that every mother should be the preceptress of her own daughters: where this could not be the case, the plan of a private education, by a qualified and disinterested governess, was to be preferred ; and, where this was impracticable, respectable day-schools, which ensured parental superintendance, were desirable, as a nearer approach than boarding-schools to the domestic education recommended. It was readily granted, however, that, in some cases, these last-mentioned establishments were to be rather chosen ; and then, if otherwise qualified, the more domestic the governess the better. In Scotland there were schools professedly formed for the acquirement of a knowledge of many domestic arts, to which ladies resort after they had finished their usual education : a proof that our brethren of the north are aware that the modern system is not sufficiently domestic; and a proof also of the high estimation in which they hold them.
It was desirable to call the attention to the picture of domestic life, and the moral and intellectual situation of parents, drawn by the admirers of the present plan of education, and the lovers of the boarding-school system, notwithstanding the long operation of that system, the benefits of which these very unhappy and unqualified parents ought fully to have exemplified Had these mothers learned self-denial, instead of the love of pleasure; had they paid as much attention to the internal adornment of their heads, as they had to the external ornament of their bodies ; had they solid and exhaustless mental resources, when accomplishments were out of place, the feuds of domestic life would have been fewer, and parental co-operation in the business of teaching more efficient and general; and, as the importance of motive would have been better understood, the conjugal connexion might have been founded on a more enduring and delightful basis than that of worldly policy or pecuniary gain.
But, it seems, the domestic duties are such trifles; they require so little experience and preparation ; that it is but for a woman to become a wife, the mistress of a family, and a mother, and all the requisites thereto will instinctively follow. If so, there would not have been so many husbands ruined by female extravagance, nor so many children injured and destroyed through maternal ignorance and neglect. The accomplishments, it seems, are valuable, because they divert and cheer the husband and the family; but, when they have no worse effect, and are made to follow in too rapid succession, or if either is too frequently introduced, they may produce the opposite effect, as a dinner of pastry is ultimately surfeiting. It required general information, some acquaintance with books, some knowledge of the world, some sound and well-regulated principles, to render woman an interesting and profitable companion, especially when it is remembered, that, in some of its forms, every man is destined to taste the сир
of affliction, and, during its operation, even the music of Orpheus would not only be a burden, but an insult.
It might, moreover, did time allow, be asked, as worthy of serious regard, whether excessive attention to female accomplishments has not often preceded the downfal of exalted states ?
But, in this discussion, shall it be forgotten, that woman is here but in the first stage of her being; and that that which shall follow is foretold as more intellectual ?--that, therefore, it became her to bend her general pursuits with this interesting fact in view. She should so instruct her children, that they may receive the early impression, (seeing early impressions are indelible,) that present gratification and worldly pleasure are not the great ends of being.
When genius tower'd sublime,-inspir’d, -elate,
Thy hand has buried in the gulph of fate!
Nor prompt one sigh!-tombs,-palaces of state,
Temples and cities, – leave them in their fall !
The thoughts that thou hast buried ! Give us all
Give back Menander, Livy, Sophocles,
SMILES AND TEARS.
Both smiles and tears belong to joy,
And both belong to sorrow;
And woman's charms they borrow.
Tears oft are shed where joy is deep,
We laugh when grief is wild ;
The old man and the child,
The heart that's breaking, laughs, ay laughs ;
The heart o'erjoy'd will weep,
And healths are many and deep.