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Exquisite songs and sonnets, bright and pure,
How many hearts are throbbing with emotion,
How many eyes are sparkling with love-light, As loving words are read! and what commotion
When postmen knock! what ill-conceal'd delight, When these mysterious tokens of devotion,
Tinted and scented, meet the dear one's sight! But I'm on dangerous ground, and rather blundering, So I'll return to where I left off wondering.
Wondering about Saint Valentine's connection
With all this sort of thing so unmonastic, Suggesting something like a dereliction
From the prescribed high roads ecclesiastic; 'Twould seem his heart was in the wrong direction,
And for an ancient bishop far too plastic. He's certainly the Cupid of theology, Rivalling the rosy boy of old mythology.
Perhaps he had a taste for wedding-cake,
Or orange blossoms in a white chip bonnet ; Perhaps the marriage-fees he liked to take;
As least he never did, depend upon it,
A point of throwing ice-cold water on it.
If he did write at all, it was a lecture
On love, I think, or something of the kind, And much less calculated to correct your Follies and foibles, than distract your
mind; But this is only founded on conjecture,
For not a line of his can I yet find, Though I have search'd through many darksome pages Of the Church History of the Middle Ages,
And there I read, that in the eternal city,
Now nearly sixteen hundred years ago, Saint Valentine, the subject of my ditty,
Was doom'd to death by Claudius Cæsar ; so Our saint was martyr'd, - what a dreadful pity!
What it was for I don't exactly know, (He didn't know, perhaps)—indeed, his history Remains to me a most intricate mystery.
Long live thy memory, great Saint Valentine !
Still lend thy ancient name to lovers’ lays, And with thy spirit animate each line;
And still may poets celebrate thy praise, And yearly help to make that name of thine
“ Familiar in our mouths," as Shakespeare says, “As household words.” This wish is loyal too, For Valentines increase the revenue.
(By permission of the Author.)
(Francis Bacon was born in London, January 22, 1561. His father, Sir Nicholas Bacon, was keeper of the Great Seal; and his mother a lady of distinguished literary attainments. Bacon was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, studied the law, and entered Parliament, where he soon distinguished himself. It was not until the accession of James that he obtained official appointment, but that attained his rise was rapid. In 1607 he was made Solicitor-General; 1613, Attorney-General; 1617, Lord Keeper ; and in 1618, Lord Chancellor. In the same year he was created Lord Verulam, and in 1621 raised to the higher title of Viscount St. Albans.
He had scarcely arrived at this pinnacle of greatness when he
* This was one of the Essays added by Bacon in last edition, that of 1625.
was accused of corrupt practices-of selling justice. He confessed to Parliament; was stript of his honours; fined 40,0001., and committed to the Tower. James set him at liberty in a few days and mitigated the fine. He then retired to his country seat, and devoted the rest of his life to literary pursuits. He died in 1626.
Bacon's most important works are his “Essays,” first published in 1597, but enlarged in subsequent editions. “Advancement of Learning,”: 1605; “Wisdom of the Ancients,'' 1610; the “Novum Organum," 1620; and “ The History of the Reign of Henry VII.," 1622. Strange that one whom posterity has agreed to hail as the father of modern philosophy, should by his own malpractices have shrunk to comparative littleness beneath the deserved reprobation of his contemporaries.]
It is a trivial grammar-school text, but yet worthy a wise man's consideration : question was asked of Demosthenes, What was the chief part of an orator ? He answered, Action. What next? Action. What next again ? Action. He said it that knew it best, and had by nature himself no advantage in that he commended. A strange thing, that the part of an orator, which is but superficial, and rather the virtue of a player, should be placed so high above those other noble parts of invention, clocution, and the rest ; nay, almost alone, as if it were all in all. But the reason is plain. There is in human nature generally more of the fool than of the wise ; and therefore those faculties, by which the foolish part of men's minds is taken, are most potent. Wonderful like is the case of boldness in civil business. What first ? Boldness. What second and third? Boldness. And yet boldness is a child of ignorance and baseness, far inferior to other parts. But nevertheless it doth fascinate, and bind hand and foot those that are either shallow in judgment or weak in courage, which are the greatest part, yea, and prevaileth with wise men at weak times; therefore we see it hath done wonders in popular states, but with senates and princes less; and more, ever upon the first entrance of bold persons into action, than soon after; for boldness is an ill keeper of promise. Surely, as there are mountebanks for the natural body, so are there mountebanks for the politic body : men that undertake great cures, and perhaps have been lucky in two or three experiments, but want the grounds of science, and therefore cannot hold out; nay, you shall see a bold fellow many times do Mahomet's miracle. Mahomet made the people believe that he would call a hill to him, and from the top of it offer up
for the observers of his law. The people assembled : Mahomet called the hill to come to him again and again: and when the hill stood still he was never a whit abashed, but said, “If the hill will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill." So these men, when they have promised great matters, and failed most shamefully, yet (if they have the perfection of boldness) they will but slight it over, and make a turn, and no more ado. Certainly, to men of great judgment, bold persons are a sport to behold; nay, and to the vulgar also, boldness has somewhat of the ridiculous; for if absurdity be the subject of laughter, doubt you not but great boldness is seldom without some absurdity. Especially it is a sport to see when a bold fellow is out of countenance, for that puts his face into a most shrunken and wooden posture, as needs it must, for in bashfulness the spirits do a little go and come; but with bold men, upon like occasion, they stand at a stay, like a stale * at chess, where it is no mate, but yet the game cannot stir; but this last were fitter for a satire than for a serious observation. This is well to be weighed, that boldness is ever blind, for it seeth not dangers and inconveniences ; therefore it is ill in counsel, good in execution, so that the right use of bold persons is, that they never command in chief, but be seconds, and under the direction of others. For in counsel it is good to see dangers ; and in execution not to see them, except they be very great.
* i.e. what in modern language is called stale mate.
THE INCHCAPE ROCK.
No stir in the air, no stir in the sea,
Without either sigh or sound of their shock, The waves flow'd over the Inchcape Rock; So little they rose, so little they fell
, They did not move the Inchcape Bell. The worthy Abbot of Aberbrothok Had placed that bell on the Inchcape Rock; On a buoy in the storm it floated and swung, And over the waves its warning rung.
When the rock was hid by the surge's swell,
The sun in heaven was shining gay,
The buoy of the Inchcape Bell was seen
He felt the cheering power of spring,