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Dazzling but cold;-thy farewell glance looks there, And when below thy hues of beauty die, Girt round them, as a rosy belt, they bear Into the high dark vault, a brow that still is fair.
The clouds are thine; and all their magick hues
Are pencilled by thee; when thou bendest low, Or comest in thy strength, thy hand imbues Their waving folds with such a perfect glow Of all pure tints, the fairy pictures throw Shame on the proudest art;
These are thy trophies, and thou bend'st thy arch,
The ocean is thy vassal :-thou dost sway
Where thou, in heaven, dost guide them on their way,
Thou lookest on the waters, and they glow, And take them wings and spring aloft in air,
And change to clouds, and then, dissolving, throw Their treasures back to earth, and, rushing, tear The mountain and the vale, as proudly on they bear.
In thee, first light, the bounding ocean smiles
Swells tensely, and the light keel glances well
Comes off from spicy groves to tell its winning tale.
Apostrophe to the Ocean.-BYRON.
THERE is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
By the deep sea, and musick in its roar.
Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean-roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain ; Man marks the earth with ruin-his control
Stops with the shore;-upon the watery plain The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain, He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake, They melt into thy yest of waves, which mar Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save theeAssyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage,-what are they? Thy waters wasted them while they were free,
And many a tyrant since; their shores obey The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay Has dried up realms to deserts :-not so thou,
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' playTime writes no wrinkles on thine azure browSuch as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Dark-heaving;-boundless, endless, and sublime-
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy
Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
On the use and abuse of amusements.—ALISON.
Ir were unjust and ungrateful to conceive that the amusements of life are altogether forbid by its beneficent Author. They serve, on the contrary, important purposes in the economy of human life, and are destined to produce important effects, both upon our happiness and character. They are, in the first place, in the language of the Psalmist," the wells of the desert;" the kind resting-places in which toil may relax, in which the weary spirit may recover its tone, and where the desponding mind may reassume its strength and its hopes.
They are, in another view, of some importance to the dignity of individual character. In every thing we call amusement, there is generally some display of taste and imagination,- -some elevation of the mind from mere animal indulgence, or the baseness of sensual desire. Even in the scenes of relaxation, therefore, they have a tendency to preserve the dignity of human character, and to fill up the vacant and unguarded hours of life with occupations innocent at least, if not virtuous. But their principal effect, per
haps, is upon the social character of man. Whenever amusement is sought, it is in the society of our brethren; and whenever it is found, it is in our sympathy with the happiness of those around us. It bespeaks the disposition of benevolence, and it creates it.
When men assemble, accordingly, for the purpose of general happiness or joy, they exhibit to the thoughtful eye, one of the most pleasing appearances of their original character. They leave behind them, for a time, the faults of their station and the asperities of their temper;-they forget the secret views, and selfish purposes of their ordinary life, and mingle with the crowd around them with no other view than to receive and to communicate happiness. It is a spectacle which it is impossible to observe without emotion; and, while the virtuous man rejoices at that evidence which it affords of the benevolent constitution of his nature, the pious man is apt to bless the benevolence of that God, who thus makes the wilderness and the solitary place be glad, and whose wisdom renders even the hours of amusement subservient to the cause of virtue.
It is not, therefore, the use of the innocent amusements of life which is dangerous, but the abuse of them;—it is not when they are occasionally, but when they are constantly pursued; when the love of amusement degenerates into a passion, and when, from being an occasional indulgence, it becomes a habitual desire. What the consequences of this inordinate love of amusement are, I shall now endeavour very briefly to shew you.
When we look, in a moral view, to the consequences of human pursuits, we are not to stop at the precise and immediate effects which they may seem to have upon character. It is chiefly by the general frame of mind they produce, and the habitual dispositions they create, that we are to determine whether their influence is fortunate or unfortunate on those who are engaged in them. In every pursuit, whatever gives strength and energy to the mind of man, experience teaches to be favourable to the interests of piety, of knowledge, and of virtue ;-in every pursuit, on the contrary, whatever enfeebles or limits the powers of mind, the same experience every where shows to be hostile to the best interests of human nature.
If it is in this view we consider the effects of the habitual love even of the most innocent amusement, we shall find that it produces necessarily, for the hour in which it is in
dulged, an enfeebled and dependent frame of mind; that in such scenes energy resolves, and resolution fades;-that in the enjoyment of the present hour, the past and the future are alike forgotten; and that the heart learns to be satisfied with passive emotion, and momentary pleasure.
It is to this single observation, my young friends, that I wish at present to direct your attention; and to entreat you to consider what may be expected to be the effects of such a character of mind, at your age, upon the honour and happiness of future life.
1. It tends to degrade all the powers of the understanding. It is the eternal law of nature that truth and wisdom are the offspring of labour, of vigour, and perseverance in every worthy object of pursuit. The eminent stations of fame, accordingly, and the distinguished honours of knowledge, have, in every age, been the reward only of such early attainments, of that cherished elevation of mind which pursues only magnificent ends, and of that heroick fortitude which, whether in action or in speculation, pursues them by the means of undeviating exertion.
For the production of such a character, no discipline can be so unfit as that of the habitual love of amusement. It kindles not the eye of ambition;-it bids the heart beat with no throb of generous admiration ;-it lets the soul be calm, while all the rest of our fellows are passing us in the road of virtue or of science. Satisfied with humble and momentary enjoyment, it aspires to no honour, no praise, no pre-eminence, and, contented with the idle gratification of the present hour, forgets alike what man has done, and what man was born to do.
If such be the character of the youthful mind, if it be with such aims and such ambition that its natural elevation can be satisfied, am I to ask you, what must be the appearances of riper years ?-what the effect of such habits of thought upon the understanding of manhood? Alas! a greater instructer, the mighty instructer, experience, may shew you in every rank of life what these effects are.-It will show you men born with every capacity, and whose first years glowed with every honourable ambition, whom no vice even now degrades, and to whom no actual guilt is affixed, who yet live in the eye of the world only as the objects of pity or of scorn,-who, in the idle career of habitual amusement, have dissipated all their powers; and lost all their ambition, and who exist now for no purpose, but