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In a biographical notice of a celebrated speaker in, and manager of, the British House of Commons, it is remarked, that “ he never said too much.” This is, in truth, a rare commendation of a public speaker. One who, without circumlocution or parade, comes to the matter in hand at once, and pertinaciously sticks to it throughout—who seizes on the strong points in the argument and sets them to view in the clearest lightwho says all that is proper, and nothing more-whose every sentence, and almost every word, strikes home, and who minds 66 to leave off when he has done :". such a public speaker, whether in the Forum, in the Pulpit, or at the Bar, will never tire his hearers.
But my present busines is not with Speakers, but with Talkers ; the last being much the most numerous tribe, and entitled of course to the first notice.
Man, or even woman, when enjoying the freedom of the tongue, and gifted with the faculty of using it fluently, is a great deal more apt to say too much than too little.
When a room-full of ladies are all speaking at the same instant, only with this difference, that some tune their voices higher, and some lower—it is pretty clear that they say too much. But this is tender ground, on which I would tread lightly.
They who expect to be listened to by every body, but are unwilling themselves to listen to any body-who will hold you by the sleeve or button if you attempt to escape them, and din you the harder, the more you shew signs of weariness ; this tribe of talkers, as all but themselves will readily admit, say too much.
Persons who have wit, or (what is as bad) who think they have it, are in particular hazard of saying too much. It is one of the hardest things in the world to make a temperate use of real or of self-supposed wity
and more particularly of the talent for raillery. And hence, many a one, not wanting in good nature, and meaning the whiles nothing more than to show off his wit, multiplies enemies, and sometimes wounds his best friends. To make use of a line in one of Crabbe's poems,
“ He kindles anger by untimely jokes."They who talk merely with intent to shine in company, or for the sake of showing off to advantage their own parts and learning always say too much.
The fond twain, who entertain their visiters by the hour, with setting forth the excellent qualities or smart sayings of their own children, or with mawkish details of the rare conjugal affection that subsists between themselves-say too much.
Those who are inordinately fond of speaking in the first person-I Myself—it is more than an even chance that they will say too much.
When a young man, whose stock is small, is more eager to expend it in talking, than to encrease it by patient listening—he is very apt to say too much.
Old men are prone to say too much, when, getting into the preterpluperfect tense, they represent the former days as every way better than these. As if the human family, notwithstanding the perpetual accumulation of experience, were perpetually retrograding, instead of advancing ; and as if men and women now-adays, were like grasshoppers in comparison of their progenitors.
It is seldom that men do not say too much, in their convivial moments. It is then that they are peculiarly apt to let off with the tongue, something which they are sorry for on the morrow : for 6 when wine is in, descretion is out."
As to those persons whose staple of conversation is
telling stories in long metre, though it is hardly to be expected that they can be prevailed with either to refrain or abridge, yet the following direction from Chesterfield travestie, may be of use to them as a general regulator :-" When you mean to introduce an interesting story, make out a kind of preface about an hour's length, by the way of impressing upon your hearers the pleasure they are about to receive. If they should be disappointed, that is not your fault. You did your best ; and so much time has been past away, at least to your own satisfaction.”
I will conclude this lucubration with a caution. Let not him that talketh not despise him that talketh. There have been some wights of the human family, both male and female, who have obtained the reputation of abilities and wisdom by their grave taciturnity -every body thinking that they could say a great deal if they would—when, in sober truth, their habitual silence was owing rather to dearth of ideas or to dulness.
Of the salutary effects of the necessity laid upon man to
NECESSITY is the main spring of industry, and the mother of useful arts. The earth was given to the children of men in a rude and forlorn condition. And why ? Assuredly, not because it was out of the power or beyond the benevolence of the Creator to have rendered the whole face of it“ like blooming Eden fair," and so fertile every where, as to yield a plentiful abundance for human sustenance-without any human labour, care or forethought. This did not, however, consist with the plan of divine wisdom.
Man is a being compounded ef mind and matter; and a great part of his necessary employment is such as tends to evince the superiority of the former over the latter. The stubborn glebe, he meliorates, softens, and fructifies. Regions of forest he subdues, and turns them into fruitful fields and bloooming gardens. The droughty soil he irrigates, and the fenny he drains. Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, are all laid by him under contribution, and he compels them, as it were, to minister, not only to the necessities and comforts, but to the embellishments of life. In ten thousand ways, by skilful contrivance and the dint of industry, he overcomes the resistance of stubborn matter, and forces it te yield to his use to his comfort—to his adornment. And by all this busy round of contrivance and of labour, the faculties of his mind are developed, his body is made the more strong and healthy, his morals the more virtuous or the less corrupt, and his life unspeakably more contented and happy. For he rejoices in the work of his hands, nor feels he the burden of time, which hangs so heavily upon the sons and daughters of sloth.
Man is no where found more degraded, than in climes the most delicious, and upon a soil that produces, spontaneously, an abundant supply of his wants. It is there that his faculties are torpid, his mind and his heart most deeply corrupted, and his existence superlatively wretched. If we may credit the accounts of voyagers, some of the south-sea islands are earthly paradises in regard to climate and soil, but border upon the infernal regions as to customs, morals and manners; both the men and the women being so deeply corrupted,
that their abominable vices alone, not only prevent any increase of population, but threaten even to extirpate them entirely from the face of the earth. Nor would it perhaps be much better with the human race over the world, if the whole world were in a condition that superseded all necessity for labour.
If it seemed meet to the all-wise Creator, that man, in his primeval state, should be subject to labour-that he should be made to dress the garden and to keep itmuch greater is the urgency for industrious habits, in his lapsed state, in which idleness is sure to be prolific of vice. And, accordingly, upon the moral change of human nature, the earth, too, underwent a change, the thorn and the thistle grew up, in place of the fragrant flower and the nourishing plant. The heat consumed by day, and the frost by night. The inert matter he had to deal with became doubly intractible. Obstacles to sloth, and imperious calls to industry, multiplied. So that man was compelled to eat his bread in the sweat of his face.
Happpy necessity! the necessity that prevents a frightful mass of moral evil, and produces an immensity of good.-Without it the wickedness of man would be doubly great upon the earth; and so far from enjoy. nient-feeling the fulness of satiety and the intolerable burthen of time-like Milton's fiend in paradise, he would“ see undelighted all delight."
Among the vain sons and daughters of men, there are those who despise labour, even though their circumstances urgently need it. As if the point of honour lay in being useless, improvident, and helpless.This is Folly's pride. Whoso despiseth labour, despiseth an ordinance of heaven. Not only is labour made necessary by the law of our general nature, but it