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A TALK WITH MY BOYS ON PERSEVERANCE.
[An excellent teacher, and Resident Editor of the Massachusetts Teacher, who sometimes tells a good story, frequently talks with his boys of late, and here is one of his “free and easy talks.” Is n't it a good talk ? We hope many teachers will follow his example, and will succeed in talking as well as he does.—ED.]
Master John wishes to know if we may not have another talk together. Yes, boys, if you think it will do you any good.
Well, John, what shall we talk about ? Leave that to me? Very well. Let me see,-ah, I have it. Let me picture a little scene that pleased me very much this morning. .
As I looked out of my chamber window quite early - earlier, perhaps, than some of you looked out of yours—I saw, under a large rose-bush, a beautiful robin, whese wings, all sparkling with dewdrops, looked as fresh as the bright spring grass.
The movements of the robin were so unusual as to attract my attention. I soon discovered a piece of cotton string hanging from the bush to which one end was tightly fastened. Now what do you suppose the robin was doing? Trying to get the string? Yes, he was. He first seized it in his bill and began to fly away ; but in a moment the string jerked him back. Again and again he repeated the attempt, with the same result. Then he seized the string again, and having walked backward as far as he could, he tugged and pulled and jerked, now this way, now that way, but all in vain. I tell you, boys, I began to feel a great interest in that robin. I at once respected him. I awoke my boys speedily and called them into my chamber to see this wonderful robin. And we all looked and looked for a long time to see the beautiful bird fly and tug and pull, and try one way and another and another to get that bit of string off the rose-bush. I began to fear that the plucky little fellow would have to abandon his effort in despair; because, you see, I began to compare him with some of my school boys, and thought that they, in his place, would have given up long before. Not a bit of it. That robin worked away and away, without resting a moment, until, after a very long trial, he made one mighty effort, and away he flew triumphantly with the string in his bill. In a minute that string was woven into his nest, which, if found, no boy in this school, I am sure, will disturb.
Boys, how do you like my picture? First-rate. I'm glad you like it. Can't we get some good lesson from it. I think it teaches an excellent lesson. What is it, John ? Perseverance. Good! That's just the lesson.
Now, boys, that robin shall be schoolmaster here a few minutes. Right here on my table stands master robin. O, you need n’t laugh. Just imagine that you see master robin right here making a polite bow and saying, “Good morning, young gentlemen.” As you don't understand his language, I will act as interpreter. “I am requested to say a few words to you on the subject of perseverance. I don't know much about what you study here, because my early education was neglected; but I do know, my friends, that to do anything well you must persevere. I have hard work to make my nest in the flowery spring. You saw how long a time and how much hard work it cost me, this morning, to get a piece of string. Now just think how many strings and shreds and straws I have to pick up for my nest.
“ Then how much labor it takes to put them snugly together so as to hold safely my pretty blue eggs, and, by-and-by, my wee little children. It needs perseverance, boys, to do what I have to do, and let me tell you that poor ignorant robins always practice what I am now teaching. You have your hard work to do, I suppose ; all I can say to you is, Persevere, boys; persevere, persevere. Don't steal my eggs, nor stone my nest. Good-bye, boys, good-bye.”
There; master robin has flown out of the window. You don't often hear a bird talk like that, do you? He made a sensible little speech, did n't he? I hope that some of you will profit by it. .
* Master George, do you remember that you got discouraged over your grammar lesson yesterday, and said you couldn't learn it ? And when I told you that you must recite it before going home, you soon learned it.
Master Edward, have you forgotten that tough lesson in arithmetic which you were certain you could n't master? You had tried it, and knew it was too much for you. And yet when I encouraged you, and urged you to persevere, you had the good sense to keep trying until you conquered.
And there was master — I wont call his name — who fairly cried over his algebra day after day. He was certain he never should understand it; and begged, with tears in his eyes, that I would let him give it up. "No," I said, and now he is one of the best scholars in his class, simply because I persuaded him to persevere.
On the other hand, there are some boys before me—I think I'll not name them— who often fail in their lessons, not because they lack ability, but because they give up too easily. They try a little and get discouraged, and then try no mure. Ah, my boys, if you do n't learn to persevere while you are young, you never will succeed in manhood. Success in business, of whatever kind, requires effortlong, patient effort.
High position as a professional man or as a business man is attained only by years of persevering struggles. Now, boys, if you get into the way of giving up at trifling difficulties, or even at serious ones, you never will achieve success in life.
I wish I had time to tell you about some of the men who, after many years of seeming failure, have finally, in spite of poverty and ridicule, accomplished results that made them rich and famous, and were of vast benefit to the world.
But it is time to stop our talk and go to work. Don't forget the robin, his string, and his lesson. What did master robin teach you ? Perseverance. Right. Let me see some fine specimens of perseverance to-day.—Mass. Teacher.
MR. LINCOLN'S FAVORITE POEM.
B. F. CARPENTER, the artist, in a note to the New York Evening Post, says: “I have been urged by several friends to send you the enclosed poem, written down by myself from Mr. LINCOLN's lips, and although it may not be new to all of your readers, recent events give it a peculiar interest. The circumstances under which this copy was written are these: I was with the President alone one evening in his room, during the time I was painting my large picture at the White House, last year. He preşently threw aside his pen and papers and began to talk to me of Shakspeare. He sent little • Tad,' his son, to the library to bring a copy of the plays, and then read to me several of his favorite passages, showing genuine appreciation of the great poet. Relapsing into a sadder strain, he laid the book aside, and leaning back in his chair, said : There is a poem which has been a great favorite with me for years, which was first shown to me when a young man by a friend, and which I afterward saw and cut from a
OH! WHY SHOULD THE SPIRIT OF MORTAL BE PROUD?
newspaper and learned by heart. I would,' he continued, .give a great deal to know who wrote it, but have never been able to ascertain.' Then, half-closing his eyes, he repeated to me the lines which I enclose to you. Greatly pleased and interested, I told him I would like, if ever an opportunity occurred, to write them down from his lips. He said he would sometime try to give them to me. A few days afterward he asked me to accompany him to the temporary studio of Mr. Swayne, the sculptor, who was making a bust of him at the Treasury Department. While he was sitting for the bust I was suddenly reminded of the poem, and said to him that then would be a good time to dictate it to me. He complied, and sitting on some books at his feet, as nearly as I can remember, I wrote the lines down, one by one, from his lips.”
OH! WHY SHOULD THE SPIRIT OF MORTAL BE PROUD?
The infant a mother attended and loved;
The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne ;
The peasant, whose lot was to sow and to reap;
For we are the same our fathers have been ;
The thoughts we are thinking our fathers would think;
They loved, but the story we cannot unfold;
Yea! hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
'Tis the wink of an eye, 'tis the draught of a breath ;
It is as
As given above, the seventh verse of the poem is omitted. follows:
The saint who enjoyed the communion of Heaven,
The poem was written by William Knox, a Scotchman of great promise, who died at the age of thirty-six. It is in a collection entitled, “ The Sacred Poets of England and America,” edited by Rufus W. Griswold. Knox was born in humble life, in Roxburyshire, in 1789, and died in 1825.
PESTALOZZIAN MAXIMS.— 1. Let the child be trained to feel that the aim of his existence is higher than his existence.
2. To become capable of educating a child, the teacher himself must become like a child.
3. It is not by forcing the child's nature into the form of your own nature, but by giving yourself up to the nature of the child, that you can return to childlike simplicity.