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Reflections for New Year's Day.

THERE is something that excites grave and solemn reflections in this new page opened in the book of life. If the departed year has brought us sorrow (and over how few does it revolve without bringing it!), we look on its departure with chastened feelings; and if its circle has been marked by some bright days, how can we see it die without indulging a tender melancholy?

What a merciful arrangement of the Almighty is the impenetrable veil which covers our destinies! And yet there have been mortals who have desired to pierce it; and who have thirsted for that knowledge which, if obtained, might empoison the present. How worse than vain is this desire of prying into futurity! Do we not know that our lives, and those of all dear to us, hang on so frail a thread, that a moment may see it cut by inexorable fate!—that it is the condition of our being to behold our friends (the links that bind us to existence) snapt rudely asunder! And yet we would wish to lift the dread veil that hides the yawning graves, to be filled, perhaps in a few hours, by some one whose death renders earth a desert.

THE NEW YEAR.
1.

Another year hath pass'd away! and we begin again

Our course through Life's uncertain sphere of pleasure and of pain; Once more we launch our fragile barks on Life's tempestuous sea, Through dangers that we know not of, from which we cannot flee.

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2.

Awhile may favouring breezes blow, and all around seem fair;
No clouds obscure our brightest hopes, nor sorrow, want, nor care;
But brightness such as this may fade,—the storm may come at last,
And all that seem'd so fair at first will then be overcast.

3.

We tread a path where flowers and thorns are scatter'd in our way, But flowers whose bloom is bright and fair soon wither and decay; Awhile, and we may meet with nought but flowers of brightest hue, No thorns arrest us in our path, no dangers meet our view.

4.

But soon the storm will gather round, and, bursting on the plain, Will sweep the flowers of bliss away, and scatter thorns of pain, The heart be bow'd with sorrow down, and darkness and despair Supply the place of joy and bliss, that lately revell'd there.

5.

Or sorrow's strait perchance we've pass'd-are entering now a

stream

Illumin'd by a brighter ray from Hope's celestial beam;

The mourning garb be laid aside; the flowers of joy resume
Their places in our rugged path, regain their wonted bloom.

6.

But whether thorns arrest our way, or pleasures onward lead,
We have a sure and steadfast hope, a help in time of need:
Ahope which ne'er forsakes the heart that yields not to despair,-
A help that never fails the soul in time of want or care.

Questions, &c. for Examination.

1. What arrangement of the Almighty is said to be a merciful one? 2. Repeat the first stanza on the new year.

3. To what are the pleasures and pains of life compared in the third verse?

4. Repeat the last verse of the poem.

LESSON II. -JANUARY THE SECOND.

Death of General Wolfe.

ON the second of January, 1727, was born at Westerham, in Kent, James Wolfe, a celebrated English general; a young man of extraordinary talents, and who displayed in early life a strong passion for martial glory. This gallant officer fell in the execution of a daring conception of military genius. General Amherst, the commander-inchief of the British troops in America, had formed the design of achieving the entire conquest of Canada in a single campaign, by directing one expedition on Montreal and another on Quebec. The last, which was by far the

DEATH OF GENERAL WOLFE.

3

most difficult part of the enterprise, was entrusted to General Wolfe. Though he had been repulsed near the Falls of Montmorenci in the preceding summer, he was not undismayed; with the true spirit of intrepidity he saw in this reverse only the necessity of making still greater efforts, and he conceived the bold design of drawing the French from their unassailable position by scaling the Heights of Abraham.

The plan succeeded; and Monsieur de Montcalm was compelled to abandon his camp, and risk a battle for the protection of Quebec. The fight was fiercely contested, and many were the instances of individual heroism observed on both sides. But at length, while bravely animating his troops in front, Wolfe received a ball through his wrist, which he hastily bound up, and went on with his accustomed gallantry. In a few minutes after, however, a second ball entered his breast, which rendered it necessary to bear him off to a small distance in the rear. There, roused from fainting, in the agonies of death, by the cry of " They run they run!" he eagerly asked, "Who run?" and being told the French, and that they were defeated, he exclaimed, "Then I thank God, and die contented;" and almost instantly expired. Though only in the 34th year of his age, he had during the siege of Quebec, as well as in the battle where he met his death, exhibited the skill and courage of a veteran.

Generals Monckton and Townsend, after the loss of their commander, completed the victory. This happened on the 13th of September, 1759. On the 18th of the same month Quebec surrendered; and, like Gibraltar, conquered by another and somewhat similar bold exploit, has since remained in the hands of the English. In short, the whole province of Canada was soon afterwards subdued by the British forces, and was confirmed to Great Britain by the treaty of 1763.

The body of General Wolfe was brought to England, and buried with military honours in Westminster Abbey.

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1. When and where was General Wolfe born?

2. In what part of the world is Quebec?

3. Where and by what means did Wolfe meet with his death?

4. What were his dying words?

5. When was this battle fought; and what province was soon afterwards subdued by the British forces ?

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On this day, B. C. 105, was born at Arpinum, Marcus Tullius Cicero, one of the most illustrious characters of the brightest period of Rome, and at the head of Roman eloquence.

Cicero while a boy gave manifest indications of superior abilities; and we are told by Plutarch, that his schoolfellows were accustomed to accompany him in a body to and from school, giving him the place of honour in the midst of them; and that the fathers of some of them visited the school to be witnesses of his extraordinary proficiency. It is said, indeed, that he excelled in every thing to which he applied; but poetry was his favourite pursuit.

In his very active life, the most striking incident is his detection of the conspiracy of Catiline and his accomplices, for the subversion of the commonwealth, during Cicero's consulship. For his conduct in this affair he was honoured with the glorious title of "Pater Patriæ," Father of his Country. This great man was sacrificed to the resentment of Antony. Cicero was at Tusculum when he received the news of the proscription in which he was included, and immediately set out in a litter for the seacoast to avoid his enemies. But he was overtaken by Popilius Lænas, a tribune, whose life he had formerly saved by his eloquence. When the assassins came up he stretched his head out of the litter, and was beheaded. His hands were also cut off. Popilius carried the head and hands in triumph to Antony, who had the baseness to place them on the rostra, where Cicero had so often defended the lives, fortunes, and liberties of the Roman people. This happened B. C. 42.

The talents of this accomplished Roman have been the subject of universal admiration; and his virtues were also eminent, both public and private, but they were in some degree obscured by excessive vanity.

1. In what year was Cicero born?

2. What indications did Cicero give when a boy; and what did his schoolfellows, and their fathers?

3. In what did Cicero excel?

4. What was his favourite pursuit ?

5. For what was he called "Father of his Country?"

6. What was his end?

7. What obscured his talents and virtues ?

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