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the harem. It is, indeed, amazing, that even in the wildest regions of the earth, where religion and civilization are alike unknown, the importance of woman should not have forced itself upon


Viewed in a public, a social, or a private aspect, her character is inestimably important. In public, the fate of empires, connected as it must be with legality of succession, depends solely on the purity of the female character: of what value must that be, the failure of which might convulse half Europe, and plunge its nations in war and bloodshed for centuries?

If viewed in a social light, the character of females, if less momentous, is still more attractive. Who are they, who, even in this country, move the great springs of every

national institution that has been formed for the relief of their fellow-creatures? Women. Who, rejecting the fastidiousness of rank, and the blandishments of pleasure, visit the school and the hospital; become conversant with misery in all her forms, and are neither repelled nor disgusted by the most frightful? Women. Who are they that are ready to promote every good word and work; who protect every weakness, and palliate every suffering, from the cry of the infant orphan, to the wailing of dotage and decrepitude; who furnish instruction for the ignorant, refuge for the unprotected, and an asylum even for repentant vice? Who are they, who, in the metropolis, where every street is putrid with

vice and wretchedness, have opened a thousand doors of mercy, and hover, like presiding angels, over those institutions which they have consecrated by their benevolence? They are women.

Let us look from social to domestic life. Such is the felicity of the female character, that the closer it is inspected, the more advantageously it appears—like some fine piece of mosaic, whose minutest part is also its most exquisite. In domestic life, it is woman on whom we are dependent for the first years of existence, and for all its future felicity: it is she who tends us in sickness, who soothes us in care, who consoles us in calamity, to whom the heart instinctively turns in the hour of suffering, and never turns in vain. With all our boasted strength, we lean for support on one weaker than ourselves; and we find it is she who, in the hour of adversity, like the women of old, who gave up their ornaments for the exigencies of the state, gracefully convert those accomplishments, which distinguished her in happier hours, into the means of procuring that which her protector fails to procure. It is she who, alienated neither by misfortune, nor even vice, follows us to prison, adjusts the straw bed, earns the spare morsel she refuses to partake; but hides the tear that moistens it, lest it should seem to reproach the author of her sufferings.

But why do I detain you with representations weak, defective, and unworthy of the original ? The portrait of woman has been drawn by a hand that leaves neither touch nor colour to be added to it. Look to the Bible—consider the history of Jesus Christ:- Who ministered to him of their substance? Who followed him whithersoever he went? Who sat at his feet? Who wept there? Look at the history of his last hour-one companion betrays him, another denies him—of the rest, “all forsook him and fled”—but woman was last at the Cross, and woman was first at the Sepulchre. Yes-here behold the female character at its highest elevation, raised to the eminence, and displayed by the light of religion.

Men may possess great qualities, and perform great actions, that are not consecrated by the blessed spirit of religion; but there can be nothing great in the female character that has not its foundation in religion.—The strenuous and tumultuous destination of man allows and requires a certain spirit of roughness—a preparation for selfdefence—a kind of latent hostility about him;but the natural flow and tendency of the female character is in the channel of goodness. Man, brought up for the field or the flood, the bar or the senate, must be armed with a spirit suited to the rough encounters he may meet with ;-but woman, from the hour of her birth, seems consecrated to the cultivation of "whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely”-if there be any virtue, and any praise, "to think on these things and do them."




SHAME be on him who slights exalted love;
Confounds with passion, friendship the most pure
That man can know; and selfishly prefers
Thy dull monotony, unwedded life,
To the dear duties of domestic ties !
What, if some choose amiss—some rashly choose,
Nor count the cost, but dream of joys ne'er found
In this delusive world—shall we dare mock
The married state, by God himself ordained ?
Ah, who in life's cold journey has not felt
His need of woman's sympathy and love!
In infancy, on woman's breast we hang,
And woman's arm sustains us; woman's voice
Lulls us to slumber, and her watchful eye
Marks every symptom of our health and pain.
In childhood, still we need her fostering hand
To train us up; and when to youth we spring,
Resistless is the impulse of the soul,
To seek a soul, in female form enshrined,
Of kindred sensibility and truth.
In manhood's summer, what were home, were ease,
Were affluence, unblessed by woman's smile?
While the poor hind, that ploughs the stubborn

glebe, And wields the scythe, and o'er the sickle bends, 'Mid poverty and toil, may solace find In her society, whom honest love

Has named the partner of his humble lot.
And when the chill of age our hearts confess;
When strength of body, symmetry of form,
Vigour of limb, and ardour of the soul,
Have passed away; still, still to woman's love,
To woman's tenderness and soothing power,
Instinctive turns the yearning heart, and finds
In her assiduous and her gentle care,
The last kind offices we crave or need.
Who longest sheds the tear upon our grave?
Who cherishes our recollection most,
When we are gone?-Who kindliest draws the veil
Of charity, our weaknesses above,
And on our virtues most delights to dwell?
O woman, it is thou !—And let my hand
Lose the bard's cunning, when I cease to praise
Him who has framed thee, helpmate meet for man,
And man's best comforter of earthly mould,
For the dear boon He gave to man in thee!



“The treasures of the deep are not so precious
As are the concealed comforts of man
Locked up in woman's love. I scent the air
Of blessings, when I come but near the house.
What a delicious breath marriage sends forth;
The violet bed's not sweeter."

I HAVE often had occasion to mark the fortitude with which women sustain the most overwhelming

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