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we expressed our warm admiration of the noble tree that stood before us, "Its nobleness is displayed not merely in its stately trunk, its expanding branches, and its beautifully varied tints, but also in the numerous creatures that seek shelter at its base, or feed on its fruits, or make their nests among its branches."

The titled gamblers, the athletic soldier, the courageous and kind-hearted labourer, the spreading oak, all presented to my mind different, and somewhat confused ideas of the epithet, "noble ;" and on reaching home, I hastened to the library, hoping to obtain from the explanations of Dr. Johnson, some more definite sense of its import. My uncle came in, and found me with my head on my hand, and the volume on my knee open at the words, "nobility," "noble," "nobleman," "nobleness." As I had not found all the satisfaction I desired, "Uncle," said I, "I wish you would tell me what you really call a noble man: I wish to have your own sentiments on the subject. I do not want any more dictionary explanations."

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Well," said my uncle, "do not let us reject the dictionary altogether, but take its definitions as far as they go, and add any ideas or explanations of our own that may present themselves." At my uncle's desire, I read the several definitions of "noble :"

1. Of an ancient and splendid family.
2. Exalted to a rank above commonality.
3. Great, worthy, illustrious.

4. Exalted, elevated, sublime.
5. Magnificent, stately.
6. Free, generous, liberal.
7. Principal, capital.

My uncle remarked, "As you ask me what I mean by a noble man, we may drop some of these definitions, and modify others. The seventh relates not to man himself, but to the vital or most important parts of the human frame, or the chief cities of an empire, or to the principal portions of any given whole. The fourth is yet more strictly applicable to the stupendous works of creation and the discoveries of revelation, than to human sentiments and actions, which can be 'exalted, elevated, and sublime,' only in a very inferior and imperfect sense. The fifth we more frequently apply to objects we behold, especially to such as are the productions of human labour and art; we speak of a magnificent cathedral or palace, a stately dome, arch, or tower.

"But as far as the word noble is applied to man, it strikes me to signify the possession of superiority; corporeal, intellectual, circumstantial, moral, or prospective. Some of these distinctions are extrinsic and adventitious, and do not necessarily combine the elements of moral greatness, nor are they essential to it—a man may be noble without them. Yet they are not to be despised, for when superadded to intellectual and moral qualifications, the happy combination confers on its possessor additional lustre, power, and influ


"To begin with avigorous bodily frame and sound health: these are not absolute conditions of greatness of soul, yet it would be wrong to affirm that they have no affinity with it. They are certainly favourable to the growth and exercise of magnanimous sentiments; and though we have seen some signal instances in which mind has exerted a noble

energy in surmounting all the disadvantages of a feeble and diseased body-"

"Dr. Watts, for instance," interposed Frank : "perhaps you recollect him, uncle. My mother does; and I have heard her say that some person having expressed surprise, bordering upon contempt, at his diminutive figure, the doctor promptly replied:


'Were I so tall to reach the pole,
And grasp the ocean in my span,
I must be measured by my soul;

The mind's the standard of the man.""

Yes, Frank, I do recollect him well. His soul was indeed a noble and precious jewel, though lodged in what might be considered a diminutive casket. On the other hand, we have seen some lamentable instances in which exterior symmetry and grace of person have been associated with feebleness of mind and depravity of heart. Nevertheless, in general, we look for a correspondence between the inner and the outer man, and feel that there is an unfitness when that correspondence is wanting. We feel something of the same kind of disparity when a very diminutive or feeble body is connected with high-sounding titles."


"Yes," said Frank, "I could scarcely refrain from laughing at those two little skinny, meagrelooking striplings, mounted on their noble hunters, and addressed at every turn, 'My lord,' and, 'Your lordship.' I should have been much pleased had their conversation been characterised by lofty and noble sentiments, as much as I was disgusted by its meanness, vulgarity, and profanity, which seemed quite a libel upon their high birth."

"And the handsome soldier," I observed, "whose manly form and graceful movements we so much admired-would it not have been more agreeable to our feelings, and more accordant with our sense of the fitness of things, to know that his strength and courage had been employed in saving men's lives, rather than in destroying them?"

"I think it would," replied my uncle; "and on this principle, taking a single action, the poor labourer who hazarded his life and sacrificed his health to save a fellow creature, is, in my esteem, more noble than either the titled cock-fighter, or the courageous soldier."

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But suppose, uncle, he had been as high-born as the young lords, and as tall and vigorous as the soldier, and at the same time as generous and benevolent as he has proved himself to be?"

UNCLE. I am happy to say I know some individuals who combine all these distinctions, and the others to which I have alluded, as coming under the description of "noble," and I reckon them noble indeed.

FRANK. You spoke of intellectual superiority, uncle, as belonging to a noble character, but I de not think great talents and nobleness always go together. One of the cleverest fellows in our school (indeed Dr. has often said he has talents enough for two) does not acquit himself in so honourable a manner as some who are far his inferiors in genius.

UNCLE. Very likely the intellectual superiority to which I refer, is essentially different from genius, which, in its common acceptation, means such a decided bent for some one pursuit as en

ables a man to attain his object in it with little or no labour. This is often the companion of great inequality, and incompleteness of character. The intellectual superiority which I claim for my noble man comprehends a capacious mind, capable of admitting truth in its various aspects, and bearings, and relations to general principles; with a lively perception and ardent relish for what is beautiful, sublime, and good. He must be neither a mere dry speculative reasoner, nor a sentimental enthusiast; but the possessor of a sound judgment

and a correct taste.


Then, to give that mental superiority claim to the character of noble, it must be practical. There is nothing noble in discerning and admiring the good, and yet choosing and following the evil. True nobility of mind will lead to moral superiority. It is utterly at variance with selfishness, sensuality, and malignity. These, however varnished over and dignified with specious names, are unvarying indications of meanness of character. True nobleness can never co-exist with them. Self-control and a generous regard to the claims and interests of others, are inseparable from true magnanimity. A noble-minded man cannot but be benevolent and social too. Without this, great mental energy will only lead to selfish ambition."

FRANK. I think you are quite right, uncle; but I know some who seem to think that they show their nobility by pursuing their own pleasures in utter disregard of others.

UNCLE. Whatever they may think of themselves, and assume to themselves, I think they are the slaves of a mean and ignoble disposition.

"Another feature of a noble mind is that of

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