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Like Jason, brought the golden fleece ;
DENNIE, JOSEPH, an American journalist and critic, born at Boston in 1768; died at Philadel. phia in 1812. He graduated at Harvard in 1790; studied law at Charlestown, N. H., where he was admitted to the bar. In 1795 he removed to Walpole, N. H., where he became editor of The Farmer's Weekly Magazine, which he conducted very ably for three years, when the publisher became bankrupt. In 1799 he went to Philadelphia,
. then the national capital, as private secretary to Mr. Pickering, the Secretary of State. On January 1, 1801, he commenced, in conjunction with Asbury Dickens, The Portfolio, a weekly journal, which was soon changed to a monthly. He was connected until his death with The Portfolio, which contained contributions from John Quincy Adams, Francis Hopkinson, Robert Walsh, Horace Binney, Charles Brockden Brown, and other promi. nent men. His best writings, published under the title of “The Lay Preacher," appeared in The Farmer's Weekly.
THE PLEASURES OF BOOKS.
Whenever I reflect upon my habitual attachment to books, I feel a new glow of gratitude toward that Power who gave me a mind thus disposed, and to those liberal friends who have allowed the utmost latitude of indulgence to my propensity. In sickness, in sorrow, in the most doleful days of dejection, or in the most gloomy seasons of the calendar, study is the sweetest solace and the surest refuge.
The utility and delight of a taste for books are as demonstrable as any axiom of the severest science. The most prosperous fortune is often harassed by various vexations. The sturdiest son of strength is sometimes the victim of disease. Melancholy will sometimes involve the merriest in her shade, and the fairest month in the year will have its cloudy days. In those dreary seasons from which no man may hope to escape, sensual delights will fill scarcely a nook in the gloomy void of the troubled time. Brief as the lightning in the darksome night, this pleasure may flash before the giddy eyes, but then merely for a moment, and the twinkling radiance is still surrounded with the merriest glow. Eating, drinking, and sleeping; the song and the dance, the tabret and viol, the hurry of dissipation, the agitation of play-these resources, however husbanded, are inadequate to the claims of life.
On the other hand, the studious and contemplative man has always a scheme of wisdom by which he can either endure or forget the sorrows of the heaviest day. Though he may be cursed with care, yet he is surely blessed while he readeth. Study is the dulce lenimen laborum of the Sabine bard. It is sorrow's sweet assuager. By the aid of a book he can transport himself to the vale of Tempé or the gardens of Armida. He may visit Pliny at his villa, or Pope at Twickenham. He may meet Plato on the banks of Ilissus, or Petrarch among the groves of Avignon. He may make philosophical experiments with Bacon, or enjoy the eloquence of Bolingbroke. He may speculate with Addison, moralize with Johnson, read tragedies and comedies with Shakespeare, and be raptured by the eloquence of Burke.
A book produces a delightful abstraction from the cares and sorrows of this world. They may press upon us, but when we are engrossed by study we do not very acutely feel them. Nay, by the magic illusion of a fascinating author, we are transported from the couch of anguish, or the gripe of indigence, to Milton's Paradise, or the Elysium of Virgil.— The Lay Preacher.