Page:Letters to Mothers (1839).djvu/59

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of a fever, rocking with the other hand a cradle, in which lay the infant princess, while on her lap reposed the sleeping infant. His tenderness as a father, and his susceptibility as a man, accorded that deep admiration which would have been denied to the splendour of dress, the parade of rank, or the blaze of beauty.

But how feeble are all the varieties of love, which childhood elicits, compared to that which exists in a mother's breast. Examine, I pray you, its unique nature, by contrast and comparison. We are wont to place our affections, where our virtues are appreciated, or to fix our reliance where some benefit may be conferred. But maternal love, is founded on utter helplessness. A wailing cry, a foot too feeble to bear the burden of the body, an eye unable to distinguish the friend who feeds it, a mind more obtuse than the new-born lamb, which discerns its mother amid the flock, or the duckling that hastens from its shell to the stream, are among the elements of which it is compounded.

It is able also to subsist without aliment, Other love requires the interchange of words or smiles, some beauty, or capability, or moral fitness, either existing, or supposed to exist. It is wont, as it advances in ardour, to exact a vow of preference, above all the world beside, and if need [50] be, to guard this its Magna Charta, with the sting of reproach, or the fang of jealousy. It is scarcely proof against