Happy Thoughts

I swear I only found this in my dissertation notes AFTER writing that last post.

Source: How to be Happy. Written for the Children of Some Dear Friends. By A Lady. [Not this one, thankfully! Probably Lydia Sigourney, according to the American Antiquarian Society.]

The excellent poet, Dr. Watts; says in his hymns for children,

Hard names, and threats, and bitter words

Which are but noisy breath,

May end in blows, and naked swords,

In discord and in death.

Sad accidents have sometimes come from little quarrels among playmates.

That’s some high quality 19th-century children’s literature for you.


3 responses to “Happy Thoughts

  1. LeRoy Dissing

    It could be argued that this is happening today as well. Listening to a few rap songs and/or reading their lyrics could make one wonder if we are devolving rather than evolving.

  2. Sounds kind of like my 19th century kiddy lit fave: Struwwelpeter. Definitely not for the squeamish.

  3. Very much so, Niobe. Especially if you read more of the book, which includes a description of a youthful abuser of animals. Towards the end it asks, who might this cruel boy be? I’m thinking, “good lord, Jeffrey Dahmer.” Ah no, in the 19th century animal abuse wasn’t a portent of serial murder, but traitorism. The little boy who loved to torture sparrows and “worry” Cows, dogs, and “faithful” horses was Benedict Arnold. Of course there is no historical reason to belive he actually did any of the acts described.

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