Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

heard a house laughing in a loun -has said its prayers and gone to place, not as if in defiance, but in ig. bed. norance of the storm.

Where are we? We said we did Like a drowned rat we never can

not know_but we were lying-yet be—so we stooped into the hut, un- the world shall not be let into the se. ruffled as an eagle or a swan. No cret--some spots in the Highlands are man ever saw a “drookit” eagle or a sacred still from the intrusion of tour

drippin'” swan, even in a driving de- ists—and this is felt to be as much our luge; and no man ever saw Christo- own as if it were one of our dreams. pher North discomposed by the ele. Is it selfish to keep to oneself—unments. The rain brings the roses into named in outer air—the knowledge of his cheeks, and the blast brightens the local habitations, in the mighty rethem; through mist his eyes kindle gions of nature, where not in visionary like angry stars. The house is small, ministrations, but in real offices of huand we have called it a hut; but not manity, the soul of an old wanderer, small the household. What a dowgs! conducted by his good genius, who has a decoction of bark! But they soon never yet threatened to desert him, saw we were no tatterdemallion, and continues yet to find a happiness he leapt whining up to our breast. One had ceased to hope for and in the colley, with a cross of the Newfound- midst of trouble unexpected visitings lander-a devil, no doubt, at the ducks of peace? -we recognised, and he us, as an old We are comfortably and classically acquaintance, and it was manifest he wrapt up in a blanket, like John called to mind our having shaken paws Kemble in Coriolanus. Just look at with him in Prince's Street as he was our Library-arranged on the earthon his way through Edinburgh, on a en floor before the peat-fire-to dry; visit with his master to some friends for though the oil-skin linings of our in Fife. Men-women-children, of Many-Pocketted are water-proof, as course—uprose at our entrance; and a if Mackintoshen, some of the vols. better feeling, we hope, than pride ex- were specky, and the damp has now panded our breast when, on doffing exhaled. Tiny vols. one and all ; and our bonnet

we should not be surprised to find in An eagle plume his simple cap adorna"

the morning that some of them had

been stolen by the Faires. Diamond and bowing like a chief—as we are- editions of twenty of our best English we heard a voice by name hail Chris- writers—in prose and in verse.

We TOPHER North. Pooh, pooh, for your pick up one with our toes—as prefashionable assemblages—in London hensile as our fingers—and what is and Edinburgh, and Paris and Vien- it but_Young's Night THOUGHTS. na, and Berlin and St Petersburgh,

or Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy with all their literary lions-wheree'er we go-we are welcomed in the sleep!” wilderness, and there is brightness of Why, we are not a whit tired-never joy in the obscurity of our fame. were less sleepy in our lives-and,

Who are they? Shepherds and without winking, could outwatch the herdsmen. That old man fought in Bear. He must have rather a rough Egypt—and though “curst ophthal- time of it to-night-“ surlier as the my” killed his eyes, he has long forgot storms increase. That must be an that he is blind. With both hands on his old pine groaning—but he has stood grandchild's head he sees she is fair- many a blast, and, steel to the back. nor think you that shines not for him bone, will bend but not break. Well, on the mountains the morning light. let us commence with Old Young

And here we have been for an hour for though he be somewhat gloomyor more—you may imagine not idle so at times are we, and we hope you though now we are beginning to take for is not “ man born to trouble as some repose. We are by ourselves now the sparks fly upwards ?That rein the Spence-as dry as a whistle- minds us that if we do not put on having dined and supped on bannocks some more peats the fire will be out of barley-meal, eggs, butter, and -and should this “ brief candle" folhoney_while the household-it we low its example, we may break our had heard laughing, and not the house shins against that cutty-stool on the

a

a

we;

way to our heather-bed. Lo! sudden They terrify him_he faints—he dies the illumination as one of our own –and is himself a ghost. 'Tis a world bright thoughts.

of Shadows. Among the hills a hundred homes have “Embryos we must be till we burst the

shell, Our table in the wilderness is spread; Yon ambient azure shell, and spring to In such lone spots one human smile can life, buy

The life of Gods.” Plain fare, warm welcome, and a rushy

Yon ambient azure shell !" A hedgebed.”

sparrow's egg is of the most beautiful Our single small tallow yields an blue-for violets are not blue_that uncertain glimmer in the gloom, and smiles on earth; but we immortals we fear to snuff it with our fingers chip the sky, and, full-fledged at the lest it should leave us where Moses moment of that birth, fly to heaven. was when his candle went out. Our peat-fire has again subsided - and

Why then their loss deplore that are not

lost? there is neither moon nor star. Yet with our eyes shut we could read from Why wanders wretched Thought their tombs

around the book of memory, at any given. In infidel distress ?” catchword, the finest passages in the Night Thoughts ; and they are in Why? The question is asked, but thousands—swarming-murmuring

not answered_for the pathos is in ithumming—though the image is not self-and wretched Thought must. that of bees. Shakspeare alone is pause till Doomsday for a reply. Yet fuller of “thick-coming fancies" than 'tis not of such a one the Poet says, Young. Lavish as he is—profuse

“ here buries all his thoughts, prodigal of his riches, we feel that his Inters celestial hopes, without one sigh." stores of thought, imagery, and senti.

He inters them not-they seem bement are inexhaustible_his mind as opulent, after all that magnificent out- looks on with many a sigh—deeper

fore his eyes to bury themselves_he lay, as before-the “ treasures of the than any grave--but they cease,

for deep as wonderful in their undisco- 'tis an imaginary funeral

, and Fear vered caves as those that have been thrown up on the surging sea.

comes at last to know as well as Hope,

that 'twas all a delusion of the soul “ My hopes and fears sick unto death. Then, we can think Start up alarmed, and o'er life's narrow of that great line and be comforted :

verge Look down,

"How populous ! how vital is the grave !" -on what? a fathomless abyss,

And of that other line, so tender and A dread eternity.”

so true, That is indeed Poetry. Recoils the

“ He mourns the dead who lives as they soul from the brink of the abyss ?

desire." Stands it shuddering there? By hor

Try to say

new good thing about rid temptation is it instigated to leap Time. Don't be afraid of failure, for out of time? Or, calmed by awe, on such a subject commonplaces are leans it an ear to the mystery moaning the world's delight—and wisdom is at far down like some perpetual tide, and one with the world. Then take Young. learns therefrom to walk at all times

" The day is past guardedly along the paths of life?

Like a bird struggling to get loose in Thought, busy thought, too busy for my going; peace,

Scarce now possessed so suddenly 'tis Through the dark postern of Time long gone." elapsed,

" Where is to-morrow? In another Led softly by the stillness of the night,

world.” Led like a murderer".

“ All men think all men mortal but themAnd whom is he going to murder ?

selves.” God knows. But his hand is palsied,

“ How swift the shuttle flies that weaves for he

thy shroud.” meets the ghosts

" Time wasted is existence- used is life.” Of my departed Joys"

Or seek ye some more elaborate

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"

[ocr errors]

years.”

image? Then here is one-and on its That intensifies the idea and its wings you may either sink or soar. emotion-and no poet need speakTo man's false optics (from his folly unless he chooses—of a sun-dial again. false),

But Young is not done with the Time, in advance, behind him hides his image or rather the image is not wings,

done with Young—it haunts him still, And seems to creep, decrepit with his age; and tells him Behold him when past by; what then is " That all mankind mistake the time of seen,

day, But his broad pinions swifter than the

Even age itself." wind?"

And then he illustrates that truth told Oh! the dark days of vanity ! cries him by the gnomon, in simpler lanthe Poet; while here how tasteless—and guage and less scientific, the originahow terrible when gone! You-I- ting idea of the whole recurring soany one could have said thatbut that lemnly at the close. is prose- not poetry—the poetry is to “ Fresh hopes are hourly sown come—and here it comes-

In furrowed brows. To gentle life's de“ When gone !

scent Gone ! they ne'er go; when past, they We shut our eyes, and think it is a plain. haunt us still ;

We take fair days in winter for a spring, The spirit walks of every day deceased ; And turn our blessing into bane. Since And smiles an Angel, or a Fury frowns.”

oft We live in a world of spirits—for He scarce believes he's older for his

Man must compute that age he cannot feel, there are three hundred and sixty-five ghosts in the year, But every hour is an angel-a mes

The world used to have by heart

one celebrated passage on friendship senger.

-and we shall not quote, as we hope 'Tis greatly wise to talk with our past she has not forgotten it; but we call hours ;

on single lines-though we trust she And ask them what report they bore to remembers them too Heaven,

“ Poor is the friendless master of a world." And how they might have borne more welcome news.

Almost as immense as Shakspeare'sTheir answers form what men experience “ One touch of nature makes the whole

world kin.” There can be no experience, worth Do this and be happythe name, without communion with

“ Judge before friendship, then confide heaven. The worldly-wise man is a till death.” mere mole-or at the best a bat.

" When such friends part, “ Should not each dial strike us as we 'Tis the survivor dies,"

pass, Portentous, as the written wall which

Friendship has been called many

million times a flower-and it is a struck, O'er midnight bowls, the proud Assyrian flower; but Young asks you for whom pale ?"

it blossoms ? and seeing you hesitate

-in the multitude of the thoughts Many men might have said that, within him he sums up them all in but few could have said this

“ Abroad they find who cherish it at That solar shadow, as it measures life, home." It life resembles too; life speeds away

Who was Philander? We know From point to point, though seeming to

not. stand still,

But how the poet must have The cunning fugitive is swift by stealth :

loved him, who thus lamented his Too subtle is the moment to be seen,

loss ! Yet soon man's hour is up, and we are

Thy last sigh gone."

Dissolved the charm; the disenchanted What more could be said : No

earth more ?--Ay-listen

Lost all her lustre, Where her glittering

towers? “ In reason's eye

Her golden mountains where ? All darkThat sedentary shadow travels hard."

ened down

call."

To naked waste ; a dreary vale of tears; Or turn from that august spectacle The great magician's dead!”

to this—the saddest_and but for the The great poet is true to nature

written promise unsupportablehere-if too often_and we fear it is “ And oh! the last-last what? Can so—he plays her false—and wilfully words express ? follows phantasies when imaginations Thought reach it? the last silence of a were ready to crowd into his arms. friend." And true to her is he in another place These are the speechless griefs that

- far away from the above—but hal- justify the Poet in sayinglowed by the same spirit of grief.

Scorn the proud man that is ashamed to “I loved him much, but now I love him

weep.” more, Like birds, whose beauties languish, half

And we now call to mind another concealed;

strain, in which he sings of some Till, mounted on the wing, their glossy strange, wild, sudden accumulation of plumes

sorrows such as often befalls the chilExpanded shine with azure, green and

dren of men-and when heard of gold ;

strike us all with dismay—“because How blessings brighten as they take their that we have all one human heart." flight!”

“ This hoary cheek a train of tears bedews; Call not that image fanciful--but And each tear mourns its own distinct if it affects you not as assuredly it af. distress ; fected the Poet, sympathize with the And each distress, distinctly shown, deawe that for a while held him back mands from depicting the deathbed of such a Of grief still more, as heightened by the friend.

whole. " Yet am I struck ; as struck the soul,

A grief like this proprietors excludes ;

Not friends alone such obsequies deplore ; beneath

They make mankind the mourner ; carry Aērial groves' impenetrable gloom";

sighs Or, in some mighty ruin's solemn shade ;

Far as the fatal fame can wing her way; Or, gazing by pale lamps on high-born

And turn the gayest thought of gayest age dust,

Down the right channel through the vale In vaults ; thin courts of poor unflattered

of death." kings ; Or at the midnight altar's hallowed flame. From whom of all our living Poets Is it religion to proceed ? I pause- could we select such pregnant lines as And enter, awed, the temple of my theme. many of the above? We glance over Is it his deathbed ? No: it is his shrine; the pages, and how thick the gems ! Behold him there just rising to a God.”

" When gross guilt interposes, labouring earth,
O'ershadowed, mourns a deep eclipse of joy."
“ Through chinks, styled organs, dim life peeps at light ;
Death bursts the involving cloud, and all is day.”
“ Like lavish ancestors his earlier years
Have disinherited his future hours,”
Is not the mighty mind, that son of Heaven,
By tyrant life dethroned, imprisoned, pained ?
By death enlarged, ennobled, deified ?
Death but entombs the body, life the soul."
“ Earth's highest station ends in 'here he lies,'.
And dust to dust,' concludes her noblest song."
Devotion, when lukewarm, is undevout ;
But when it glows its heat is struck to heaven ;
To human hearts her golden harps are strung ;
High Heaven's orchestra chants amen'to man."
“ The keen vibration of bright truth-is hell."
“ Pride, like an eagle, builds among the stars ;
But Pleasure, lark.like, nests upon the ground.”

[ocr errors]

9

“ The world's infectious ; few bring back at ere, Immaculate, the manners of the morn." “ How wretched is the man who never mourned.". " Truth shows the real estimate of things, Which no man, unafflicted, ever saw." “ But some reject this sustenance divine ; To beggarly vile appetites descend ; Ask alms of earth for guests that come from heaven." " Irrationals all sorrow are beneath, That noble gift I that privilege to man." “ Early, bright, transient, chaste, as morning dew, She sparkled, was exhaled, and went to heaven." “ Like damaged clocks, wbose hand and bell dissent, Folly rings six while nature points at twelve."

“ Like our shadows, Our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.” “ Age should......... Walk thoughtful on the silent, solemn shore Of that vast ocean it must sail so soon." “ Our needful knowledge, like our needful food, Unhedged lies open in life's common field; And bids all welcome to the vital feast.” “ Like other tyrants, Death delights to smite, What, smitten, most proclaims the pride of power, And arbitrary nod. His joy supreme To bid the wretch survive the fortunate; The feeble wrap the athletic in his shroud ; And weeping fathers build their children's tomb, Me thine, Narcissa." Our morning's envy, and our evening's sigh.” “ Man's lawful pride includes humility; Stoops to the lowest ; is too great to find Inferiors; all immortal, brothers all ! Proprietors eternal of thy love." • Who lives to Nature never can be poor ; Who lives to Fancy never can be rich." “ Resolve me why the Cottager and King, He whom sea-severed realms obey, and he Who steals his whole dominion from the waste, Repelling winter blasts with mud and straw, Disquieted alike, draw sigh for sigh, In fate so distant, in complaint so near ?" “ His grief is but his grandeur in disguise ; And discontent is immortality.” “ Man's misery declares him born for bliss.”

“ If man can't mount He will descend — he starves on the possest.” " Shall we, this moment, gaze on God in man? The next, lose man for ever in the dust ?" “ Heaven starts at an annihilating God." “ A Christian dwells, like Uriel, in the Sun.” “ Too low they build, who build beneath the stars." “ Truth never was indebted to a lie." “ No man e'er found a happy life by chance."

« AnteriorContinuar »