Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

BEAUTIES OF MODERN LITERATURE..

BEAUTIES OF MODERN LITERATURE. 245 must refine and purify it by degrees, and feed on it. And yet these estimable qualities may not be enough, unless the lover possess sensibility of heart to discern them, and elevation and generosity of soul to appreciate them. But when the above-mentioned conditions meet in two enamoured persons,—she becomes more beautiful of soul, more wise, more happy in her affections,-and he, to please her ever more and more, must, in all his actions, endeavour to excel in virtue, and beautify his soul, that he may emulate the moral and corporeal graces of his mistress.

THE SAME THEORY, .

ILLUSTRATED BY SHAKSPEARE.

SONNET CXVI.
Ler me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love,
Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove; O no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken ; It is the star to every wand'ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come ;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out, e'en to the edge of doom :
If this be error, and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Essays on Petrarch.

A NIGHT ADVENTURE.

Fit pugil, et medicum urget.-HOR.

Sir, I will not preface the detail which I am about to transmit to you by any long introduction. It is sufficient to inform you, that I am one of those who are afflicted by a romantic imagination, which, however it may inspire or enchant us in our moments of poetical inspiration, is, as we all know, troublesome beyond measure, in the ordinary affairs of life. The circumstances which I am going to relate, are an exemplification of this trite, but true observation.

It was on a beautiful autumn evening that I stole out unperceived, from a party engaged in discussing the merits of some of my father's oldest claret, and left him eloquently and feelingly declajming in its praise, to take a solitary ramble through the extent of grounds that had so often witnessed my infant gambols, or seen me, at a more advanced age, performing the voyages of Æneas, by means of a horse-pond and washing-tub ;-or, imitating my favourite Hector, in the destruction of the Grecian navy, to the imminent peril of Farmer Ashfield's neighbouring hay-rick. It was an evening, to delineate whose beauteous grandeur would require a heart teeming with all the inspiration of the Muses—a pen dipped in the brightest colours of imagination. A soft mellow silence pervaded the whole expanse of air and earth; the sun, just sinking beneath the horizon, still retained influence sufficient to leave a bright tinge of red upon the western sky, and to deepen the verdure of the aged oaks, which, wreathing their huge gigantic branches into a thousand fantastic forms, overshadowed my path, and scarcely deigned to wave beneath the passing zephyr, that agitated their foliage for a moment, and, in the next, left all as still and solemnly silent as the grave. It was such an evening as would be peculiarly fitted to conjure up all the fantasies of a warm imagination; which might easily have pictured to itself Queen Mab, and her fairy attendants, skipping nimbly over the herbage, or holding their sportive gambols far from the sight of intruding mortals, beneath the shade of some favourite beech. “On such a night as this,” I wandered unconsciously along, forgetful almost of my own existence, totally absorbed in contemplation, and forming, in idea, the most unearthly and romantic images. Long had I thus roamed, indifferent to every thing around me, and in a kind of delicious forgetfulness of the world, and its unpleasant accompaniments. Already had the darkness of night succeeded to the shades of evening, but so gradually had its sombre light given way to the gentle brightness of the moon, that I was far from perceiving the change, and still pursued my way, unconscious of the dews that began to fall around me, till a sudden cloud, obscuring the rays of the bright luminary above, and a sharp air, that died away in threatening forebodings through the grove below, recalled my scattered senses, and, arousing me to the knowledge of myself, and my situation, brought to my recollection the deserted party, and the supposition that, in all probability, the family would be alarmed at my absence. I was next reminded of a still more unpleasant circumstance; that, having no small distance to return, I should, in all probability, be caught in the storm which I now, for the first time, perceived had been accumulating all its horrors from every point of the heavens, and was just ready to burst forth with terrifying violence. As all this passed in quick revolution through my brain, I had already turned my face homewards, and, with buttoned-up coat, was on the point of starting forward with as great rapidity as the increasing darkness and devious path would admit, when my purpose was suddenly checked by the rain, of which I had been but so lately forewarned. It fell in torrents, so violent, that to proceed was impossible. I took refuge under à spreading tree, and had much ado to console myself with the reflection, that I had met with an “ Adventure.”

“An Adventure,” sir, it certainly was ; a most lamentable one. I had not remained a minute in my uncomfortable situation, before I perceived two figures, of a most mysterious appearance, sheltering themselves from the storm, beneath the next tree. They were muffled up closely in thick cloaks, wore large slouched hats, and carried in their hands most villanous sticks. What could I supposeWhat conclusion could I form, but that which all your readers, sir; would form, under similar circumstances ? “I was within a few yards of a brace of highwaymen!

What could I do? Escăpe was impossible ! the least noise was death to me! Silently and anxiously I listened to the conversation of my foes; and my terror was not abated when I overheard these dark and terrible expressions :

“ Upon the word of a gentleman !” said the first, “ I have not touched a single guinea since I came into this part of the country !” “ Business is, in truth, very dull !” said the other; “I have practised here for twenty years, and never was there a time when people have been so shy of putting themselves in my hands as they are at present !” No wonder! thought I. “I am afraid," resumed the first, “there is a strong prejudice gone abroad against our profession !” Prejudice! thought I. “You are right,” replied the other ; "not one blockhead can die within ten miles round, but a hundred other blockheads cry out, that I killed him !” My blood tan cold ; but at this moment the violence of the tempest increased, and, for some minutes, I heard no more of the discussion.

By degrees, the tumult of the elements abated, and I again caught a few words. “Your system, brother, is too violent; I have always employed milder methods.” (Blessings on you, thought I.) “I disapprove of your indiscriminate use of steel, in all cases.” Steel, sir,” cried the other, to steel !--Nothing is to be done, in our way, without steel.They began to move towards me!

I felt my brow grow clammy-my hair stand on end-my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. They approached nearer !-nearer! Despair gave me courage. I seized a large branch, which had been rent

« AnteriorContinuar »