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must be indulged in moralizing a little on the subject, though our sentiments may, albeit, savour of the common-place ethics of the day.
The, year that has just rolled down the stream of oblivion, has doubtless been to many of us, a year of revolution and of trial. If we revert to its commencement, calling around us in fancy, the beings with whom we were then associated, and turn now towards those beings in their present relation to us, we may shudder perhaps at the contrast. The mutations of fortune have probably affected our secular prosperity, and left some of us destitute of possessions-perchance of friends. Death may have invaded our happy circle, and borne thence treasures, which constituted the solace and the charm of existence; leaving us in solitude to realize our state of exile in this world of a moment. And the thousand minor occurrences, which are brought forth daily from the stores of time, are continually producing effects of fearful import to every member of the human race; so closely blended are the links of destiny! The most vital events of life may be often traced to the slightest accident; and the whole career of an individual, or a family, be determined by some casual incident altogether unheeded at its birth. The world has it not to learn that the least cause frequently produces the greatest effects, and that there is, in fact, no effect without a cause. The utmost circumspection is therefore necessary in every movement of our lives. All the products of an act are not, it is true, open to us; but our natural foresight readily points out its more immediate consequences and we are fully at liberty to adopt the apparently right and reject the apparently wrong, according to the dictates of our reason, without being amenable for results beyond our control.
If, in our review of by-gone days, we sigh after wealth, which has eluded our tenacious grasp and been "scattered on the four winds of heaven," we should remember that did we now possess the imaginary idol, our desires would still remain unsated, and the "eternal sigh" would still escape. The mass of mankind are none the better for their riches and profusion-for happiness re
sides not among guineas, nor in any of the branches of sensual gratification-sloth, revelry, ambition, nor fame. The exercise of the social affections-the engagement of our faculties in some laudable pursuit-the enjoyment of bodily health and mental tranquillity, comprise all the fruition we are capable of sustaining in the present state and any condition may be esteemed happy, in which the aggregate of these blessings exceeds that of their opposites, indolence, misanthropy, disease, and
Should we have been doomed to lament the encroachments of death upon our frail felicity, our unavailing sympathies are indeed again excited by the sad retrospect. The image of this dread enemy, clad in all its terrors, presents itself to our memory, and we weep equally over his anticipated spoils and his past havock. But by a kind provision of nature, the weakest of human passions often conquers the fear of death-" revenge triumphs over it, love slights it, honour aspires to it, dread of shame prefers it, grief flies to it"
"Man but dives in death,
Dives from the sun, in fairer day to rise."
But our officious thoughts will cling to anterior scenes, the brightness and beauty of which we recognized not till the moment of their conclusion: and the tablet of remembrance, however broken, pertinaciously retains the shadows and delineations thrown over it by time in his unbroken flight. We meditate on ravages made in our domestic sphere; on friends dispersed; on the sepulchre and those who repose in it. No longer do our former associates afford to us alleviation in sickness, or encouragement in adversity; the hand which administered the one lies nerveless, and the lips, which imparted the other, are sealed in interminable silence. In vain shall we look imploringly towards their graves; around them the tempest howls unheard; unfelt shall the sun shed his meridian radiance upon the cold and crumbling tomb-stone; the clod and its incumbent shall sleep and become incorporated together; the elements shall resume their original property in the once animated form, while the principle which vivified it rejoins the universal soul, and rests forever in the bosom of Deity!
Man's story is soon told; he is born, he lives, he dies. Where, how, when, are questions which friendship asks, and memory gives the reply. But to dwell on the history of past mischances for any other purpose than that of regulating our future conduct, is neither wise nor beneficial. While we deplore the brevity of time, let us at least occupy it; since, while we also deprecate the operations of fate, we cannot evade them. Let us endeavour to leave behind us a name untarnished; a character, which posterity shall contemplate with approbation and imitate with profit. Among our duties let us attend to that of self-examination. Have we misjudged no man's motives; undermined no man's reputation; intrigued against no man's prosperity? Have we reported what should have been concealed? Have we smothered in secret, virtues, which should have been proclaimed? Have we swallowed no slanders without requiring good authority? The records of a year conclude with this day; to us a last day must also come ! A time shall arrive, too, when the proud and the meek, the backbiter and the accused, the heretic who misgives, and the bigot who dares to prescribe bounds to celestial mercy, must lie together among the undistinguished trophies of implacable death. A LAST DAY for time and for death itself shall also succeed; a day of perennial glory for that soul, which, while dwelling amidst the atoms of this fragile system, shall have put forth its energies, independent of all sectarian professions, in the unwearied practice of the moral virtues.
XVI. THE SHAD SPIRIT.
There is a superstition in many places which bears, that the shad are conducted from the gulf of Mexico into Connecticut river, by a kind of Yankee " bogle" in the shape of a bird, popularly called the SHAD SPIRIT.
Know ye the shepherd that gathers his flock
In the gulf of Mexico?
Now draw the bolt, and securely nail
'Tis a wise precaution; and if it should fail,
While the monsoons growl, and the trade-winds bark, And the watch dogs of the surge
Pursue, through the wild waves the ravenous shark, That prowls around their charge!
To fair Connecticut's northernmost source,
O how shall we know where he went before?
The last year's shad heads shall shine on the shore, And light him up the river!
And who can tell him the fated time
To undertake his task?
When the pork barrel's low, he sits on the chime,
Though the wind is light, the wave is white
And now he has passed the bolted door,
XVII. THE REQUIEM.
BENEATH the burial clay !
Beneath the cold funereal stone-
His grief was echoless;
It had no sound, or voice, or breath,
He wept his lot with none,
When sickness blanched her cheek with care,
And gaze upon that failing eye,
She was so beautiful
Even as a seraph to his eyes;
And over-fraught with every bliss-
How changed! that heart is cold--