« AnteriorContinuar »
That dwells in them. Or, haply, the vast hall
But all shall pass away
From numberless vast trunks,
I solitary court
Warm from the heart to learn the moral song:PERSONS of reflection and sensibility contem'plate with interest the scenes of nature. The changes of the year impart a color and character to their thoughts and feelings. When the seasons walk their round, when the earth buds, the corn ripens, and the leaf falls, not only are the senses impressed, but the mind is instructed; the heart is touched with sentiment, the fancy amused with visions. To a lover of nature and of wisdom, the vicissitude of seasons conveys .a proof and exhibition of the wise and benevolent contrivance of the Author of all things.
When suffering the inconveniences of the ruder parts of the year, we may be tempted to wonder why this rotation is necessary ;-why we could not be constantly gratified with vernal bloom and frāgrance, or summer beauty and profusion. We imagine that, in a world of our creation, there would always be a blessing in the air, and flowers and fruits on the earth. The chilling blast and driving snow, the desolated field, withered foliage, and naked trees should make no part of the scenery which we would produce. A little thought, however, is sufficient to show the folly, if not impiety of such distrust in the appointments of the great Creator.
* Pron. iles.
The succession and contrast of the seasons give scope to that care and foresight, diligence and industry, which are essential to the dignity and enjoyment of human beings, whose happiness is connected with the exertion of their faculties. With our present constitution and state, in which impressions on the senses enter so much into our pleasures and pains, and the vivacity of our sensations is affected by comparison, the uniformity and continuance of a perpetual spring would greatly impair its pleasing effect upon our feelings.
The present distribution of the several parts of the year, is evidently connected with the welfare of the whole, and the production of the greatest sum of being and enjoyment. That motion in the earth, and change of place in the sun, which cause one region of the globe to be consigned to cold, decay, and barrenness, impart to another heat and life, fertility and beauty. Whilst in our climate the earth is bound with frost, and the 'chilly smothering snows' are falling, the inhabitants of another behold the earth, first planted with vegetation and apparelled in verdure, and those of a third are rejoicing in the appointed weeks of harvest.
Each season comes, attended with its benefits, and beauties, and pleasures. All are sensible of the charms of spring. Then the senses are delighted with the feast, that is furnished on every field, and on every hill. The
eye is sweetly delayed on every object to which it turns. It is grateful to perceive how widely, yet chāstely, nature hath mixed her colors and painted her robe; how bountifully she hath scattered her blossoms and flung her odors. We listen with joy to the melody she hath awakened in the groves, and catch health from the pure and těpid gales that blow from the mountains.
When the summer exhibits the whole force of active nature, and shines in full beauty and splendor ; when the succeeding season offers its purple stores and golden grain,' or displays its blended and softened tints; when the winter puts on its sullen aspect, and brings stillness and repose, affording a respite from the labors which have occupied the preceding months, inviting us to reflection, and compen'
sating for the want of attractions abroad, by fireside delights and home-felt joys; in all this interchange and variety we find reason to acknowledge the wise and benevolent care of the God of seasons. We are passing from the finer to the ruder portions of
The sun emits a fainter beam, and the sky is frequently overcast. The gardens and fields have become a waste, and the forests have shed their verdant honors. The hills are no more enlivened with the bleating of flocks, and the woodland no longer resounds with the song of birds. In these changes we see evidences of our instability, and images of our transitory state.
"So flourishes and fades majestic man.'
Our life is compared to a falling leaf. When we are dis- . posed to count on protracted years, to defer any serious thoughts of futurity, and to extend our plans through a long succession of seasons; the spectacle of the 'fading, many. colored woods,' and the naked trees, affords a salutary admonition of our frailty.
It should teach us to fill the short year of life, or that portion of it which may be allotted to us, with useful employments and harmless pleasures; to practice that industry, activity, and order, which the course of the natural world is constantly preaching.
Let not the passions blight the intellect in the spring of its advancement; nor indolence nor vice canker the promise of the heart in the blossom. Then shall the summer of life be adorned with moral beauty; the autumn yield a harvest of wisdom and virtue; and the winter of age be cheered with pleasing reflections on the past, and bright hopes of the future.
[In the Zoönomia of Dr. DARWIN, among various instances recorded by that philosophical physician of what he calls mani’acal hallucination, or mental delusion, is the case of a young farmer of Warwickshire, whose story was well authenticated in the public papers of the time. A poor elderly woman in his neighborhood was in the habit, urged by the pinching necessities of an inclement winter, of taking a few sticks from his grounds and his hedge, to preserve the fading fire in her forlorn cottage.
Suspecting the delinquent, the hardhearted hind watched and detected her. After wrenching from her the scanty fag. got, blows and reproaches succeeded. Struck with the misery of her situation, and the cruelty of her oppressor, she kneeled, and, rearing her withered hands to the cold moon, prayed that “he might never again know the blessing of warmth." The consciousness of wrong, the solemnity of the hour, the pathetic tone, “sharp misery,” and impassioned gesture of the miserable mātron at once extinguished the dim reason of the rustic. He immediately complained of a preternatural chilness, was continually calling for more fire and clothes, and conceived himself to be in a freezing state, till the time of his death, which happened shortly after. On this singular story is founded the following ballad, which is in the genuine spirit of ancient English song, and shows, by proof irrefragable, that simplicity, and the language of ordinary life, may be connected with the most exquisite poetry.
Goody Blake and Harry Gill.—WORDSWORTH.
OH! what's the matter? what's the matter?
In March, December, and in July,
-This woman dwelt in Dorsetshire,
By the same fire to boil their pottage,
But when the ice our streams did fetter,
cold to go to bed,
Oh joy for her ! whene'er in winter,
Now Harry he had long suspected