Imágenes de páginas

any thing to say; and with walking, without knowing whither to go. And, previously to both these, it is reasonable to believe, that the waking hours of infancy are agreeably taken up with the exercise of vision, or perhaps, more properly speaking, with learning to see.

But it is not for youth alone that the great Pārent of creation has provided. Happiness is found with the purring cat, no less

an with the playful kitten : in the arm-chair of dozing age, as well as in either the sprightliness of the dance, or the animation of the chace. To novelty, to acuteness of sensation, to hope, to ardor of pursuit, succeeds, what is, in no inconsiderable degree, an equivalent for them all, “preception of ease." Herein is the exact difference between the young and the old. The young are not happy, but when enjoying pleasure; the old are happy, when free from pain. And this constitution suits with the degrees of animal power which they respectively possess. The vigor of youth was to be stimulated to action by impatience of rest; whilst to the imbecility of age, quietness and repose become positive gratifications. In one important respect the advantage is with the old. A state of ease is, generally speaking, more attainable then a state of pleasure. A constitution, therefore, which can enjoy ease, is preferable to that which can taste only pleasure. This same perception of ease oftentimes renders old

age a condition of great comfort; especially when riding at its anchor, after a busy or tempestuous life. It is well described by Rousseau, to be the interval of repose and enjoy. ment, between the hurry and the end of life. How far the same cause extends to other animal natures, cannot be judg. ed of with certainty. The appearance of satisfaction, with which most animals, as their activity subsides, seek and enjoy rest, affords reason to believe, that this source of gratification is appointed to advanced life, under all, or most, of its various forms.

There is a great deal of truth in the following representation given by Dr. Percival, a very pious writer, as well as excellent man: “To the intelligent and virtuous, old age presents a scene of tranquil enjoyments, of obedient appetites, of well regulated affections, of maturity in knowledge, and of calm preparation for immortality. In this serene and dignified state, placed, as it were, on the confines of two worlds, the mind of a good man reviews what is past with the complacency of an approving conscience; and looks forward, with humble confidence in the mercy of God; and with devout aspirations towards his eternal and ever-increasing favor.”


Real virtue can love nothing but virtue.-FENELON.

Ye gods! what do I see? 'Tis Pythias arriving here !
-'Tis Pythias himself !- I never could have thought it.
Hah! it is he: he is come to die, and to redeem his friend.

Pythias. Yes; it is I. I went away for no other end but to pay to the gods what I had vowed them; to settle my family affairs according to the rules of justice; and to bid adieu to my children, in order to die the more peaceably.

Diony. But what makes you come back? How now! hast thou no fear of death? Comest thou to seek it like a desperado, a madman?

Pyth. I come to suffer it, though I have not deserved it; I cannot find it in

heart to let


friend die in my stead. Diony. Thou lovest him better than thyself then?

Pyth. No: I love him as myself; but I think I ought to die rather than he, since it was I thou didst intend to put to death: it were not just that he should suffer, to deliver me from death, the punishment thou preparedst for me.

Diony. But thou pretendest to deserve death no more than he.

Pyth. It is true, we are both equally innocent; and it is no juster to put me to death than him.

Diony. Why sayest thou, then, that it were not just he should die instead of thee?

Pyth. It is equally unjust in thee to put Damon or me to death : but Pythias were unjust did he let Damon suffer a death that the tyrant prepared only for Pythias.

Diony. Thou comest then, on the day appointed, with no other view than to save the life of a friend, by losing thy

Pyth. I come with regard to thee, to suffer an act of in


justice, which is common with tyrants; and with respect to Damon, to do a piece of justice, by rescuing him from a danger which he incurred out of generosity to me.

Diony. And thou, Damon, wert thou not really afraid that Pythias would never come back, and that thou shouldst have to pay for him?

Damon. I knew but too well that Pythias would return punctually, and that he would be much more afraid to break his word, than to lose his life; would to the gods that his relations and friends had forcibly detained him; so he would now be the comfort of good men, and I should have that of dying for him.

Diony. What does life displease thee?
Damon. Yes; it displeases me when I see a tyrant.

Diony. Well, thou shalt see him no more : I'll have thee put to death immediately.

Pyth. Pardon the transports of a man who regrets his dying friend. But remember, that it was I only thou devotedst to death: I come to suffer it, in order to redeem my friend : refuse me not this consolation in my last hour.

Diony. I cannot bear two men who despise their lives and my power.

Damon. Then thou canst not bear virtue. Diony. No: I cannot bear that proud disdainful virtue, which contemns life, which dreads no punishment, which is not sensible to riches and pleasures.

Damon. However, thou seest that it is not insensible to honor, justice, and friendship.

Diony. Guards! take Pythias away to execution: we shall see whether Damon will continue to despise my power.

Damon. Pythias, by returning to submit himself to thy pleasure has merited his life at thy hand; and I, by giving myself up to thy indignation for him, have enraged thee: be content, and put me to death.

Pyth. No, no, Dionysius, remember that it was I alone who displeased thee: Damon could not

Diony. Alas! what do I see? Where am I? How unhappy am I, and how worthy to be so! No, I have hitherto known nothing: I have spent my days in darkness and error: all my power avails me nothing towards making myself beloved : I cannot boast of having acquired, in above thirty years of týranny, one single friend upon earth : these two men, in a private condition, love each other tenderly, unreservedly confide in each other, are happy in a mutual love, and content to die for each other.

Pyth. How should you have friends, you who never loved any body? Had you loved men, they would love you; you have feared them they fear you, they detest you.

Diony. Damon! Pythias! youchsafe to admit me between you, to be the third friend of so perfect a society; I give you your lives, and will load you with riches.

Damon. We have no occasion for thy riches; and as for thy friendship, we cannot accept of it until thou be good and just; till that time thou canst have only trembling slaves, and base flatterers. Thou must be virtuous, beneficent, sociable, susceptible of friendship, ready to hear the truth, and must know how to live in a sort of equality with real friends, in order to be beloved by free men.



The evening was glorious, and light through the trees
Play'd the sunshine and rain-drops, the birds and the breeze,
The landscape, outstretching in loveliness, lay
On the lap of the year, in the beauty of May.
For the Queen of the Spring, as she păss'd down the vale,
Left her robe on the trees, and her breath on the gale ;
And the smile of her promise gave joy to the hours,
And flush in her footsteps sprang herbage and flowers.
The skies, like a banner in sunset unrollid,
O'er the west threw their splendor of āzure and gold;
But one cloud at a distance rose dense, and increasid,
Till its margin of black touch'd the zēnith, and east.
We gazed on the scenes, while around us they glow'd,
When a vision of beauty appear'd on the cloud ;-
'Twas not like the Sun, as at mid-day we view,
Nor the Moon, that rolls nightly through star-light and blue.
Like a spirit, it came in the van of a storm!
And the eye, and the heart, hail'd its beautiful form.
For it look'd not severe, like an Angel of Wrăth,
But its garment of brightness illumed its dark path.

In the hues of its grandeur, sublimely it stood,
O’er the river, the village, the field, and the wood;
And river, field, village, and woodlands grew bright,
As conscious they gave and afforded delight.
'Twas the bow of Omnipotence; bent in His hand
Whose grăsp at Creation the universe spann’d;
'Twas the presence of God, in a symbol sublime
His vow from the flood to the exit of Time!
Not dreadful, as when in the whirlwind he pleads,
When storms are his chariot, and lightnings his steeds,
The black clouds his banner of vengeance unfurld,
And thunder his voice to a guilt-stricken world ;-
In the breath of his presence, when thousands expire,
And seas boil with fury, and rocks burn with fire,
And the sword, and the plague-spot, with death strew* the

And vultures, and wolves, are the graves of the slain •
Not such was the Rainbow, that beautiful one!
Whose arch was refraction, its key stone--the Sun;
A pavilion it seem'd which the Deity graced,
And Justice and Mercy met there, and embraced.
Awhile, and it sweetly bent over the gloom,
Like Love o'er a death couch, or Hope o'er the tomb;
Then left the dark scene ; whence it slowly retired,
As Love had just vanish’d, or Hope had expired.
I gazed not alone on that source of my song ;
To all who beheld it these verses belong ;
its presence to all was the path of the Lord !
Each full heart expanded, -grew warm, and adored
Like a visit—the converse of friends—or a day,
That bow, from my sight, păssed for ever away:
Like that visit, that converse, that day—to my heart,
That bow from remembrance can never depart.
'Tis a picture in memory distinctly defined,
With the strong and unperishing colors of mind :
A part of my being beyond my control,
Beheld on that cloud, and trănscribed on my soul.

* Pron. strow.

« AnteriorContinuar »