Imágenes de páginas

in all their variety, been robbed of life for my repast, and of the smaller fry some thousands. A measure of corn would hardly suffice me fine flour enough for a month's provision, and this arises to above six score bushels; and many hogsheads of wine and other liquors have passed through this body of mine-this wretched strainer of meat and drink! And what have I done all this time for God and man? What a vast profusion of good things upon a useless life and a worthless liver?

There is not the meanest creature among all those which I have devoured, but hath answered the end of its creation better than I. It was made to support human nature, and it has done so. Every crab and oyster I have eat, and every grain of corn I have devoured, hath filled up its place in the rank of beings with more propriety and honour than I have done. Oh, shameful waste of life and time !"

In short, he carried on his moral reflections with so just and severe a force of reason, as constrained him to change his whole course of life; to break off his follies at once, and to apply himself to gain some useful knowledge, when he was more than thirty years of age. He lived many following years with the character of a worthy man and an excellent Christian; he died with a peaceful conscience, and the tears of his country were dropped upon his tomb.

The world, that knew the whole series of his life, were amazed at the mighty change. They beheld him as a wonder of reformation, while he himself confessed and adored the Divine power and mercy which had transformed him from a brute to a man. But this was a single instance, and we may almost venture to write miracle upon it. Are there not numbers, in this degenerate age, whose lives thus run to utter waste, without the least tendency to usefulness?


The young Minstrel.—BEATTIE.

Lo! where the stripling, rapt in wonder, roves
Beneath the precipice o'erhung with pine,
And sees, on high, amidst the encircling groves,
From cliff to cliff the foaming torrents shine:

While waters, woods, and winds, in concert join, And echo bears the chorus to the skies.

Would Edwin this majestick scene resign For aught the huntsman's puny craft supplies? Ah! no he better knows great Nature's charms to prize.

And oft he traced the uplands, to survey,

When o'er the sky advanced the kindling dawn,
The crimson cloud, blue main, and mountain gray,
And lake, dim-gleaming on the smoky lawn:
Far to the west, the long, long vale withdrawn,
Where twilight loves to linger for a while;

And now he faintly kens the bounding fawn,
And villager abroad at early toil.

But, lo! the Sun appears! and heaven, earth, ocean, smile.

And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb,

When all in mist the world below was lost :What dreadful pleasure! there to stand sublime, Like shipwrecked mariner on desert coast, And see the enormous waste of vapour, tossed In billows lengthening to the horizon round,

Now scooped in gulfs, with mountains now embossed ;And hear the voice of mirth and song rebound, Flocks, herds, and waterfalls, along the hoar profound!

In truth, he was a strange and wayward wight,

Fond of each gentle, and each dreadful scene: In darkness, and in storm, he took delight;

Nor less, than when on ocean-wave serene The southern sun diffused his dazzling sheen. Even sad vicissitude amused his soul :

And if a sigh would sometimes intervene,
And down his cheek a tear of pity roll,
A sigh, a tear so sweet, he wished not to control.

"O, ye wild groves, O, where is now your bloom!"? (The Muse interprets thus his tender thought) "Your flowers, your verdure, and your balmy gloom, Of late so grateful in the hour of drought! Why do the birds, that song and rapture brought To all your bowers, their mansions now forsake? Ah! why has fickle chance this ruin wrought? For now the storm howls mournful through the brake, And the dead foliage flies in many a shapeless flake.

[ocr errors]

"Where now the rill, melodious, pure, and cool,

And meads, with life, and mirth, and beauty crowned! Ah! see, the unsightly slime, and sluggish pool

Have all the solitary vale embrowned;

Fled each fair form, and mute each melting sound; The raven croaks forlorn on naked spray;

And hark! the river, bursting every mound, Down the vale thunders, and with wasteful sway Uproots the grove, and rolls the shattered rocks away.

"Yet such the destiny of all on earth:

So flourishes and fades majestick man.
Fair is the bud his vernal morn brings forth,
And fostering gales awhile the nursling fan.
O smile, ye heavens, serene; ye mildews wan,*
Ye blighting whirlwinds spare his balmy prime,
Nor lessen of his life the little span.
Borne on the swift and silent wings of Time,
Old age comes on apace to ravage all the clime.

“And be it so.-Let those deplore their doom

Whose hopes still grovel in this dark sojourn: But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb,

Can smile at Fate, and wonder how they mourn. Shall Spring to these sad scenes no more return? Is yonder wave the sun's eternal bed?

Soon shall the orient with new lustre burn, And Spring shall soon her vital influence shed, Again attune the grove, again adorn the mead.

Shall I be left forgotten, in the dust,

When Fate, relenting, lets the flower revive?
Shall Nature's voice, to man alone unjust,

Bid him, though doomed to perish, hope to live?
Is it for this fair Virtue oft must strive
With disappointment, penury, and pain?

No: Heaven's immortal spring shall yet arrive,
And man's majestick beauty bloom again
Bright thro' the eternal year of love's triumphant reign."

*Though the author evidently intends this word to rhyme with man and span, yet the best authorities require it to be pronounced like the first syllable of wan-ton.


Pairing time anticipated.-CowPER.

I SHALL not ask Jean Jaques Rousseau*
If birds confabulate or no;
"Tis clear that they were always able
To hold discourse, at least in fable;
And even the child who knows no better,
Than to interpret by the letter,
The story of a cock and bull,
Must have a most uncommon skull.

It chanced, then, on a winter's day,
But warm and bright and calm as May,
The birds, conceiving a design,
To forestall sweet St. Valentine,
In many an orchard, copse, and grove,
Assembled on affairs of love,
And, with much twitter, and much chatter,
Began to agitate the matter.

At length a bulfinch who could boast
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, opening wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And, silence publickly enjoined,
Delivered briefly thus his mind.

"My friends! be cautious how The subject upon which we meet; 1 fear we shall have winter yet.”

ye treat

A finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing and satin poll,
A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What marriage means, thus pert replied.

"Methinks the gentleman," quoth she, "Opposite in the apple-tree,

By his good will would keep us single
Till yonder heaven and earth shall mingle,

*It was one of the whimsical speculations of this philosopher, that all fables which ascribe reason and speech to animals, should be withheld from children, as being only vehicles of deception. But what child was ever deceived by them, or can be, against the evidence of his own senses?

Or, (which is likelier to befall)
Till death exterminate us all.
I marry without more ado:-
My dear Dick Redcap, what say you?"

Dick heard, and tweedling, ogling, bridling,
Turning short round, strutting and sideling,
Attested, glad, his approbation
Of an immediate conjugation.
Their sentiments, so well expressed,
Influenced mightily the rest:

All paired, and each pair built a nest.

But, though the birds were thus in haste,
The leaves came on not quite so fast;
And destiny, that sometimes bears
An aspect stern on man's affairs,
Not altogether smiled on theirs.

The wind,-of late breathed gently forth-
Now shifted east, and east by north;
Bare trees and shrubs but ill, you know,
Could shelter them from rain or snow:
Stepping into their nests, they paddled,
Themselves were chilled, their eggs were addled:
Soon, every father bird and mother

Grew quarrelsome, and pecked each other,
Parted without the least regret,

Except that they had ever met,
And learned, in future to be wiser,
Than to neglect a good adviser.


Misses! the tale that I relate

This lesson seems to carry—
Choose not alone a proper mate,
But proper time to marry.


Fingal's battle with the spirit of Loda.-OSSIAN. MORNING rose in the east; the blue waters rolled in light Fingal bade his sails to rise, and the winds came rustling

"It may not be improper here to observe, that the accent ought always to be placed on the last syllable of Fingâl.”—M'Pherson's note to Fingal, B. I.

« AnteriorContinuar »