Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

"It is past," said he. "Is my sister asleep?-Well, then, let her have rest; she needs it.". He then went to his own chamber and shut himself in.

It is a merciful thing that the intense suffering of sensitive minds makes to itself a relief. Violent grief brings on a torpour, and an indistinctness, and dimness, as from long watching. It is not till the violence of affliction has subsided, and gentle and soothing thoughts can find room to mix with our sorrow, and holy consolations can minister to us, that we are able to know fully our loss, and see clearly what has been torn away from our affections. It was so with Arthur. Unconnected and strange thoughts, with melancholy but half-formed images, were floating in his mind, and now and then a gleam of light would pass through it, as if he had been in a troubled trance, and all was right again. His worn and tired feelings at last found rest in sleep.

It is an impression which we cannot rid ourselves of if we would, when sitting by the body of a friend, that he has still a consciousness of our presence-that though the common concerns of the world have no more to do with him, he has still a love and care of us. The face which we had so long been familiar with, when it was all life and motion, seems only in a state of rest. We know not how to make it real to ourselves, that the body before us is not a living thing.

Arthur was in such a state of mind, as he sat alone in the room by his mother, the day after her death. It was as if her soul had been in paradise, and was now holding communion with pure spirits there, though it still abode in the body that lay before him. I felt as if sanctified by the presence of one to whom the other world had been laid open-as if under the love and protection of one made holy. The religious reflections that his mother had early taught him, gave him strength; a spiritual composure stole over him, and he found himself prepared to perform the last offices to the dead.

1

Is it not enough to see our friends die, and part with them for the remainder of our days-to reflect that we shall hear their voices no more, and that they will never look on us again—to see that turning to corruption which was but just now alive, and eloquent, and beautiful with all the sensations of the soul? Are our sorrows so sacred and peculiar as to make the world as vanity to us, and the men of it as strangers, and shall we not be left to our afflictions for a few

hours? Must we be brought out at such a time to the concerned, or careless gaze of those we know not, or be made to bear the formal proffers of consolations from acquaintances who will go away and forget it all? Shall we not be suffered a little while, a holy and healing communion with the dead? Must the kindred stillness and gloom of our dwelling be changed for the solemn show of the pall, the talk of the passers-by, and the broad and piercing light of the common sun? Must the ceremonies of the world wait on us even to the open graves of our friends?

When the hour came, Arthur rose with a firm step and fixed eye, though his whole face was tremulous with the struggle within him. He went to his sister, and took her arm within his. The bell struck. Its heavy, undulating sound rolled forward like a sea. He felt a violent beating through his whole frame, which shook him that he reeled. It was but a momentary weakness. He moved on, passing those who surrounded him, as if they had been shadows. While he followed the slow hearse, there was a vacancy in his eye as it rested on the coffin, which showed him hardly conscious of what was before him. His spirit was with his mother's. As he reached the grave, he shrunk back and turned deadly pale; but sinking his head upon his breast, and drawing his hat over his face, he stood motionless as a statue till the service was over.

He had gone through all that the forms of society required of him. For as painful as the effort was, and as little suited as such forms were to his own thoughts upon the subject, yet he could not do any thing that might appear to the world like a want of reverence and respect for his mother. The scene was ended, and the inward struggle over; and now that he was left to himself, the greatness of his loss came up full and distinctly before him.

It was a dreary and chilly evening when he returned home. When he entered the house from which his mother had gone for ever, a sense of dreary emptiness oppressed him, as if his very abode had been deserted by every living thing. He walked into his mother's chamber. The naked bedstead, and the chair in which she used to sit, were all that was left in the room. As he threw himself back into the chair, he groaned in the bitterness of his spirit. A feeling of forlornness came over him which was not to be relieved by tears. She, whom he had watched over in her dying hour, and whom he had talked to as she lay before him in

[ocr errors]

death, as if she could hear and answer him, had
gone from him.
Nothing was left for the senses to fasten fondly on, and time
had not yet taught him to think of her only as a spirit. But
time and holy endeavours brought this consolation; and the
little of life that a wasting disease left him, was past by him,
when alone, in thoughtful tranquillity; and amongst his
friends he appeared with that gentle cheerfulness which,
before his mother's death, had been a part of his nature.

LESSON XVII.

Lines to a child on his voyage to France, to meet his Father.-
CHRISTIAN DISCIPLE.

Lo, how impatiently upon the tide

The proud ship tosses, eager to be free.
Her flag streams wildly, and her fluttering sails
Pant to be on their flight. A few hours more,
And she will move in stately grandeur on,
Cleaving her path majestic through the flood,
As if she were a goddess of the deep.
O, 'tis a thought sublime, that man can force
A path upon the waste, can find a way
Where all is trackless, and compel the winds,
Those freest agents of Almighty power,
To lend their untamed wings, and bear him on
To distant climes. Thou, William, still art young,
And dost not see the wonder. Thou wilt tread
The buoyant deck, and look upon the flood,
Unconscious of the high sublimity,

As 'twere a common thing-thy soul unawed,
Thy childish sports unchecked: while thinking man
Shrinks back into himself-himself so mean
'Mid things so vast,-and, rapt in deepest awe,
Bends to the might of that mysterious Power,
Who holds the waters in his hand, and guides
The ungovernable winds.-'Tis not in man
To look unmoved upon that heaving waste,
Which, from horizon to horizon spread,
Meets the o'er arching heavens on every side,
Blending their hues in distant faintness there.

B

"Tis wonderful!-and yet, my boy, just such Is life. Life is a sea as fathomless,

As wide, as terrible, and yet sometimes
As calm and beautiful. The light of Heaven
Smiles on it, and 'tis decked with every hue
Of glory and of joy: Anon, dark clouds
Arise, contending winds of fate go forth,
And hope sits weeping o'er a general wreck.

And thou must sail upon this sea, a long Eventful voyage. The wise may suffer wreck,

The foolish must. O! then, be early wise!
Learn from the mariner his skilful art

To ride upon the waves, and catch the breeze,
And dare the threatening storm, and trace a path
'Mid countless dangers, to the destined port
Unerringly secure. O! learn from him
To station quick eyed Prudence at the helm,
To guard thy sail from Passion's sudden blasts,
And make Religion thy magnetick guide,
Which, though it trembles as it lowly lies,
Points to the light that changes not, in Heaven.

Farewell-Heaven smile propitious on thy course, And favouring breezes waft thee to the arms Of love paternal.-Yes, and more than thisBlest be thy passage o'er the changing sea Of life; the clouds be few that intercept The light of joy; the waves roll gently on Beneath thy bark of hope, and bear thee safe To meet in peace thine other Father,-GOD.

LESSON XVIII.

Inscription for the entrance into a wood.-BRYANT.
STRANGER, if thou hast learnt a truth which needs.
Experience more than reason, that the world
Is full of guilt and misery; and hast known
Enough of all its sorrows, crimes and, cares
To tire thee of it-enter this wild wood
And view the haunts of Nature. The calm shade
Shall bring a kindred calm, and the sweet breeze

That makes the green leaves dance, shall waft a balm
To thy sick heart. Thou wilt find nothing here
Of all that pain'd thee in the haunts of men,
And made thee loathe thy life. The primal curse
Fell, it is true, upon the unsinning earth,
But not in vengeance. Misery is wed
To guilt.
And hence these shades are still the abodes
of undissembled gladness; the thick roof
Of green and stirring branches, is alive
And musical with birds, that sing and sport
In wantonness of spirit; while, below,

The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect,
Chirps merrily. Throngs of insects in the glade
Try their thin wings, and dance in the warm beam
That waked them into life. Even the
green trees
Partake the deep contentment; as they bend
To the soft winds, the sun from the blue sky
Looks in, and sheds a blessing on the scene.
Scarce less the cleft-born wild-flower seems to enjoy
Existence, than the winged plunderer

That sucks its sweets. The massy rocks themselves,
The old and ponderous trunks of prostrate trees,
That lead from knoll to knoll, a causey rude,
Or bridge the sunken brook, and their dark roots
With all their earth upon them, twisting high,
Breathe fixed tranquillity. The rivulet
Sends forth glad sounds, and tripping o'er its bed
Of pebbly sands, or leaping down the rocks,
Seems with continuous laughter to rejoice
In its own being. Softly tread the marge,
Lest from her midway perch, thou scare the wren
That dips her bill in water. The cool wind,
That stirs the stream in play, shall come to thee,
Like one that loves thee, nor will let thee pass
Ungreeted, and shall give its light embrace.

LESSON XIX.

Feelings excited by a long voyage-visit to a new continent.-
W. IRVING.

To an American visiting Europe, the long voyage he has to make is an excellent preparative. From the moment

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »