Page images
PDF
EPUB

of their unsocial and excluding prejudices. But I always looked upon these as the jealousies of ignorance, which science and observation had the effect of doing away; and that the accomplished traveller, liberalized by frequent intercourse with the men of other countries, saw through the vanity of all these prejudices, and disowned them.

What the man of liberal philosophy is in sentiment, the missionary is in practice. He sees in every man a partaker of his own nature, and a brother of his own species. He contemplates the human mind in the generality of its great elements. He enters upon the wide field of benevolence, and disdains those geographical barriers, by which little men would shut out one half of the species from the kind offices of the other. His business is with man, and let his localities be what they may, it is enough for his large and noble heart that he is bone of the same bone.

To get at him, he will shun no danger, he will shrink from no privation, he will spare himself no fatigue, he will brave every element of heaven, he will hazard the extremities of every clime, he will cross seas, and work his persevering way through the briers and thickets of the wilderness. In perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by the heathen, in weariness and painfulness he seeks after him. The cast and the colour are nothing to the comprehensive eye of a missionary. His is the broad principle of good-will to the children of men. His doings are with the species; and, overlooking all the accidents of climate or of country, it is enough for him if the individual he is in quest of, be a man, a brother of the same nature, with a body which a few years will bring to the grave, and a spirit that returns to the God who gave it.

HAPPINESS. - Colton.

What is earthly happiness ? that phantom of which we hear so much, and see so little; whose promises are. constantly given and constantly broken, but as constantly believed; that cheats us with the sound instead of the substance, and with the blossom instead of the fruit. Like Juno, she is a goddess in pursuit, but a cloud in possession;

deified by those who cannot enjoy her, and despised by those who can. Anticipation is her herald; but Disappointment is her companion; the first addresses itself to our imagination, that would believe, but the latter to our experience that must.

Happiness, that grand mistress of the ceremonies in the dance of life, impels us through all its mazes and meanderings, but leads none of us by the same route. Aristippus pursued her in pleasure, Socrates in wisdom, and Epicurus in both: she received the attention of each, but bestowed her endearments on neither; although, like some other gallants, they all boasted of more favours than they had received. Warned by their failure, the stoic adopted a most paradoxical mode of preferring his suit: he thought, by slandering, to woo her; by shunning, to win her; and proudly presumed that, by fleeing her, she would turn and follow him.

She is deceitful as the calm that precedes the hurricane, smooth as the water on the verge of the cataract, and beautiful as the rainbow, that smiling daughter of the storm; but, like the image in the desert, she tantalizes us with a delusion that distance creates, and that contiguity destroys. Yet, when unsought, she is often found, and when unexpected, often obtained: while those who seek for her the most diligently, fail the most, because they seek her where she is not. Anthony sought her in love; Brutus in glory; Cæsar in dominion;-the first found disgrace, the second disgust, the last ingratitude, and each destruction.

To some she is more kind, but not less cruel: she hands them her cup, and they drink even to stupefaction, until they doubt whether they are men with Philip, or dream that they are gods with Alexander. On some she smiles, as on Napoleon, with an aspect more bewitching than an Italian sun; but it is only to make her frown the more terrible, and by one short caress, to embitter the pangs of separation. Yet is she, by universal homage and consent, a queen; and the passions are the vassal lords that crowd her court, await her mandate, and move at her control. But, like other mighty sovereigns, she is so surrounded by her envoys, her officers, and her ministers of state, that it is extremely difficult to be admitted to her presence-chamber, or to have any immediate communication with herself.

Ambition, Avarice, Love, Revenge, all these seek her, and her alone; alas! they are neither presented to her, nor will she come to them. She despatches, however, her en

voys unto them—mean and poor representatives of their queen. To Ambition, she sends power; to Avarice, wealth; to Love, jealousy; to Revenge, remorse ;-alas! what are these, but so many other names for vexation or disappointment. Neither is she to be won by flatteries or by bribes: she is to be gained by waging war against her eneinies, much sooner than by paying any particular court to herself. Those that conquer her adversaries, will find that they need not go to her, for she will come unto them.

None bid so high for her as kings; few are more willing, none more able to purchase her alliance at the fullest price. But she has no more respect for kings than for their subjects: she mocks them, indeed, with the empty show of a visit, by sending to their palaces all her equipage, her pomp, and her train; but she comes not herself. What detains her? She is travelling incognito to keep a private assignation with Contentment, and to partake of a tête-a-tête, and a dinner of herbs in a cottage. Hear, then, mighty queen! what sovereigns seldom hear, the words of soberness and truth. I neither despise thee too little, nor desire thee too much; for thou wieldest an earthly sceptre, and thy gifts cannot exceed thy dominion. Like other potentates, thou also art a creature of circumstances, and an ephemeris of time. Like other potentates, thou also, when stripped of thy auxiliaries, art no longer competent even to thine own subsistence; nay, thou canst not even stand by thyself. Unsupported by Content on the one hand, and by Health on the other, thou fallest, an unwieldy and bloated pageant, to the ground

GREECE. – Byron:

He who hath bent him o'er the dead,
Ere the first day of death is fled,
The first dark day of nothingness,
The last of danger and distress,
(Before Decay's effacing fingers
Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,)
And marked the mild angelic air,
The rapture of repose that 's there,

The fixed yet tender traits that streak The languor of the placid cheek, And—but for that sad shrouded eye, That fires not, wins not, weeps not, now, And but for that chill, changeless brow, Where cold Obstruction's apathy Appals the gazing mourner's heart, As if to him it could impart The doom he dreads, yet dwells upon; Yes, but for these and these alone, Some moments, ay, one treacherous hour, He still might doubt the tyrant's power; So fair, so calm, so softly sealed, The first, last look by death revealed! Such is the aspect of this shore; 'Tis Greece, but living Greece no more! So coldly sweet, so deadly fair, We start, for soul is wanting there. Hers, is the loveliness in death, That parts not quite with parting breath; But beauty with that fearful bloom, That hue which haunts it to the tomb; Expression's last receding ray, A gilded halo hovering round decay, The farewell beam of Feeling past away! Spark of that flame, perchance of heavenly birth, Which gleams, but warms no more its cherished earth!

LANDING OF THE PILGRIM FATHERS. Mrs. Hemans.

The breaking waves dashed high

On a stern and rock-bound coast; And the woods, against a stormy sky,

Their giant branches tossed;

And the heavy night hung dark,

The hills and waters o'er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Not as the flying come,

In silence, and in fear:-
They shook the depths of the desert's gloom

With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,

And the stars heard, and the sea; And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang

To the anthem of the free.

The ocean-eagle soared

From his nest, by the white wave's foam, And the rocking pines of the forest roared:

This was their welcome home.

There were men with hoary hair

Amidst that pilgrim band:
Why had they come to wither there,

Away from their childhood's land?

Their was woman's fearless eye,

Lit by her deep love's truth;
There was manhood's brow serenely high,

And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?

Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas? the spoils of war?---

They sought a faith's pure shrine.

Ay, call it holy ground, - .

The soil where first they trod! They have left unstained what there they found

Freedom to worship God!

« PreviousContinue »