Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

Never, I ween, did swimmer,

In such an evil case,
Struggle through such a raging flood

Safe to the landing place.
But his limbs were borne up bravely

By the brave heart within,
And our good father Tiber

Bare bravely up his chin.
"Curse on him !" quoth false Sextus;

“Will not the villain drown ?
But for this stay, ere close day

We should have sack'd the town !" “Heaven help him !" quoth Lars Porsena,

“And bring him safe to shore; For such a gallant feat of arms

Was never seen before.

And now he feels the bottom;

Now on dry earth he stands;
Now, round him throng the fathers

To press his gory hands;
And now with shouts and clapping,

And noise of weeping loud,
He enters through the river-gate,

Borne by the joyous crowd.
When the goodman mends his armour,

And trims his helmet's plume;
When the goodwife's shuttle merrily

Goes flashing through the loom;
With weeping and with laughter

Still is the story told,
How well Horatius kept the bridge

In the brave days of old.

A WOMAN NEVER VEXT.-WILLIAM ROWLEY.

The Woman never Vext states her Case to a Divine.

WIDOW. DOCTOR.
Doc. You sent for me, gentlewoman?

Wid. Sir, I did, and to this end.
I have some scruples in my conscience;
Some doubtful problems which I cannot answer,
Nor reconcile; I'd have you make them plain.

Doc. This is my duty; pray speak your mind.

Wid. And as I speak, I must remember heaven That gave those blessings which I must relate;

Sir, you now behold a wondrous woman;
You only wonder at the epithet;
I can approve it good: guess at mine age.

Doc. At the half-way 'twixt thirty and forty.

Wid. 'Twas not much amiss; yet nearest to the last.
How think you then, is not this a Wonder,
That a woman lives full seven-and-thirty years,
Maid to a wife, and wife unto a widow,
Now widow'd, and mine own; yet all this while
From the extremest verge of my remembrance,
Even from my weaning hour unto this minute,
Did never taste what was calamity.
I know not yet what grief is, yet have sought
A hundred ways for his acquaintance : with me
Prosperity hath kept so close a watch,
That even those things that I have meant a cross,
Have that way turn'd a blessing. Is it not strange ?

Doc. Unparalleld; this gift is singular,
And to you alone belonging: you are the moon,
For there's but one, all women else are stars,
For there are none of like condition.
Full oft and many have I heard complain
Of discontents, thwarts, and adversities;
But a second to yourself I never knew,
To groan under the superflux of blessings,
To have ever been alien unto sorrow
No trip of fate ? sure it is wonderful.

Wid. Aye, Sir, 'tis wonderful, but is it well?
For it is now my chief affliction.
I have heard you say tliat the Child of Heaven
Shall suffer many tribulations;
Nay, kings and princes share them with their subjects:
Then I that know not any chastisement,
How may I know my part of childhood ?

Doc. 'Tis a good doubt; but make it not extreme.
'Tis some affliction that you are afflicted
For want of affliction: cherish that;
Yet wrest it not to misconstruction;
For all your blessings are free gifts from heaven,
Health, wealth and peace; nor can they turn into
Curses, but by abuse. Pray, let me question you:
You lost a husband, was it no grief to you?

Wid. It was, but very small; no sooner I
Hlad given it entertainment as a sorrow,
But straight it turn'd unto my treble joy :
A comfortable revelation promts me then,
That husband (whom in life I held so dear)
Had chang'd a frailty to unchanging joys:
Methought I saw him stellified in heaven,
And singing hallelujahs 'mongst a quire
Of white sainted souls: then again it spake,
And said, it was a sin for me to grieve

At his best good, that I esteemed best;
And thus this slender shadow of a grief
Vanish'd again.

Doc. All this was happy, nor
Can you wrest it from a heavenly blessing. Do not
Appoint the rod: leave still the stroke unto
The magistrate; the time is not past, but
You may feel enough.-

Wid. One taste more I had, although but little,
Yet I would aggravate to make the most on't;
'Twas thus: the other day it was my hap,
In crossing of the Thames,
To drop that wedlock ring from off my finger,
That once conjoined me and my dear husband;
It sunk; I prized it dear; the dearer, 'cause it kept
Still in mine eye the memory of my loss;
Yet I grieved the loss; and did joy withal,
That I had found a grief. And this is all
The sorrow I can boast of.

Doc. This small.

Wid. Nay, sure, I am of this opinion,
That had I suffer'd a draught to be made for it,
The bottom would have sent it up again;
I am so wondrously fortunate.

THE SENSE OF BEAUTY-CHANNING.

Beauty is an all-pervading presence. It unfolds in the num berless flowers of the spring. It waves in the branches of the trees and the green blades of grass. It haunts the depths of the earth and sea, and gleams out in the hues of the shell and the precious stone. And not only these minute objects, but the ocean, the mountains, the clouds, the heavens, the stars, the rising and setting sun, all overflow with beauty. The universe is its temple; and those men who are alive to it, cannot lift their eyes without feeling themselves encompassed with it on every side. Now, this beauty is so precious, the enjoyments it gives are so refined and pure, so congenial with our tenderest and noble feelings, and so akin to worship, that it is painful to think of the multitude of men as living in the midst of it, and living almost as blind to it as if, instead of this fair earth and glorious sky, they were tenants of a dungeon. An infinite joy is lost to the world by the want of culture of this spiritual endowment. Suppose that I were to visit a cottage, and to see

eyes, and to

its walls lined with the choicest pictures of Raphael, and every spare nook filled with statues of the most exquisite workmanship, and that I were to learn that neither man, woman, nor child ever cast an eye at these miracles of art, how should I feel their privation; how should I want to open their help them to comprehend and feel the loveliness and grandeur which in vain courted their notice! But every husbandman is living in sight of the works of a diviner Artist; and how much would his existence be elevated, could he see the glory which shines forth in their forms, hues, proportions, and moral expression! I have spoken only of the beauty of nature, but how much of this mysterious charm is found in the elegant arts, and especially in literature? The best books have most beauty. The greatest truths are wronged if not linked with beauty, and they win their way most surely and deeply into the soul when arrayed in this their natural and fit attire. Now, no man receives the true culture of a man, in whom the sensibility to the beautiful is not cherished; and I know of no condition in life from which it should be excluded. Of all luxuries this is the cheapest and most at hand; and it seems to me to be most important to those conditions, where coarse labor tends to give a grossness to the mind. From the diffusion of the sense of beauty in ancient Greece, and of the taste for music in modern Germany, we learn that the people at large may partake of refined gratifications, which have hitherto been thought to be necessarily restricted to a few.

TAE POET OF THE FUTURE. ALEXANDER SMITH

I have a strain of a departed bard;
One who was born too late into this world.
A mighty day was past, and he saw nought
But ebbing sunset and the rising stars—
Still o'er him rose those melancholy stars !
Unknown his childhood, save that he was born
'Mong woodland waters full of silver breaks;
That he grew up ʼmong primroses moon-pale
In the hearts of purple hills; that he o'er-ran
Green meadows golden in the level sun,
A bright-haired child; and that, when these he left
To dwell within a monstrous city's heart,
The trees were gazing up into the sky,

« PreviousContinue »