Page images
PDF
EPUB

An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
And let her prophecy be soon fulfilled; —
Fate! drop the curtain ; I can lose no more.
Silence and Darkness ! solemn sisters ! twins
From ancient Night, who nurse the tender thought
To reason, and on reason build resolve, –
That column of true majesty in man!
Assist me; I will thank you in the grave;
The grave your kingdom; there this frame shall fall
A victim sacred to your dreary shrine.
But what are ye?

Thou who didst put to flight
Primeval Silence, when the morning stars,
Exulting, shouted o'er the rising ball —
O Thou, whose word from solid darkness struck
That spark, the sun, strike wisdom from my soul —
My soul, which flies to thee, her trust, her treasure,
As misers to their gold, while others rest.
Through this opaque of nature and of soul,
This double night, transmit one pitying ray,
To lighten and to cheer. O, lead my mind, —
A mind that fain would wander from its woe,-
Lead it through various scenes of life and death,
And from each scene the noblest truths inspire,
Nor less inspire my conduct than my song ;
Teach my best reason, reason; my best will
Teach rectitude ; and fix my firm resolve
Wisdom to wed, and pay her long arrear ;
Nor let the phial of thy vengeance, poured
On this devoted head, be poured in vain.

How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful is man!
How passing wonder He who made him such!
Who centred in our make such strange extremes,
From different natures marvellously mixed,

Connection exquisite of different worlds!
Distinguished link in being's endless chain!
Midway from nothing to the Deity!
A beam ethereal, sullied and absorbed !
Though sullied and dishonored, still divine !
Dim miniature of greatness absolute !
An heir of glory! a frail child of dust!
Helpless immortal! insect infinite !
A worm ! a god! I tremble at myself,
And in myself am lost. At home a stranger,
Thought wanders up and down, surprised, aghast,
And wondering at her own. How reason reels.
O, what a miracle to man is man !
Triumphantly distressed! what joy! what dread!
Alternately transported and alarmed !
What can preserve my life! or what destroy!
An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave :
Legions of angels can't confine me there.

'Tis past conjecture; all things rise in proof;
While o'er my limbs sleep's soft dominion spread,
What though my soul fantastic measures trod
O’er fairy fields; or mourned along the gloom
Of silent woods; or, down the craggy steep
Hurled headlong, swam with pain the mantled pool :
Or scaled the cliff; or danced on hollow winds,
With antic shapes, wild natives of the brain !
Her ceaseless flight, though devious, speaks her nature
Of subtiler essence than the trodden clod;
Active, aërial, towering, unconfined,
Unfettered with her gross companion's fall.
Even silent Night proclaims my soul immortal!

Why, then, their loss deplore that are not lost :
All, all on earth is shadow, all beyond
Is substance; the reverse is folly's creed;
How solid all, where change shall be no more

Yet man, fool man! here buries all his thoughts ,
Inters celestial hopes without one sigh.
And is it in the flight of threescore years
To push eternity from human thought,
And smother souls immortal in the dust?
A soul imınortal, spending all her fires,
Wasting her strength in strenuous idleness,
Thrown into tumult, raptured or alarmed,
At aught this scene can threaten or indulge,
Resembles ocean into tempest wrought,
To waft a feather, or to drown a fly.

YOUNG

61. Refuge in Divine Love.

Mrs. Malcolm. You look with affright on that drea.y dwelling, I perceive.

Edith. Yes; but Love might transform even that wretched hut into a bower of paradise.

Mrs. Malcolm. Do you believe there is such a thing as paradise on earth, Edith?

Edith. Once I did. - Mrs. Malcolm. And even in that wretched hut ? Edith. Ay, any where; even in that wretched hut.

Mrs. Malcolm. And you have discovered the fallacy of your expectations ?

Edith. Alas! yes. Mrs. Malcolm. You are not singular, my love. We all set out in life with the hope of creating for ourselves a paradise on earth; and all, sooner or later, live to mourn the vain, the unhallowed expectation.

Edith. Not all.

Mrs. Malcolm. All — all;— be assured it is so ordained , and those who have grasped at happiness have found it either a shadow or a shroud. So it has ever been, and so it will ever be.

Edith. Are you not happy ?

Mrs. Malcolm. Resigned, contented, grateful, — these, I hope, I am; but happy I am not, according to my ideas of felicity.

Edith. Yet you have every thing; while I Mrs. Malcolm. But every thing here below is imperfect, and, in its nature, fraught with anxiety and sorrow. And shall I own my weakness - my sinfulness? Even in the midst of the many blessings with which you see me surrounded, still, still my heart yearns for my long-lost boy; still a haunting mystery seems to me to hang over his fate; still a false, delusive voice whispers to me, at times, that perhaps he yet lives — lives a captive or a slave! Judge, then, whether I can be what you would call happy.

Edith. But he was not your all.

Mrs. Malcolm. Ah, Edith, is there any of us whose all centres in one frail, perishable creature' Has God given us affections, and feelings, and capacities of enjoyment, to be all lavished exclusively on one object -- and that object not himself?

Edith. It may be sinful; no doubt it is so; but — but I cannot help it.

Mrs. Malcolm No, dearest, you cannot help it; but God will help you. Only be assured he loves you with a love inconceivably beyond that which any creature has ever felt, or ever can feel, for you, and your heart will no longer remain closed against the consolations he offers you. Ah, Edith, it was when the doors were shut, that He who came to succor and to save, stood in the midst of his disciples; and it is when the heart is closed against all earthly consolation, that divine love still finds entrance.

Miss FERRIER.

Fraucht, laden, loaded, charged, filled, stored, full. – Delusive, apt to deceive, tending to mislead the mind: ive, 103. - Exclusively, without admission of others to participation, with the exclusion of all others. er, 28; ly, 110.

62. The Power of choosing within ourselves

Destiny denied.

CHEVALIER MONTENERO and Father Francis. Chevalier M. Well, it is in vain we struggle against Jestiny. For sixteen years I have been seeking those papers; but always, by some unfortunate accident, they have been thrown out of my reach. Destiny wills not that I shall have them, and I will give up the search.

Father F. And what is it you mean by Destiny, my dear bon ? Many people allow their energies to be benumbed, and even their religion, by a theory of fatalism, which has its foundation in a great mistake.

Chevalier M. It appears to me, my good father, that Fate grasps us, as it were, in a cleft stick, as I have seen many a boor catch a viper : there we may struggle as much as we like, but we are fixed down, and cannot escape.

Father F. Nay, nay; it is denying the goodness of God. Every one must feel within himself the power of choosing whatever way, or whatever conduct, he thinks fit. A man standing at a spot where two roads separate, — does he not always feel within himself the power to follow whichever he likes? And yet, perhaps, death lies on the one road, and good fortune on the other.

Chevalier M. But if he be destined to die that day, that day will he die ; and if you allow that God foresees which road the traveller will take, of course he must take it, and his free will is at an end.

Father F. Nay, my son, not so. What you call foresight is, in the Deity, what memory would be in man, if it were perfect. It is knowledge. Standing in the midst of eternity, all is present to the eye of God; and he knows what man will do, as well as what man has done; but that does not imply that man has not the liberty of choice ; for it is his own choice that conducts him to the results which God

« PreviousContinue »