Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

measles, he had contracted a squint with vellers, young as himself, who will retum one of them ; but this peculiarity rather to the house of his parents without him; rendered the expression of his countenance that, by a husband or a father, now in his wore remarkable, than in any degreee les- native country. His beart is buried in sened the effect of its uncommon sweetness. that grave. It is a quiet and sheltered

Present and future Fame.-Reynolds nook, covered in the winter with violets ; has told us, and from him, whose genius and the pyramid that overshadows it, gives was crowned with the most brilliant suc it a classical and singularly solemn air. cess during his life, from him it came with You feel an interest there, a sympathy you unexampled magnanimity, that “ those were not prepared for. You are yourself who court the applause of their own time, in a foreign land; and they are for the must reckon on the neglect of posterity.” most part your countrymen. They call On this I shall not insist as a general max- upon you in your mother tongue-in Eng. im; all depends on the character of the lish — in words unknown to a native, uime in which the artist lives, and on the known only to yourselves : and the tomb motive of his exertions. M. Agnolo, Raf of Cestius, that old majestic pile, has this faelo, Tiziano, and Vasari, Giuseppe d'Ar- also in common with them. It is itself a pino, and Luca Giordano, enjoyed equal stranger among strangers. It has stood celebrity during their own times. T'he there till the language spoken round about three first enjoy it now, the three last are it has changed; and the shepherd, born at forgotten or censured. What are we to the foot, can read its inscription no long. infer from this unequal verdict of posteri- er.-Rogers.

What, but what Cicero says, that The Gnat. The wings you will find time obliterates the conceits of opinion or ornamented with a fringe of feathers or fashion, and establishes the verdicts of na- scales, as are also the ribs of the wings. ture? The age of Julio and Leone de- The wings, when viewed as transparent manded genius for its own sake, and found objects, present a most interesting specit—the age of Cosmo, Ferdinand, and Ur- tacle; but when viewed under the opaque ban, demanded talent and despatch to flat- speculum, and placing a black ground beter their own vanity, and found them too; hind them, they present to the eye of the but Cosmo, Ferdinand, and Urban, are observer the most splendid colors, equal. sunk in the same oblivion, or involved in ing some of the most brilliant specimens the same censure, with their tools-Julio of minerals! The horns are also fine oband Leone continue to live with the per- jects, so also are the head, eyes, and legs; inanent powers which they had called in short there is no part of this insect but forth.-Fuseli.

is highly interesting in the examination ? The Bishop of St. Asaph.—A violent Every part of it is profusely ornamenied Welsh squire having taken offence at a with scales or feathers, varying in their poor curate, who employed his leisure hours characters from each other, according 10 in mending clocks and watches, applied to the part from whence they are taken. the bishop of St. Asaph, with a formal Each of these deserves minute inspection complaint against him, for impiously carry- under the microscope, in order to discoing on a trade, contrary to the statute. ver the beauties with which this insect is His lordship, having beard the complaint, adorned. told the squire he might depend upon the Genius.-Genius of every kind belongs strictest justice being done in the case. to some innate temperament; it does not Accordingly the mechanic divine was sent necessarily imply a particular bent, be. for a few days after, when the bishop asked cause that may possibly be the effect of him, “How'he dared to disgrace his diocese, circumstances; but without question, the by becoming the mender of clocks and peculiar quality is unborn, and particular watches?" The other, with all humility, to the individual. All hear and see much answered, “ To satisfy the wants of a wife alike; but there is an undefinable though and ten children." " That won't do with wide difference between the ear of the me," rejoined the prelate ; “I will inflict musician, or the eye of the painter, com. such a punishment upon you as shall make pared with the hearing and seeing organs yon leave ofl

' your pitiful trade, I promise of ordinary men; and it is in something you,”—and immediately calling in his like that difference in which genius consecretary, ordered him to make out a pre. sists. Genius is, however, an ingredient sentation for the astonished curate of a of mind more easily described by its effects handsome living.

than by its qualities. It is as the fragrance, Caius Cestius.—When I am inclined independent of the freshness and to be serious, I love to wander up and plexion of the rose ; as the light on the down before the tomb of Caius Cestius. cloud; as the bloom on the cheek of The Protestant burial-ground is there; and beauty, of which the possessor is unconinost of the little monuments are erected scious until the charm has been seen by to the young men of promise, cut off when its influence on others; it is the internal on their travels, full of enthusiasm, full of golden flame of the opal; a something enjoyment; brides, in the bloom of their which may be abstracted from the thing in beauty, on their first journey; or children which it appears, without changing the borne from home in search of health. quality of its substance, its form, or its This stone was placed by his fellow-tra- attinities.- Galt.

com

[blocks in formation]

over

Among the thousand and one sub- her towards the future, holds out jects upon which modern essayists the promise of an olive-branch.have chosen to descant, the New But what are the promises of Hope? Year is, perhaps, the most hack- are they not fairy vistas in the nied. Yet, however trite the theme clouds, which too often delude the has become, there exists in the eye with unreal prospects, and upon mind of man a secret sympathy nearer approach whelm the heart which usually induces him to pur- in disappointment. The Cretan Lasue them, when more elaborate es- byrinth was easier far to be explorsays on Fame, Fortune, or Ambi- ed, than the cloud-mantled pathtion, are passed unread. ways of the future, illumed only, as These, it is true, are suited alike to they are, by the glimmering reflecall seasons ;

nd as far as the sub- tions of the past. ! ject itself is concerned, may be ta But hark! the merry bells recall

ken up to-day, to-morrow, or in- imagination home again ! and he deed, not at all : but there is a who can listen to their peal of concharm about the New Year which gratulation unmoved, is possessed hallows the most common-place al- of feelings which few would envy. lusion to it, and gives to the remark Ring on, ye joyous revellers !—The an air of freshness, which perchance wisdom of the nineteenth century is may be sought in vain when the advancing rapidly to your overthrow, spell (and surely there is a spell !) and posterity will, mayhap, stand in which the momentary union of time need of variorum notes, to tell them with eternity throws around them, the meaning of is dissolved. Those oft-repeated axioms of morality, which at other How many a tale their music tells ! ”

“ Those evening bells,- those evening bells ! times are addressed but to the ear, now penetrate the most obdurate For my own part—heralds alike of heart, and for awhile, elevate us in merriment and mourning-I should. the scale of being. We listen at- be sorry to live without your music, tentively to the strange mysterious or to die without your knell. And voice of Meditation, and Fancy, I can wish nothing worse to those like an ark-imprisoned dove, glides tasteful vandals, who do all they noiselessly over the scenes which can to deprive you of your timewe have passed, and searches for a honored sanctuaries, than that they resting place in vain! The ground may never feel your happy New whereon she seeks for a moment to Year! alight, proves baseless or illusory, New Year! What then hath and she is forced to keep forever become of the old ?-Gone to eteron the wing! Hope, beckoning nity! the moralist exclaims. And

31 ATHENEUM, vol. 5, 3d series.

one

the moralist is right ! But who can walls and hedges in fantastic wildassure us of its ever having been ness, forming often the most perfect present? Where are the proofs ? curves, resembling the scrolls of The old year !-Hath it not passed Ionic capitals, and showing beneath away like a summer cloud ?-True, them romantic caves and canopies, but the shower which hath de- -Hollow lanes, pits, and bogs, scended therefrom has widely alter- now become traps for the unwary ed the aspect and appearance of traveller, the snow filling them up, our earth. The bud has expanded and the wind leveling all to into blossom—the gay blossom, like- deceitful plain. It is a dismal time wise, has “ fallen into the sere and for the traversers of the wide and yellow leaf ;” and the withered leaf open heaths, and one of toil and itself has been swept away by the danger to the shepherd in mounstream! In the breast of youth, tainous tracts. There the snows hope has given place to disappoint- fall in amazing quantities in the ment, and there is a wrinkle on the course of a few hours ; and, driven brow of age, like the traces of the by the powerful winds of those lofty shower, bearing witness that it has regions, soon fill up the dells and been !And ask you for further glens to a vast depth. proof?

The delights of the social hearth Now it is that the brain of man is on such evenings as these, when teeming with new projects, and bu- the wild winds are howling around sying itself in forming good resolves! uor dwellings, dashing the snow or Projects and resolutions are, howe- hail or splashing rain against our ver, easier formed than executed; windows, are a favorite theme with and therefore, of the thousands who poets and essayists, and truly it is start upon a fresh race, the majority an inspiring topic. All our ideas never attain the imaginary goal of comfort, of domestic affection, of Some, afflicted wit shortness of social and literary enjoyment, are breathing, are soon obliged to re- combined in the picture which they linquish the contest, and content- draw of the winter's fire-side. When edly take to their old paces; whilst Cowper exclaims, others, like the over-hasty Nisus, “Now stir the fire, and close the shutters stumble at the very threshhold of fast," success, when the prize is all but who does not feel his heart expand won !

at the thoughts of his own beThis is the month of abundant loved fireside circle, and follow the snows, and all the intensity of frost. poet with

with kindling sympathy Keen biting frost is in the ground; through his ensuing apostrophe to and in the air a bitter, scythe-edged, winter, and his picture of evening perforating wind from the north to enjoyment ? Such is a Winter the north-east, sweeps the descend- Fireside ! and we love to hear our ing snow along, whirling it from the writers speaking of its pleasures in open fields, and driving it against strains of enthusiasm. But we may whatever opposes its course. Peo- expand the picture. We may add, ple who are obliged to be passing to the zest of its personal and alto and fro muffle up their faces, and most too selfish enjoyments, touches bow their heads to the blast. There of generous and philanthropic senis no loitering, no street gossiping, timent, which will signally heighten no stopping to make recognition of its pleasures, and enlarge its power each other; they shuffle along, the of improving the heart. How demost winterly objects of the scene, lightful, whilst sitting in the midst bearing on their fronts the tokens of of our family or friendly group, in the storm. Against every house, the actual possession of all these rock, or bank, the snowdrift accu- pleasures, not only to contemplate mulates. It curls over the tops of our own happiness, but to send our

*

*

thoughts abroad over the whole ing our sympathies to the joys and land, and to think what thousands sorrows of our kind, and arousing of families are, at the same moment, us to a course of active benevothus blessedly collected round the lence. social flame! What hearths are lighted up with all the charms of Of all the cold months in the kindred affection, of mature wis- year, commend me to January ! dom, and parental pride ; of youth- It is the May of winter ! A season ful gladness, gaiety, and beauty! in which the ever-active mind culls Here rural halls and city-homes, its choicest flowers of recollection, like stars, are shining in their own while the heart is warmed with spheres, in unabated warmth and looks of happiness, and the hands splendor, though hidden beneath with the blazing fire! When gay the broad veil of wintry darkness; evergreens flourish upon shelves -the lover's evening visit,-song, and chimney-pieces, and by the the wild tale told to the listening brightness and variety of their cocircle,-or the unfolded stores of lors within doors, make up for the polite literature, making each a barren monotony of nature without ! little paradise. But we must turn May the time be yet far distant, our eyes from the bright side of the when this last link of the chain picture to the dark one ;-to the which unites the past with the prehuts where poor men lie,” where sent, shall be broken ! It hath the elegances and amenities of life now, I know, become a fashion to are not casting their glow, but a heap ridicule and scorn upon every frosty wind blows upon shivering thing connected with the Good old groups, who have little fire or Times. But however much the clothes to defend them from its bit- plain manners and customs of our terness : where no light laugh rings ancestors may be despised by the through the room ; no song is transcendant sapience of our own heard ; no romantic tale, or mirth- day, there is that about them, for ful conversation, circles among which modern improvements can smiling faces and happy hearts; never fully compensate—the Robut the father,

mance of life! Long, then, very "Ill satisfied keen nature's clamorous call, long, may it be, ere the few faint Stretch'd on his straw, himself lies down to

traces of antiquity which yet linger sleep, While through the rugged roof and chinky

around us at the commencement of

the New Year, are scouted hence Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap;" by the unfeeling hand of self-conwhere the mother sees not her rosy stituted wisdom! I pretend not to and laughing children snugly con- be wiser than my forefathers, and signed to their warm, soft beds, but would fain see the laurel, the holly, contemplates, with a heart dead- and the mistletoe, still adorn our ened by the miseries of to-day, and habitations, and the reeking wassail the fears of to-morrow, a sad, little bowl of proverbial hospitality in squalid crew around her, who, in- request, at least once in the year ! stead of pleasures and pastimes, May the joyous, because innocent, know only wants and evils which pleasure of the young (and who is not oppress both soul and body ; where young amid youth and festivity ?), perhaps illness has added its aggra- continue long to revive in our Yations to the pains and languors of breasts the glorious remembrance that poverty, which renders the in- of what we once were, and the faerie dulgences of a sick room the most and the goblin tale share alternate hopeless of all things. These are attention with the laughter-creating the speculations which tend to en- sports of forfeits and blindman's hance our fireside pleasures, and to buff

. make those pleasures fruitful, link Seasons of the olden time-Oh

wall

that the honey-drop of inspiration And stript the dread wizard of power. had fallen on my lips !* Then in

When spirits of ocean and air,

Triumphant carcer'd on the wings of the deed would I have caused your wind, glories to bloom forever in immor- Wide scattering destruction from Lapland to tal song, and enshrined your remi

Ind,

Rejoicing in mortal despair! niscences in the breasts of unborn generations! As it is, I must con

Oh for the laugh of innocent mirth! tent myself with merely breathing Oh for the joyous cheer!

The revel and glee of the boisterous hearth,
A SIGH FOR THE PAST.

That welcomed each happy New Year!
Oh for the faeries' mystic dance !

When free and unfetter'd, the mind Oh for the spells of youth !

Nor fear'd the future, por cared for the past, Ere science had torn the soft veil of romance

Content that the present few painless and From the frigid features of Truth.

fast, When earth was but Fancy's domain !

And left only sunshine behind. And mountain and meadow, and forest, and vale,

Oh for the feelings that then had birth!
Were peopled by wonders :- and legend and Oh for their hopes and fears!
tale

Ere sorrow had fix'd its abode on the earth,
Held captive the heart and the brain ! Unsealing the fountain of tears.--

When Hope, with her "pencil of lighi,” Oh for the seasons of wild delight !

Portray'd the dark future, unclouded and Oh for the shuddering hour !

gay, Ere reason had gladden'd the world with its And years of regret ’neath its hallowing ray, light,

Seem'd teeming with joy and delight!

ADVENTURE OF A LONDON TRAVELLER.

“ Take heed—have open eyes, for thieves do foot by night."-SHAKSPEARE. Although it may not occupy any siness with pleasure ; variety, air, very exalted rank in public estima- exercise, and health, with debts and tion, there are perhaps few modes day-books, samples, shipping, and of active life more cheerful and shopkeeping. If a man of this sort pleasurable than the occupation of be fond of natural scenery, who a commercial traveller.

I mean

can enjoy it in such diversity, and the personage strictly and literally with so leisurely a luxury? If he so termed, who, with a brace of delight in studying human nature, saddle-bags, or a couple of drome- who has more pregnant opportunidary-like bumps, traverses the ties? He passes not through the country on horseback from one ex- country like a stage-coachman, tremity to the other, exhibiting sam- conversant only with its external ples, procuring orders, and collect- features, but dives into the heart of ing debts for some substantial house its society in his daily negotiations in the city of London. Such has with its natives, and in his cosmobeen my occupation for many politan and comprehensive views is years, and I would not change situ- enabled, much better than the phiation with my employers, though I losopher in his closet, to compare, believe them to be as opulent and contrast, and relish the never-endas much respected as any firm up- ing diversities of individual and colon 'Change. We travellers are lective character, Collison and obthe only representatives of your servation make him, even in spite ancient knights-errant ;-the only of himself, a citizen of the world. trading amateurs who combine bu- His cockneyism, if he had any,

According to the ancient Druidic mythology, the bard received his inspiration from a drop of liquid, the produce of certain herbs and other mystic ingredients which were, for one twelvemonth and a day, boiled unceasingly in the cauldron of poctical endowment; and which drop, whoever was fortunate enough to swallow, became immediately possessed of poctio genius, and the secrets of the veiled future were revealed to his ken.

« НазадПродовжити »