Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

For since these arms of mine had seren years' pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field;
And little of this great world can I speak
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle;
And therefore little shall I grace my cause,
In speaking of myself": Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnished tale deliver
Of my whole course of love; what drugs', what charms',
What conjuration, and what mighty magic',
(For such proceeding I am charged withal',)

I won his daughter with.
2. Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still questioned me the story of my

life,
From year to year'; the battles', sieges', fortunes",
That I have passed'.
I ran it through', even from my boyish days,
To the very moment that he bade me tell it.
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances',
of moving accidents, by flood and field";
Of hair-breath 'scapes in the imminent deadly breach';
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery'; of my redemption thence;

And with it, all my travel's history. 4.

These things to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house affairs would draw her thence';
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse': which I observing,
Took once a pliant hour, and found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart,
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,
Whereof by parcels she had something heard,

But not attentively. 5.

I did consent :
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke,
That my youth suffered. My story being done,
She give me for my pains a world of sighs:
She said',-In faith ;-'t was strange,'t

was passing strange; 'T was pitiful', 't was wondrous pitiful ; She wished she had not heard it; yet she wished,

That heaven had made her such' a man. 6.

She thanked me; And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her, I should but teach him how to tell my story, And that would wool her. On this hint, I spake': She loved' me for the dangers I had pass’d; And I loved her', that she did pity them. This only is the witchcraft I havo used. SHAKSPEARE.

a

LESSON LVII.S

FAITHLESS NELLY GRAY.

1. Ben BATTLE was a soldier bold

And used to war's alarms;
But a cannon-ball took off his legs,

So he laid down his arms.
2. Now, as they bore him off the field,

Said he, “Let others. shoot,
For here I leave my second leg

And the Forty-second foot.”
3. The army surgeons made him limbs';
Said he, " They're only pegs,

' But there's as wooden members quite

As represent my legs.
4. Now Ben, he loved a pretty maid',

Her name was Nelly Gray';
So he went to pay her his devoirs',

When he'd devoured his pay.
5. But when he called on Nelly Gray,

She made him quite a scoff,
And when she saw his wooden legs',

Began to take them off.
6. “O, Nelly Gray'! O, Nelly Gray'!

Is this your love so warm??
The love that loves a scarlet coat,

Should be more uniform.
7. Said she', “I loved a soldier once,

For he was blithe and brave';
But I will never have a man

With both legs in the grave'.
8. “Before you had these timber toes,

Your love I did allow',
But then, you know, you stand upon

Another footing' now."
9. “O, false and fickle Nelly Gray,

I know why you refuse:
Though I've no feet' - some other man

Is standing in my shoes.
10. “I wish I ne'er had seen your face ;

But, now, a long farewell!
For you will be my death'; — alas'

You will not be my Nell!”

a

11. Now when he went from Nelly Gray,

His heart so heavy got,
And life was such a burden growe,

It made him take a knut.
12. So, round his melancholy neck

A rope he did entwine',
And for the second time in life,

Enlisted in the Line.
13. One end he tied around a beam,

And then removed his pegs',
And, as his legs were off, of course,

He soon was off his legs.
14. And there he hung till he was dead

As any nail in town':
For though distress had cut him up,

It could not cut him down.

[blocks in formation]

In this lesson, notice the relative emphasis and antithetic inflections.

HOMER AND VIR GIL.

1. UPON the whole, as to the comparative merit of these two great princes of epic poetry, Homer and Virgil', the former must undoubtedly be admitted to be the greater genius'; the latter to be the more correct writer! Homer was an original' in his art, and discovers both the beauties' and the defects' which are to be expected in an original author, compared with those who succeed' him; more boldness, more nature and ease', more sublimity and force'; but greater irregularities and negligences' in composition.

2. Virgil has, all along, kept his eye upon Homer'; in many places, he has not so much imitated', as he has literally translated him. The description of the storm', for instance, in the first Æneid, and Eneas's speech' upon that occasion, are translations from the fifth book of the Odyssey; not to mention almost all the similes' of Virgil, which are no other than copies of those of Homer. The pre-eminence in invention' therefore, must, beyond doubt, be ascribed to Homer. As to the pre-eminence in judgment, though many critics are disposed to give it to Virgil', yet, in my opinion, it hangs doubtful'. In Homer, we discern all the Greek vivacity'; in Virgil, all the Roman stateliness'. Homer's imagination is by much the most rich and copious'; Virgil's the most chaste and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

correct'. The strength of the former lies in his power of warming the fancy'; that of the latter, in his power of touching the heart'.

3. Homer's style is more simple and animated'; Virgil's more elegant and uniform'. The first has, on many occasions, a sublimity to which the latter never attains; but the latter', in return, never sinks below a certain degree of epic dignity, which can not be so clearly pronounced of the former. Not, however, to detract from the admiration due to both these great poets, most of Homer's defects may reasonably be imputed, not to his genius', but to the manners of the age' in which he lived; and for the feeble passages of the Æneid, this' excuse ought to be admitted, that it was left an unfinished' work.

BLAIB.

LESSON LIX.

INFLUENCE OF NATURAL SCENERY.

[ocr errors]

1. WHATEVER leads the mind habitually to the Author of the universe': whatever mingles the voice of nature with the inspiration of the Gospel'; whatever teaches us to see in all the changes of the world, the varied goodness of Him, in whom “we live, and move, and have our being”,” brings, us nearer to the spirit of the Savior of mankind. But it is not only as encouraging a sincere devotion', that these reflections are favorable to Christianity'; there is something, moreover, peculiarly allied to its spirit in such observations of external nature.

2. When our Savior prepared himself for his temptation, his agony, and death, he retired to the wilderness of Judea, to inhale, we may venture to believe, a holier spirit amid its solitary scenes', and to approach to a nearer communion with his father, amid the sublimest of his works. It is with similar feelings, and to worship the same Father, that the Christian' is permitted to enter the temple of nature, and, by the spirit of his religion, there is a language infused into the objects which she presents, unknown to the worshiper of former times. To all, indeed, the same objects appear', the same sun shines', the same heavens are open'; but to the Christian alone it is permitted to know the Author' of these things; to see his spirit “move in the breeze, and blossom in the spring';”. and to read, in the changes which occur in the material world, the varied expression of eternal love. It is from the influence of Christianity, accordingly, that the key has been given to the signs of nature.

It was only when the spirit of God' moved on the face of the deep, that order and beauty were seen in the world.

3. It is, accordingly, peculiarly well worthy of observation, that the beauty of nature', as felt in modern times', seems to have been almost unknown to the writers of antiquity. They described, occasionally, the scenes in which they dwelt'; but,-if we except Virgil, whose gentle mind seems to have anticipated, in this instance, the influence of the Gospel', -never with any deep feeling of their beauty. Then', as now', the citadel of Athens looked upon the evening sun, and her temples flamed in his setting beam'; but what Athenian writer ever described the matchless glories of the scene? Then', as now, the silvery clouds of the Ægean sea

' rolled round her verdant isles, and sported in the azure vault of heaven'; but what Grecian poet has been inspired by the sight?

4. The Italian lakes spread their waves beneath a cloudless sky, and all that is lovely in nature was gathered around them'; yet even Eustace' tells us, that a few detached lines is all that is left in regard to them by the Roman poets. The Alps themselves',

The palaces of nature, whose vast walls
Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps,
And throned eternity in icy halls
Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls
The avalanche - the thunderbolt of snow,"-

[ocr errors]

even these', the most glorious objects which the eye of man can behold, were regarded by the ancients with sentiments only of dismay or horror'; as a barrier from hostile nations, or as the dwelling of barbarous tribes. The torch of religion had not then lightened the face of nature'; they knew not the language which she spoke', nor felt that holy spirit, which, to the Christian, gives the sublimity of these scenes.

[ocr errors]

5. There is something, therefore, in religious reflections on the objects or the changes of nature, wnich is peculiarly fitting in a Christian teacher. No man will impress them on his heart without becoming happier and better', without feeling warmer gratitude for the beneficence of nature, and deeper thankfulness for the means of knowing the Author of this beneficence which revelation has afforded. “Behold the lilies of the field'," says our Savior'; “they toil not', neither do they spin': yet, verily I say unto you, that even Solomon', in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.” In these words, we perceive the deep sense which he entertained of the beauty even of the minutest of the works of nature, If the admiration of external objects is not directly made the object of his precepts', it is not, on that account, the less allied to the spirit of religion'; it springs from the revelation which he has made', and grows with the spirit which he inculcates.

« НазадПродовжити »