Зображення сторінки

became, of course, the established language of the Western Church. Succeeding ages brought down upon the Roman empire inroads of barbarians. These barbarians had nothing but unwritten jargons of their own. If they wished to read they were obliged to learn in Latin. The Christian Missionaries preached to them, indeed, in their own barbarous dialects; and explained the sacrifice of the Mass, as our Priests now do in English. Foolish, however, the Catholic Church would have been, if she had allowed every missionary to discard the ancient language of her liturgy, for the half-formed idiom of each of these numerous tribes ; tribes, who could not even have read the translation. Oh no; she was too fond of antiquity ; but, at the same time, she provided for the instruction of these tribes, by the preaching of her missionaries. Were the Mass to have been translated at every hand's turn, errors would have crept into it; the great variety of jargons would have rendered it impossible to prevent those errors, and every individual priest would thus have become the modeller, of what the church ought to be most careful in preserving pure and correct."

“ Nor," continues the Catholic,“ did the Church, in this respect, do any more, than what the very nature of the case caused society at large to do. For, down to the thirteenth century, education was confined to the Latin tongue. By degrees

the barbarous and unwritten dialects mixed with the Latin in the mouths of the people, and formed the Italian, French, Spanish and English languages. But this formation was in progress

for centuries, before it was completed. And was the Church to be shifting and changing the words of the most sacred act of her worship, exposing it thus not only to error, but to contempt, almost every year, and in almost every place? For the jargon of this year was often obsolete next year, and what was spoken in this village, was not spoken in that. When the modern languages, however, became grammatical, would the Church have been prudent in laying aside the Latin, which was now a dead, and consequently a fixed language, in order to adopt a different tongue in every different kingdom of the world? What do the people lose by this prudence of the Church? They have translations for their own Therefore they lose nothing.–But see, what both people and clergy gain by it. If an Irish layman goes to France, he can hear mass there as he does at home. The language and ceremonies are the same. If an Irish priest goes, he can officiate for a French congregation, quite as well as a French priest. Besides, this uniformity of language and ceremonies preserves uniformity of doctrine; and by obliging all the clergy to know Latin, keeps open that general channel of correspondence in one language, which is so well adapted to preserve, united to their head, and to each other, the various and distant nations, which compose the universal family of Christ.”


“So my dear Protestant friend,” concludes the Catholic,“ say no more of our clergy keeping the people in ignorance: for I will produce to you hundreds of Catholic tradesmen, who understand more of the Christian religion, and converse more rationally upon it, than any of your proud scripturists, your would-be evangelical preachers, or even your gowned and mitred divines.


Like seraph from celestial bower,
At midnight's dark and solemn hour,
To the lone cell of misery,
On wings of light, came Charity.
Her eye with soft compassion glow'd,
The sympathetic tear o'erflow'd,
While the melodious thrilling voice,
Bade the poor mourner's heart rejoice.
She bade the star of Hope arise,
Bright as the sun of summer skies,
Amid the dungeon's cheerless gloom,
Which gleam of day oould ne'er illume.
The sorrowing captive she set free,
And gave him light and liberty.
The orphan's smile, the widow's prayer,
Proclaim her ever guardian care ;
And tears of gratitude o'erflow
The pallid cheek o'erspread with woe.
Yes, Charity! thine angel smile,
The throbbing bosom can beguile;
And gently soothe or kindly bless
The heart which cares and griefs oppress.



I stood upon a smooth and shelving beach
And listened to the washing of small waves
That swell’d and rippled with the evening breeze,
I did not note each pebble as it sunk
And disappear'd beneath the wat'ry whelming,
But when I saw the fair and sparkling stone
Whose lustre gave the beach a starry brilliance
'That seem'd to emulate the zone above,
Reflecting from its face the light of heaven,
Whereon the tenants of the air could rest,
And wanderers of the beach had often crept
Enjoying there the sun's kind influence,
I mark'd it closely with a watchful eye,
Till I beheld it merg'd beneath the wave.
I felt a sadness stealing o'er my heart,
As I perus'd this page of nature's volume.
The image of the world was on that beach,
And as those little waves roll'd over it,
Each wave scarce heard or noticed, o'erwhelm'd
A thousand pebbles glistening in the sun.
So does the tide of time roll o'er mankind,
Thousands each moment whelming in the grave.
And when it meets the few who stand revered,
Whose talents, industry, and piety,
And many virtues have procur'd esteem,
Who stand as pillars of the sacred dome,
Where arts and sicence, and religion bending,
Command the world to give the tribute due,
It sweeps o'er them too with as rude a swell,
And buries them as deep beneath its wave.
But they pass not from the world unheeded;
The light of their example and good deeds
Reflecting on the earth a ray from heaven ;
When they depart, we feel a sun has set
Whose influence brighten'd human nature.
While I was musing thus, the note of joy
That I was wont to hear, was heard no more;
Beyond the wave, where white rob’d forms of pleasure
Had hitherto threaded the mazy green,
Dark, busy forms were gliding silently,
The princely mansion, whose open portal
Was wont to welcome every visitant,
Was shut, and curtain'd, and untenanted,
Save by a few sad inmates, who in grief
Were sitting silent round a curtain'd bed.

The breeze had died away, and vivid forms
Of varied foliage were imprinted

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

On the smooth, bright surface of the water;
Low thunders were murmuring in the west,
Seeming impatient at nature's holy-day;
I turn'd, and mounted on the faithful steed
Whose services have given me to partake
In many checquer'd scenes of joy and grief,
Of pleasure, and of misery and woe;
Have given me to see the tallest oak
Scath'd by the lightning, and the firmest rock
Riven asunder by winter's frost,
And orchards richest laden with ripe fruit
Prostrated soonest by autumnal gales,
And rivulets whose waters were most limpid,
Whose currents roll'd most swiftly, soonest failing;
And borne me through many other changes,
Fraught with instruction to th'observant mind.



Dies iræ, &c.-(A new Translation.)

The dreadful day, the day of ire,
Shall kindle up the avenging fire,

Around the expiring world :
And earth, as Sybils said of old,
And as the prophet-king foretold,

Shall be in ruin hurd,

How great the trembling and the fear,
When the tremendous judge is near!

When the great trumpet's blown;
And thundering to earth’s utmost bound,
Shall call the slumbering nations round,

To stand at God's high throne.

Nature and death shall see amazed,
Poor trembling man to judgment raised,

Leaving the dreary tomb ;
Then shall the awful book come forth,
Where stands the saint's recorded worth,

And guilty sinner's doom.

He shall be judge, whose piercing sight
Brings every hidden sin to light,

And leaves no thought concealed,
Where then shall be the sinner's place,
When scarcely shall the just find grace,

For all his works revealed ?

[blocks in formation]
« НазадПродовжити »