Зображення сторінки

some argument, touching their youthful days. The houses of the ancient city of Lincoln are divided, (as most of my readers know,) between the dwellers on the hill and in the valley. This marked distinction formed an obvious division between the boys who lived above, (however brought together in a common school,) and the boys whose paternal residence was on the plain; a sufficient cause of hostility in the code of these young Grotiuses. My father had been a leading mountaineer; and would still maintain the general superiority, in skill and hardihood, of the Above Boys, (his own faction,) over the Below Boys, (so were they called,) of which party his contemporary had been a chieftain. Many and hot were the skirmishes on this topic—the only one upon which the old gentleman was ever brought out--and bad blood bred; even sometimes almost to the recommencement, (so I expected,) of actual hostilities. But my father, who scorned to insist upon advantages, generally contrived to turn the conversation upon some adroit by-commendation of the old Minster; in the general preference of which, before all other cathedrals in the island, the dweller on the hill, and the plain-born, could meet on a conciliating level and lay down their less important differences. Once only I saw the old gentleman really ruffled, and I remember with anguish the thought that came over me: “ Perhaps he will never come here again.” He had been pressed to take another plate of the viand, which I have already mentioned as the indispensable concomitant of

his visits. He had refused, with a resistance amounting to rigour-when my aunt, an old Lincolnian, but who had something of this, in common with my cousin Bridget, that she would sometimes press civility out of season--uttered the following memorable application " Do take another slice, Mr. Billet, for you do not get pudding every day.” The old gentleman said nothing at the time—but he took occasion in the course of the evening, when some argument had intervened between them, to utter with an emphasis which chilled the company, and which chills me now as I write it“Woman, you are superannuated.” John Billet did not survive long after the digesting of this affront; but he survived long enough to assure me that peace was actually restored; and, if I remember aright, another pudding was discreetly substituted in the place of that which had occasioned the offence. He died at the Mint, (Anno, 1781,) where he had long held, what he accounted, a comfortable independence; and with five pounds, fourteen shillings, and a penny, which were found in his escrutoire after his decease, left the world, blessing God that he had enough to bury him, and that he had never been obliged to any man for a sixpence. This was—a Poor Relation.



I CHANCED upon the prettiest, oddest, fantastical thing of a dream, the other night, that you shall hear of. I had been reading the “ Loves of the Angels,” and went to bed with my head full of speculations, suggested by that extraordinary legend. It had given birth to innumerable conjectures; and, I remember, the last waking thought, which I gave expression to on my pillow, was a sort of wonder, “what could come of it.”

I was suddenly transported, how or whither I could scarcely make out-but to some celestial region. It was not the real heavens neithernot the downright Bible heaven-but a kind of fairy-land heaven, about which a poor human fancy may have leave to sport and air itself, I will hope, without presumption.

Methought—what wild things dreams are! I was present—at what would you imagine?-at an angel's gossipping

Whence it came, or how it came, or who bid it come, or whether it came purely of its own

head, neither you nor I know-but there lay, sure enough, wrapt in its little cloudy swaddling bands—a Child Angel.

Sun-threads-filmy beams—ran through the celestial napery of what seemed its princely cradle. All the winged orders. hovered round, watching when the new-born should open its yet closed eyes: which, when it did, first one, and then the other—with a solicitude and apprehension, yet not such as, stained with fear, dims the expanding eyelids of mortal infants—but as if to explore its path in those its unhereditary palaces—what an inextinguishable titter that time spared not celestial visages! Nor wanted there to my seeming—0 the inexplicable simpleness of dreams!-bowls of that cheering nectar,

-Which mortals caudle call below Nor were wanting faces of female ministrants, -stricken in years, as it might seem-so dextrous were those heavenly attendants to counterfeit kindly similitudes of earth, to greet with terrestial child-rites the young Present, which earth had made to heaven.

Then were celestial harpings heard, not in full symphony as those by which the spheres are tutored; but as loudest instruments on earth speak oftentimes muffled; so to accommodate their sound the better to the weak ears of the imperfect-born. And with the noise of those subdued soundings, the Angelet sprang forth, fluttering its rudiments of pinions—but forthwith flagged and was recovered into the arms of those fullwinged angels. And a wonder it was to see how, as years went round in heaven-a year in dreams is as a day-continually its white shoulders put forth buds of wings, but, wanting the perfect angelic nutriment, anon was shorn of its aspiring, and fell fluttering—still caught by angel hands -for ever to put forth shoots, and to fall fluttering, because its birth was not of the unmixed vigour of heaven.

And a name was given to the Babe Angel, and it was to be called Ge-Urania, because its production was of earth and heaven.

And it could not taste of death, by reason of its adoption into immortal palaces; but it was to know weakness, and reliance, and the shadow of human imbecility; and it went with a lame gait; but in its goings it exceeded all mortal children in grace and swiftness. Then pity first sprang up in angelic bosoms; and yearnings, (like the human,) touched them at the sight of the immortal lame one.

And with pain did then first those Intuitive Essences, with pain and strife to their natures, (not grief,) put back their bright intelligences, and reduce their ethereal minds, schooling them to degrees and slower processes, so to adapt their lessons to the gradual illumination, (as must needs be,) of the half-earth-born; and what intuitive notices they could not repel, (by reason that their nature is to know all things at once,) the halfheavenly novice, by the better part of its nature,

« НазадПродовжити »