Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Ah! who could deem that foot of Indian crew
Was near ?-yet there, with lust of murderous deeds,
Gleamed like a basilisk, from woods in view,
The ambushed foeman's eye—his volley speeds,
And Albert-Albert-falls! the dear old father bleeds !
And tranced in giddy horror Gertrude swooned ;
Yet, while she clasps him lifeless to her zone,
Say, burst they, borrowed from her father's wound,
These drops? --Oh God! the life-blood is her own ;
And faltering, on her Waldegrave's bosom thrown-
“ Weep not, O Love !”—she cries, “ to see me bleed
Thee, Gertrude's sad survivor, thee alone-
Heaven's

peace commiserate ; for scarce I heed
These wounds ;-yet thee to leave is death, is death inde ed.
Clasp me a little longer, on the brink
Of fate! while I can feel thy dear caress ;
And, when this heart hath ceased to beat-oh! think,
And let it mitigate thy woe's excess,
That thou hast been to me all tenderness,
And friend to more than human friendship just.
Oh! by that retrospect of happiness,
And by the hopes of an immortal trust,
God shall assuage thy pangs—when I am laid in dust!
“Go, Henry, go not back, when I depart;
The scene thy bursting tears too deep will move,

dear father took thee to his heart,
And Gertrude thought it ecstacy to rove
With thee, as with an angel, through the grove
Of peace,-imagining her lot was cast
In Heaven ; for ours was not like earthly love,
And must this parting be our very last ?
No! I shall love thee still, when death itself is past.-

Where my

while Gertrude of Wyoming, together with Albert, her father, and Wal. degrave, her husband, are looking from the battlements on the havoc and desolation which had marked the progress of the barbarous enemy, an Indian marksman fires a mortal shot from his ambush at Albert ; and as Gertrude clasps him in agony to her heart, another sbot lays her bleeding by his side. She then takes farewell of her husband in a speech which our greatest modern critic, Francis Jeffrey, Esq., now Lord Jeffrey, one of the Judges of the Court of Session, has described as “ more sweetly pathetic than any thing ever written in rhyme."

“ Half could I bear, methinks, to leave this earth,-
And thee, more loved than aught beneath the sun,
If I had lived to smile but on the birth
Of one dear pledge :--but shall there then be none,
In future times—no gentle little one,
To clasp thy neck, and look resembling me ?
Yet seems it, even while life's last pulses run,
A sweetness in the cup of death to be,
Lord of my bosom's love! to die beholding thee !"
Hushed were his Gertrude's lips ! but still their bland
And beautiful expression seemed to melt
With love that could not die! and still his hand
She presses to the heart no more that felt.
Ah, heart ! where once each fond affection dwelt,
And features yet that spoke a soul more fair.
Mute, gazing, agonizing as he knelt -
Of them that stood encircling his despair,
He heard some friendly words ;-but knew not what they were.*

CONTEMPLATION OF THE DIVINE BEING IN

HIS WORKS

FIELDING.T-" Tom Jones.What time can suffice for the contemplation and worship of that glorious, immortal, and eternal Being ; among the works of whose stupendous creation, not only this globe, but even those numberless luminaries, which we may here behold spangling all the sky, though they should be suns lighting different systems of worlds, may possibly appear but as a few atoms, opposed to the whole earth which we inhabit ? Can a man, who by divine meditations is admitted, as it were, into the conversation of this ineffable, incomprehensible Majesty, think days, or years, or aʻges, too long for the continuance of so ravishing an honour ? Shall the trifling amusements, the palling pleasures, the silly business of the world, roll away our hours too swiftly from us; and, shall the space of time seem sluggish, to a mind exercised in studies so high, so important, and so glorious ? As no time is sufficient, so no plaîce is improper for this great concern. On what object can we cast our eyes, which may not inspire us with ideas of his power, of his wisdom, and of his goodness ? It is not necessary that the rising sun should dart his fiery glories over the eastern horizon; nor that the boisterous winds should rush from their caverns and shake the lofty forest; nor that the opening clouds should pour their deluges on the plains ; it is not necessary, I say,

* The delightful author of the “ Pleasures of Hope” and “Gertrude of Wyoming” died at Boulogne, in France, in the summer of 1814, aged 67 years. The “mortal remains” of the beloved poet were brought from France, and interred, with much magnificence, in Westminster Abbey ; his pall was borne by noblemen, among whom were his countrymen, the Duke of Argyll, and Lords Campbell and Brougham.

+ Lord Byron has designated Fielding as the “ Prose Homer of human nature ;” and Dr. Beattie has declared, speaking of “Tom Jones," that, “ since the days of Homer, the world has not seen a more skil. fully conducted epic fable.”

While we humbly join in the expression and justness of these exalted opinions, and concur with our esteemed friend, Mr. Robert Chambers, in considering Fielding as “the prince of novelists,” and “Tom Jones" as “ unquestionably the first of English novels,” we would pass on to the matériel of which the great epic is composed, and venture to say, that the introductory chapters of this unrivalled novel contain such specimens of “the pure well of English undefiled” as few, if any, other volumes in our language can produce !-- Poor Fielding (whose life was too gay to be long) died at Lisbon in 1754, aged 47.

that
any

of these should proclaim his Majesty ; there is not an insect, not a ve getable of so low an order in the creation, as not to be honoured with bearing marks of the attributes of its great Creator; marks, not only of his power, but of his wisdom and goodness. Man alone, the king of this globe, and last and greatest work of the Supreme Being, below the sun-m`an alone, hath basely dishonoured his own nature; and by dishonesty, cruelty, ingratitude, and treachery, hath called his Maker's goodness in question, by puzzling us to account how a benevolent Being should form so foolish and so vile an animal. And yet this is the being who stands pre-eminently the debtor of his great Creator.True it is that Philosophy makes us wiser, but Christianity makes us better men ; Philosophy elevates and steels the mind, Christianity softens and sweetens it. The former makes us the objects of human admiration, the latter of divine love. That insures us a temporal, this an eternal happiness !

APTNESS TO GIVE A CHARACTER OF CONTINUANCE

TO PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES :-MAN DIVIDED INTO TWO CLASSES, THE ONE FITTED FOR PRIVATE, THE OTHER FOR PUBLIC STATION,

Ely Bates." Rural Philosophy." To a thoughtless young man, even the short period of the present life seems a kind of immortality; he sees no bounas to his pursuits and his enjoyments; one object rises after another in a long succession, while old age and death are lost in the obscurity of a far distant horizon. Nay, so great is the illusion, that, after years of experience, the passing intervals of life are apt to swell into a large disproportion ; a short series of prosperous or adverse fortune, a transient season of peace or disquiet, will so fill the imagination, and engage the heart, as to appear without limit or termination : such is the strange power we find in ourselves, and such is our disposition to give to our present state, whatever it is, a character of continuance. To correct this turn of mind, we should learn to view our situation at a distance, and to consider it as involved in the general instability of the world, whose surprising changes and revolutions may afford us a feeling admonition, that there is no earthly joy which

may not be extinguished in a moment, and no earthly fortune that is not liable to a sudden subversion,

The bulk of mankind may be considered as made up of two great divisions, the one naturally qualified for a public, the other for a private station. Those of a robust frame, a cool disposition, and a plodding diligence, are fitted for the former; while persons of a delicate texture, a quick sensibility, and precipitate temper, are marked out for the latter. That hurry of business, which in the one case would only serve to collect the spirits and invigorate the faculties, would, in the other, produce nothing but debility and irritation. Hence, an enlightened virtue, which, in whatever relates to the present world, is in favour of mediocrity, and condemns alike a state of languid indolence, and of violent agitation, wiļl, if consulted, prescribe a life of business to those who, froni a phlegmatic constitution of body or mind, require a constant external impulse to keep them moderately employed; which, to others of a more prompt and susceptible temper, and who need rather the bri^dle than the spur, she will recommend more retired scenes and calmer occupations.

When a person of feeble health and irritable nerves is engaged in public life, it is often no less a misfortune to others than to himself. Unable to sustain the pressure of business, or to contend with the injustice which seldom fails to mingle itself with human transactions, his temper becomes soured, his purposes irresolute, he looks with suspicion on every thing around him, and perhaps is tempted at length to have recourse to those arts which he is apt to imagine are practised against himself. From such effects of a situation to which he is unequal, we are led either to condemn the indiscretion of his choice, or to lament the exigency of his circumstances. Nor ought our censure or regret to be less excited, when we see others stagnate in still life, whose firm and steady complexional character, if called forth on the public stage, would display itself in a virtuous and useful course of action.

EFFECTS OF CATILINE'S ELOQUENCE.

Rev. G. CROLY.-" Catiline."

"*

The people hung on every word he spoke,
As if he were no mortal ; but a god,
Sent down in the declining age of Rome,
To teach it ancient glory,

You should have seen him in the Campus Martius,

* The writer of this powerfully-written tragedy, the Rev. Geo. Croly, D.D., rector of St. Stephen's, Walbrook, London, is “a correct and eloquent poet,” and author of some distinguished prose works; among which may be mentioned “Salathiel,” a very superior romance, founded on the old legend of the Wandering Jew. Dr. Croly is a native of Ireland, and was elucated at Trinity College, Dublin.

In its proper place—at the Selections from “ The Fall of Jerusalem" -we regret to have omitted a notice of the Rev. Henry Hart Milman, Mr.

Milman is, like Dr. Croly, a correct and eloquent poet; he is author of Fazio, a beautiful and successful tragedy, acted at Drury Lane Theatre in 1817; and besides the Fall of Jerusalem and other dramatic poems, he has also contributed, like the author of Catiline, to the prose literature of our country in a very masterly history of the Jews. Mr. Milman, who is vicar of St. Mary, in the town of Reading, is a native of London; in 1815 he was made Fellow of Brazen-Nose College, Oxford ; and in 1821 he was appointed Professor of Poetry in that University.

« PreviousContinue »