« PreviousContinue »
tance: I am not even invited to return : they complain that my eye is too bright, and my manners too lively; and they find Peace and Resignation more congenial associates. Yet there are times when I steal in unperceived, behind one or other of these handmaids, and enliven the party, though they do not suspect I am there.
“But the worst enemy these apartments have to dread, is an ugly, noisy fiend, called Discord; who occasionally crawls in through some breach, which Charity (whose business it is to keep the hangings in repair) has left unclosed. When this happens, I fly quite out of hearing ; and cannot be prevailed upon to return, unless that kindhearted girl comes, with an apology, to petition for my reappearance. As to Afliction, I am far from regarding her as an enemy: she is, in fact, but a faithful ally. You observed the vast numbers that flocked to the palace of Pleasure ; it is always thus that she succeeds in leading off a large majority. And although comparatively few ever make their escape from her halls, yet, for that few, I am almost entirely indebted to the address of Affliction. Of all the messengers I despatch with invitations to my abode, none are so successful as she. You would be surprised to hear how many of the inhabitants of this place have been first driven by her from the palace of Pleasure, and then led by Devotion to our quiet valley.”
The last suite of rooms I visited, was on the upper story; and they presented a very interesting and busy scene. A benignant personage, called Benevolence, presided here. The moment we ascended, I observed that a fresh glow overspread the face of Happiness, and her eyes beamed with more than their wonted effulgence. She met Benevolence. with a cordial salutation, though it was but a hasty one ; for he declared he had so much business on his hands, that he could not stay even to talk with Happiness. We followed him, however, through several different rooms, where there was much to gratify my curiosity. In one of these, I saw two or three solitary individuals, hard at
work in breaking the chains, and unloosing the fetters, from thousands of black men; and warding from their bleeding backs the strokes of the lash, which a whole band of gentleman-ruffians were attempting to inflict. In another room, there was a small circle of females, surrounded with a crowd of widows and orphans, to whom they distributed coats and garments. In one long apartment, I saw thousands of children, of all colors and countries, receiving instruction. And while some were engaged in their tuition, others were running to and fro along the gallery, and up and down the staircase, with piles of Bibles under their arms, which they distributed to every creature that passed. “Here,” said I, "I should presume no evil powers dare intrude.” At that, Benevolence shook his head : “In time,” said he, “we hope to expel them entirely; but I assure you, that, if I do but fall asleep for a few minutes, there are two officious beings, called Ostentation and Party-spirit, who have the impudence to wear my dress ; however," said he, wit must be confessed, that these impertinent fellows work very hard, and do a great deal of business for me, so that I should sometimes scarcely know how to get on without them; and, till I have more of my own family grown up, I am obliged to wink at their intrusion ; sometimes, indeed, I am quite ashamed to see how much more they can accomplish than I do myself.”
I had now visited all the great divisions of the building; and Happiness said it would be endless to conduct me through every secret passage, and into every retired closet, to which no one had access but herself. When she ceased to speak, I gazed at her and sighed: “Alas !” said I, 5 and is it so, that even your sanctuary is thus liable to invasion, and that those who come to reside under your protection, cannot insure your presence for an hour : whither then shall I go ?” Forbear these murmurings," said she, “and follow me." I did so; and she led me once more to the temple of Devotion. We found the priestess employed in trimming the flame on her altar, which, during
the light and bustle of day, was, she said, very apt 10 languish. Happiness told her my complaint, and she thus addressed me :
“Know you not, poor mortal,” she said, “ that although Happiness has been permitted to erect a temporary residence in this valley, it is not her hereditary estate, and that she reigns here only by a limited and precarious right? Her paternal mansion is in a higher region: there her reign will be absolute, and her presence perpetual ; and there the inhabitants of the valley will eventually accom
From the upper windows of this temple,” continued she, “the golden towers of that palace are occasionally visible: when the sky is clear, and the air serene, I can always distinguish them. Do but look steadily, for a time, and you also may perceive them.” I turned my tearful eyes towards the quarter where Devotion pointed; but a gross vapor, rising from the earth, prevented my discerning a single turret. Devotion, however, assured me that they were there, and I believed her.
Lines written while sailing in a Boat at Evening.
How richly glows the water's breast
Before us, tinged with evening hues,
The boat her silent course pursues !
A little moment past so smiling!
Such views the youthful bard allure ;
But, heedless of the following gloom,
Till peace go with him to the tomb.
And what if he must die in sorrow !
Though grief and pain may come to-morrow?
Obligations of Civil to Religious Liberty.-WORDSWORTH.
UNGRATEFUL country, if thou e'er forget
The sons who for thy civil rights have bled !
How, like a Roman, Sidney bowed his head, And Russell's milder blood the scaffold wet; But these had fallen for profitless regret,
Had not thy church her champions bred,
And claims from other worlds inspirited The star of liberty to rise. Nor yet
(Grave this within thy heart), if spiritual things Be lost, through apathy, or scorn, or fear,
Shalt thou thy humble franchises support,
What came from heaven, to heaven by nature clings;
Our life is turned
Hymn before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamouny.
Awake, my soul! Not only passive praise
Thou, first and chief, sole sovereign of the vale !