« PreviousContinue »
“God keep my child !" we heard her say, and heard
The happy Prospects of the Righteous.--ROBERT HALL.
If the mere conception of the reunion of good men, in a future state, infused a momentary rapture into the mind of Tully; if an airy speculation—for there is reason to fear it had little hold on his convictions—could inspire him with such delight, what may we be expected to feel, who are assured of such an event by the true sayings of God! How should we rejoice in the prospect, the certainty rather, of spending a blissful eternity with those whom we loved on earth, of seeing them emerge from the ruins of the tomb, and the deeper ruins of the fall, not only uninjured, but refined and perfected, “ with every tear wiped from their eyes," standing before the throne of God and the Lamb, in white robes, and palms in their hands, crying, with a loud voice, Salvation to God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever! What delight will it afford to renew the sweet counsel we have taken together, to recount the toils of the combat, and the labor of the way, and to approach, not the house, but the throne of God, in company, in order to join in the symphonies of heavenly voices, and lose ourselves amidst the splendors and fruitions of the beatific vision !
To that state all the pious on earth are tending; and if there is a law from whose operation none are exempt, which irresistibly conveys their bodies to darkness and to dust, there is another, not less certain or less powerful, which conducts their spirits to the abodes of bliss, to the bosom of their Father and their God. The wheels of nature are not made to roll backward; every , thing presses on towards eternity; from the birth of time
an impetuous current has set in, which bears all the sons of men towards that interminable ocean. Meanwhile heaven is attracting to itself whatever is congenial to its nature, is enriching itself by the spoils of earth, and collecting within its capacious bosom whatever is pure, permanent and divine, leaving nothing for the last fire to consume but the objects and the slaves of concupiscence; while every thing which grace has prepared and beautified shall be gathered and selected from the ruins of the world, to adorn that eternal city which hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God doth enlighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
Poetry of Wordsworth.-S. MAXWELL.
[Not before published.]
His style is characterized by a majestic and nervous simplicity of sentiment and expression. His object is to represent men and things as they really exist, and impress those principles which, as social and moral beings, constitute the dignity of our nature. In accomplishing this
object, he has gone more deeply and minutely into the philosophy of the heart than any poet of his class, and exhibited it with a warmth and purity of painting that have rarely been surpassed. Objects that are adapted to excite emotions of grandeur or sublimity, he represents by a few bold and decisive touches; those that are comparatively trivial, he describes with just that particularity and distinctness which give them interest. He does not perplex the reader with involved and unmeaning constructions. He has no abrupt and violent transitions; he passes naturally from object to object, and from scene to scene, shadowing the one into the other, like the regular succession of day and night. Or, if he carries
from one extreme to another, it is by that subtile and refined law of mind, by which feelings pass insensibly into their contraries. You travel towards the East, and, unconscious of the change, you find yourself in the opposite and fardistant West. If he is obscure, as he has been accused, it is only to those who take up a book to consume an hour of indolence and leisure, or who have not ability to discern the fine thought which lies beneath the luxuriant foliage of poetic diction.
In selecting, combining and contrasting, he has shown the highest poetical excellence. There is such a diversity, and such a general similarity in the phenomena of nature and of human life, that it requires no small degree of taste and judgment to select those parts which will individualize each object, and at the same time present it in the most pleasing and impressive attitude. merate all its qualities would, indeed, distinguish the object from all others; but this is the tedious and monotonous detail of the naturalist, rather than the vivid description of the poet : he, while he does not confound the diversity of nature, must give you particular images. In this, Wordsworth has succeeded to admiration : he catches the discriminating features, and presents them distinct and prominent: there is no important circum
stance omitted, nothing superfluous. In combining, he is not less happy. His groups of images so harmonize and blend their light and shade, that the imagination is sustained, while the impression is increasingly vivid and pleasing. Of his consummate skill in contrasting, nothing need be said to those who have attentively perused his Excursion. His thoughts never seem to be under the tyranny of measure. They are never cramped, extenuated, or loaded with expletives to make out a couplet. If the excellence of a poet is measured by his design and its execution, the works of Wordsworth merit the laurel of his most distinguished predecessors.
The Stream of Life.-HEBER.
LIFE bears us on like the stream of a mighty river. Our boat, at first, glides down the narrow channel, through the playful murmuring of the little brook and the winding of its grassy border. The trees shed their blossoms over our young heads, the flowers on the brink seem to offer themselves to our young hands; we are happy in hope, and we grasp eagerly at the beauties around us--but the stream hurries on, and still our hands are empty.
Our course in youth and manhood is along a wider and deeper flood, amid objects more striking and magnificent. We are animated by the moving picture of enjoyment and industry passing before us ;-we are excited by some short-lived disappointment. The stream bears us on, and our joys and our griefs are alike left behind us. be shipwrecked, but we cannot be delayed; whether rough or smooth, the river hastens towards its home, till the roar of the ocean is in our ears, and the tossing of its waves is beneath our feet, and the land lessens from our
eyes, and the floods are lifted up around us, and we take our leave of earth and its inhabitants, until of our further voyage there is no witness save the Infinite and Eternal.
To an absent Wife.-HEBER.
[The following lines, addressed to his wife, were written by the late Bishop
Heber during his absence from her, on his long and arduous visitation of the Upper Provinces in British India, not long before his death.]
If thou wert by my side, my love !
How fast would evening fail,
Listening to the nightingale !
If thou, my love! wert by my side,
My babies at my knee,
O'er Gunga's mimic sea!
I miss thee at the dawning gray,
When, on our deck reclined,
And woo the cooler wind.
I miss thee when by Gunga's stream
My twilight steps I guide,
I miss thee from my side.
I spread my books, my pencil try,
The lingering noon to cheer,
Thy meek, attentive ear.