« PreviousContinue »
the quiet bay, whose little waves, crisping and sparkling to the moon-beams, rolled successively along its surface, and dashed with a soft and murmuring ripple against the silvery beach. To the left the woods advanced far into the ocean, waving in the moonlight along ground of an undulating and varied form, and presenting those varieties of light and shade, and that interesting combination of glade and thicket, upon which the eye delights to rest, charmed with what it sees, yet curious to pierce still deeper into the intricacies of the woodland scenery. Above rolled the planets, each, by its own liquid orbit of light, distinguished from the inferior or more distant stars. So strangely can imagination deceive even those by whose volition it has been excited, that Man. nering, while gazing upon these brilliant bodies, was half inclined to believe in the influence ascribed to them by superstition over human events. But Mannering was
a youthful lover, and might perhaps be influenced by the feeling so exquisitely expressed by a modern poet:
« For fable is Love's world, his home, his birth-place: Delightedly dwells he 'mong fays and talismans, And spirits, and delightedly believes Divinities, being himself divine. The intelligible forms of ancient poets, The fair humanities of old religion, The power, the beauty, and the majesty, That had their haunts in dale, or piny mountains, Or forest, by slow stream, or pebbly spring, Or chasms and wat'ry depths; all these have vanish’d. They live no longer in the faith of reason ! But still the heart doth need a language, still Doth the old instinct bring back the old names. And to yon starry world they now are gone, Spirits or gods, that used to share this earth With man as with their friend, and to the lover Yonder they move, from yonder visible sky Shoot influence down ; and even at this day 'Tis Jupiter who brings whate'er is great, And Venus who brings every thing that's fair."
Such musings soon gave way to others.
“Alas !" he thought, “my good old tutor, who used to enter so deep into the controversy between Heydon and Chambers on the subject of astrology, he would have looked upon this scene with other eyes, , and would have seriously endeavoured to discover from the respective position of these luminaries their probable effects upon the destiny of the new-born infant, as if the courses or emanations of the stars superseded, or, at least, were co-ordinate with, Divine Providence. Well, rest be with him ! he instilled into me enough of knowledge for erecting a scheme of nativity, and therefore will I presently go about it.” So saying, and having noted the position of the principal planetary bodies, Guy Mannering returned to the house. The Laird met him in the parlour, and, acquainting him, with great glee, that he was the father of a healthy boy, seemed rather disposed to press further conviviality. He admitted, however, Mannering's
plea of weariness, and, conducting him to his sleeping apartment, left him to repose for the evening
Come and see! trust thine own eyes.
COLERIDGE, from SCHILLER.
The belief in astrology was almost universal in the middle of the seventeenth century; it began to waver and become doubtful towards the close of that period, and in the beginning of the eighteenth the art fell into general disrepute, and even under general ridicule. Yet it still had its partizans even in the seats of learning. Grave and studious men were loth to relinquish the calculations which had earl become the principal objects of their studies, and felt reluctant to descend from the predominating height to which a supposed insight into futurity, by the power of con