Page images

be attracted, and a wider perusal ensured to Mr. Sterling's 160

Lynch -. with us, has often punished the gamester and the rob. ber, whom it was impossible to convict by 'he usual legal process ; the evil in it is, that it cannot be depended upon, but, while with one hand it punishes a villain, administers with the other as sum. mary judgment on the philanthropist, according as the moral sen timent or prejudice may be roused in the popular breast.

We have spoken disparagingly of the capacities of the drama for representing what is peculiar in our own day, but, for such a work as this, presenting a great crisis with so much clearness, force, and varied beauty, we can only be grateful, and ask for more acquaintance with the same mind, whether through the drama or in any other mode.

Copious extracts have been given, in the belief that thus, better than by any interpretation or praise of ours, attention would

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

with a

works. In bis mind there is a combination of reverence for the Ideal,

Patient appreciation of its slow workings in the actual world, that is rare in our time. He looks religiously, he speaks philosophically, nor these alone, but with that other faculty which be himself so well describes.

You bear a brain Discursive, open, generally wise, But missing ever that excepted point That gives each thing and hour a special onenes. The littlo key-hole of the infrangiblo door, The instant on which hangs eternity, And not in the dim past and empty futuro, Waste fields for abstract notions.

To Aglauron enter Laurie. A kindly greeting having been interchanged,

Laurie. It is a late hour, I confess, for a visit, but coming home I happened to see the light from your window, and the remembrance of our pleasant evenings here in other days came so strongly over me, that I could not help trying the door.

Aglauron. I do not now see you here so often, that I could afford to reject your visits at any hour.

L. (Seating himself, looks round for a moment with an ex. pression of some sadness.) All here looks the same, your fire burns bright, the moonlight I see you like to have come in as formerly, and we, we are not changed, Aglauron?

A. I am not.
L. Not towards me ?

A. You have elected other associates, as better pleasing or more useful to you than I. Our intercourse no longer ministers to my thoughts, to my hopes. To think of you with that habitval affection, with that lively interest I once did, would be as if the mutilated soldier should fix his eyes constantly on the empty 14*


Such is the demonology of the man of the world. It may rule in accordance with the law of right, but where it does not, the strongest man may lose the battle, and so it was with Strafford.

[ocr errors]

sleeve of his coat. My right hand being taken from me, I use

my left.

A. Yes, to await a new spring! But this conversation is profitless. Words can neither conceal nor make up for the want of flowing love. I do not blame you, Lauric, but I cannot af. ford to love you as I have done any more, nor would it avail either of us, if I could. Seek elsewhere what you can no longer duly prize from me. Let us not seek to raise the dead from their tombs, but cherish rather the innocent children of today.

L. But I cannot be happy unless there is a perfectly good understanding between us.

A. That, indeed, we ought to have. I feel the power of understanding your course, whether it bend my way or not. I need not communication from you, or personal relation to do that,

L. You speak coldly, Aglauron; you cannot doubt that my friendship for you is the same as ever.

A. You should not reproach me for speaking coldly. You have driven me to subdue my feelings by reason, and the tone of reason seems cold because it is calm.

You say your friendship is the same. Your thoughts of your friend are the same, your feelings towards him are not. Your feelings slow now in other channels.

L. Am I to blame for that ?

A. Surely not. No one is to blame; if either were so, it would be I, for not possessing more varied powers to satisfy the variations and expansions of your nature.

L. But have I not seemed heartless to you at times ?

A. In the moment, perhaps, but quiet thought always showed me the difference between heartlessness and the want of a deep heart.

Nor do I think this will eventually be denied you. You are generous, you love truth. Time will make you less restless, because less bent upon yourself, will give depth and steadfastness to that glowing heart. Tenderness will then come of itself. You will take upon you the bonds of friendship less easily and knit them firmer.

L. And you will then receive me?
A. I or some other ; it matters not.
L. Ah! you have becomie indifferent to me.

A. What would you have? That gentle trust, which seems to itself immortal, cannot be given twice. What is sweet and nower-like in the mind is very timid, and can only be tempted out by the wooing breeze and infinite promise of spring. Those flowers, once touched by a cold wind, will not revive again. L. But their

germs lie in the earth.

“ Have I the human kernel first examined,

Then I know, too, the future will and action." I have known you too deeply to misjudge you, in the long run.

, L. Yet you have been tempted to think me heartless.

A. For the moment only; have I not said it? Thought al. ways convinced me that I could not have been so shallow as to barter heart for anything but heart. I only, by the bold play natural to me, led you to slake too high for your present income. I do not demand the forfeit on the friendly game. Do you un. derstand me ?

L. No, I do not understand being both friendly and cold.

A. Thou wilt, when thou shalt have lent as well as bor. rowed.

I can bring forward on this subject gospel independent of our own experience. The poets, as usual, have thought out the subject for their age. And it is an age where the complex and subtle workings of its spirit make it not easy for the immortal band, the sacred band of equal friends, to be formed into phalanx, or march with equal step in any form.

Soon after I had begun to read some lines of our horoscope, I found this poem in Wordsworth, which seemed to link into mean. ing many sounds that were vibrating round me.

[ocr errors]

There is a change, and I am poor;
Your Love hath been, nor long ago,

A Fountain at my fond Heart's door,
Whose only business was to flow;

And flow it did; not taking heed
of its own bounty, or my need.

What happy moments did I count,
Blest was I then all bliss above;

Now, for this consccrated Fount
of murmuring, sparkling, living love,

What have I ? shall I dare to tell ?
A comfortless and hidden WELL.

A Well of love, it may be deep,
I trust it is, and never dry;

What matter ? if the Waters sleep
In silence and obscurity,

Such change, and at the very door

of my fond heart, hath made me poor. This, at the time, seemed unanswerable ; yet, afterwards I found among the writings of Coleridge what may serve as a suf. ficiont answer.

Unchanged within to see all changed without
Is a blank lot and hard to bcar, no doubt.

Yet why at other's wanings shouldst thou fret ?
Then only might'st thou feel a just regret,

Hadst thou withheld thy love, or hid thy light
In selfish forethought of neglect and slight,

O wiselier, then, from feeble yearnings freed,
While, and on whom, thou mayst, shine onl nor head

Whether the object by reflected light
Return why radianco or absorb it quito;

And though thou notest from thy safe recess
Old Friends burn dim, like lampe in noisomo air,

Love them for what they arc; nor luvo tbem less,

Becuuse to thee they aro not what they were. L. Do you expect to be able permanently to abide by such Bolace ?

A. I do not expect so Olympian a calmness, that at first, when the chain of intercourse is broken, when confidence is dis. mayed, and thought driven back upon its suurce, I shall not feel a transient pang, even a shame, as when

“The sacred secret hath flown out of us,

And the heart been broken open by deep caro." The wave receding, leaves the strand for the moment forlorn, and weed-best rown.

L. And is there no help for this? Is there not a pride, a prudence, identical with seif-respect, that could preserve us from such mistakes ?

A. If you can show me one that is not selfish forethought of neglect or slight, I would wear it and recommend it as the de. sired amulet. As yet, I know no prido, no prudence except love of truth.

Would a prudence be desirable that should have hindered our intimacy?

L. Ah, no! it was happy, it was rich.

A. Very well then, let us drink the bitter with as good a grace as the sweet, and for to-night talk no more of ourselves.

L. To talk then of those other, better solves, the poets. I can well understand that Coleridge should have drunk so deeply as he did of this bitter-sweet. His nature was ardent, intense, variable in its workings, one of tides, crises, fermentations. He was the fint from which the spark must be struck by violent col. lision. His life was a mass in the midst of which fire glowed, but needed time to transfuse it, as his heavenly eyes glowed

« PreviousContinue »