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WHAT art thou, Beauty, but a baseless dream?
A glorious rainbow, spanning earth and sky,
A funeral dirge for pride that is no more!!
A DIM blue baziness o'erhangs the sea,
THE sun descends, his long and feeble ray
A plaintive cry the widow'd partridge sends.
As to the past regretful memory strays,
Struck with a change so mournful, would not start ;Dread lessons to us, who are few of days, November! thou art fitted to impart !!
Now when the shortening day its crimson eye
To wander lonely through the twilight fields,
On hill and vale, dim forest, and blue stream;
Are ye, and of his fast declining strength,
The leafless trees my fancy please, Their fate resembles mine."---BURNS.
THERE are a few fine days, which enerally occur about the end of Ocber or beginning of November, and mmediately before the setting in of inter, which, as far back as I can reollect, have possessed a peculiar, and ough melancholy, somewhat pleang influence, over my feelings. There an enfeebled but soothing mildness the light of day, nearly allied to the fect of moon-light. A kind of Sabath pause, interrupted only at interals by the call of the cow-herd, or the hud of the fowling-piece, prevails. 'he fields and inclosures are just clearof their harvest treasure, and the web of the gossamer extends in unbroen and floating pathway over stubble nd lea. Vegetation is every where assing rapidly into decay; and the rown-breast, and solitary chirp of the Robin," accord well with the wither1 fern and seared leaf,-with that mbre aspect of colouring, which tree nd forest every where put on. In the` ppropriate and picturesque language f Scripture The earth mourneth nd languisheth-Lebanon is ashamd, and withereth away-Sharon is ke a wilderness-and Bashan and armel shake off their fruits." There re a great many reflections, which not nly spontaneously, but as it were urently, offer themselves to one's conderation at this season, all closely ssociated with the appearance of exernal nature. A few of these which ceurred to me, or which, upon reflecon, I can now imagine actually did when I was a few days ago enaged in a solitary, and somewhat of protracted ramble, I shall endeaour to recal. It is in fact by such sint and occasional communings with ne's self, that the heart is quieted and ade better; and it is in the hope lat some of your readers may happen › be of the same opinion, that I have ius presumed on your attention.
It is now that the Labourer is about enjoy a temporary mitigation of le Season's toil. His little store of inter provision, having been hardly rned, and safely lodged, his counteance brightens, and his heart warms ith the anticipation of winter comforts. the day shortens, and the hours of
darkness increase, the domestic affections are awakened anew by a closer and more lengthened converse. The father is now once more in the midst of his family ;-the child is now once more on the knee of its parent;—and She, in whose happiness his heart is principally interested, is again permitted, by the blessed privileges of the season, to increase, and to participate his enjoyment.
It is now that the Husbandman is repaid for his former risk and anxiety, that having waited patiently for the former, and the latter rain," he builds up his sheaves, loads his waggons, steeks his stiles," and replenishes his barns,-that he is prepared, or at least authorized to exclaim, in the fulness of a grateful heart- Soul, take thy rest, for the work of the season is accomplished, and the year hath been crowned with the Great Creator's bounty."
It is now that the Moon begins again to renew her claims to the gratitude of the rustic Lover, as he tra vels fearlessly on through glen and over heath, up to the very window, and close to the very secret corner, where the fair object of his Travel is waiting to acknowledge the long-expected signal.
It is now that men of study and literary pursuit are admonished of the season best suited for the acquisition of knowledge. Learning is opening her gates, and night is fast advancing her claims to the renewed labours of the Student-to those evening hours of watching and reflection, and investigation, which will so amply repay the trouble. To those individuals whom a love of knowledge has redeemed from a world sunk in sensuality, and in the pursuit of gain, this season is heard to address herself in the words of sacred inspiration"If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding, if thou seekest her as for silver, and searchest for her as for hidden treasure, she shall undoubtedly promote theeyea, she shall bring thee to honour— she shall give to thine head an ornament of grace-a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”
It is now too, that the footsteps of contemplation are found amidst the ruins of the year, and that the soul surrenders herself most readily to the quietudes of a serious thoughtfulness that deep and interesting impressions are borne home upon the heart; and that "the man," almost in spite of himself, is compelled to assume the bearing, and entertain the sentiments of "the moralist;" for what season reminds us so directly as the present, of the "hoary head," and decayed energies of age?
We are craddled on the knee of ageour earliest recollections, and our most sincere and genuine affections, are associated with the tottering step and the wrinkled brow-with the venerated Individual, it may be, who took an interest in our infancy; and who, amidst the infirmities and languishment of declining years, found, it is probable, some degree of refreshment in our very ignorance and inexperience. It is exceedingly pleasing, Mr Christopher, to run up in meditation to the date of our very earliest impressionsto penetrate, as it were, that November darkness which is ever deepening over the first stage of our journey to live, as it were, anew, amidst the scenes and the incidents, and the companions of other years
"To mark each form that pleased our
And it is over these objects which have passed away-over the sainted images of those who have gone down to the dust, that the heart now hovers with an intense and even a solemn feeling! But old age is not only a subject of natural retrospection in regard to others; it is likewise one of serious anticipation in respect of ourselves. We look back on the period of our life that is past-on the measurement of thirty or forty years, by which the field of our recollection is bounded, and we are struck not only with the shortness, but with the ever increasing velocity of our years. How long to us in early life did a summer day of our varied amusements appear-what an infinity of pleasure, what a multitude of events, what a rapidity of transition from hope to possession, from aim to attainment, from purpose to performance!-but if a single day at this period appeared to be
endless, how inconceivably measureless in our then inexperienced reckoning. was the Year itself-that year made un of so many months-those month's broken down into so many weeks—and those weeks again composed of daysevery one of them so protracted in duration! But has not every year, as it passed, taken something from the apparent duration of its successor, as well as from the actual measurement of life? It is but a tale as it were of yesterday, our childhood, our boyhood, our youth; and however lengthened our future lives may be, that period which is yet to come, will one day appear to us comparatively shorter still. Thus are we every day descending into the vale of years-into the seared November of our being, with an every day increased velocity.
This season forcibly reminds us of the instability of those Forms under which vegetable, and, by analogy, animal life, appears to us. All we perceive of nature, indeed, correctly speaking, respects her forms alone-of her
essence," if any idea can at all be attached to the term, we know nothing. It is with "form," however, and not with "essence," that we are conversant and connected. It is of little value to the being whose form is about to be completely changed by dissolution, to be assured that the essence, or original elements of his frame, are imperishable. It is with a particu lar combination of substance, a forin designated "Man," that we are con versant, and it is respecting this com bination that our anxiety exists. And what is the demonstration of Novem ber upon this subject ?—It points expressly to the waste and the " around-to the surface of the earth so much changed in its aspect, and invested with a new and a death-like character; and it bids us discover into what secret recesses are retired those pleasing, and variegated, and multiplied "Forms," with which were so lately associated our hopes of plenty our sensations of beauty and benefi cence. And it carries us still onwards on the wings of faith, and on thost alone, to the "spring which shall visit the mouldering urn"-to that event ful period when dissolution shall give place to reunion, and the affections and, the sympathies of the heart shall re establish their claim over all that was once virtuous, and lovely, and intes
esting. Daily and most seriously do re experience the effects of dissoluon, we die in the death of those hose existence was our life-we die 1 our parents, in our brethren, in our hildren; and when at last the manate is put into our own hands, we ften find that death has not much › do." How miserable then were we, 'left to the suggestions of "Nature" lone-if Winter darkness were not ispelled by the advent and the glory a Divine Nativity.
But amidst all this change of Form is visible" Passing away," are there > traces of permanency to be found? there nothing that meets our eye, challenges our reflection, of which may be predicated that it remains e same in the midst of renewal and ecay-that it is uninfluenced by seam-that it is "the same yesterday, -day, and for ever?"-Yes; those ry laws by which the ever-recurring lange is regulated, are themselves unlangeable; what occurs at this sea n in the kingdoms of animal nature 15 occurred of old, and will assuredly ill continue to occur. Our Fathers, here are they? and whilst Indivials are continually perishing, the amortality of the species is carefully aintained. The seeds of many plants, id the eggs of many insects, are now aried, or about to be lodged in the rth; but the season of winter over, d the influence of light and of heat gain fully established, and we shall ehold, only without surprise, because xperience has made it familiar to us, e animal and vegetable kingdoms peopled the shell which encrusted id preserved the suspended energies life shall burst, and from the grave winter shall assuredly reascend every ibe, and species, and variety of anial and vegetable being. If we turn ar eyes to the very fields by which e are surrounded-if we lift our vi on to the hills and the mountains by hich these fields are bounded-these e now occupy, and with these our erception of existence and enjoyment re associated upon and amidst these e have spent, it may be, our infancy, r youth, and our more advanced
years; but these permanent Forms of nature are, in comparison with us, everlasting-they have not grown with our growth, nor shall they decline with our decay-they have occupied the same share of the regards of men many thousand years ago; and when we, and our associations and recollections, shall have been forgotten on the earth, these will still continue the objects of per ception and affection. Others, in all the buoyancy of childhood, in all the impetuosity of youth, in all the pride of life, and in all the solemnity of "November Breathings," shall occupy what we now possess, and claim a kind of temporary alliance and friendship with objects which have lent themselves to the accommodation of all ages and generations. The heavens display God's glory, and in nothing more visibly and impressively than in the unvarying per manency of their character. The stars which arrested the attention and directed the motions of the ancient Patriarch, in his desert migrations with his flocks and with his herds-the constellations which rose upon the adventurous bark of the Phoenician, as he boldly braved the uncertainty and turbulence of the Atlantic Ocean, and subjected the immutable features of heaven to his purpose and conve nience-the same clarissima mundi lumina" under which the Hesperian husbandman conducted his labours, under which he learnt
"Quid faciat lætas segetes, quo sidere
The same "twilight Hesperus," whose ascent taught the shepherd of Arcadia to pen his flocks, and secure his foldthe same "Seven Stars," and "Elwand," and " Plough," whose elevation in the eastern heaven marked the advance of the winter night, and regulated, without the help of clock or watch-work, the evening pastime or repose of our more immediate and unsophisticated Ancestors; these e ternal demonstrations of God remain still the same; declaring, from generation to generation, that, whilst subordinate objects are liable to alteration and change in form and composition,
Hesperus, or the Evening Star, is now in great beauty, on the edge of the souern horizon, a little after sun-set, and, along with Jupiter and Saturn, who are then dvancing high in the eastern heaven, presents a combination of planetary glory seldom be enjoyed.
there is behind the whole of this passing system an Essence and an Existence which is permanent and immutable;it is to this!-oh, it is to this! that we cling. As the shipwrecked Mariner, amidst the tossing of the breakers, adheres to the solid and immoveable rock, -as the adventurous boy, when every bending and brittle branch has given way under his feet, and beneath his grasp, embraces eagerly the firm and unshaken trunk,- -so closely, amidst the changes and the instabilities which a November state of being exhibits, do we adhere to-do we embrace, the "Rock of Ages,"—" the Tree of Life," which grows-not in the outskirts, as it were, for there all is death and danger,-but "in the midst," in the very "centre" of God's vast universal system. Our haven of eternity—our haven of everlasting repose, is, consequently, situated-not amidst the commotions, and littlenesses, and changes, and distractions of approximating forms, but far and away, into the unsearchable depths of that celestial distance, which ever, as it farther recedes, partakes more sublimely and invitingly of theglory and excellence of permanent being. Oh, to be there! where the "Omnia mutantur" of philosophy, and the "Passeth away" of revelation, are felt no more-where the affections, and the objects upon which they are fixed,—where the elm that supports, as well as the ivy which clusters around it, are equally immortal;-oh, to be bathed in that immutability, which pervades, and supports, and hallows all around-which leaves no part vulnerable by accident, or exposed to decay, but which, whilst it unites, and associates, and combines, forbids all risk or fear of future separation! And thanks be to "Him" whose message we have heard, and whose name we bear, and whose authority we reverence,- quod petimus hic est !"—" And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; and I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, "BEHOLD THE TABERNACLE of God
IS WITH MEN, AND THERE SHALL BE
NO MORE DEATH.
How comes it, then, Mr North, that whilst the works of man are visited and valued, on account of the associations of antiquity which they are calculated to awaken whilst we prowl, with prying curiosity and veneration, about the mouldering tomb or broken arch, and figure to ourselves the for
mer sons and daughters of men, so different, in many respects, from those with whom we are ourselves conver sant,-how comes it, that whilst we every day allow our imagination to be excited, and our hearts to be interested in such objects and associations, we so seldom cast an eye of veneration, or of corresponding interest, upon those great, ancient, and "immutable" works of God, within which we are entrenched,-and which from every eminence and valley, from the hea ven above, and the earth beneath, so loudly challenge our attention? What is the comparative antiquity of that Castle or Abbey-of that pillar or pyra mid, upon which the soul settles down in so deep a reverie of reflection and ve neration, when contrasted with that of the Plain itself upon which it is situ ated, or the rock where it is founded, or the mountains amidst the recesses of which it hath arisen and decayed? Is there any object of Art which can contend in antiquity with the Lumi naries of heaven-with that light which sprung embodied, and propelled into ceaseless motion, out of primeval darkness, and which carries the mind up even to a period incalculably anterior to the existence of Man himself? The Egyptians, and the Greeks and the Romans, built, or constructed, or framed this or that object of our soul's veneration, and we fall down and worship before these works which the skill and the strength of man have rendered so permanent. But what work of Man can come into compe tition with the durability of Nature? Can the form antedate the substance? Can the mole-hill, which shoots up, and subsides in a season-the gourd, which expands, and withers down in a day, claim, or gratify your antiquarian research, whilst the rocks upon which you tread, and ocean over which your eye is carelessly glanced, manifestly impressed with the charac ters of duration and immutability?
But if at any time the antiquated remains of art-the ruined edifice, and decaying tower, become objects of more than ordinary interest, it is sure ly at this season. A few weeks ago
and the naked and mouldering runs were concealed, and comparatively observed, amidst that profusion of bea tiful and variegated form which fell, and tree, and branch, and leaf exhibit ed. These forms have now disappeared