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LESSON LII.

Passage of the Potomac and Shen'ăndõõh Rivers through the

Blue Ridge.-JEFFERSON.

The passage of the Potomac through the Blue Ridge, is, perhaps, one of the most stupendous scenes in nature. Tou stand on a very high point of land. On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles,

to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Potomac, in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder, and pass off to the sea.

The first glance of this scene hurries our senses into the opinion, that this earth has been created in time; that the mountains were formed first; that the rivers began to flow afterwards; that, in this place particularly, they have been dammed up by the Blue Ridge of mountain and have formed an ocean, which filled the whole valley; that, continuing to rise, they have, at length, broken over at this spot, and have torn the mountain down, from its summit to its base. The piles of rock on each hand, but particularly on the Shenandoah, the evident marks of their disrupture and avulsion from their beds, by the most powerful agents of nature, corroborate li himpression.

But the distant finisning, which nature has given to the picture, is of a very different character. It is a true contrast to the fore-ground. That is as placid and delightful, as this is wild and tremendous. For the mountain, being cloven asunder, presents to your eye, through the cleft, a small catch of smooth blue horizon, at an infinite distance in the plain country, inviting you, as it were, from the riot and tumult roaring around, to pass through the breach and participate of the calm below.

Here the eye ultimately composes itself; and that way, too, the road happens actually to lead. You cross the Potomac above the junction, pass along its side through the base of the mountain, for three miles ; its terrible precipices hanging in fragments over

you. This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic. Yet here, as in the neighbourhood of the Natural Bridge, are people, who have passed their lives within half a dozen miles, and have never been to survey these monuments of a war between rivers and nountains which must have shaken the earth itself to its centre.

LESSON LIII.

The Blind Boy.-BLOOMFIELD.

WHERE's the blind child, so admirably fair,
With guileless dimples, and with flaxen hair
That waves in every breeze ? He's often seen
Beside yon cottage wall

, or on the green,
With others, matched in spirit and in size,
Health on their cheeks, and rapture in their eyes
That full expanse of voice, to childhood dear,
Soul of their sports, is duly cherished here;
And, hark! that laugh is his, that jovial cry;
He heas the ball and trundling hoop brush by,
And runs the giddy course with all his might,-
A very child in every thing but sight.

With circumscribed, but not abated powers,
Play the great object of his infant hours,
In many a game he takes a noisy part,
And shows the native gladness of his heart.
But soon he hears, on pleasure intent,
The new suggestion and the qu.ck assent :
The grove invites, delight thrills every breast:
To leap the ditch, and seek the downy nest,
Away they start,-- leave balls and hoops behind,
And one companion leave, the boy is blind!

His fancy paints their distant paths so gay,
That childish fortitude awhile gives way:
He feels his dreadful loss : yet short the pain :
Soon he resumes his cheerfulness again.
Pondering how best his moments to employ,
He sings his little songs of nameless joy,
Creeps on the warm green turf for many an hour
And plucks, by chance, the white and yellow flower
Smoothing their stems, while resting on his knees,
He binds a nosegay which he never sees;
Along the homeward path then feels his way,
Lifting his brow against the shining day,
And, with a playful rapture round his eyes,
Presents a sighing parent with the prize.

LESSON LIV.

A Thought on Death.-Mrs. BARBAULD.*

When life as opening buds is sweet,
And golden hopes the spirit greet,
And youth prepares his joys to meet,

Alas! how hard it is to die !

When scarce is seized some valued prize,
And duties press, and tender ties
Forbid the soul from earth to rise,

How awful then it is to die !

When, one by one, those ties are torn,
And friend from friend is snatched forlorn,
And man is left alone to mourn,

Ah! then, how easy 'tis to die

When trembling limbs refuse their weight,
And films, slow-gathering, dim the sight,
And clouds obscure the mental light,

'Tis nature's precious boon to die!

When faith is strong, and conscience clear,
And words of peace the spirit cheer,
And visioned glories half appear,

'Tis joy, 'tis triumph, then to die !

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I saw an aged man upon his bier :

His hair was thin and white, and on his brow
A record of the cares of many a year ;-

Cares that were ended and forgotten now.
And there was sadness round, and faces bowed,
And women's tears fell fast, and children wailed aloud

* Written after she had passed her eightieth year.

Then rose another hoary man, and said,

In faltering accents, to that weeping train, “Why mourn ye that our aged friend is dead ?

are not sad to see the gathered grain, Nor when their mellow fruit the orchards cast, Nor when the yellow woods shake down the ripened mast.

Ye

“Ye sigh not when the sun, his course fulfilled,

His glorious course, rejoicing earth and sky,— In the soft evening, when the winds are stilled,

Sinks where the islands of refreshment lie, And leaves the smile of his departure, spread O'er the warm-coloured heaven and ruddy mountain head.

Why weep ye then for him, who, having run

The bound of man's appointed years, at last,
Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labours done,

Serenely to his final rest has passed ?
While the soft memory of his virtues yet
Lingers, like twilight hues, when the bright sun is set.

s His youth was innocent; his riper age

Marked with some act of goodness every day;
And, watched by eyes that loved him, calm and sage

Faded his late-declining years away.
Cheerful he gave his being up, and went
To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent.
“That life was happy ; every day, he gave

Thanks for the fair existence that was his;
For a sick fancy made him not her slave,

To mock him with her phantom miseries.
No chronic* tortures racked his aged limb,
For luxury and sloth had nourished nonet for him.

“And I am glad that he has lived thus long;

And glad that he has gone to his reward ;
Nor deem that kindly nature did him wrong,

Softly to disengage the vital cord.
When his weak hand grew palsied, and his eye
Dark with the mists of age, it was his time to die.”

* A chronic disease is one of long duration.

+ Pron. nun.

LESSON LVI.

Sunday Evening.-BOWRING.

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How shall I praise thee, Lord of light?

How shall I all thy love declare?
The earth is veiled in shades of night;

But heaven is open to my prayer ;
That heaven, so bright with stars and suns ;

That glorious heaven, which knows no bound
Where the full tide of being runs,

And life and beauty glow around.
From thence,--thy seat of light divine,

Circled by thousand streams of bliss,
Which calmly flow and brightly shine,

Say, to a world so mean as this,
Canst thou direct thy pitying eye?

How shall my thoughts expression find,
All lost in thy immensity !

How shall I seek, thou infinite Mind,
Thy holy presence, God sublime !

Whose power and wisdom, love and grace,
Are greater than the round of time,

And wider than the bounds of space!

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sage

Gently the shades of night descend;

Thy temple, Lord, is calm and still ;
A thousand lamps of ether blend,

A thousand fires that temple fill,
To honour thee. . 'Tis bright and fair,

As if the very heavens, impressed
With thy pure image smiling there,

In all their loveliest robes were dressed.
Yet thou canst turn thy friendly eye

From that immeasurable throne;
Thou, smiling on humanity,

Dost clain earth's children for thy own,
And gently, kindly, lead them through

Life's varied scenes of joy and gloom,
Till evening's pale and pearly dew
Tips the green sod that decks their tomb.

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