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Story of Rabbi AK iba.--HURWITZ'S HEBREW TALES.
COMPELLED, by violent persecution, to quit his native land Rabbi Akiba wandered over barren, wastes and dreary de. serts. His whole equipage consisted of a lamp, which he used to light at night, in order to study the law; a cock, which served him instead of a watch, to announce to him the rising dawn; and an ass, on which he rode.
The sun was gradually sinking behind the horizon, night was fast approaching, and the poor wanderer knew not where to shelter his head, or where to rest his weary limbs. Fatigued, and almost exhausted, he came at last near a village. He was glad to find it inhabited, thinking, where human beings dwelt, there dwelt, also, humanity and compassion.
But he was mistaken. He asked for a night's lodging. It was refused. Not one of the inhospitable inhabitants would accommodate him. He was, therefore, obliged to seek shelter in a neighbouring wood. “ It is hard, very hard," said he, "not to find a hospitable roof to protect me against the inclemency of the weather; but God is just, and whatever he does is for the best.'
He seated himself beneath a tree, lighted his lamp, and began to read the law. He had scarcely read a chapter, when a violent storm extinguished the light.
“ What!” exclaimed he, “must I not be permitted even to pursue my favorite study! But God is just, and whatever he does is for the best.”
He stretched himself on the earth, willing, if possible, to have a few hours' sleep. He had hardly closed his eyes, when a fierce wolf came and killed the cock.
« What new misfortune is this!" ejaculated the astonished Akiba. “My vigilant companion is gone! Who, then, will henceforth awaken me to the study of the law? But God is just; he knows what is good for us poor mortals."
Scarcely had he finished the sentence, when a terrible lion came and devoured the ass. “ What is to be done now ?" exclaimed the lonely wanderer. "My lamp and my cock are gone--my poor ass, too, is gone-all is gone! But, praised be the Lord, whatever he does is for the best.” He passed a sleepless night, and, early in the morning, went
to the village to see whether he could procure a horse, or any
other beast of burden, to enable him to pursue his journey. But what was his surprise, not to find a single individual alive!
It appears, that a band of robbers had entered the village during the night, killed its inhabitants, and plundered their houses. As soon as Akiba had sufficiently recovered from the amazement, into which this wonderful occurrence had thrown him, he lifted up his voice, and exclaimed, “Thou great God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, now I know, by experience, that poor mortal men are short-sighted and blind; often considering as evils, what was intended for their preservation! But thou, alone, art just, and kind, and merciful.
“Had not the hard-hearted people driven me, by their in hospitality, from the village, I should assuredly have shared their fate. Had not the wind extinguished my lamp, the robbers would have been drawn to the spot, and have murdered me.
I perceive, also, that it was thy mercy which deprived me of my companions, that they might not, by their noise, give notice to the banditti where I was. Praised, then, be thy name for ever and ever!"
THE post-boy drove with fierce career,
For threatening clouds the moon had drowned,
A moan, a lamentable sound.
As if the wind blew many ways
I heard the sound, and more and more :
And still I heard it, as before.
At length, I to the boy called out:
He stopped his horses at the word;
Nor ought else like it, could be heard
The boy then smacked his whip, and fast
The horses scampered through the rain ;. And soon I heard, upon the blast,
The voice, and bade* him halt again.
Said I, alighting on the ground,
“What can it be, this piteous moan ?" And there a little girl I found,
Sitting behind the chaisc alone.
“My cloak!" the word was last and first,
And loud and bitterly she wept, As if her very heart would burst;
And down from off the chaise she leapt. "What ails you, child ?” She sobbed, “Look here!"
I saw it in the wheel entangled, A weather-beaten rag as e'er
From any garden scare-crow dangled.
'Twas twisted betwixt"nave and spoke:
Her help she lent, and, with good heed, Together we released the cloak,
A wretched, wretched rag, indeed!
“ And whither are you going, child,
To-night, along these lonesome ways ?" *To Durham," answered she, half wild:
“Then come with me into the chaise."
She sat like one past all relief;
Sob after sob she forth did send In wretchedness, as if her grief
Could never, never, have an end.
“My child, in Durham do you dwell ?"
She checked herself in her distress, And said, “My name is Alice Fell:
I'm fatherless and motherless.
“And I to Durham, sir, belong."
And then, as if the thought would choke
* Pron, bado
The chaise drove on; our journey's end
Was nigh; and, sitting by my side, As if she'd lost her only friend,
She wept, nor would be pacified. Up to the tavern-door we post :
Of Alice and her grief I told; And I gave money to the host,
To buy a new cloak for the old.
“And let it be of duffil
gray, As warm a cloak as man can sell!" Proud creature was she, the next day,
The little orphan, Alice Fell.
To the Æolian Harp.
HARP of the Zephyr, whose least breath, o'er
Thy tender string moving, is felt by thee:Harp of the whirlwind, wiose fearfullest roar
Can arouse thee to nought but harmony
The leaf that curls upon youth's warm hand,
Hath not a more sensitive soul than thou; Yet the spirit that's in thee, unharmed, can withstand
The blast that shivers the stout oak bough.
When thankless flowers in silence bend,
Thou hailest the freshness of heaven with song; When forests the air with their howlings rend,
Thou soothest the storm as it raves along.
thine is the magic of Friendship's bower, That holiest temple of all below :Thou hast accents of bliss for the calmeet hour,
But a heavenlier note for the season of wo.
Harp of the breeze, whether gentle or strong,
Hark! hark!-even the swell of my own wild song
Hath awakened a mild, responsive strain.
It is not an echo: 'tis far too sweet
To be born of a lay so rude as mine: But, oh! when terror and softness meet,
How pure are the hues of the wreath they twine!
Thus the breath of my rapture hath swept thy chords
And filled them with music, alas ! not its own, Whose melody tells but how much my words,
Though admiring, have wronged that celestial tone
I hear it, I hear it,—now fitfully swelling,
Like a chorus of seraphim earthward hying; And now,-as in search of a loftier dwelling,
The voices away, one by one, are dying. Heaven's own harp! save angel fingers,
None should dare open thy mystic treasures. Farewell! for each note on mine ear still lingers,
And mine may not mingle with thy blest measures
Burial of Sir John Moore.*-C. WOLPE.
Not a drum was heard, nor a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried ; Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O'er the grave where our hero we buried.
We buried him darkly, at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Nor in sheet, nor in shroud, we bound him; But he lay, like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.
* Who fell in the battle of Corunda, in Spain, 1808.