Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

LESSON CXXXVIII.

The School-Boy.--THE AMULET.

THE SCHOOL-Boy had been rambling all the day,
A careless, thoughtless idler,-till the night
Came on, and warned him homeward :- then he left
The meadows, where the morning had been passed,
Chasing the butterfly, and took the road
Tõ'wărd the cottage where his mother dwelt.
He had her parting blessing, and she watched
Once more to breathe a welcome to her child,
Who sauntered lazily-ungrateful boy!
Till deeper darkness came o’er sky and earth;
And then he ran, till, almost breathless grown,
He passed within the wicket-gate, which led
Into the village church-yard :—then he paused,
And earnestly looked round; for o'er his head
The gloomy cypress waved, and at his feet
Lay the last bed of many a villager.

But on again he pressed with quickened step,
“Whistling aloud to keep his courage up.”
The bat came flapping by; the ancient church
Threw its deep shadows o'er the path he trod,
And the boy trembled like the aspen leaf;
For now he fancied that all shapeless forms
Came flitting by him, each with bony hand,
And motion as if threatening; while a weight
Unearthly pressed the satchel and the slate
He strove to keep within his grasp. The wind
Played with the feather that adorned his cap,
And seemed to whisper something horrible.
The clouds had gathered thickly round the moon;
But, now and then, her light shone gloriously
Upon the sculptured tombs and humble graves,
And, in a moment, all was dark again.

O'ercome with terror, the pale boy sank down,
And wildly gazed around him, till his eye
Fell on a stone, on which these warning words
Were carved :-

“TIME! thou art flying rapidly;

But whither art thou tiying ?”

“To the grave—which yours will be

I wait not for the dying.
In early youth you laughed at me,

And, laughing, passed life's morning;
But, in thine age, I laugh at thee

Too late to give thee warning."

“Death! thy shadowy form I see,

The steps of Time pursuing :
Like him thou comest rapidly :

What deed must thou be doing ?
“Mortal ! my message is for thee :

Thy chain to earth is rended :
I bear thee to eternity :

Prepare! thy course is ended !"

Attentively the fainting boy perused
The warning lines ; then grew more terrified;
For, from the grave, there seemed to rise a voice
Repeating them, and telling him of time
Misspent, of death approaching rapidly,
And of the dark eternity that followed.
His fears increased, till on the ground he lay
Almost bereft of feeling and of sense.
And there his mother found him :
From the damp church-yard sod she bore her child,
Frightened to feel his clammy hands, and hear
The sighs and sobs that from his bosom came.

'Twas strange, the influence which that fearful hour
Had o'er his future life; for, from that night,
He was a thoughtful, an industrious boy.
And still the memory of those warning words
Bids him REFLECT,--now that he is a man,
And writes these feeble lines that others may.

LESSON CXXXIX.

Stanzas-addressed to the Greeks.--ANONYMOUS.

On, on, to the just and glorious strife!

With your swords your freedom shielding : Nay, resign, if it must be 'so, even life;

But die at least, unyielding,

On to the strife! for 'twere far more meet

To sink with the foes who bay you,
Than crouch, like dogs, at your tyrants' feet,

And smile on the swords that slay you.

Shall the pagan slaves be masters, then,

Of the land which your fathers gave you ?
Shall the Infidel lord it o'er Christian men,

When your own good swords may save you?

No! let him feel that their arms are strong,

That their courage will fail them never,-
Who strike to repay long years

of

wrong, And bury past shame forever.

Let him know there are hearts, however bowed

By the chains which he threw around them,
That will rise, like a spirit from pall and shroud,

And cry wo!” to the slaves who bound them.

Let him learn how weak is a tyrant's might

Against liberty's sword contending;
And find how the sons of Greece can fight,

Their freedom and land defending.

Then on! then on to the glorious strife !

With your swords your country shielding ;
And resign, if it must be so, even life;

But die, at least, unyielding.

Strike! for the sires who left you free!

Strike! for their sakes who bore you!
Strike! for your homes and liberty,

And the Heaven you worship o'er you!

LESSON CXL.

The Spanish Patriot's Song.--ANONYMOUS. HARK! Hear ye the sounds that the winds, on their pinions,

Exultingly roll from the shore to the sea, With a voice that resounds through her boundless dominions?

'Tis COLUMBIA calls on her sons to be free!

Behold, on yon summits, where Heaven has throned her,

How she starts from her proud, inaccessible seat; With nature's impregnable ramparts around her,

And the cataract's thunder and foam at her feet!

In the breeze of her mountains her loose locks are shaken,

While the soul-stirring notes of her warrior-song, From the rock to the valley, re-echo," Awaken!

Awaken, ye hearts, that have slumbered too long !" Yes, despots ! too long did your tyranny hold us,

In a vassalage vile, ere its weakness was known; Till we learned that the links of the chain that controlled us

Were forged by the fears of its captives alone.

That spell is destroyed, and no longer availing.

Despised as detested, pause well ere ye dare To cope with a people, whose spirits and feeling

Are roused by remembrance, and steeled by despair. Go, tame the wild torrent, or stem with a straw

[them; The proud surges that sweep o'er the strand that confined But presume not again to give freemen a law,

Nor think with the chains they have broken to bind them.

To heights by-the beacons of Liberty lightened,

They're a scorn who come up her young eagles to tame : And to swords, that her sons for the battle have brightened,

The hosts of a king are as flax to a flame.

LESSON CXLI.

The Three Warnings.-MRS. THRALE.

The tree of deepest root is found
Least willing still to quit the ground.
'Twas therefore said, by ancient sages,

That love of life increased with years
So much, that, in our latter stages,
When pains grow sharp, and sickness rages,

The greatest love of life appears.

This great affection to believe,
Which all confess, but few perceive,
If old assertions can't prevail,
Be pleased to hear a modern tale.

When sports went round, and all were gay
On neighbour Dobson's wedding-day,
Death called aside the joc'und groom
With him into another room ;
And, looking grave, “ You must,” says he,
“Quit your sweet bride, and come with me.”

“With you ! and quit my Susan's side! With you !" the hapless husband cried; “ Young as I am ? ?tis monstrous hard ! Besides, in truth, I'm not prepared : My thoughts on other matters go, This is my wedding-night, you know."

What more he urged I have not heard : His reasons could not well be stronger :

So Death the poor delinquent spared,
And left to live a little longer.

Yet, calling up a serions look,
His hour-glass trembled while he spoke,
“Neighbour,” he said, "farewell! no more
Shall Death disturb your mirthful hour :
And farther, to avoid all blame
Of cruelty upon my name,
To give you time for preparation,
And fit you for your future station,
Three several warnings you shall have,
Before you're summoned to the grave.
Willing, for once, I'll quit my prey,

And grant a kind reprieve,
In hopes you'll have no more to say,
But, when I call again this way,

Well pleased, the world will leave.”
To these conditions both consented,
And parted, perfectly contented.

What next the hero of our tale befell, How long he lived, how. wisely,—and how well It pleased him, in his prosperous course, To smoke his pipe, and pat his horse, -

The willing muse shall tell;

« AnteriorContinuar »