Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

It is now too, that the footsteps of endless, how inconceivably measureless contemplation are found amidst the in our then inexperienced reckoning, ruins of the year, and that the soul was the Year itself-that year made up surrenders herself most readily to the of so many months—those months quietudes of a serious thoughtfulness broken down into so many weeks—and --that deep and interesting impres- those weeks again composed of days : sions are borne home upon the heart; every one of them so protracted in duand that “ the man," almost in spite ration! But has not every year, as it of himself, is compelled to assume the passed, taken something from the ap- lo bearing, and entertain the sentiments parent duration of its successor, as well of “ the moralist;" for what season as from the actual measurement of life? reminds us so directly as the present, It is but a tale as it were of yesterday

, a of the “hoary head,” and decayed our childhood, our boyhood, our youth; ij energies of age ?

and however lengthened our future ez We are craddled on the knee of age- lives may be, that period which is yet Bis our earliest recollections, and our most to come, will one day appear to us sincere and genuine affections, are as- comparatively shorter still. Thus tree? sociated with the tottering step and we every day descending into the vale au the wrinkled brow—with the venera- of years—into the seared November of lur ted Individual, it may be, who took our being, with an every day increased in an interest in our infancy; and who, velocity. amidst the infirmities and languish- This season forcibly reminds us of ment of declining years, found, it is the instability of those Forms under probable, some degree of refreshment which vegetable, and, by analogy, aniin our very ignorance and inexperience. mal life, appears to us. All we pep. It is exceedingly pleasing, Mr Chris- ceive of nature, indeed, correctly speak. topher, to run up in meditation to the ing, respects her forms alone-of her date of our very earliest impressions- "essence,” if any idea can at all be to penetrate, as it were, that November attached to the term, we know nak darkness which is ever deepening over thing. It is with “ form," however, a the first stage of our journey-to live, and not with “ essence,” that we are as it were, anew, amidst the scenes and conversant and connected. It is of the incidents, and the companions of little value to the being whose form is

about to be completely changed by “ To mark each form that pleased our dissolution, to be assured that the es stripling prime,

sence, or original elements of his frame, “ By distance hallow'd, and endear'd by are imperishable. It is with a particotime."

lar combination of substance, a fonu And it is over these objects which have designated “Man,” that we are conpassed away-over the sainted images versant, and it is respecting this com of those who have gone down to the bination that our anxiety exists. And dust, that the heart now hovers with what is the demonstration of Noveman intense and even a solemn feel- ber upon this subject ?- It points ex: ing! But old age is not only a sub- pressly to the waste and the “ vear" ject of natural retrospection in regard around-to the surface of the earth so to others; it is likewise one of seri- much changed in its aspect, and inous anticipation in respect of ourselves. vested with a new and a death-like

We look back on the period of our character ; and it bids us discover into life that is past-on the measurement what secret recesses are retired those of thirty or forty years, by which the pleasing, and variegated, and multifield of our recollection is bounded, - plied “ Forms,” with which were so and we are struck not only with the lately associated our hopes of plenty shortness, but with the ever increa- our sensations of beauty and benefising velocity of our years. How cence. And it carries us still onwards long to us in early life did a summer on the wings of faith, and on those day of our varied amusements ap- alone, to the spring which shall visit pear-what an infinity of pleasure, the mouldering urn"-to that eventwhat a multitude of events, what ful period when dissolution shall give a rapidity of transition from hope to place to reunion, and the affections and possession, from aim to attainment, the sympathies of the heart shall refrom purpose to performance !- but if a establish their claiin over all that was single day at this period appeared to be once virtuous, and lovely, and inte

other years—

resting. Daily and most seriously do years; but these permanent Forms of we experience the effects of dissołu- nature, are in comparison with us, tion, we die in the death of those everlasting--they have not grown with whose existence was our life we die our growth, nor shall they decline with in our parents, in our brethren, in our onr decay-they have occupied the children; and when at last the man same share of the regards of men many date is put into our own bands, we thousand years ago ; and when we, and often find “ that death has not much gur associations and recollections, shall to do.” How miserable then were we, have been forgotten on the earth, these if left to the suggestions of “ Nature” will still continue the objects of peralone--if Winter darkness were not ception and affection. Others, in all dispelled by the advent and the glory the buoyancy of childhood, in all the of a Divine Nativity.

impetuosity of youth, in all the pride But amidst all this change of Form of life, and in all the solemnity of this visible “ Passing away," are there “ November Breathings," shall occupy no traces of permanency to be found? what we now possess, and claim a kind is there nothing that meets our eye, of temporary alliance and friendship or challenges our reflection, of which with objects which havelent themselves it may be predicated that it remains to the accommodation of all ages and the same in the midst of renewal and generations. The heavens display God's decay-that it is uninfluenced by sea- glory, and in nothing more visibly and son--that it is “ the same yesterday, impressively than in the unvarying pere to-day, and for ever?"-Yes; those manency of their character. The stars very laws by which the ever-recurring which arrested the attention and din

change is regulated, are themselves un- rected the motions of the ancient Pa. a changeable; what occurs at this sean triarch, in his desert migrations with son in the kingdoms of animal nature his flocks and with his herds—the has occurred of old, and will assuredly constellations which rose upon the

still continue to occur. Our Fathers, adventurous bark of the Phænician, F where are they? and whilst Indivi- as he boldly braved the uncertainty

duals are continually perishing, the and turbulence of the Atlantic Ocean, .:: immortality of the species is carefully and subjected the immutable features is maintained. The seeds of many plants, of heaven to his purpose and conve

and the eggs of many insects, are now nience the same clarissima mundi buried, or about to be lodged in the lumina" under which the Hesperian earth; but the season of winter over, husbandman conducted his labours --and the influence of light and of heat under which he learnt again fully established, and we shall

« Quid faciat lætas segetes, quo sidere behold, only without surprise, because experience has made it familiar to us, 66 Vertere.” the animal and vegetable kingdoms The same "twilightHesperus,"* whose repeopled the shell which encrusted ascent taught the shepherd of Arcadia and preserved the suspended energies to pen his flocks, and secure his foldof life shall burst, and from the grave the same " Seven Stars," and " Elof winter shall assuredly reascend every wand," and " Plough,” whose elevatribe, and species, and variety of ani- tion in the eastern heaven marked the mal and vegetable being. If we turn advanee of the winter night, and reour eyes to the very fields by which gulated, without the help of clock or we are surrounded if we lift our vi- watch-work, the evening pastime or sion to the hills and the mountains by repose of our more immediate and which these fields are bounded these unsophisticated Ancestors ;-these ea we now occupy, and with these our ternal demonstrations of God remain perception of existence and enjoyment still the same; declaring, from geneare associated-upon and amidst these ration to generation, that, whilst subwe have spent, it may be, our infancy, ordinate objects are liable to alteration our youth, and our more advanced and change in form and composition,

terram

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Hesperus, or the Evening Star, is now in great beauty, on the edge of the sou. thern horizon, a little after sun-set, and, along with Jupiter and Saturn, who are then advancing high in the eastern heaven, pregents a combination of planetary glory seldong VOL. Á.

4 M

1o be enjoyed.

there is behind the whole of this pass- mer sons and daughters of men, so ing systeman Essence and an Existence different, in many respects, from these which is permanent and immutable;- with whom we are ourselves converit is to this !-oh, it is to this! that we sant,--how comes it, that whilst we cling. As the shipwrecked Mariner, a- every day allow our imagination to be midst the tossing of the breakers, ad- excited, and our hearts to be interestheres to the solid and immoveable rock, ed in such objects and associations-as the adventurous boy, when every we so seldom cast an eye of veneration, bending and brittle branch has gi- or of corresponding interest, upon ven way under his feet, and beneath his those great, ancient,

and “immutable grasp, embraces eagerly the firm and works of God, within which we are unshaken trunk,-so closely, amidst entrenched, -and which from every the changes and the instabilities which eminence and valley, from the hea a November state of being exhibits, ven above, and the earth beneath, so do we adhere to do we embrace, the loudly challenge our attention? What “Rock of Ages,”—“the Tree of Life,” is the comparative antiquity of that which grows--not in the outskirts, as Castle or Abbey-of that pillar or pyrait were, for there all is death and dan- mid, upon which the soul settles down ger,--but “in the midst," in the very in so deep a reverie of reflection and ve« centre” of God's vast universal sys- neration, when contrasted with that of tem. Our haven of eternity-our ha- the Plain itself upon which it is situven of everlasting repose, is, conse- ated, or the rock where it is founded, quently, situated—not amidst the com or the mountains amidst the recesses motions, and littlenesses, and changes, of which it hath arisen and decayed ? and distractions of approximating Is there any object of Art which can forms, but far and away, into the un- contend in antiquity with the Lumisearchable depths of that celestial dis- naries of heaven with that light tance, which ever, as it farther recedes, which sprung embodied, -and propelpartakes more sublimely and invi- led into ceaseless motion, out of primtingly of theglory and excellence of per. eval darkness, and which carries the manent being. Oh, to be there! where mind up even to a period incalculably the “Omnia mutantur" of philosophy, anterior to the existence of Man himand the “ Passeth away" of revelation, self? The Egyptians, and the Greeks are felt no more—where the affections, and the Romans, built, or constructand the objects upon which they are ed, or framed this or that object of our fixed,--where the elm that supports, as soul's veneration, and we fall down and well as the ivy which clusters around it, worship before these works which the are equally immortal ;-oh, to be ba- skill and the strength of man have thed in that immutability, which per- rendered so permanent. But what vades, and supports, and hallows all work of Man can come into compearound—which leaves no part vulnere tition with the durability of Nature? able by accident, or exposed to decay, Can the form antedate the substance ? but which, whilst it unites, and asso- Can the mole-hill, which shoots up, ciates, and combines, forbids all risk or and subsides in a season—the gourd, fear of future separation! And thanks which expands, and withers down in a be to “ Him” whose message we have day, claim, or gratify your antiquaria heard, and whose name we bear, and research, whilst the very rocks upon whose authority we reverence,—quod which you tread, and ocean over which petimus hic est ?—“And I saw a new your eye is carelessly glanced, are so heaven and a new earth ; and I heard manifestly impressed with the characa great voice out of heaven, saying, ters of duration and immutability? “BEHOLD THE TABERNACLE OF GOD But if at any time the antiquated IS WITH MEN, AND THERE SHALL BE remains of art-the ruined editice, and NO MORE DEATH.

decaying tower, become objects of How comes it, then, Mr North, that more than ordinary interest, it is surewhilst the works of man are visited ly at this season. A few weeks ago and valued, on account of the associ- and the naked and mouldering ruins ations of antiquity which they are were concealed, and comparatively uncalculated to awaken-whilst we prowl, observed, amidst that profusion of beatwith prying curiosity and veneration, tiful and variegated form which field, about the mouldering tomb or broken and tree, and branch, and leaf exhibitarch, and figure to ourselves the for« ed. These forms have now disappeared

[ocr errors]

de-chased rapidly away, by the breath cannot, in any case, yield to the ap21 of November; the surface of the earth proach of winter, or disappear under ta is now equally bare and exposed with the pressure of time. 08: the decayed superstructure it supports; Having pursued some such train of Fetthe trees of the surrounding forest thought as the above, a few days ago, mare now themselves equally torn and till I had drifted considerably, both en ruinous with the turrets they surround; mentally and corporeally, out of my xu there is nothing now on the surface reckoning, I was suddenly arrested in toto of the landscape to come into com- the current of my reflections, and my che petition with those objects upon which attention directed to a number of Chil, the approach of winter effects no dren who were disporting themselves,

cperceptible change with the mould- seemingly with great glee and enjoyrl, ering battlement, which lifts its head ment, on the banks of the Eden in the Lisamidst the clouds-or the mutilated immediate neighbourhood of the “good xazarchway, which opens up its Goth- town of C****.” The mind is never zic span from beneath. These objects better prepared for the enjoyment of

Row receive us like friends, who, with- cheerful company, or exhilarating ideas e sout any parade of promise or of smile, and emotions, than after it has had its bave yet stood the test of time and ad- full swing of thoughtfulness and seFersity. They are the “ Cordelias” of rious meditation-I have seen the truth our winter rambles, and present us of this exemplified by many an old with subjects of interesting reflection, woman at a“ funeral dregy;" by many when their elder sister, Vegetation, has a venerable and pious Clergyman on a refused us other entertainment. Sabbath evening, -and if I may be per

There is yet one “ existence," mitted the privilege of a reference to which, as it never has partaken of myself, bymyown conduct and feelings form or modification of being, remains, upon the present occasion. So, ascendand must ever remain, undissolved : ing a little eminence from which I

Mind--soul”—that within us, which could observe the juvenile sports, I thinks, and feels, and wills, and acts. seated myself quietly upon a“ mossUpon this “formless," uncompound- covered stone," and 'in a few seconds ed, simple Unity, neither time nor was completely and very agreeably incircumstances can act as a solvent. All terested. that is visible--all that is even capable, Now, Mr Christopher, if you are one by tke power of imagination, to be of those wise, sober, prudential personpictured out into shape and substance, ages, who, in all they do, and in all may, by some law or other of Nature, they say, and in all they write, have a be decomposed, and the shape, and constant reference to a certain length, the particular substance, may be de- and breadth, and altitude of character, ranged and destroyed; but the soul which they have adopted for themof man, like the great “ Parent Spirit selves as the proper standard, who are himself," is one and indivisible. Into always saying, or thinking, or expressits native elements that cannot be re- ing by action, “how will this conduct duced, which already exists, and can or that deportment suit-how will it only exist in an elemental condition. become me !" If, I say, you are one of Out of being that cannot, by any exist- those old musty fusty Prigs-why you ing arrangements, be driven, which are not the man I took you for nor holds a charter of existence, equal in will you enter at all into my present authority, and similar in privilege, feelings.- I can sit, man! a whole day, with all the first elements of dependent and have often done it too, on the paexistence. So long as “ Nihil interiť" rapet of a bridge, striking stones into is written over the doorway of the the smooth pool below, observing the universe, so long must that which is, dead man's plumpwhich they cut, independently of mode and manner, the bells which they raised, and the continue to be. What, then, is it to successive and widening circles which

me that the woodland is now strewed played off and off to both bank and 1 with the wrecks of the season, and that stream. Did you ever skip slaties, man,

the church-yard has become a No- or swim them, all scaly and dry, adown vember repository of dissolution and the current? Did you ever play with

decay? The formless, unimaged, in- Bent-headsat soldiers," decapitaun conceivable “ Existence,” which is ting hundreds of the enemy with one

properly and incontrovertibly “Self,” single veteran, but tough necked and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

invincible warrior ? Did you ever lay tire, "did unco weel as a shinty," the " wabron-leaf" over the hollow of there acrooked and still elastic rib-bóne one hand, and crack it like a pistol by was converted into " a bow," and like a smart application of the other? Have the martial breast, which in all likeli you never caught “ Bumbees" in hood it once enclosed, it still delighted by:

bluidy fingers," and held them buz in warlike feats. Here a skull was laid zing and humming to your neighbour's upon its occiput, with the whole famai mau ear? Have you never calculated the ly of the passions under water, and hour of the day from the “Dandelion?" having a white stick by way of a mante Have you never made ponds of rain thrust immediately across the organ of water after a flood, and exulted in see “ veneration.” Two Collies, (dogs) ing them fill? Have you never con- which had long shared the sport with this structed a “boat” with a “paper sail,” theshinty-players, after having receive and launched her without the aid of ed some pretty intelligible hints from s helm or compass, upon the “ flood” their associates in the game, to make you had collected? Have you never themselves scarce, had taken to the grasuspended a water wheel by two props, ving of bones, and were venturing to over a gullet, and leapt to observe the erect a very respectable“ Collyshangy" së success of your contrivance? Have over the bleaching relics of mortality

. you never flown your dragon, with a “Surely," said I to a middle-aged and well papered and nicely balanced tail, respectable looking personage, who pa and sent up from time to time the ra- happened to be passing at the time, pidly ascending Messenger -I speak surely, Sir, this is, or rather has beell

, not of the “ Columbian"t mysteries of hallowed ground, and must bave been lead “ Hy-spy," “ Clecking-broad," and once appropriated to quite other pur“ Ring," these are sports into which poses than those by which it is now even the most saturuine and heavy- so shamefully profaned." The Figure headed Dolt that props a class, is com looked me stedfastly in the face, as pelled to join.-But I say, and I swear if to inquire whether or not I were quite it--if you have never entered with a in earnest in my vituperative mode of degree of enthusiasm, of which even interrogation; and, with its hands in yet, the very recollection is most plea- its breeches pocket, proceeded, without sing, into the above-mentioned amuse- taking any further notice of my in ments,-If you have never been,“ see quiry, on its way. Frustrated in this mel imbutus," you had better trudge. attempt, I submitted quietly to my You are no fit Editor for Ebony, let fate, waiting the approach of rather : me tell you,-nor can you appreciate more stylish looking appearance, which how much from my seat of grey stone came up whistling, and seemed to take and convenient elevation i enjoyed a particular interest in this new line the “ fun below.” But my pleasure of road. My inquiry, however, was was only of short continuance, for equally unsuccessful on this as on the chancing to look rather more attentive- former occasion ; and had not a worte ly upon the face of a Scar beneath me, man who was within hearing of my under and along which a new road had question, referred me very attentively been lately driven, I thought I could to the Provost himsel," as he was discover something like a “ bone” pro- pleased to designate a little figure, jecting out from the brow; and to my with a smart and a pleasing expression inexpressible surprise, upon a more of countenance, I believe I should have accurate survey, I found that the ma- departed just as wise as I came. From terials out of which my young friends this metropolitan dignitary, I learnt, had constructed, and were still con- in the most condescending and oblia structing,

the implements of their fun ging manner possible, that I had, in and diversion, had once been appropri- the first place, been unfortunate in ated to other purposes, having pro- the Individuals to whom my inquiries bably figured in the athletic form and had just been addressed, for that these niany deportment of their ancestors. were precisely the men who, in com Here a human thigh bone, with its sequence of the active part they had knobbed extremity still smooth and en- taken in forwarding this new line of

+ Vide Travels of Christopher Columbus the younger.

“THE MAGA"

« AnteriorContinuar »