Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

cret. It was foor-clothed all over, and the ceil- ling the very flies that were thickly sprinkled ail ing, including a great beam in the centre, was over it, like heaps of dried currants.”—P. 578. papered. Besides the three little windows, with And again, Jonas sees in imagination, seats in them, commanding the opposite archway, “the body of a murdered man. In one thick, sol. there was another window looking point blank, itary spot, it lay among the last years' leaves of without any compromise at all about it, into Jin- oak and beech, just as it had fallen headlong down. kins' bed-room; and high up, all along one side of Sopping and soaking in among the leaves that the wall, was a strip of panes of glass, two deep, formed its pillow ; oozing down into the boggy giving light to the staircase. There were the oddest ground, as if to cover itself from human sight; closets possible, with little casements in them like forcing its way between and through the curling eight day clocks, lurking in the wainscot, and tak- leaves—as if ihese senseless things rejected and ing the shape of the stairs, and the very door itself foreswore it, and were coiled up in abhorrence(which was painted black) had two great glass went a dark, dark stain, that dyed and scented the eyes in its forehead with an inquisitive green pupil whole summer night from earth to heaven.”—P. in the middle of each."-P. 109.

541. Mr. Fip's office is portrayed with similar minute- Mr. Dickens never trusts to a vigorous sketch, ness, and the author especially chronicles- or a few characteristic touches ; he accomplishes

A great black sprawling splash upon the floor, his purpose by minute description and copious diain one corner, as if some old clerk had cut his logue, and leaves no work for the imagination of throat there years ago, and had let out ink instead the reader. This leads us to observe, that the of blood.”—P. 457.

vast popularity of these works may, perhaps, in In another place are pointed out

some degree be owing to the indolence of the readVery mountebanks of two-pronged forks, which ing public, and that the very clever “ illustrations" seemed to be trying how far asunder they could which accompany them all, may have contributed possibly stretch their legs, without converting greatly to their success.

No reader need ever themselves into double the number of iron tooth- lask his mind's eye to form a picture correspondpicks.”—P. 461.

ing to the full description ; he has but to turn the After the interior of a tavern has been elabor- page, and there stands the Pickwick, Pecksniff, ately described, the window is thus disposed of :- or Tom Pinch, embodied to his hand, and kindly

“ It was a little below the pavement, and abut- saving him the labor of thought. ted close upon it, so that passengers grated on the It is not much to be wondered at that, in such window-panes with their buttons, and scraped it long works, with his fondness for minute delineawith their baskets; and fearful boys suddenly com- tion, and with his limited range of scenery and ing between a thoughtful guest and the light, de- class of actors, Mr. Dickens should be apt, in derided him, oi put out their tongues as if he were scribing places and the every-day incidents of life, a physician, or made white knobs on the end of to repeat himself. We have much sameness in their noses by fattening the same against the glass, many of the street scenes in London, and in the and vanished awfully like spectres."'-—P. 412. interiors of taverns and solicitors' offices; and the

The frequent recurrence of such ludicrous mi- wretched effects of intoxication form a very frenuteness in the trivial descriptive details induces quent subject for the pencil. In this work we us to compare Mr. Dickens' style of delineation to have the drunken humors of Jonas, and Chevy a photographic landscape. There, everything Slime, and Mr. Pecksniff, and Mrs. Gamp, and within the field of view is copied with unfailing more if we could recall them. There is a more but mechanical fidelity. Not a leaf, or stone, or amusing instance of repetition—for the pleasant nail is wanting, or out of place; the very bird is diversion of kissing is very circumstantially dearrested as it fits across the sky. But, then, the picted no less than nine times, perhaps oftener : imitating agent takes exactly the same pains with we have Martin kissing Mary in the park; Mark the dunghill and the gutter, as with the palace and kissing Mrs. Lupin ; Pecksniff kissing Mary ; the forest tree; and it is as busy with the latchet Mariin kissing Mary in Pecksniff's parlor; John of the shoe, and the pattern of the waistcoat, as Westlock kissing Ruth; Martin kissing Mary the with the noble features of the human face. Mr. third time; and so on. Dickens' pencil is often as faithful, and not more The deterioration of style extends even to what discriminating He lavishes as much attention on are intended as the lighter graces of the composiwhat is trivial or useless as on the more important tion. We could not have supposed it possible parts of the picture, as if he could not help paint that Mr. Dickens could have ornamented any work ing everything with equal exactness. Neglecting of his with such pieces of wit, such miserable puns, the effective outline, the charm of harmonious as he has thickly scattered through Martin Chuzgrouping, and of contrasted light and shade, he zlewit. As when he tells us that “Mr. Pecksniff crowds his canvas3 with figures, and notes the very was a land-surveyor on a pretty extensive scale, as hat, and neckcloth, and coat buttons of each ; an extensive prospect was streiched out before the dwelling upon his city scenes, whether connected windows of his house ;” and facetiously observes, or not with the business in hand, till he has enu in sketching Mr. Montague Tigg, “in respect of merated the tables and chairs, and even counted his dress, he could hardly be said to be in any erthe panes of glass. There is no judicious perspec- tremities, as his fingers were a long way out of his tive, and withdrawing from view of disagreeable gloves, and the soles of his feet were at an inconparticulars. We stand as close to the most offen- venient distance from the upper leather of his :sive object, and see its details as nakedly, as if it shoes ;” and talks of a lady with what might be was the most agreeable. Thus, when Tigg is termed an exciseable face, or one in which starch

murdered by Jonas, the author affects not to de- and vinegar were decidedly employed." These :scribe the actual deed of blood, but, in the reflec. examples, however, are quite eclipsed by this ex

tions of the murderer afterwards, he thrusts on us travagant piece of silliness in describing Mr. Modthe most revolting details. He paints the criminal dle :- in fancy approaching the dead body, and start- “He is very frail and tearful, for being aware that a shepherd's mission was to pipe to his flocks, derers : and where is his scene most frequently and that a boatswain's mission was to pipe all laid, but in their haunts of vulgar revelry or dens hands, and that one man's mission was to be a paid of profligacy and crime? Such scenes and charpiper, and another man's mission was to pay the acters he dwells upon, until we are intimate with piper; so he had got it into his head that his own all the details. It has been attempted as an apolpeculiar mission was to pipe his eye.”—P. 382. ogy by his admirers, that, besides the ability with

There is, in fact, a continual straining after mer. which he writes, and the witty humor of his charriment and facetious remark, as if the natural acters, he paints very delicately, and withdraws buoyancy and fun of the writer had been unable what is offensive, so that the most sensitive cheek to keep pace with the frequently recurring demands need not blush over his writings. We do not acon his pen. He has recourse sometimes to irony ; cept this apology. Are not ihe gross language but that he fails in that figure of speech will be and revolting manners of the vicious, one of the evident from the following not unfair specimens :- most useful safeguards to virtue? Shall we say

“ The great American eagle, which is always that“ vice loses half its evil by losing all its grossairing itself sky-high in purest ether, and never- ness?" Is it not rather our daily experience that no, never, never, never tumbles down with drag- we more easily catch the tone and tolerate the gled wings into the mud.”—P. 385.

vices of those with whom we associate, if they are “The great discovery made by the ancient phi- refined and polite as well as witty and entertainlosopher for securing health, riches, and wisdom; ing? Shall we then applaud him who takes away the infallibility of which has been for generations our safeguard, and leads us habitually to think of verified by the enormous fortunes constantly vice without the repulsiveness that should ever amassed by chimney-sweepers and other persons belong to it? who get up early and go to bed betimes.”

We do not say that the chief evil to be appreOur quotations have shown, what might be ver- hended from Mr. Dickens' works is, that they will ified by fifty more, that many parts of this work teach people, at least of the higher ranks, to comare composed in the most careless and even slov- mit crimes. Yet it is not impossible that they enly manner ; bearing evident marks of having may give suggestions to vice. There is a story been written, as it were, at a canter, by a man of of a Roman Catholic hostler, who, on going one consummate ability, with great exuberance of day to confession, was asked by the priest if he spirits, but sometimes affecting an unnatural ever greased his horses' teeth to prevent them vivacity that he may hide an occasional flagging, eating their corn. He answered that he never perfectly familiar with all the habits and modes of did; but the next time he confessed himself this speech of certain classes of society, well able to was among the number of his sins. On the priest catch with fidelity the tone of dialogue appropriate expressing his astonishment, the poor fellow reto various situations, with good intentions in the plied, “I never thought of it till your worship main, but rendered confident, careless, and some- put it in my head.” Now, in the same way, we what presumptuous, by the unexampled brilliancy will not undertake to say that some may not have of his success.

imbibed a lesson of callous dissimulation from Sir We must now glance at the moral tendency of John Chester, or learned to pass the rosy” with these works. For it ought never to be forgotten Dick Swiveller, or to go a fogle-hunting" with that the able novelist exercises great power in the Artful Dodger. The chief evil, however, unmoulding the feelings and judgment of his readers. doubtedly is, that the perceptions of moral purity He is like the physician in the Eastern tale, whose are blunted, exactly as when we mix in company royal master disliked the disagreeable process of with profligate persons of wit and agreeable manswallowing drugs, and who accordingly fell upon ners; the delicate sense of right and wrong, and the expedient of administering medicine to him in the instinctive feeling of honor and propriety are the handle of a racket. As the medicine, unknown lost; the blush ceases to rise spontaneous on the to the patient, entered the pores of his body while female cheek at a coarse jest or depraved alluhis hand was heated by exercise, so instruction sion; and vice can be made a subject of merriand health may flow into the mind when it seeks ment in place of causing sorrow and indignation. only to relax itself by congenial amusement. But, The voice of true wisdom will tell us to be averse in the hands of a careless or unskilful physician, to all such objects of contemplation as abound in the same hours of relaxation may become the oc- these volumes, to forbid our imaginations to dwell casion of impairing its vigor and planting disease on what is degraded and impure, however conin its constitution. A good moralist would surely veyed, and rather to occupy our thoughts with tell us, that an intimate acquaintance with the habitual study of the qualities and actions of the haunts of profligacy and crime, and a minute noble and pious, which will enable us to imbibe knowledge of the habits of life, modes of speech, their spirit and follow their example. and turns of thought of the degraded, the vicious, In estimating the probable effects of these and the brutal, must be injurious to a high tone writings of Mr. Dickens, we must remember that, of virtuous feeling. The judicious parent will not in the shape of plays, they have been represented allow his children to mix with persons of vicious at most of the iheatres in the country. In this habits, or of mean and dishonest propensities. process of transmutation the better and more sober The youth deems it a high privilege to be admit- parts necessarily disappear, and the striking figo ted to the society of the well-bred, the pure, the ures, amusing low life, smart vulgar conversation, high-minded. Our moral health is dependent on and broad farce, are naturally preserved with the moral atmosphere we breathe. The novels care. It is not therefore surprising to find, in the are just an artificial experience, and the well-drawn drama of Martin Chuzzlewit, that Master Bailey, character becomes a kind of companion. With with his cockneyisms, draws the chief attention ; whom, then, does Mr. Dickens bring us into close and that the tipsy quarrel between Mrs. Gamp and familiar contact ? Lackeys, stable-boys, and Betsy Prig is the most effective scene in the thieves, swindlers, drunkards, gamblers, and mur-piece. The higher ranks thus laugh publicly at the scenes of most hurtful tendency; and it is human beings; and do not feel the force of tempthese principally which are made widely known tation as it assails our less perfect breasts. It is to the lower classes.

this that makes them unreal, One of the most remarkable effects of these works has been the singular patronage and favor

“Faultless monsters, that the world ne'er saw." which has marked the reception of those slang This is the true meaning of “the simple heart," forms of expression, of which Mr. Dickens has pre- which Mr. Dickens so perpetually eulogizes. sented us with so copious a variety, that from his Indeed, they often degenerate into simpletons, writings alone we might compile grammar, dic- sometimes into mere idiots. Such characters are tionary, and phrase-book, with a treatise on their uninstructive ; for in contemplating them we lose Doric, Ionic, and more purely Attic idioms. Even sight of the great fact of the corruption of human in polite circles, and sometimes in the mouths of nature ; from which it follows that virtue, whether the fair sex, Mr. Weller's flowers of rhetoric, and in the Christian or the heathen breast, consists in Dick Swiveller's graces of speech, might be the triumph of good principle over evil propensity, heard frequently quoted with zest; and still these and the victory of moral and religious motives vulgarisms, this " well of English sore-defiled," over the allurements of temptation. Even heathreatens to infect the tone of conversation, and then moralists have delighted to portray the pasto color the language of social life. No one who sions as fierce and impure animals, bridled and reflects on the nature of this sort of dialect can lamed by conscience. The best dramatists and fail to regret that it should be spread abroad and novelists have taken many a subject from this come into vogue, as it thus seems likely to do. conflict; and have represented at one time the Mr. Dickens has himself endeavored to convey to temporary triumph of the baser motive; at anus, as the result of his observations on some classes other, the conquest of good resolution over severe of society in America, that corrupt phraseology assaults ; and again, the firm adherence to duty is intimately associated with degeneracy of char- through a long course of suffering and difficult acter. Slang differs widely from the broad Scotch exertion. They are uninstructive, because the which abounds so much in the Waverly Novels. absence of high principle, as the spring of action, That is the language of a whole people, in prevents the reader, especially the young, from which the remnants of a fine old tongue are scanning and analyzing motives, duties, and paspreserved, and linger amidst the more modern sions; and instead of being in that way stimuEnglish, like the grand old pine trees of the lated to earnest thought and self-examination, he country, still towering nobly above the tame culti- is lulled into a pleasing indifference and frivolity vation which has crept in around them. It differs of mind. widely, too, from the provincial dialects of Eng- Another error is the undue prominence given to land, which arose insensibly, are spoken uncon- good temper and kindness, which are constantly sciously, and are often in part due to a pronuncia- made substitutes for all other virtues, and an tion moulded by climate, or conformation of the atonement for the want of them ; while a defect in organs of speech. But slang arose in towns, these good qualities is the signal for instant conamid thieves and gamblers, who had need of an demnation, and the charge of hypocrisy. It is obscure phraseology; it was adopted by those unfortunate also, that Mr. Dickens so frequently who wished to be thought initiated into secrets not represents persons with pretensions to virtue and known to every one; it came to be used as a piety as mere rogues and hypocrites, and never cheap substitute for wit; but wherever it goes, it depicts any whose station as clergymen, or repubears the stamp of its nativity, and an impress of tation for piety, is consistently adorned and vericrime, concealment, and baseness. The man of fied. It is not surprising if he has thus created in pure and honorable feeling cannot use it ; and its the minds of some an impression that he holds the spread will be an index of the departure of these claims of religion itself in contempt. qualities from society.

But, indeed, the mere omission of religion in his The mention of the Waverly Novels and their good characters and sentimental passages is sofibroad Scottish dialect, leads unavoidably to the ciently striking. We are no admirers of religious remark, that, unlike the author of these matchless novels, nor do we think them a good vehicle for productions, Mr. Dickens makes his low charac-advice on that solemn subject; and we have no ters almost always vulgar. It is not easy to de- fancy for those written expressly to expound or fine vulgarity, but every one can feel it; and we argue a particular set of doctrines-for such as know that Edie Ochiltree, Cuddie Headrigg, Bai- the “The Anglo-Catholic Family," or the "Dislie Nicol Jarvie, and Dominie Sampson are not senter's Progress into the Bosom of the Church." vulgar, in spite of their accent, language, and But if the value of religion is felt at all by the station ; neither are Jeanie Deans, or Meg Merri- author of a tale, he can hardly help letting us see lees, or the Mucklebackits ; and while the author it as the spring of action in his good characters, draws them with perfect truth, he often conveys or, at least, as furnishing his own standard of through their mouths lessons of the greatest moral right and wrong in his judgments and views of elevation. Every reader must have felt how much things. But surely, if at no other time, the omisotherwise it is with Mr. Dickens.

sion must be culpable when one so capable as Mr. In the next place, the good characters in Mr. Dickens of moving the feelings, leads us into the Dickens' novels do not seem to have a wholesome most solemn scenes, and takes us to the deathmoral tendency. The reason is, that many of bed of the young, the fair, and the good, and them—all the author's favorites-exhibit an ex- spares no art to " ope the sacred source of sympacellence flowing from constitution and tempera- !hetic tears.” When our hearts are touched, it ment, and not from the influence of moral or re- is not right, and to a well constituted mind it is ligious motive. They act from impulse, not from painful, to leave us with a few vague sentiments principle. They present no struggle of contend- scarcely even of natural religion, and a picing passions ; they are instinctively incapable of turesque sketch perhaps of a Bible in the backevil; they are therefore not constituted like other ground, but with no reference to the revelation it contains, and to those truths which furnish the lasting influence; while the jokes and idioms, and only true ground of hope to the dying, and of slang phrases of the successive numbers are reconsolation to the bereaved.

peated and dwelt on in the intervals, until, by We cannot but sometimes contrast the tone of being gradually stored up in the memory, they at Mr. Dickens' purely sentimental passages with length tinge the language of ordinary conversathat of Sir Walter Scott on similar occasions, and tion. It is scarcely necessary to add, how very the stilted pomp with which the former often injurious to the novel, as a work of art, this mode parades a faunting rag of threadbare morality, of publication must be, and the opportunity it with the quiet and graceful ease with which the gives to the author to know the sentiments of the laiter poinis out and enforces a useful lesson. In- public, and to them to interfere with the conduct deed, it seems unavoidable that the high standard of the tale. Mr. Dickens has told us that while which is afforded by the novels of Scott should be the Old Curiosity Shop was in course of publicaperpetually referred to for trying all his followers tion, he had hundreds of letters, chiefly from in the same path of literature ; and, surely, when ladies, beseeching him to spare little Nell, which, it is remembered how eminently his romances are finding he had such a hold on their sympathies, he distinguished by shrewd practical good sense, as very properly refused to do. well as by pure feeling and correct moral tone, by

We have reserved for the conclusion of our rean unaffected and manly simplicity of style, noi- view the “Christmas Carol" and the “Chimes," withstanding the rich variety of knowledge, over- because they belong to a different class of compoflowing, not displayed, in every page, he is well sitions, and because we do not wish to part from entitled to be regarded as the guide of the critic an author whose genius has so often delighted us, as well as the model of succeeding novelists. with these somewhat austere remarks. The former

Lastly, the form of publication of Mr. Dickens' litile story abounds with mannerism, but with the works must be attended with bad consequences. best as well as the less pleasing characteristics of The reading of a novel is not now the under- the author. We have, no doubt, his carelessness taking it once was, a thing to be done occasionally and incorrectness of style—but then all his copion a holiday and almost by stealth. The monthly ousness and variety ;-his tendency to overstrained number comes in so winningly, with methodical and extravagant imagery—but then, his unrivalled punctuality, and with so moderate an amount at a exuberance of life and animation ; his occasional time, that novel-reading becomes a sort of stated petulant sneers at religious people and the strict occupation, and not to have seen the last part of observance of Sunday—but then, his own touchMartin Chuzzlewit is about as irregular as not to ing mode of awakening sympathy with the joys have balanced your books. Useful as a certain and sorrows of the poor. We had at one time amount of novel reading may be, this is not the marked for grave animadversion some instances of right way to indulge in it. It is not a mere bad taste, and the moral process by which Old healthy recreation, like a match at cricket, a lively Scrooge is converted at once from an Arthur conversation, or a game at backgammon. It Gride into a Brother Cheeryble. But the Christthrows us into a state of unreal excitement, a mas dinner of Tom Cratchit and his family rose to trance, or dream, which we should be allowed to recollection, and the spirit of Tiny Tim, " who dream out, and then be sent back to the atmos- did not die after all,” sealed our lips; a hundred phere of reality again, cured by our brief surfeit bright, sparkling, fantastic images crowded into of the desire to indulge again soon in the same the memory; we could see the sweeps pelting delirium of feverish interest. But now our dreams each other with snow-balls, laughing heartily when are mingled with our daily business; the school. they hit, and laughing still more heartily when boy hurries over his lessons to get to the new they missed, and the shops with their tempting number of Dickens, or Lever, or Warren, and stores, and the game of romps at the nephew's in these cheap and abundant publications absorb the the evening; and then Old Scrooge himself, after energies which, after the daily task, might be sending the turkey to Bob Cratchit's—seemed usefully employed in the search after wholesome quietly to take the pen from our unresisting finknowledge.*

gers. It is plain, also, that the form of publication But what bells are these swinging, now in bright must tend greatly to increase any pernicious influ- sunshine and now in deep shade, greeting the New ence in these or other similar works. For the Year with a half-glad half-melancholy peal? The characters and incidents are kept long before the Chimes ;-telling, however, no “Goblin Story," mind, and we have time to become very familiar but one very real, full of truth, and regarding with them, as we wait and long to know how sober flesh and blood. Their sound is a pleasant Sam Weller gave evidence in a court of justice; one ; for in this little tale there is a great deal how Jonas Chuzzlewit accomplished the murder reminding us of the best parts of the Pickwick of Montague Tigg; or how Dick Swiveller played Papers, its clear portraiture, and its effective at cribbage with the Marchioness, or discoursed satire. There is all the author's wonted vivid the affairs of the Glorious Apollo with Mr. Chuck- minuteness of description, which does not overlook ster. The impressions are not allowed to be the speckled spiders in the belfrey, or the brass effaced ; they are renewed at short intervals, till toasting-fork in Tugby's parlor, which“ spread out the whole story, and actors, and moral, wind its idle fingers as if it wanted to be measured for a themselves into the mind, and produce a full and glove." There are gentle touches of nature that

bring tears to the eye, and dismal strains that * The view taken above is confirmed by a remark of thrill through the heart. These last are conveyed Dr. Arnold, (Lise, vol. ii., p. 159 ; and Sermons, vol. iv., in a dream, which should not be here, because the 39—41 ;) that the increase of frivolity and childishness, idea is a plagiarism from the Christmas Carol, and the decrease of manly thoughtfulness, which he had and are communicated by aërial and goblin personwas owing to the periodical form given to works of ages, who are of no particular use. In this dream amusemeni, (he mentions Pickwick and Nicholas Nickle- is revealed to Toby Veck, the simple-hearted by as instances,) harmless, perhaps, in themselves. ticket-porter, a sketch of what might have been the

To the trees, whose leafy branches

Are whispering of God.

fate of his daughter, but what is every day in sad reality-the hard life and final desperation of the disregarded and unpitied poor :

"Such work, such work,” says the spirit of Lilian, so many hours, so many days, so many long, long nights of hopeless, cheerless, neverending work—not to heap up riches, not to live grandly and gaily, not to live upon enough, however coarse, but to earn bare bre

to scrape together just enough to toil upon, and want upon, and keep alive in us the consciousness of our hard fate."

The end is crime, and the broken heart, and the fatal plunge. We cannot, however, forgive the author for the cruelty of inflicting this dream on poor Toby Veck, who could certainly not distinguish accurately between what might have been and what might be, and who so well deserved rather a bright peep into futurity. The object of the whole piece is to satirize those in authority, who, by unfeeling harshness, goad the poor to crime, and then " abandon the vile, nor trace the unfenced precipice by which they fell from good,” and to awaken in the breast of the reader greater sympathy with the sufferings, and greater forbearance towards the vices, of the wretched. Such being evidently the drift of the book, we do not care to criticize its style minutely, or to inquire whether its views are not a little one-sided, and the sentimental passages a little vague and rhapsodical; it is enough that there is a tendency to awaken those emotions of kindness towards the poor which are now too feebly, and can never be too strongly felt, by the richer classes ; and seeing him engaged in so good a work, we heartily wish him success.

The young green lime bends o'er me,

Through its boughs the sunbeams pass, Making here and there bright islands

'Mid the shadows on the grass. The butterfly is wending

Its way from flower to flower, Like a freed and happy spirit

Meet emblem of such hour ! Loud sings the hidden cuckoo

In his bower of leaves all day,
And many a voice of gladness

Is answering his lay.
The rose is opening slowly,

The lilac's scented cones
Are musical till nightfall,

With the wild-bees' drowsy tones.

The oaks, moss-grown and aged,

How beautiful they seem; With glory wrapt about them,

Like the glory of a dream! How lovingly the sunshine

Clings round the tufts of green ; And all is fair and joyful

As if winter had not been !
Far off, the furze is blooming,

With spaces, far and near,
Of lawn, where now are straying

Large herds of graceful deer;
And turfy pathways wending

Through sunshine and through shade, And wooded hills enfolding

This lovely forest glade.

I turn, and see the fruit-trees

With blossoms pink and white, Like gems of Eastern story

In the gardens of delight; And strewn like fairy favors

Are flowers of every hue Among the grasses shining,

Red, yellow, white and blue. The pines, so tall and regal,

Their shadowy branches wave, Like plume-crowned pillars standing

Round a mighty monarch's grave. Less sorrowful than stately,

Those dark unbending trees Give out a silv'ry murmur

To the gentle evening breeze.

From Fraser's Magazine. A SPRING CAROL. The spring's free sunshine falleth

Like balm upon the heart : And care and fear, dull shadows !

Are hastening to depart. Oh! time of resurrection

From sadness unto bliss ; From death, decay, and silence,

To loveliness like this. Oh! season of rejoicing,

That fills my heart and brain With visions such as never,

Methought, should come again. Oh! blessed time, renewing

The light that childhood wore; Till thought, and hope, and feeling,

Grow earnest as of yore!
Though youth has faded from me,

Perchance before its time,
Like a flower, pale and blighted,

Amid its gayest prime;
Though now I value lightly

The noisy joys of life, And deem its vain ambition

A mad and useless strife, Thank God! the fount of feeling

Hath deep, exhaustless springs, And the love once poured so freely

On frail and worldly things, Is now more freely given

To the blossoms of the sod,

In this season of life's triumph

Man's spirit hath a share,
It can see the grave unclosing,

Yet feel all ends not there.
It smiles to see the conquest

Of beauty o'er decay,
With the merry lark up-soaring

It greets the dawning day.
Not vainly by such gladness

The poet's heart is stirred, These sights and sounds not vainly

By him are seen and heard. All fears that crowded o'er him,

Like clouds asunder roll, Spring's hope and joyful promise

Sink deep into his soul.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »