Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

6. ; I observe the sagacity of animals; I call it instinct, and speculate upon its various degrees of approximation to the reason of man. But, after all, I know as little of the cogitations of the brute as he does of mine. When I see a flight of birds overhead, performing their evolutions, or steering their course to some distant settlement, their signals and cries are as unintelligible to me as are the learned languages to the unlettered rustic; I understand as little of their policy and laws, as they do of Blackstone's Commentaries.

7. “ But, leaving the material creation, my thoughts have often ascended to loftier subjects, and indulged in metaphysical speculation. And here, while I easily perceive in myself the two distinct qualities of matter and nind, I am bafiled in every attempt to comprehend their mutual dependence and mysterious connection. When my hand moves in obedience to my will, have I the most distant conception of the manner in which the volition is either communicated or understood ? Thus, in the exercise of one of the most simple and ordinary actions, I am perplexed and confounded if I attempt to account for it.

8. “ Again, how many years of my life were devoted to the acquisition of those languages by the means of which I might explore the records of remote ages, and become familiar with the learning and literature of other times! And what have I gathered from these, but the mortifying fact that man has ever been struggling with his own impotence, and vainly endeavoring to overleap the bounds which limit his anxious inquiries ?

9. “Alas! then, what have I gained by my laborious researches, but a humbling conviction of my weakness and ignorance? How little has man, at his best estate, of which to boast! What folly in hiin to glory in his contracted powers, or to value himself upon his imperfect acquisitions !”.

10. “ Well,” exclaimed a young lady, just returned from school, “ my education is at last finished ! — indeed, it would be strange if, after five years'l'l hard application, anything were left incomplete. Happily, that is all over now; and I have nothing to do but to exercise my various accomplishments.

11. “Let me see! — As to French, I am mistress of that, and speak it, if possible, with more fluency than English Italian I can read with ease, and pronounce very will; as well, at least, as any of my friends, — and that is all one need wish for in Itala ian. Music I have learned till I am perfectly sick of it. But, now that we have a grand piano, it will be delightful to play when we have company; I must still continue to practise a

little; — the only thing, I think, that I need now improve myself in. And then there are my Italian songs! which everybody allows I sing with taste; and, as it is what so few people can pretend to, I am particularly glad that I can.

12. “My drawings are universally admired, -- especially the shells and Howers, which are beautiful certainly: besides this, I have a decided taste in all kinds of fancy ornaments. And then my dancing and waltzing, in which our master himself owned that he could take me no further; — just the figure for it, certainly! it would be unpardonable if I did not excel.

13. “ As to common things, — geography, and history, and poetry, and philosophy, - thank my stars, I have got through them all! so that I may consider myself not only perfectly accomplished, but also thoroughly well informed. — Well, to be sure, how much I have fagged through! — the only wonder is, that one head can contain it all ! ”

JANE TAYLOR.

XVIII. — THE POOR EXILE. 1. May Heaven guide the poor exile !81 He goes wandering over the earth. I have passed through various countries; their inhabitants have seen me, and I have seen them ; but we have not known each other. The exile is everywhere alone! - When at the decline of day I saw the smoke of some cottage rise from the bosom of a valley, I said, “ Happy is he who returns at evening to his fireside, and seats himself among those he loves!" The exile is everywhere alone!

2. Whence come those clouds driven by the storm ? It drives me along like them. But what matters it? The exile is everywhere alone! Those trees are noble, those flowers are beautiful; but they are not the flowers nor the trees of my country; to me they say nothing. The exile is everywhere alone! That stream flows gently over the meadow, but its murmur is not that which my childhood heard. To me it recalls no remembrances. The exile is everywhere alone!

3. Those songs are sweet; but the sorrows and the joys which they awake are not my sorrows nor my joys. The exile is everywhere alone! I have been asked, “Why weepest thou?" but when I have told, no one has wept; for no one understood me. I'he exile is everywhere alone! I have seen old men surrounded by children, as the olive by its branches; but none of those old men called me his son, none of those children called me his brother. The exile is everywhere alone.

4. I have seen young girls smile, with a smile as pure as the dawn, on him they had chosen for a husband; but not one smiled on me. The exile is everywhere alone! I have seen young men heart to heart, embrace each other, as if they wished to have only one existence; but not one pressed my hand.

The exile is everywhere alone! There are friends, wives, fathers, brothers, only in one's own country. The exile is everywhere alone!

5. Poor exile! cease to lament. Every one is banished like thyself; every one beholds father, mother, wife, friend, pass away and vanish. Our country is not here below; man seeks for it here in vain; that which he mistakes for it is only a resting. place for a night. Heaven guide the poor exile! He goes wandering over the earth.

LAMENNAIS

XIX. — THE SEASONS.

1. When Spring comes with suns and showers,
What gives beauty to the bowers ?

Buds and flowers.
2. When the glowing Summer 's born,
What pours136 Nature from her horn?

Ilay and corn 3. When mild suns in Autumn shine, Then, O Earth, what gifts are thine ?

Fruit and wine 4. When gray Winter comes, what glow Makes the round earth sparkle so?

Ice and snow. 5. Hay and corn and buds and flowers,

Snow and ice and fruit and wine;
Spring and Summer, Fall and Winter,
With their suns and sleets and showers,

Bring in turn these gifts divine.
6. Spring blows, Summer glows,

Autumn reaps, Winter keeps.
Spring prepares, Summer provides,

Autumn hoards, Winter hides.
7. Come, then, friends, their praises sound;

Spring and Suinmer, Autumn, Winter,
Summer, Autunn, Winter, Spring,
As they run their yearly round,
Each in turn with gladness sing!
Time drops blessing nils he lies,
Time makes ripe, and Time makes wise.

SCHOTTEL,

XX. — THOUGIIT AND DEED.
1. Full many a light thought man may cherish,

Full many an idle deed may do ;
Yet not a deed or thought shall perish,

Not one but he shall bless or rue.
2. When by the wind the tree is shaken,91

There's not a bough or leaf can fall,
But of its falling heed is taken

By One that sees and governs all.
3. The tree may fall and be forgotten,

And buried in the earth remain ;
Yet from its juices rank and rotten

Springs vegetating life again.
4. The world is with creation teeming,

And nothing ever wholly dies ;
And things that are destroyed in seeming

In other shapes and forms arise.
5. And nature still unfolds the tissue

Of upseen works by spirit wrought;
And not a work but hath its issue

With blessing or with evil fraught.

6. And thou mayst seem to leave behind thee

All memory of the sinful past;
Yet, O! be sure thy sin shall find thee,

And thou shalt know its fruit at last

XXI. — THOUGIITS TO DWELL ON.

1. — LIFE. The mere lapse of years is not life. To eat, and drink, and sleep; to be exposed to darkness and the light; to pace around the mill of habit and turn the wheel 13 of wealth; to make reason our book-keeper, and turn thought into an implement of trade, 13? -- this is not life. In all this, but a poor fraction of the consciousness of humanity is awakened ; and the sanctities still slumber which make it most worth while to be.

Knowledge, truth, love, beauty, goodness, faith, alone give vitality to the mechanism” of existence The laugh of mirth which vibrates through the heart; the tears which freshen” the dry wastes within ; the music which brings childhood back; the prayer that calls the future near; the doubt which makes us meditate; the death which startles us with mystery; the hardships that force us to struggle; the anxiety that ends in trust, — these are the true nourishments of our natural being.

2. — ENDURING INFLUENCE OF HUMAN ACTIONS. We see not in life the end of human actions. The influence never dies. In ever widening circle it reaches beyond the grave. Death removes us from this to an eternal world ; time determines what shall be our condition in that world. Every morning, when we go forth, we lay the moulding hand on our destiny; and every evening, when we have done, we have left a deathless impression upon our character. We touch not a wire but vibrates in eternity - a voice but reports at the Throne of God. Let youth especially think of these things; and let every one remember that in this world character is in its formationstate -- it is a serious thing to think, to speak, to act.

3. — Now. " Now" is the constant syllable ticking from the clock of time. “Now" is the watch-word of the wise. “Now" is on the banner of the prudent. Let us keep this little word always in our mind; and, whenever anything presents itself to us in the shape of work, whether mental or physical, let us do it with all our might, remembering that “Now" is the only time for us. It is indeed a sorry way to get through the world by putting off a duty till to-morrow, saying, “Then I will do it.” No! this will never answer. “Now" is ours; “then” may never be.

4.- FIDELITY IN LITTLE Things. Great virtues are rare; the occasions for them are very rare : and, when they do occur, we are prepared for them; we are excited by the grandeur of the sacrifice; we are supported either by the splendor of the deed in the eyes of the world, or by the self-complacency that we experience from the performance of an uncommon action. Little things are unforeseen; they return every moment, they come in contact with our pride, our indo lence," our haughtiness, our readiness to take offence; they con tradict our inclinations perpetually. It is, however, only by fidelity in little things that a true and constant love to God can be distinguished from a passing fervor of spirit.

5. — IMPERCEPTIBLE FORMATION OF Habits. Like flakes of snow that fall unperceived upon the earth, the seemingly unimportant events of lifo succeed one another. As

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »