« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Of sufferings the poor
I soon perceived another boy,
Food for that day at least, enjoy
LAMB's Essays of Elia.
The Angel of the Iceberg.
BY THE REV. JOHN TODD.
IN TWO PARTS.
PART II. T was now the Arctic summer. The sun just swung round the horizon; and though it was still dreary, yet light had come, and light is everywhere beautiful and carries beauty with it. Ice-melter determined to take advantage of the Arctic summer. So away he sped to the land of giants, where they work on an anvil so
huge that a ship of war could not carry one, and where a volcano was the fire at which each one worked. Here, by great promises, and by telling them what a glorious work was to be done, he obtained a great army of giants. Each one was as tall as a mountain-pine, and carried a hammer with a handle as long as the mast of a ship, and a head on the handle so heavy that it would break open a rock as if it were an egg.
When they were all on the iceberg, arranged in a row, with their coats off, and their sleeves rolled up, impatient to begin, Ice-melter thought he would make a little speech to them.
“My friends," he said, "I want to clear this great sea of all this ice. I have been at work here alone for ten years ; I have tried wood and fire, and the heat seems to fly off in the wind, and I have lost my labour. But you, giants, with those brawny arms, and
those huge hammers will, in a single year, I doubt not, destroy all this ice, and pound these mountains till they sink out of sight for ever.
You are the very men for it !” The giants gave a loud shout, and their leader, who could have tossed a yoke of oxen over the river, made signs to begin ; but alas ! who ever undertook something new, without finding it more difficult than he had expected ? Their hammers were found to be so smooth that they would glance off the ice and hit one another; and many a broken arm had to be mended and healed. Then the cold made the handles of their hammers so brittle that they broke easily, and it took them about half of their time to mend the handles. Then the glare of the ice, as it flew in fragments, made them blind, so that they could not see one another, and they as often hit one another as they did the ice. At the end of the summer it seemed as if they had made some impression, and if the summer would only linger a little longer, and if they could have strength to work a little harder, the iceberg would be conquered.
But just then came on a drizzling rain, with sleet, and then it all froze up for the long winter as hard as ever! The ice was all there. They had only brought down a few of the lower peaks, while the great mass under water was untouched. So they hammered for ten long years ; and then, as the result of the rains and snows, the iceberg was actually larger than when they began. So Ice-melter was discouraged, and took his giants back to their country, little satisfied with their work.
Thus, in one way and another, with one plan after another, Ice-melter toiled on through years and centuries. He was never out of temper, never idle. At one time, a terrible storm came on, and the different icebergs were floating, and heaving, and crashing, and grinding one another with awful force. In the midst of it he saw a ship driven in amidst the ice. The men, who crowded her decks, helpless, and stricken with terror, ran hither and thither, shouting, shrieking, and praying. She came close to the spot where Ice-melter stood, and he was just stretching out his hand to save some of them, when the two great mountains of ice rolled together, and in an instant the ship was crushed, as if she was the egg of a robin. One single shriek of woe mingled with the storm, and all was hushed where the ship
lay. “Oh!” said the angel, "if I could only melt these icebergs
In the meantime the iceberg was slowly drifting southwards. In the course of several centuries, it had moved several hundred miles from the place of its birth. All this while the faithful angel had worked at it and tried to melt it. At one time he hit
upon the plan of melting it by covering it over with furs. So he searched through the world, and brought the most costly and the warmest furs anywhere 'to be found. But alas ! he found that the furs stuck to the ice, and only tended to make the iceberg larger and higher.
At length, after ages of toil, the angel became utterly discouraged. He was convinced that he had undertaken what he could never accomplish. He therefore prayed that he might be permitted to resign a task which it was not possible for him to accomplish.
There is a river in the ocean—a great, wide, deep river. It runs thousands of miles. Its waters are deep blue and very warm. "They never alter. It comes from the middle of the earth, and runs north through all the ocean. The water is so warm and the colour so different from the rest of the ocean, that men can see the line, and know the moment they have struck the river. It is as old as creation, and the work of God Himself -the Gulf Stream.
Towards this river, unknown to Ice-melter, his iceberg had long been floating. Even while he was offering his prayer, the iceberg had entered the river. In a moment he felt that the air was becoming warm and balmy. He heard the ripple of the waters around his floating mountain, and the ice cracking and falling off in small pieces. He saw that a power was at work from the bottom, and not on the top merely, and that this power was to conquer. It made no noise. It embraced the iceberg like a loving mother; and that creature of storms and of winters, which neither giants nor angels .could melt or break, gently melted away, as if going to sleep in its warm cradle,
One by one, the lofty peaks began to settle down, and the great mass to grow less and less. With the deepest interest the angel watched it as it floated gently in the current of the river, till at last only one of its pinnacles stood out of water, and then it was
gone! He watched a little longer, and saw his iceberg emerging
That the human heart is, by nature, cold and frozen ;
And the storm-winds laugh with glee ;
Out on the roaring sea !
Let us lowly bend the knee,
Out on the roaring sea.
And the rocks as iron be ;
Up from the roaring sea.
With banners flaunting free;
Out on the roaring sea.
Comes like a sudden knell;
Ah, sadly the tale to tell.
The billows around her swell;
Whose end the storm shall kneil.
Oh ! dooméd ship from the sunny isles,
To thee sad fate is given,
Below the darkened heaven;
On wrecks o'er the ocean driven ;
Below the darkened heaven.
Shrieks from the ship! ah, woe the day !
It is a mother's cry ;
Are on her decks to die.
They heaved the exiles' sigh ;
And came, alas ! to die.
See ! on the roaring breakers now
The gallant ship is borne ;
Her timbers huge are torn;
With hiss of savage scorn ;
On darkest billows borne.
Where now her ruined form ? 'Tis gone,
And the wild waves mad with glee,
Up from the roaring sea.
And the breakers sing " Ah, me !"
Down in the roaring sea.
'Tis past; the dismal storm no more
Its revel rude is keeping ;
And the dawn's sad dews are weeping ;