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Poems to be Remembered.
ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.
In the first part of this poem (contained in the January number), the poet notices the Eton boys playing their different sports, possessing gay hope, buxom health, and light slumbers that disappear as morning approaches. He now attempts to look into the future, and see that these boys will have their share of the cares and troubles of humanity.
LAS! regardless of their doom,
No sense have they of ills to come,
Yet see how all around them wait
The ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train.
The "murderous band are the "fury passions" he mentions in the next verse, and the "painful family of death" (meaning human diseases), which he alludes to in a verse following. Some shall have their youth wasted with pining love, others will become careworn men; some will give themselves up to raging tempers, others will have their minds borne down with sorrow.
These shall the fury passions tear,'
The vultures of the mind-
And Shame, that skulks behind;
That inly gnaws the secret heart;
The poet next pictures out those who will be the prey of Ambition, Falsehood, Remorse, and Madness. Some will rise to honours in the State, but when they have attained the giddy elevation, be hurled from power; others will suffer from a father's or a wife's unkindness; and some even of that happy group, afflicted with "moody madness laughing wild," will end their days in a lunatic asylum.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
That mocked the tear it forced to flow;
But the "murderous band is not yet complete. The "painful family of death" yet remains to plague these unfortunate children born into a world of misery. This boy will have his limbs racked with rheumatism or the gout; this will be laid up for weeks with a dreadful fever; others will be brought to feel the pangs of want; and others will die of old age.
Lo in the vale of tears beneath
A grisly troop are seen
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen :
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
Those in the deeper vitals rage!
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
And slow consuming age.
The poet concludes that all men have their share of suffering-that we are condemned alike to groan." He sees the folly of presenting to those happy Eton boys any such gloomy forebodings as he has been casting. For his motto, "Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise," we will substitute one that will do more to act as a medicine in human woes, and which aptly rebukes the whole tenour of this composition, "Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof."
To each his sufferings; all are men,
The unfeeling for his own.
Yet, ah! why should they know their fate,
And Happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their Paradise.
[Those who appreciate this manner of opening up the meaning of poetry to children, will find the most popular poems in the language so dealt with in John Heywood's Explanatory Book of Standard Poetry, 160 pages, price One Shilling.]
Remarks on the Bible.
HAVE been acquainted somewhat with men and books, and have had long experience in learning and in the world. There is no book like the Bible for excellence, learning, wisdom, and use; and it is want of understanding in them that think or speak otherwise.— Sir Matthew Hale.
Is it possible that He whose history the Gospel records can be but a man? Do we find that He assumed the tone of an enthusiast, or ambitious sectary? What sweetness, what purity in His manners, what an affecting gracefulness in His instructions, what sublimity in His maxims, what profound wisdom in His discourses, what. presence of mind in His replies, how great the command over passion! Where is the man, where the philosopher, who could so live and so die, without weakness and without ostentation ?-Jean Jacques Rousseau (an infidel writer).
Its very presence as a believed book has rendered these nations emphatically a chosen race, and this, too, in exact proportion as it is more or less generally studied. Of these nations, which in the highest degree enjoy its influences, it is not too much to affirm that the differences, public and private, physical, moral, and intellectual, are only less than might be expected from a diversity of species. Good and holy men, and the best and wisest of mankind, the kingly spirits of history, enthroned in the hearts of mighty nations, have borne witness to its influences, have declared it to be, beyond compare, the most perfect instrument, the only adequate organ of humanity; the organ and instrument of all the gifts, powers, and tendencies by which the individual is privileged to rise above himself.-G. T. Coleridge. Within this awful volume lies The mystery of mysteries; Happiest they of human race, To whom their God has given grace To read, to fear, to hope, to pray, To lift the latch and force the way:
And better had they ne'er been born
Than read to doubt, or read to scorn.-Sir W. Scott.
OR several years Columbus followed the movements of the court, continually flattered with hopes of success. At this period he engaged in military operations in the war against the Moors, and is said to have distinguished himself by his personal prowess. During this time, Columbus partly sup
ported himself by drawing maps and charts, and partly by sums which were granted him by the Spanish sovereigns, Ferdinand and Isabella. At present they were too busy in their wars with the Moors to attend to his proposition concerning the discovery of a new route to India.
(1491.)-Columbus now turned to other princes to see if they would aid him in his enterprise. By all he was treated with respect, and his project considered; but none would venture to help him in carrying it into effect. He was on the point of quitting Spain for Italy, but one of his friends, who had been confessor to the queen, persuaded him to remain till he should make a final appeal to her, and see what her answer would be.
This answer was as favourable as Columbus himself could wish, and he was again summoned to court; this time to explain his project to Queen Isabella. Ferdinand and Isabella were joint sovereigns of Spain: Ferdinand was prudent and cautious, Isabella more enthusiastic and warm-hearted. He arrived at the court just at the time when Granada had surrendered to the Spanish arms, and shouts of triumph rent the air. The two sovereigns were now prepared to seriously consider his proposal, and some of the highest persons of the land were appointed to confer with him. Columbus demanded that he should be admiral of the fleet, and viceroy over the countries he should discover, and should have one-tenth of all gains, either by trade or conquest.
The courtiers who treated with him were indignant at such a demand from one whom they had considered a needy adventurer. One observed, with a sneer, that it was a shrewd arrangement, whereby he was certain of the profits and honours of a command and had nothing to lose in case of failure. To this Colombus promptly replied, by offering to furnish one-eighth of the cost on condition of enjoying one-eighth of the profits. His terms, however, were pronounced inadmissible, and others were offered of more moderate nature, but he refused to cede one point of his demands, and the negotiation was broken off.
Columbus now resolved to abandon Spain for ever; but another appeal was made to the queen. The generous spirit of Isabella was enkindled, and it seemed as if the subject, for the first time, broke upon her mind in its real grandeur. She declared her resolution to undertake the enterprise, but paused for a moment, remembering that King Ferdinand looked coldly on the scheme, and that the royal treasury was absolutely drained by the war with the Moors. Her suspense was but for a moment. With an enthusiasm worthy of herself, and of the cause, she exclaimed-"I undertake the enterprise for my own crown of Castile, and will pledge my jewels to raise the necessary funds." (She was by right of birth queen of Castile, and Ferdinand king of Arragon; in 1474 she married Ferdinand, and the two provinces were united under one government; in 1512 all the Moorish possessions were taken; and thus the whole of Spain was governed by one sovereign.) This was the proudest moment in the life of Isabella: it stamped her renown for ever as the patroness of the discovery of the New World.
Columbus was proceeding out of Spain when he was overtaken by a courier sent by the queen, requesting him to return. He hesitated for a moment to subject himself again to the delays and equivocations of the court; but when he was informed that Isabella had positively undertaken the enterprise and pledged her royal word, every doubt was dispelled; he turned the reins of his mule, and hastened back joyfully to Santa Fé, confiding implicitly in the noble probity of that princess.
(1492.) He had then an immediate audience of the queen, and the kindness with which she received him atoned for all past neglect. Through deference to the zeal she thus suddenly