Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Scarcely had he spoken the words, when he touched the swan with his lyre, and sounded upon it the note of the immortals. The sound thrilled ravishingly through the bird of Apollo, and he poured forth his song on the strings of the god of beauty. Gratefully and joyfully he sang of the beautiful sun, the resplendent sea, and his own innocent, peaceful life. Soft as his own soft form was the melodious song; he drew long waves of sound in sweet, languishing tones, until at last he found himself in Elysium, at the feet of Apollo, in all his true celestial beauty, The song which was denied to him in his lifetime had become his swan-song, which was softly to unloose his limbs and dissolve him in death; for he had heard the tone of the immortals, and seen the countenance of a god. Gratefully he bowed himself before the feet of Apollo, and listened to his divine tones; and now, too, his faithful spouse arrived, who had mourned his departure in a sweet song, and after his death had followed him to paradise. The goddess of innocence chose both of them as her favourites ;-as the beautiful team of her pearly chariot when she bathes in the sea of youth.

Have patience, ob quiet, hoping heart! What is denied to thee in life, because thou couldst not bear it, the happy moment of death bestows.-From the German.

i

GELALEDDIN OF BASSORA,

In the time when Bassora was considered the school of Asia, and flourished by the reputation of its professors, and the confluence of its students, among the pupils that listened round the chair of Albumazar was Gelaleddin, a native of Tauris in Persia, a young man, amiable in his manners and beautiful in his form, of boundless curiosity, incessant dili. gence, and irresistible genius; of quick apprehension and tenacious memory, accurate without narrowness, and eager for novelty without inconstancy.

No sooner did Gelaleddin appear at Bassora, than his virtues and abilities raised him to distinction. He passed from class to class, rather admired than envied by those whom the rapidity of his progress left behind; he was consulted by his fellow-students as an oraculous guide, and admitted as a competent auditor to the conference of the Sages.

After a few years, having passed through all the exer. cises of probation, Gelaleddin was invited to a professor's seat, and entreated to increase the splendour of Bassora. Gelaleddin affected to deliberate on the proposal, with which, before he considered it, he resolved to comply; and next morning retired to a garden planted for the recreation of the students, and, entering a solitary walk, began to meditate upon his future life.

“If I am thus eminent (said he) in the regions of litera. ture, I shall be yet more conspicuous in any other place : if I should now devote myself to study and retirement, I must pass my life in silence, unacquainted with the delights of wealth, the influence of power, the pomp of greatness, and the charms of elegance, with all that man envies and desires, with all that keeps the world in motion, by the hope of gaining or the fear of losing it. I will therefore depart to Tauris, where the Persian monarch resides in all the splendour of absolute dominion ; my reputation will fly before me, my arrival will be congratulated by my kinsmen and my friends. I shall see the eyes of those who predicted my greatness sparkling with exultation, and the faces of those that once despised me clouded with envy, or counterfeiting kindness by artificial smiles. I will show my wisdom by my discourse, and my moderation by my silence; I will instruct the modest with easy gentleness, and repress the ostentatious by seasonable superciliousness. My apartments will be crowded by the inquisitive and the vain, by those that honour and those that rival me; my name will soon reach the court; I shall stand before the throne of the emperor; the judges of the law will confess my wisdom, and the nobles will contend to heap gifts upon me. If I shall find that my merit, like that of others. excites malignity, or feel myself tottering on the seat of elevation, I may at last retire to academical obscurity, and become, in my lowest state, a professor of Bassora.”

Having thus settled his determination, he declared to his friends his design of visiting Tauris, and saw, with more pleasure than he ventured to express, the regret with which he was dismissed. He could not bear to delay the honours to which he was destined; and therefore hasted away, and in a short time entered the capital of Persia. He was immediately immersed in the crowd, and passed unobserved to his father's house. He entered, and was received, though not unkindly, yet without any excess of fondness, or exclamations of rapture. His father had, in his absence, suffered many losses; and Gelaleddin was considered as an additional burden to a falling family.

When he recovered from his surprise, he began to display his acquisitions, and practised all the arts of narration and disquisition; but the poor have no leisure to be pleased with eloquence; they heard his arguments without reflection, and his pleasantries without a smile. He then applied himself singly to his brothers and sisters, but found them all chained down by invariable attention to their own fortunes, and insensiblc of any other excellence than that which could bring some remedy for indigence.

It was now known in the neighbourhood that Gelaleddin was returned ; and he sat for some days in expectation that the learned would visit him for consultation, or the great for entertainment. But who will be pleased or instructed in the mansions of poverty ? He then frequented places of public resort, and endeavoured to attract notice by the copiousness of his talk. The sprightly were silenced, and went away to censure in some other place his arrogance and his pedantry; and the dull listened quietly for a while, and then wondered why any man should take pains to obtain so much knowledge which would never do him good.

He next solicited the viziers for employment, not doubting but his service would be eagerly accepted. He was told by one that there was no vacancy in his office; by another, that his merit was above any patronage but that of the emperor; by a third, that he would not forget him; and by the chief vizier, that he did not think literature of any great use in public business. He was sometimes ad. mitted to their tables, where he exerted his wit and diffused his knowledge; but he observed, that where, by endeavour or accident, he had remarkably excelled, he was seldom invited a second time.

He now returned to Bassora, wearied and disgusted; but confident of resuming his former rank, and revelling again in satiety of praise. But he who had been neglected at Tauris was not much regarded at Bassora. He was considered as a fugitive, who returned only because he could live in no other place; his companions found that they had formerly over-rated his abilities, and he lived long without notice or esteem. - The Idler.

A LESSON FROM NATURE.

AFTER a day spent in hard study, Herbert, with flushed cheek and beating heart, lay down to rest. Being of an active mind, and feeling an intense desire for knowledge, he sought it with an eagerness that could brook no delay; and his health, which was far from strong, was already beginning to give way under exertions too great for his young mind.

“Would,” he passionately cried, “that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge were at once within my grasp ;—that, instead of wearily toiling step by step. I could at once reach the summit of the ladder of Fame !!!

When, after many a long and wakeful hour, sleep at length pressed her welcome sceptre upon his eyelids, a host of dreamy visions presented themselves to his excited imagination.

A soft light was suddenly shed around, and delightful fragrance filled the air, and Herbert heard a sweet voice bid him “Follow !” and, though he could not tell from whom it came, he felt compelled, as by some invisible power, to obey the command.

“Say, who art thou ?” he tremblingly asked.

“I,” replied the voice, “ am the good genius,-Perseverance, who presided at thy birth : my bitter enemy, Impatience, has for many a long year usurped my sceptre ; but I have at length conquered, and she shall bear rule no more. I heard thee wish that, without trouble or effort on thy part, thou couldst at once attain what thou most covetest.-Know, this is impossible! Follow: and I will show thee how it is in nature.”

Herbert soon felt the soft breeze fanning his brow, and found that he was threading the winding paths of a green copse.

“ See,” said his invisible guide, “ yon little bird, which is darting into a hole in the trunk of that plane-tree, with a straw in his beak. Now he has flown out again, and again returned. What has he now ?-a tuft of moss. That little bird is building his nest. Many a weary journey to and fro must he make ere the nest will be completed. Strange that he abandons not, in despair, the arduous task ! But no : when once it is finished, and the mottled eggs are laid within it, nought can tempt the patient little creature to withdraw, even for a moment, the shelter of her fostering wings; for Instinct has taught her that, if she were to do so, her offspring would be sacrificed. And, when they are hatched, with what tender care do the parent-birds supply their young with food!

“Behold the spider, busily engaged in hanging his web among the long grass. How often must he trace and retrace the same giddy circle, ere the beautiful fabric can be completed, with a neatness and regularity which no human hand could excel, even though aided by rule and compass; and then (concealed beneath the dew-bespangled web), with untiring patience, the spider watches for his prey!

“Look at the industrious bee! How many a blossom must he rifle ere he can obtain sufficient honey to fill one cell ;-and how long before the wax,-likewise col. lected with laborious industry,—is of quantity enough to form the comb!

“ The trees which now make a verdant bower over your head, were, but a few months ago, perfectly bare; but, by degrees, the bud swelled and burst, and each naked twig was clothed with countless leaves.

« Think how many and wondrous are the changes, ere the little grain of corn is converted into a full and golden ear! Long it lies in the damp earth, -till at last a tender sprout rises from the spot where it was buried; and it must then be tended by sun and shower, for many a long month, ere it be fit for the sickle.

“ See the spring bubbling at your feet !”

Herbert beheld it sprinkling the grass and flowers, and followed the silver thread with his eye.

“Its origin," continued the voice, “is humble and small; yet observe how it increases by degrees, till it widens from a rivulet to a stream,—and yet, further on, from a stream into a mighty river, bearing upon its rippling bosom many a tall, majestic vessel,—till it is lost in the boundless ocean !"

“I see, I see !" cried the youth: “ I will be the streamlet ;-) the mighty river!”

“Wait yet awhile,” interrupted the voice; "I have still more to show thee.”

Herbert was told to look up to the clear blue sky; and

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »