Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

8. O, for the garb that marked the boy

The trousers made of corduroy,"

Well inked with black and red ,
The crown less hat, ne'er deemed an ill —
It only let the sunshine still

Repose upon niy head!

9. 0, for the lessons learned by heart!
Ay, though the very birch's smart

Should mark those hours again;
I'd " kiss the rod," and be resigned
Beneath the stroke, and even find

Some sugar in the cane!

10. When that I was a tiny boy,

My days and nights were full of joy,

My mates were blithe and kind!
No wonder that I sometimes sigh,
And dash the tear-drop from my eye,

To cast a look behind! Tbomas Boob.

% *

XLIX. — ADDRESS TO THE INDOLENT.

From "the Castle" Of Indolence."

1. Is not the field with lively culture green

A sight more joyous than the dead morass'?
Do not the skies, with active e'ther clean,
And fanned by sprightly zephyrs, far surpass
The foul November" fogs, and slumberous mass,
With which sad Nature veils her drooping face 1
Does not the mountain-stream, as clear as glass,
Gay dancing on, the putrid pool disgrace ? —
The same in all holds true, but chiel in human net.

2. It was not by vile loitering in ease

That Greece1' obtained the brighter palm" of art,
That soft yet ardent Athens" learnt to please,
To keen" the wit, and to sublime the heart, —
In all supreme! complete in every part!
It was not thence majestic Rome" arose,
And o'er the nations shook her conquering dart!
For sluggard's brow the laurel" never grows;
Renown is not the child of indolent repose.

3. Had unambitious mortals minded naught
But in loose joy their time to wear away, —
Had they alone the lap of dalliance sought,
Pleased on her pillow their dull heads to lay, —

Rnde Nature's state had been our118 state to-day;

No cities iver1' their towery fronts had raised,

No arts had made us opulent and gay;

With hrother-brutes the human race had grazed,

None e'er had soared to fame, none honored been, none praised.

4. But should your hearts to fame unfeeling be,
If right I read, you pleasure all require:
Then see how best may be obtained this fee,
How best enjoyed this, nature's wide desire.
Toil, and be glad! let Industry inspire
Into your quickened limbs her buoyant" breath!
Who does not act is dead ; — absorpt" entire
In miry sloth, no pride, no joy he hath;
0, leaden-hearted men, to be m love with death!

. Ah! what avail the largest gifts of Heaven,30
When drooping health and spirits go amiss?
How tasteless then whatever can be given!
Health is the vital principle of bhss,
And exercise of health. In proof of this,
Behold the wretch who slugs" his life away,
Soon swallowed in disease's sad abyss,
While he whom toil has braced, or manly play,
Has light as air each limb, each thought as clear as day.

0, who can speak the vigorous joy of health, —

Unclogged the body, unobscured the mind?

The morning rises gay, with pleasing stealth,

The temperate evening falls serene and kind.

In health the wiser brutes true.gladness:" find.

See! how the younglings frisk along the meads,

As May" comes on, and wakes the balmy57 wind ;u8

Rampant with life, their joy all joy exceeds:

Yet what but high-strung health this dancing pleasauncfcTM breed)

7. There are,1881 see, who listen to my lay, Who wretched sigh for virtue, yet despair.

"All may be done," methinks I hear them say,

"Even death despised by generous actions fair, —

All, but for those who to these bowers repair!

Their every power dissolved in luxury,

To quit of torpid sluggishness the lair,

And from the powerful arms of sloth get free—<40

'T is rising from the dead : — Alas ! — it cannot be!"

8. Would you, then, learn to dissipate the band
Of these huge threatening difficulties dire,158
That in the weak man's way like lions stand,
His soul appall,24 and damp his rising fire?

Resolve, — resolve! and to be men aspire.
Exert that noblest privilege, — alone
Here to mankind"" mdulged : — control desire.
Let godlike Reason, from her sovereign throne,
Speak the commanding word, 1 will.' — and it is done.

[ocr errors][merged small]

1. Among the disciples of Hillel, the wise teacher of the son? of Israel, was one named Saboth, who was averse to labor; and he gave himself up to sloth and idleness. But Hillel sorrowed over the youth, and resolved to turn him from the error of his ways. For this purpose, he led him out into the valley of

full of worms and insects, and covered with slimy weeds.

2. When they reached the valley, Hillel laid his staff upon the ground and said, "We will rest here on our way." But the youth wondered, and answered, " How, master! by this loathsome pool? Dost thou not see the poisonous vapcr that ascends therefrom?"—"Thou art right, my son !" answered the teacher; "this pool is like the soul of the sluggard. Who would tarry near it?"

3. Hillel now led the youth to a barren field, upon which grew naught but thorns and thistles, that choked the wheat54 and the healthful herbs. Hillel here leaned upon his staff, and said, "Behold, the soil of this field is good, and it is able to bring forth useful and salutary fruits. But it has been forgotten and neglected. Therefore it now produces prickly thorns and thistles, and poisonous weeds; snakes and toads dwell therein. In the pool thou didst see the soul,118 here recognize the lile of the sluggard."

4. Then Saboth was filled with shame and repentance, and he said, "Master, wherefore" dost thou lead me into these waste and dreary places? They are the rebuking emblems of my soul and of my life." And Hillel said, "As thou wouldst not hearken to my words, I have tried whether the voice of Nature would not speak with greater power to thee."

5. Saboth then clasped his teacher's hand, and said, " O, it has penetrated my heart, and thou wilt, henceforth, see that a new life has arisen within me." And so it was. Saboth became an active and industrious youth. Hillel then led him into a fair and fertile valley, by the banks of a clear stream, which flowed in pleasant windings between fruitful treef, flowering meadows, and dark-green hushes.

[graphic]

6. 1 Behold," said the old man to tho delighted youth, "the emblem of thy new and active life! Nature, which hath warned thee, may now reward thee also."—" And mine own heart," replied the yoath, with emotion, "and the approbation of my faithful teacher." The charms and beauty of Nature can truly delight him only who in her life views his own.

FROM THE GERMAN

LI. — A CHASE ON THE ICE.

L During the winter of 1844, being in the northern part of Maine, I had much leisure for the sports of a new country. To none was I more passionately addicted than to skating. The sequestered lakes, frozen by intense" cold, offer a wide plain to the lovers of this pastime. Often65 would I bind on my skates, and glide away up the glittering river, threading every mazy streamlet that flowed on toward" the parent ocean, and feeling every pulse boand with the joyous exercise. It was during one of these excursions that an adventure befell me, that I can rarely think upon, evon now, without a certain thrill of astonishment."

2. I had left a friend's house one evening, just before dusk, with the intention of skating a short distance up the noble Kennebec, which, under its icy crust, flowed directly before the door.37 The air was clear, calm, and bracing. The new moon silvered the lofty pines, and the stars twinkled with rare brilliancy from their dark-blue depths. In the stillness, the solitude and magnificence of the scene, there was an effect almost preternatural upon the mind. I had gone up the river nearly two miles, when, coming to a little stream which emptied into a larger, I turned in to explore its course. Fir and hemlock trees of a century's" growth met overhead, and formed an evergreen archway, radiant with frost-work.

3. All was dark within; but I was young and fearless, and, as I peered into the unbroken forest," I laughed in very joyousness. My wild" hurra rang through the woods, and I stood listening to the echo" that reverberated again and again, until all was hushed. Occasionally from some tall oak a night-bird would flap its wings. I watched the owls" as they fluttered by, and I held my breath to listen to their distant hooting.

4. All of a sudden,91 a sound arose, which seemed to proceed from the very ice beneath my feet. It was loud and tremendous at first, and ended in a long yell. I was appalled. Coming on the ear amid such an unbroken solitude, it sounded like a blast from an infernal trumpet. Presently I heard the twigs on the shore" snap as if from the tread of some animal. The blood rushed to my forehead with a bound that made my skin burn; but 1 felt a strange relief that I had to contend with things of earthly and not spiritual mould. My energies returned. The moon shone through the opening by which I had entered the forest, and, considering this the best direction for escape, I shot toward it like an arrow.

5. The opening was hardly a hundred yards distant, and the swallow could not have skimmed them more swiftly; yet, as I turned my eyes to the shore, I could see two dark objects dashing through the underbrush at a pace nearly double that of my own. By their great speed, and the short yells which they gave, I knew38 at once that they were of the much-dreaded species known as the gray wolf. The untamable fierceness and untiring strength of this animal,

"With its long gallop, that can tire
The hound's deep hate, the hunter's fire,"

render it an object of dread to benighted travellers. The bushes that skirted the shore now seemed to rush by me with the velocity □f light, an I dashed on in my flight.

6. The outlet was nearly gained; one second more, and I would be comparatively safe; but my pursuers41 suddenly appeared on the bank directly above me, which rose to the height of some ten feet. There was no time for thought; I bent my head and darted wildly forward. The wolves sprang, but, miscalculating my speed, sprang behind, while their intended prey glided out upon the river. Instinct turned me toward home. How my skates made the light icy mist spin from the glassy surface! The fierce howl of my pursuers again rang in my ears. I did not look back; I thought of the dear ones awiiting my return, and I put in play every faculty of mind and body for my escape. I was perfectly at home on the ice; and many were the days I had spent on my skates.

7. Every half-minute an alternate yelp from my pursuers told me they were close at my heels. Nearer and nearer they came; I could hear them pant. I strained every muscle47 in my frame to quicken my speed. Still I could hear close behind me the pattering of feet, when an involuntary motion on my part turned me out of my course. The wolves, unable to stop and as unable to turn, slipped and fell, sliding on far ahead, their tongues lollmg out, their white tushes gleaming from their red mouths, their dark, shaggy breasts freckled with foam; and, as they slid on, they howled with redoubled rage.

"* 8. The thought occurred to me, that by thus turning aside

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »