Изображения страниц

Just sparkle in the solar glow,
And plunge again to depths below;
But, when I leave the grosser throng
With whom my soul hath dwelt so long,
Let me, in that aspiring day,
Cast every lingering stain away,
And, panting for thy purer air,
Fly up at once, and fix me there!


1. Near yonder copse, Er where once the garden smiled,

And still where many a garden-flower grows wild,
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.
at man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year :
Reinote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his place ;
Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power,
By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour,
Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise

2. His house was known to all the vagrant train,

He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain,
The long-remembered beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his agëd breast;
The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed ;
The broken soldier, kindly băde to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talked the night away;
Wept o’ex his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won
Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,
And quite forgot their vices in their woe :
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave ere charity began.

*3 Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,

And e'en hís failings leaned to virtue's side ;
But, in his duty prompt at every call,
He watched and wept, he prayed and felt, for all,
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries
To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies,
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed,

The reverend champion stood. At his control,
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Coinfort came down the trembling wretch to raiso
And his last faltering accents whispered praise.

4. At church, with meek and unaffected grace,

His looks adorned the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.
The service past, around the pious man,
With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran ;
E'en children followed, with endearing wile,
And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile
His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed ;
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed ;
To them his heart, his love, his griefs, were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven.
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.



1. Ar a period in the world's history so distant that it may be called fabulous, on a beautiful day in summer, a certain blind traveller was groping his way through a thick forest. Suddenly he was accosted by a stranger, who said, in a bland but comniand. ing voice, “ Give me your hand, and I will lead you out of this wood to the Palace of Probation, whither every one must go who is found here.” Thus saying, the stranger seized the blind man's hand, and conducted him some distance to an immense palace, the portal of which opened at their approach, and closed as they entered.

2. No sooner had the blind man crossed the threshold than a flash of light smote his eyes, and the sense of vision was imparted as if by miracle. At first he drew back, fearing that objects would fall on him ; but he soon accustomed himself to measure distances by sight, and then it was with admiration and pleasure that he gazed about him. He stood in an immense rotunda or circular hall, the ceiling of which, of incalculable height, was of solid crystal, and lighted by a luminous clock, which indicated the time with a precision that no chronometer" could equal. He .ooked around for his conductor, but the latter had disappeared.

3. Although no host appeared to give the new-comer welcome,

it was erident that every preparation for his arrival had been made. Servants were in attendance to minister to every want. He was thirsty, and, as if by enchantment, a fountain leaped up close at hand. He was hungry, and fruit seemed to stoop from the boughs of trees in the hanging gardens which variegated the splendid and inimeasurable interior. He was sleepy, and a sable curtain was let down before his eyes, shutting out the gárish light and inviting to repose.

4. He slept long and serenely, and when he awoke, lo! the curtain had been lifted, and the great dome of the palace was lighted up with a crimson radiance which gradually became more golden and intense. El A man of venerable aspect was seated by his side, who said, “I am the stranger who guided you through the forest; and my name is Experience.” – “And who,” asked the traveller, “ is the owner of this grand palace ? I would like to pay my respects to him.”

5. “ There are men, whom I have guided here as I have you," replied Experience, “who say that the palace is the mere work of chance, and that it has no other owner than the guests who enter it.” –“But who built and furnished it?” returned the traveller. ." Who provided all those servants, so mute and yet so attentive? The order, the grandeur, the punctuality of all the arrangements for the reception and comfort of guests, show that. some great and good sovereign must be the proprietor."

6. “There are some who do not agree with you,” said the old man. “Listen to me, my son! This day you shall go forth among the guests, and take your lot with them. I leave you to your own resources henceforth. You will learn that, as a certain amount of physical labor is essential to health, the sovercign owner has made it a general condition of the entertainment of all, that food and raiment shall be supplied only at the price of labor. The distribution of this labor among the guests he has left to their justice.”—“And do they not distribute it aright ?” inquired the new guest.

7. “ Alas, no!” was the reply. “ It has been estimated that, if all would give three hours out of the twenty-four to manual labor, an abundance for all would be secured, and ainple time left for study and wholesome diversion. But you will find the guests quarrelling, many of them, among themselves, and trying to overreach one another. Almost every one tries to shift his task upon his neighbor, or to accumulate more than his share of the bounties which the good sovereign has supplied.”

8. “Why do people stay here?” asked the inexperienced guest. — “ Because,” replied the old man, “the least favored inmate cannot but see that the capabilities of happiness are placed within his reach. None pass the threshold of the outermost door but with regrets and tears. Some charge their past chagrins' upon envious or malev’olent opponents; others, upon false friends; others, upon their own misconduct. Few can fail to acknowledge that the means of enjoyment which the asylum EI offers, were they but used aright, would be all-sufficient for all.” The stranger ceased, and took his leave; and the traveller went forth among the guests.

9. Many years after this conversation, as the same traveller sat meditating on the past, and gloomily anticipating the future, the messenger whose duty it was to conduct guests from the palace beckoned to him to leave. It was with a thrill of pain that the traveller received the signal, notwithstanding he was at that moment arraigning in his mind the justice and wisdom of the unseen master. The disorders and inequalities, the crimes and discontents, prevalent among the guests, were a subject of sorrowful reflection. And yet the traveller shuddered at the thought of his departure.

10. “Why is it,” he said to himself, “ that the sovereign master of this palace, if there be a master, does not interfere to prevent those scandalous scenes of spoliation and violence among his guests, which the good behold with so much regret and dismay ? It was only this morning that I saw a most worthy family shamefully plundered, while the villains who committed the robbery were left to enjoy their ill-got spoils, without molestation. Such abuses are as repugnant to every notion of justice as they are inconsistent with the strict management of a wellordered household.”

11. While revolving these sad thoughts, the messenger who had beckoned him to depart drew nigh; but, ere he could take the hand of the traveller, Experience, his old friend, interposed, and said to the latter, “ Dost thou suppose that thou hast witnessed the end of these things? The sovereign has seen all, heard all. The palace is so constructed that not a whisper which is uttered there fails to reach his ears. Not a deed is committed which he cannot see. Not a thought is conceived, the motion of which in the brain does not make undulations in the atmosphere that reach him and vibrate its meaning.

12. “ Know that, by a power inconceivable to all save himn by whom it is exerted, he obliges all travellers who cross this forest to soʻjourn for a period, longer or shorter, in this Palace of Probation, in order that their qualities of mind and heart may be developed and tested amid scenes the best fitied for their exerciso and confirmation. Indulgent but just, he will await all who have soʻjourned here, in a more magnificent palace, -- the Palace of

Compensation, — contiguous to this you are about to quit, but compared with which the present is little better than a hovel.

13. “Thither, by an irresistible power, of which this messen. ger who awaits you is an agent, the steps of all will be directed. It is there that cach guest will find his deserts according to his conduct and character. It is there that all will recognize the sacred requisitions of justice.” Light seemed to pour upon the soul of the pilgrim, now that he was departing, even as it had upon his eyes at the moment of his entrance. All was explained, all was clear! He was no longer bewildered by afflicting doubts as to the character of the sovereign whose hospitality he had enjoyed. At once consoled for the past and reassured for the future, he said, with a joyful alacrity, to the messenger, “ Lead


14. Already through the opening portai, rising above the haze of the distance, the traveller sees the stupendous outlines of the second palace. The style of the architecture of that portion of the building presented to his view is somewhat austere, but, as he advances, it assumes a softer and sublimer grace. He is eager to enter its magnificent precincts. He has no fear for the future. He has been seen by the master, whose hospitality he has not abused. He carries with him a conscience void of offence. That is enough.


CIII. — THE DISCONTENTED MILLER. 1. WITANG, the miller, was naturally avarícious; nobody loved money better than he, or more respected those who had it. When people would talk of a rich man in company, Whang would say, “I know him very well; he and I have been long acquainted; he and I are intimate.” But, if ever a poor man was mentioned, he had not the least knowledge of the man; he might be very well, for aught he knew; but he was not fond of making many acquaintances, and loved to choose his company.

2. Whang, however, with all his eagerness for riches, was poor. He had nothing but the profits of his mill to support him; but, though these were small, they were certain; while it stood and went he was sure of eating; and his frugality was such that he every day laid some money by, which he would at intervals count and contemplates with much satisfaction. Yet still his acquisitions were not equal to his desires; he only found himself above want, whereas he desired to be possessed of affluence.

3. One day, as he was indulging these wishes, he was informed

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »