« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
And injure, nay, for ever kill
That, at the first approach of spring,
Thou mad’st thy bud unfold its wing,
If thou wouldst bloom securely here
Let Phæbus first o'ertake the steer : Thou’rt like the seaman, who reposes On one fair day-one favouring wind,
Weighs anchor, and the future braves :
But sighs, when on the ocean waves,
His shatter'd hull and shiver'd sail
Borne at the mercy of the gale Wherever winds and waters please ; And deems, as he is sinking fast,
The sands and brine and foam beneath,
That every wave contains a death, That every plunge will be his last. Thou’rt like the courtier, who, elate
When greeted first by favour's ray,
Begins to make a grand display
The courtiers and the flowers that rise
Too suddenly, 'neath changeful skies,
And ever, both in weal and woe,
With strange perverseness, we bestow Our thoughts on time's swift fleeting hour. And 'tis the same with those who pine,
And deem that grief will never flee,
And those who, bred in luxury, Think the gay sun will always shine : For every joy brings sorrow too,
And even grief may herald mirth ;
And God has mingled life on earth With bitterness and honey dew. Thus winter follows summer's bloom,
And verdant summer winter's blight;
Thus reign by turns the day and night,
All wither’d by a fate unkind,
THE present French, then, is nothing but an old Gaule moulded into a new name : as rash he is, as head-strong, and as hair-brained. A nation whom you shall winne with a feather and loose with a straw ; upon the first sight of him, you shall have him as familiar as your sleep, or the necessity of breathing: in one hour's confidence you may endear him to you, in the second unbutton him, the third pumps him dry of all his secrets, and he gives them you as faithfully as if you were his ghostly father, and bound to conceal them sub sigillo confessionis ; when you have learned this, you may lay him aside, for he is no longer serviceable. If you have any honour in holding him in a further acquaintance (a favour which he confesseth, and I beleeve him, he is unworthy of,) himself will make the first separation : he hath said over his lesson now unto you, and now must find out somebody else to whom to repeate it. Fare him well; he is a garment whom I would be loath to wear above two dayes together, for in that time he will be thred bare. Familiare est hominis omnia sibi remittere, saith Velleius of all ; it holdeth most properly in this people. He is very kind hearted to himself, and thinketh himself as free from wants as he is full ; so much he hath in him the nature of a Chynois, that he thinketh all men blind but himself. In this private self-conceitedness, he hateth the Spaniard, loveth not the English, and contemneth the German : himself is the only courtier and compleat gentleman, but it is his own glass which he seeth in. Out of this conceit of his own excellencie, and partly out of a shallowness of brain, he is very lyable to exceptions, the least distaste that can be, draweth his sword, and a minute's pause, sheatheth it to your hand : afterwards, if you beat him into better manners, he shall take it kindly and cry Serviteur. In this one thing they are wonder. fully like the devil ; meekness or submission makes them insolent, a little resistance putteth them to their heeles, or makes them your spaniels. In a word (for I have held him too long) he is a walking vanitie in a new fashion.
DA. HEYLIN, 1679.
WHEN I see leaves drop from their trees, in the beginning of Autumne, just such, thinke 1, is the friendship of the world. Whiles the sap of maintenance lasts, my friends swarme in abundance, but in the winter of my need, they leave me naked. He is an happy man that hath a true friend at his need ; but he is more truly happy that hath no need of his friend.
ARTHUR WARWICK, 1637. THE DISINTERMENT.
From “ Ollier's Literary Miscellany."
My lato espoused saint,
ON a fine day in the month of June, a funeral procession issued from the park gates of Woodley Hall, in the county of Gloucester. The poor inhabitants of the neighbouring village hovered about the train with mute reverence, paying the last sad testimony of respect and affection to one who had been endeared to them by many acts of kind. ness and solicitude. They were following to its cold home the corpse of Eliza, wife of Sir William Fanshaw.
Never was there a lovelier summer-day than the one appointed for this dismal ceremony. The trees looked proudly in the lustiness of their young green , the dark blue of the sky was unspotted by a single cloud ; and the sun shot out his sultry strength, making the birds wanton and noisy with the exuberance of their joy.
Alas! what was all this glory of nature to the sad company who were moving along the road, thinking of the tomb, and the premature death of that young, beautiful, and virtuous one, whom they were conveying thither? How could they enjoy the quick carols of the birds, when the death-bell, gaining in strength as they proceeded, smote their ears and startled their secret sorrowing with its measured and obstinate recurrence ? The glad colour of the grass and of the leaves was not in harmony with their mourning garments : and the vital sun could scarcely be rejoiced in, shining as it did on their tears, and on that dark slow-moving hearse.
The service for the burial of the dead is not easily endured by even an unconnected auditor ; so oppressive is the obscure and gloomy imagination in which it is written. What then must our mourners have felt, (their loss being unexpected, and sorely afflicting,) when the priest, meeting the dull coffin at the church porch, walked on before it, repeating his solemo words ? Then the agony of grief burst forth in sobs and hysterics ; and then did the dreary thought arise, that there was nothing but corruption and mortification in the
world ! But we are slaves of circumstances, for these ideas which seemed to lie down immoveably in despair, were soon lifted into happy aspirations on the swell of the organ's sounds; and the cottagers who stood
moodily in the church-yard, while the silence continued, were also reieved by the music, and blest it as it trembled out into the sunny ir.
When the lady of whom I write was stricken with illness, which was only a week before her death, she begged her husband to bring her the gold chain and locket enclosing his hair, which he had given her before their marriage. This she hung round her neck, and solaced her weary and painful hours with contemplating it, and by force of the association of ideas it excited, living again in times gone by. One evening she beckoned Sir William, who was sitting in the chamber, to her side, and said, “ Reach me your hand, my dear husband ; growing much worse. I feel a perilous sinking in my frame, and death is in my thoughts. If this be nothing more than womanly timidity, bear with it, dearest, for my sake, and give me courage by staying by my side through the night.”
“ Be comforted, my love,” replied her husband. " This weakness is common enough. You will be better in the morning; and in the mean time I shall not stir from your bed. You will talk to me in a different manner, when, after you have had a good sleep, I shall show you the cheerful sun-light stealing on the dawn. I see, even now, your eyes are closing ; compose yourself, therefore, dear one, and sleep.”
The chamber was hushed, the patient lay still, and seemed in so profound a repose that her breathing was not heard. The curtains were softly adjusted round her bed ; and Sir William, happy and full of favourable omens, in the idea that his wife had at length a remission of pain, took a book, and fixing as much attention on it as he could command, wore the night-hours away. Every thing within and without continued in deep stillness, broken only towards the morning by the pleasant sounds of awakening nature, which might be heard in so removed a place—the shrill birds, the wheeling hum of the bees darting from their hives in the garden below, and the leaves dallying with the morning breath. These, together with the strong white lines which intersected the shutters, admonished Sir William and the nurse, of the time their patient had slept. The light was therefore admitted into the room, and they looked into the bed.
66 How is this?” said Sir William. " She has not moved a hair's breadth, since we saw her last night. Good God ! how pale her face and lips are ! Heaven grant all may be well ; but I tremble under my fears. Go instantly, and bring the physician."
The physician came; he was alarmed at her appearance ; a feather was placed on her lips, and Sir William bent with keen eyes over it. It did not move. Alas! alas ! her spirit had passed away, while her husband, sitting close to her, was congratulating himself on the prospect of her recovery.
She must have stirred once in the night, though it was done with such gentleness as not to be perceived ; for one of her hands was found inside her garment, pressing the locket of which I have spoken, on her naked breast.
I will not attempt to describe the swelling of her husband's heart,
and the gush of his tears, when this touching instance of her love was made known to him. His soul brooded over it night and day. He saw in her action the wish she had not strength to utter in words, and determining it should not be violated, he gave directions that she should be placed in her coffing without disturbing the locket or her hand.
It will be readily imagined that so affecting a circumstance could not escape being much talked of; and as in these cases no particulars are ever omitted, the value of the trinket which was set round with brilliants found a place in the story.
The sexton of the church containing the family vault, was one of the persons to whom this anecdote became known; and he was not long in conceiving a plan by which he might possess himself of the buried jewels which glittered so temptingly in his mind's eye. I do not think he would have meditated a common thefta theft capable of injuring any living creature : nay, although he was in business, he was never known to practise any of the usual tricks or deceptions of trade. He was a charitable well-meaning man; but he could not comprehend the sentiment which ordained those love-tokens to lie in hallowed immoveability on a dead breast. It was in his opinion a silly waste of treasure; no harm could come of his appropriating it; and he therefore determined that on the night of the funeral he would enter the vault, open the coffin, and remove the jewels. The church was well situated for his purpose ; it stood apart from the village to which it belonged, and was a solitary edifice in the midst of fields.
Behold him then in the darkness of the night, with his lantern at the lone church-door. He unlocks it, and passes in. He was at first rather awe-struck by the dead stillness the sudden cold smell so dif. ferent from the genial air without, and the vacant pews standing in deep shadow, like melancholy and drear recesses. The nature of his office had given him a familiarity with the building, but had not worn away the idea in his mind of its sacredness ; and he quaked to think that it should be the spot where he was to perpetrate the first deed in his life, which he would be ashamed to own. As he went along the aisle with his lamp, the white tombstones on the walls glared, as it were, reproachfully upon him one by one, and his perturbation was increased by the dart of a bat close to his face. He almost regretted he had come, but he went on nevertheless, and passed into the lady's sepulchre.
Having laid down his lamp upon a coffin close by, he proceeded with his instruments to take off the lid of the one he sought, which was soon effected.' This was the first moment of real irresolution and terror. The sight of the corpse lying there by that dim light, in the heavy still. ness of death, with its white and placid countenance, made his heart swell, and his nerves powerless. The sublimity of the sight made him feel the meanness of his action with double force ; he almost fainted, and, with the intention of abandoning the business, he returned into the body of the church. There he supported himself for a time, while the coolness of the air refreshed him, and he was at length about to depart, when, re