« ПредишнаНапред »
ditations of the wife disclose the sor- beneath is involved in vapour. Lily row that is wearing her away :
is looking over a ledge of cloud upon
the sea-fog below, from which rises the " He is too good for me, I weak for him. form of the wife floating towards Ju. Yet if he put his arms round me once, lian. We will give the rest in the auAnd held me fast as then, and kissed me so,
thor's words :My soul, I think, would come again to me, And go from me in tremblir.g love to him.
“Lily. O mother, I could go much faster. But now I am repelled. He loves me true,
Wait, Because I am his wife: he ought to love me;
Wait, darling, for a little. By-and-bye I am the book to hang his duty on.
I shall be able too. O God, my Julian! Sometimes he waits upon me like a maid,
Julian. I may not help her. She must Silent with watchful eyes."
climb and come.
are not as ours;
Lilia, in a moment of weakness, is
"Up and up the rock they climb, the mother about to yield to the love of Lord
and the child. At last Julian reaches his Seaford; but she resists, and flies from
hand. They stand beside him, and the three London. The character of Julian
are clasped in one infinite embrace. comes out finely under the trial of his wife's desertion and supposed infidelity " Julian. O God, thy thoughts, thy ways, -indignation, sorrow, humble resignation, and love still enduring through all. Yet fill our longing hearts up to the brim.” The father wanders incessantly about with his little child in his arms, seeking There is something too fantastic his wife. The child dies, and the father about the latter part of this drama, buries her in a country churchyard,
and the real mingles with the superand again seeks his wife, and wanders natural somewhat incongruously, as back to his own poor apartment. He the distempered dreams of a sick man. lies down on the floor, and is found by Still, however faulty as an entire comthe repentant Lord Seaford, who tends position, this volume contains a great him gently. A letter is brought as the many beauties, and a great deal that Count is dying:
is vigorous as well as pathetic. There
are some half-dozen songs here and " Lord S. It is a letter from the Countess. there thrown in, many of which are Julian. (Feebly.)
What! very charming; while the tone of reA letter from my Lilia! Bury it with me ligious feeling pervading the whole I'll read it in my chamber, by-and-bye; is lofty and impressive. We hope Dear words should not be read with others when next Mr. MacDonald writes, his
physical state will be stronger; and Lilia, my wife! I have gone home to God.
we doubt not his genius will exhibit Lord S. (Bending over him.) Your wife is
itself more healthily. innocent."
We close the volume, and rise
from our couch. Let us draw back The last part of the drama deals
the sunblinds and take a look into the with the preternatural. The wife is
Our on her knees before a crucifix, the
metropolitan world outside us. husband, with the child in his arms,
window, which is at the rear, looks out are spiritually present. The remorse
due east, across intervening gardens, ful prayers of the woman are heard by
to the rear of the next street. Already them, and they suggest consolatory
we are projecting a long, deep shadow thoughts to her. The child whispers
over the brown burnt-up grass of our to her
own civic appurtenances, wherein we practise horticulture upon a very mo
dest and limited scale, experimenting “Lily, O mother, there are blue skies here, and flowers,
upon certain asthmatic shrubs and And blowing winds, and kisses, mother dear; evergreens in a state of asphyxia, with And every time my father kisses me,
one or two creeping plants that have It is not father only, but another.
been pinioned to the walls heaven Make haste and come your head will not knows how many years ago, and seem ache here."
ever since to be in a mesmeric trance,
without the power of either living or Then comes the last scene. Julian dying. We trace upon the adust stands on the summit of a mountain greensward the picturesque outline of in the light of the stars. The earth our roof, in strong shade, in which we recognise the chimney-crock of the ing off' bayonets and breastplates at a kitchen flue all awry, and a pole thrust military review ; or from the dripping out of the back attic window, bearing oar-blades when raised into the suna fantastic resemblance to the spout of shine, or from the gilded crosses above a mighty teapot. We raise our eyes church domes; or from anything else upward, and lot there is a glorious illu- that will flash back the light of heaven mination! The sun has gone half down as lustrously as it receives it. Come the heavens on his westward course, and now, we have got something in the has just attained the proper elevation city, after all. Show us such a sunset to pour a whole broadside of solar in the country. You may boast your glory upon the windows of the opposing green fields and gleaming rivers, but houses. Every pane is lit up with a have you got such gay red-brick moun. crimson flush, that is glinted from it tains stuck over with blazing reflecin a thousand splinters of diverging tors ? We fancy not. brightness, as one sees the light flashi
A SUMMER hour of leisure, a bright fulgence. How beautiful by day is the warm hour; no clouds in the sky or “merry green woou "| merry with on the mind—just such an hour as we the small birds singing, and the wild can enjoy with a congenial friend, to pigcons cooing, and the insects hum. whom we can pour out our thoughts ming, and the squirrels gambolling in full tide, or drop them in desultory among the branches, and the leaves words, or with whom we can muse in gently rustling in a low-toned chorus ! that silence which is still companion- How beautiful is the thick, deep velvet ship between minds that sympathise grass, enamelled with starry flowers ; with each other. And where shall we and the masses of shadow, and freaks spend this hour? It is too hot for the of playful light; and here and there sunny garden, or the open plaio, or long sunny avenues leading to some the toilsome bill, or even for the yellow enchanting vista! And there is so sea-beach. Let us to the forest the much variety among the trees : their green, cool, shady forest, that offers trunks, some gnarled and brown, some the most charming retreat to those who smooth and silvery; the stiff and sturdy love (as who does not ?) the “delicious boughs, the graceful, flexible branches, do-nothing "* of the Italians. Here, and the foliage of all tints of ver. while the sun warms the air around dure, from the blue and the yellow us, we can rest secure from his full green to the emerald, and of all styles power, but rejoicing in his benign in. the heavy, the feathery, the arrowy, fluence, under a wide-spread canopy Let us gather a few leaves from each of boughs. We can sit against the different species of tree, and bring trunk of some noble old tree, or recline them to our seat, and lay them down upon its upheaved roots, lie prone beside us; not one of them but has upon the soft moss at its foot, and some old association connected with search into the stores of fancy and me- history or poetic fable. mory in a mood of placid dreaminess. Thé OAK (quercus robur), magnifi.
Let us choose our lair beneath these cent, strong, and long-lived, is convenerable oaks, where we have shade fessedly the monarch of the forest, enough above and around us, but The ancients believed that it was the where the broad and pleasant opening first created of trees, and dedicated it before us gives a far extended view to Jupiter, whose most celebrated oraof the landscape, with its fields, and
cle - that of Dodona -- was among a groves, and streams, and cots, and dis- group of venerable oaks, said to be tant hills, basking in the noontide re- endowed with the faculty of speech
* "Il dilizioso far niente."
(doubtless the oracles were uttered by trec under whose shade he was accusa human speaker concealed in the hol. tomed to sit. It was still extant in the low of the trunk). The mast of the time of Constantine the Great ; and ship Argo was made of one of these Christians, Jews, and Mahometans vocal oaks, and was fabled to have pro- held an annual meeting under its nounced oracles to the Argonauts. boughs, and performed the rites of their
The oak wreathed the brows of the respective religions in the open air, in Flamininiæ, or wives of the priests of peace, though not in union. But the Jupiter (as it crowned the druidesses), Emperor, offended at a toleration of the Fates and Hecate (as emblem which he considered unedifying, cut of strength), and of the venerable down the tree, built a church on the Goddess Rhea, in memory of acorns site, destroyed the antiquities of the having been the first food of man; not place, and put an end to the yearly our harsh, common acorns, but those
assembly. of the oak, called æsculus by Virgil, The oak was worshipped by the anwho pames it with the chestnut, and cient Germans as their god, under the with the tree of the Greek oracle- name of Teut. The pagan Prussians
maintained a perpetual fire (like that
« Ut alta Castaneæ, nemorumque Jovi quæ maxima frondet of the Vestals) of oak-wood, in honour Æsculus, atque habitæ Graiis oracula quercus." of their divinity, Percunus. The Hes
sians dedicated the oak to Thor. There The acorns of the asculus were sweet, was a very large one at Guismar, velike the large Spanish kind called bel- nerated as Thor's image. St. Bonilotas, which, however, require to be face,* who, in the eighth century, went kept a few days before eating.
to convert the Hessians, determined on Near Priene, a city of Ionia, was a felling their idol. They made no relarge oak, which marked the scene of sistance, firmly believing that the saa sanguinary battle between the Prie. cred tree would defy the axe; but nians and the Sanians. It became cus. when they saw “ Thor's image” prostomary with the women of Priene, on trate before the missionary, they were solemn occasions, to swear“ by the convinced of their errors, and embraced darkness of the oak,” within whose sha- Christianity. dow their fathers, brothers, husbands, It were trite to speak of the conand sons had fallen-an expressive and nexion of the oak with Druids. Long pathetic adjuration.
after the extinction of the latter, a traJupiter and Mercury, travelling in ditional veneration for the mistletoe, as disguise through Phrygia, and being the offspring of the oak, was continued. refused shelter by all, save Philemon In England, boys, on New Year's mornand Baucis, an aged and poor couple, ing, ran through the streets, striking on discovering themselves to their the doors and windows with mistletoe hosts, promised to grant them what- boughs, and crying “Yule, waes-hail,” ever favour they desired. The wish like the Danes of old. Even to this expressed by the loving couple was, day the Christmas bush is reckoned that neither might have the pain of incomplete in England without the surviving the other, but both die at white-berried mistletoe. In the French the same moment. Jupiter, to reward provinces of Picardy and Burgundy, their piety, changed their hut into a as late as the middle of the eighteenth temple, Baucis into a lime-tree, and her century, the children in towns were husband Philemon into an oak, which accustomed to run about the streets thenceforward became the emblem of with mistletoe boughs, crying “ Aquilahospitality.
neuf" (a corruption of la gui de l'an On the plain of Mamre stood a large neuf - i.e., the mistletoe of the new oak, popularly called “Abraham's oak," year), as a wood productive of good and pointed out by tradition as the fortune.† The name of Aquilaneuf was
# He was an Englishman, originally named Wilfred. After his successful mission to the Hessians, he was made Archbishop of Mentz, which See he resigned, after sixteen years, to become Bishop of Utrecht. He went to preach to the heathen Frisons, by whom he was put to death, A.D. 754. † Ovid recommends the speaking of auspicious words at the new year :
“ Prospera lux oritur : linguisque, animisque favete :
Nunc dicenda bono sunt bona verba die."-Fasti, I.
given to a kind of festal quest made der, as maliciously as he had caused his hy young people of both sexes on New death. This story, which critics con. Year's Day, to buy wax candles for the sider more pathetic than any in the churches. But the festival degenerated classic mythology, is thought to be into riot and licentiousness, and at the allegorical, typifying the successful opend of the sixteenth century it was position of the Druids to the religion abolished by an ordinance of a synod. of Odin.
The mistletoe was deemed by the It is singular that the mistletoe has Celts to be an antidote for poison, and now deserted the oak; it is found on also a plant of good omen ; but it the apple, the hawthorn, and some was the reverse in the Scandinavian other trees; but so rarely on the oak, mythology, having caused great grief that an instance, when discovered, is to the gods of the nothern creed. considered as a very curious circumBalder, a beautiful and amiable youth stance. (answering to the classic Apollo), the When William Rufus was building second son of Odin, or Woden, and Frig- Westminster Hall, he was permitted ga (answering to Venus), had a presen- by the then King of Munster, grandtiment of approaching death. His pa- son of Brien Boru, to cut timber for rents, full of anxiety for him, went the work in Ireland ; and the once fathrough all the realms of nature, exact- mous forest oak of Shillelagh, in the ing an oath from every created thing, county Wexford, furnished the wood for of every description, never to injure
the roofing. Balder. Lok, the evil genius, however, The oak, with its living canopy of disguising himself as an old woman, leafy boughs, has served in olden times learned from Frigga that no oath had as a temple, a place of convocation, and been exacted from the mistletoe, be- a hall of justice. St. Louis (Louis IX. cause it seemed so weak and helpless. of France) was accustomed, after hear. At a feast of the gods, Balder good- ing mass, in the summer to lie down humouredly stood as a mark for them on the grass under a large oak in the to throw darts and quoits at, persuaded forest of Vincennes, and to give perthat nothing could harm him on ac- mission for all persons who had busicount of the universal oath. Lok pre- ness to come and speak to him, and he pared a strong branch of mistletoe, heard and judged their causes on the which he sharpened into a keen dart, spot. and gave it io a brother of Balder, The oldest oak in England is (we named Hoder, who was blind. Hoder hope it still is) in Clipstone Park threw his missile, and it transfixed and (Duke of Portland's), which is the slew Balder, to the great grief of his oldest park in England, having been a parents, and all their fellow-deities.
park before the Conquest. This tree Frigga hastened to the lower sphere, to is called the “ Parliament Oak.” Trarepresent to liela,* goddess of death, dition says that Edward I. once assemhow universally beloved and mourned bled a Parliament beneath its branches. was Balder, and to implore his restora- Augustine, the Missionary of Eng. tion. Hela consented to give him back, land, held a conference under an oak if all creation, animate and inanimate, in Worcestershire, with the Welsh would weep for bim. The afflicted pa- Bishops, vainly endeavouring to effect rents went throughout all the world as a conformity of rites and discipline. before, conjuring all things to weep for There are many historical oaks still their beloved Balder, that the tears of standing in England; but many, very the world might ransom him. Their many, bave of late years ceased to exmoving supplications were everywhere ist. Amongst these is the tree called successful, till they came to a cave, St. Edmund's Oak, in Hoxne Wood, wherein they found a wrinked bag, wbo near Bury St. Edmunds, which fell inflexibly refused to shed one tear of in 1848. Edmund, King of East Anpity. It was Lok, in that form, who glia (afterwards canonised as a martyr), thus prevented the restoration of Bal- being defeated in battle, and taken
* Hela is poetically characterised by the Northern Scalds : her place is Anguish ; her table, Famine ; her bed, Leanness ; her threshold, Precipice; her waiters, Expectation and Delay.
† The timber in the roof has been supposed to be chestnut, but on closer inspection it has been found to be oak.
From bow to stern the busy crew
In various toils are vieing ;
Obedient prompt replying.
(The ship to sea advancing), At distance seen tower, dome, and spire
Still faint and fainter glancing. And now recede the rural bands,
With hill, and wood, and dingle ; And wider still the sea expands,
And bursting billows mingle. Now wider spread the sails to waft
Us from the port we're leaving; And now the ship's boat, following aft,
Stout hands aboard are heaving.
prisoner by the pagan Danes, they determined to slay him on his refusing to renounce Christianity; and binding him to an oak in Hoxne Wood, they shot him to death with their arrows. His remains were interred at Bury St. Edmunds. When the oak pointed out by unvarying tradition as St. Ed. mund's fell, the trunk, up to its parting into branches, was twelve feet high, and five feet in diameter. When it was cut up, an iron arrow-head was found embedded in the wood, by Mr. Smithies, agent to Sir Edward Kerrison, the proprietor. It was buried a foot deep in the bark, and about five feet up from the ground. There can be no doubt that it was the head of one of the arrows shot at the martyred king, which stuck in the tree, and was covered by the subsequent growth of the wood.
Ever since the British Druids venerated the oak in their primitive forests, it has been the national tree of England, whose soil it seems to love, for there it attains a greater degree of perfection than elsewhere. Its attributes of strength and endurance, its fitness for affording shelter and for defence, its many valuable qualities, its heartsoundness, combined with its external roughness, are characteristic of the people among whom it delights to Hourish. In English history, the Royal Oak (which hid Charles II. from his pursuers), commemorated on the 29th of May, is associated with the restoration of the monarchy after the frenzy of Republicanism had subsided. But it is pre-eminently the tutelary tree in supplying those a wooden walls" which have so long kept the foot of the invader from its native shores
He leaves the helm, the pilot bluff,
No more his needful station; And speaks in sailor accents rough
His parting salutation.
And those who from the shore had come
Thus far for last leave-taking, Now quit their lov'd ones—there are some
'Mong those with hearts half breaking.
And in the pilot's skiff below
(O'er the ship's side descending) They take their place, for they must go
Back to the harbour wending.
That dark-eyed stripling, who is he,
From two lone females parting ?He goes, and dares not turn to see
Their tears so vainly starting.
He's gone-but leaning o'er the stern
That lonely pair are straining Their eyes the small boat to discern
That fast from sigbt is waning.
And who are they the boat that watch ?
A sister and a mother; And he whose last glimpse thus they catch?
Sole son, and only brother.
* Hearts of oak are our ships,
Hearts of oak are our men."
His fate with theirs until this day
Had been united ever; Now first he wends a different way,
Now first their fortunes sever,
To the English classicist the oak is the tree (not of Jupiter, but) of Neptune. Noble, valuable, and admired as it is on land, its peculiar scene of triumph and glory is on the waves. Let us hang, then, upon its branches, as an offering ex voto, a lay of the sea :
Then fare thee well, thou Soldier's Son!
The eye of Heaven be o'er thee ; That noble path thou’rt entering on
Thy father trod before thee,
GOING OUT OF PORT.
M. E. M.
Young Soldier! take our heart's fond sighs;
Though Fate of home bereft thee, Forget not us, the only ties
Thy sire in dying left thee !
The vessel moves along the tide,
Aloft her pennant streaming ; And all her canvas floating wide,
White in the sun-ray gleaming.
Let us contrast with the broad, bluff leaves of the oak the light and arrowy