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THE MANIAC. Oh what is Nature's strength ? the vacant eye ; My mind deserted, hath a dread reply ! The wild delirious laughter of despair, The mirth of frenzy-seek an answer there ! Turn not away, though pity's cheek grow pale, Close not thine ear against their awful tale, They tell thee, Reason, wandering from the ray Of Faith, the blazing pillar of her way, In the mid-darkness of the stormy wave, Forsook the struggling soul she could not save ! Weep not, sad moralist, o'er desert plains, Strewed with the wrecks of grandeur-mouldering fanesArches of triumph, long with weeds o'er grown, And regal cities, now the serpent's own: Earth has more awful ruins-one lost mind, Whose star is quenched, hath lessons for mankind, Of deeper import than each prostrate dome, Mingling its marble with the dust of Rome. But who with eye unshrinking shall explore That waste, illumed by Reason's beam no more ? Who pierce the deep, mysterious clouds that roll Around the shattered temple of the soul, Curtain’d with midnight ? - low its columns lie, And dark the chambers of its imagery, Sunk are its idols now-and God alone May rear the fabric, by their fall o'erthrown! Yet, from its inmost shrine, by storms laid bare, Is heard an oracle that cries Beware! Child of the dust! but ransomed of the skies! One breath of Heaven and thus thy glory dies ! Haste, ere the hour of doom, draw nigh to Him Who dwells above between the Cherubim !" Spirit dethroned ! and checked in mid career, Son of the morning! exiled from thy sphere, Tell us thy tale !-Perchance thy race was run With Science, in the chariot of the sun; Free as the winds, the paths of space to sweep, Traverse the untrodden kingdoms of the deep, And search the laws that Nature's springs control, There tracing all-save Him who guides the whole ! Or did thy power pervade the living lyre, Till its deep chords became instinct with fire; Silenced all meaner notes, and swelled on high, Full and alone, their mighty harmony, While woke each passion from its cell profound, And nations started at the electric sound ? Lord of the Ascendant! what avails it now, Tho' bright the laurels wav'd upon thy brow ? What, tho' thy name, thro' distant empires heard, Bade the heart bound, as doth a battle-word ? Was it for this thy still unwearied eye, Kept vigil with the watch-fires of the sky, To make the secrets of all ages thine, And commune with majestic thoughts that shine O'er Time's long shadowy path-way?-Hath thy mind Severed its lone dominion from mankind, For this to woo their homage ?– Thou hast sought All, save the wisdom with salvation fraught, Won every wreath, but that which will
not die, Nor aught neglected-save eternity !
Poetry like this steals over the heart with a salutary influence; reviving those holy impressions which are but too apt to droop beneath the daily influence of earthly cares and vanities. The poet who refines the taste, exalts the imagination, and addresses the better feelings of our nature, does much, and deserves alike the praise and gratitude of his fellow-men; but the poet who seeks to unite religious truth with intellectual beauty-what is sacred with what is graceful—who hangs his chaplet on the cross, and lays that living lyre, the heart, upon the single altar worthy such an offering—he only can be esteemed great. It is very pleasant to turn over the pages of modern poetry; and notwithstanding the frequent recurrence of what is dark and degrading in subject and sentiment, to find these verdant spots whereon the heart may safely rest. We have many poems of a decidedly immoral character--too many more that are merely negative; that are entirely unconnected with utility; and that, like the morning clouds, and the early dew, please for a moment, and pass away for ever.
But there are also strains of a higher mood; poets, who like the birds that ministered to the prophet in the wilderness, bring us food from heaven: Blessings be with them
and eternal praise ! We have, we hope, done justice to the high literary excellence of Mrs. Hemans' writings; but we cannot bring these remarks to a close without again adverting to their highly moral, and as our last extract will evidence, often more than moral tendency. For their picturesque delineations, vivid imagery, exquisite taste, and absolutely superb fancy, we assign her works an honourable niche in our libraries; but it is for better qualities still, that we enshrine them in our regards, and commend them to our youth. It is for her sedulous inculcation of noble sentiment, and generous feeling ; her respect for what is sacred in principle; her eulogy of every thing lovely in conduct and character; her repugnance to delineations not merely of unhallowed, but even of excessive emotion; her invariable regard to the character of the woman, evidenced in all that she has done as an author; it is for these things, that we honour Mrs. Hemans as we do not many others; for these that
An Epic Poem should be sweet as Manna,
ON READING IN THE MORNING CHRONICLE THAT A POOR WOMAN HAD BEEN
BROUGHT TO BED IN A STAGE COACH.
* This little sguib is ascribed to the pen of Mr. Thomas Campbell, the poet. This is, we believe, its first appearance in print.-Ed. Lit. Mag.
A FRAGMENT FROM A MANUSCRIPT JOURNAL.
I have been upon deck in search of something pour passer le tems, and to fill up a vacant space in my journal, but without success. The rushing of the wind, the dashing of the water, the rise and fall of the ocean, the endless play of motion, and the ceaseless monotony of sound are still the same as the first day I came on board.
Tout va son train; we observe the wind, calculate our distance, conjecture the weather, play with our Newfoundland dog, eat, sleep, and talk of what we have talked of before, and when we have completed the circuit have nothing to do but begin again. And yet the time passes very quickly, and with a list of grievances which would make a landsman turn pale, and a list of pleasures which he would hold in utter contempt, we contrive to make ourselves very happy after all. If we are nothing else, we are certainly philosophers at sea.
My good genius, the surgeon, called me up to see a vessel that was just appearing in sight. All was busy animation on deck-colours and pennant were instantly hoisted and every eye was eager to discover her country and her name. It is not easy to conceive how great a sensation this little incident created;—to men who are perpetually encountering novelty scarcely any thing appears really new, but after numbering over successive days of monotonous existence the slightest incident is of importance. The vessel hoisted her colours, and proved to be French. It was scarcely half an hour from her first appearance on the horizon to the time she passed astern of us; we then wished her God speed, and soon after she disappeared to be seen by us no more. It is a noble sight to see a vessel in full sail upon
the ocean, gallantly breasting the wave, now rising majestically upon the surface, and sinking again upon the deep, and dashing up the spray in a shower of whitened foam before it. I do not think there is a prouder monument to the genius and industry of man, than a vessel tracking her way through the pathless deep. A plank separates between you and the ocean, yet you fear no danger, you are without barrier or beacon in your path, yet your way is certain; and though the elements are spread above and beneath you, in all their amplitude and majesty, your little bark, a speck upon the mighty waters, is fearlessly committed to their guidance, till a short period of eventful days brings her in safety to her destined port.
Our compagnon de voyage gave me a litte anecdote at dinner which, as it is not very long, shall have a place in my journal. Monsieur Ricart was staying at Coppet; one day at dinner he was placed between Madame Recamier and Madame de Stael, and as a man of gallantry wishing to pay a compliment to both the ladies, he began to congratulate himself upon being placed between the most celebrated beauty, and the most celebrated wit in Europe. But the ladies were toutes furieuses, and neither would yield the palm of wit or beauty to the other. Madame Recamier could not bear the idea of not being a wit, and Madame de Stael was enraged at not being a beauty. I will add another anecdote which I received from the same narrator. When he was in Africa, he went with the Ambassador to pay his respects to the Dey of Algiers. There were the consuls of many of the European nations attending for the same purpose. Amongst them was Chambon Aubin, a revolutionary character of bloody notoriety. As usual on such occasions, the order of precedence was a matter of some difficulty, and on going up, Chambon Aubin, as insignificant in appearance as arrogant in character, had the audacity to elbow the British consul and take the lead. All were indignant: and our English consul who had all the independence of the English spirit, supported by a noble and dignified exterior, raised his hand and levelling him to the earth with a single blow, walked on to the audience chamber without deigning to cast a solitary look upon the discomfited hero : so that before he could recover himself, not only the British consul, but all the others in succession had advanced to their audience and left him to bring up the rear as he could.
They all highly enjoyed his mortification, and as he had no means of redress he was obliged to digest the insult as he could. I have just seen the sun setting in a blaze of glory, and as
· his golden line of light declined upon the western wave, tinge the clouds with a carnation glow of loveliness. We all assembled to admire ; but as the feeling of admiration passed away, the rest of the little party soon entered again into conversation. I was not so soon beguiled to other thoughts, but continued watching till twilight spread her robe of peace upon the heavens. The vesper star shed its solitary ray, but the moon had not yet risen. The hum of human voices was the only sound that broke the solitude-the calm serenity of the sky and the stillness of the air breathed their own deep silence on the heart; and after a short bright hour of exquisite enjoyment, I have only retired below because the scene had a beauty I have no power to describe, and excited an interest I cannot express: friends, home, kindred, and country, passed before me, and memory mingled thoughts of pain with those of love. There is a refinement of feeling which is hostile to enjoyment.
G. G. LACONISMS.
I Complaints against Fortune are frequently little more than covert apologies for indolence and misconduct.
II. As love will often cause wise men to act like fools, so self-interest will as frequently teach fools to act like men of sense.
III. Friendship rarely, if ever, ascends to love; whilst love very often descends to friendship.
The settled calmness of despair, is to the soul what the ease produced by mortification, is to the flesh.
V. To praise every thing is as great a mark of ignorance as to praise nothing.
VI. The world is overrun with people who, as Horace justly remarks, are ashamed to learn, although they are not ashamed to remain in ignorance,
VII. Prudery is a mask behind which we may fairly suspect those women who wear it of playing all sorts of antics.
VIII, It has oft been remarked, that those ladies who are the most difficult in the choice of their lovers, are the least so in the choice of their husbands.
IX. The qualities which are most desirable in a mistress, are often the very reverse of those which we wish for in a wife.
X. It is far more difficult to preserve friends than to acquire them in the first instance.
XI, We often spend one half of our time in seeking the means of trifling away the other.
XII. We ought not always to estimate the advice of a friend by the event; but rather by the time and circumstances under which it was given.
XIII. Remedies for the mind, like those for the body, are often nauseous in proportion as they are salutary.
XIV. A man must be a fool indeed if his neighbour discovers his weakness whilst he is flattering him.
People very rarely affect modesty by decrying their own merits, unless there is some one at hand who is likely to contradict them.
XVI. An orator derives less confidence from his volubility, than volubility from his confidence.
XVII. Some people contrive to pass off a great many silly remarks unperceived by means of a sentence or two of sense, upon much the same principle that toll-keepers manage to get rid of half a dozen bad shillings between a couple of good ones.
XVIII. People frequently arraign their neighbours for follies or faults of which they have not sense and feeling enough to be guilty themselves. They do not seem to be aware that they may be as distant from the goal of virtue by stopping short of it as by running beyond it.
XIX. Those who attempt to shine in conversation bear no slight resemblance to ambitious musicians, who, although they hear other parts of a performance, pay very little attention to any save their own.
XX. To be in company with men of genius without deriving instruction, is almost as impossible as to pass through an orange grove without imbibing its perf ume.