Графични страници
PDF файл

Half-veiled in vapoury cloud, the silver steam
Of dews fast melting on their leafy boughs
By the strong sunbeams smitten. Like a mast
Of gold, the Maypole shines; as if the rays
Of morning, aided by exhaling dew,
With gladsome influence could re-animate
The faded garlands dangling from its sides.

Said I, “ The music and the sprightly scene Invite us; shall we quit our road, and join These festive matins ?”—He replied, “ Not loth To linger I would here with you partake, Not one hour merely, but till evening's close, The simple pastimes of the day and place. By the fleet Racers, ere the sun be set, The turf of yon large pasture will be skimmed ; There, too, the lusty Wrestlers shall contend : But know we not that he, who intermits The appointed task and duties of the day, Untunes full oft the pleasures of the day ; Checking the finer spirits that refuse To flow, when purposes are lightly changed ? A length of journey yet remains untraced : Let us proceed.” Then, pointing with his staff Raised toward those craggy summits, his intent He thus imparted :

“In a spot that lies Among yon mountain fastnesses concealed, You will receive, before the hour of noon,

Good recompense, I hope, for this day's toil,
From sight of One who lives secluded there,
Lonesome and lost : of whom, and whose past life,
(Not to forestall such knowledge as may be
More faithfully collected from himself)
This brief communication shall suffice.

Though now sojourning there, he, like myself, Sprang from a stock of lowly parentage Among the wilds of Scotland, in a tract Where many a sheltered and well-tended plant, Bears, on the humblest ground of social life, Blossoms of piety and innocence. Such grateful promises his youth displayed : And, having shown in study forward zeal, He to the Ministry was duly called ; And straight, incited by a curious mind Filled with vague hopes, he undertook the charge Of Chaplain to a military troop Cheered by the Highland bagpipe, as they marched In plaided vest,--his fellow-countrymen. This office filling, yet by native power And force of native inclination made An intellectual ruler in the haunts Of social vanity, he walked the world, Gay, and affecting graceful gaiety ; Lax, buoyant-less a pastor with his flock Than a soldier among soldiers-lived and roamed Where Fort led :—and Fortune, who oft proves

The careless wanderer's friend, to him made known
A blooming Lady—a conspicuous flower,
Admired for beauty, for her sweetness praised ;
Whom he had sensibility to love,
Ambition to attempt, and skill to win.

For this fair Bride, most rich in gifts of mind, Nor sparingly endowed with worldly wealth, His office he relinquished ; and retired From the world's notice to a rural home. Youth's season yet with him was scarcely past, And she was in youth's prime. How free their love, How full their joy! 'Till, pitiable doom ! In the short course of one undreaded year Death blasted all. Death suddenly o’erthrew Two lovely Children-all that they possessed ! The Mother followed :- miserably bare The one Survivor stood, he wept, he prayed For his dismissal, day and night, compelled To hold communion with the grave, and face With pain the regions of eternity. A An uncomplaining apathy displaced This anguish ; and, indifferent to delight, To aim and purpose, he consumed his days, To private interest dead, and public care. So lived he; so he might have died.

But now,

To the wide world's astonishment, appeared

A glorious opening, the unlooked-for dawn,
That promised everlasting joy to France !
Her voice of social transport reached even him!
He broke from his contracted bounds, repaired
To the great City, an emporium then
Of golden expectations, and receiving
Freights every day from a new world of hope.
Thither his popular talents he transferred ;
And, from the pulpit, zealously maintained
The cause of Christ and civil liberty,
As one, and moving to one glorious end.
Intoxicating service ! I might say
A happy service ; for he was sincere
As vanity and fondness for applause,
And new and shapeless wishes, would allow.


[ocr errors]

That righteous cause (such power hath freedom) bound,
For one hostility, in friendly league,
Ethereal natures and the worst of slaves ;
Was served by rival advocates that came
From regions opposite as heaven and hell.

courage seemed to animate them all :
And, from the dazzling conquests daily gained
By their united efforts, there arose
A proud and most presumptuous confidence
In the transcendent wisdom of the age,
And her discernment; not alone in rights,
And in the origin and bounds of power
Social and temporal; but in laws divine,


Deduced by reason, or to faith revealed.
An overweening trust was raised; and fear
Cast out, alike of person and of thing.
Plague from this union spread, whose subtle bane
The strongest did not easily escape;
And He, what wonder! took a mortal taint.
How shall I trace the change, how bear to tell
That he broke faith with them whom he had laid
In earth's dark chambers, with a Christian's hope !
An infidel contempt of holy writ
Stole by degrees upon his mind; and hence
Life, like that Roman Janus, double-faced;
Vilest hypocrisy—the laughing, gay
Hypocrisy, not leagued with fear, but pride.
Smooth words he had to wheedle simple souls ;
But, for disciples of the inner school,
Old freedom was old servitude, and they
The wisest whose opinions stooped the least
To known restraints; and who most boldly drew
Hopeful prognostications from a creed,
That, in the light of false philosophy,
Spread like a halo round a misty moon,
Widening its circle as the storms advance.

His sacred function was at length renounced; And every day and every place enjoyed The unshackled layman's natural liberty; Speech, manners, morals, all without disguise. I do not wish to wrong him; though the course

« ПредишнаНапред »