Графични страници
PDF файл

Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of heaven on all his ways;
While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
To.morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
Wiih first approach oi light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour, to reform
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring, and require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth:
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, it we mean to tread with ease:
Meanwhile, as Nature wills, night bids us rest,'

To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned:
My author and disposer, what thou bidst
Unargued I obey: so God ordains;
God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charın of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heaven, her starry train:
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemin bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?'

To whom our general ancestor replied:
• Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve,
These have their course to finish round the earth
By morrow evening, and from land to land
In order, though to nations yet unborn,
Ministering light prepared, they set and rise;
Lest total darkness should by night regain
Her old possession, and extinguish life
In nature and all things, which these soft fires
Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat
Of vaj ious intiuence, foment and warm,
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
On earth, made hereby apter to receive
Perfection from the sun's more polent ray.
These, then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
Shine not in vain; nor think, though men

none, Thaheaven would want spectators, God want praise.

Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night. How often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator! Oft in bands,
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic numbers joined, their songs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven.'

Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed
On to their blissful bower; it was a place
Chosen by the sovereign Planter, when he framed
All things to Man's delightful use; the roof
Of thickest covert was in woven shade,
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,
Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower;
Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine,
Reared high their flourished heads between, and

Mosaic; underfoot the violet,
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
Broidered the ground, more coloured than with

Of costliest emblem: other creatures here,
Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none;
Such was their awe of Man.

Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
Both turned, and under open sky adored
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendant globe,
And starry pole: 'Thou also mad'st the night,
Maker Omnipotent, and thou the day,
Which we in our appointed work employed
Have finished, happy in our inutual help
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss,
Ordained by thee, and this delicious place,
For us too large, where thy abundance wants
Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.
But thou hast promised from us two a race
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep.'

He added not; for Adam at the news
Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood,
That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen
Yet all had heard, with audible lam:nt
Discovered soon the place of her retire:

O unexpected stroke; worse than of death!
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise? thus leave
Thee, native soil? these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of gods? where I had hoped to spend,
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both. O flowers,


Now, too nigh The Archangel stood, and from the other hill To their fixed station, all in bright array, The cherubim descended; on the ground, Gliding meteorous, as evening mist Risen from a river o'er the marish glides, And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel Homeward returning. High in front advanced, The brandished sword of God before them blazed Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat, And vapour as the Libyan air adust, Began to parch that temperate clime: whereat, In either hand the hastening Angel caught Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast To the subjected plain; then disappeared. They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld Of Paradise, so late their happy seat, Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate With dreadsul faces thronged and fiery arms: Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon. The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide: They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, Through Eden took their solitary way.



That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation, and my last
At even, which I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names!
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount?
Thee lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorned
With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world, to this obscure
And wild? how shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?'

Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild:
• Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign
What justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart,
Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine:
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes
Thy husband; him to follow thou art bound;
Where he abides, think there thy native soil.'

Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp
Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned,
To Michael thus his humble words addressed:

• Celestial, whether among the thrones, or named Of them the highest, for such of shape may seem Prince above princes, gently hast thou told Thy message, which might else in telling wound, And in performing end us; what besides Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair, Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring; Departure from this happy place, our sweet Recess, and only consolation left Familiar to our eyes; all places else Inhospitable appear and desolate, Nor knowing us, nor known: and if by prayer Incessant I could hope to change the will Of him who all things can, I would not cease To weary him with my assiduous cries; But prayer against his absolute decree No more avails than breath against the wind, Blown stilling back on him that breathes it forth; Therefore to his great bidding I submit. This most afficts me, that, departing hence, As from his face I shall be hid, deprived His blessed countenance; here I could frequent With worship place by place where he vouchsafed Presence divine, and to my sons relate, On this mount he appeared; under this tree Stood visible; among these pines his voice I heard; here with him at this fountain talked; So many grateful altars I would rear Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone Of lustre from the brook, in memory, Or monument to ages, and thereon Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers. In yonder nether world where shall I seek His bright appearances, or fontstep trace? For though I fled him any,!,!it, recalled To life' prolonged and promised race, I now Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts Of glory, and far off his steps adore.'

“The lily minds me of a maiden brow,"
Hugh Sutherland would say: “the marigold
Is full and sunny like her yellow hair,
The full-blown rose her lips with sweetness tipt:
But if you seek a likeness to her eye-
Go to the pansies, friend, and find it there!”
“Ay, leeze me on the pansies!” Hugh would say-
Hugh Sutherland, the weaver-he who dwelt
Here in the white-wash'd cot you fancy so-
Who knew the learned naines of all the flowers,
And recognized the lily, tho' its head
Rose in a ditch of dull Latinity!

Pansies? You praise the ones that grow to-day Here in the garden: had you seen the place When Sutherland was living! Here they grew, From blue to deeper blue, in midst of each A golden dazzle like a glimmering star, Each broader, bigger, than a silver crown; While here the weaver sat, his labor done, Watching his azure pets and rearing them, Until they seem'd to know his stup and touch, And stir beneath his smile like living things! The very sunshine loved them, and would lie Here happy, coming early, lingering late, Because they were so fair.

Huglı Sutherland Was country-bred-I knew him from the time When on a bed of pain he lost a limb.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors]

And rose at last, a lame and sickly lad,
Apprenticed to the loom—a peevish lad,
Mooning among the shadows by himself.
Among these shadows, with the privilege
Of one who loved his flock, I sought him out,
And gently as I could I won his heart;
And then, tho' he was young and I was old,
We soon grew friends. He told his griefs to me,
Ili joys, his troubles, and I help'd him on;
Yei sought in vain to drive away the cloud
D:-p pain had left upon his sickly cheek,
And lure him from the shades that deepen'd it.
Then Heaven took the task upon itself,
And sent an angel down among the flowers !
Almost before I knew the work was done,
I found him settled in this but and ben,
Where, with an eye that brighten'd, he had found
The sunshine loved his garden, and begun
To rear his pansies.

More for the pansies' sakes than for his own:
His eye was like a father's, moist and bright,
When they were praised; and, as I said, they seem'd
To make themselves as beauteous as they could,
Smiling to please him. Blessings on the flowers!
They were his children! Father never loved
His little darlings more, or for their sakes
Fretted so dumbly! Father never bent
More tenderly above his little ones,
In the still watches of the night, when sleep
Breathes balon upon their eyelids! Night and day
Poor Hugh was careful for the gentle things
Whose presence brought a sunshine to the place
Where sickness dwe.t: this one was weak and small,
And needed watching like a sickly child;
This one so beauteous that it shamed its mates
And made him angry with its beauteousness.
“I cannot rest!” cried Hughie with a smile,
“I scarcely snatch a moment to myself-
They plague me so!" Part fun, part earnest, tiris :
He loved the pansies better than he knew.
Ev'n in the shadow of his weaving room
They haunted him and brighten'd on his soul:
Daily while busy working at the loom
The humming-humming seem'd a melody
To which the pansies sweetly grew and grew-
A leaf unrolling soft to every note,
A change of colours with the change of sound;
And walking to the door to rest himself,
Still with the humming.humming in his ears,
He saw the flowers and heard a melody
They made in growing. Pleasure such as this,
So exquisite, so lonely, might have pass'd
Into the shadowy restlessness of yore;
But wholesome human contact saved him here,
And kept him fresh and meek. The people came
To stir him with their praise, and he would show
The medals and the prizes he had got-
As proud and happy as a child who gains
A prize in school.

Sutherland was poor,
Rude, and untutor'd; peevish, too, when first
The angel in his garden found him out;
Bui pansy-growing made his heart within
Blow fresh and fragrant. When he came to share
This cottage with a brother of the craft,
Only some poor and sickly blossoms bloom'd,
Vagrant, though fair, among the garden plots;
And idly, carelessly, he water'd these,
Spread them and train'd them, till they grew and

In size and beauty, and the angel thrust
Its bright arms upward thro' the bright'ning sod,
And clung around the sickly gardener's heart.
Then Sutherland grew calmer, and the cloud
Was fading from his face. Well, by and by,
The country people saw and praised the flowers,
And what at first had been an idle joy
Became a sober, serious work for fame.
Next, being won to send a bunch for show,
lle won a prize-a sixth or seventh rate,
And slowly gath’ring courage, rested not
Till he had won the highest prize of all.
Ilere in the sunshine and the shade he toil'd
Early and late in joy, and, by and by,
Rose high in fame; for not a botanist,
A lover of the flowers, poor man or rich,
Came to the village, but the people said,

Go down the lane to Weaver Sutherland's,
And see his pansies!”

The angel still remain'd In winter, when the garden-plots were bare, And deep winds piloted the shriven snow: He saw its gleaming in the cottage fire, While, with a book of botany on his knee, He sat and hunger'd for the breath of spring. The angel of the flowers was with himn still! Here beds of roses sweeten'd all the page; Here lilies whiter than the fallen snow Crept gleaming softly from the printed lines; Here dewy violets sparkled till the book Dazzled his eyes with rays of misty buel; And here, amid a page of Latin names, All the sweet Scottish flowers together grew With fragrance of the summer.

Thus the summers pass'd, And Sutherland grew gentler, happier; *The angel God had sent him clung to him: There grew a rapturous sadness in his tone When he was gladdest, like the dewiness That moistens pansies when they bloom the best; And in his face there dawn’d a gentle light, Like that which softly clings about a flow'r, And makes you love it. Yet his heart was glad,

Hugh and I Were still fast friends, and stil I help'd him on; And often in the pleasant summer-time,

« ПредишнаНапред »