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'Twas a new idea to me, that conveyed of late by the author of Leslie, surnamed Norman, that the only things you see, after crossing the Atlantic, which you have seen before, are the orb of day, sometimes vulgarly called Phoebus, or the sun, the chaste Regent of the Night, or Luna, that green-horns sometimes denominate the moon, and those jewels of heaven-doubloons of the celestial bank,' as a Spanish poet calls them sometimes named stars, by plain, uninitiated persons. These, it seems, are the only old acquaintances a man meets abroad. They are not to be put by. A man may curse his stars, indeed, but he cannot cut them. As well might the great sea essay 'to cast its waters on the burning Bear, and quench the guards of the ever-fixéd pole.' Therefore shall I learn henceforth yet more to love those dazzling planets, fixed or errant, because in no long time I may meet them in Phillippi. Precious then to me will be their bright companionship! Milky feelings will come over me, as I scrutinize the via lactea, with upturned eyes; conscious will be the moon; inexpressibly dear every glimpse of the lesser lights that rule the night with modest fires. Without the slightest premonitory symptoms of astrology, and being withal no horologe consulter, I yet do love the stars. Rich, rare, and lustrous, they win my gaze, and look into my soul. I have seen them at Niagara, glinting upon the mad breakers through the lunar rainbow, with their perpetual flashes; on the big lakes of the interior, as if the calm waters were but another sky; on the placid Schuylkill, when the breath of clover-fields came freshened from the wave it never wrinkled; and I have seen them- oh climax of beauty! — on the 'Grand Erie Canawl,' just before taking a berth in copartnership with bed-bugs! Enough of stars. I am waxing
ONE word more, though, before I dismiss these luminaries. That verse of Byron's, wherein he compares the object of some early af fection to a star, dropping from its sphere, always struck me as peculiarly beautiful. Look at it, reader, and say so too:
'I know not if I could have borne
To see thy beauty fade;
The night that followed such a morn,
Had worn a deeper shade.
As stars, that shoot along the sky,
Shine brightest, when they fall from high.'
The same individual who was a highly nice person for making apt pieces of metre out of his head - has, in the handsomest manner, volunteered his services for the moon, at the close of the following passage:
'I do remember me, that on a night like this,
ONE cannot write, by any possibility, with a sense of pleasure, when his subject brings too many things to his recollection, and pours remembrance full upon the eye. I love to go back to the moon-light eves of other years; and I do confess, that the shimmer of a star over a city chimney; the rustle of vines in its garden walks; or the soft hum of a summer shower at night, tinkling on a thousand shadowy roofs around, and gurgling down the conduits of the eaves - those regular eaves-droppers --can awaken in me a multitude of pleasant thoughts, which lie too deep for tears. Unanswered aspirations come before me with their solemnities, and I hold a deeper communion with my Maker. Some soft instrument of music, touched by a fair hand, in the nocturnal hours, adds to the quietude, and I thank that Spirit for its spell, in hurried numbers:
Pours out the winning soul of song;
BY-THE-BY, the first individual from whom I ever heard an amatory effusion, was an immense arrangement of flesh and blood- a milli ner, from Yorkshire, in England. She had come from home, with her large fat face, with all the bloom on, and with big watery eyes. How she would flatter herself that she was enchanting the students, as, in quizzing convocations, they invited her at green-horn parties, (after a turn at Blind Man's Buff, or some such highly intellectual game,) to sing 'Oh, 'tis Love - 'tis Love!' Her stupendous chest seemed to expand with the tender passion; and oh — ears, that were searched with the volume of her notes, attest the fact — how she tortured the attentive tympanum! In form, as I have said, she was immense; a John Reeve in petticoats, and not unlike that most fantastic Cupid. Gentle Giantess! Many years have passed, since she chaunted to those roystering Academy boys!' If she yet live, she might say Here!' to Elia's description of her whilome Oxford
counterpart : 'There may be her parallel upon the earth, but surely I never saw it. I take her to be lineally descended from the maid's aunt of Brainford, who caused Master Ford such uneasiness. She hath Atlantean shoulders; and, as she stoopeth in her gait with as few offences to answer for in her own particular as any of Eve's daughters her back seems broad enough to bear the blame of all the peccadillos that have been committed since Adam. She girdeth her waist or what she is pleased to esteem as such— nearly up to her shoulders, from beneath which, that huge dorsal expanse, in mountainous declivity, emergeth. Respect for her alone preventeth the idle boys, who follow her about in shoals, whenever she cometh abroad, from getting up and riding. But her presence infallibly commands a reverence. She is indeed, as the Americans would express it, something awful. Her person is a burthen to herself, no less than the ground which bears her. To her mighty bone, she hath a pinguitude withal, which makes the depth of winter to her the most desirable season. Her distress in the warmer solstice is pitiable. During the months of July and August, she usually renteth a cool cellar, where ices are kept, whereinto she descendeth when Sirius rageth. She dates from a hot Thursday-some twenty-five years ago. Her apartment in summer is pervious to the four winds. Two doors in north and south direction, and two windows fronting the rising and the setting sun, never closed, from every cardinal point catch the contributory breezes. She loves to enjoy what she calls a quadruple draught. That must be a shrewd zephyr, that can escape her. I owe a painful face-ache, which oppresses me at this moment, to a cold caught, sitting by her, one day in last July, at this receipt of coolness. Her fan, in ordinary, resembleth a banner spread, which she keepeth continually on the alert to detect the least breeze. She possesseth an active and gadding mind, totally incommensurate with her person. No one delighteth more than herself in country exercises and pastimes. I have passed many an agreeable holiday with her in her favorite park at Woodstock. She performs her part in these delightful ambulatory excursions by the aid of a portable garden chair. She setteth out with you at a fair foot gallop, which she keepeth up till you are both well breathed, and then she reposeth for a few seconds. Then she is up again for a hundred paces or so, and again resteth her movement, on these sprightly occasions, being something between walking and flying. Her great weight seemeth to propel her forward, ostrich-fashion. In this kind of relieved marching, I have traversed with her many scores of acres on those well-wooded and well-watered domains. Her delight at Oxford is in the public walks and gardens, where, when the weather is not too oppressive, she passeth much of her valuable time. There is a bench at Maudlin, or rather, situated between the frontiers of that and Christ's college- some litigation, latterly, about repairs, has vested the property of it finally in Christ's where at the hour of noon she is ordinarily to be found sitting- so she calls it by courtesy but in fact, pressing and breaking of it down with her enormous settlement; as both of those foundations, who, however, are goodnatured enough to wink at it, have found, I believe, to their cost. Here she taketh the fresh air, principally at vacation times, when the
walks are freest from interruption of the younger fry of students. Here she passeth her idle hours, not idly, but generally accompanied with a book blest if she can but intercept some resident Fellow, (as usually there are some of that brood left behind at these periods,) or stray Master of Arts, (to most of whom she is better known than their dinner bell,) with whom she may confer upon any curious topic of literature.'
YET the burden of love and song, after all, hallows every thing it bends withal. Poetry is your true dignifier of the work-day world. In amber, your fly may go down balmy to other ages, that without that sweet consistence for an overcoat, shall smell to heaven from the shambles, or be passed with a buzz of contempt by surviving friends of his race, of either gender, as they disport themselves, in impassioned union, on a warm summer pane. Even servitude may thus be embellished by song, and the humblest stations win the highest flights. Here followeth a strain to a waiter's memory, well known to the denizens of Brotherly Love, in other hours, - but now laid i' the earth, with all odors and honor. Some lines therein shall be seen italicized. 'Tis a work of mine, for which I crave the pardon of the friend from whose rare harp the numbers come:
DEDICATED, WITH PERMISSION, AND A PIECE OF MINT-STICK, TO META B
Hail may'st thou Bogle, for thy reign
AGED FOUR YEARS.
See him erect, with lofty tread,
The dark scarf streaming from his head,
Let widows, anxious to fulfil,
And every hat has got its band.
And Death himself, that ceaseless dun,
Nor less, stupendous man! thy power,
More inward bruises' than it heals;
So, sadly social, when we flee