Imágenes de páginas


heart. Say that thou believest in what thou hast read, thy father will die happy! "I do believe, and as thou forgivest me, so may I be forgiven by my Father who is in heaven." The elder seemed like a man suddenly inspired with a new life. His faded eyes kindled, his pale cheeks glowed, his palsied hands seemed to wax strong, and his voice was clear as that of manhood in its prime. "Into thy hands, O God, I commit my spirit" and so saying, he gently sunk back on his pillow; I thought I heard a sigh. There was then a long, deep silence; and the father, the mother, and the child, rose from their knees. The eyes of us all were turned towards the white, placid face of the figure, now stretched in everlasting rest; and without lamentations, save the silent lamentations of the resigned soul, we stood around the death-bed of the elder.

[ocr errors]


17. The Evening Cloud.

A CLOUD lay cradled near the setting sun,

All purely white, and tinged with crimson glow,
Long did I watch it calmly moving on

O'er the still radiance of the lake below.
Tranquil its spirit seemed, and floated slow;
Even in its very motion there was rest;
While every breath of eve, that chanced to blow,
Wafted the traveller to the beauteous west,
Emblem, methought, of the departed soul!

To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given;
And by the breath of Mercy made to roll

Right onward to the gates of heaven,
Where, to the eye of faith, it peaceful lies,
And tells to man his glorious destinies.


18. Beauties of Natural History.

ANIMATED being is that branch of natural history which possesses charms the most numerous and diversified, and is fraught with the most important consequences to man; but this division of nature cannot be comprised at a glance. It is advisable, that the student should begin with examining the nature and qualities of such quadrupeds as are most familiar to his observation. Even in the dog and horse, how many properties reside which are seldom considered with attention! From such objects as are most obvious and inviting, he should gradually ascend by firm and patient steps to the knowledge of others.

The larger animals, and such as contribute to general pleasure and utility, will doubtless first engage his attention. After duly scanning their nature and instincts, their growth, their maturation, their increase, the care of their young, their selection of food, and the various means with which Providence has endowed them for their preservation, the student should descend to an examination of such quadrupeds as are more minute, or retired from his notice; and, when he is tolerably well acquainted with those of his own country, should extend his views to the natives of foreign regions.

The sagacious docility of the elephant, the persevering fortitude of the camel, the generous magnanimity of the lion, and the savage fierceness of the hyena and the tiger, will supply abundant materials for reflection, and incentives to further and closer investigation. It will be thus discovered how the useful quadrupeds are wisely allotted to their respective climates, and to the exigencies of man; and how the noxious classes are generally restrained to haunts little frequented by our race, while their numbers are limited by the most admirable and benevolent economy of nature.

After this acquaintance with the history of quadrupeds, the student should proceed to birds, the most beautiful and innocent tribes of the creation; and learn the means by which

they are enabled to subsist either on land or water; examine the invariable structure of their nests, according to their respective kinds; and observe the fond affection they display for their young. He will find that those birds whose beauty of plumage excites his admiration, are generally destitute of harmonious voices; so that the parrot, the peacock, and pheasant, disgust by their screams, while the homely lark, the nightingale, and blackbird, delight by the sweetness of their melody.

Reptiles, the next class in animated nature, are far less numerous, and less inviting. In the formidable alligator, in the poisonous serpent, in the harmless tortoise, and the lively frog, very opposite qualities will be discovered; but in all will still be discernible a perfect fitness to their respective situations in the scale of creation.

The next class to which the student should turn his attention is that of fishes. The conformation of these, their wonderful adaptation to the element which they inhabit, their powers and faculties, though inferior to those of birds and beasts, will challenge his admiration, and animate his researches.

Entomology, or the natural history of insects, is so extensive as to baffle the most inquisitive investigator. Every plant, every leaf, is the abode or food of one or more species, some of which are imperceptible to the naked eye. All insects are propagated from eggs, and, by wonderful law of nature, undergo several metamorphoses before they arrive at their perfect state. The caterpillar, the aurelia, and the butterfly, so distinguishable from each other, are but names for one and the same animal in different stages of its existence. Even the minutest insects are formed with as much skill as the most stately quadrupeds, and are equally qualified to enjoy life. A general knowledge, however, of this numerous class will be sufficient; and from insects he will extend his observation to the shelly tribes, the beauty and the mechanism of which baffle all description.

In these, life seems to be scarcely active, and to many of them a locomotive power is denied; yet even the zoophyte,

which connects the animal with the vegetable kingdom, even the animalcule, has its sphere of duties to fulfil, and its share of blessings to enjoy.

From the study of animated being, let the curious student direct his attention to vegetables; from vegetables to mineruls; and from the garniture produce of the earth to the celestial orbs that roll in the abyss of space; the planets in their regular courses, the comets in their eccentric orbits, and the myriads of fixed stars that adorn the vaults of heaven. How amazing is the contemplation of the universe! Wonders crowd on wonders; and the mind is bewildered, till it recurs to the supreme universal Cause, and reposes on the bosom of Omnipotence.


19. Home.

THERE is a land, of every land the pride,
Beloved of Heaven o'er all the world beside,.
Where brighter suns dispense serener light,
And milder moons imparadise the night-
A land of beauty, virtue, valor, truth,
Time-tutored age; and love-exalted youth."
The wandering mariner, whose eye explores
The wealthiest isles, the most enchanting shores,
Views not a realm so bountiful and fair,
Nor breathes the spirit of a purer air.
In every clime the magnet of his soul,
Touched by remembrance, trembles to that pole ;
For in this land of heaven's peculiar grace,
The heritage of nature's noblest race,
There is a spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest,
Where man, creation's tyrant, casts aside
His sword and sceptre, pageantry and pride,
While in his softened looks benignly blend
The sire, the son, the husband, brother, friend.

Here woman reigns; the mother, daughter, wife,
Strews with fresh flowers the narrow way of life ;
In the clear heaven of her delighted eye,
An angel guard of Loves and Graces lie;
Around her knees domestic duties meet,
And fireside pleasures gambol at her feet.
Where shall that land, that spot of earth be found?
Art thou a man? a patriot? look around;
O, thou shalt find, howe'er thy footsteps roam,
That land thy country, and that spot thy home!


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

20. The Results of Misdirected and Guilty Ambition.

To attain to their envied situation, the candidates for fortune too frequently abandon the paths of virtue; for, unhappily, the road which leads to the one, and that which leads to the other, lie sometimes in very opposite directions. But the ambitious man flatters himself that, in the splendid situation to which he advances, he will have so many means of commanding the respect and admiration of mankind, and will be enabled to act with such superior propriety and grace, that the lustre of his future conduct will entirely cover or efface the foulness of the steps by which he arrived at that elevation.

In many governments, the candidates for the highest stątions are above the law, and if they can attain the object of their ambition, they have no fear of being called to account for the means by which they acquired it. They often endeavor, therefore, not only by fraud and falsehood, the ordinary and vulgar arts of intrigue and cabal, but sometimes by the perpetration of the most enormous crimes, by murder and assassination, by rebellion and civil war, to supplant and destroy those who oppose or sand in the way of their greatness. They more frequently miscarry than succeed, and commonly

« AnteriorContinuar »