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servants in song. With difficulty we reached a bench, under a piece of sail-cloth, enjoying an entire view of the congregation. Two long narrow tables, covered with fair white linen cloth,” were placed in the midst. The minister was protected from the weather in a small wooden building, somewhat like a watch-box with the

upper

half-door away ; but, though I liken it to such a thing, it had not, in my eyes, a degrading effect. What a glorious sight! Every one so neatly attired, so patient, so serious, so solemn! This throng was assembled on a certain day, and at a certain hour, many from a distance of fifty miles, all joining with decent piety in the same psalm, without affectation, without grimace, their eyes humbly bent down, or modestly raised to their instructor. I never thought upon creeds; I thought only upon what was before me-devotion! How poor are gay religions full of pomp and gold,” compared to their sincere and simple worship!

The prayer lasted half an hour, and the sermon an hour. Yet I listened unweariedly, though I understood not one word of Gaëlic, to the music of syllables, as uttered by the minister, whose modulation of voice was the finest that can be conceived : added to which, the grace and dignity of his action, for ever varied, but seldom greatly elevated ; and, above all, the smile of good-will, which never left his counte

After the sermon, every one still keeping his place, he addressed them on the subject of the Communion. The tables were then filled, a collection made for the poor, and the elements brought forward, the bread on a silver salver, and the wine in two silver chalices, which were distributed by the elders, while the minister, standing between the two ends of the tables, read the appropriate passage from the Testament, and afterwards discoursed to them, at considerable length, on the nature of their obligations. These communicants then retired, and the tables were again filled, and so on, till the sacrament was administered to all those who had previously obtained permission; each separate table being attended by different assisting clergymen.

The state of the weather could not have been more favourable for this meeting under the canopy of Heaven, as it was very warm, and with shadowing clouds. For a long time I was insensible to any thing that tended to destroy either the propriety or the solemnity of the congregation. At last I observed there were twice as many women as men,--a most disproportionate assortment; and that the aged were more devout than the young, who, it must be confessed, gave some unequivocal signs of indifference and impatience; but, be it remembered, the service lasted altogether eight hours and a half. I also discovered that some became sleepy ; but, poor souls! what a toilsome distance had they travelled! Then again, from some quarter or another, there was an incessant cry of infants, except during the time of singing, and the exception is a proof of the power of music; this, however, was unavoidable, for who were left to take charge of them at their homes ? and how could they live without their mothers' bosoms? I saw the necessity of bringing them, and forgave them for their noise with all my heart.

S.

SKETCHES OF ITALY, IN VERSE AND PROSE.

No. II.- Como.
Where Como on its lake's still bosom views
Bleak Alpine snows, and summer's fervid hues,
There is a solitude more sweet than e'er
Was given to Fancy's dream, or Poet's prayer ;
Where rocks and woods ward off the noon-tide ray,
And meeting points inclose a tranquil bay
Which sleeps on russet sands, or ripples o'er,
Welling from carern'd fount, the pebbly shore ;
Where the bare crag that to the wave descends
Its shadows with the light-leaved olive blends,
And myrtles mingled with the clustering vine
High over-arch'd a bower of fragrance twine ;
Whilst far beyond the lake's broad waters rollid
Expand their purple splendours edged with gold,
By headland bleak and misty isle retire,
And seem to tinge each distant cape with fire.

This calm retirement virtuous Pliny chose,
Within these groves he sought and found repose,
When sickening with the vulgar toils of life,
The courtly homage, the forensic strife,
He left the world which triflers hold so dear,
And joyous sprang to feast on Nature here.
“ Beauties of earth and heaven,” ('twas thus he cried)
“ Thou wave dark-heaving to the cavern's side,
Thou ancient forest's venerable shade,
Ye azure mountains that in distance fade,
Ye clouds that round their icy summits break,
How pure, how deep the wisdom that ye speak !
Not that vain knowledge taught in worldly schools,
To flatter, fawn, ensnare, delude by rules;
In truth's fair semblance to conceal our guile,
And sheath the stings of malice in a smile :
Not that base grovelling to another's will,
Reviled, spurn'd, trampled, yet complacent still ;
But studious thoughts on Nature's works intent,
The soaring hopes in fancy's visions sent,
The clear transparence of the spotless mind,
Which glows with joys that leave no shade behind."

Thus didst thou read Creation's moral page,
Thus soothe thy cares, Ophilosophic sage.
I feel with thee the raptures that inspir'd
Thy lonely hours, when, in itself retired,
Thy free mind soar'd upon the wings of thought,
And grasp'd the fair ideas which it sought.
I seem thy sports, thy studies to divide,
Through valleys lone I linger by thy side,
Breathe the keen freshness of the mountain-air,
And read man's charter'd independence there.
Or trim with thee the midnight lamp, and gaze
Upon the glories of Rome's ancient days,
The glow of mind, the constancy of soul,
Stamp'd by thy genius on the historic roll,
When o’er thy breast prophetic longings came,
And throbb’d with promise of immortal fame.

But did thy virtuous bosom never feel
Those blighted hopes which thought could never heal?

Did thy capacious wisdom ne'er explore
An unseen world, where fame should be no more?
Wast thou content mind's purest joys to know,
And in the silent grave those joys forego?
The towering heights of Reason's lore to try,
To plume thine eagle fancy and to die?
Did no still voice e'er whisper in thy breast,
That those fond aspirations to be blest,
That feverish restlessness, that mortal strife,
Were the sure earnests of immortal life,
Seeds of that flower that was again to bloom
More bright, more fair, and live beyond the tomb?
Unhappy! from these truths thou turn dst away,
Nor hail'dst the morn that brought our glorious day.

The view of the Lake of Como from the town is confined to a small circular basin, surrounded by high hills, and enlivened by villas. On doubling a low headland, a very beautiful reach is seen.

The mountains rise on each side boldly from the water's edge, and their summits terminate in peaks of varied form and elevation. Their gradual ascent (in Gibbon's words) is covered by a triple plantation of olives, of vines, and of chesnut-trees, and they are clothed nearly to their summits with verdure. The green mass of the woods is agreeably interrupted in various places by small villages, clustering round the slender tower of the church, or by the solitary convent or chapel, whilst the white villas which crowd the shores are reflected in the transparent waters which flow close under their walls. About three miles from Como we came to the promontory and small village of Torno. It forms a very picturesque object, sloping gradually from the higher hills, and projecting far into the lake, with its houses, church, and cypress-trees. Here some have placed Pliny's two villas -his Tragedy and Comedy. The situation has sufficient beauty, and agrees well enough with Pliny's description to warrant us in placing them here; but there is nothing like conclusive evidence of their having occupied this site. We coasted the Eastern shore of the lake from Torno, admiring, as we advanced, the beauty and boldness of the scenery, and, about two miles farther, landed at a modern villa called the Pliniana. Here, in the inner court of the house, is the intermitting fountain described by both Plinys. Its source is under a low cavern; it runs with great rapidity, and is as clear as crystal. The attendant informed us, that it still rises and falls thrice a-day, but at uncertain hours. It does not, I think, appear from Pliny's account, that he had a villa close to this fountain ; and, indeed, the confined situation, hardly allowing room for a house, is very ill adapted to the space of a Roman mansion. The site, however, of the Pliniana is very beautiful; it is embosomed in a grove of chesnuts, laurel, and cypress; it clings close to the rocky hill which rises immediately above it; and commands an extensive and magnificent view of the lake.

I shall subjoin Pliny's description of his villas on the lake, as tending to illustrate the beautiful scenery in which his elegant genius seems so much to have delighted.

“On this shore I have many villas, but two, as they please me most, so principally engage me. The one placed on rocks, after the Baian fashion, looks over the lake ; the other, also, in the Baian man. ner, touches its waters: wherefore, that I am accustomed to call Tragedy, because she is supported on buskins; this, Comedy, because her feet are sandaled. Each has its peculiar charms, which, to the possessor of both, are, from their very diversity, rendered more attractive. This enjoys the lake more closely; that more extensivelythis embraces in its prospect one bay only of a soft circling outline ; that with its lofty promontory divides two:- from that the extended line of coast, stretching to a great distance, appears like a school of equestrian exercise; from this the gentle curve of the shore forms a spacious and sheltered portico for pedestrian recreation. That feels not the waves; this breaks them:—from that you can look down upon the fishermen ; from this you can partake in the sport yourself, and throw the hook from your chamber, nay, almost from your bed, as from a boat. These united attractions have induced me to make to each those additions in which they are separately deficient.”—-Plin. B. ix. Ep. 7.

H.

STANZAS

Written on viewing the Monument of two Sleeping Children, by Chantrey,

in Lichfield Cathedral.
O CHANTREY! thou hast stolen the feeling all
Of Nature's young and innocent worshipers,
Of those whose hearts keep holy festival
Through the fair seasons of their beauteous years;
Whose feet go printless over woe; whose tears
But

gem the looks of gladness where they light;
Whose lips are wet with honey; while the fears,
Waylaying mortal joys, may never fright
The soul from its repast, pure, sensitive, and light.

For when the blight of ugly Death had thrown
Its lustre from that seat of love, the eye,
Then camest thou, and in thy chiseli'd stone
Hewedst out these an immortality.
While their free spirits sought to glorify
The holiness of innocence with wings,
Thou bad'st their fairy forms entranced lie,
As if they dreamt of Heaven, and lovely things
That Future still to Youth in radiant beauty brings.

O artist! pity thou couldst not bestow
The breath into those lips that gently part;
And give the warm blood in those veins to flow,
That seem to converse with the throbbing heart;
And bid that perfect foot with ardent start,
Climb the bright Helicon of Life's domain ;-
Pity! yet hardly so ;-man has no art

To wake the youthful melody again;
And joy is oft, at best, the holiday of pain.

Sweet forms! sweet memories of what have been !
Fair triumphs of a noble art ! ye lie
Mocking at things of flesh, in all your green,
And everlasting freshness. Oh! gone by
I have known forms like yours,—yet they could die!
But your sweet sympathies shall perish not;
And ye, like rainbows promise-bent on high,

Shall point the mourner from his earthly spot,
To where immortal youth is joy's peculiar lot.

THE BIRTHDAY.

The antipathy to serious reflection entertained by the generality of mankind is such, that nothing but the occurrence of calamity, or the anniversary of some period marked by sorrow which we cannot forget, or by joy which we cannot recall, is capable of turning the mind to sober and useful meditation. The giddy round of life goes on: we engage in new projects, indulge in new hopes, undismayed by the failure of old ones, and are incessantly occupied with the effort to banish the retrospection of the past, by indulging in the visions of the future.

As has been observed, however, there are times when these efforts fail ; and one of these is the recurrence of a birth-day-that subject of joy in childhood, and of seriousness, if not gloom, in maturer age. In the former it is hurrying us on to the wished-for period, when we expect to act with independence, and to enjoy without restraint: in the latter, it is sweeping us headlong to the close of a life, embittered to many by disappointment, and drawing to an end, for which all feel they are unprepared.

Řeader, do not be alarmed; I am not going to write a sermon, nor am I one whose mind is soured by disappointment, or racked by remorse. On the contrary, I have attained the nil admirari sort of tranquillity, inspired by experience, and becoming my age, and have learned to live on the philosophic principle, that “ All that is truly delightful in life, is what all, if they please, may enjoy.” My present train of reflection was awakened by finding among my papers the other day some verses which I wrote on the twentieth anniversary of my birth-day, twenty years ago, and which I subjoin at the end of this article.

Oh the pleasures of that day in my childhood! I still think with delight on the happiness it brought with it, the festivity it occasioned, and the privileges it conferred. On that day I was always allowed a holiday, and suffered to play with my brothers and sisters, who enjoyed the same exemption. On that evening, instead of being sent early to bed, we were all permitted to join in the family supper; for in those days there were no late dinners to preclude supper. I have still before my eyes the small blue parlour in which my mother used to explain to me, in the morning, the importance of the day, and the added duties which its recurrence entailed on me, while I bore the lecture with patience and complacency, in consideration of the joys by which it was to be succeeded. Many a time in after-life, when I had entered on the bustle, the hopes, and fears of the world, have I retired on that day, to turn my thoughts from the cares of business, or the regrets of disappointment, to these remembrances of infant happiness. The retrospection of our actions and adventures, which Pythagoras recommended nightly, I have always entered on annually, and my birth-day has been the day I have fixed on for it. I am not an unhappy man, but, alas! since the date of the following lines, that retrospection has seldom been such a source of comfort to me, as it might have been perpetually if I had kept with firmness the resolutions they express.--

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