Imágenes de páginas
PDF

And oft, with his accustom'd call,
Urging on the sluggish Ball.
The barn is still,—the master's gone,—
The thresher puts his jacket on;
While Dick upon the ladder tall,
Nails the dead kite on the wall.
Here comes shepherd Jack at last,
He has penn'd the sheepcote fast,
For 'twas but two nights before
A lamb was eaten on the moor:
His empty wallet Rover carries,—
Now for Jack, when near home tarries;
With lolling tongue he runs to try
If the horse-trough be not dry.
The milk is settled in the pans,
And supper messes in the cans;
In the hovel carts are wheel'd,
And both the colts are drove a-field.
The snare for mister fox is set,
The leaven laid, the thatching net,
And Bess has slunk away to talk
With Roger in the holly-walk.

Now on the settle all but Bess
Are set to eat their supper mess;And little Tom and roguish Kate
Are swinging on the meadow gate.
Now they chat of various things,—
Of taxes, ministers, and kings;
Or else tell all the village news,
How madam did the 'squire refuse,
How parson on his tithes was bent,
And landlord oft distrain'd for rent.
Thus do they, till in the sky
The pale-eyed moon is mounted high;And from the ale-house drunken Ned
Had reel'd;—then hasten all to bed.
The mistress sees that lazy Kate
The happing coal on kitchen grate
Has laid,—while master goes throughout,
Sees shutters fast, the mastiff out;The candles safe, the hearths all clear,
And nought from thieves or fire to fear:Then both to bed together creep,
And join the general troop of sleep.

Kires White. WATEE LILIES.

A SUMMER EVENING UPON A LAKE.

The sun sinks in the west: rich orange lines
Change into purple, and a mellow haze
Falls on the mountains. Solemnly they lie,
In solemn grandeur, mirror d on the lake
Those heights majestic! Nearing Balmaha
The water-lilies, rocking on the swell
Made by the oars, have sunset's rosy blush
Upon their snow-white chalices. Broad leaves
Of glossy green that on the surface float,
As oar-blades left their long elastic stems,
Flap on the water. Resting on the oars,
We gaze upon the lilies dreamily,
And think of that mild hospitable race
Of men, whom Homer calls Lotophagi—
The lotus-eater, strangers who forget
Their native country and their distant friend.

[graphic][merged small]

Egyptian Isis rising from the flower—

And old Hindoo mythologies, wherein

The Lotus attribute of Ganga—embling

The world's great reproductive power—was held

In veneration.

Ah! fair lilies now We may not linger, paddling to and fro Among ye—

Farewell !—for lo!
'Tis sunset, and the heron wading in
The shallows, 'mong the reeds now spreads her wings,
And, rising, flies away, home to her nest;
With neck back-arched, and their long trailing legs,
Distinctly seen athwart the glowing sky!

A. J. Symington.

"It is a strange thing how little, in general, people know about the sky. It is the part of the creation in which nature has done more for the sake of pleasing man, more for the sole and evident purpose of talking to him and teaching him, than in any other of her works, and it is just the part in which we least attend to her. There are not many of her dim works in which some more material or essential purpose than the mere pleasing of man is not answered by every part of their organisation; but every essential purpose of the sky might, so far as we know, be answered if once in three days, or thereabouts, a great, ugly, black, rain-cloud were brought up over the blue, and everything well watered, and so all left blue again till the next time, with perhaps a film of morning and evening mist for dew. And instead of this, there is not a moment of any day of our lives, when nature is not producing scene after scene, picture after picture, glory after glory, and working still upon such exquisite and constant principles of the most perfect beauty, that it is quite certain it is all done for us, and intended for our profit, not pleasure. And every man, wherever placed, however far from other sources of interest or beauty, has this doing for him constantly. The noblest scenes of the earth can be seen and known but by few; it is not intended that man should live always in the midst of them; he injures them by his presence; he ceases to feel them if he be always with them; but the sky is, for all; bright as it is, it is not

Too bright, nor good
For human nature's daily food;

it is fitted in all its functions for the perpetual comfort and exalting of the heart, for soothing it and purifying it from its dross and dust. Sometimes gentle, sometimes capricious,

[merged small][ocr errors]

sometimes awful, never the same for two moments together; almost human in its passions, almost spiritual in its tenderness, almost divine in its affinity; its appeal to what is immortal in us, is as distinct as its ministry of chastisement or of blessing to what is moral is essential. And yet we never attend to it, we never make it a subject of thought, but as it has to do with our animal sensations; we look upon all which bears witness to the intention of the Supreme, that we are to receive more from the covering vault than the light and the dew which we share with the weed and the worm, only as a succession of meaningless and monotonous accidents, too common and too vain to be worthy of a moment of watchfulness, or a glance of admiration. If in our moments of utter idleness and insipidity we turn to the sky as a last resource, which of its phenomena do we speak of? One says, it has been wet; and.another, it has been windy; and another, it has been warm. Who, among the whole chattering crowd, can tell me of the forms and the precipices of the chain of tall white mountains that girded the horizon at noon, yesterday? Who saw the narrow sunbeam that came out of the south, and smote upon their summits until they melted and mouldered away in a mist of blue rain? Who saw the dance of the dead clouds when the sunlight left them last night, and the west wind blew them before it like withered leaves? All has passed unregretted as unseen; or if the apathy be ever shaken off even for an instant, it is only by what is gross, or what is extraordinary; and yet it is not in the broad and fierce manifestations of the elemental energies, not in the crash of the hail, nor the drift of the whirlwind, that the highest characters of the sublime are developed. God is not in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still small voice. They are but the blunt and the low faculties of his nature, which can only be addressed through lampblack and lightning. It is in quiet and subdued passages of unobtrusive majesty, the deep and the calm, and the perpetual; that which must be sought ere it can be seen, and loved ere it is understood; things which the angels work out for us daily, and yet vary eternally; which are never wanting and never repeated; which are to be found always, yet each found but once; it is through these that her lesson of

devotion is chiefly taught, and the blessing of beauty given."—Ruskin's Modekn Paiwters.

THE LONGEST DAT.

Let us quit the leafy arbour,
And the torrent murmuring by;

Sol has dropp'd into his harbour,
Weary of the open sky:

Evening now unbinds the fetters
Fashion'd by the glowing light;

All that breathe are thankful debtors
To the harbinger of night.

Yet by some grave thoughts attended
Eve renews the calm career:

For the day that now is ended
Is the longest of the year.

Laura ! sport, as now thou sportest,
On this platform, light and free;Take thy bliss while longest, shortest,
Are indifferent to thee!

Who would check the happy feeling
That inspires the linnet's song?

Who would stop the swallow wheeling
On her pinions swift and strong 1

Yet at this impressive season,

Words which tenderness can speak,

From the truths of homely reason,
Might exalt the loveliest cheek;

And, while shades to shades succeeding
Steal the landscape from the sight,

I would urge this moral pleading,
Last forerunner of " Good-night! *

Summer ebbs;—each day that follows

Is a reflux from on high,
Tending to the darksome hollows

Where the frosts of winter lie.

He who governs the creation,

In his providence, assign'd
Such a gradual declination

To the life of human kind.

« AnteriorContinuar »