Imagens das páginas

rational life, and that a very fair allotment of cuckoo, and the rivulet “wandering at its owo joy and sorrow has been cut out for me from the sweet will ”great web of human circumstances. Yes, let us

"Making sweet music with the enamelled stones." all be thankful for sorrow as well as for joy, for

What a delicious idlesse - idleness is not the without it, where were charity and love, and all

word. What myriads of fancies rise on the those affections that make the human family so interesting in the universe of God? Without it,

angler's mind, and flow away without one effort how could we value aright that Incarnation of

on his part to control or detain them, giving Deity by which our gracious Father has at once

place to others in endless succession; as the provided a remedy for our fall, a perfect motive

stream itself by which he saunters for us to love Him eternally, and a means of “ Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum :" our being able to hold intimate and endearing

well imitated by Cowley in its liquid reiterating communion with Him for ever as one of ourselves --our own Elder Brother? May every succes

lapses, modulating the very echo of the sensesive New Year find us all growing fitter and fitter “Which flows, and, as it flows, for ever shall flow on." for that great communion! Amen.


William Shakespeare was moody and dull of Such a shepherd as he of “ Ettrick" never fed heart, and could not write a bit. He had the his flock upon the green hillside. For still, pure,

good sense to send for a physician. “I will serene, untroubled, entranced, unearthly beauty,

give you a pill," said the doctor, when he saw there is not only nothing to be compared with his

what was the matter with the swan of Avon, ballad of “Kilmeny,” but nothing even like it

“and in ten hours, ten pens, could you wield in any language. The Elysian fields of the an

them at once, would not be able to follow your cients, as illustrated by that divine creature

purified and nimble-going brain.” “What!" Virgil, are beautiful indeed; but they correspond

| exclaimed a Euphuist, who had come to pay his with the heaven of our Christian faith, and have

morning devotions to the bard, “treat the not at all that mysterious connection with earth,

ethereal spark within — the immortal flame, that conception of purity in the flesh---still mor.

lighted up at the eye of Deity-as if it were tal flesh, though abstracted from this mortal

the mere attribute of a clod! The imagination, world-and that surrender back to the ways of

the god-like faculty, the subtlest essence of man's men, of earthly creatures, awhile withdrawn in spirit, put in motion-in its far-flashing motion a happy swoon to some land far off, no man

--by a pill!” “Nevertheless," said gentle Willie, knows where, which are the peculiar charm of

smiling, and tapping the shoulder of his transcenthe mythology of fairyland. By what philosophy 1 dental friend, “ we'll try the pill." The pill was of swe

sweet and soothing compensation to the hu: tried, and next day “Prospero's Enchanted Isle" man spirit the “ silver lining" of this soft creed

began to rise on the wondering world, was sub-induced under the austere terrors of

And where found you that fact, master? Nut Odin, which wrapped round about with gloom in Nicholas Rowe, surely? Not in Payne Collier, the hearts of northern men, it were interesting the last of the gleaners? Never mind, gentle to inquire. Beautiful indications, and gleams,

dications, and gleams, inquirer. Only believe. and snatches of fairyland, are given in our old

Dr Johnson laughed at the notion that Mil. minstrelsy; but Hogg, in his “Kilneny," lay.

| ton's poetry flowed more freely in the seasons of ing asleep the senses in " a dream which is not

the spring and autumnal equinox than at any all a dream," has given us the most serenely con

he most serenely con other time. Substantially I hold with the doctinuous picture of that ineffable clime, fusing it tor. The Bucephalus of the Imagination, I by a new art of his own with the blissful feel. I believe, can be backed, ay, and trained to run ings of feminine purity and innocence--virginity in harness any day of the calendar. Given a unstained in the thought and unblemished in the

man with sufficient strength and compass of flesh. By this strangely beautiful poem alone, faculties, and practised in his work, and let him had he written nothing else, our “Shepherd " | sit down doggedly every day to his literary task; would for ever have placed himself among the and every day he will find, as he warms on it, poets,

| that his Minerva is never invita. We know “Serene creators of immortal things.' from the late William Laidlaw, under what cir

cumstances, even of prostration, the full, cour

ageous, accustomed, ever ready mind of Sir THE GENTLE CRAFT.

Walter Scott was still able to dictate that worldOf all the sweet enjoyments on this green | famous scene between Rebecca and the Templar. earth, I know of nothing more deeply tranquil And certainly it is a great sight to see a man than having a week by some stream in the pas. (Milton at his “Paradise Lost," for instance) toral solitudes, where nothing is to be heard the bending and bringing, for a continuous stretch live-long day but the sound of lambs, and the of years, the most ethereal powers of the human soul to the daily labour, till he has built up his I come now to Scotland. From that rare old immortal work, through all the gradations of minstrelsy of hers, down to the days of Burns, disciplined proportion, to consummate comple- the prevailing style of her song was lyric. tion. Thus far, then, I hold with Dr Johnson. Burns extended the style, and completed tho But yet I recur to the seemingly opposite doc. fame. As an express image-a perfect emboditrine with which I set out, taking Shakespeare ment--of an ancient people's traditionary beliefs, and his physician as my illustration; and no less living manners, feelings and passions, the history do I hold that, composite creatures as we are, of literature can show us no such body of national there are hours when, in the mysterious rela- poesy properly so called, as this wonderful tionship of soul and body, the whole man is peasant has given us for Scotland. Such was filled, and possessed, and overborne with a more Burns with the lyre in his hand. vivid power of conception and embodiment–is In every free land, of course, nature will never more under what of old was thought to be the fail in poetic genius. Scotchmen will be poets inspiration of the muse. Now, it is the distinc. still, but they will be British rather than Scottish tive excellence, the very essence of lyric poetry poets. The language of our old kingdom-not -- brief, rapid, vehement, intense - to be the a mere provincial dialect, as well remarked by instantaneous incarnation of these rarer moods Lord Jeffrey-is fast wearirg out, as our manof the poet's spirit. It is curiously corrobora- ners, customs, feelings, and habits, are merging tive of this, to find men achieving a reputation by rapid assimilation in those of England; while by some one single lyric outburst. Lowe's our annals are now the same as hers. We cannot “ Mary's Dream" was an only child, so was over-estimate the value of Bannockburn to us as Laidlaw's “ Lucy's Flittin'.” It seems as if a people. Had we been subdued, never would their hearts, long burdened with the brooding we have mixed kindly in union with England. weight of the one conceived feeling, had been We should have been like Ireland, full of heartsuddenly pierced through with some irresistible burnings, jealousies, reluctance, hatred, strife, inpulse, and had bled one small, essential, vital misery, Bannockburn stamped and sealed us as drop of poetry, and no more.

a people with a national history. After that we Such being the impulsive, genial nature of could well afford to be magnanimous, generous, lyric poetry, we are prepared to find every body and friendly in every arrangement with the great of national poetry, worthy of the name, strong sister nation, whom we had so triumphantly in this department. We find it so, accordingly. repelled. A broad calm of conscious dignity, a The soul of the Hebrew poetry is lyrical. And liberal national atmosphere, thus settled for ever from the sweet singer of Israel to the burdened around the glad head of Scotland. All this has spirit of Ezekiel, rushing forth on the whirl. operated in a twofold way upon our distinctive wind wings of doom, what compass, what variety! Scottish character and literature. It has made For whether or not we divide the Prophecies us proud of the “auld Scottish glory," and so into the same measures as Dr Lowth's Isaiah, far has tended to perpetuate its language and they have all the characteristics of lyric odes. modes of life. But, on the other hand, and Greece had her “burning Sappho;" her“tender- with much greater actual effect, I think, it has hearted pure Simonides;" her choral lyrics in also tended to break down the barriers betwixt all her dramas; anı her Pindar, the great master us and England, and make us become one with of the lyre, terrible in his sun-bright beauty, her the more quickly. Thus our peculiar Scotfar-darting and decisive as the assault of light, tish character, and with it our peculiar Scottish striking the high places of the world with in | poetry, is passing away. The introduction of stantaneous illumination. Rome had her railways into our secluded glens is still further Horace, the most national of all her bards. And | and still more rapidly breaking down our strong and sweet has been the lyre in Spain, in northern individualities, and fusing us in the modern Italy, in Germany, in England.

general vitalities of England.

JOHN RUSKIN. BORN 1819. (From Modern Painters,"* Harbours of England," "Seven Lamps of Architecture,etc.)

| pebbles gaily over the edge of the mountain SAVOYARD PEASANTS.

road, sees, with a glance of delight, the clusters The traveller on his happy journey, as his ! -foot springs from the deep turf and strikes the me an interest ten-fold greater than the work I had

| been forced into undertaking. Every principle of . “In these books of mine, their distinctive char painting which I have stated is traced to some vital or acter, as essays on art, is their bringing everything to spiritual fact.”—Modern Painters. a root in human passion or human hope... The present selection is given with the author's They have been coloured throughont-Day, continually permission. The letters at the end of each para altered in shape, and even warped and broken, by graph refer to the volume from which the extract digressions respecting social questions, which had for ! has been taken.

of nut-brown cottages that nestle among those all testify to energy of heart, and happiness in sloping orchards, and glow beneath the boughs the simple course and simple possessions of daily of the pines. Here, it may well seem to him, if life. The other cottage, in the midst of an in. there be sometimes hardship, there must be at conceivable, inexpressible beauty, set on some least innocence and peace, and fellowship of the sloping bank of golden sward, with clear founhuman soul with nature. It is not so. The tains flowing beside it, and wild flowers, and wild goats that leap along those rocks have as noble trees, and goodly rocks gathered round much passion of joy in all that fair work of God | into a perfection as of Paradise, is itself a dark as the men that toil among them. Perhaps and plague-like stain in the midst of the gentle more. Enter the street of one of those villages, landscape. Within a certain distance of its and you will find it foul with that gloomy foul. | threshold the ground is foul and cattle-trampled; ness that is suffered only by torpor, or by anguish its timbers are black with smoke, its garden of soul. Here, it is torpor--not absolute suffer. choked with weeds and nameless refuse, its ing-not starvation or disease, but darkness of chambers empty and joyless, the light and wind calm enduring; the spring known only as the gleaming and filtering through the crannies of time of the scythe, and the autumn as the time their stones. All testifies that to its inhabitant of the sickle, and the sun only as a warmth, the the world is labour and vanity; that for him wind as a chill, and the mountains as a danger. neither flowers bloom, nor birds sing, nor founThey do not understand so much as the name tains glisten; and that his soul hardly differs of beauty, or of knowledge. They understand from the grey cloud that coils and dies upon his dimly that of virtue. Love, patience, hospitality, hills, except in having no fold of it touched by faith-these things they know. To glean their the sunbeams. meadows side by side, so happier; to bear the 1 Is it not strange to reflect, that hardly an burden up the breathless mountain flank un evening passes in London or Paris, but one of murmuringly; to bid the stranger drink from those cottages is painted for the better amusetheir vessel of milk; to see at the foot of their ment of the fair and idle, and shaded with pastelow deathbeds a pale figure upon a cross, board pines by the scene-shifter; and that good dying also, patiently-in this they are different and kind people-poetically minded-delight from the cattle and from the stones, but in all themselves in imagining the happy life led by this unrewarded as far as concerns the present peasants who dwell by Alpine fountains, and life. For them, there is neither hope nor passion kneel to crosses upon peaks of rock? that of spirit; for them neither advance for exulta- | | nightly we lay down our gold, to fashion forth tion. Black bread, rude roof, dark night, simulacra of peasants, in gay ribands and white iaborious day, weary arm at sunset; and life bodices, singing sweet songs, and bowing graceebbs away. No books, no thoughts, no attain- | fully to the picturesque crosses; and all the ments, no rest; except only sometimes a little while the veritable peasants are kneeling songsitting in the sun under the church wall, as the lessly, to veritable crosses, in another temper bell tolls thin and far in the mountain air; a than the kind and fair audiences deem of, and pattering of a few prayers not understood, by assuredly with another kind of answer than is the altar rails of the dimly gilded chapel, and so got out of the opera catastrophe; an answer back to the sombre bome, with the cloud upon having reference, it may be in dim futurity, to them still unbroken-that cloud of rocky gloom, those very audiences themselves? If all the born out of the wild torrents and ruinous stones, gold that has gone to paint the simulacra of the and unlightened, even in their religion, except cottages, and to put new songs in the mouths by the vague promise of some better thing un- of the simulacra of the peasants, had gone to known, mingled with threatening, and obscured brighten the existent cottages, and to put new by an unspeakable horror--a smoke, as it were, songs in the mouths of the existent peasants, it of martyrdom, coiling up with the incense, and, might in the end, perhaps, have turned out amidst the images of tortured bodies and lament | better so, not only for the peasant, but for even ing spirits in hurtling flames, the very cross, for the audience. For that form of the false ideal them, dashed more deeply than for others, with has also its correspondent true ideal consisting gonts of blood.

not in the naked beauty of statues, nor in the Do not let this be thought a darkened picture gauze flowers and crackling tinsel of theatres, of the life of these mountaineers. It is literal but in the clothed and fed beauty of living men, fact. No contrast can be more painful than that and in the lights and laughs of happy homes. between the dwelling of any well-conducted Night after night, the desire of such an ideal English cottager, and that of the equally honest springs up in every idle human heart; and night Savoyard. The one, set in the midst of its dull after night, as far as idleness can, we work out flat fields and uninteresting hedgerows, shows this desire in costly lies. We paint the faded in itself the love of brightness and beauty; its actress, build the lath landscape, feed our daisy-studded garden-beds, its smoothly swept benevolence with fallacies of felicity, and satisfy brick path to the threshold, its freshly sanded our righteousness with poetry of justice. The por and orderly shelves of household furniture, time will come when, as the heavy-folded curtain

falls upon our own stage of life, we shall begin the stone pines, passing to lose themselves in to comprehend that the justice we loved was in the last, white, blinding lustre of the measuretended to have been done in fact, and not in less line where the Campagna melted into the poetry, and the felicity we sympathised in, to blaze of the sea.-M. P. have been bestowed and not feigned. We talk | much of money's worth, yet perhaps may one

THE OPEN SKY. day be surprised to find that what the wise and charitable European public gave to one night's It is a strange thing how little in general rehearsal of hypocrisy-to one hour's pleasant people know about the sky. It is the part of warbling of Linda or Lucia-would have filled a creation in which Nature has done more for the whole Alpine valley with happiness, and poured sake of pleasing man, more for the sole and evi. the waves of harvest over the famine of many a | dent purpose of talking to him and teaching Lammermoor.-M. P.

him, than in any other of her works, and it is

just the part in which we least attend to her. SUNLIGHT AFTER STORM.

There are not many of her other works in which

some more material or essential purpose than thu It had been wild weather when I left Rome, mere pleasing of man is not answered by every and all across the Campagna the clouds were part of their organisation; but every essential sweeping in sulphurous blue, with a clap of purpose of the sky might, so far as we know, be thunder or two, and breaking gleams of sun answered, if once in three days, or thereabouts, along the Claudian aqueduct, lighting up the a great, ugly, black rain-cloud were brought up infinity of its arches like the bridge of chaos. over the blue, and everything well watered, and But as I climbed the long slope of the Alban so all left blue again till next time, with perhaps Mount, the storm swept finally to the north, and a film of morning and evening, mist for dew. the noble outline of the domes of Albano, and And instead of this, there is not a moment of graceful darkness of its ilex grove, rose against any day of our lives, when Nature is not producpure streaks of alternate blue and amber; the ing scene after scene, picture after picture, glory upper sky gradually flushing through the last after glory, and working still upon such exquisite fragments of rain-cloud in deep palpitating and constant principles of the most perfect azure, half ether and half dew. The noon-day beauty, that it is quito certain it is all done for sun came slanting down the rocky slopes of La us, and intended for our perpetual pleasure. Riccia, and their masses of entangled and tall And every man, wherever placed, however far foliage, whose autumnal tints were mixed with from other sources of interest or of beauty, has the wet verdure of a thousand evergreens, were this doing for him constantly. The noblest penetrated with it as with rain. I cannot call scenes of the earth can be seen and known but it colour, it was conflagration. Purple, and by few; it is not intended that man should live crimson, and scarlet, like the curtains of God's always in the midst of them; he injures them by tabernacle, the rejoicing trees sank into the his presence, he ceases to feel them if he be valley in showers of light, every separate leaf always with them: but the sky is for all ; brigh quivering with buoyant and burning life; each, as it is, it is not as it turned to reflect or to transmit the sun

Too bright, nor good, beam, first a torch and then an emerald. Far

For human nature's daily food;" up into the recesses of the valley, the green vistas arched like the hollows of mighty waves it is fitted in all its functions for the perpetual of some crystalline sea, with the arbutus flowers comfort and exalting of the heart, for the soothdashed along their flanks for foam, and silver ing it and purifying it froin its dross and dust. 1lakes of orange spray tossed into the air around Sometimes gentle, sometimes capricious, somethem, breaking over the grey walls of rock into times awful, never the same for two moments a thousand separate stars, fading and kindling together; almost human in its passions, almost alternately as the weak wind lifted and let them spiritual in its tenderness, almost divine in its fall. Every glade of grass burned like the infinity, its appeal to what is immortal in us is golden floor of heaven, opening in sudden as distinct, as its ministry of chastisement or of gleams as the foliage broke and closed above it, blessing to what is mortal, is essential. And yet as sheet-lightning opens in a cloud at sunset; we never attend to it, we never make it a subject the motionless masses of dark rock-dark though of thought, but as it has to do with our animal flushed with scarlet lichen, casting their quiet sensations; we look upon all by which it speaks shadows across its restless radiance, the fountain to us more clearly than to brutes, upon all which underneath them filling its marble hollow with bears witness to the intention of the Supreme blue mist and fitful sound; and over all, the that we are to receive more from the covering multitudinous bars of amber and rose, the vault than the light and the dew which we share sacred clouds that have no darkness, and only with the weed and the worm, only as a succesexist to illumine, were seen in fathomless in- sion of meaningless and monotonous accident, tervals, between the solemn and orbed repose of too common and too vain to be worthy of a

moment of watchfulness, or a glance of admira- cent with the morning light, * upon the broad tion. If in our moments of utter idleness and breasts of the higher hills, whose leagues of insipidity, we turn to the sky as a last re-massy undulation will melt back and back into source, which of its phenomena do we speak of? that robe of material light, until they fade away, One says, it has been wet; and another, it has lost in its lustre, to appear again above, in the been windy; and another, it has been warm. serene heaven, like a wild, bright, impossible Who, among the whole chattering crowd, can tell dream, foundationless and inaccessible, their me of the fornis and the precipices of the chain very bases vanishing in the uusubstantial and of tall white mountains that girded the horizon mocking blue of the deep lake below. Wait at noon yesterday? Who saw the narrow sun yet a little longer, and you shall see those mists beam that came out of the south, and smote gather themselves into white towers, and stand upon their summits until they melted and mould like fortresses along the promontories, massy ered away in a dust of blue rain? Who saw the and motionless, only piled with every instant dance of the dead clouds when the sunlight left higher and higher into the sky, and casting them last night, and the west wind blew them longer shadows athwart the rocks; and out of before it like withered leaves ? All has passed, the pale blue of the horizon you will see forming unregretted as unseen; or if the apathy be ever and advancing a troop of narrow, dark, pointed shaken off, even for an instant, it is only by vapours, which will cover the sky, inch by inch, what is gross, or what is extraordinary; and yet with their grey network, and take the light off it is not in the broad and fierce manifestations the landscape with an eclipse which will stop of the elemental energies, not in the clash of the the singing of the birds and the motion of the hail, nor the drift of the whirlwind, that the leaves, together; and then you will see horizontal highest characters of the sublime are developed. bars of black shadow forming under them, and God is not in the earthquake, nor in the fire; lurid wreaths create themselves, you know not but in the still, small voice. They are but the how, along the shoulders of the hills; you never blunt and the low faculties of our nature, which see them form, but when you look back to a can only be addressed through lampblack and place which was clear an instant ago, there is a lightning. It is in quiet and subdued pas cloud on it, hanging by the precipices, as a hawk sages of unobtrusive majesty, the deep, and the pauses over his prey. And then you will hear calm, and the perpetual; that which must be the sudden rush of the awakened wind, and you sought ere it is seen, and loved ere it is under will see those watch-towers of vapour swept stood; things which the angels work out for away from their foundations, and waving curtains us daily, and yet vary eternally; which are of opaque rain let down to the valleys, swinging never wanting and never repeated; which are from the burdened clouds in black bending to be found always, yet each found but once; fringes, or pacing in pale columns along the lake it is through these that the lesson of devotion level, grazing its surface into foam as they go. is chiefly taught, and the blessing of beauty And then, as the sun sinks, you shall see the given.-. P.

storm drift for an instant from off the hills, leaving their broad sides smoking, and loaded

yet with snow-white, torn, steam-like rags of ASPECTS OF CLOUDS.

capricious vapour, now gone, now gathered Stand upon the peak of some isolated moun again; while the smouldering sun, seeming not tain at daybreak, when the night mists first rise far away, but burning like a red-hot ball beside from off the plains, and watch their white and you, and as if you could reach it, plunges lake-like fields, as they float in level bays and through the rushing wind and rolling cloud with winding gulfs about the islanded summits of the headlong fall, as if it meant to rise no more, lower hills, untouched yet by more than dawn, dyeing all the air about it with blood. And colder and more quiet than a windless sea under then you shall hear the fainting tempest die in the moon of midnight; watch when the first the hollow of the night, and you shall see a green sunbeam is sent upon the silver channels, how halo kindling on the summit of the eastern hills, the foam of their undulating surface parts and brighter-brighter yet, till the large white circle passes away, and down under their depths the of the slow moon is lifted up among the barred glittering city and green pasture lie like Atlantis, clouds, step by step, line by line; star after star between the white paths of winding rivers; the she quenches with her kindling light, setting in flakes of light falling every moment faster and their stead an army of pale, penetrable, fleecy broader among the starry spires, as the wreathed surges break and vanish above them, and the

* I have often seen the white, thin, morning cloud, confused crests and ridges of the dark hills | edged with the seven colours of the prism. I am not

aware of the cause of this phenomenon, for it takes shorten their grey shadows upon the plain. Wait a little longer, and you shall see those

place not when we stand with our backs to the sun,

but in clouds near the sun itsell, irregularly and over scattered mists rallying in the ravines, and | indefinite spaces, sometimes taking place in the body floating up towards you, along the winding of the cloud. The colours are distinct and vivid, but valleys, till they couch in quiet masses, irides. I have a kind of metallic lustre upon them.

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