Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

received them. Can we then be atheists, who worship the great Creator of this world, not with blood, incense, and offerings, (which we are sufficiently taught he stands in no need of,) but exalt him according to our power with prayers and praises, in all the addresses we make to him; believing this to be the only honour that is worthy of him, not to consume the creatures which he has given us for our use, and the comforts of those that want, in the fire by sacrifice; but to approve ourselves thankful to him, and to sing and celebrate rational hymns and sacrifices, pouring out our prayers to him as a grateful return for those many good things which we have received, and do yet expect from him, according to the faith and trust that we have in him.” To the same purpose Athenagoras, in his return to this charge: Diagorus indeed was guilty of the deepest atheism and impiety; but we who separate God from all material being, and affirm him to be eternal and unbegotten, but all matter to be made and corruptible, how unjustly are we branded with impiety! It is true, did we side with Diagorus in denying a Divinity, when there are so many and such powerful arguments from the creation and government of the world to convince us of the existence of God and religion, then both the guilt and punishment of atheism might deservedly be put upon us. But when our religion acknowledges one God, the maker of the universe, who, being uncreate Himself, created all things by his word, we are manifestly wronged both in word and deed; both in being charged with it, and in being punished for it.”* accused (says Arnobius) for introducing profane rites and an impious religion ; but tell me, O ye men of reason, how dare ye make so rash a charge ? To adore the mighty God, the Sovereign of the whole creation, the Governor of the highest powers, to pray to him with the · most obsequious reverence; under an afflicted state to lay hold of him with all our powers, to love him, and look up to him; is this a dismal and detestable religion, a religion full of sacrilege and impiety, destroying and defiling all ancient rites ? Is this that bold and prodigious crime for which your gods are so angry with us, and for which you yourselves do so rage against us, confiscating our estates, banishing our persons, burning, tearing, and racking us to death with such exquisite tortures †? We Christians are nothing else but the worshippers

- We are

* Athen. Leg. pro. Christian. p. 5.

+ Contr. gent. lib. i. p. 7.

of the supreme King and Governor of the world, according as we are taught by Christ our master. Search, and you will find nothing else in our religion. This is the sum of the whole affair; this is the end and design of our divine offices ; before Him it is that we are wont to prostrate and bow ourselves, Him we worship with common and conjoined devotions, from Him we beg those things which are just and honest, and such as are not unworthy of him to hear and grant.” So little reason had the enemies of Christianity to brand it with the note of atheism and irreligion.

121.-SUMMER.

THEN came the jolly Sommer, being dight
In a thin silken cassock coloured greene,
That was unlyned all, to be more light:
And on his head a girlond well beseene
He wore, from which as he had chauffed been
The sweat did drop; and in his hand he bore
A bowe and shaftes, as he in forrest greene

Had hunted late the Libbard or the Bore,
And now would bathe his limbs with labor heated sore.

Such is Spenser's description of the jolly Sommer.' The same rigorous pencil has personified the summer months of June and July:

And after her came jolly June, array'd
All in greene leaves, as he a Player were ;
Yet in his time he wrought as well as play'd,
That by his plough-yrons mote right well appeare:
Upon a Crab he rode, that him did beare
With crooked crawling steps an uncouth pace,
And backward yode, as Bargemen wont to fare,

Bending their force contrary to their face ;
Like that ungracious crew which faines demurest grace.

Then came hot July boyling like to fire,
That all his garments he had cast away:
Upon a Lyon raging yet with ire
He boldly rode, and made him to obay :
(It was the beast that whylome did forray
The Nemæan forrest, till the Amphytrionide
Him slew, and with his hide did him array.)

Behinde his backe a sithe, and by his side
Under his belt he bore a sickle circling wide.

We will select two summer landscapes, whose scenes are laid in regions far apart. Scott gives us a charming picture of the mild graces of the season :

The summer dawn's reflected hue
To purple changed Loch Katrine blue;
Mildly and soft the western breeze
Just kiss'd the lake, just stirr'd the trees,
And the pleased lake, like maiden coy,
Trembled but dimpled not for joy;
The mountain-shadows on her breast
Were neither broken nor at rest;
In bright uncertainty they lie,
Like future joys to Fancy's eye.
The water-lily to the light
Her chalice rear'd of silver bright;
The doe awoke, and to the lawn,
Begemm'd with dew-drops, led her fawn;
The
grey

mist left the mountain-side,
The torrent show'd its glistening pride;
Invisible in flecked sky
The lark sent down her revelry ;
The blackbird and the speckled thrush
Good-morrow gave

from brake and bush;
In answer coo'd the cushat-dove

Her notes of peace, and rest, and love. The American poet, Bryant, draws his images from pine-forests and fields of maize, upon which a fiery sun looks down with “scorching heat and dazzling light:"

It is a sultry day; the sun has drunk
The dew that lay upon the morning grass ;
There is no rustling in the lofty elm
That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
And interrupted murmur of the bee,
Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
Instantly on the wing. The plants around
Feel the too potent fervours : the tall maize
Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droops
Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.
But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills,
With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
As if the scorching heat and dazzling light
Were but an element they loved. Bright clouds,
Motionless pillars of the brazen heaven, -
Their bases on the mountains—their white tops
Shining in the far ether—fire the air
With a reflected radiance, and make turn
The gazer's eye away. For me, I lie
Languidly in the shade, where the thick turf,
Yet virgin from the kisses of the sun,
Retains some freshness, and I woo the wind
That still delays its coming. Why so slow,
Gentle and voluble spirit of the air?
Oh, come and breathe upon the fainting earth
Coolness and life. Is it that in his caves
He hears me? See, on yonder woody ridge,
The pine is bending his proud top, and now
Among the nearer groves, chestnut and oak
Are tossing their green boughs about. He comes !
Lo, where the grassy meadow runs in waves !
The deep distressful silence of the scene
Breaks up with mingling of unnumber'd sounds
And universal motion. He is come,
Shaking a shower of blossoms from the shrubs,
And bearing on their fragrance; and he brings
Music of birds, and rustling of young boughs,

And sound of swaying branches, and the voice
Of distant waterfalls. All the green herbs
Are stirring on his breath: a thousand flowers,
By the road-side and borders of the brook,
Nod gaily to each other; glossy leaves
Are twinkling in the sun, as if the dew
Were on them yet, and silver waters break

Into small waves and sparkle as he comes. Contrasted with this picture how refreshing are the “hedge-row elms,”—“ the furrow'd land,"- " the russet lawns, “the meadows trim," " the upland hamlets," of Milton's 'L'Allegro.' His “sunshine holiday " is thoroughly English :

To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night
From his watchtow'r in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise ;
Then to come in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good morrow
Through the sweetbriar, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine;
While the cock with lively din
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn-door,
Stoutly struts his dames before:
Oft list'ning how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumb'ring morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill :
Sometime walking not unseen
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great sun begins his state,
Rob'd in flames, and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight,
While the ploughman near at hand
Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,

« AnteriorContinuar »