Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

In a cavern under! is fettered the thunder-
It struggles and howls by fits;
Over earth and òcean, with gentle mótion,
This pilot is guiding mé,

Lured by the lòvel of the genii that móve
In the depths of the purple sèa;

Over the rìlls, and the cràgs, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,

Wherever he drèam, under mountain or stream,
The spirit he loves remains;

And I, all the while, bask in heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning stárl shines dèad;

As on the jag of a mountain crág,

Which an earthquake ròcks and swings, An éagle alìt, one moment may sít,

In the light of its golden wings.

And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath, Its ardours of rest and lòve,

And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of heaven above,

With wings folded I rèst, on mine airy nést,
As stíll as a brooding dòve.

That orbed maiden, with white fire láden,
Whom mortals call the moon,

Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen féet,
Which only the àngels hear,

May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and pècr;

And I laugh to see them whìrl and flée,

Like a swarm of golden bèes,

N

When I widen the rènt! in my wind-built tént,
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and séas,

Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and thèse.

I bind the sun's thrònel with a burning zóne,
And the moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dìm, and the stars reel and swim,
When the whirlwinds my banners unfùrl.
From cápe to càpe, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent séa,

Sun-beam proof, I hang like a roof,

The mountains its còlumns be.

The triumphal arch through which I márch
With hurricane, fire, and snów,

When the powers of the air are chained to my cháir,
Is the million-coloured bòw;

The sphere-fire abòvel its soft colours wóve,
While the moist éarth! was laughing below.

I am the daughter of earth and water,
And the núrsling of the sky;

I pass through the póres of the ocean and shòres;
I change, but I cannot die.

For after the rain, when, with never a stain,

The pavilion of heaven is báre,

And the winds and sùn-beams with their convex gleams,

Build up the blue dome of áir,

I silently laugh at my own cènotaph,
And out of the caverns of ráin,

Like a child from the wòmb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I aríse and build it again.

SHELLEY.

TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD.

ONE reason why truth should be spoken is, that the knowledge which any one person can have from the use of his

own senses, in many things which it most materially concerns him to know, is very limited. He must therefore often depend for his knowledge on what others say to him; and when the thing spoken of is exclusively known to the party speaking, the other must rely entirely on what he says. If, therefore, it be considered how great a part of the most serious concerns in life proceed on declarations made by one person to another, we may readily conceive, that, if these could not be relied on, the affairs of mankind would be greatly embarrassed, and confidence in each other would be destroyed. As this matter of speaking the truth is one which concerns all persons, so all persons agree in holding liars in contempt. Even the very lowest persons consider themselves to be disgraced when charged with the guilt of lying. They can endure charges which would subject them to public punishment with more composure than they can endure this. A lie is always understood to be resorted to, to secure some advantage, or prevent some evil to the person who resorts to it; or to occasion some disadvantage or injury to the person to whom, or of whom, the lie is told; sometimes both these purposes concur. object in view is always an immoral one, and the means used are always regarded as disgraceful. It is at once obvious that wilful falsehood is forbidden by natural law, which is intended to regulate our social relations, and is expressly forbidden by divine law, which condemns all acts of fraud and deceit, and commands us to "do to others as we would have them to do to us."

The

It is a rare occurrence that any one who descends to falsehood succeeds in the object which he may have in view. He is commonly detected, and, if not, is suspected,

which

may operate quite as much to his disadvantage. If he should escape detection and suspicion, he lives in constant fear of both. He has a very troublesome secret to keep. If he should be able to do this, still he cannot hide it from himself that he is a liar; and such a person, by natural justice, is compelled to pass that sentence upon himself, which he knows that others would pass upon him

if they were as well informed as he is. A liar is therefore obliged to feel like a guilty person, and a habitual liar very soon comes to look like one. If there be no higher motive than one's own interest and welfare in speaking the truth and avoiding falsehood, this is a very sufficient one. If a man is known to be a person unworthy of confidence when he speaks, he has not the benefit of being credited even when he speaks the truth; he voluntarily deprives himself of the advantages of social life; his assertions secure to him no credit; his promises are contemned; he makes himself to be alone in the very bosom of society, for every one shuns him. In the administration of justice in courts, person is not regarded as a witness, whose common reputation is that he is not believed when he speaks. The objection to him is not that he might not tell the truth in the matter which is on trial, but that such a person ought not to be received as a witness, because he cannot be credited in anything that he says. When such a person has been called and examined as a witness, it is usual to examine other witnesses to prove his character; and if it be proved that he is unworthy of credit, what he has sworn to is disregarded, though he may have declared the truth. This is the common fate of all such unfortunate persons in society, as well as in courts. Independently of the criminality, lying is very poor policy. If the object be to obtain a supposed good, it rarely is obtained by such means; and if it be, the price so paid must always be greater than the good is worth. If the object be to conceal a wrong done, it is rarely successful; and if not, it leaves the offender without excuse for his error, and adds another wrong. If the object be to charge an innocent person with a wrongful act, or to deprive one of his good name, or of some lawful possession, or subject him to some evil which he ought not to endure, the offence is of that cast which the law of the land holds to be malicious, and it deals with such offence accordingly. In short, it is very difficult to violate any law of natural justice or divine prohibition without encountering an adequate punishment; and it may be assumed that the

punishment which follows lying is as certain and just as in any instance of criminality. If every tenant of every prison, and every person who is in the custody of a goading conscience, were asked this question, What was your first step from innocence and purity? he would probably answer, Telling a lie!

SULLIVAN.

THE HOUR OF DEATH.

Leaves have their time to fáll,

And flowers to wither at the north-wind's breath, And stárs to sèt-but àll,

Thou hast àll seasons for thine own, O Death!

Dây! is for mortal care,

E've' for glad meetings round the joyous hearth, Night for the dreams of sleep, the voice of prayer; But all for thée, thou míghtiest of the earth!

Youth and the opening rósel

May look like things too glòrious for decáy,
And smile at thee! but thou art not of those
That wait the ripened bloom' to seize their prey!

We know when mòons shall wáne,

When súmmer birds from fár shall cross the sea, When autumn's hùe' shall tinge the golden gráin; But who shall téach us when to look for thèe?

Is it when spring's first gale

Comes forth to whisper where the violets líe?
Is it when roses in our paths grow pále?
They have one season-àll are ours to die!

Thou art where billows foam,

Thou art where músic melts upon the air, Thou art around us in our peaceful home,

And the world calls us forth-and thou art thère;

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »