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I am far from being one of those persons who think, or profess to think, that there is little in real life worthy of their attention; that common things are below their notice, and that their only pleasures are to be found in the ideal world of their imagination. Those who hold these sentiments run into the opposite extreme from the set I before described. They say, (for I always am inclined to doubt that they think so,) that as solitude is the parent of that world of fiction, they infinitely prefer the sight of mountains, the roar of a cataract, or the gloom of a forest, to the acquaintance with man, his ways, manners, and conversation ;- they profess that they could live retired from life, and feed upon the joys of romance and imagination. I would not advise them to try their plan: they would only destroy a pleasing illusion, and convince themselves that they were wrong. Yet, for my part, (though I am not one of these would be anchorites,) I am fond of indulging myself at times in building castles in the air, and consequently of the occasional solitude which produces them. Were I deprived of these illusions, I should feel as if I had lost an intimate companion, who was always at hand to raise my spirits and to comfort me under every misfortune.
The ancient poets tell us, that of the contents of Pandora's box, every thing escaped, except Hope, which remained at the bottom to console mankind. Now I am disposed to keep up the Allegory, and to suppose these illusions to constitute the box itself in which this universal comforter Hope was contained. Indeed, as the box seemed necessary, in order that its contents should be retained, so these illusions appear to me to be necessary for the preservation of Hope, which is surrounded by, and, as it were, contained within them. Had it not been for them, it would, with the rest of the contents, have escaped, and left the mind of man without a consolation in misfortune.
I must confess I pity those who have no pleasure in these illusions; and who tell you that when this
“ Fancy's fairy frost-work melts away,"
they are more discontented than they were before, and feel that they have only been playing Tantalus with happiness. This, in my opinion, argues a most inveterate determination (perhaps not an uncommon propensity) to be discontented; together with an ingratitude to the moments which have afforded us pleasure; an ingratitude which deserves the self-inflicted punishment it often receives, of never enjoying any at all. A contented mind will encourage these imaginary pleasures, at whatever time they appear; will snatch the delight of them, be it but for a moment; and, when these magic fascinations are fled, will return to the dreary scene of reality with cheerfulness, thankful for what it has enjoyed, and prepared for whatever it is about to suffer.
A. L. B.
MARIUS AMIDST THE RUINS OF CARTHAGE.
CARTHAGE! I love thee! thou hast run
As I, a warlike race ;
Hath veil'd in clouds his face:
A thing as nobly base
And Rome hath heap'd her woes and pains
Alike on me and thee;
But mine they shall not be !
Marius shall still be free,
I wear not yet thy slavery's vest,
As desolate I roam;
The torches in my home,
I scorn, I hate thee-Rome!
A COUNTRY WEDDING.
Oh! there is music in the bells
From yonder noisy steeple pealing, That sweetly o'er the spirit swells,
And wakes the deepest chords of feeling.
It is not that this twilight hour
Blends softly with their melting tone; Theirs is a deeper, holier power,
Whose echo's in the heart alone.
There's music in that merry voice,
The voice of peasants wild and high, That bids the listener's soul rejoice,
And share in all their revelry.
It is not that those sounds proclaim
Some boastful conqueror's vain parade ; They swell not now the pomp of Fame,
They hail no gorgeous cavalcade.
But oh! they bear a mightier charm
Than shouts of triumph can express ; They spring from hearts with feeling warm,
Each voice a voice of happiness.
There's an o'erflowing tide of gladness
To-night in all we hear and see;
The heart's delirious jubilee.
Who recks, amid a life like this,
Of future grief, or toil, or pain? To-morrow shall dissolve the bliss,
And Care and Reason wake again.
And it may be that yonder chime,
Which spoke to-day of hearts delighted, May sadly tell in after-time,
That death those hearts has disunited.
be- -but away, away! Forebodings dark and dreams of sorrow ! Let Mirth and Music reign to-day,
And Reason's voice be heard to-morrow.
I would not, with most sage advice,
Dispel this momentary fever;
Could such delirium last for ever.
October 5, 1819.
WHAT SHALL I DO?
“What shall I do ?" exclaimed Lady Emily to me the other day, as I entered her apartment, and found her reclining negligently on an ottoman, with a most languishing air; “What shall I do, Charles,” she exclaimed, laying a strong emphasis on the shall, “ to expel ennui, and recover my lost spirits ? All the world seems to have deserted Town, and left me to enjoy my own company; positively, Charles, you are the only rational being my eyes have had the pleasure of seeing this month; and now do be a good creature, and get me from the Circulating Library Scott's last Novel ; it is scarcely two, and old Lady Jervis's card says seven for dinner this evening, where I believe you are going."
She accom-, panied this request with such a bewitching smile as would have melted a much harder heart than Charles Bellamy's. I readily promised, and we soon after parted ;