Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

vices, who brought to our hungry hell a game so numerous 1 I murdered nations in a day. A continent my battle-field, where hosts of fair, brave men did melt away as snow-wreaths riddled by an April rain. Its rivers ran with blood. Blood made fat its soil. Dead — heaps on heaps of dead — were piled, till the filmy air did rot.'

From far, a wasted form comes wandering by, and on its front an awful mark is set. Beneath its tread, blood crieth from the ground: 'Revenge, ambition, fear, made others faithful. I for our master's love a brother slew. I first did smear with blood the earth, as yet immaculate, and showed the murderous deed to million-multitudes of men. But for that act, a gentle race had tempered the fierce blood of those who now make of each other dainty fare for us, and murder been till now a word unknown. I am the first— the captain of the murderers!'

Death yields him up his shadowy mace. They 're vanished like the night. Darkness films the staggering earth, and faint and stagnant over it gasp the closing sepulchres. The murderer is abroad.

The stars are faint, the moon is sick, The air is foul and black:
'I've slept too long,' Death, starting, shrieked;
And whistled for his pack.

Sullen and grim, Murder strides in,

His locks are matted and hoar,
And his knife gleams bright in his eye's red light,

All crimson and clotted with gore.

From rattling bones comes galloping War —
The gloom lightens up to a glare:

O'er his lip and his chin runs trickling blood,
And his thunderbolt arm is bare.

On pennons lank whirls Famine in —

On wings of grisly gray:
Her talons stained, her beak besmeared,

And reeking from her prey.

Flocking around, her hideous brood

Torment the air with moans:
Vulture Despair, and ghastly Hate —

Hoarse Madness wails and groans.

And down sweeps silent Pestilence,

Like rapid-striding night;
Within whose misty, poisonous breath,

Diseases dire delight. Delight to flutter, whirl, and dance, as flics,
The pallid leaf on evening's gusty sighs.

Death. 'Faithful friends, and warriors true,

Death's resumed his shadowy mace.
On the sea and land once more,
Roam the round world o'er and o'er:
Hurry swifter than before —
Hunt the hated race!'

Mubder. By day, by night, in field, on flood,

I'll stop his breath, and spill his blood.

War. Loose reins to slaughter I will give.

Famine. I'll gnaw, I'll gnaw him thin's a sieve.

First Disease. I will poison.

Second Disease. I will sting.

Third Disease. Blisters, boils, and rheums I'll bring.

I'Vi '• fii Disease. I'll shoot him through with torturing pains.

Fifth Disease. And I will parch his galloping veins.

Sixth Disease. And I, and I, in merry mood.

Will peel his bones, and drink his blood.

All. And then — what then ?— tell us, tell.

Death. We'll have a festival in Hell.

Friends of Death, and warriors true,
Away, away!—halloo, halloo!

THE BETRAYED.

1 The delightful mode of instruction by parables, has been successfully employed by Krummacher, by Herder, and by many other eminent writers in Germany.1

Quarterly Spectator.

Upon a sunny and unfrequented hill-side, grew a solitary rose-tree. By it stole a mazy path-way among myrtles and violets, which the stranger's footsteps had never pressed. It was in the strength of its maturity, when a single bud burst from its topmost bough. This bud the summer-beam wooed with daily fidelity, and the bee loved to nestle among its petals. The lark stooped his airy wing in passing it by day, and the nightingale sang to it his sweetest serenade, on the nearest bramble, by night. But pride entered not the heart of this queen of flowers. It shed a perfume alike on the fragrant blossom and the scentless herb. It bowed over the humble violet, and smiled upon the unpretending, modest daisy. Thus the charity and beneficence of a lovely female are diffused alike on the humble and the high, the poor and the rich.

The west wind was blithe to blow around it. But it turned aside from his dalliance, heeding not his whispers, or his wooings. Other flowerets listened to his lures, and fluttered to his sighs. They were wafted far from the protecting spray, danced in gayety for an hour, then flung, unsheltered, on the cold earth. Remember, maiden, that the heart of her who heeds the flatterer's breath, shall be thus gaily wafted, wrung, withered, and tossed aside!

Proudly the parent stem summoned all its energies to lift high the head of its cherished offspring, that it might partake bountifully of the benignant light, and the invigorating air —that it might be seen and admired. The rose repaid this fondness with dutiful affection. Often, at morning, did it distil the fragrant tear of gratitude, and at evening, it rested its fair head on the stem, as a prattler's round cheek reposes on a parent's bosom.

The fame of its beauty attracted a son of Pleasure. It won his admiration. Regardless of the agony of severance, he snapped it from the stalk. While its beauty lasted, he proudly displayed it to the giddy and the heartless, who envied its possession. But afar from the nourishing stem, its form languished in one fleeting day, and its color faded. Then it was cast, like a loathsome weed, beneath the feet of the multitude, to wither and perish there.

Licentious profligate ! — that rose was my only beloved Lina! I am the solitary, broken, bleeding stem!

SUMMER AND WINTER.

'I Remember,' said an old man who was shivering with cold, and pinched with hunger, ' I remember, when our land was under the dominion of a beautiful and a munificent princess. She was of radiant looks, and lofty mien, and her people lived upon her smile — they perished under her frown. Flowers burst around her footsteps. Her breath gave its perfume to the violet, her cheek lent its blush to the rose. Her approach was every where welcomed by songs of gladness. The poor man opened the door of his solitary cottage to greet her, and the sick man raised his drooping head to the uncurtained window, to feast his languid eye upon her happy retinue.

But the heart of Avarice is ice. From his mountains in the North, the tyrant saw and coveted her fair dominions. He donned his robe, and grasped his icy sceptre. He gathered his ruffian armies — swift as the winds, terrible as the tempest, numerous as the missiles of the storm. They burst upon the dominions of the princess. On they drave, blighting the poor man's harvest, and locking the water-springs under fetters of adamant.

They made our land naked, as a plain over which the fire has run — mournful as a shroud enveloping the dead.

The princess dropped her garlands, and gathered up her robes for flight. Far, far to the South, she fled before her pursuer, like morning sunshine chased by an April cloud, over mountain and valley away. But there is a land where her reign is perpetual. On its limit she paused: she turned and bent upon her pursuer an irresistible smile. His spirit drooped — his foot began to falter. His sceptre dropped from his powerless hand. His sparkling diadem fell from his head, and his robe from his shoulders. Back, back he fled, and resumed his throne on the iced mountain-top. His armies followed in swift retreat to their Northern fastnesses.

Our favorite returned, bringing happiness and life to her realm, which is thus soon desolated by Winter, and soon again will revive under the life-giving smile of Summer. m.

A THOUGHT:

ADDRESSED TO MY COUSIN, WHO EXPRESSED A WISH TO DIE.

Thy form, dear girl! to earth is due —

Oh, not to heaven repair!
For angels are on earth too few —

While there are myriads there.

HANNAH HERVEY.

BY THE AUTHOR OF 'TEN YEARS IN THE VALLEY OF THE MISSISSIPPI,' 'FRANCIS BERR1AN,' ETC.

It was the month of June, and we were descending from Rochester to Schenectady in a packet canal-boat, a mode of travelling to most people excessively annoying, from its slowness, monotony, and destitution of excitement. I have been accustomed to be thrown upon the resources, such as they are, of my own thoughts, and never tire of being drawn thus leisurely through green meadows and fields, and having an opportunity to analyze the slowly-moving landscape, and deriving from it all the thoughts and associations which it is capable of exciting in the mind of a lover of nature.

At this time, in addition to those pleasures, we happened to have a very large assortment of fine young gentlemen and ladies, — by which I mean young persons well-dressed, and with whole lots of airs and pretensions. Among them there happened to be one or two well-informed ladies, worthy of that name, and a single young gentleman, who had sense, instruction, enthusiasm, and a heart. He felt that he did not belong to those empty-headed persons, whose claims rested upon their whiskers, opera-glasses, fine clothes, and knowledge of the mysteries and dialect of Broadway.

I was amused to observe how naturally the kindred spirits of the passage gathered round this young gentleman, from sympathy. The consequence was, we had a little circle of our own, in which we originated many agreeable conversations, with just sprinkling enough of discussion, disputation, and wit, to keep them from being tame and stagnant on the one hand, or having the slightest shade of bitterness on the other. My young friend was an extensive merchant, on the line of the canal, and had the advantage of being more or less acquainted with all the distinguished inhabitants, whose habitations came in our view, in the slow movement of the canal-boat. "When we saw a pretty place, it was natural, that, in addition to the name of the owner, we should like to know something of his history and character. It was amusing to remark, with how much pith and brevity our historian despatched most of these personages, — a half a paragraph, in many instances, serving to furnish us with all of interest, that their history could offer. It was otherwise with a noble seat, that we saw opening among the green fields and trees on one of those fine acclivities, that bound the rich alluvial belt of the Mohawk valley. At a distance, it presented that happy union of nature and art, of simplicity and magnificence, of rural retirement, repose, and opulence, which always excites pleasant associations, and a curiosity to hear, if the owner of a spot so beautiful, is as happy as these appearances — unhappily so often deceptive — would indicate that he might and ought to be. 'Whose beautiful place is that V was the united question of us all. 'It belongs to my particular friend, Henderson L , Esq.,' said our cicerone, ' on whom I expect to call on my return from New-York.' 'Oh! is not the owner of such a splendid place happy V 'Yes, — but not from being the owner of such a splendid place; though that circumstance, undoubtedly, contributes an element in his enjoyment. By that' beautiful mansion and its tenants hangs a tale. The sun,' he continued, 'is pleasantly clouded in, and if you have a mind to hear me spin a considerably longer than my common ones, take chairs, and task your patience accordingly. We unanimously expressed a wish to hear his narrative, which commenced in the following terms.

'Yonder small cottage, that you see half a mile to the right, was, two years since, the residence of Mr. Morrison Hervey, head of an English family, that moved to this part of the country a few years ago. Before I advance in my narrative, I ought to premise, that although my father resides fifty miles from this place, he had become acquainted with Mr. Hervey in New-York, and had conceived an opinion so exalted of his capabilities as an instructor, that being an earnest partisan of a private education in preference to a public one, he applied to that gentleman, to receive me in his family, as his pupil. As my father was rich and he poor, and as I was the only, and perhaps I ought to add, spoiled son, there was no difficulty in settling the arrangement.

'Behold me, then, an indolent, indulged, and untaught subject, removed fifty miles from home, and placed in a position as unlike that in which I had hitherto moved, as can well be imagined. But I pass wholly by every thing that occurred here to myself, in order to give you, as I promised, the story of the family; and all that part of this, which has its scene laid in England, I shall despatch in a word. Mr. Hervey was an Oxford graduate, a genius, truly and emphatically such—a poet, and as sensitive, shy, and proud, as such persons generally are. He tried the church awhile, and abandoned it. He tried the law, and became disgusted with it. He tried verse-making, and as he was nameless, unpatronized, unknown, and wrote from the enthusiasm of a rich and elevated mind, and of course overshot the taste and comprehension of the circle in which he moved, the little poetasters and gazette-paragraphists barked his verses into nonentity in their clique. He was more successful in making love to the beautiful seventh daughter of a country curate, with a living of sixty pounds. She was only inferior to him in talents; being in inefficiency, in aimless incapability, in simplicity of character, and excellence of heart, his perfect peer and yoke-mate. Though it be mathematically true, that minus into minus makes plus, it is not a practical fact, that poverty added to poverty becomes wealth. After reducing love and a cottage to their very lowest endurable experiment, in various efforts for a subsistence, and when their family already amounted to five children, a small succession from a remote relative of Mrs. Hervey's fell to them in New-York; and in the hope, that chance might prove more favorable in opening some avenue to subsistence in the new world, than it had in England, they sailed for America. Their bequest was rapidly exhausting in New-York, indifferent trials of pursuit, as little persevered in, and as little successful, as those in England. Mr. Hervey's health and spirits were declining, and as usually happens to minds of his temperament, the final experiment, that suggested itself to his thoughts, invested with a thousand soothing associations, was to turn farmer, and die in his own fields, and be buried under his own trees. Between two and three thousand dollars remained to him, with which, on the recommendation of a friend, he purchased yonder tract of land, furnished that cottage, and became its occupant..

'Such was the family in which I became an inmate. It presented the most striking contrasts, and compounds of gentle and affectionate

« AnteriorContinuar »