Imagens das páginas

And sometimes doth he gaze upon the clouds,
As though he recognized the viewless forms
Of arm'd destroyers in the silent skies.
And it is said, that at the dead of night
He hath pour'd forth thy burden, Babylon,
And loud proclaim'd the bowing down of Bel,
The spoiling of the spoiler. Even our lords,
As conscious of God's glory gathering round him,
Look on him with a silent awe, nor dare
To check his motion, or reprove his speech."

The following is pleasing and poetical:

"The snowy light falls where she treads,
As 'twere a sacred place! in her loose locks
It wanders, even as with a sense of pleasure!
And trembles on her bosom, that hath caught
Its gentle restlessness, and trembles, too,

The last extract we shall give is from the scene which precedes the death of Belshazzar:

The Streets of Babylon in Flames.


I cannot fight nor fly: where'er I move,
On shadowy battlement, or cloud of smoke,
That dark unbodied hand waves to and fro,
And marshals me the way to death-to death
That still eludes me. Every blazing wall

Breaks out in those red characters of fate;
And when I raised my sword to war, methought
That dark-stoled Prophet stood between, and seem'd
Rebuking Heaven for its slow consummation
Of his dire words.

I am alone: my slaves
Fled at the first wild outcry; and my women
Closed all their doors against me-for they knew me
Mark'd with the seal of destiny: no hand,
Though I have sued for water, holds a cup
To my parch'd lips; no voice, as I pass on,
Hath bless'd me; from the very festal garments,
That glitter'd in my halls, they shake the dust:
Ev'n the priests spurn'd me, as abhorr'd of Heaven."

The foregoing extracts are doubtless not without merit; but when we say that they are the best we are able to select from the present work, it must be obvious to those who are acquainted with the previous productions of Mr. Milman, that there has been a great falling off in this. We are sincerely sorry that such should be the case, and earnestly advise Mr. Milman to look about him, if he would continue to deserve and retain that reputation which he at present possesses.

In conclusion, we cannot avoid noticing the following passage in the preface to this work :-" May I presume to hope that this, as well as the preceding works of the same nature, may tend to the advancement of those interests, in subservience to which alone our time and talents can be worthily employed-those of piety and religion?” Surely this is altogether a gratuitous passage, at best--not to say an impertinent one. Mr. Milman may presume to hope" thus, if he

[ocr errors]

pleases; and there may be good ground for his hope: but to put forth that hope to the public, for no other reason than to make it an occasion of tacitly reproaching the pursuits and performances of every body but himself, and the particular class of persons to which he belongs, is what he may not presume" to do at least, without being told of it.

A. O.

[ocr errors]



"I have done penance for contemning love;
Whose high imperious thoughts have punish'd me
With bitter fasts, and penitential groans,

With nightly tears, and daily heart-sore sighs :
For in revenge of my contempt of love,
Love hath chased sleep from my enthralled eyes,
And made them watchers of my own heart's sorrow."

Old Play.


66 that say

marriages are made in heaven." I don't know,ink it not improbable, since many of those seemingly accidental encounters which should naturally lead to marriage, take place in that road which is declared by its frequenters to be the only one leading to heaven; and which road lies directly through a Methodist meetinghouse. Let no one go about to persuade me that a place of this description is necessarily barren of poetical associations, even to those who are not absolutely satisfied as to the truth of the peculiar doctrines promulgated in it; and that even the anathemas of eternal damnation which are thundered forth there from time to time, from the stentorian lungs of an enthusiastic devotee, may not be made to fall upon the ear or the memory with a sound "most musical," howbeit "most melancholy." In fact, there is an unseemly erection of the above kind, standing a little to the south of this metropolis, which is to me more redolent of the air of love than is the grotto of Egeria or the rocks of Meillerie; and the voice of its chief priest, though to other believing as well as unbelieving ears apt to "grate harsh discords," is to me as musical as is Apollo's lute:"-for it was within those walls, and under the sound of that voice, I used to sit for two hours together, twice every Sunday during the space of four long years, secretly sighing away my soul, and fancying that I could actually see it, in the form of a pale lambent flame, borne along on the breath of my mouth, till it reached the shrine to which it was directed, where it became absorbed by the lips and interfused in the eyes that seemed to be unconsciously waiting and watching for it; or, when they were absent, seemed to hover restlessly over the spot where it was accustomed to find them, as if unwilling to remain there, and yet unable to return.


It would afford curious matter for speculation, to trace out the various causes which contribute to the production of those final opinions that we adopt on any given subject. It has been my lot to associate a good deal with persons who hold in particular aversion the religious sect of which I have just had occasion to speak, and who lose no opportunity of calling in question even the general sincerity of their opinions-to say nothing of the pernicious nature and tendency of those opinions. But it so happens that these persons have never been able

to make any impression upon me in either of these particulars. I do not very well know in what consists the peculiar nature of the doctrines taught by the sect in question, though I "sat under" one of its most distinguished teachers for four years; and I never had occasion to know of any facts which should induce me to prefer those doctrines on account of their outward and visible effects: consequently, I never attempt to argue against the validity of the opinions broached by my friends and associates on this subject. But of this I am certain, that the moment I find "leisure to be good"-the moment I have time to turn my thoughts wholly from the things of this world to those of another-it is among this vituperated sect that I shall first apply to be received; the moment my spirit becomes too stubborn and rebellious to be controlled by me, or too blind and feeble to guard and guide itself, (and now that love has ceased to be the cherished inhabitant of its temple" the burthen of the mystery" of its thoughts-I every day feel this time approaching nearer and nearer)-I shall confidently surrender it into the hands of those under whose immediate influence its sweetest and richest energies were called forth, and the faint images and shadows of which are called forth to this day for, as the warhorse is, in his youth, fed to the sound of martial music, and therefore whenever he hears it, even in old age, he feels the burning ashes of memory kindle those of hope within him,--so I never pass by the Rev. R— H—'s chapel, and hear his sonorous voice shouting within, but it stirs my heart and soul "like the sound of a trumpet;"-for there, to the sound of that voice, were they for four long years "fed with food convenient for them."

Perhaps there never was a mere mortal lover so easily satisfied as I have always been; and this has been my bane. I never knew (till now that it is too late) what is due to Love, and that he will not be content with less than his due. Shakspeare, who explains every thing that ever was or ever will be, has hit upon my case to a tittle,-not only in the instance which is my immediate subject, but in all the similar ones in which I have been engaged. In a lovely little copy of verses, on a certain kind of Love, in which he speaks of it under the title of Fancy, —a favourite name for it among the old poets-he says

"It is engender'd in the eyes,

By gazing fed;

And Fancy dies

In the cradle where it lies."

This, though far from being true generally, has ever been entirely so with regard to me; and never so strikingly and consistently as in the present instance. In short, I have never permitted my love to arrive at years of discretion; or at least to put on the appearance of having arrived at them. I have stunted its growth, as the ladies do that of their pet lap-dogs; and by similar means, namely, by feeding it on "ardent spirits," instead of wholesome animal food: for love is unquestionably of a carnivorous nature. I have woven it into a glittering gossamer robe, pretty enough to look at, as it floats gracefully about in the unfelt summer air, but little adapted to stand the wear and tear, and keep out the wintry winds of human life.

(If, as I fear, I am too apt to change my metaphors from time to

time, in what may seem to the reader a somewhat sudden, as well as arbitrary and gratuitous manner, he will, perhaps, be good-natured enough to feel that this is an instinctive effort of my imagination, to respite itself from the too bitter contemplation of bare realities. As I have set myself the task of looking fearlessly into the past, my thoughts must be permitted to indulge themselves in mingling with it under any form rather than the plain and tangible one. If I were not thus to temporise and tamper with the recollections of my feelings, but to let them come upon me "in their habit as they lived," I should not be able to endure even the sound of their approach. I am obliged to "shoe my troop of horse with felt ;" and even with this precaution they sometimes seem as if they were come to "kill, kill, kill!”)

I have said it has always been my practice to check the natural growth of my love; but in the instance before us I did not permit it even to creep out of its cradle. I was content to look upon it as it lay smiling there, as if I felt or feared that to touch it would be to dissolve it into air. And in truth this was what I always did fear; and on this fear I always acted; and in the present instance more decidedly than in any other. I knew that none but babies long to possess the moon or the stars; and that none but mad people think it practicable to put them in their pocket. Now I regarded the sweet little beaming H— P——— as


a bright particular star;" and my boasted reason (which was gaining more and more influence over me every day) told me that I had no more right or pretension to touch or to possess her, than if she had been the denizen of another sphere. I had known and loved her for more than twelve months before I ever thought of inquiring who or what she was. I had, indeed, heard her little sister call her Harriet; and even this was more than enough for me. What had I to do with names? It was SHE that I loved; and I was sure that, like Juliet's rose, she would "smell as sweet" by any one name as by any other. Those who are particularly anxious to learn their unknown mistress's name, while they are secure of being able at certain times to look upon her, may be assured that she will not long remain their mistress, and that their love is not of the sort of which I am treating. It may be either worse or better; but it is not the same. They either desire to possess the object of their thoughts; and in that case she will inevitably cease to be their mistress ;-or their love is a parasite plant which cannot support itself—which must have something to cling to, or it first grovels in the dirt, and then dies. Such was not mine. It was all-sufficient to itself. Accordingly, for more than twelve months I used to attend this Methodist meeting twice every Sunday regularly. During the service I used to gaze, without intermission, upon the lady of my love (for she scarcely ever missed coming), with my eyes half-closed, in a rich and quiet trance of delight; and when the Meeting was over I used to walk behind her on the other side of the way, just near enough to keep her in sight, till she got home. Then I used to turn patiently round, and walk home myself; if it was in the morning, reckoning the minutes between then and half-past six o'clock in the evening, when I should see her again; and if it was in the evening, longing for the night to come, that I might lay my head underneath the clothes, and weep myself to sleep with thinking that I should not see her again till next Sunday. And this was the invariable routine for more than four

years! I do not think that I ever missed going to the Meeting twice every Sunday during that time; and I am certain that I never once laid my head upon my pillow without crying myself to sleep,-I knew not why, unless it was that it would be "so long" before I should see her again. I knew not why, then; but I know too well now. It was that I was all along treating my love as it was not made to be treated, and consequently as it will not bear to be treated. I was fancying it a star placed in the heavens above me, and was acting towards it accordingly; whereas, it was a flower, growing on the face of the earth like myself, and waiting to be plucked and placed in my bosom. I was fearful of touching it, lest a touch should kill it; and in the mean time it was dying of itself, for lack of the cherishing warmth that a touch might have communicated to it. I was regarding it as an immortal essence, and feeding it on ambrosia, while it was starving for want of the substantial "corn, wine, and oil," which is, in fact, its natural and appointed food.

I cannot too often reiterate this truth upon the reader, because herein is included the sole end and intent of these Confessions-the only moral that is likely to be extracted from them. I repeat, then, that my grand mistake all through life has been wilfully to adopt a notion as to the nature, tendency, and utility of love, which turns out to have been directly opposed to the true one. I fancied I was acquainted

with all the intricacies of this most intricate of all branches of knowledge, before I had learnt the simplest rule of its arithmetic, namely, that one and one, if properly added together, do not make two, but


I proceed to relate the remarkable circumstance which brought me acquainted with the name of my mistress; and the reader is to bear in mind that I relate it as a fact, the truth of which I solemnly avouch. I pretend not to account for it, but only to tell it. I have said that for twelve months I never inquired the name of that being in whom my being seemed to be involved. I used to dream of her almost every night; but I was never "a dreamer of strange dreams," and had not thought it worth while to remember any of mine; for they were always eclipsed and turned into nothing by the vividness of my waking thoughts and imaginations. But one night I dreamt of her under very singular circumstances: and this is the only dream I have ever remembered, or thought worth the telling, though I never have told it till now ;—and but for the very peculiar manner in which it is connected with my present story, I should have left it untold for ever, remarkable as it is; for I have always considered that to relate a dream is one of the most tedious impertinencies of which a man, or even a woman, can be guilty.

I dreamt that I had followed her home one Sunday evening, as usual, and that when she had gone in and the door was shut, I walked past the house, as I had frequently done at other times; but on this occasion, as I looked up at the door, which was at the top of three steps, I saw a name written upon it in large characters. When I awoke, this name was of course impressed on my memory; but at first I thought little or nothing of the circumstance-for I never had the slightest faith in dreams, omens, or the like. But presently I found that this name began to haunt me strangely, and in a way that I did not like; for it made me

« AnteriorContinuar »