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with any degree of steadiness. What would it, then, be, if we were not continually reminded that “our all does not lie here;" and if the loss of some beloved friend did not constantly summon our wandering thoughts from the present to the future? I was so struck, a few days ago, with the concluding passage in the Memoirs of Mrs. Brunton, that I will not apologize for transcribing part of it, as I am sure you will feel its beautiful and affecting coincidence. It is from a Funeral Sermon on the Death of the Righteous : “Let me exhort you, as you would rise superior to the fear of death, to cherish the memory of those who have already passed from the society of the few who were most dear to them on earth, to the society of the blessed in Heaven. How unnatural seems to be the conduct of many, whose consolation for the loss of a departed friend, appears to depend upon committing his name to oblivion !- who appear to shrink from every object that would for a moment bring to their recollection the delight they once felt in his society! If such conduct be, in any respect, excusable, it can only be in the case of those who have no hope in God. There are few, if any, among us, who have not, ere now, committed to the tomb the remains of some who had been, not only long, but deservedly dear to us; whose virtues are in consequence a satisfying pledge, that they have only gone before us to the mansions of bliss. Some of us have but recently laid in the grave all that was mortal and perishing, of one who may well continue to live in our remembrance — whose memory will be a monitor to us of those virtues, which may qualify us for being re-uni

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ted to her society. Though the body mingle with the dust, the spirit, in this case, 'yet speaketh;' it invites, and, I trust, enables us to anticipate more effectually on earth our intercourse with the spirits of the just in heaven. Great cause we, no doubt, have to mourn over that dispensation of Providence, which has, in the mean while, removed from the sphere of our converse on earth, one, from whose converse we had so invariably derived at once instruction and delight;whose piety was so genuine, that, while never ostentatiously displayed, it was, as little, in any case disguised,—whose mental energies communicated such a character and effect to both her piety and her active beneficence, that they often served the purpose of an example to others, when such a purpose was not contemplated by her. Not to mourn over a dispensation of Providence, which has deprived us of such a blessing, would be incompatible with the design of Providence in visiting us with such a cause of affliction. But God forbid that we should sorrow as those who have no hope of being re-united in heaven to those who have been dear to them on earth! God forbid that we should be unwilling in our hearts to conform to the design of Providence, when, by removing from us those who have been the objects of our regard in this world, it would, in some sense, unite earth to heaven, by gradually weaning us from the world, and gradually transferring our hearts to heaven, before we have altogether completed the appointed years of our pilgrimage on earth! Let a view of our condition, as the heirs of heaven, so elevate our minds, as to make us now join, with one heart, in the language of our Christian triumph-—0 death! where is thy sting ? O grave! where is thy victory?'

In a subsequent letter to the same friend, and in pursuance of the same subject, there is the following allusion to a poem, which Mrs. Hemans had even then begun to appreciate, though her more perfect and “reverential communion” with the spirit of its author was reserved for later years. “You may remember that I was reading Wordsworth’s Excursion some time, before you left the country. I was much struck with the beauty and sublimity of some of the religious passages it contains; and in looking over the copious extracts I made from it, I observe several, which I think will interest you exceedingly. I mean to copy them out, and send them to you in a few days: the mingled strain of exalted hope and Christian resignation, in which the poet speaks of departed friends, struck me so forcibly, that I thought when I transcribed it, how soothingly it would speak to the heart of any one who had to deplore the loss of some beloved object.”

In the spring of 1820, Mrs. Hemans first made the acquaintance of one who became afterwards a zealous and valuable friend, revered in life, and sincerely mourned in death— Bishop Heber, then Rector of Hodnet, and a frequent visiter at Bodryddan, the residence of his father-in-law, the late Dean of St. Asaph, from whom also, during an intercourse of many years, Mrs. Hemans at all times received much kindness and courtesy. Mr. Reginald Heber was the first eminent literary character with whom she had ever familiarly associated ; and she therefore entered with a peculiar

freshness of feeling into the delight inspired by his conversational powers, enhanced as they were by that gentle benignity of manner, so often the characteristic of minds of the very highest order. In a letter to a friend on this occasion, she thus describes her enjoyment:" I am more delighted with Mr. Heber than I can possibly tell you; his conversation is quite rich with anecdote, and every subject on which he speaks had been, you would imagine, the sole study of his life. In short, his society has made much the same sort of impression on my mind, that the first perusal of Ivanhoe did; and was something so perfectly new to me, that I can hardly talk of anything else. I had a very long conversation with him on the subject of the poem, which he read aloud, and commented upon as he proceeded. His manner was so entirely that of a friend, that I felt perfectly at ease, and did not hesitate to express all my own ideas and opinions on the subject, even where they did not exactly coincide with his own.”

The poem here alluded to was the one entitled Superstition and Revelation, which Mrs. Hemans had commenced some time before, and which was intended to embrace a very extensive range of subject. Her original design will be best given in her own words, from a letter to her friend Miss Park :-“I have been thinking a good deal of the plan we discussed together, of a poem on national superstitions. Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain ;' and in the course of my lucubrations on this subject, an idea occurred to me, which I hope you will not think me too presumptuous in wishing to realize. Might not a poem

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of some extent and importance, if the execution were at all equal to the design, be produced, from contrasting the spirit and tenets of Paganism with those of Christianity ? It would contain, of course, much classical allusion; and all the graceful and sportive fictions of ancient Greece and Italy, as well as the superstitions of more barbarous climes, might be introduced to prove how little consolation they could convey in the hour of affliction, or hope, in that of death. Many scenes from history might be portrayed in illustration of this idea ; and the certainty of a future state, and of the immortality of the soul, which we derive from revelation, are surely subjects for poetry of the highest class. Descriptions of those regions which are still strangers to the blessings of our religion, such as the greatest part of Africa, India, &c., might contain much that is poetical; but the subject is almost boundless, and I think of it till I am startled by its magnitude.”

Mr. Heber approved highly of the plan of the work, and gave her every encouragement to proceed in it; supplying her with many admirable suggestions, both as to the illustrations which might be introduced with the happiest effect, and the sources from whence the requisite information would best be derived. But the great labour and research necessary to the development of a plan which included the superstitions of every age and country, from the earliest of all idolatries—the adoration of the sun, moon, and host of heaven, alluded to in the book of Job—to the still existing rites of the Hindoos-would have demanded a course of study too engrossing to be compatible with

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