Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Shakespeare never out-talked his Hamlet, nor Bacon his Essays. Great writers are indeed best known through their books..

For the knowledge that comes from books, I would claim no more than it is fairly entitled to. I am well aware that there is no inevitable connection between intellectual cultivation, on the one hand, and individual virtue or social well-being, on the other. “The tree of knowledge is not the tree of life.”

I admit that genius and learning are sometimes found in combination with gross vices, and not unfrequently with contemptible weaknesses; and that a community at once cultivated and corrupt is no impossible monster. But it is no overstatement to say, that, other things being equal, the man who has the greatest amount of intellectual resources is in the least danger from inferior temptations, if for no other reason, because he has fewer idle moments. The ruin of most men dates from some vacant hour. Occupation is the armor of the soul ; and the train of Idleness is borne up by all the vices. I remember a satirical poem, in which the Devil is represented as fishing for men, and adapting his baits to the taste and temperament of his prey; but the idler, he said, pleased him most, because he bit the naked hook.

To a young man away from home, friendless and forlorn in a great city, the hours of peril are those between sunset and bedtime; for the moon and stars see more of evil in a single hour than the sun in his whole day's circuit. The poet's visions of evening are all compact of tender and soothing images. It brings the wanderer to his home, the child to his mother's arms, the ox to his stall, and the weary laborer to his rest. But to the gentle-hearted youth who is thrown upon the rocks of

a pitiless city, and stands "homeless amid a thousand homes,” the approach of evening brings with it an aching sense of loneliness and desolation, which comes down upon the spirit like darkness upon the earth.

In this mood, his best impulses become a snare to him; and he is led astray because he is social, affectionate, sympathetic, and warm-hearted. If there be a young man, thus circumstanced, within the sound of my voice, let me say to him, that books are the friends of the friendless, and that a library is the home of the homeless. taste for reading will always carry you into the best possible company, and enable you to converse with men who will instruct you by their wisdom, and charm you by their wit; who will soothe you when fretted, refresh you when weary, counsel you when perplexed, and sympathize with you at all times.

XLV. - BRINGING OUR SHEAVES WITH US.

ELIZABETH AKERS.

THE time for toil has passed, and night has come,

Worn out with labor long and wearisome,
Drooping and faint, the reapers hasten home,
Each laden with his sheaves.

Last of the laborers, thy feet I gain,
Lord of the harvest ! and my spirit grieves
That I am burdened, not so much with grain,
As with a heaviness of heart and brain ;-
Master, behold my sheaves !

Few, light, and worthless, – yet their trifling weight
Through all my frame a weary aching leaves ;
For long I struggled with my hopeless fate,
And stayed and toiled till it was dark and late,
Yet these are all my sheaves.

Full well I know I have more tares than wheat,
Brambles and flowers, dry stalks and withered leaves;
Wherefore I blush and weep, as at thy feet
I kneel down reverently and repeat,
“Master, behold my sheaves ! ”
I know these blossoms, clustering heavily,
With evening dew upon their folded leaves,
Can claim no value or utility,
Therefore shall fragrancy and beauty be
The glory of my sheaves.

So do I gather strength and hope anew ;
For well I know thy patient love perceives
Not what I did, but what I strove to do :
And though the full ripe ears be sadly few,
Thou wilt accept my sheaves.

XLVI. - LINES TO A CHILD, ON HIS VOYAGE

TO FRANCE, TO MEET HIS FATHER.

WARE.

HENRY WARE, JR., was born in Hingham, Massachusetts, April 21, 1794 ; and died September 25, 1843. He was a settled clergyman in Boston from 1817 to 1829, and afterwards professor in the theological school at Cambridge. He published many essays and discourses on moral and religious subjects, and a few pieces of poetry. He was a man of ardent piety, an earnest and excellent preacher, and always controlled by the highest sense of duty. His prose writings are marked by simplicity, directness, and strong religious feeling; and the few poems he wrote show poetical powers of no common order.

The following lines originally appeared in the “Christian Disciple."

,

0! how impatiently upon the tide Her flag streams wildly, and her fluttering sails Pant to be on their flight. A few hours more, And she will move in stately grandeur on, Cleaving her path majestic through the flood, As if she were a goddess of the deep.

O, 't is a thought sublime, that man can force
A path upon the waste, can find a way
Where all is trackless, and compel the winds,
Those freest agents of Almighty power,
To lend their untamed wings, and bear him on
To distant climes! Thon, William, still art young,
And dost not see the wonder. Thou wilt tread
The buoyant deck, and look upon the flood,
Unconscious of the high sublimity,
As 't were a common thing, — thy soul unawed,
Thy childish sports unchecked ; while thinking man
Shrinks back into himself, — himself so mean
Mid things so vast, — and, rapt in deepest awe,
Bends to the might of that mysterious Power,
Who holds the waters in his hand, and guides
The ungovernable winds. 'T is not in man
To look unmoved upon that heaving waste,
Which, from horizon to horizon spread,
Meets the o'erarching heavens on every side,
Blending their hues in distant faintness there.

'T is wonderful !- and yet, my boy, just such
Is life. Life is a sea as fathomless,
As wide, as terrible, and yet sometimes
As calm and beautiful. The light of Heaven
Smiles on it, and 't is decked with every

hue Of glory and of joy. Anon, dark clouds

Arise, contending winds of fate go forth,
And hope sits weeping o'er a general wreck.

And thou must sail upon

this

sea, a long,
Eventful voyage.

The wise may suffer wreck,
The foolish must. 0, then be early wise !
Learn from the mariner his skillful art
To ride upon the waves, and catch the breeze,
And dare the threatening storm, and trace a path
Mid countless dangers, to the destined port,
Unerringly secure. (, learn from him
To station quick-eyed Prudence at the helm,
To guard thy sail from Passion's sudden blasts,
And make Religion thy magnetic guide,
Which, though it trembles as it lowly lies,
Points to the light that changes not, in Heaven !

Farewell, - Heaven smile propitious on thy course,
And favoring breezes waft thee to the arms
Of love paternal. — Yes, and more than this,
Blest be thy passage o'er the changing sea
Of life; the clouds be few that intercept
The light of joy; the waves roll gently on
Beneath thy bark of hope, and bear thee safe
To meet in peace thine other father, — GOD.

XLVII. — EXECUTION OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.

LINGARD.

JOAN LINGARD was born in Winchester, England, February 5, 1771 ; and died July 13, 1851. He was a clergyman of the Roman Catholic faith. The chief literary labor of his life was his “History of England,” from the earliest period down to the revolution of 1688; the latest edition of which is in ten volumes, octavo. This work has taken a high and permanent rank in the historical literature of his country. The style is simple, correct, and manly, without being remarkable for beauty or eloquence. The chief

« PředchozíPokračovat »