Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Our arch of empire, steadfast but for you,
A mutilated structure, soon to fail.

[blocks in formation]

Hail, therefore, patroness of health and ease,
And contemplation, heart-consoling joys,
And harmless pleasures, in the throng'd abode
Of multitudes unknown; hail, rural life!
Address himself who will to the pursuit
Of honours, or emolument, or fame;
I shall not add myself to such a chase,
Thwart his attempts, or envy his success.
Some must be great. Great offices will have
Great talents. And God gives to every man
The virtue, temper, understanding, taste
That lifts him into life, and lets him fall
Just in the niche he was ordain'd to fill.
To the deliv'rer of an injur'd land
He gives a tongue t' enlarge upon, a heart
To feel, and courage to redress her wrongs;
To monarchs, dignity; to judges, sense;
To artists, ingenuity and skill;

To me, an unambitious mind, content
In the low vale of life, that early felt

A wish for ease and leisure, and ere long

[ocr errors]

Found here that leisure, and that ease I wish'd.-CowPER.

SUMMER MORNING.

Up, sleeper! dreamer! up; for now

There's gold upon the mountain's brow

There's light on forests, lakes, and meadows

The dew-drops shine on flow'ret bells;

The village clock of morning tells.
Up, men! out, cattle! for the dells

And dingles teem with shadows.

Up! out! o'er furrow and o'er field;
The claims of toil some moments yield
For morning's bliss, and time is fleeter
Than thought-so out! 'tis dawning yet.
Why twilight's lovely hour forget?
For sweet though be the workman's sweat,
The wanderer's sweat is sweeter.

Up! to the fields! through shine and stour;
What hath the dull and drowsy hour

So blest as this? the glad heart leaping
To hear morn's early song sublime,
See earth rejoicing in its prime;
The summer is the walking time—
The winter time for sleeping.

Oh, fool! to sleep such hours away,
While blushing Nature wakes to day,

On down through summer mornings snoring; 'Tis meet for thee, the winter long,

When snows blow fast and winds blow strong,
To waste the night amidst the throng,
Their vinous poisons pouring.

The very beast, that crops the flower,
Hath welcome for the dawning hour.

Aurora smiles! her beck'nings claim thee; Listen-look round-the chirp, the hum, Song, low, and bleat-there's nothing dumbAll love, all life. Come, slumbʼrer, come! The meanest thing shall shame thee.

We come we come our wand'rings take
Through dewy field, by misty lake,

And rugged path, and woods pervaded
By branches o'er, by flowers beneath,
Making earth od'rous with their breath;
Or through the shadeless gold-gorse heath,
Or 'neath the poplars shaded.

Were we of feather, or of fin,
How blest to dash the river in,

Thread the rock-stream as it advances;
Or, better, like the birds above,
Rise to the greenest of the grove,
And sing the matin song of love
Amidst the highest branches.

Oh, thus to revel, thus to range,
I'll yield the counter, bank, or 'change;

The bus'ness crowds, all peace destroying;

The toil, with snow that roofs our brains;
The seeds of care, which harvest pains;
The wealth, for more which strives and strains,
Still less and less enjoying.

Oh, happy, who the city's noise
Can quit for Nature's quiet joys,

Quit worldly sin and worldly sorrow;
No more 'midst prison-walls abide,
But, in God's temple vast and wide,
Pour praises every eventide,

Ask mercies every morrow.

No seraph's flaming sword hath driv'n,

That man from Eden or from heav'n,

From earth's sweet smiles and winning features;

For him, by toils, and troubles tost,

By wealth and wearying cares engross'd,
For him a paradise is lost-

But not for happy creatures.

Come-though a glance it may be-come,
Enjoy, improve, and hurry home,

For life's strong urgencies must bind us.
Yet mourn not; morn shall wake anew,
And we shall wake to bless it too-
Homewards! the herds shall shake the dew
We'll leave in peace behind us.-TOLLENS.

ADVENTURE AT JACOB'S WELL.

We expressed our intention to set out for the inspection of Jacob's Well; and a Samaritan lad, named Yákúb, offered himself as our guide. As we determined to effect, if possible, a thorough exploration of it, we took with us a supply of wax candles for its illumination, and all the ropes from our boxes that we might make of it a correct measurement. We attracted a good deal of attention as we passed through the town in our Indian travelling dresses. In the olive grove to the east of it, we found the Turkish women and the young members of their families, observing their holiday, squatted

in the shade, or swinging from the branches of the trees. They began to abuse us with their tongues as we passed; and at length they found themselves emboldened to treat us to a shower of stones. A brickbat of considerable size gave me rather a severe blow on the back.

On arriving at Jacob's Well, we found the mouth of it, which is in the middle of the ruins of a church by which it was formerly surmounted, covered with two large stones. These we were unable ourselves to remove; but a half-dozen sturdy Arabs, from a small hamlet close by, did the needful for us, in expectation, of course, of a due reward. The opening over the well is an orifice in a dome or arch, less than two feet in diameter. Our Samaritan friend was the first to enter. He held by a piece of rope, which we kept in our hands till, swinging himself across the mouth of the well, properly so called, he found footing on the margin of the excavation over which the dome extends. Mr Smith and myself, dispensing with the superfluous parts of our dresses, followed his example, our companions, whom we thought it expedient to leave without, keeping fast hold of the rope till, with the assistance of Jacob, we got a firm footing beside him. The Arabs entered one after another without difficulty. All within was hitherto darkness; but by the aid of a packet of lucifers, we lighted our candles, and were able to look down the well to a considerable depth. It was now time to disclose our plan of operation to our native attendants. "Jacob," said we, "a friend of ours, an English traveller and minister (the Rev. Andrew Bonar, of Collace), dropped the five books of Moses and the other inspired records into this well, about three years ago, and if you will descend and bring them up, we shall give you a handsome bakshish." "Bakshish!" said the Arabs, kindling at the sound, "if there is to be a bakshish in the case, we must have it, for we are the lords of the land." "Well, down you go," said we, throwing the rope over their shoulders, "and you shall have the bakshish." "Nay, verily," said they, "you mean to hang us; let Jacob do what he pleases." Jacob was ready at our command; and when he had tied the rope round his body below his shoulders, he received our parting instructions. We asked him to call out to us the moment that he might arrive at the surface of the water, and told him that we should so hold the rope as to prevent him from sinking, if there was any considerable depth of the element.

We

[ocr errors]

told him also to pull out one of the candles with which he had stored his breast, and to ignite it when he might get below. As he looked into the fearful pit on the brink of which he stood, terror took hold of him; and he betook himself to prayer in the Hebrew tongue. We, of course, gave him no interruption in his solemn exercises, as, in the circumstances of the case, we could not but admire the spirit of devotion which he evinced. On a signal given we let him go. "The Arabs held with us the rope, and we took care that he should descend as gently as possible. When our material was nearly exhausted, he called out, "I have reached the bottom; and it is at present scarcely covered with water." Forthwith he kindled his light; and that he might have every advantage, we threw him down a quantity of dry sticks, with which he made a blaze, which distinctly showed us the whole of the well, from the top to the bottom. We saw the end of the rope at its lower part; and we put a knot upon it at the margin above, that we might have the exact measurement when Jacob might come up. After searching for about five minutes for the Bible among the stones and mud at the bottom, our kind friend joyfully called out, It is found it is found! it is found!" We were not slow, it may be supposed, in giving him our congratulations. The prize he carefully put into his breast; and then he declared his readiness, with our aid, to make the ascent. Ready, however, he was not to move. He was evidently much frightened at the journey which was before him to the light of day; and he was not slow to confess his fears. mind," cried Mordecai to him from the top, on observing his alarm, "you will get up by the help of the God of Jacob." He betook himself again to prayer, in which he continued for a much longer time than before his descent. When we got him in motion, he dangled very uncomfortably in the air, and complained much of the cutting of the rope near his armpits. By and by he became silent. We found it no easy matter to get him pulled up, as we had to keep the rope from the edge of the well, lest it should snap asunder. When he came into our hands, he was unable to speak; and we laid him down on the margin of the well, that he might collect his breath. "Where is the bakshish?" were the first words which he uttered, on regaining his faculty of speech. It was immediately forthcoming to the extent of about a sovereign, and to his fullest satisfaction. A similar sum we

"Never

« PředchozíPokračovat »