Imágenes de páginas

Big passions strutting on a petty stage;
Which a detached spectator may regard
Not unamused.—But ridicule demands
Quick change of objects; and, to laugh alone,
At a composing distance from the haunts
Of strife and folly, though it be a treat
As choice as musing Leisure can bestow;
Yet, in the very centre of the crowd,
To keep the secret of a poignant scorn,
Howe'er to airy Demons suitable,
Of all unsocial courses, is least fit
For the gross spirit of mankind,—the one
That soonest fails to please, and quickliest turns
Into vexation.




Let us, then, I said, Leave this unknit Republic to the scourge Of her own passions; and to regions haste, 915 Whose shades have never felt the encroaching


Or soil endured a transfer in the mart
Of dire rapacity. There, Man abides,
Primeval Nature's child. A creature weak

In combination, (wherefore else driven back 920
So far, and of his old inheritance
So easily deprived ?) but, for that cause,
More dignified, and stronger in himself;
Whether to act, judge, suffer, or enjoy.
True, the intelligence of social art
Hath overpowered his forefathers, and soon
Will sweep the remnant of his line away;
But contemplations, worthier, nobler far
Than her destructive energies, attend
His independence, when along the side
Of Mississippi, or that northern stream
That spreads into successive seas, he walks;
Pleased to perceive his own unshackled life,
And his innate capacities of soul,



There imaged: or when, having gained the top Of some commanding eminence, which yet 936 Intruder ne'er beheld, he thence surveys Regions of wood and wide savannah, vast Expanse of unappropriated earth,

With mind that sheds a light on what he sees Free as the sun, and lonely as the sun, Pouring above his head its radiance down Upon a living and rejoicing world!


[ocr errors]

So, westward, tow'rd the unviolated woods I bent my way; and, roaming far and wide, 945 Failed not to greet the merry Mocking-bird; And, while the melancholy Muccawiss (The sportive bird's companion in the grove) Repeated o'er and o'er his plaintive cry, I sympathised at leisure with the sound; But that pure archetype of human greatness, I found him not. There, in his stead, appeared A creature, squalid, vengeful, and impure; Remorseless, and submissive to no law But superstitious fear, and abject sloth.




Enough is told! Here am I-ye have heard What evidence I seek, and vainly seek ; What from my fellow-beings I require, And either they have not to give, or I Lack virtue to receive; what I myself, Too oft by wilful forfeiture, have lost Nor can regain. How languidly I look Upon this visible fabric of the world, May be divined-perhaps it hath been said:— But spare your pity, if there be in me Aught that deserves respect: for I exist, Within myself, not comfortless.-The tenour Which my life holds, he readily may conceive Whoe'er hath stood to watch a mountain brook



In some still passage of its course, and seen, 970
Within the depths of its capacious breast,
Inverted trees, rocks, clouds, and azure sky;
And, on its glassy surface, specks of foam,
And conglobated bubbles undissolved,
Numerous as stars; that, by their onward


Betray to sight the motion of the stream,
Else imperceptible. Meanwhile, is heard
A softened roar, or murmur; and the sound
Though soothing, and the little floating isles
Though beautiful, are both by Nature charged
With the same pensive office; and make known
Through what perplexing labyrinths, abrupt 982
Precipitations, and untoward straits,
The earth-born wanderer hath passed; and


That respite o'er, like traverses and toils
Must he again encounter.-Such a stream
Is human Life; and so the Spirit fares
In the best quiet to her course allowed;
And such is mine,-save only for a hope
That my particular current soon will reach 990
The unfathomable gulf, where all is still!"

[ocr errors]



« AnteriorContinuar »