Imágenes de páginas

Thane'er by a dream was breathed, or driven Then, come with us, sweet Edith ! come Thro' a bosom, all suddenly filled with And dwell in the Lake-Fairy's home; heaven.

And happier none can be in heaven, Oh! come ye from heaven ye blessed Things,

Than we in those green vallies, given So silent with your silvery wings

By Nature's kind beneficence Folded in moonlight glimmerings?

To us, who live in innocence; - They have dropt like two soft gleams of And on our gentle missions go, light,

Up to the human world of woe,
Those gracious forms, on the verdant height for a dream as happy as ourselves ;

To make by our music mortal Elves
Where Edith in her slumber lies,
With calm face meeting the calm skies,

Al fitting back e'er the morn arise,
Like one whose earthly course is o'er,

To our own untroubled Paradise. And sleepeth to awake no more !

“ waft me there, e'er my dream is gone, Gazing upon the Child they stand,

For dreams have a wild world all their own! Till one with small soft silent hand

And never was vision like to this Lifts from that brow the golden hair O waft me away e'er I wake from bliss ! “ Was ever mortal face so fair?

But where is my little sister ? Where God gives to us the sleeping maid !” The child whom her mother with dying And scarcely are the kind words said,

prayer Than Edith's lovely neck is wreathed Put into my bosom, and bade us be With arms as soft as zephyrs breathed True to each other, as on the sea O'er sleeping lilies, and slowly raised Two loving birds, whom a wave may diThe still form of the child, amazed

vide, To see those visages divine,

But who float back soon to each other's side! And eyes so filled with pity, shine

Bring Nora here, and we two will take On her, a simple Shepherdess,

Our journey with you deep down the Lake, An orphan in the wilderness !

And let its waters for ever close “0, happy child! who livest in mirth O'er the upper world of human woes, And joy of thine own on this sinful Earth,

For young though we be, and have known Whose heart, like a lonely stream, keeps Yet we start at the shadows of mortal life ;

no strife, singing, Or, like a holy bell, is ringing

And many a tear have we two shed So sweetly in the silent wild

In each others' arms, on an orphan bed, Wilt thou come with us, thou happy child,

So let Nora to my heart be given, And live in a land where woe and pain

And with you will we fly, and trust in Are heard but as a far-off strain

Heaven.” Of mournful music,—where the breath A sound of parting wings is heard, Of Life is murmuring not of Death ; As when at night some wandering bird And Happiness alone doth weep,

Flits by us, absent from its nest And nought but Bliss doth break our sleep. Beyond the hour of the Songster's rest. Wilt thou come with us to the Land of For, the younger Fairy away hath flown, Dreams?”

And hath Nora found in her sleep alone, -A kiss as soft as moonlight seems Hath raised her up between her wings, To fall on Edith's brow and cheek

And lulled her with gentlest murmurings, As that voice no more is heard to speak ; And borne her over plain and steep And bright before her half-closed eyes With soft swift glide that breaks not sleep, Stand up these Shapes from Paradise, And laid her down as still as death Breathing sweet fear into her heart ! By Edith's side on the balmy heath, -She trembleth lest their beauty part, And all e'er twice ten waves have broke Cloudlike, e'er she be full awake,

On the Lake's smooth sand, or the aged And leave her weeping for their sake,

oak An orphan Shepherdess again,

Hath ceased to shiver it's leaves so red Left all by herself in that lonely glen ! Beneath the breeze that just touched it's “ Fear not, sweet Edith! to come along

head. With us, tho' the voice of the Fairy's Song The heath-flowers all are shining bright, Sound strange to thy soul thus murmuring And every star has its own soft light,

And all the quiet clouds are there Fear not, for thou hast nought to fear! And the same sweet sound is in the air, Oft hast thou heard our voice before, From stream and echo mingling well Hymnlike pass by thy cottage door In the silence of the glimmering dell,When thou and thy sister were at prayers,- But no more is seen the radiant fold Oft hast thou heard it in wild low airs, Of Fairy-wings bedropt with gold, Circling thy couch on the heathery hill,- Nor those sweet human faces! They And when all the stars in heaven were still, Have melted like the dew away, As their images in the lake below,

And Edith and Nora never more That was our voice that seemed to flow, Shall be sitting seen on the earthly shore ! Like softest waters thro' the night,

For they drift away with peaceful motion, The mæsic breathed from our delight. Like birds into the heart of ocean,



Some silent spot secure from storms- Breathing forever thro' the calm
Who float on with their soft-plumed forms A gentle breath of honeyed balm ;
Whiter than the white sea-foam,

Nor ever happy Fairy grieves
Still dancing on from home to home; O'er the yellow fall of the Forest leaves,
Fair Creatures ! in their lonely glee Nor mourns to hear the rustling dry
Happier than Stars in Heaven or Sea. Of their faded pride in the frosty sky,

For all is young and deathless there, Long years are past-and every stone

All things unlike-but all things fairOf the Orphans' cot is with moss o'ergrown, Nor is that saddest beauty known And wild-stalks beautiful and tall

That lies in the thoughts of pleasure flown Hang o'er the little garden-wall,

Nor doth joy ever need to borrow And the clear well within the rock

A charm to its soul from the smiles of sorrow. Lies with its smiling calm unbroke By dipping pitcher! There the Hives ! Nor are the upper world and skies But no faint feeble hum survives Withheld, when they list, from these Orphan's Dead is that Cottage once so sweet,

eyesShrouded as in a winding-sheet

The shadow of green trees on earth Nor even the sobbing of the air

Falls on the Lake and the small bird's Mourns o'er the life that once was there !


Doth often through the silence ring O happy ye! who have flown afar

In sweet, shrill, merry jargoningFrom the sword of those ruthless men of war, So that the Orphans almost think That, for many a year, have bathed in blood They are lying again on the broomy brink Scotland's green glens of solitude !

Of their native Deemand scarcely know Orphans were ye-but your lips were calm If the change hath been to bliss or woe, When together ye sang the evening psalm ; As, mid that music wild, they seem Nor sound of terror on the breeze,

To start back to life from a fairy dream. E'estartled you up from your humble knees, So all that most beautiful is above When on the dewy daisied sod,

Sends down to their rest its soul of love In heaven ye worshipp'd your Father's God, Nor have they in their bliss forgot After the simple way approved

The walls, roof, and door, of their native By men whom God and Angels loved. Dark-dark days come-when holy prayers Nor the bed in which their Parents died, Are sinful held, and snow-white hairs And they themselves slept side by side ! By ruffian hands are torn and strewed, They know that Heaven hath brought them Even where the Old Man bows to God !

here, Sabbath is heavy to the soul,

To shield them from the clouds of fear; When no kirk-bell is heard to toll,

And therefore on their sinless breasts
Struck dumb as ice-no bridal show When they go to sleep the Bible rests,
Shines cheerful thro' these days of woe- The Bible that they read of old,
Now are the blest baptismal rites

Beside their lambs in the mountain-fold,
Done by lone streams, in moonless nights Unseen but by one gracious eye,
Now every lover loves in dread

That blest their infant piety! Sleep flies from cradle and from bed

On what doth the wondering shepherd gaze, The silent meal in fear is blest In fear the mother gives her breast

As o'er Loch-Ken the moonlight plays, To the infant, whose dim eyes can trace

And in the Planet's silvery glow,

Far shines the smooth sand, white as snow? A trouble in her smiling face. The little girl her hair has braided,

In Heaven or Lake there is no breeze, Over a brow by terror shaded ;

Yet a glimmering Sail that Shepherd sees, And virgins, in youth's lovely years,

Swanlike steer on its stately way Who fear not death, have far worse fears

Into the little Crescent bay ; Wailing is heard o'er all the land,

Now jocundly its fair gleam rearing, Por, by day and night, a bloody hand

And now in darkness disappearing,

Till mid the water-lilies riding
A bloody sword doth widely wave,
And peace is none,—but in the grave.

It hangs, and to the green shore gliding

Two lovely Creatures silently
But Edith and Nora lead happy hours Sit down beneath the star-light sky,
In the Queen Lake-Fairy's palace-bowers, And look around, in deep delight,
Nor troubles from the world of ill

On all the sweet still smiles of night.
E'er reach that kingdom calm and still, As they sit beauty on the shore,
A dream-like kingdom sunk below, The Shepherd feels he has seen before
The fatal reach of waking woe!

The quiet of their heavenly eyes :
There, radiant water drops are shed, “ 'Tis the Orphans come back from Paradise,
Like strings of pearl round each Orphan's Edith and Nora ! They now return,

When this woe-worn Land hath ceased to Glistening with many a lovely ray,

mourn. Yet, all so light, that they melt away, We thought them dead, but at Heaven's Unfelt by the locks they beautify

command, The flowers that bloom there never die, For years have they lived in Fairy Land,


And they glide back by night to their little cot,
O absent long, but by none forgot !"

The Boat with its snow-white sail is gone,
And the Creatures it brought to shore are
flown !

Towards the close of last century, it Still the crowd of water-lilies shake, was thought by many philosophers, And a long bright line shines o'er the Lake, that the faults' and vices of inankind But nought else tells that a bark was near ;

arose chiefly from intellectual darkWhile the wildered Shepherd seems to hear A wild hymn wandering through the wood, ness, and that if prejudice and misconTill it dies up the mountain solitude ;

ception were removed from the earth, And a dreamy thought, as the sounds depart

, moral

evil would speedily depart also. Of Edith and Nora comes o'er his heart. The French metaphysicians seemed to At Morning's first pure silent glow,

consider man as a being in whom reaA band of simple Shepherds go

son was the predominating faculty. To the Orphan's Cot, and they there behold They concluded, too hastily, that his The Dove so bright, with its plumes of gold, desires and inclinations resulted from And the radiant Lamb, that used to glide his opinions, and were posterior to So spirit-like by fair Edith's side.

the conclusions of his understanding. Fair Creatures that no more were seen Their attention had been so much diOn the sunny thatch or the flowery green, rected towards the evils which spring Since the lovely Sisters had flown away, from prejudices of education, that they And left their Cottage to decay! Back to this world returned again,

supposed the root and essence of the They seem in sadness and in pain,

mischief lay in the prejudices themAnd coo and bleat is like the breath selves, and did not advert to the fact, Of sorrow mourning over death.

that prejudices serve only as domicils Lo! smiling on their rushy bed,

for the elementary passions, which, alLie Edith and Nora-embraced—and dead! though they may change their abode A gentle frost has closed their eyes, and their apparel, never change their And hushed—just hushed-their balmy nature. Opinion can do no more than sighs.

transfer the operations of the passions Over their lips, yet rosy red,

from one object to another; and in A faint, pale, cold decay is shed ; A dimness hangs o'er their golden hair,

doing so, it may effect either good or That sadly tells no life is there ;

mischief, according to circumstances. There beats no heart, no current flows

Vanity and ambition, for instance, In bosoms sunk in such repose ;

have always the same bent, namely, Limbs may not that chill quiet have, that of seeking after pre-eminence and Unless laid ready for the grave.

distinction; but what constitutes disSilence lies there from face to feet,

tinction depends, in a great measure, And the bed she loves best is a winding upon the opinions of society.. If vasheet.

lue is set upon useless objects, so Let the Coffin sink down soft and slowly, And calm be the burial of the holy !

much human energy is expended to no One long look in that mournful cell

purpose ; if value is set on pernicious Let the green turf heave-and then, farewell! objects, so much ambition is turned to No need of tears ! in this church-yard shade so much mischief ; but if the palm is Oft had the happy orphans played

affixed to useful and noble objects, Above these quiet graves! and well they lie the nature of the ambitious man is After a calm bright life of purity, improved in pursuing them, and soBeneath the flowers that once sprung to meet ciety profits by his activity. The motion of their now still feet!

For rendering service to society, vaThe mourners are leaving the buried clay, To the holy hush of the Sabbath day,

nity and ambition are much more' to When a Lamb comes sadly bleating by,

be depended on than the feeling of And a Dove soft wavering through the sky, duty. They are personal sentiments, And both lie down without a sound,

and therefore much more active and In beauty on the funeral mound !

constant in their operation. But it is What may these lovely creatures be? by the virtuous feelings of society at -Two sisters who died in infancy, large that they are controled and guidAnd thus had those they loved attended, ed towards beneficial ends. It would And been by those they loved befriended ! Whate'er-fair Creatures! might be their ciety, to reward nothing but service

be the interest even of a profligate sobirth Never more were they seen on earth ;

able and well directed ambition with But to young and old belief was given

admiration and consequence; but here That with Edith and Nora they went to the natural feelings of mankind are Heaven.

N. found to work too powerfully against the calculations of their own interest. and making them acquainted with opMen every where confer their admira- portunities of action ; but if the sention upon those things in which they timents do not exist, its words are themselves wish to excel, and accord. idle, and are of no more use than the ingly a profligate society gives pre- 'compass is to the pilot when there is minms to so many spurious kinds of no wind to fill his sails. Forms of ambition, that little of the useful sort government are equally unproductive is produced. Thus no ambitious man in the species of their influence. A ean ever be tempted to pursue a much free government only gives fair play more virtuous course than corresponds to the human character, and allows with the habits of thought prevalent national energies, talents, and virtues in the society where he lives. The to manifest themselves in their greatservices done to society, through mo- est strength and beauty. A bad gotives purely consciencious, must al- vernment stifles and oppresses the taways be a precarious and uncertain lents and energies of a nation, and exfund, from what we know of the ave. erts a destructive power ; but a good rage constitution of human nature; government exerts no creative power, and no nation can count upon great nor does more for mankind than is and meritorious exertions, until it has done for the different kinds of animals drawn into its service the personal by free air and exercise, wbich perfect passions, which constitute the main their natural qualities, but confer no spring of activity in the minds of man- new ones. kind. A degenerate and vicious so- To suppose that the intellectual calciety thus is constantly giving way to culation of utility can ever become the feelings which react perniciously up- regulating principle of human exison itself. It is insincere or divided in tence, is to suppose that the elements its approbation of what is good; and of human nature exist in totally diftherefore it is not rewarded by the ferent proportions from the real ones. growth of what is good. The good Remote views of interest, however deeds which happen to be performed clear, give way to the personal feelings in such a society, by disinterested per- of the moment; and it is only by the sons, are like contributions casually continual activity of just sentiments dropt into an alms-box.

throughout society, that a nation The more we reflect upon the na- can be sure of preserving itself from ture of man, the more we shall be con- political disasters. Vainly do knowvinced, that what decides his fate is ledge and foresight hope to regulate to be found chiefly within himself, the course of moral events, by invesè and not in extrinsic cireumstances. tigating into the sequence of causes The philosophers of the last century and effects, if knowledge and foresight overlooked the mechanism which na are unable, when the crisis arrives, to ture implants in nations and indivi- evoke those virtues and energies which duals, and sought for the cause of would be necessary to form part of the every thing from without. They at- chain upon which a fortunate result tributed an almost creative power to depends. In controling the moveknowledge and to institutions. But ments of the physical world, man finds there is reason to suspect, that the no scarcity of objects by which to act power exerted by mere intellect over upon their objeets, and aceomplish his human destiny is much less than desires ; but the causes which elethey were inclined to suppose. Man vate or degrade the moral nature of is of a nature which includes part of his species can only be grasped now the brute, and part of the percipient and then ; and even when he does not being; but the elements which decide appears to ride on the whirlwind and his destiny are his passions and his direct the storm,” it is scarcely by moral sentiments. All that know- means of his own power that he asledge can do is to remove errors and sumes such an office, but rather bemistakes. It operates as a guide in cause the whirlwind happens to stoop relation to the human character, but of its own accord, and take up the it has no productive power. It can- puny rider. When legislators succeed not create a single new moral impulse in establishing a good system of laws, or propension which does not already they have to thank the course of events exist within us. “It is often of service for presenting them with what was in awakening the latent sentiments, most essential to their enterprize, Vol. IV.


namely, a set of people sufficiently well as the other, requires virtuous virtuous or sufficiently docile to con- sentiments to support it; and, if mocur in supporting their system. Any dern Europe is so fortunate as to obimprovements that are offered on the tain it, her children are not likely to moral nature of man, by means of in- aspire to any thing farther. Christi. stitutions, go on slowly, and lie at the anity has absorbed into itself all that mercy of so many collateral trains of towering and indefinite enthusiasm events, originating from unforeseen which of old exerted itself upon the sources, that they can hardly be said worldly affairs of Greece and Rome. to be under human control. The Human nature has now found a wider character of modern European nations outlet for its hopes. They no longer has been disciplined all along by the embody themselves in the same obfalling out of events, and not by any jects as before; and hence the modern legislating influence, except Christia- world presents fewer visible indicanity, which rather affects the private tions of the greatness of the human nature of individuals, than operates mind. The divine part of our nature directly upon the laws of their political has ceased to spend its force in creataggregation. The minds of European ing monuments of its own power, or nations have grown up and ripened, gilding the possessions of a transitory as they best could, under institutions existence. The whole aspect of life is not originally planned by reason, but changed; and what is greatest in the worked out of circumstances by the world, is almost silent and invisible, blind contentions of the different mem- Even national power is less majestic bers of the body politic. Even Eng- and more vulgar than during the ages land herself has owed her advantages of antiquity, because it is imbued with to the propitious movements of her in- a smaller proportion of those emanaborn energies, which have made room tions of the higher soul which confer for themselves. Bad fortune may have dignity on whatever they mingle with, had its share in retarding the progress But to withdraw human aspirations of the other nations, but there is rea- from the channel which they have son to believe that the moral elements now found, and turn enthusiasm again produced within them have been of adrift, to seek for the infinite upon inferior quality. The common stock earth, would evidently be to make a of European reflection, and the wisdom preposterous exchange. The notion produced by experience, have now in- of the perfectibility of man sprung up spired the nations with a philosophi- as natural succedaneum, after men cal love of liberty; but all sentiments, had quarrelled with Christianity; and resulting from the exercise of the un- the desire of such a succedaneum was derstanding, are weaker and less to be a favourable indication of the quantidepended upon than those which de- ty of sentiment which remained bevelope themselves spontaneously; and hind. But what need chiefly now be therefore, while the nations justly re- dreaded is, that the human soul may joice in the advantages of knowledge become dwarfish, and remain contentas an antidote against despotism, they ed without great hopes or aims of any should remember that their endea- kind. vours after liberty will be successful In the history of every race of man. chiefly in proportion as they are con- kind there seems to be always some nected with the demands of their sen- era when their character unfolds its timents and passions. The love of li- greatest vigour, and teems with the berty breaks forth in its most beauti- most energetic sentiments. This era ful and dignified form, when the soul, does not coincide with the poriod of a having become pregnant with great as- nation's highest civilization, nor yet pirations and lofty desires, finds it ne- of its greatest knowledge. Yet in the cessary to have a theatre adapted to history of Greece these periods were the illimitability of their nature. But not far distant from each other. Has this is only the beautiful ideal of li- modern Europe already developed the berty. There is another species of the most energetic sentiments she will ever love of freedom, more homely in its give birth to, or is there something nature, and which is founded 'merely greater still to come? If greater things upon enlightened views concerning the are yet to come, it is to be suspected every-day rights and worldly interests that we must look for them from those of mankind. This kind of liberty, as European nations which have hitherta

« AnteriorContinuar »