« PreviousContinue »
was looking down upon me, thinking, no doubt, that he would drink me up; but a nightingale and scarlet lory both chanced to alight near him, and the flower was weighed down, so that I fell to the ground. Immediately, I felt myself drawn up, as if very small cords were fastened to me. It was the power of the sun, which forced me higher and higher, till I found myself in the clouds, in the same weak, misty state as before.
Here I floated about, until a cold wind drove me into the Danube. The moment I entered this river, I was pushed forward by such a crowd of water drops, that, before I knew whither I was bound, I found myself at the bottom of the Black Sea. An oyster soon drew me into his shell, where I tumbled over a pearl, large and beautiful enough to grace the snowy neck of Eve. I was well pleased with my situation, and should have remained a long time, had it been in my power; but an enormous whale came into our vicinity, and the poor oyster was rolled down bis throat, with a mighty company of waves. I escaped from my pearl prison, and the next day, the great fish threw me from his nostrils, in a cataract of foam. Many were the rivers, seas, and lakes, I visited. Sometimes I rode through the Pacific, on a dolphin's back; and, at others, I slept sweetly under the shade of fan coral, in the Persian Gulf. One week, I was a dew drop on the roses of Cashmere; and another, I moistened the stinted moss, on cold, Norwegian rocks.
Years passed away before I again reposed on the banks of Euphrates. When I did, Adam was banished from the garden of Eden. Many a time have I clung to the willows, and looked in pity on the godlike exile, as he toiled in the fields, with his children around him; and when he sought the shade, again and again have I leaped down to cool his feverish brow. Pleasant as I found this benevolent office, I delighted still more to nestle among the pretty, yellow ringlets of the infant Abel, and shine there, like a diamond on the surface of golden waves. Alas, it is anguish to remember how I kissed his silken eyelash, when he lay stretched in death, under the cruel hand of Cain !
Time rolled slowly on, and the world grew more wicked. I lived almost entirely in the clouds, or on the flowers; for mankind could offer no couch fit for the repose of innocence, save the babe's sinless lip. At last, excessive vice demanded punishment. The Almighty sent it in the form of rain; and, in forty days, the fair earth was overwhelmed. I was permitted to remain in the foggy atmosphere; and, when the deluge ceased, I found myself arranged, with a multitude of rain drops, before the blazing pavilion of the sun. His seven colored rays were separated in passing through us, and reflected on the opposite quarter of the heavens. Thus I had the honor to assist in forming the first rainbow ever seen by man.
It is now five thousand, eight hundred, and twentyeight years, since I first came into being; and you may well suppose that, were all my adventures detailed, they would fill a ponderous volume. I have traversed the wide world over, and watched its inhabitants through all their infinitude of changes. I have been
in tears on the lyre of Sappho, when her love inspired fingers swept across its strings. In the aromatic bath, I have kissed the transparent cheek of proud Aspasia; and I have twinkled on Plato's pale, intellectual brow, when he dreamed his ethereal philosophy in her magic bower. I remained at the bottom of the cup in which Cleopatra dissolved her costly pearl, and I plunged indignantly from the prow of Antony's vessel, when he retired from the fight, and gave the world for beauty.
I have been poured forth within the dazzling shrine of Apollo, and mixed with the rosy libations to Bacchus. The bramin of Hindostan has worshipped me in the sacred stream of Ganges. With me the druid has quenched his sacrifice; the Roman pontiff signed the sacred emblem of the cross, and the Levite made clean his hands before he entered within the sanctuary. The princely archbishops of England have taken me from magnificent baptismal fonts; and, in the wild glens of Scotland, the persecuted covenanter has sprinkled me on many a guiltless head. I have jumped from the banyan tree on the back of a Hindoo god, and glittered on the marble cheeks of deities in Athens. I have trembled on the Turkish crescent; slept on the Russian cross; died on the Chinese pagoda; and awaked between the Persian and the sun he adores.
Warm climates have ever been my favorites; for there, I was often in heaven, in a state of melting, delicious languor; and my visitations to earth were ever among the beautiful and the brilliant.
For one hundred years I was doomed to reluctant drudgery in the cold regions of the north; during which my soul was sent forth from gipsy kettles, over the Geysers of Iceland, and embodied again to freeze the head of the Kamschatkadale to his bearskin pillow. I could tell wonders to Captain Parry, and absolutely craze Symmes with my discoveries. I could, if I chose, make known to hardy adventurers, who have risked life and limb to ascertain it, whether or not wild geese summer at the pole; but the giant king of the glaciers has forbidden me to reveal many to things, which it is not expedient for the world know at present. I dare not disobey him, for he once enchained me, in the dreary chambers of an ice mountain, forty long years; and, had not the huge mass been seized with the modern spirit of enterprise, and moved southward, I might never have regained my liberty. The first use I made of freedom was to revisit the scenes I had enjoyed so much when men were comparatively strangers on earth. I sought repose, after my wearisome journey, in the holy stream of Jordan; but scarcely had the waves given me their welcome embrace, ere the celebrated Chateaubriand conveyed me from thence to France, to perform my part in the august baptism of the infant “King of Rome.” For such an office, I was willing to leave my beloved Palestine ; for seldom have I rested on a boy of loftier promise, or more cherub loveliness; but I liked not the service in which the crafty politician employed me a few years after. It shames me to tell that the water, sprinkled on the son of Bonaparte, aided to prepare the vile pages of " Le Roi est mort Vive le Roi ! ” with which the capricious Frenchman afterward welcomed the tenth Charles of Bourbon. Disgusted with the servile race of courtiers, I hastened to England, in hopes of finding an aristocracy too proud, in their long inherited greatness, to sue for the favor of a never satisfied multitude, or to triumph over them with all the vulgar superciliousness of newly acquired power. Few, very few such I found; for true nobility of soul is rare ; but many a glorious exploit was achieved by me in that favored land of intelligence and freedom. Once, while hovering listlessly in the air, I aided in forming the rainbow which Campbell has immortalized in such splendid verse; and on the next day, Wordsworth apostrophized me, as I lay quivering on the edge of his favorite daisy.
I moistened some of the pages of Scott, before they were wet with the world's tears; and I trickled from the point of Mrs Hemans' pen, when her eloquent spirit held communion with Tasso. I have evaporated on the burning page of Byron, and sparkled on the spangled lines of Moore.
It would take too long a tiine to detail all the services I rendered the great, the gifted, and the fair, during my residence in the “ fast anchored isle.” Suffice it to say, with all its advantages, I found much to displease me; and I was anxious to visit a new republic, which I had heard of, “ beyond the ocean, where the laws were just, and men were happy.” This land, too, has its evils; but I love it better than any spot I have