« PreviousContinue »
STALACTITES; (pro. sta-lac'tites,) lime in the shape of icicles, formed by drippings, and hanging from the roof. Fiji; (pro. Fee'jee,) a cluster of islands in the South Pacific.
1. There is a cavern in the island of Hoonga, one of the Tonga islands, in the South Pacific Ocean, which can only be entered by diving into the sea', and which has no other light than that which is reflected from the bottom of the water. A young chief discovered it accidentally, while diving after a turtle', and the use which he made of his discovery, will probably be sung in more than one European language', so beautifully is it adapted for a tale in verse.
2. There was a tyrannical governor at Hoonga, against whom one of the chiefs formed a plan of insurrection. It was betrayed', and the chief, with all his family and kin, was ordered to be destroyed'. He had a beautiful daughter, betrothed to a chief of high rank, and she also was included in the sentence. The youth who had found the cavern, and had kept the secret to himself, loved' this damsel. He told her the danger in time, and persuaded her to trust to him. They got into a canoe; the place of her retreat was described to her on the way to it,—these women swim like mermaids', -she dived after him', and rose in the cavern'. In the widest part it is about fifty feet'; its medium height being about the same, and it is hung with stalactites.
3. Here, he brought her the choicest food', the finest clothing', mats for her bed', and sandal-oil to perfume herself with. Here, he visited her as often as was consistent with prudence, and here, as may be imagined, this Tonga Leander wooed and won the maid, whom, to make the interest complete, he had long loved in secret, when he had no hope'. Meantime he prepared, with all his dependents, male and female, to emigrate in secret to the Fiji islands.
4. The intention was so well concealed, that they embarked in safety, and his people asked him, at the point of their departure, if he would not take with him a Tonga wife'; and, accordingly, to their great astonishment, having steered close to the rock, he desired them to wait while he went into the sea to fetch' her, jumped overboard, and just as they were beginning to be seriously alarmed at his long disappearance', he rose with his mistress from the water. This story is not deficient in that which all such stories should have', to be perfectly delightful'; a fortunate conclusion. The party remained at the Fijis till the oppressor died', and then returned to Hoonga, where they enjoyed a long and happy life.
XII.—THE LONE INDIAN.
MOHAWKS; a tribe of Indians who formerly lived in the state of New York.
1. For many a returning autumn, a lone Indian was seen standing at the consecrated spot we have mentioned; but, just thirty years after the death of Soonseetah, he was noticed for the last time. His step was then firm, and his figure erect, though he seemed old and wayworn. Age had not dimmed the fire of his eye, but an expression of deep melancholy had settled on his wrinkled brow. Powontonamo'; he who had once been the eagle of the Mohawks. He came to lie down and die beneath the broad oak, which shadowed the grave of Sunny-eye.
2. Alas! the white man's ax' had been there. The tree that he had planted was dead'; and the vine, which had leaped so vigorously from branch to branch, now yellow and withering, was falling to the ground.
A deep groan burst from the soul of the savage. For thirty wearisome years, he had watched that oak, with its twining tendrils. They were the only things left in the wide world for him to love', and they were gone.
3. He looked abroad. The hunting-land of his tribe was changed, like its chieftain. No light canoe now shot down the river, like a bird upon the wing. The laden boat of the white man alone broke its smooth surface. The Englishman's road wound like a serpent around the banks of the Mohawk'; and iron hoofs had so beaten down the war-path, that a hawk's eye could not discover an Indian track. The last wigwam was destroyed'; and the sun looked boldly down
upon spots he had only visited by stealth', during thousands and thousands of moons.
4. The few remaining trees, clothed in the fantastic mourning of autumn'; the long line of heavy clouds melting away before the evening sun'; and the distant mountain, seen through the blue mist of departing twilight', alone remained as he had seen them in his boyhood. All things spoke a sad language to the heart of the desolate Indian. “Yes'," said he, “the young oak and the vine are like the Eagle and the Sunny-eye. They are cut down', torn' and trampled' on. The leaves are falling, and the clouds are scattering like my people. I wish I could once more see the trees standing thick, as they did when my mother held me to her bosom, and
sung the warlike deeds of the Mohawks.” 5. A mingled expression of grief and anger passed over his face, as he watched a loaded boat in its passage across the stream. • The white man carries food to his wife and children, and he finds them in his home'," said he; “where squaw
of the red' man? They are here'!" As he spoke, he fixed his eye thoughtfully on the grave. After a gloomy silence, he again looked round upon the fair scene, with a wandering and troubled gaze. pale' iace may like it,” murmured he; “but an Indian' can not die here in peace!" So saying', he broke his bowstring', snapped his arrows', threw them on the burial-place of his fathers', and departed forever!
REMARK.—The words “ down,” “ torn,” and “trampled,” in the last parag=aph but one, and "string," "arrows,” “fathers," and "forever,” in the last paragraph, are examples of inflection which may, perhaps, more appropriately come under the head of " series ;" but, by examining them, it will be found, that the rule which gives them the failing inflection wherever the sense is complete, and that which requires the last but one to be the rising inflection, are applicable in these cases. Indeed, the rule for series is substantially the combination of these two principles, with that of emphasis, as laid down in Rule II.
XIII.-TO THE DEAD.
John G. C. BRAINARD was born in Connecticut, in 1796, and was educated for the bar. In the circumstances of his life and death, he reminds me of Henry Kirke White; but as a poet, he was very much White'r superior. He died of consumption, in New London, Conn., in 1828.
1. How many now are dead to me'
That live to others yet!!
Till dead, can ne'er forget.
2. Beyond the blue seas, far away,
Most wretchedly alone,
In his lone dungeon shone.
3. Dead to the world', alive to me',
Though months and years have passed!
As when I saw him last.
4. And one, with a bright lip, and cheek,
And eye, is dead' to me.
And his eye', for it did not see!
5. Then for the living be the tomb',
And for the dead', the smile';
Around the funeral pile.
XIV.-THE MUSIC OF NATURE.
FROM Willis. NATILANIEL P. Willis, an American poet, was born in Portland, in 1807, but soon removed to Boston. Ile is the author of many popular prose and poetical works, and was, for many years, connected with various periodicals at New York. Ile died in 1867.
1. THERE is a melancholy music in autumn. The leaves float sadly about with a look of peculiar desolation', waving capriciously in the wind, and falling with a just audible sound, that is a very sigh for its sadness. And then, when the breeze is fresher, though the early autumn months are mostly still, they are swept on with a cheerful rustle over the naked harvest fields, and about in the eddies of the blast'; and though I have, sometimes, in the glow of exercise, felt my life securer in the triumph of the brave contest, yet, in the chill of the evening, or when any sickness of the mind or body was on me, the moaning of those withered leaves has pressed down my heart like a sorrow', and the cheerful fire, and the voices of my many sisters, might scarce remove' it.
2. Then for the music of winter'. I love to listen to the falling of snow. It is an unobtrusive and sweet' music. You may temper your
heart to the serenest mood, by its low It is that kind of music, that only obtrudes upon your ear when your thoughts come languidly. You need not hear it, if your mind is not idle. It realizes my dream of another world, where music is intuitive like a thought', and comes only when it is remembered.
3. And the frost' too has a melodious "ministry. You will hear its crystals shoot in the dead of a clear night, as if the moonbeams were splintering like arrows on the ground'; and you will listen to it the more earnestly, that it is the going on of one of the most cunning and beautiful of nature's deep mysteries. I know nothing so wonderful as the shooting of a crystal. God has hidden its principle as yet from the inquisitive eye of the philosopher, and we must be content to gaze on its exquisite beauty, and listen, in mute wouder, to the noise of its invisible workmanship.