Page images
PDF
EPUB

harpies,“ ravens, cormorants, and, among many other feathered creatures, several little winged boys, that perch in great numbers upon the middle arches. These,' said the Genius, 'are Envy, Avarice, Superstition, Despair, Love, with the like cares and passions that infest human life.' 17. “I here fetched a deep sigh.

deep sigh. ‘Alas, ' said I, 'man was made in vain! How is he given a way to misery and mortality, tortured in life and swallowed up in death!' The Genius, being moved with compassion towards me, bade me quit so uncomfortable a prospect. • Look no more,' said he,'on man in the first stage of his existence, in his setting out for Eternity ; but cast thine eye on that thick mist into which the tide bears the several generations of mortals that fall into it.'

18. “I directed my sight as I was ordered, and (whether or no the good Genius strengthened it with any supernatural force, or dissipated part of the mist that was before too thick for the eye to penetrate) I saw the valley opening at the further end, and spreading forth into an immense ocean, that had a huge rock of adamant running through the midst of it, and dividing it into two equal parts.

19. “The clouds still rested on one half of it, insomuch that I could discover nothing in it; but the other appeared to me a vast ocean planted with innumerable islands, that were covered with fruits and flowers, and interwoven

with a thousand little shining seas that ran among them. I could see persons dressed in glorious babits, with garlands upon their heads, passing among the trees, lying down by the sides of fountains, or resting on beds of flowers, and could hear a confused harmony of singing birds, falling waters, human voices, and musical instruments,

20. “Gladness grew in me upon the discovery of so delightful a scene. I wished for the wings of an eagle that I might fly away to those happy seats; but the Genius told me there was no passage to them except through the gates of death that I saw opening every moment upon the bridge. The islands,' said he, 'that lie so fresh and green before thee, and with which the whole face of the ocean appears spotted as far as thou canst see, are more in number than the sands on the seashore.

21. “There are myrads 23 of islands behind those which thou here discoverest, reaching further than thine eye, or even thine imagination can extend itself. These are the mansions of good men after death, who, according to the degree and kinds of virtue in which they excelled, are distributed among these several islands, which abound with pleasures of different kinds and degrees, suitable to the relishes and perfections of those who are settled in them.

22. “Every island is a paradise accommo

was

dated 24 to its respective inhabitants. Are not these, O Mirza ! habitations worth contending for? Does life appear miserable, that gives thee opportunities of earning such a reward ? Is death to be feared, that will convey thee to so happy an existence? Think not man made in vain, who has such an eternity reserved for him.

23. “I gazed with inexpressible pleasure on these happy islands. “At length,' said I, show me now, I beseech thee, the secrets that lie hid under those dark clouds which cover the ocean on the other side of the rock of adamant.' The Genius making me no answer, I turned about to address myself to him a second time, but I found that he had left me.

24. “I then turned again to the vision wbich I had been so long contemplating; but, instead of the rolling tide, the arched bridge, and the happy islands, I saw nothing but the long, hollow valley of Bagdat, with oxen, sheep, and camels grazing upon the sides of it.”

NOTES.

1 Grand Cairo, the capital city of 11 Soliloquies, speeches addressed to Egypt.

oneself. 2 Oriental, eastern; from oriens, the 12 Pinnacle, point. east.

13 Prodigious, very large. 3 Manuscripts, writings.

14 Consummation, end, completion. 4 Entertainment, amusement. 15 Threescore and ten entire arches 5 Bagdat, a town on the river Tigris, are symbolical of the usual length

in the province of Mesopotamia, of a man's life. in Asiatic Turkey.

16 A thousand arches, representing 6 Contemplation, thought.

the great ages of the people who 7 Melodious, sweet in sound.

lived before the Deluge. 8 Genius, a supernatural being, a 17 Innumerable, could not be spirit.

counted. 9 Affability, courtesy, kindness. 18 Trap-doors, in reference to num10 Dispelled, scattered, sent away.

berless diseases and accidents

which befal mankind, particu- | 21 Comprehend, understand. larly in early life.

22 Harpy, a fabulous monster, half 19 Melancholy, sadness.

woman and half bird. 20 Scimitar, a short sword with a 23 Myriads, numberless.

curved' blade, worn chiefly in 24 Accommodated, adapted, made to eastern countries. The allusion

suit. here is to those who meet their 25 Inexpressible, beyond descripdeath in war.

tion,

THE BRAVE BRETON SAILOR.

On the sea and at the Hogue,' sixteen hundred

ninety-two, Did the Euglish fight the French-woe to

France ! And, the thirty-first of May, helter-skelter

through the blue, Like a crowd of frightened porpoises’ a shoal of

sharks pursue,

5

Came crowding ship on ship to St. Malo on

the Rance, With the English fleet in view. 'Twas the squadron * that escaped, with the

victor in full chase : First and foremost of the drove, in his great

ship, Damfreville ;)
Close on him fled, great and small,

Twenty-two good ships in all;
And they signalled to the place,
“ Help the winners of a race !
Get us guidance, give us harbour, take us

quick,-or, quicker still, Here's the English can and will !”

IO

[graphic]

“Sirs, they know I speak the truth! Sirs, believe me, there's a way !"

« PreviousContinue »