Page images

bility of human affairs may convince us, that he who is born to riches is not always secure of their possession. Some unlooked-for storm may blast his fairest prospects; some unexpected misfortune destroy his dearest hopes. How helpless, how contemptible is the state of that man, who is bereaved of pleasures whose loss he has not fortitude to support, nor knowledge sufficient to regain! Ignorant of every thing useful, of every thing which makes the real boast of man, he sinks to the grave unpitied and unlamented. But, on the contrary, what can misfortune take from those, who, like Lewis and Archibald, are capable of supporting themselves under every adversity; who are not influenced by that false shame which disdains what is useful, because it is menial. Poverty can take but little from those who are temperate and industrious. Heaven seldom fails to reward the labours of virtue, and its blessing is more peculiarly promised to those, who, in all trials, pursue the road of integrity and honour.



Mrs. Hunter.

'Y father took his seat near my mother, and my

M sister Penelope placed herself upon his knee.

We only want our Reginald here," observed my invalid mother, taking his hand; but to-morrow morning, I hope, he will be with us."- -"He must have received my letter," answered my father; "I expect him every hour.". Nothing will prevent it," replied my mother, faintly flushing, "unless he is unfortunately absent from Oxford." My father made no answer, but sighed deeply. I rose and opened the

[ocr errors]


door. "That is not amiss, my dear child," said my mother to me; "the room is too close." Then addressing herself to my sister Penelope, she said, "I see your brother has not cured you of the spirit of monopolizing; you still keep possession of your father's knee, or the little parlour as you used to call it."—" Oh! there is plenty of room for my dear Gilbert," cried she, nestling closer to him; "See! here is more than half: Is there not, papa?" The suddenness of the question; the tender moment; and, it may be a recollection from conscience, that an unoffending, but neglected, child then stood before him as a suppliant for nearly a first embrace, appeared to have confounded my father. He coloured; but holding out his hand to me, said, "You are now too old, Gilbert, for a seat in my little parlour; but not so for one in my bosom." He drew me towards him, and pressing my face to his own, with emotion, said, "God bless you, my poor boy!"

Awakened sensibility gave to this unexpected benediction the tone of relenting nature. Compassion vibrated on his heart; and his melting eyes indicated the passing thought of tender sorrow. It struck on my mother's feeble frame like an electric shock; for a moment her pale countenance was suffused with the fleeting hue of health; her languid eyes beamed with animation and joy; and, suddenly half-raising herself, she, with trembling eagerness, said, "Oh! let me hear these blessed words again, and I die happy! Once more bless your poor Gilbert! Once more let me behold him in his father's embrace! Bless your son, my Gilbert," added she, with inconceivable agitation and energy; "receive your Penelope's last test of faith, of truth, and your future comfort!"


May heaven refuse to hear me in my hour of need;" answered my father, bursting into agonizing tears; may I be cut off for ever when I refuse to give him the blessing which he has never forfeited,


and which you crave for him!-God bless you, my son!" continued he, straining me to his agitated bosom; "God for ever bless you, for the sake of that angel who bore you. Oh! implore him, with me, to preserve that life in which is centred all our earthly happiness!"

It is enough," faintly murmured my mother, sinking on her pillows. "God of my salvation! I amHer eyes closed; her lips still moved; a convulsive sigh escaped; and her pure spirit left, without a pang, its fragile, though, even in death, beauteous prison.

[ocr errors]




N a dream I thought myself in a solitary temple. I saw a kind of phantom coming towards me; but as he drew near, his form expanded, and he became more than human; his robe hung majestically down to his feet; six wings, whiter than snow, whose extremities were edged with gold, covered a part of his body: then I saw him quit his material substance, which he had put on to avoid terrifying me; his body was of all the colours in the rainbow. He took me by the hair, and I was sensible I was travelling in the æthereal plains without any dread, with the rapidity of an arrow sent from a bow, drawn by a supple and nervous arm. A thousand glowing orbs rolled beneath me: but I could only cast a rapid glance on all those globes distinguished by 'the striking colours with which they were diversified. I now suddenly perceived so beautiful, so flourishing, so fertile a country, that I conceived a strong desire to alight upon it. My wishes were instantly gratified; I felt myself gently landed on its surface, where I was surrounded by a balmy at

mosphere. I found myself reposed at the dawn, upon the soft verdant grass. I stretched out my arms, in token of gratitude to my celestial guide, who pointed to a resplendent sun, towards which swiftly rising, he disappeared in the luminous body.

I arose, and imagined myself to be transported to the garden of Eden. Every thing inspired my soul with soft tranquillity. The most profound peace covered this new globe; nature was here ravishing and incorruptible, and a delicious freshness expanded my sense to ecstacy; a sweet odour accompanied the air I breathed; my heart, which beat with an unusual power, was immerged in a sea of rapture; while pleasure, like a pure and immortal light, penetrated the inmost recesses of my soul.

The inhabitants of this happy country came to meet me; and after saluting me they took me by the hand. Their noble countenances inspired confidence and respect; innocence and happiness were depicted in their looks; they often lifted their eyes towards heaven, and as often uttered a name which I afterwards knew to be that of the Eternal, while their cheeks were moistened with tears of gratitude.

I experienced great emotion while I conversed with these sublime beings. They poured out their hearts with the most sincere tenderness; and the voice of reason, most majestic, and no less melting, was at the same time conveyed to my enraptured ear.

I soon perceived this abode was totally different from that which I had left. A divine impulse made me fly into their arms;-I bowed my knees to them; but being raised up in the most endearing manner, I was pressed to the bosoms that inclosed such excellent hearts, and I conceived a presentiment of celestial amity, of that amity which united their souls, and formed the greatest portion of their felicity.

The angel of darkness, with all his artifice, was never able to discover the entrance into this world!


notwithstanding his ever-watchful malice, he never found out the means to spread his poison over this happy globe. Anger, envy, and pride, were there unknown; the happiness of one appeared the happiness of all! an ecstatic transport incessantly elevating their souls at the sight of the magnificent and bountiful hand that collected over their heads the most ..astonishing prodigies of the creation.

The lovely morning, with her humid saffron wings, distilled the pearly dew from the shrubs and flowers, and the rays of the rising sun multiplied the most enchanting colours, when I perceived a wood embellished by the opening dawn.

The youth of both sexes there sent forth hymns of adoration towards heaven; and were filled at the same time with the grandeur and majesty of God, which rolled almost visibly, over their heads; for in this world of innocence, he vouchsafed to manifest himself by means unknown to our weak understandings. All things announced his august presence, the serenity of the air, the dyes of the flowers, the brilliancy of the insects, a kind of universal sensibility spread over all beings, and which vivified bodies that seemed the least susceptible of it, every thing bore the appearance of sentiment; and the birds stopped in the midst of their flight, as if attentive to the affecting modulations of their voices. But no pencil can express the ravishing countenances of the young beauties, whose bosoms breathed love. Who can describe that love of which we have not any idea, that love for which we have no name, that love, the lot of pure intelligent beings, divine love, which they only can conceive and feel; the tongue of man, incapable, must be silent!-The remembrance of this enchanting place suspends at this moment all the faculties of my soul.

The sun was rising-the pencil falls from my hand. O Thomson, never did thy muse view such a sun!What a world, and what magnificent order! I trod,

« PreviousContinue »