« PreviousContinue »
lies the true sublime of human acquisition. If any attainment deserve that epithet, it is the knowledge which, from the mensuration of the minutest dust of the balance, proceeds on the rising scale of material bodies, every where weighing, every where measuring, every where detecting and explaining the laws of force and motion, penetrating into the secret principles which hold the universe of God together, and balancing world against world, and system against system. When we seek to accompany those who pursue their studies at once so high, so vast, and so exact;—when we arrive at the discoveries of Newton, which pour in day on the works of God, as if a second fiat for light had gone forth from his own mouth ;—when, further, we attempt to follow those who set out where Newton paused, making his goal their starting place, and, proceeding with demonstration upon demonstration, and discovery upon discovery, bring new worlds, and new systems of worlds, within the limits of the known universe, failing to learn all only because all is infinite ; however we say of man, in admiration of his physical structure, that “in form and moving he is express and admirable,” it is here, and here without irreverence, we may exclaim, "In apprehension how like a God!"
Blindness of Milton.-CHARLES WOLFE.
THERE lived a divine old man, whose everlasting remains we have all admired, whose memory is the pride of England and of nature. His youth was distinguished by a happier lot than perhaps genius has often enjoyed at the commencement of its career; he was enabled, by the liberality of Providence, to dedicate his soul to the cultivation of those classical accomplishments, in which almost his infancy delighted; he had attracted admiration at the period when it is most exquisitely felt ; he stood forth the literary and political champion of republican England; and Europe acknowledged him the conqueror. But the storm arose ; his fortune sank with the republic which he had defended; the name which future ages have consecrated was forgotten ; and neglect was imbittered by remembered celebrity. Age was advancing. Health was retreating. Nature hid her face from him forever ; for never more to him returned
“Day, or the sweet approach of even or mom,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
What was the refuge of the deserted veteran from penury--from neglect--from infamy—from darkness ? Not in a querulous and peevish despondency; not in an unmanly recantation of principles, erroneous, but unchanged; not in the tremendous renunciation of what Heaven has given, and Heaven alone should take away: but he turned from a distracted country and a voluptuous court; he turned from triumphant enemies and inefficient friends; he turned from a world, that to him was a universal blank, to the muse that sits among the cherubim, and she caught him into heaven !.The clouds that obscured his vision upon earth, instantaneously vanished before the blaze of celestial effulgence, and his eyes opened at once upon all the glories and terrors of the Almighty, the seats of eternal beatitude and bottomless perdition. What though to look upon the face of this earth was still denied ? what was it to him, that one of the outcast atoms of creation was concealed from his view, when the Deity permitted the muse to unlock his mysteries, and disclose to the poet the recesses of the universe—when she bade his soul expand into its immensity, and enjoy as well its, horrors as its magnificence? what was it to him that he had “fallen upon evil days and evil tongues?" for the muse could transplant
i his spirit into the bowers of Eden, where the frown of fortune was disregarded, and the weight of incumbent infirmity forgotten, in the smile that beamed on primeval innocence, and the tear that was consecrated to man's first disobedience !
The Life of the Blessed.-BRYANT.
[From the Spanish of Luis PONCE DE LEON.)
REGION of life and light !
Nor frost nor heat may blight
Thy vernal beauty, fertile shore,
There, without crook or sling,
Round his meek temples cling ;
And, to sweet pastures led,
He guides, and near him they
Where dwells eternal May,
And heavenly roses blow,
He leads them to the height
And fountains of delight;
And where his feet have stood
And when, in the mid skies,
Reposing as he lies,
With all his flock around,
From his sweet lute flow forth
All passions born of earth,
And draw the ardent will
Might but a little part,
Descend into my heart,
And change it till it be
Ah! then my soul should know,
And, from this place of wo
Released, should take its way
In ancient time, as well known, it was the custom to bury the dead beyond the walls of towns and cities; and among the Greeks and Romans, they were frequently interred by the way-sides. I could here pause with pleasure, and invite the reader to indulge with me in contemplation of the advantages which must have attended such a practice. I could ruminate upon the beauty which the monu
ments, thus placed, must have borrowed from the surrounding images of nature, from the trees, the wild flowers, from a stream running perhaps within sight or hearing, from the beaten road stretching its weary length hard by. Many tender similitudes must these objects have presented to the mind of the traveller, leaning upon one of the tombs, or reposing in the coolness of its shade, whether he had halted from weariness, or in compliance with the invitation “Pause, traveller," so often found upon the monuments. And to its epitaph, also, must have been supplied strong appeals to visible appearances or immediate impressions ; lively and affecting analogies of life as a journey ; death as a sleep overcoming the tired wayfarer; of misfortune as a storm that falls suddenly upon him; of beauty as a flower that passeth away, or of innocent pleasure as one that may be gathered; of virtue that standeth firm as a rock against the beating waves ; of hope “undermined insensibly, like the poplar by the side of the river that has fed it,” oi blasted in a moment, like a pine tree by the stroke of lightning upon the mountain top; of admonitions and heart stirring remembrances, like a refreshing breeze that comes without warning, or the taste of the waters of an unex: pected fountain.
These, and similar suggestions, mus have given, formerly, to the language of the senseless stone, à voice enforced and endeared by the benignity of that nature with which it was in unison. We, in modern times, have lost much of these advantages; and they are but in a small degree counterbalanced, to the inhabitants of large towns and cities, by the custom of depositing the dead within, or contiguous to, their places of worship; however splendid or imposing may be the appearances of those edifices, or however interesting or salutary the recollections associated with them. Even were it not true that tombs lose their monitory virtues when thus obtruded upon the notice of men occupied with the cares of the world, and too often sullied and defiled by those cares; yet still, when death is in our thoughts,