Page images
PDF
EPUB

versary of which he thus records in a sonnet of
matchless fortitude and resignation.
Cyriack, this three-years-day these eyes, though

clear,
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,

Bereft of sight, their seeing have forgot;
Nor to their idle orbs' dark night appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,

Of man, or woman,--yet I argue not

Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart or hope ; but still bear

up

and steer Right onward! What supports me, dost thou

ask? The conscience, friend, to have lost them, over

plied In liberty's defence--my noble task, Of which all Europe rings from side to side ; This thought might lead me through the vain

world's masque, Content, though blind, had I no better guide.

But it is in the family circle that sacrifices of self have chiefly to be made, and here we have

The best portion of a good man's life,
His little nameless, unremember'd acts
Of kindness and of love.

WORDSWORTH.

Which meet their best reward in sympathy. That is a tender little family song by Barry Cornwall,

A PETITION TO TIME.
Touch us gently, Time!

Let us glide down thy stream
Gently- --as we sometimes glide

Through a quiet dream!

Humble voyagers are we,
Husband, wife, and children three:
(One is lost,-an angel, filed
To the azure overhead !)
Touch us gently, Time!

We've not proud nor soaring wings;
Our ambition, our content

Lies in simple things.
Humble voyagers are we
O'er life's dim unsounded sea,
Seeking only some calm clime.

Touch us gently, gentle Time!
And these beautiful lines from the Hungarian of
Kazinezi,written in 1759, breathe a similar feeling:
My little bark of life is gently speeding
Adown the stream midst rocks, and sands, and

eddies, And gathering storms, and dark’ning clouds

unheeding, Its quiet course thro' waves and winds it

steadies; My love is with me—and my babes-whose kisses Sweep sorrow's trace from off

my

brow as fast As gathering there—and hung upon the mast Are harp and myrtle flowers, that shed their

blisses On the sweet air. Is darkness on my path? Then beams bright radiance from a star that hath Its temple in the heavens. As firm as youth

I urge my onward way—there is no fear

For honest spirits; even the fates revere And recompense love, minstrelsy, and truth. Even troubles fall on the happy domestic circle with a divided force, that under the disposal of a

good Providence immensely lightens them to the individual.

Our hands in one, we will not shrink

From life's severest due;
Our hands in one, we will not blink

The terrible and true ;-
What each would feel a stunning blow

Falls on us both as autumn snow. Precious, too, are those solid friendships which are now formed to withstand the shocks of time and trial, and which are no mean substitutes for married life when from various causes that is unattainable. Such is the friendship so finely described by Dr. Johnson :

Friendship, peculiar boon of Heaven,

The noble mind's delight and guide ;
To men and angels only given,

To all the lower world denied.
While love, unknown among the blest,

Parent of thousand wild desires,
The savage and the human breast

Torments alike with raging fires.
With bright, but oft destructive gleam

Alike o'er all his lightnings fly;
Thy lambent glories only beam,

Around the favourites of the sky.
Thy gentle flows of guiltless joys

On fools and villains ne'er descend;
In vain for thee the tyrant sighs,

And hugs a flatterer for a friend,
Directress of the brave and just,

O guide us through life's darksome way!
And let the tortures of mistrust,

On selfish bosoms only prey.

Nor shall thine ardour cease to glow

When souls to blissful climes remove;
What raised our virtue here below

Shall aid our happiness above. In Greece, especially in Illyria and Epirus, it has been no uncommon thing for persons of the same sex to bind themselves to eternal friendship by a religious ceremonial. The Greek Church contains a ritual to consecrate this vow. The knightly friendships of the Middle Ages were very remarkable, and presented the most affecting examples of personal devotedness. It is in the power of us all to cultivate true friendship, and so greatly add to the happiness of our lives.

There is a power to make each hour

As sweet as heaven design'd it;
Nor need we roam to bring it home,

Though few there be that find it !
We seek too high for things close by,

And lose what nature found us;
For life hath here no charm so dear

As home and friends around us. Several birthday poems of friendship have been quoted under Early Life; the following are entertaining effusions, complimenting ladies of middle age, the intimate friends of the eminent writers :IMPROMPTU ON MRS. RIDDLE'S BIRTHDAY,

NCV. 4, 1793.
Old Winter, with his frosty beard,
Thus once to Jove his prayer preferr'd :
“ What have I done of all the

year
To bear this hated doom severe ?
My cheerless suns no pleasure know;
Night's horrid car drags dreary, slow;

My dismal months no joys are crowning,
But spleeny English, hanging, drowning.
Now, Jove, for once be mighty civil:
To counterbalance all this evil,
Give me, and I've no more to say,
Give me Maria's natal day!
That brilliant gift will so enrich me,
Spring, Summer, Autumn cannot match me."
o 'Tis done !” says Jove. So ends my story,
And Winter once rejoiced in glory.

Burns. Impromptu to Mrs. Thrale on her 35th birthday :

Oft in danger, yet alive,
We are come to thirty-five ;
Long may

better
years

arrive
Better years than thirty-five.
Could philosophy contrive
Life to stop at thirty-five,
'Time his hours should never drive
O'er the bounds of thirty-five.
High to soar and deep to dive
Nature gives at thirty-five.
Ladies! stock and tend

your
Trifle not at thirty-five;
For, howe'er we boast and strive,
Life declines from thirty-five.
He that ever hopes to thrive
Must begin at thirty-five;
And all who wisely wish to wive

Must look on Thrale at thirty-five.
This impromptu was spoken to the lady by
Dr. Johnson, without half a minute's reflection.
The rhymes terminating every alternate line run in
alphabetical order exactly.

hive ;

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »