Page images


There is a novel and beautiful idea contained in a song by Thomas Hood, in which he invites some fair friend to leave the in-door working of artificial flowers, and present herself in the blooming presence of the summer morning—“the birthday of the world.”

O lady, leave thy silken thread

And flowery tapestrie :
There's living roses on the bush,

And blossoms on the tree.
Stoop where thou wilt, thy careless hand

Some random bud will meet ;
Thou canst not tread but thou wilt find

The daisy at thy feet.

'Tis like the birthday of the world,

When earth was born in bloom ;
The light is made of many dyes,

The air is all perfume;
There's crimson buds, and white and blue-

The very rainbow showers
Have turn'd to blossoms where they fell,

And sown the earth with flowers.

There's fairy tulips in the east,

The garden of the sun ;

very streams reflect the hues,
And blossom as they run;
While morn opes like a crimson rose

Still wet with pearly showers:
Then, lady, leave the silken thread

Thou twinest into flowers !


And so another popular song writer celebrates the glad summer of nature and of life:

Some love the time of early prime,

When bud and bloom are swelling;
Some love to see the winter tree

Bedeck once more the dwelling:
For me, I praise those sunny days

Where streams are gently flowing,
When all around with joy is crown’d,

And summer flow'rs are blowing.
Some love to brood, in pensive mood,

On sorrows long departed;
Some smile away each fleeting day,

In careless mood, light-hearted :
For me, I love abroad to rove,

Where, in the sunshine glowing,
My heart may share each voiceless pray’r,

When summer flow'rs are blowing. A great and good man has said, “ The soul celebrates, at every good deed, a birthday.” This may have been said emphatically of the good deed recorded with intense gratitude by Pinney, a poor neglected Dorsetshire poet, highly informed and largely gifted, author of “ Tragedies on Saxon History,” “Regnald, a Saxon Poem,” &c., who was so tortured in early manhood by poverty that he was only rescued from the fate of Chatterton or Otway by “Allport, that reverend minister of religion, who stept in like a guardian angel, and saved me." O gentle Allport, friend of mercy,

Who to me hast been
The good Samaritan !

For thou didst bind,
With pitying hand, up those fast bleeding wounds

Misfortune had inflicted.

And the balm
Of kindness pour’d into my broken heart.


[ocr errors]

Should I be silent, sure the very stones
Would to the heavens speak my ingratitude.
Wild, on a dreadful precipice I stood,
Amid the beating of a ruthless storm,

Unfriended and unpitied ;

By me frown'd
The serpent-crowned phantom of despair,
And pointing to oblivion's dreamless bed
At the dark bottom of the gulf below,
Bade me leap down and be at rest for ever,
I dared not look behind-

A wretched wife
And shrieking innocent knelt imploringly,
And strove to hold me from the fatal brink.
Thou, like the angel of compassion, camest
In that dread frenzied hour to succour him
Whom none regarded.

Yes; thou minister
Of charity and true religion joined,
Thou from the yawning verge

Of darkness leddest me
To Hope's sweet sunshine and the gates of joy.
That was

a birthday indeed for the soul to celebrate! and those are the kind of deeds the remembrance of which make birthdays blessed ! For our sweetest joys and direst pangs, as life advances, are those of memory :

'Tis not in actThe shining impulse, the impassion'd hour, The moment when the lightning of the soul Leaps forth to brighten danger, that we feel The beauty or the blight of life-Oh! no, 'Tis in the silent intervals of calm, The moments when we only live in thought;

When passion sleeps, and the bright veil is

drawn, Which casts a halo round our evening deeds; When reason weighs her attributes and acts; When a just sense of man's high nature Broods o'er the spirit. And what we are, And what we shall be, when the boundless

Of unintelligent creation dies;
When all the memories of our early thoughts,
Our deeds, loves, hopes, fears, passions, stir

And steal from their asylum in the soul
To soothe or rack us— 'tis then we feel
The heaven or hell of life.

W. H. Dixon.

Three periods of middle life have been specially fatal to rising genius :—The commencement, from the ages of twenty-one to twenty-four; the middle, thirty-six to thirty-eight; and near the close, about forty-six :

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan that moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustain'd and

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.


A life unblest by religion is most truly what Dryden sternly describes :


When I consider life, 'tis all a cheat,
Yet fool'd with hope, men favour the deceit;
Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay;
To-morrow's falser than the former day,
Lies more; and when it says we shall be blest
With some new joy, cuts off what we possest.
Strange cozenage! none would live past years

again ;
Yet all hope pleasure in what still remain,
And from the dregs of life think to receive
What the fresh sprightly running could not give.
I'm tired of waiting for this chemic gold,
Which fools us young and beggars us when old.

Of many of those who have passed away from earthly vision, on the first steps of the ascentWhite, Keats, Robert Nicoll, and others—it may truly be said :

So his life hath flow'd From its mysterious urn a sacred stream, In whose calm depth the beautiful and pure Alone are mirror'd; which, though shapes

of ill May hover round its surface, glides in light, And takes no shadow from them.

TALFOURD. Spirits like these have lived here long enough for the best purposes, however mysterious to us may appear their untimely removal : We live in deeds, not years ; in thoughts, not

breaths ; In feelings, not in figures on a dial; We should count time by heart-throbs. He

most lives Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »