« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
their opinion, than if their lives and fortunes depended on the sentiment they should at last venture, with oracular dignity to advance. Whatever may be their real idea on the subject, as truth is a trifle compared to the object of pleasing those with whom they converse, they generally contrive gently to agree with you; unless it should appear to them, on mature consideration, that their opinion, if contingencies to the number of a thousand should take place, may, at the distance of half a century, involve them in some small danger of giving offence, or of incurring a trifling embarrassment. They wear a constant smile on their countenance, and are all goodness and benevolence, if you will believe their professions : but beware; for their hearts are as dark as the abysses which constitute the abodes of the evil spirit. These crafty animals are even more reserved, cautious, timid, and serpentine in action, than in conversation. They lay the deepest schemes, and no conclave of cardinals, no combinations of conspirators, no confederacy of thieves, ever deliberated with more impenetrable secrecy. Their hearts pant with anxiety to be introduced to a family of distinction and opulence, not only because the connection gratifies them, but also because, in the wonderful complication and vicissitude of human affairs, it may one day promote their interest. But before that day arrives, their perpetual uneasiness has usually put a period to their ambition, by terminating their existence. Even if they gain their ends, after a youth and manhood consumed
constant care and servitude, the pleasure is not equal to the pain, nor the advantage to the labour. Every one is ready to complain of the shortness of human life ; to spend, therefore, the greatest part of it in perpetual fear, caution, suspense, and solicitude, merely to accomplish an object of worldly ambition or interest; what is it but the proverbial folly of him who loses a pound to save a penny? Give me, O ye powers ! Give me health and liberty, with a competence, and I will compassionate the man of a timid and servile soul, who has at last crept on hands and knees, through thick and thin, into a stall, and seated his limbs, after they have been palsied with care, on the bench of judges or, of bishops.
FROM THE DANCE OF THE CONSUMP
With what a silent and dejected pace
Dost thou, wan moon! upon thy way advance
In the blue welkin's vault! Pale wanderer!
Hast thou too felt the pangs of hopeless love,
That thus, with such a melancholy grace,
Thou dost pursue thy solitary course!
Has thy Endymion, smooth-faced boy, forsook
Thy widow'd breast-on which the spoiler oft
Has nestled fondly, while the silver clouds
Fantastic pillowed thee, and the dim night
Obsequious to thy will, encurtained round
With its thick fringe thy couch? Wan traveller
How like thy fate to mine !-Yet, I have still
One heavenly hope remaining which thou lack'st;
My woes will soon be buried in the grave
Of kind forgetfulness :—my journey here
Though it be darksome, joyless and forlorn,
Is yet but short, and soon my weary feet
Will greet the peaceful inn of lasting rest.
Oh that the sum of human happiness
Should be so trifling and so frail withal
That when possest, it is but lessened grief;
And even then there's scarce a sudden gust
That blows across the dismal waste of life,
But bears it from the view.-0! who would shun
The hour that cuts from earth, and fear to press
The calm and peaceful pillows of the grave,
And yet endure the various ills of life
And dark vicissitudes ?-Soon, I hope, I feel
And am assured, that I shall lay my head,
My weary aching head on its last rest,
And on my lowly bed the grass green sod,
Will flourish sweetly.—Then they will weep
That one so young, and what they're pleased to call
So beautiful, should die so soon.-And tell
How painful disappointment's cankered fang,
Withered the rose upon my maiden cheek.
Oh! foolish ones? why, I shall sleep so sweetly
Laid in my darksome grave, that they themselves
Might envy me my rest !-And as for them,
Who, on the score of former intimacy,
May thus remembrance me--they must themselves
Successive fall.—Some in their age,
Ripe for the sickle ; others, young, like me,
And falling green beneath the untimely stroke:
Thus, in short time, in the church yard forlorn
Where I shall lie, my friends will lay them down
And dwell with me, a happy family.
And I could weep; the Oneida chief
His descant wildly thus began ;
But that I may not stain with grief
The death song of my father's son!
Or bow this head in woe;
For by my wrongs, and by my wrath!
To-morrow Arcouski's breath,
That fires yon heaven with storms of death
Shall light us to the foe :
And we shall share, my christian boy!
The foeman's blood, the avenger's joy ;
To-morrow let us do or die!
But when the bolt of death is hurl'd,
Ah! whither then with thee to fly,
Shall Outallissi roam the world?
Shall we seek thy once loved home?
The hand is gone that cropt its flowers:
Unheard their clock repeats its hours !
Cold is the hearth within their bowers!
and should we thither roam,
Its echoes, and its empty tread,
Would sound like voices from the dead!
Or shall we cross yon mountains blue,
Whose streams my kindred nations quaff’d;
And by my side, in battle true,
A thousand warriors drew the shaft?
Ah! there in desolation cold,
The desert serpent dwells alone,
Where grass o'er-grows each mouldering bone,
And stones themselves to ruin grown,
Like me, are death-like old.
Then seek we not their camp-for there
The silence dwells of my despair.
But hark, the trump!-to-morrow thou
In glory's fires shall dry thy tears :
Even from the land of shadows now
My father's awful ghost appears :
Amidst the clouds that round us roll;
He bids my soul for battle thirst,