« PreviousContinue »
Ah, little ye guess what the roaming winds know;
There is many a tale left alone to the gale,
Bui list, mortal, list! I will tell thee my tale :
Far away on a surf-beaten isle of ihe ocean;
On the lowermost bough, as I gave it motion :
Ah me! the sweet tone was too sad for devotion !
I lifted a tress from her cold, cold face;
O, the magic of beauty, asleep on the dead! Through each impress of sorrow a smile I could irace;
And I mourned that no tears have the breezes to shed ;
So I kissed up the dew from her eyelids, and fled : Yet methought as I breathed through the rose-scented bowers, And wooed with a whisper the passionate flowers – For a spell was upon me — that soulless would be, Ever after, their fragrance and beauty to me.
From the east came dancing a sister breeze ;
And her song was of cataracts, rivers, and rills, And blue lakes, endless and deep as the seas,
Of woodlands, savannas, and oak-studded hills,
Where the wild dashing steed wheels and balls when he wills; And ever her chorus was gardens and bowers, And merry bells chiming from steeples and towers; O, the song of the wind, it was romance to me! Farewell to the mermaid, I sighed, and was free.
O the ocean, the ocean, the broad, flashing ocean!
Who plays like the gale on this floor of the sky ? Who gives to its bosom its billowy motion,
And Hings the white crest in a wreath on high?
Who unfurls the proud flag to the mariner's eye,
By moonlight I rushed up the Oregon mountains :
O joy to the halls of the free mountain-wind ! Above is the shout of the torrents and fountains,
Spread out in its stillness the world is behind
To breathe on their cliffs would enrapture the blind! There is mirth, there is life, on the high-rolling swell, A freedom to feel from the heart - not to tell;
But the crags give me back, with their evergreen sbades,
It was late when I slid from the ether-bathed height:
There was frost on my plumes, on my wings there was snow;
And scattered it off on the valleys below:
And the holiest spot that a morial can know,
Said I, as I skimmed the green waste, can it be ?
Are yonder the palm-crested isles of the sea ?
With a snort, the wild courser made answer to me;
• ADOLESCENTES mori sic mihi videntur ut cum aquæ multitudine vis flamme opprimitnr: senes autem sicut sua sponte nulla adhibita vi, consumptus ignis extinguitur ; et quasi poma ex arboribus, cruda si sent, vi avelluntur; si matura et coacta, decidunt; sic vitam adolescentibus vis aufert, senibus maturitas ; quæ mihi quidem tam jucunda est ut quo proprius ad mortem accedam quasi terram videre videar, aliquandoque in portum ex longa navigatione esse vepturus.'
Cic. DE SENEC.
It is delightful to behold the patriarch descending gracefully into the vale of years, afar from the noise of life, and the strifes of vain ambition, surrounded by the children whom God has given him, all vieing in acts of filial affection, and basking in the sunshine of that happiness of which he is the source. I have watched such an one, year after year, not only by the words of his counsel, but what is of far more importance, the influence of example, leading them into the paths of virtue, and illustrating the words of the Scripture, that her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.' I have seen him sink like the sun, with no cloud to obscure his setting, shedding around him, as he touched the horizon of life, a mild and benignant light, and sinking at last into the arms of death, as gently as the dimness of a summer's twilight glides into the shades of evening.
The venerable man, moving with tremulous majesty among the scions of his house, and lording it over his little empire of hearts ; now bending in acts of cottage piety, or blessing the contents of his humble board, affects the generous heart with a deeper satisfaction, than the spectacle of the hereditary monarch, moving resplendent amid the crowd of his courtiers, and peers of the realm.
These quiet family scenes in the country, delight one more than the contemplation of those characters whom the world call great ; who stand out in bold relief in the drama of existence, either by personal prowess on the field of battle, or the gigantic power of their minds. There is, it is true, something infinitely more grand in viewing one's little barque tossed about on the billows of worldly strife and ambition, than to behold it safely moored in some serene and settled haven. There is a more exciting interest in viewing a host of human passions fanned into fury, and struggling for mastery, than to look upon the peaceful adornment of every gentle and endearing virtue. În the one case, we have the sublime, in the other the beautiful, of morality. The one is a spectacle which raises the mind too much above its common level, and excites sensations of too intense a nature to be long endured. The other is a picture so calm and beautiful, that we become the more enamoured as we gaze. Like those tranquil landscapes, which nature has adorned with the less bold, but not less perfect, touches of her pencil, it occasions no high excitement, but an equanimity which is still more pleasing; and acting with the charm of soft and sweet music, it quiets every passion of the soul.
I have lately had occasion to admire, in the gallery of a quiet country gentleman, to whom the liberal arts are by no means strangers, two pieces, which are remarkable for their contrast, and which are the chef d'æuvres of no mean artists. The one represents the death scene of an humble patriarch, the other of the most distinguished of European generals. So expressive are the groups, so natural is every attitude of the attendants, that one is scarcely persuaded that he is viewing but the canvass. The soldier is drawn with the insignia of war, and the accoutrements of the battle-field strewed around the apartment. His officers and staff are by his bed-side, watching the moment when the last breath shall have receded from his lips, and announced the end of existence. He is represented with his eyes staring wildly about, as if in search of some avenue to escape his last invincible enemy, struggling against the disease with the energies of a giant constitution, and grappling with the tyranny of death. But the patriarch's head reclines as gently as for an evening's slumber. His silver locks repose like snow-flakes on his brow, and in every benignant feature there is the impress of a spirit prepared to launch upon the untried waters, with calmness and with majesty: His children are grouped beside him, who are shedding no tears but those of genuine sorrow. He places his hand upon their heads, breathes into their ear the last words of paternal counsel, then yields without reluctance to the touch which dissolves his being.
As these pictures are placed in juxtaposition, I cannot avoid comparing the subjects of them often in my mind, and sometimes in gazing upon them, fall into deep and protracted reveries. I follow them, in imagination, through all the varied scenes of their existence. With the one, I am assisted in the picture I am drawing, by the portrayings of the historian. I wade through scenes of slaughter to a throne,' and behold him emblazoned with every emblem of royal splendor. The other I imagine only at his home, and his fireside, and he too is surrounded by jewels, but they are his children. Having
poor is the
followed them through life, and to the extreme point of existence, I conjecture what must be the feelings of each, as he steps from the threshold ; the one leaving every thing behind, the other having all that is glorious before. The one driven to desperation, as he beholds the receding panorama of earth ; the other delighted at the opening glories of heaven. “Alas !' I am prompted to exclaim, meed of earthly struggles!' I ask not for the pomp of wealth or power. I ask not for the lot of those whose life is a fitful fever, whose death is agony, and their gilded tomb a mockery. It is better to possess the homage of one true heart, than volumes of empty adulation. It is better to sleep in death, with nought but the green sod to mark the spot of our resting-place, than to lie pressed with a load of monumental marble.
F. W. S.
The valiant Danes drive back the Swedish host,
Alas, my father! in the power and bloom
In the gray night for thee her tears shall fall,
No more the solemn chaunt my voice shall raise
High towers above us, glancing in the sun,
In the following pages, the subject of the memorable fever of 1795, in New-York, is resumed and completed, in a consideration of the evidence of the importation of the disease; whether it was epidemic or contagious; with remarks upon its symptoms, and method of cure. In discussing the first division, the writer commences his remarks, by denying the correctness of a report, that the health-officer, who first died of the fever, had conveyed the disease to the city, from on board a vessel which he had visited professionally, and in which it was declared to have been imported. He quotes the deposition of the captain of the vessel in question, 'a man of undoubted veracity,' in relation to the circumstance : “ Capt. Comfort Bird, commander of the brig Zephyr, of Boston, sailed from Port au Prince on the first of July, and arrived at New-York on the twentieth of the same month. The mate and one mariner had the fever-and-ague seventeen days on shore, and came on board with the same disease; and the captain himself had a dysentery on his arrival in New-York; and Johu Wheeler, aged sixteen years, died on the day of the arrival of the brig at NewYork, by worms crawling up into his throat, and choaking him. He was sewed up in a piece of canvass, and ready to be committed to the deep, when the late health-officer came on board, who desired the captain to have the canvass opened, that he might inspect the body; and he only cut the canvass open over the face, and viewed the countenance, but did not make any other examination of the body, which was soon after carried to Governor's Island, and there interred. The young man who died, as above-mentioned, had suffered chronic complaints, but no fever of a dangerous nature. Eighteen passengers came in the above brig, all in good health, who have continued in this state to the present day. Three days after the above event, the health-officer visited the same brig, in as good health as usual.'
• The opinion, therefore, that the yellow fever, or a contagious disease, was brought into this city, last year, by the brig Zephyr, seems