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Father or son, the thanks of these poor people.
My father, a reserved and moody man,
Not without pride, felt by himself and others,
Living almost alone, held strange opinions
Tinged with the hues of his peculiar mind,
And, therefore, even the more indulged and cherished.
Thus fanciful, and serious in his fancies,
O'er nature and her consecrated circles,
That with vain interdict sought to oppose,
Oft would he try his wild experiments :
In his black cell with crucible and fire
(One or two adepts his sole company)
He toiled; and, following many a quaint receipt,
Would force rebellious metals to obey,
And in indissoluble union link
There, passionate adorer, the Red Lion
With the White Lily, in a tepid bath
Was strangely wedded—and his silver bride
And he from chamber hurried on to chamber,
Tortured and tried with many a fiery pang,
Suffered together, till in coloured light,
Ascending in the glass, shone the Young Queen:
This was our medicine-they who took it died,
None asked, or thought of asking, who recovered.
Thus have we with our diabolic mixture,
In these sweet valleys, 'mong these quiet hills,
Been guests more fatal than the pestilence.
I have myself to thousands given this poison,
They withered, and are dead-and I must live,
I, who have been their death, must live to hear
This lavish praise on the rash murderers.
Wagner. How can this be so painful ? Can a man.
Do more than practise what his own day knows-
All that thy father taught must have been heard,
By thee, as by a young man learning then—
Heard in the docile spirit of belief.
When thy time came to teach, thou didst enlarge
The field of science; and thy son, who learns
From thee, will for himself discoveries make,
Greater than thine, perhaps-yet but for thine
Impossible. If this be so, why grieve?
Faustus. Oh, he, indeed, is happy, who still feels,
And cherishes within himself, the hope
To lift himself above this sea of errors !
Of things we know not, each day do we find
The want of knowledge—all we know is useless :
But 'tis not wise to sadden with such thoughts
This hour of beauty and benignity:
Look yonder, with delighted heart and eye,
On those low cottages that shine so bright
(Each with its garden plot of smiling green),
Robed in the glory of the setting sun!
But he is parting-fading-day is over-
Yonder he hastens to diffuse new life.
Oh, for a wing to raise me up from earth,
Nearer, and yet more near, to the bright orb.
That unrestrained I still might follow him!
Then should I see, in one unvarying glow
Of deathless evening, the reposing world
Beneath me—the hills kindling—the sweet vales,
Beyond the hills, asleep in the soft beams;
The silver streamlet, at the silent touch
Of heavenly light, transfigured into gold,
Flowing in brightness inexpressible !
Nothing to stop or stay my godlike motion !
The rugged hill, with its wild cliffs, in vain
Would rise to hide the sun; in vain would strive
To check my glorious course; the sea already,
With its illumined bays, that burn beneath
The lord of day, before the astonished eyes
Opens its bosom—and he seems at last
Just sinking-no—a power unfelt before-
An impulse indescribable succeeds!
Onward, entranced, I haste to drink the beams
Of the unfading light-before me day-
And night left still behind—and overhead
Wide heaven—and under me the spreading sea !-
A glorious vision, while the setting sun
Is lingering! Oh, to the spirit's flight,
How faint and feeble are material wings !
Yet such our nature is, that when the lark,
High over us, unseen, in the blue sky
Thrills his heart-piercing song, we feel ourselves
Press up from earth, as 'twere in rivalry ;-
And when above the savage hill of pines,
The eagle sweeps with outspread wings--and when
The crane pursues, high off, his homeward path,
Flying o'er watery moors and wide lakes lonely!
Wagner. I, too, have had my hours of reverie;
But impulse such as this I never felt.
Of wood and fields the eye will soon grow weary;
I'd never envy the wild birds their wings.
How different are the pleasures of the mind;
Leading from book to book, from leaf to leaf,
They make the nights of winter bright and cheerful ;
They spread a sense of pleasure through the frame,
And when you see some old and treasured parchments,
All heaven descends to your delighted senses !
Faustus. Thy heart, my friend, now knows but one desire ;
Oh, never learn another! in my breast,
Alas! two souls have taken their abode,
And each is struggling there for mastery!
One to the world, and the world's sensual pleasures,
Clings closely, with scarce separable organs ;
The other struggles to redeem itself,
And rise from the entanglements of earth-
Still feels its true home is not here—still longs
And strives—and would with violence regain
The fields, its own by birthright-realms of light
And joy, where—man in vain would disbelieve
The instincts of his nature, that confirm
The loved tradition—dwelt our sires of old.
If-as 'tis said-spirits be in the air,
Moving with lordly wings, 'tween earth and heaven,
And if, oh if ye listen when we call,
Come from your golden “incense-breathing" clouds,
Bear me away to new and varied life!
Oh, were the magic mantle mine, which bore
The wearer at his will to distant lands,
How little would I prize the envied robes
Of princes, and the purple pomp of kings!
Wagner. Venture not thus to invoke the well-known host,
Who spread, a living stream, through the waste air,
Who watch industriously man's thousand motions,
For ever active in the work of evil.
From all sides pour they on us : from the north,
With thrilling hiss, they drive their arrowy tongues ;
And speeding from the parching east, they feed
On the dry lungs, and drink the breath of life;
And the south sends them forth, at middle day,
From wildernesses dry and desolate,
To heap fresh fire upon the burning brain; .
And from the west they flow, a cloudy deluge,
That, like the welcome shower of early spring,
First promises refreshment and relief,
Then rushing down, with torrent ruinous,
Involves in one unsparing desolation
Valley, and meadow-field, and beast, and man.
Ready for evil, with delight they hear,
Obey man's bidding to deceive his soul.
Like angel-ministers of Heaven they seem,
And utter falsehoods with an angel's voice.
But let's away—the sky is grey already,
The air grows chill—the mist is falling heavy-
At evening home's the best place for a man !
32.—THE BRITISH HIRUNDINES.
GILBERT WHITE. [Who has not heard of · The Natural History of Selborne,'-one of the most delightful books in the English language! The author was the Reverend Gilbert White, who for forty years lived in the retirement of his beautiful native village, Selborne, in Hampshire, diligently observing the appearances of nature, and recording them in letters to his friends. He was the first to take Natural History out of the hands of the mere classifiers, and to show how full of interest is the commonest object of creation, when carefully examined, and diligently watched through its course of growth, of maturity, and of decay. Mr. White was borne in 1720, and died in 1793.]
THE HOUSE-MARTIN.-In obedience to your injunctions I sit down to give you some account of the house-martin, or martlet; and, if my monography of this little domestic and familiar bird should happen to meet with your approbation, I may probably soon extend my inquiries to the rest of the British hirundines—the swallow, the swift, and the bank-martin.
A few house-martins begin to appear about the sixteenth of April ; usually some few days later than the swallow. For some time after they appear, the hirundines in general pay no attention to the business of nidification, but play and sport about, either to recruit from the fatigue of their journey, if they do migrate at all, or else that their blood may recover its true tone and texture after it has been so long benumbed by the severities of winter. About the middle of May, if the weather be fine, the martin begins to think in earnest of providing a mansion for its family. The crust or shell of this nest seems to be formed of such dirt or loam as comes most readily to hand, and is tempered and wrought together with little bits of broken straws to render it tough and tenacious. As this bird often builds against a perpendicular wall without any projecting ledge under, it requires its utmost efforts to get the first foundation firmly fixed, so that it may safely carry the superstructure. On this occasion the bird not only clings with its claws, but partly supports itself by strongly inclining its tail against the wall, making that a fulcrum ; and, thus steadied, it works and