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And though thy gold were forty fold,
The ransom were but vain
The boldest knight of Spain.”
No vengeance can repay;
That fall in battle fray?
Hast many a father slain :
The boldest knight of Spain!”
Thy beauties ill may shroud, -
A moon beneath a cloud ? —
And here with me remain ?
The conquered knight of Spain.” “ Ah, speak not so !” — with voice of woe,
The shuddering stranger cried ; “ Another creed I may not know,
Nor live another's bride!
But not her honour stain,
The noblest knight of Spain." “And know'st thou, then, how hard the doom
Thy husband yet may bear? —
The damp and noisome air ? —
To drag a helpless chain, Thy pride condemns the Christian knight,
The prop and pride of Spain.”
His sorrows I might share,
With love and hope and prayer !
But still the faith I once have plight
Unbroken must remain;
And plead the cause of Spain."
“And deem'st thou from the Moorish hold
In safety to retire,
Whose eyes the diamond's fire ?”
And spake in calm disdain, -
To guard the faith of Spain !”
The drawbridge falls ! with loud alarm
The clashing portals fly,
And knelt, in act to die; -
That shot through every vein ! —
The noblest knight of Spain !
THE CONDITION OF THE BLIND.
[From a Discourse before an Asylum for the Blind.]
The object of the Society for which I now implore your protection, is, to diminish the misfortune of blindness, by giving to those afflicted with it, the means of obtaining support by their ingenuity and labour, and of walking in the law of Christ, by attending to the religious instructions and exercises prescribed by this institution. They are here instructed in a variety of works for which manual skill is requisite, rather than manual labour ; and which they perform with a dexterity astonishing to those who have connected with blind. ness the notion of absolute helplessness and incapacity.
A charitable institution, conducted upon such principles as an asylum for the blind, is superior to any common char. ity, as it interweaves science with compassion; and by showing how far the other senses are capable of improvement, takes off from the extent of human calamity all that it adds to the limits of human knowledge.
Who could have imagined, — to speak of a kindred instance of ingenious benevolence, that the deaf and dumb could be taught to reason, to speak, and to become acquainted with all the terms and intricate laws of a language, — or that men who never, from their earliest infancy, enjoyed the privilege of sight, could be taught to read and to write, to print books, and the ablest of them to penetrate into all the depths of mathematical learning? Such facts afford inexhaustible encouragement to men engaged in the benevolent task of instructing those in whom the ordinary inlets of knowledge are blocked up. They seem to place within our reach the miracles of those Scriptures from whence they have sprung, and to show the fervent votary of Christ, that he, also, like his great Master, can make the deaf hear, the dumb speak, and the blind see.
Consider the deplorable union of indigence and blindness, and what manner of life it is from which you are rescuing these unhappy people. — The neglected blind man comes out in the morning season to cry aloud for his food : when he hears no longer the feet of men, he knows that it is night, and gets him back to the silence and famine of his cell. Active poverty becomes rich; labour and prudence are rewarded with distinction; the weak of the earth have risen up to be strong; but he is forever dismal and ever forsaken. The man who comes back to his native city, after years of absence, beholds again the same extended hand into which he cast his boyish alms; the self-same spot, the old attitude of sadness, the ancient cry of sorrow, the intolerable sight of a human being that has grown old in sùpplicating a miserable support for a helpless, mutilated frame. · Such is the life these unfortunate children would lead had they no friends to appeal to your compassion. Such are the evils we will continue to remedy, if they experience from you that compassion their magnitude so amply deserves.
The author of the book of Ecclesiastes has told us, that “the light is sweet; that it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun.” The sense of sight, is, indeed, the highest bodily privilege, the purest physical pleasure, which man h.is derived from his Creator. To see that wandering fire, after he has finished his journey through the nations, coming back to us in the eastern heavens; the mountains painted with light; the floating splendour of the sea; the earth waking from deep slumber; the day flowing from the sides of the hills, till it reaches the secret valleys; the little insect recalled to life; the bird trying her wings; man going forth to his labour; each created being, moving, thinking, acting, continuing, according to the scheme and compass of his nature, - by force, by reason, by cunning, by necessity; is it possible to joy in this animated scene, and feel no pity for the sons of darkness, — for the eyes that will never taste the sweet light, — for the poor, clouded in everlasting gloom?
If you ask me why they are miserable and dejected, I turn you to the plentiful valleys; to the fields now bringing forth their increase; to the freshness and the flowers of the earth; to the endless variety of its colours; to the grace, the syinmetry, the shape of all it cherishes, and all it bears : — these you have forgotten, because you have always enjoyed them; but these are the means by which God Almighty makes man what he is, — cheerful, lively, erect, full of enterprise, mutable, — glancing from heaven to earth; prone to labour and to act.
Why was not the earth left without form and void ? Why was not darkness suffered to remain on the face of the deep? Why did God place lights in the firmament for days, for seasons, for signs, and for years? That he might make man the happiest of beings; that he might give to this his favourite creation, a wider scope; a more prominent decoration; a richer diversity of joy. This is the reason why the blind are miserable and dejected; because their soul is mutilated, and dismembered of its best sense. Therefore I implore you by the Son of David, have mercy on the blind! If there is not pity for all sorrows, turn out the full and perfect man to meet the inclemency of fate : let not those who have never tasted the pleasures of existence, be assailed by any of its sorrows :
- the eyes which are never gladdened by light, should never stream with tears.
THE BLIND MAN'S LAY.
"At times Allan felt as if his blindness were a blessing;- for it forced
him to trust to his own soul, - to turn for comfort to the best and purest human affections, – and to see God always. Fanny could almost have wept to see the earth and the sky so beautiful, now that Allan's eyes were dark; but he whispered to her, that the smell of the budding trees and of the primroses, that he knew were near his feet, was pleasant indeed, and that the singing of all the little birds made his heart dance within him." - Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life.
Though I hear thee gayly tell
But this gentle season still
I can hear the humming-bee
When o’er earth night's shadow lies,