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Aslant the wooded slope at evening goes ;
The distant lake, fountains, and mighty trees,
And this is the sweet spirit that doth fill
My busy fancy oft embodies it,
That dwell in nature, of the heavenly forms
Within her eye
And when it wears the blue of May, is hung,
When twilight makes them brown, and on her cheek 20 Blushes the richness of an autumn sky,
With ever-shifting beauty. Then her breath,
Full of their fragrance, that it is a joy
Is the rich music of a summer bird,
LESSON LXVIII.-THE SOLDIER'S WIDOW.-N. P. WILLY.
Woe! for my vine-clad home!
That I should ever come,
Lead on! my orphan boy!
May bring to thee a joy ;
Lead on! for thou art now
And I have seen his brow,
He will not meet thee there
He will not call to prayer.
Ay, my own boy! thy sire
With his high glance of fire.
LESSON LXIX.- THE SICILIAN VESPERS.-J. G. WHITTIER.
With the veil of evening fell,
The chime of its vesper-bell.*
Fell heavily on the ear;
Which the boldest shook to hear.
The startled monks thronged up, 10 In the torchlight cold and dim ;
And the priest let fall his incense cup,
And the virgin hushed her hymn;
And a summoning voice were heard, 15 And fretted wall, and tombstone damp,
To the fearful echo stirred.
As he sat beside his hearth;
And the song and the dance were hushed around, 20 With the fireside tale of mirth.
* The signal adopted by the Sicilians, for commencing the massacre of their French conquerors.
The chieftain shook in his bannered hall,
As the sound of war drew nigh;
As the gleam of spears went by.
At the feast and flow of wine,
Or bowed at the holy shrine !
Had burst its iron thrall;
Woe, woe, to the sons of Gaul !
With the young and passing fair ;
The avenger's arm was there !
And clasped his beads in prayer,
The avenger found him there !
To the serf and mailed lord !
To the harvest of the sword ;
Shone out o'er hill and glen,
And the ghastly forms of men.
As its early glance came forth ;
And terrible things of earth;
In a language freely given,
Became the light of heaven.
LESSON LXX.-MEXICAN MYTHOLOGY.-WM. H. PRESCOTT.
The Aztecs, or ancient Mexicans, had no adequate conception of the true God. The idea of unity,-of a being, with whom volition is action, who has no need of inferior
ministers to execute his purposes,—was too simple, or too vast, for their understandings; and they sought relief, as usual, in a plurality of deities, who presided over the ele
ments, the changes of the seasons, and the various occu5 pations of man. Of these, there were thirteen principal
deities, and more than two hundred inferior; to each of whom some special day, or appropriate festival, was consecrated.
At the head of all stood the terrible Mexican Mars ;* 10 although it is doing injustice to the heroic war-god of an
tiquity, to identify him with this sanguinary monster. This was the patron deity of the nation. His fantastic image was loaded with costly ornaments. His temples
were the most stately and august of the public edifices; 15 and his altars reeked with the blood of human hecatombs,
in every city of the empire. Disastrous, indeed, must have been the influence of such a superstition on the character of the people.
A far more interesting personage in their mythology 20 was the godt of the air, a divinity who, during his resi
dence on earth, instructed the natives in the use of metals,
have been deified by the gratitude of posterity. Under 25 him, the earth teemed with fruits and flowers, without the
pains of culture. An ear of Indian corn was as much as a single man could carry. The cotton, as it grew, took, of its own accord, the rich dyes of human art. The air
was filled with intoxicating perfumes, and the sweet 30 melody of birds. In short, these were the halcyon days,
which find a place in the mythic systems of so many na. tions of the Old World. It was the golden age of Anahuac.
From some cause, not explained, this god incurred the 35 wrath of one of the principal gods, and was compelled to
abandon the country. On his way, he stopped at the city of Cholula, where a temple was dedicated to his worship, the massy ruins of which still form one of the most inter
esting relics of antiquity in Mexico. When he reached 40 the shores of the Mexican Gulf, he took leave of his fol
lowers, promising, that he and his descendants would revisit them hereafter, and then, entering his wizard skiff,
made of serpents' skins, embarked on the great ocean for the fabled land of Tlapallan. He was said to have been tall in stature, with a white skin, long, dark hair, and a
flowing beard. The Mexicans looked confidently to the 5 return of the benevolent deity; and this remarkable tra
dition, deeply cherished in their hearts, prepared the way for the future success of the Spaniards.
LESSON LXXI.--ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF LANGUAGE.
SAMUEL G. HOWE.
It is not an unprofitable question to ask, what was the origin and progress of language ? And the answer must be, that it is the gradual work of the human race, carried
on through long ages, and not yet finished and perfected. 5 There is no good reason to suppose, that God made any
departure, in the case of language, from that course by which He governs the universe, and which we call the laws of nature ; He never gives us anything outright; He
endows us with capacities, powers, and desires, and then 10 placing certain desirable objects before us, bids us work to obtain them.
To say, as some divines do, that it would have been impossible for man to commence and perfect language, is
to say, that God could not have endowed him with capaci15 ties for doing so.
God has so endowed the human race; He has given them both the desire and capacity of forming language : the result of their neglecting these capacities would have
been, and is still, in some cases, that they tarry long in a 20 state of barbarism ; the result of their exercising and im
proving them in other cases, has been advancement in every thing which improves and elevates humanity.
If it be said, we are positively told, in the second chapter of Genesis, that, in the very beginning, Adam used 25 language, and named the beasts of the field, I answer, we
must consider the second chapter metaphorical, as we do the first, where we are told that light, and day and night, were established on the first day, while the sun and moon
were not brought into existence until the fourth day; or, 30 if people will insist on rendering some parts literally and
others metaphorically, just as suits them, then I say the first language was probably very imperfect and merely elementary; and that one may prove, even from Scripture,