Page images


creating new offices, introducing a lavish magnificence, and forms of courtly etiquette, unknown to his ruder predecessors. He was, in short, most attentive to all that

concerned the exterior and pomp of royalty. Stately and 5 decorous, he was careful of his own dignity, and might be

said to be as great an “actor of majesty" among the barbarian potentates of the New World, as Louis the Fourteenth was among the polished princes of Europe.

He was deeply tinctured, moreover, with that spirit of 10 bigotry, which threw such a shade over the latter days of

the French monarch. He received the Spaniards as the beings predicted by his oracles. The anxious dread, with which he had evaded their proffered visit, was founded on

the same feelings which led him so blindly to resign him15 self to them on their approach. He felt himself rebuked

by their superior genius. He, at once, conceded all that they demanded, -his treasures, his power, even his per

For their sake, he forsook his wonted occupations, his pleasures, his most familiar habits. He might be said 20 to forego his nature ; and, as his subjects asserted, to

change his sex and become a woman. If we cannot refuse our contempt for the pusillanimity of the Aztec monarch, it should be mitigated by the consideration, that

his pusillanimity sprung from his superstition, and that 25 superstition in the savage is the substitute for religious

principle in the civilized man.

It is not easy to contemplate the fate of Montezuma without feelings of the strongest compassion ;-to see him

thus borne along the tide of events beyond his power to 30 avert or control; to see him, like some stately tree, the

pride of his own Indian forests, towering aloft in the pomp and majesty of its branches, by its very eminence, a mark for the thunderbolt, the first victim of the tempest which

was to sweep over its native hills! When the wise king 35 of Tezcuco addressed his royal relative at his coronation,

he exclaimed, "Happy the empire, which is now in the meridian of its prosperity, for the sceptre is given to one whom the Almighty has in his keeping; and the nations

shall hold him in reverence!” 40 Alas! the subject of this auspicious invocation lived to see his empire melt away

like the winter's wreath ; to see a strange race drop, as it were, from the clouds on his land; to find himself a prisoner in the palace of his fathers, the companion of those who were the enemies of his gods and his people; to be insulted, reviled, trodden in the dust, by the meanest of his subjects, by those who, a few months previous, had trembled at his glance; draw

ing his last breath in the halls of the stranger ;-a lonely 5 outcast in the heart of his own capital! He was the sad

victim of destiny,-a destiny, as dark and irresistible in its march, as that which broods over the mythic-legends of antiquity!


JOHN A. CLARK. It is one of the most beautiful days of summer. The sun is proudly marching through the heavens, in full-orbed splendor. The tide of brightness, and the flood of fervid,

glowing beams which he pours over the earth, makes an 5 impression upon all animated nature, which one scarcely

knows how to describe, though he feels it in every limb and muscle, and sees it in every form of organized being, from the smallest spire of grass, to the tallest tree of the

forest,-from the buzzing insect that sings at his ear, to 10 the vast herd that seek the shady shelter of the grove, or stand panting midway in the brook. I, too, feel this

power, in the genial glow imparted to my system. The cool shelter of this beautiful tree under which I sit, and the

sweet and varied landscape before me, make me almost 15 feel that I am encompassed with the Elysian fields.

The village is a mile distant, and some two hundred feet below this spot. The el ated knoll on which I sit,

slopes down by a gentle declivity to the road, where the 20 traveller passes on to the village. Beyond, on the opposite

. ", of the road, the land again swells into a broad hill, which the hand of cultivation has so neatly dressed, that not a stump or stone is visible. One extended carpet of green meets the eye, presenting a surface smooth and

beautiful, as the newly shorn lawn. 25 Beyond this hill, the earth again slopes off, and falls

into a valley, through which runs a little stream, ministering fertility to the soil, and refreshment to the cattle that graze the fields on either side of it. Still more remote,

the land, by beautiful undulations, again rises, and is again 30 depressed, till at length it sweeps off, by a more precipi.

tous descent, to the bed of the West Canada creek, which, some fifteen miles above, is poured in wild beauty over Trenton Falls.

On the opposite side of the creek, the land again rises with precipitous elevation, lifting itself upward in bold and still bolder forins, till, in the distance, it meets the eye

in the broad outline of the Hassen Cleaver Hills, that, like 5 some grand mountain ridge, tower upward till they seem to

prop the very heavens. This range sweeps along to the south east, till it seems in the distance blended with another range, still more remote, that rises beyond the

Mohawk, which together form a semicircle in a broad and 10 bold amphitheatre of hills. Over this range of hills, up to

their highest peaks, as well as through the whole extent of the intervening country, are seen cultivated fields, interspersed with woodlands,--and sprinkled all along, as far

as the eye can extend to the north and the south, corn15 fields, and orchards, and barns, and farm-houses, and herds of cattle.

The sun is pouring his golden splendor over this rich landscape. Now and then a passing cloud quenches the

bright lustre of his beams; and light and shade alternately 20 rest upon the smooth, green surface of the hills. Just in

my rear, far to the left, starts up, like another Tower of Babel, a smooth, verdant knoll, that, by its vast elevation and singular formation, seems to constitute in the pathway

of heaven, to the eye that traces its outline, the quadrant of 25 an ellipse, at one of whose bases stands a beautiful cluster of

young butternuts, gracefully grouped together, and extending at least over an acre of ground,-at which point it is said, that, in a remarkably clear sky, the waters of the

broad and distant Ontario may be seen. 30 Over this landscape universal quiet reigns. No sounds

come upon the ear, save now and then the cheerful chirp of a bird,--the hum of the passing bee,--the lowing of a cow, or the sighing of the summer breeze, that gently

creeps through the rich foliage which spreads its grateful 35 covering over my head. God created these forms of beauty around me,


gave to this scene all its loveliness! If what His hand has formed be so lovely, how lovely must He be, from whom

has emanated all these traces of varied and exquisite 40 beauty! I have a book which courts my attention, it is

from the pen of John Bunyan, entitled, “Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ.In the face of Jesus Christ, where is displayed the knowledge of the glory of God," I see stronger

lines of beauty, than in all this witching scenery that 45 stretches around me.


Oh! I have loved, in youth's fair vernal morn,

To spread imagination's wildest wing,
The sober certainties of life to scorn,

And seek the visioned realms that poets sing, 5 Where Nature blushes in perennial spring,

Where streams of earthly joy exhaustless rise,
Where Youth and Beauty tread the choral ring,

And shout their raptures to the cloudless skies,
While every jovial hour on downy pinion flies.
10. But, ah! those fairy scenes at once are tied,

Since stern experience waved her iron wand,
Broke the soft slumbers of my visioned head,

And bade me here of perfect bliss despond.

And oft have I the painful lesson conned; 15

When Disappointment mocked my wooing heart,
Still of its own delusion weakly fond,

And from forbidden pleasures loth to part,
Though shrinking oft beneath Correction's deepest smart.

And is there naught in mortal life, I cried,
20 Can sooth the sorrows of the laboring breast?

No kind recess where baffled hope may hide,

And weary Nature lull her woes to rest ?
Oh! grant me, pitying Heaven, this last request,-

Since I must every loftier wish resign,
25 Be my few days with peace and friendship blessed;

Nor will I at my humble lot repine,
Though neither wealth, nor fame, nor luxury be mine.
Oh! give me yet, in some recluse abode,

Encircled with a faithful few, to dwell,
30 Where power can not oppress, nor care corrode,

Nor venomed tongues the tale of slander tell;
Oh! bear me to some solitary cell,

Beyond the reach of every

And let me bid a long and last farewell 35 To each alluring object ’neath the sky, And there in peace await my hour,-in peace to die. “Ah vain desire !” a still small voice replied,

“No place, no circumstance can Peace impart:

She scorns the mansion of unvanquished Pride,40 Sweet inmate of a pure and humble heart.

human eye ;

Take then thy station,-act thy proper part ;

A Saviour's mercy seek,—his will perform :
His word has balm for sin's envenomed smart,

His love, diffused, thy shuddering breast shall warm 5 His power provide a shelter from the gathering storm.”

Oh! welcome hiding place! Oh! refuge meet

For fainting pilgrims, on this desert way!
Oh! kind Conductor of these wandering feet

Through snares and darkness, to the realms of day! 10 So did the Sun of Righteousness display

His healing beams; each gloomy cloud dispel :
While on the parting mist, in colors gay,

Truth's cheering bow of precious promise fell,
And Mercy's silver voice soft whispered, "All is well.”

In slumbers of midnight the sailor boy lay,

His hammock swung loose at the sport of the wind;
But, watchworn and weary, his cares flew away,

And visions of happiness danced o'er his mind.
5 He dreamed of his home, of his dear native bowers,

And pleasures that waited on life's merry morn;
While memory each scene gayly covered with flowers,

And restored every rose, but secreted its thorn.
Then fancy her magical pinions spread wide,
10 And bade the young dreamer in ecstasy rise ;-
Now far, far behind him, the green waters glide,

And the cot of his forefathers blesses his eyes.
The jassamine clambers, in flower, o'er the thatch;

And the swallow sings sweet from her nest in the wall : 15 All trembling with transport, he raises the latch ;

And the voices of loved ones reply to his call. A father bends o'er him with looks of delight;

His cheek is impearled with a mother's warm tear;

And the lips of the boy in a love-kiss unite, 20

With those of the sister his bosom holds dear.
The heart of the sleeper beats high in his breast,

Joy quickens his pulses,—his hardships seem o'er;
And a murmur of happiness steals through his rest,-

“O God! thou hast blest me; I ask for no more."

« PreviousContinue »