Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

LVII.-THE SINGULAR FEAST. A merchant had invited his friends in the town to visit him at his residence by the sea-side, in order to prepare for them a feast of very rare sea fish called lampreys. Various dishes were brought in, and at last came a large dish in which the guests supposed the lampreys were contained. But when the cover was removed, instead of the expected fish, there was nothing in it but several gold pieces.

Then the merchant said : “My friends, the fish which I had promised to set before you, are this year three times as costly as I bad thought. A single one costs a piece of gold. Then I recollected that in the village there is a day laborer who is lying sick, and his children are suffering hunger. Of the money which this one feast of lampreys would have cost this poor family could live half a year. Will you now have the rare sea-fish, then I will immediately send for them, and they shall be prepared forthwith. But if it is your wish that this gold instead shall be given to the starving family, then I will still furnish you with palatable dishes, though far less expensive ones.”

All the guests approved of his course. Each one added another piece of gold to that already in the dish, and the poor sick man had enough to live on for a whole year.

“On luxuries waste not your plenteous gold,
When others pine from hunger, shiver with the cold.”

MENTAL LABOR. The injurious eflects of mental labor are, in a great measure, owing to the extensive forcing in early youth; to sudden or misdirected study; to the co-operation of depressing emotions or passions; to the neglect of the ordinary rules of hygiene; to the neglect of the hints of the body; or to the presence of the seeds of disease, degeneration and decay in the system. The man of healthy pblegmatic or choleric temperament is less likely to be injured by application than one of sanguine or melancholic type; yet these latter, with allowance for the original constitution, may be capable of vast efforts. The extended and deep culture of the mind exerts a directly conservative infiuence upon the body. Fellow-laborer! one word to you. Fear not to do manfully the work for which your gifts qualify you, but do it as one who must give an account of both soul and body. Work, and work hard while it is day; the night cometh soon enough-do not hasten it. Use your faculties—use them to the utmost, but do not abuse them; make not the mortal to do the work of the immortal. The body has its claims—it is a good servant; treat it well, and it will do your work; it knows its own business; do not attempt to teach or force it; attend to its wants and requirements, listen kindly and patiently to all its hints, occasionally forestal its necessities by a little indulgence, and your consideration will be paid with interest. But task it, and pine it, and suffocate it-make it a slave instead of a servant; it may not complain much, but, like the weary camel in the desert, it will lie down and die.

THE FATHER OF WATERS AND YOUNG AMERICA.

[From "Following the Drum," by Mrs. Viele.]

I spent most of the week we were on board “The Magnolia" on deck, enjoying the sublimity of this mighty and glorious river, musing on

“The beautiful, the grand,

The glorious of my dative land.” Visions of Father Marquette and Ferdinand de Soto often crossed my mind, as we passed over the dark waters that centuries ago were first traversed by them, and my eyes were fed on the same gorgeous scenery, that at every turn in the river met their view. Sublimity, vastness, and grandeur, are the chief impressions produced by this peerless and mighty flow of waters. At times, when nearing one shore, the opposite banks would seem miles away in the distance. Occasional bluffs and broadspread vallies, with towns, villages, and settlements in incredible numbers distributed along, gave food for many reflections on political economy and philosophy generally.

The rush of commerce on these western waters seem almost a miracle, so short a time ago the skiff of the aborigines or the breath of Heaven alone disturbed their repose, while now they are hourly plied by stearaers freighted with humanity, urged on by an unthought of power, to emigrate to the unexplored and beautiful regions to which they are hurrying—some in quest of wealth-some, of excitement, others, of a new home.

Enterprise, avarice, adventure ; so are our human passions ordained to fulfil the destiny of the Universe! It is rather commonplace to wonder at and expatiate on the strength, energy and vigor of that young giant “Sam,” with his many foibles and his many noble traits, the impetuosity of his Creole blood contending with the caution he has inherited from his pilgrim fathers, the stolidity of his burgomaster ancestors, and the poetical sublimity of his Indian progenitors; the chivalry derived from some scion of a noble house, mixed with the democracy of the plodding sons of toil, and dashes of religious enthusiasim, with occasional touches of patriotism. What wonder that he should be such an onomalous character, with such an anomalous combination of antecedents! To be sure, his shoes are hob-nailed, and he may be seen at noonday in a dress-coat with brass buttons; while bathing he does not regard it as the end and aim of man's feeting existence! But he is a hard working man, and as yet bas had but little time for trifling outward adoroments. His ambition is insatiable, and, like a yonng Hercules, he is manfully fighting in the vanguard of progress and humanity ; calling upon Europe to disgorge her slaving peasantry, and to ship them over where they may be illumined by the divine light of knowledge in his happy land ; at the same time nobly standing by the principle that Cuffy" was especially provided by Heaven, as an exception, to prove the rule of all men being born free and equal--and to hoe his rice and cotton fields !

NOTES ON NEW BOOKS.

POEMS BY HENRY HARBAUGH.

We were apprehensive that it would turn out in this way. A certain rich vein of feeling and easy flow of imagination had we long ago observed in the prose writings of our author, which we feared, in the end, would burst forth into poetry. A disposition in him for some time had we remarked, with some concern, to introduce into his essays and other writings, as if merely to illustrate or embellish some of his thoughts, choice passages taken from the best old English and German poets, which, however, showed too plainly wbat was the natural bent of his mind, and with what sort of writings he was pleased. Nay, in the Guardian, from its first appearance, little poetical pieces of his own have we been in the habit of observing every month, as it came out, few at first and far between, indeed, and, as we thought, inserted merely for filling up some odd spaces; but, at length, we saw them swelling out into whole poems, extending sometimes over several pages. We were not taken aback, then, by this final enunciation. We had seen the determined tendency long before. We knew that this would be the end of it. All he had to do was to gather up and re-touch some of his pieces already thrown before the public, and add on a few more from his escritoire or port-folio, when he has a volume all ready for the publishers. These have done their work, and now the book has gone abroad. The Rubicon has been past. Our author is standing on poetic ground. He must now patiently await the onslaught of the critics. We trust, however, that he will come off in the end unscathed.

We were apprehensive, we must own, lest these fugitive pieces, when all placed together, should not read so well as many of them had done when they came out singly at first. of other poets we had often been pleased with the effusions when we perused them one at a time as they appeared in the daily or weekly papers, but when they met us all collected into a volume, we had sometimes felt disappointed. All running through them was a similarity of style and sentiment, which, though unobserved in any one of them by itself, when they were read consecutively, approached in them almost to a sameness, which destroyed their interest. We find, however, that, in the present case, our fears were groundless. These poems, though showing, throughout, thelr author's peculiar turn of thought and phraseology, are yet sufficiently contrasted with one another, and diversified in their subjects, style and rhythm, so as not to satiate but still to please. In his disposition, tho' a great deal more cheerful and sanguine than was Cowper, yet he sometimes reminds us a little of that poet. Of course, he comes not up to the English bard as yet. He has written, as yet, no such great and popular poem as the Task. He is comparatively young, however. He has not at all been · mellowed over by the same number of years that Cowper had been when he commenced being an author. There is no knowing, then, what he may accomplish hereafter. In his fugitive pieces, however, he sometimes reminds us a little, in his style and manner, of that older bard. He has the same vivacity and religious spirit, the same love for domestic scenes and incidents, the same method of moralizing at the end or by the way, and occasionally the same quaintness of humor. The Twin Fishers, for instance, in some of its verses, makes us think very much of the Rose just washed in a shower, which Mary to Anna conveyed.” As a specimen, we give a stanza :

“When Hennie and Annie had purchased the pair,

And bore them with fondness away in their arms,
The act to the thoughtful was evidence rare

That their hearts were well used to the purest of charms.
And there 'neath the mantle the twin Fishers stood,

The joy of the pure and the praise of the good.” In reading such verses, too, as those of “The Summer Visit,” we are struck with the resemblance they bear to some of the sportive epistolary effusions of the same poet. Take a verse :

“ Wife and the little folkg

Going away

Starting to-day.
Going off to grand-pa's,
Going off to grand-ma's,

Laughing all and glad, -
Why should they bo sad ?

'Tis a year and more,
Since they went before ;-
'Tis very right,

And a delight-
Yea, 'tis quite exquisite-

To go home on a visit." We can easily see, however, that such occasional similarities spring not at all from imitation, but only from a sort of a congeniality of feeling existing between the two.

May we find any fault with our poet it is, perhaps, that, in our opinion, he is sometimes à little too unconstrained in his diction. When once fairly mounted on his pegasus, we think he often rides too carefully. He does not hold him sufficiently tight under the curb and rein. He soars along with too much ease. We would like to see his imagination a little more trammelled. Goldsmith somewhere says that, as waters throw forth the strongest jets when pent up, so the thoughts of the poet will spring up the more sparklingly and high the more they are confined by rhymes. By blank verse and the Hiawathaean measore, our bard is not confined at all. He can throw off his thoughts in them just as easily as in prose. We must say that we like him best when he is the most closely fettered by rhymes. Then we think his thoughts are the most refined, and his language the most beautiful.

Some of the best modern poets, even Wordsworth not excepted, abound in fine descriptions of what is beautiful in morals and natural religion, but they seem purposely to avoid making any allusion to the cross. They are alive to the beauties of nature as seen abroad, and to the charming sentiments and feelings often shewn in humanity, in which they acknowledge a present divinity, but they make no mention whatever of the glorious plan of redemption, as exhibited in a risen Saviour. Our author, however, stops not short in this way. While all alive to the beautiful in nature, and warmly imbued with the home feelings, his thoughts still carry him upwards. Not into an ideal world wholly of its own making does his imagination love to soar, but on the wings of faith it tries to penetrate into the realities of the heavenly, so far, at any rate, as they have been revealed. The unseen world he looks upon as closely connected with the seen, and attempts, in some measure, to remove the veil. Her sky, it is true, may be overcast with clouds of sorrow, for a while, but, between them, from above, he always sees soon the sunshine breaking through, and then it is that he sings. We have several such strains as this :

THE GATE TO THE LAND OF THE BLEST.
“I often have asked, when my heart was oppressed,
For the gateway that leads to the Land of the Blest,
And I longed, should I find it, in peace to depart
To the rest of the weary, the home of the beart.
“I have dreamed that the bright, golden vista of even
Might be to sad spirits the inlet to Heaven;
And in faith and in fancy I sighed after rest,
Beyoud those bright gates, in the Land of the Blest,
" While muring in sorrow, an angel of love
Let in on my faith a sweet light from above;
And said as it lured me : "I'll lead thee to rest,
And show thee the Gate to the Land of the Blest.'
“ Led on by the angel and sweetly beguiled,
We came to the newly-made grave of my child !
Here, here,' said the angel, the weary find rest,
And this is the Gate to the Land of the Blest.'
“Oh, can it be so, that this mound of my fears-
This spot of my sorrows, bedewed with my tears-
Is the brightest on earth, which I long sought distressed,
The inlet and Gate to the Land of the Blest !
"I blessed, through my tears, the kind angel that smiled
At the head of the grave of my now sainted child ;
And was glad that so early my babe found the rest
Of the grave, and the Gate to the Land of the Blest.
"Wave gently, yo willows, that shadow this mound !
Fall softly, ye dews of the night, on tbis ground!
Sleep sweetly, my babe !--for my heart is at rest,

I have fouud the bright Gate to the Land of the Blest.”. These poems, in short, are just such effusions as might be expected to emanate from the author of "The Sainted Dead,” “Heavenly Recognition,” and “The Heavenly Home.” They belong, in fact, to the same series ; and as to a basket of the choicest fruits, a wreath of fall flowers will add a new grace, so we think that to this set of deservedly popular books, this latter little volume of kindred poems with which they have been crowned, forms the most appropriate and becoming ornament.

W. M. N.

APPLETON'S NEW AMERICAN CYCLOPÆDIA. The present volume (VI.) of 786 pages covers from EDWARDS to FUEROS. We have already favorably noticed the previous volumes, and from an examination of this, we are confirmed in our general estimate of this great work.

« ZurückWeiter »