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The following is from Tennyson's new Poem, "Sea Dreams," for which he is said to have been paid $50 a line.
WHAT does a little birdie say
What does little baby say,
CHILDHOOD! puny, helpless childhood, for long years defrauding us of the strength and self-reliance of manhood-keeping back from the whole race the full heritage of physical life for one third its existence! What is the use of a childhood!
Playful, laughing childhood! conscious only of the boundless unknown around it, taking all knowledge, truth by truth, so slowly from elder lips-when it were so easy for God to make each intellect with wing full plumed for flight, as at the first creation! What is childhood for?
Tender, sensitive childhood! tears and smiles like April showers quickening the budding affections until they clasp their tendrils around the nearest trellis, twining any way at other's will. Susceptible, fullhearted childhood! is it mere accident, a mere physical necessity, that wraps it around each human soul?
Childhood-spiritual, reverent, devout, so easily touched by holy truth and sacred motives, but catching so instinctively the tone of earthliness or heavenliness that breathes around it-so morally dependent upon others-its destiny for manhood, aye and for eternity, so early fixed, yet fixed in years of inexperience and before a consciousness of things as they are! How strange it is! What did God make childhood for?
I know, there must be a childhood, if there is to be a Race of mankind, for this generation springing from a generation constitutes us a race. But why not people earth with separate lives; lives that have known no ancestry, no weakness and no immaturity? why have a Race -and a childhood?
God made childhood for ETERNITY. Its helpless dependency, its gradnally awakened powers, its impressible affections-all are for the sake of the immortality to which that soul is destined. How could it be otherwise? Strange, if in arranging the conditions under which an undying spirit sets out on its career, spiritual and undying interests were not those in view: strange if momentary and material benefits were not made merely incidental to the one grand spiritual end.
A priori, then, from the nature of the case, we should expect childhood to be the period of a great spiritual provision for us by the Father of spirits. We should expect then to receive an out-fit for that pilgrimage which will stretch on, with no new starting-point, forever. Through all eternity we can be young but once, and every law of habit and moral growth, demands that this early period, gathering in its little space the seeds of all future weal or wo, should have ample facilities and aid to a right and healthful action. Even if there was no weak and helpless infancy, yet the first years in the life of any immortal spirit would demand this care. In the universe there may be other ranks of intelligences, created at once with full maturity of every faculty: their special consti
tution may require arrangements differing from our circumstances, to surround them as they launch forth upon existence, but must not these arrangements all have regard to spiritual character and destiny? Now this immediate manhood of body and of mind might have been bestowed upon ourselves. It might have required some different or added instinctive habits to preserve the commencing life until experience could. teach wisdom, but these could easily have been bestowed, and the pure spirit, at once conscious of his powers, had been free from the first to develop his pure character towards his Maker and bis fellow-man. How glorious that moment, when from nothingness the soul starts forth before Jehovah complete in His own image! Yet how meet an ushering into being of one thus made in God's own likeness. How then can we witness the adoption of that other mysterious plan, by which the spirit immortal, divinely imaged, is stranded on the shore of Life more abjectly helpless, more slowly conscious than the brutes that perish, and not feel that in that plan there must be a secret purpose of a spiritual nurture surer or more deep than otherwise is possible, which may explain the mystery.
Let me not seem to undervalue any social and temporal benefits, which as things are now constituted result from a childhood; nor let me appear untouched by any beauty which glistens on the budding heart, or floats around the cherub form. It is the mark of a divine wisdom, that by the same arrangement which secures one special object, many other secondary benefits are secured. No great blessing ever goes forth from the throne of God, but as it bears to us its great gift of happiness, it scatters lesser joys along its path. But shall we set so high a value on these secondary gifts as to lose sight of the great central blessing? I know that while God gives fruit in autumn as the world's necessary food, the blossom that blushes around each swelling germ fills the spring with beauty. But if all were left to us, and we were earnest enough to admire the early bloom, but left the world to hunger and despair, the very fact that we so appreciated and toiled for the momentary beauty, would double the guilt of our neglect. Yet what is all this physical loveliness of childhood, what are all these beautiful relationships that fill a home with gladness, but the exquisite blossom that will soon drop away, and leave the soul-the soul ripening in virtue, or blighted-forever!
Childhood, then, is a spiritual institution, for spiritual ends. Its laws of physical growth, and of mental development and all that pertain to it, are only instruments by which a spiritual nurture can be brought to bear on the young spirit clothed in flesh. This dependence, and mental subjection, and sensitive affection are the necessary conditions of that docile and trusting nature which is the groundwork of all spiritual culture. The childhood of the body is not only a symbol of the inner childhood of the soul, but is a means of its growth and nurture. There is that infant form,
The intellectual being,
as yet seen only as another slowly lifts the veil that closes around one hearth-stone. There the "unconquerable will," that like a cliff of adamant may stand unmoved although scathed by heaven's thunderbolts, now lies timidly, won by a smile, or shaken by a frown.
There the affections and the passions to whose loosened tempest no life may say, "Peace, be still," are gentle as a sheltered spring. Yet the lines of truth or error, seen from the hearth-side through that trustful eye, are the meridians and the parallels which will map out all after-existence. Mighty as that lion-will shall grow, the humble, loving Faith that now grasps its mane, like a little child shall lead it ever. Terrible as is the great deep of that heart, its billows, charmed by a heavenly whisper before they rise to passion, will only chaunt perpetual anthems along the shores of duty. Mysterious childhood! how thou bringest the imperial Soul meekly to learn to serve, before ascending the dan gereous eminence of the throne given it, by the grace of God!'
LINES BY LORD BYRON.
SAID BY SIR WALTER SCOTT TO BE THE BEST HE EVER WROTE,
THERE is a mystic thread of life,
So dearly weaved with mine alone,
At once must sever both, or none.
There is a form on which these eyes
Have often gazed with fond delight,
And dreams restore it through the night.
There is a voice whose tones inspire
Such thrills of rapture thro' my breast,
Unless that voice could join the rest.
There is a face whose blushes tell
Affection's tale upon the cheek,
Proclaims more love than words can speak.
There is a lip which mine hath pressed,
And mine, mine only press'd it more.
There is a bosom all my own,
Hath pillow'd oft this aching head,
An eye whose tears with mine are shed.
There are two hearts whose movements thrill
That pulse to pulse responsive still,
That both must heave or cease to beat.
There are two souls whose equal flow
They cannot part, these souls are one!
TRANSLATED BY THE EDITOR.
THE LORD IS KIND TO MEN AND ANIMALS.
"O Lord, thou preservest man and beasts."-Psalms xxxvi. 6.
WHEN Alexander went forth to conquer the world, he came to a peo-ple in Africa, who in a remote and sequestered country, lived in peaceful huts, and had heard nothing either of the war or of the conqueror. They led him into the presence of the King of the land, who received! him in a hospitable manner, and caused to be set before him golden dates, golden figs, and also bread of gold.
"Do you eat gold in this country ?" asked Alexander.
"I take it for granted," answered the King of the Africans; "I take it for granted that of ordinary food thou hast enough in thine own country. On what other account couldst thou have come if not for the sake
of gold ?"
"Your gold has not led me hither! I desire to become acquainted with your manners and customs," answered Alexander.
"If this is your object, then remain with us as long as it pleaseth thee," said the African King.
When they had thus spoken, two men came in to have a matter of difference between them adjusted by the King. The one presented his grievance thus: "From this man I bought a piece of ground; and as I drew a deep furrow through it, I found a treasure that had been hid in it. But this treasure does not belong to me; for I bought the field, but not the treasure which might lie hidden therein. Now, however, this man is not willing to take the treasure back."
Then the other defended himself, and said: "I too have a conscience, as well as my friend here! And I sold him the field with all that belongs to it, and consequently with the treasure also which lay in it!"
The Ruler, and chief Judge of the county, repeated the words of each of the men, that they might be assured that he understood what they had said, each for himself. He reflected for some time in silence, and then asked the one : "Have you not a son ?"-and the other : "Have you not a daughter ?" When both had answered "yes," to these ques-tions, he gave his decision, thus: "Let your son marry the daughter of your friend, and give them the treasure, as a dowry.
Alexander seemed astonished, and overwhelmed with surprise.
"Do you regard my decision as unjust ?" asked the African Judge. "No," replied Alexander; "but I am nevertheless filled with wonder !" "And how would this matter have been arranged and settled in your country ?"
"To speak candidly-we would have taken both men into custody, and seized the treasure for the benefit of the King."