Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

In his Croisic keeps alive the feat as it befell;
Not a head in white and black

On a single fishing-smack,
In memory of the man but for whom had gone to wrack
All that France saved from the fight whence England bore

the bell.

XV.

Go to Paris ; rank on rank

Search the heroes flung pell-mell

On the Louvre, face and flank;
You shall look long enough ere you come to Hervé Riel.

So, for better and for worse,
Hervé Riel, accept my verse!

In my verse, Hervé Riel, do thou once more
Save the squadron, honor France, love thy wife, the Belle
Aurore!

ROBERT BROWNING.

CXV.-YOUTHFUL FRIENDSHIP AND

NATURAL SCENERY.

E

nance,

MILIUS GODFREY! forever holy be the name! a

boy when we were but a child—when we were but a youth, a man. We felt stronger in the shadow of his arm-happier, bolder, better in the light of his counte

He was the protector—the guardian of our moral being. In our pastimes we bounded with wilder glee-at our studies we sat with intenser earnestness by his side. He it was that taught us how to feel all those glorious sunsets, and imbued our young spirit with the love of Nature. He it was that taught us to feel that our evening prayer was no idle ceremony to be hastily gone through-that we might lay down our head on the pillow, then soon smoothed in sleep—but a command of God which a response from Nature summoned the humble heart to obey.

2. He it was who forever had at command wit for the sportive, wisdom for the serious hour. Fun and frolic flowed in the merry music of his lips—they lightened frors the gay glancing of his eyes--and then, all at once, when the one changed its measures, and the other gathered, as it were, a mist or a cloud, an answering sympathy chained our own tongue, and darkened our own countenance, in intercommunion of spirit felt to be, indeed, divine!

3. It seemed as if we knew but the words of languagethat he was a scholar who saw into their very essence. The books we read together were, every page, and every sentence of

every page, all covered over with light. Where his eye fell not as we read, all was dim or dark, unintelligible, or with imperfect meanings. Whether we perused with him a volume writ by a nature like our own, or the volume of the earth and sky, or the volume revealed from Heaven, next day we always knew and felt that something had been added to our being. Thus imperceptibly we grew up in our intellectual stature, breathing a purer moral and religious air; with all our finer affections towards other human beings, all our kindred and our kind, touched with a dearer domestic tenderness, or with a sweet benevolence that seemed to our ardent fancy to embrace the dwellers in the uttermost regions of the earth.

4. No secret of pleasure or pain-of joy or grief-of fear or hope—had our heart to withhold or conceal from Emilius Godfrey. He saw it as it beat within our bosom, with all its imperfections-may we venture to say, with all its virtues. A repented folly-a confessed fault-a sin for which we were truly contrite-a vice flung from us with loathing and with shame-in such moods as these, happier were we to see his serious and his solemn smile than when in mirth and merriment we sat by his side, in the social hour, on a knoll in the open sunshine. And the whole school were in ecstasies to hear tales and stories from his genius; even like a flock of birds, chirping in their joy, all newly alighted in a vernal land.

5. In spite of that difference in our age-or oh! say rather because that very difference did touch one heart

-a

a

with tenderness, and the other with reverence-how often did we two wander, like elder and younger brother, in the sunlight and the moonlight solitudes! Woods into whose inmost recesses we should have quaked alone to penetrate, in his company were glad as gardens, through their most awful umbrage; and there was beauty in the shadows of the old oaks. Cataracts-in whose lonesome thunder, as it pealed into those pitchy pools, we durst not, by our selves, have faced the spray-in his presence, dinned with

, a merry music in the desert, and cheerful was the thin mist they cast sparkling up into the air.

6. Too severe for our unaccompanied spirit, then easily overcome with awe, was the solitude of those remote inland lochs. But as we walked with him along the winding shores, how passing sweet the calm of both blue depths ! how magnificent the white-crested waves, tumbling beneath the black thunder-cloud! More beautiful, because our eyes gazed on it along with his, at the beginning or the ending of some sudden storm, the Apparition of the Rainbow. Grander, in its wildness, that seemed to sweep at once all the swinging and stooping woods to our ear, because his too listened, the concerto by winds and waves played at midnight when not one star was in the sky.

7. With him we first followed the falcon in her flighthe showed us on the echo-cliff the eagle's eyry. To the thicket he led us, where lay couched the lovely spotted doe, or showed us the mild-eyed creature browsing on the glade with her two fawns at her side. But for him we should not have seen the antlers of the red-deer, for the forest was indeed a most savage place, and haunted-such was the superstition at which those who scorned it trembled-haunted by the ghost of a huntsman whom a jealous rival had murdered as he stooped, after the chase, at a little mountain-well that ever since oozed out blood. What converse passed between us two in all those still shadowy solitudes! Into what depths of human nature did he teach our wondering eyes to look down!

8. Oh! what was to become of us, we sometimes thought in sadness that all at once made our spirits sink-like a lark falling suddenly to earth, struck by the fear of some unwonted shadow from above-what was to become of us when the mandate should arrive for him to leave the manse forever, and sail away in a ship to India, never more to return! Ever as that dreaded day drew nearer more frequent was the haze in our eyes; and in our blindness we knew not that such tears ought to have been more rueful still, for that he then lay under orders for a longer and more lamentable voyage-a voyage over the narrow strait to the eternal shore.

9. All-all at once he drooped: on one fatal morning the dread decay began—with no forewarning, the springs on which his being had so lightly, so proudly, so grandly moved, gave way. Between one Sabbath and another his bright eyes darkened - and while all the people were assembled at the sacrament, the soul of Emilius Godfrey soared up to heaven.

10. It was indeed a dreadful death, serene and sainted though it were; and not a hall-not a house-not a hutnot a shieling within all the circle of those wide mountains, that did not on that night mourn as if it had lost a son. All the vast parish attended his funeral-Lowlanders and Highlanders—in their own garb of grief.

11. And have time and the tempest now blackened the white marble of that monument?-is that inscription now hard to be read ?---the name of Emilius Godfrey in green obliteration-nor haply one surviving who ever saw the light of the countenance of him there interred? Forgotten as if he had never been! for few were that glorious orphani kindred, and they lived in a foreign land-forgotten but by one heart; faithful through all the chances and changes of this restless world! And therein enshrined, amongst all its holiest remembrances, shall be the image of Emilius Godfrey, till it too, like his, shall be but dust and ashes.

JOHN WILSON.

CXVI.—THE CLOUD.

I.

I

BRING fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,

From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken

The sweet birds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,

As she dances about the sun.
I wield the Aail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under; And then again I dissolve it in rain,

And laugh as I pass in thunder.

II.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,

And their great pines groan aghast; And all the night 't is my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skyey bowers

Lightning, my pilot, sits ;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,

It struggles and howls by fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,

This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move

In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,

Over the lakes and the plains, Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,

The spirit he loves remains; And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile,

Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

III.

The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,

And his burning plumes outspread, Leaps on the back of my sailing rack

When the morning star shines dead;

« ZurückWeiter »