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Science adores One teaches the
her altar. But in their natural characters they are coöperators, and, like twin sisters, they walk hand in hand. Science tracks the footprints of the great creating Power; Poetry unveils the smile of the all-sustaining Love. as a subject; Poetry worships as a child. law, and the other binds the soul to it in bands of beauty and love. They turn the universe into a temple, earth into an altar, the systems into fellow-worshippers, and eternity into one long day of contemplation and praise.
THE VILLAGE FUNERAL.
It was toward the close of a fine day in the beginning of autumn that I drew near a pleasant, retired village on the banks of the The setting sun shone obliquely on the pure landscape, which was already changing its green leaves for the various hues of autumn, and seemed to vie in splendor with the glorious beauty of the western sky. The air was mild and still, and the interrupted cry of the birds, that answered one another plaintively from the fields, rendered the hour yet more impressive. My mind took an impression from the season; and as I passed pensively and slowly along, I was not sorry to find, on the edge of the village, before I entered it, a graveyard by the way-side.
I had been musing on the changes of nature, and the close of the day and the year; and I was just in a suitable frame to contemplate the end of man. I alighted, and tied my horse, and went in, to read the epitaphs, and learn how short a thing is life, and reflect on the worthlessness of posthumous praise. I found a new-made grave, just opened, and waiting for its tenant. My thoughts fixed themselves upon it. For whom can this be? And I stood revolving the possible answers to this question, until approaching steps disturbed me, and a procession entered the yard.
I stepped aside to observe it. First came twelve young girls, in white dresses, and with wreaths of evergreen in
their hands. Then followed an old man, who proved to be the minister of the place, and who immediately preceded the bier, which was borne by four young men. Mourners, and a numerous train, succeeded. The procession moved on to the grave; they gathered close around it; those that bare the body stood still, and placed it on the ground. Reverently the pall was taken off, and in sad silence the coffin descended to its place. The girls in white approached, and cast their wreaths upon it, and then lifted their voices in a low and mournful song, which gradually grew firmer and swelled louder, till it closed in a full peal of triumph.
I never had witnessed such a scene before, and every thing was done so simply, so quietly, so naturally, that it touched me to the heart. I perceived that others were affected also; and it was not without evident emotion that the venerable pastor uncovered his white locks to the wind, and lifted his tremulous voice. "It is well," said he; "it is well, it is fitting, that the fair and innocent should go to their home upon the wings of song, and that Christians should thus bid adieu to those whom they loved. While their spirits are welcomed by the hymns of angels above, it is right that our voices below should join the consoling and enrapturing strain.
"For what are we laying in the dust? The body. It belongs there. That is its home. The weary soul has cast its cumbrous tenement aside, and ascended without it. All that we do is to hide it in its parent earth. This is not a work for sorrow and tears: when the spirit that dwelt there is rejoicing, it is not for those who loved it to be mourning. No; let the body go down to the dust as it was, and a solemn hallelujah be sung over its bed; for the spirit is gone to God, who gave it. Death is swallowed up in victory; and the shout of victory should be joyous."