Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

look back on the precious time thus lost, with hesitation, regret, and a mixture even of awe and tre. pidation! For what are our faculties given us ? Are they to end in their employment here, or in the worldly reputation they procure? These are questions which more than startle me at periods of serious thought!

I look upon the great mass of mankind, and imagine that I see them employed still more unprofitably than I am. Their amusements are more sensual; and are productive of at least as little benefit to their fellow-creatures. If it be pleaded that their habits are less solitary, they still may be more selfish. The productions of the study are capable of a wider communication, than the exertions of conversation; and surely are in general of a more refined and improving nature. These thoughts intermix some rays of comfort at such hours of gloom!

But, alas! the clouds close together again; and at moments I seem involved in impenetrable darkness. The acquisition of all I had sought for, books, knowledge, fame, I feel, like Solomon, to be mere vanity! The objects of my earthly idolatry, the great meteors of human genius, fade before my sight. They appear insignificant, and vapid, like myself; their talents wasted; and the monument of their works unworthy of the labour which it cost.

Does this proceed from the disease of my mind; or from a just sense of the misapplication of its powers? Does it not whisper views of fame, and reward, beyond this world? and employments directed to effects of a higher kind, as the means ?

When the utmost purpose resulting from the em

ployment of those mental faculties with which Providence has endowed us, is a barren exercise of the understanding or the fancy of others, how far short do they fall of their capabilities? They might at the same time instruct, refine, and exalt; direct the head; and elevate the heart!

Had I, instead of wasting my life in idle inquiries on trifling subjects, and idle excursions of the imagination, bent my humble talents to acquire and convey solid knowledge, and delineate the visions of a better order of existence, perhaps even I might have secured a renown, which, while it never ceased to gratify me here, might have soothed my spirit hereafter!

It is past : the flight of Time is irrevocable; books lose their zest; the charms of learning have vanished; and fame, could I grasp it, is not worth the embrace ! Such at least is the present unhappy state of my mind. Can you give me peace, Mr. Ruminator? Can you dissipate these clouds ? And are you subject to no similar dejections? You seem to pursue your course without interruption through fair weather and foul! But perhaps I know not your difficulties. Like me, you may feel languor, disgust, despondence! O, Sir, how much luckier than I, are you then, who do not stop as I have done!

“ Tu ne cede malis; sed contra audentior ito!"

I am, SIR,

Your constant reader,


August 8, 1808.

To a mind in the state of my Correspondent's, it would be presumption in me to enlarge on the obvious and only topics of consolation. I leave it to the accomplished and eloquent divine, to delineate in their full force the comforts of religion; to point out the views, which never lose their lustre, and the wreath of which the flowers never fade. These and these alone will be powerful enough to counteract the disease, which the present letter so pathetically delineates; and which I myself, alas ! have felt too deeply to be insensible to the sufferings of my Correspondent. Aug. 11, 1808.


[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The following poetical fragments, found among the papers

of an eminent literary person, lately deceased, may for once be allowed in combination to form a paper of the Ruminator.

I will not venture to say that they have never been printed before, though I do not recollect to have met with them. “ Thoughts occasioned by the Funeral of the Earl

and Countess of Sutherland, 1766, at the Abbey of Holy-rood-House. By the late Sir Gilbert Elliot, Bart.

“ See where the Forth, by many a winding shore, Still undiminish'd, holds his way, and see

Yon mountain hoar, a stranger to decay,
Still as of old, o'erlooks the walled city,
Her dwellings, spires, and rocky battlement;
E'en that proud palace, rear’d by human toil,
Still braves the stroke of time, though long untrod
The paved court, and silent be the hall.
These all remain: yet in the mouldering vault
Sleep Scotland's boasted kings, their ancient line
Extinct, and all their long-descended sway
Shrunk to this little measure. O! farewel,
Farewel, ye mighty names, for high exploit
And warlike prowess fam'd; entreated oft,
And oft assail'd by French or English monarch.
Such are thy triumphs, and thy victory such,
O Death, relentless! whom no charm cau sooth,
Thy valour, Bruce, nor all the civil lore
Of the first James, nor Mary's matchless bloom.
Ill-fated Queen! Then wipe your tears away:
I'll weep no more: let the long funeral pass,
And darken all around : I'll weep no more.-
True, they were young; and noble was thy birth,
O Sutherland! and in thy manly mind,
An inmate there, was seated sweet affection,
Yet wherefore mourn? In pity heav'n bestow'd
An early doom: lo! on the self-same bier
A fairer form, cold by her husband's side,
And faded every charm; she died for thee,
For thee, ber only love. In beauty's prime,
In youth's triumphant hour, she died for thee.
Bring water from the brook, and roses spread
O'er their pale limbs : for ne'er did wedded love
To one sad grave consign a lovelier pair,
Of manners gentler, or of purer heart!
Nor man alone decays, this antique tomb,

Where, mix'd with kings, they lic, yon mountain hoar,
And rocky battlement, one awful day,
Shall give to ruin; while alone survives,
Bright and unquenchable, the vital flame,
Portion of Heaven's own fire, which once illum'd
High-minded virtue, or with milder glow
Warm’d the pure breast of lovers and of friends.”


6 The Ballad of Shinkin, with a Latin and Greek


• Of a noble race was Shinkin,

Of the line of Owen Tudor ;
But hur renown is fled and gone,

Since cruel love pursued hur.
Fair Winny's eyes bright shining,

And lily-breasts alluring,
Poor Shinkin's heart with fatal dart

Have wounded past all curing.
Hur was the prettiest fellow

At stool-ball and at cricket;
At hunting-race, or foot-ball chace,

Gods splut, how hur could kick it!
But now all joys are flying,

All pale and wan hur cheeks too;
Hur heart so akes, bur quite forsakes

Hur herrings and hur leeks too.
No more shall sweet Metheglin

Be drank at good Montgomery;
And if love's sore last six days more,

Adieu, cream cheese and flummery!"

« AnteriorContinuar »