Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The following remarks on “manner," as the common phrase is, we believe to be essentially correct, as they are certainly felicitous in the expression. Archbishop Whately, at least, will corroborate them.

“ All rules are dead; 't is from the heart you

draw
The living lustre, and unerring law.
A state of thinking in your manner show,
Nor fiercely soaring, nor supinely low:
Others their lightness and each inward fault
Quench in the stillness of your deeper thought.
Let all your gestures fixed attention draw,
And wide around infuse infectious awe;
Present with God by recollection seem,
Yet present, by your cheerfulness, with them."

The lines,

“ Some gentle souls to gay indifference true,

Nor hope, nor sear, nor think the more for you,” remind us of the uncivil observation of John Wesley, —“Oh, how hard it is to be shallow enough for a polite audience !”

The following passage from the piece entitled, “On listening to the Vibrations of a Clock,” is much in the manner of Young.

“How the past moment dies, and throbs no more !

What worlds of parts compose the rolling hour!
The least of these a serious care demands;
For though they 're little, yet they're golden sands :

非 *

Cease, man, to lavish sums thou ne'er hast told !

Angels, though deathless, dare not be so bold.” The poetical paraphrase of the words, “ She that liveth in pleasure, is dead while she liveth,is very powerfully conceived and uttered. As has been said on another occasion, it is “indeed poetry by the mere force of truth.” Some persons, whose eyes will rest on the lines we shall quote, may possibly peruse therein the phenomena of their own consciousness. And if they do this in the spirit in which it ought to be done, they may experience wholesome pangs of soul, analogous to those which are said to attend the return of palsied bodies to life. May they, in like manner, prove to them the sign and promise of awaking spiritual sensibility !

The movement of the opening lines will remind the reader of a well-known passage in the letter of “ Eloisa to Abelard.”

“How hapless is th' applauded virgin's lot,

Her God forgetting, by her God forgot!
Stranger to truth, unknowing to obey,
In error nursed, and disciplined to stray ;
Swoln with self-will, and principled in pride,
Sense all her good, and passion all her guide:
Pleasure its tide, and flattery lends its breath,
And smoothly waft her to eternal death!

A goddess here, she sees her votaries meet,
Crowd to her shrine, and tremble at her feet;
She hears their vows, believes their life and death
Hangs on the wrath and mercy of her breath;
Supreme in fancied state she reigns her hour,
And glories in her plenitude of power :
Herself the only object worth her care,
Since all the kneeling world was made for her.

“For her, creation all its stores displays,
The silkworms labor, and the diamonds blaze:
Air, earth, and sea conspire to tempt her taste,
And ransacked nature furnishes the feast.
Life's gaudiest pride attracts her willing eyes,
And balls, and theatres, and courts arise :
Italian songsters pant her ear to please,
Bid the first cries of infant reason cease,
Save her from thought, and lull her soul to peace.

“Deep sunk in sense th' imprisoned soul remains,
Nor knows its fall from God, nor feels its chains :
Unconscious still, sleeps on in error's night,
Nor strives to rise, nor struggles into light.”

A tone of sweet and confiding piety pervades the first Hymn. It was probably written after his spirit had found repose in the bosom of the “ Brethren.” We should like to see those parts of it which are not marred by any peculiarities of doctrine, in the hymn-books of our churches. We must confine our extracts to the following verses.

No, my dear Lord, in following thee,
Not in a dark uncertainty

This foot obedient moves;
- 3D s.

20

VOL. XXI.

VOL. III.

NO. II.

'Tis with a Brother and a King,
Who many to his yoke will bring,

Who ever lives and ever loves.
“Now, then, my Way, my Truth, my Life!
Henceforth let sorrow, doubt, and strife

Drop off like autumn leaves;
Henceforth, as privileged by thee,
Simple and undistracted be

My soul, which to thy sceptre cleaves.
Let me my weary mind recline
On that eternal love of thine,

And human thoughts forget;
Childlike attend what thou wilt say;
Go forth and do it while 't is day,

Yet never leave my sweet retreat." There is a quick, stirring movement, in many of the hymns of the Methodists and Moravians, which we should be glad to see introduced into our more staid and precise religious assemblies. Some of these hymns, we are happy to notice, have actually found their way into the collections which have been lately made for public worship. It is not, we believe, a wholly strange phenomenon, that the slow and heavy progress of a long, long-metre tune is so sedative in its effects, that it proves to be little better, as an aid to devotional trains of thought, than a solemn lullaby. Might it not be well to intersperse among these “cantus somniseri,” as Virgil would call them, something a little less persuasive to repose ? The following short extract from the next Hymn of Gambold, may illustrate our meaning

“ O tell me no more

Of this world's vain store;
The time for such trifles with me now is o'er.

“My soul, don't delay,

He calls thee away!
Rise, follow thy Saviour, and bless the glad day.

“ No mortal doth know

What he can bestow,
What light, strength, and comfort: go after him,
The “Epitaph

Epitaph on Himself” contains some striking thoughts in condensed language.

go !

“ Ask not who ended here his span?

His name, reproach, and praise was man.
Did no great deeds adorn his course ?
No deed of his but showed him worse :
One thing was great, which God supplied,
He suffered human life and died.
What points of knowledge did he gain?
That life was sacred all and vain :
Sacred how high, and vain how low ?

He knew not here, but died to know.And now we close and crown our poetical extracts with the whole of that short piece, which first directed our attention to Gambold. He who can read it without intense interest, without recognising in every line of its sad strain, the betokenings of his own spirit in its self-questioning moods, may be sure that he has, as yet, lived only in the lower part of his nature ; that there is still a world of slumbering thought and sentiment in his bosom, of which he has not the slightest conception ; and one which, if awaked, would give an unearthly, and hitherto unimagined interest to this present life, and lift his Godinspired soul to that brighter and better state, wbich "eye bath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man” fully “conceived.” It is one of those suggestive and prophetical strains of true poetry, like the “Lines written in a Church-yard,” attributed to a school-boy, and a few others, that the mind selects by a sort of elective affinity, which, when once read, are never afterwards forgotten, but are found hymning on as a vocal accompaniment to the soul in its thoughtful and antedating hours.

" THE MYSTERY OF LIFE.
“ So many years I've seen the sun,

And called these eyes and hands my own ;
A thousand little acts I 've done,

And childhood have, and manhood known:
O what is life? and this dull round
To tread, why was a spirit bound?

“ So many airy draughts and lines,

And warm excursions of the mind,
Have filled my soul with great designs,

While practice grovelled far behind:
O what is thought! and where withdraw
The glories which my fancy saw ?

So many tender joys and woes

Have on my quivering soul had power ;
Plain life with heightening passions rose,

The boast or burden of their hour :
O what is all we feel ! why fed
Those pains and pleasures o'er my head ?

So many human souls divine,

So at one interview displayed,
Some oft and freely mixed with mine,

In lasting bonds my heart have laid :
O what is friendship! why impressed
On my weak, wretched, dying breast ?

“So many wondrous gleams of light,

And gentle ardors from above,
Have made me sit, like seraph bright,

Some moments on a throne of love :
O what is virtue! why had I,
Who am so low, a taste so high?

"Ere long, when sovereign Wisdom wills,

My soul an unknown path shall tread,
And strangely leave, who strangely fills

This frame, and waft me to the dead :
O what is death! 't is life's last shore,
Where vanities are vain no more;
Where all pursuits their goal obtain,
And life is all retouched again ;
Where in their bright result shall rise
Thoughts, virtues, friendships, griefs, and joys.”'

two sermons.

The principal prose writings in the volume under review are

One is entitled “ Christianity Tidings of Joy,” and Mr. Erskine says of it, “ that it was preached at a time when the free grace of the gospel was not much known in England,” (that is, about the middle, probably, of the last century!) “and never did any uninspired sermon give a plainer or sweeter exhibition of it.” The other, on “ Religious Reverence,” he observes,"contains some striking thoughts, couched in most powerful phraseology.” As he gives no analysis or references in support of these assertions, our readers will estimate their value according to the confidence they place in Mr. Erskine's authority.

We quote one or two short passages, as being, in our opin

« AnteriorContinuar »