Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

eager pursuit of that which is so small a part of the whole? Why spend a life in the feverish pursuit of knowledge, which is every where limited and intersected by ignorance, and which perhaps may burst in full splendor unbidden upon us, on our entrance at the portals of an eternal state? What if I do understand the philosophy of that cloudy drapery that hangs along the western horizon? Does the sight therefore give me more pleasure, while unfathomable depths of wonders lie beyond ? Vanity of vanities!' saith the preacher — vanity of vanities -- all is vanity!!

*Ay,' said I, and if he shall say thus, whose pursuit has been after knowledge, how much more may he afiirm it, who has formed himself from the first, a child of passion, the history of whose existence is the history of his feelings; feelings obstructed, impeded ; at one time crushed by the iron foot of fate, at another trampled upon by scornful men ? If such an one gain his object, what is there in it ? Nothing! And if he gain it not, what a life of torture and folly is his ? Yet if one, on his approach to manhood, find his fortunes so lowly, that it seems presumptuous to aim at the actions of great men; if his honest efforts are met with frowns, and his aspirings with ridicule, is it a weakness, or is it not, now and then to give way to his emotions, to spurn human kind, and live in a world of his own? And what a glorious world, often, is that of his own, when, withdrawing itself from external means of delight, the mind falls back upon its own resources, and rises and dwells in its bright ethereal habitation, above clouds and storms !'

I verily believe a silent twilight hour is a better teacher of true philosophy, than the lessons of the living, or the tomes of the dead.

THE BELOVED.

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN OF GOË THE..

I think on thee, when the last glittering rays

From ocean gleam;
I think on thee, when the moon's glimmering gaze

Paints every stream.

I see thee on the distant way, the while

The dust appears :
At dead of night, when on the narrow stile

The wand'rer fears.

I hear thee, when with hollow roaring on

The wave has rush'd;
To list, in stilly woods, I oft have gone,

When all is hush'd.

I am with thee — be thou however far

To me thou 'rt near;
The sun sinks down -- soon lightens up each siar --

Oh! wert thou here!

SUNRISE IN GREECE.

A DRAMATIC SCENE: FROM AN UNFINISHED POEM.

A flower-garden belonging to the Temple of Diana, near Thebes, beyond which is a

high mountain. Voices are heard welcoming the morn.

A VOICE IN THE AIR.
'AURORA, rise! the orient star
Waits to guide thy rosy car;
Milk-white steeds, a harness'd train,
Chafe, champing on their golden rein:
Apollo comes in royal state,
Marvelling at th' unopened gate,
Where with onward-beckoning fingers,
The vernal hour impatient lingers :
Rise and wrap a crimson vest
Round thy life-awakening breast;
Backward fold the starry lawn*
O’er thy ambrosial tresses drawn;
Fling from thy feet the dripping dew,
And, with thy flowery sandals new,
Take through the arching heaven thy way,
And smile to birth the young-eyed day.'

A VOICE FROM THE GARDEN.
'Aurora wakes, and lifts her head
From her cloud-encurtained bed ;
Mists that o'er the fountain lay,
In silvery wreathings melt away;
Buds upon the bush are flowering,
Diamonds from the trees are showering,
Zephyrs midst the leaves are playing,
Honey-bees are out a-maying;
The fawn has startled from the shade,
Which, in the brook, his light form made;
The glad lark tirra-lirra sings,
As up and around he gaily springs :
Voices sweet from grass and spray
Mingle in his roundelay.'

A VOICE FROM THE MOUNTAIN,
With which gradually other voices jcin, 'till they form a chorus.

'Aurora comes! Around her car

The welkin reddening, burns afar ;
The mountain's brow is crowned with gold,
Saffron robes the woods enfold :
There Diana, huntress, chides
Apollo's tardy, slumbering guides;
Cheerly rousing from their dreams,
Her sylvan nymphs to hail his beams.
With quiver o'er her shonlder thrown,
And drapery oft by breezes blown,
The heavenly goddess heads the chase,
Her buskin'd feet begin the race.
The stag has left his mossy lair,
His nostrils snuff the inspiring air ;
Hounds unleash'd are deeply baying,
Hoarse echo's hollow halls betraying,
Their dew-laps brush the bladed grass,
As, doubling round the rocky pass,
Their cry resounds : ‘Away! away!
The antlered king shall turn to bay;
Far down the bosky glen he flew
Away! away!- halloo - halloo!'

* Aurora is always represented by the Greeks as throwing back her veil, to intimate that Night was left behind her.

During the last lines of the song, Diana and her nymphs appear, sweeping down from the east, and returning lower toward the forest, disappear.

Antigoné appears, listening.
A strain of music, if mine ear be true,
Stole wandering down the wind. What could it be
With such rich cadence, dying upon the flowers ?
'Tis said, in this kind maidenliest month,
When with the rosy hour Apollo smiles
Or his cold sister, Dian, our own goddess,
Queens it among the stars, spirits roam abroad
O'er the green bosom of the childing earth,*
Hymning with heavenly-stringéd instruments.
Perchance 't was one of these, for 'tis a morn
That wears unwonted loveliness. The breeze,
The gentle breeze, that fans the fresh-blown flowers
Is burdened with their fragrance, and the sky
Hath not one gossamer cloud to veil her brow.
I would I were a spirit, to sing its beauty !
A delicate spirit, that voyages on the air,
Living its music-life of bliss ambrosial !
I would not then shrink from those dreams that leave
Dark auguries upon my soul, nor see
The forms I love with sorrow visited;
Nor kiss with yearning lips, as I, alas!
Have done, their cold brow, heeding not my touch.
I do remember me, when once I stood
With my pale mother on this spot, to gaze
On yon deep heaven.'
Ismené, entering with a garland.

Here, sister! I have brought
A fairy gift for you. Can you divine
Whose cunning hand has wreathed these beautiful flowers ?
You smile: and yet your secret shall be safe ;
I'll but reveal it to the wind-wooed leaves,
Indulgent to a tale so like their own,
And it shall go no farther. I have found it
Hung on the marble pillar of our home;
And the gold-coated bee, that wound itself
Into the red bud's shrinking bosom, says
It came from the prince Haëmon.'

[blocks in formation]

* The ebilding autumn, angry winter change
Their wonted liveries.'

MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.

ANTIGONE.

'Tis thine,
Cerulean blue, as was our mother's eye,
Ismené.

ISMENE.
'And — here is the clustering almond,

That wastes its loveliness, a sunny day -
The orange blossom, with a virtue left,
When the leaves droop, to live in golden fruit -
And that too fades. I'd have thee not as frail,
But lovely ever as some flower perennial.
My own Antigoné –

ANTIGONE.

And canst thou not,
Dear foolish fancier, a wild flower find,
A semblance of thy self, amidst this group ?
And yet thou 'rt rather as a young-eyed fawn,
Witching with sweet ways the world's coldest heart.'

ISMENE.
* And for that pretty saying I will crown
Thee as he thinks thee - queen. Here let me wreathe
This odorous chaplet round thy brow, and when
The prince shall come, he shall be told how well

It did become thee.'
Elizabeth-toun, (N, J.,) 1837.

[blocks in formation]

AMERICAN SOCIETY,

NUMBER THREE.

'If the world is ever to be reformed, woman, sensible, enlightened, well-educated and principled, must be the original mover in the great work.

FLINT. We hear a great deal about the influence of woman. For many years past, it has been the favorite theme of moralists, both in Europe and America. We have volume after volume addressed to us, teaching our duties as wives, as mothers, and as mistresses of families. We have committed to our charge, and very justly too, the entire guidance of the nursery, and the early training of its beloved inmates. And we are also told, that it is our task to be the original mover in the great work of reforming the world. Respecting the justice of this imposed duty, we shall here make no inquiry. Our business now is to examine the aggregate state of American female society, and to see how far we have been benefitted by the exertions that have been made to bring us to a sense of our responsibilities.

Although the varieties of female character are as numerous as nature and circumstances can make them, yet it will be sufficient for our purpose to divide them into four classes : the fashionable, the domestic, the intellectual, and the religious. In making a classification of a being as complex as man, all we can do is, to select the prominent, distinctive features, as there is scarcely an individual who does not unite some qualities to these, which may belong to a different order.

In the fashionable class, are included all those of every station in life, who are guided by the tastes and opinions, and follow the habits and customs, of the fashionable world. For, in our acceptation of the term, the mechanic's daughter, whose chief pleasure is in dress and visiting, is as essentially fashionable as the heiress of the wealthy merchant, whose enjoyment is derived from the same sources; though one may be decked in vulgar finery, while the other is dressed in strict accordance with the latest European costume, and the former is trudging on foot to gossip with her acquaintance, while the latter, in making her morning calls, is borne from one mansion to another in her splendid equipage.

If it can be denied that this order is the most numerous, still it must be acknowledged, that it is the one whose influence is most prominent and pervading. It ought to be the business of the others to counteract the evil effects of this perverted influence; but with a few bright exceptions here and there, all are content to submit to the guidance of this — the reigning class. Whether it be owing to ignorance, indolence, or want of reflection, we will not say; but certain it is, that there has as yet been no strenuous or united effort made to reform their own sex, by those upon whom the responsibility rests. And it is for this reason, that those usurpers have so long and so firmly maintained their tyrannizing supremacy.

Among the most striking faults evident in our fashionable females, the most ludicrous is their avowed preference for every thing foreign and imported, whether it be a bonnet, a pier-table, or a man. American manufactures, American productions, or American gentlemen, savor of vulgarity, and want of gentility; but European is the talismanic adjunct, which, when affixed to any thing, whatever it may be, gives it an adventitious value, even if it has no inherent one. We are frequently told, with all due consequence, that such an article or such a person came from London or Paris; and though we are expected to be deeply impressed with the great importance of this fact, yet we can see nothing better, more beautiful, or more worthy of respect, than we daily meet with in our own specimens of nature's handy-work — man- or that of our native artisans. Though our countrymen may be less skilled in the obsequious gallantry of foreign coxcombs, and though their manners may seldom equal the bowing graces of the French dancing-master, or the nobleman's valet, yet the generality of them are men whose tastes and pursuits are worthy of their sex. It is true, that fashionable women may find them less suited to play the agreeable' as morning visitors, or in dancing attendance on their whims and caprices at the midnight assembly; yet they possess the qualities of intellect and character that are requisite to make good husbands and faithful friends. Instead of contemning the professional man, or the man of business, for his awkwardness, his mauvaise honte, or his ignorance of the trilling ceremonies of society, we should honor him for it, as a convincing proof that his time and attention have been more nobly, more rationally employed, than in practising the airs and graces necessary to make him a lady's man,' or in assiduously studying · The Laws of Etiquette,' for the important information of the size and number of cards necessary to be left upon a morning call, and whether they should be engraved

« AnteriorContinuar »