Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

orchards, its painted woodlands and hollow sighs, shall come and go; spring will prank the earth with violets and verdure; summer shall glow, and deadly winter pale the earth — but over all thou wilt triumph, until this sphere shall heave at the voice of the Almighty, and the trump of the Archangel!

Of the road from Lewiston to Lockport, and of that famous country town, what shall I say? I would say nothing — but I must say something. I feel in the predicament wherein is placed DENNIS BULGRUDDERY, in the play, with respect of his rib. I can hear nothing bad of her,' he says to a guest at the 'Red Cow,' which hotel he kept ; 'you can say nothing good of her, without telling a d-d lie; and in coorse, the less you say, the better.' Thus am I situated and circumstanced, as touching the road and last place herein beforementioned.

With a postillion (of the just-adopted Telegraph) dressed in a flaming red coat, for which he had exchanged his own for a'consideration,' with a deserting private in the Canadian army, we pushed slowly on from Lewiston to Lockport. Mud, without end or bottom — alluvial pudding - thickened and gurgled on every side. Postillion was not to be hurried. No — he was a free Amerikin driver, be Gosh,' was his reply to one or two Birmingham or Sheffield agents, hastening homeward in the next packet from NewYork — 'and he guessed that any body that went for to stir him up in the lively line, would get crucified and come over, almighty slick.' And he kept his word. Through pools, and over particularly stony and dangerous spots, he wended swift as Phæton with his aërial team ; but where the thoroughfare was good, a snail would have distanced his lagging move.

LOCKPORT is famous for its deep-cut in the canal. Representations of this great achievement I had seen in print, and had supposed that it was a marvel of the first water. It came to pass, therefore, when we saw the sole steeple of the village rising over a level country in the east, that we looked earnestly for the Deep Cut. We continued to gaze until we had reached the hotel, when we sallied forth in the rain, with a friend or two, in rabid quest of the wonder. The first view we obtained was from the village bridge. Never was there a more complete disappointment. The line of the canal, to the west, appears very like its usual long and snake-like length; and I put it to the reader, if one very often looks upon a more common thing than a canal, after you have travelled across, and alongside, and around it, for some two or three hundred miles? This, then, was the Deep Cut! Oh, minimum of marvels! A look or two was suffegeance. It was a rainy day; the village grocers were taking in their cod-fish and fly-bespotted macaroni; every thing was gloomy and dismal : consequently it was resolved nem. con., to give the Deep Cut a dead cut, which was suddenly performed.

In the lower town, our vehicular machinery stuck fast in the mud. This afforded time for a maiden lady, of whom I shall speak anon, to sally forth from an indifferent-looking domicil, near the upper quartier, and take her seat. At last, the imbedded wheels asserted their freedom, and went gushing along, at the rate of a mile an hour, precisely like the pawing wheels of a steam-boat in a heavy sea on LongIsland Sound,

Stopped a few minutes to say how-d'ye-do to a clever relation. Found ample time for my purpose, while the coach was lumbering by. Looked out from his handsome law-office upon a wide domain of mud, and meadows filled with stumps, and ancient logs, reeking with the rain. Every thing looked remorselessly unprepossessing. The clay in the road was of a yellowish cream color, some uniform fifteen inches deep, beside. Anathematized the town to my sometime companion, averring solemnly unto him, that if Lockport were built of ducats, and the abdomen of every little hill in its neighborhood pregnant with precious stones and jewels, I would not there reside. I still hold my mind; but mayhap a fair day, a robe of sunshine over that region, and other appliances and pleasaunces to boot, would have altered my opinions. But what I've writ, I've writ— perchance unjustly to the place. But situated, and I might add, circumstanced as I was,' and with my present memories, I must say 'them's my sentiments.' Fair words I blow to the winds, and candor reigns supreme. Yet I have heard those whose judgment is law with me on the subject of scenery, declare that Lockport is possessed of delightful haunts — that the neighborhood around is like a paradise, in summer. I will believe them; and I charge the elements with the verdict of my first impressions.

We soon found that the maiden lady who entered at Lockport was a person of great scholastic acquirements, and of a very communicative turn of mind. A few miles from that town, (which who80 entereth, if in our way of thought, will reach without emotion and leave without regret,) we entered, out of a lonely and muddy turnpike, much the same as that at Lockport, upon that delectable road, denominated Ridge. It is good in rain or shine. Some inquiries being made, whether we were not on better ground, the maiden oped her vocal orifice, and observed : ‘A’yes — that were the Ridge-d Road which we have stricken, on the brow of the hill, o'er which the driver have just riz!'

Shortly after this, she abdicated, and was deposited at the house of a friend by the way-side.

What shall I say of Rochester - one of the Queens of the West? The approach to it is through a delicious country, that will yet be cultured by the hand of taste into a very Eden. What fair embowered towns, with their white steeples, occur at intervals on every side! What a sweet and rosy generation is rising around! We saw

them, as it were, by legions ; fine healthy responsibilities, curtseying or bowing to the traveler, their shining faces illumined with intelligence, made brighter at the school from which they went and came.

The entrance to Rochester, from the West, is impressive by contrast ; and when you are once rattling over its pavements, and through its long streets, you fancy yourself in New-York, or eke in Philadelphia. The suburbs are beautiful. I envied so deeply the lot of some certain friends who escorted us along the banks of the fair Genessee, and showed us the Falls of that charming river, that their residences still rise to my eye as the very acmé of rural establishments. From the roof of one, (which must be a palace anon,) I looked down upon flowery walks, the sparkling cataract, the vast pine forests to the north — the blue Ontario beyond — the city, with its turrets, some of which are like those which peer above an old feudal town in Europe - upon rail-cars rattling to and fro, while the horns of canal-men came musically upon the breeze - upon the shady dwellings of good old friends in the suburbs — and as I looked, I said, This shall be glorificd by Ollapod!'

In a survey of the environs of Rochester, there is enough to kindle the dullest imagination. Prophecy itself will be distanced in its predictions by the swift-coming future. To-day, you may wander over a flowery meadow, or through the tangled thickets of a forest, scarcely as yet redeemed from the darkness of the past ; to-morrow, the new street springs into being; the bustle of trade fills the late quiet atmosphere; the flouring mill sends its busy wheels round and round; the clink of the blacksmith's hammer, the hum of the cotton. gin, the saw of the carpenter — all the sounds and sights of city life, greet your ear and your vision. As I journeyed with attentive friends in the suburbs, I pointed out to them places where country seats could be erected, in the most calm and poetical retreats. Alas! I found too soon, that these sweet recesses were already marked out in village lots, and that within an incredibly short space of time,' they would be converted into paved thoroughfares, and manufacturing or commercial blocks! .

One sees enough in these embryo cities of the West, to dissuade him from any thing like prophecy. The barren place, touched by the wand of enterprise, springs at once into newness of life : a community, famed for pure morality, and the honest but unbending and resolute energies of its members, as in the case of Rochester, goes on from strength to strength, until its friends become surprised with unexpected triumphs, the traveler amazed at the increase of population, and the patriot charmed with the prospect of days to come. For me, there is something of sadness in this stirring and changeful scene. By and by, the music of the pine will be lost to the gale ; the cataract will minister to the stomachs of a voracious public; and the wave that laughed and tumbled picturesquely in the sunshine, will be seduced into the mill-race, or made to minister to the dollarand-cent gyrations of the spinning jenny! Oh, dreadful profanation ! But few will lament the loss of the forest or the torrent, when the

[ocr errors]

* almighty dollar' can be made, by their subserviency or their removal, to propagate and fructify!

WELL — perhaps it is best. You cannot satisfy one gastronomic craving with a green tree or a golden sunset; and a water-fall butters no parsnips. Your turnip will not come from a cloud, nor will your requisite potato drop from a rainbow. Neither do beefsteaks come from the moon. Wherefore, while there are abdominal cavities to be refreshed, for the benefit of frail humanity — while rosy lips are but the glowing gateways of pork, and beans, and cabbage — while these exist, with their diurnal wants and requirements, it will be quite useless to gainsay their demands, or to sentimentalize upon their unpoetical aspects.

Wherefore, I pray and beseech of you, worthy reader, not to expect that I shall, on every occasion, burst forth, like a steamer at the highest heat, into the misty utterance of poetry and of romance. Let us congratulate each other upon our country. It is a glorious one – do n't you think so ? Are you an American ? Give us your hand! You like the stars, the eagle, and the stripes — do you not ? Give us another grip! We shall shortly meet again. Are you going? Give us a lock of your hair. No? Well — never mind; we shall meet again. Till then, God bless you!

Ever thine,

OLLAPOD.

THE STARS: AN EXTRACT.

I walk abroad at midnight, and my eye,
Purged from its sensual blindness, upward turns,
And wanders o'er the dark and spangled sky,
Where every star, a fount of being, burns,
And pours out life, as Naiads, from their urns,
Drop their refreshing dew on herbs and flowers :
I gaze, until my fancy's eye discerns,

As in an azure hall, the assembled powers
Of nature spend in deep consult those solemn hours.

Methinks I hear their language — but it sounds
Too high for my conception, as the roar
Of thunder in the mountains, when it bounds
From peak to peak; or on the echoing shore
The tempest-driven billows bursting pour,
And raise their awful voices; or the groan
Rumbling in Ætna's entrails, ere its store

Of lava spouts its red jets; or the moan
Of winds, that war within their caverned walls of stone.

And there is melody among those spheres,
A music sweeter than the vernal train,
Or fay notes, which the nymph-struck shepherd hears,
Where moonlight dances on the liquid plain.
That curls before the west wind, till the main
Seems waving like a ruffled sheet of fire -
'Tis Nature's Alleluia ; and again

The stars exult, as when the Eternal Sire
Said, “Be there light,' and light shone forth at his desire.

JAMES G. PERCIVAL. 10

VOL. ix.

THE DOOMED ONE.

My grief
Stretches itself beyond the hour of death;
The blood weeps from my heart, when I do shape,
In forms imaginary, the unguided days
Tbut you shall look upon.'

SHAK SPEARE.

1.

THE convict bowed him in his narrow cell:

His troubled dream of life was flitting fast; One day remained, and then the tolling bell

Must measure of his weary hours the last. What theme npon his fancy breaking,

Thus flings its light along his brow?
He seems as one from sadness waking

To some sweet vision now.
Ah! o'er his heavy heart has come
One of those vivid dreams of home,
The troubled spirit loves to trace,
Whate'er, where'er its resting place:
The cottage in the valley shade,
By the tall beech and maple made;
The low piazza, where the vine
In flowering folds its tendrils twine;
The silver brook, that gliding by,
Pictures at eve the starry sky;
The soft, deep hush that evening brings
Enfolded in her balmy wigs,
And in the honey-suckle bower,

His sweet and rural home beside,
Smiling, as in her bridal hour,

He clasps his gentle bride ---Presses her to his heart -- while, see! His little children climb his knee.

With echoing clang the bolts are riven,

And fancy's startled visions roll,
Like mists before the thunder driven,

From his awakened soul.
They come to speak of his hastening doom,
They come to speak of his distant home,
Of the children berefi of a father's care,
And the wife left broken-hearted there;
And, in the kindest tones they may,
Proffer a parting hour to-day.
From the hard pallet where he laid,
He started at that word, and said ;
"Let them not come! I cannot bide

The misery of that meeting yet;
And there is still one day beside,

Ere yet my sun of life must set; My children! my sweet orphan boy!

Each lost, yet loved and cherished one,
Once nursed upon the lap of joy,

Now wretched and undone!
My hcart would break, in each dear face
The ruin I have wrought, to trace!
Yet stay! my blue-eyed daughter bring,

She knows not of my doom or shame,
And I should love to hear her sing,

Of peace and innocence, the strain,

I never more may hear again; And call once more my name,

« AnteriorContinuar »