Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Arch. Oh, you are the person, then, of whom he spoke so handsomely. I engage you in my service, and consider you a valuable acquisition. From the specimens he showed me of your powers, you must be pretty well acquainted with the Greek and Latin authors. It is very evident your education has not been neglected. I am satisfied with your handwriting, and still more with your understanding. I thank my nephew Don Fernando for having given me such an able young man, whom I consider a rich acquisition. You transcribe so well, you must certainly understand grammar. Tell me ingenuously, my friend, did you find nothing that shocked you in writing over the homily I sent you on trial ?—some neglect, perhaps, in style, or some improper term?

Gil B. Oh, sir, I am not learned enough to make critical observations; and, if I were, I am persuaded the works of your grace would escape my censure.

Arch. Young man, you are disposed to flatter; but, tell me, which parts of it did you think the most strikingly beautiful ?

Gil B. If, where all was excellent, any parts were particularly so, I should say they were the personification of hope, and the description of a good man's death.

Arch. I see you have a delicate knowledge of the truly beautiful. This is what I call having taste and sentiment. Gil Blas, henceforth give thyself no uneasiness about thy fortune: I will take care of that. I love thee; and, as a proof of my affection, I will make thee my confidant: yes, my child, thou shalt be the repository of my most secret thoughts. Listen with attention to what I am going to say. My chief pleasure consists in preaching, and the Lord gives a blessing to my homilies; but I confess my weakness. The honor of being thought a perfect orator has charmed my imagination : my performances are thought equally nervous and delicate; but I would of all things avoid the fault of good authors, who write too long. Wherefore, my dear Gil Blas, one thing that I exact of thy zeal is, whenever thou shalt perceive my pen smack of old age, and my genius flag, don't fail to advertise me of it; for I don't trust to my own judgment, which may be seduced by self-love. That observation must proceed from a disinterested understanding; and I make choice of thine, which I know is good, and am resolved to stand by thy decision.

Gil B. Thank Heaven, sir, that time is far off. Besides, a genius like that of your grace will preserve its vigor much better than any other, or, to speak more justly, will be always the same. I look upon you as another Cardinal Ximenes, whose superior genius, instead of being weakened, seemed to acquire new strength by age.

Arch. No flattery, friend. I know I am liable to sink all at once. People at my age begin to feel infirmities, and the infirmi. ties of the body often affect the understanding. I repeat it to thee again, Gil Blas, as soon as thou shalt judge mine in the least impaired, be sure to give me notice. And be not afraid of speaking freely and sincerely, for I shall receive thy advice as a mark of thy affection.

Gil B. Your grace may always depend upon my fidelity.

Arch. I know thy sincerity, Gil Blas. And now tell me plainly hast thou not heard the people make some remarks upon my late homilies?

Gil B. Your homilies have always been admired; but it seems to me that the last did not appear to have had so powerful an effect upon the audience as former ones.

Arch. How, sir! has it met with any Aristarchus ?

Gil B. No, sir, by no means : such works as yours are not to be criticized; everybody is charmed with them. Nevertheless, since you have laid your injunctions upon me to be free and sincere, I will take the liberty to tell you that your last discourse, in my judgment, has not altogether the energy of your other performances. Did you not think so, sir, yourself?

Arch. So, then, Mr. Gil Blas, this piece is not to your taste?

Gil B. I don't say so, sir: I think it excellent, although a little inferior to your other works.

Arch. I understand you. You think I flag, don't you? Come, be plain ; you believe it is time for me to think of retiring ?

Gil B. I should not have been so bold as to speak so freely, if your grace had not commanded me. I do no more, therefore, than obey you; and I most humbly beg that you will not be offended at my freedom.

Arch. God forbid ! God forbid that I should find fault with it. I don't at all take it ill that you should speak your sentiments : it is your sentiment itself, only, that I find bad. I have been most egregiously deceived in your narrow understanding.

Gil B. Your grace will pardon me for obeying

Arch. Say no more, my child: you are get too raw to make proper distinctions. Be it known to you, I never composed a better homily than that which you disapprove; for my genius, thank Heaven, hath as yet lost nothing of its vigor. Henceforth I will make a better choice of a confidant. Go, go, Mr. Gil Blas, and tell my treasurer to give you a hundred ducats, and may Heaven conduct you with that sum! Adieu, Mr. Gil Blas! I wish you all manner of prosperity, with a little more taste.

LESSON CXXXIII.

HYMN OF ADAM AND EVE.

FROM MILTON.
1. THESE are thy glorious work, Parent of good,

Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heavens,
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare

Thy goodness beyond thought and power divine. 2. Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,

Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heaven,
On earth join all ye creatures to extol

Him first, him last, him midst and without end. 3. Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,

If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,

And when high noon hast gain’d, and when thou fall'st. 4. Moon, that now meet’st the orient sun, now fly’st,

With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering fires, that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound.
His praise who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth
Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix
And nourish all things, let your ceaseless change

Vary to our great Maker still new praise. 5. Ye mists and exhalations, that now rise

From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,

In honor to the world's great Author rise ;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncolor'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,

Rising or falling, still advance his praise.
6. His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,

Breathe, soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling, tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living souls, ye birds,
That singing up to beaven-gate ascend,

Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
7. Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk

The earth, and stately tread or lowly creep,
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord ! be bounteous still
To give us only good; and, if the night
Have gather'd aught of evil or conceal'd,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark

LESSON CXXXIV.

EXTRACT FROM THE BIBLE 1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and be that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shal! live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

2. Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto tbee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

3. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

4. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and hills shall break forth before you into singing, and the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

LESSON CXXXV.

HYMN ON THE SEASONS.

BY JAMES THOMSON. James Thomson, an eminent British poet, was born at Ednam, near Kelso, Scotland, in 1700. “ The Seasons,” and “ The Castle of Indolence," are his best productions. He died in 1748.

1. THESE, as they change, Almighty Father, these

Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring
Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love.
Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm ;
Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles;
And every sense and every heart is joy.
Then comes thy glory in the Summer months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then thy sun
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year;
And oft thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks;
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves in hollow-whispering gales.

« AnteriorContinuar »