Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

24

THREE DAYS OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS,

The second day's past and Columbus -he sleeps
While Mutiny round him its dark vigil keeps :
Shall he perish? “ Death!” “ Death!" is the mutinous cry,
“ He must triumph to-morrow, or perjured, must die !"
The ingrates! Shall his tomb on to-morrow be made
Of that sea which his daring a highway had made?
Shall that sea on to-morrow with pitiless waves,
Fling his corse on that shore, which his longing eye craves ?
The corse of an unknown adventurer then
One day later, Columbus-the greatest of men!

He dreams, how a veil drooping over the main,
Is rent, at the distant horizon in twain :
And how, from beneath, on his rapturous sight,
Burst at length the New World from the darkness of night!
Oh how fresh, oh how fair, the new virgin earth seems!
With gold the fruits glisten, and sparkle the streams.
Green gleams on the mountains, and gladdens the isles,
And the seas and the rivers are dimpled with smiles !
6 Joy! joy!” cries Columbus, “ this region is mine!”
Ah! not even its name, hapless dreamer, is thine !

At length o'er Columbus slow consciousness breaks
Land!-land! cry the sailors-land-land-he awakes;
He runs-yes beholds it! it blesseth his sight,-
The land! oh sweet spectacle! transport! delight'
Oh generous sobs which he cannot restrain !
What will Ferdinand say ? and the Future? and Spain ?
He will lay this fair land at the foot of the throne
The king will repay all the ills he has known.
In exchange for a world, what are honours and gains ?
Or a crown ? but how is he rewarded ? with chains !

Luther.

HITHERTO the too common idea of the great reformer's character has been, that it was a compound of ruggedness and violence. These traits have been so prominent, that the finer lines of his character have been completely shaded from sight. Another reason of our misconception has been, that we too often honour mere daintiness of mind with the names of delicacy, sensibility, &c. Perhaps, however, the finest, richest, and most generous species of character, is that which presents to the dainty, the most repulsive surface. Within the rough rind the feelings are preserved unsophisticated, robust and healthy. The “noli me tangeri” outside, keeps off the insidious swarm of artificial sentimentalists, which taint and adulterate, and finally expel all natural emotions from within us. The idea of a perfect man has always been prefigured to our minds by the lion coming out of the lamb, and the lamb coming out of the lion. Of this description of character was Luther. Nothing could exceed his submissiveness and humility, when a choice was left him whether to be humble or daring; but when duty spoke, no other consideration was for a moment attended to: and he certainly did then shake the forest with his magnificent ire. If we behold him one moment, to use his own quotation from Scripture—“pouring contempt upon princes,” we see him the next, in his familiar correspondence, a poor, humble, afflicted man, not puffed up with pride at the great things he had accomplished, but rather, struck down with a sense of his own unworthiness. As to his violence, it was part of his mission to be violent: and those who lay it to his charge as blame, seem to us, not to accuse him, but to accuse Providence. Not to have been violent, he would not have been in earnest: and here it must be observed that his violence was only verbal. It was merely the rousing voice, to wake Europe from the lethargy of ages. In his opinions and

[blocks in formation]

views, he was the most moderate of reformers. In his coarseness however, his low origin certainly speaks out; yet there is something sublime in the peasant (the miner's son,) dragging popes and kings into his wrestling ring, and handling them with as little ceremony as he would a hob-nailed clown in a market place.

But let us follow him into private life. Here it is that we shall best learn to appreciate him. We will not dwell upon his constant contentment in poverty, and his contempt for riches, because this is characteristic of nearly all the great men, who are really worth more than gold can procure them: but his long, unbroken friendship with Melancthon—a character so unlike his own, and in some respects so superior, as Luther himself was the first to acknowledge, struck us as proof that he possessed much sweetness and gentleness of disposition. Envy or jealousy never for a moment interupted the fraternal affection that subsisted between these great men. Of those passions, indeed, Luther seems to have been incapable. Neither did personal ambition come near him. Though he had so many titles to it, he never claimed the supremacy over his cotemporary reformers. Notwithstanding the great things he had performed, he gave himself no air of grandeur or importance. There was a simplicity and commonness in his habits and conversation, that contrast wonderfully with the revolution he brought about. This simplicity, we were going to say, shows his native greatness, but we correct ourselves and add, that it exhibits that Apostolic frame of mind which all the messengers of God from Moses downward, have displayed. Such men are moulded at once by the Hand that sends them. The accidents of this life have no power, (as they have upon others,) to change or modify their moral conformation. There is a oneness, a wholeness, an uncompoundedness of character in these elect instruments. On their moral frame is chiseled by the Divine finger one idea, and only one.

THE COLOURING OF HAPPINESS.

27

Luther's piety was not put on him, but broke out of him. It flowed in a mingled stream, with his every-day life and conversation. The gravel and the gold rolled together in the rich channel of his mind. He made no effort to exhibit only the one, and conceal the other.

LIFE OF MELANCTHON.

Che Colouring of Happiness.

My heart is full of prayer and praise to-day,
So beautiful the whole world seems to me!
I know the morn bas dawned as it is wont,
I know the breeze comes on no lighter wing,
I know the brook chimed yesterday the same
Melodious call to my unanswering thought:
But I look forth with new created eyes,
And soul and sense seem linked, and thrill alike,
And things familiar have unusual grown,
Taking my spirit with a fair surprise !
But yesterday, and life seemed tented round
With idle sadness. Not a bird sang out
But with a mournful meaning: not a cloud,
And there were many, but in flitting past
Trailed somewhat of its darkness o'er my heart,
And loitering, half-becalmed, unfreighted all,
Went by the Heaven-bound hours.

But O! to-day
Lie all harmonious and lovely things
Close to my spirit, and awhile it seems
As if the blue sky were enough of Heaven!

28

THE COLOURING OF HAPPINESS.

My thoughts are like tense chords that give their music
At a chance breath: a thousand delicate hands
Are harping on my soul! no sight no sound
But stirs me to the keenest sense of pleasure-
Be it no more than the wind's cautious tread,
The swaying of a shadow, or a bough,
Or a dove's flight across the silent sky.

Oh, in this sunbright sabbath of the heart,
How many a prayer puts on the guise of thought,
An angel unconfessed! Its rapid feet,
That leave no print on memory's sands, tread not
Less surely their bright path than choral hymns
And litanies. I know the praise of worlds,
And the soul's unvoiced homage, both arise
Distinctly to His ear who holds all nature
Pavilioned by His presence : who has fashioned
With an impartial care, alike the star
That keeps unpiloted its airy circle,
And the sun quickened germ, or the poor moss
The building swallow plucks to line her nest.

EDITH MAY.

To determine right and wrong, is of more consequence than to comprehend the doctrine of the planetary system : but while it required, in order to unfold the wonderful laws of the planets, the gigantic intellect of Newton, the higher gift of the determination of right and wrong, is bestowed upon the simplest peasant, upon the man who cannot repeat the enumeration table.

UPHAM.

« ZurückWeiter »