Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

And the gray turret of our own chateau,
Look forth to greet us through the dusky elms?
Will the kind voices of our villagers,
The loving laughter in their children's eyes,
Welcome us back at last? But how is this?
Father! thy glance is clouded; on thy brow
There sits no joy!

DA. Upon my brow, dear girl,
There sits, I trust, such deep and solemn peace
As may befit the Christian, who receives
And recognizes, in submissive awe,
The summons of his God.

B. Thou dost not mean-
No, no! it cannot be! Didst thou not say,
They sent us home ??

DA. Where is the spirit's home?
Oh! most of all, in these dark, evil days,
Where should it be, but in that world serene,
Beyond the sword's reach, and the tempest's power?
Where, but in heaven?

B. My Father!

DA. We must die!
We must look up to God, and calmly die.
Come to my heart, and weep there! For awhile,
Give nature's passion way, then brightly rise
In the still courage of a woman's heart.
Do I not know thee? Do I ask too much
From mine own noble Blanche ?

B. Oh! clasp me fast !
Thy trembling child! Hide, hide me in thine arms!
Father!

DA. Alas! my flower, thou'rt young to go; Young, and so fair! Yet were it worse, methinks, To leave thee where the gentle and the brave, And they that love their God, have all been swept, Like the sear leaves away. The soil is steeped In noble blood, the temples are gone down; The sound of prayer is hushed, or fearfully Muttered, like sounds of guilt. Why, who would live · Who hath not panted, as a dove, to flee, To quit forever the dishonored soil, The burdened air ? Our God upon the cross, Our king upon the scaffold ; let us think Of these, and fold endurance to our hearts, And bravely die!

B. A dark and fearful way! An evil doom for thy dear honored head ! Oh! thou, the kind, and gracious! whom all eyes Blessed, as they looked upon! Speak yet again! Say, will they part us?

DA. No, my Blanche; in death We shall not be divided.

B. Thanks to God ! He, by thy glance, will aid me. I shall see His light before me to the last. And whenOh! pardon these weak shrinkings of thy child ! When shall the hour befall ?

DA. Oh! swiftly now,
And suddenly, with brief, dread interval,
Comes down the mortal stroke. But of that hour
As yet I know not. Each low, throbbing pulse
Of the quick pendulum may usher in
Eternity.

B. My father! lay thy hand
On thy poor Blanche's head, and once again
Bless her with thy deep voice of tenderness,
Thus breathing saintly courage through her soul
Ere we are called.

D'A. If I may speak through tears,
Well may I bless thee, fondly, fervently,
Child of my heart!-thou who dost look on me
With thy lost mother's angel eyes of love!
Thou that hast been a brightness in my path,
A guest of Heaven unto my lonely soul,
A stainless lily in my widowed house,
There springing up, with soft light round thee shed,
For immortality! Meek child of God!
I bless thee! He will bless thee! In his love
He calls thee now from this rude, stormy world,
To thy Redeemer's breast. And thou wilt die,
As thou hast lived, my duteous, holy Blanche,
In trusting and serene submissiveness,
Humble, yet full of heaven.

B. Now is there strength
Infused through all my spirit. I can rise
And say, “ Thy will be done!"

DA. Seest thou, my child,
Yon faint light in the west? The signal star
Of our due evening service, gleaming in
Through the close dungeon grating ? Mournfully

It seems to quiver; yet shall this night pass,
This night alone, without the lifted voice
Of adoration in our narrow cell,
As if unworthy fear, or wavering faith,
Silenced the strain ? No! let it waft to Heaven
The prayer, the hope of poor mortality,
In its dark hour once more! And we will sleep-
Yes—calmly sleep, when our last rite is closed.

Evening Hymn.
We see no more in thy pure skies,
How soft, O God! the sunset dies:
How every colored hill and wood
Seems melting in the golden flood :
Yet, by the precious memories won
From bright hours now forever gone,
Father ! o'er all thy works, we know,
Thou still art shedding beauty's glow :
Still touching every cloud and tree
With glory, eloquent of Thee:
Still feeding all thy flowers with light,

Though man has barred it from our sight.
We know thou reign’st, the unchanging One, th' All Just!
And bless thee still with free and boundless trust!

We read no more, O God! thy ways
On earth, in these wild, evil days;
The red sword in th’ oppressor's hand
Is ruler o'er the weeping land;
Fallen are the faithful and the pure,
No shrine is spared, no hearth secure;
Yet, by the deep voice from the past,
Which tells us these things cannot last;
And by the hope which finds no ark,
Save in thy breast, when storms grow dark ;
We trust thee! As the sailor knows,
That, in its place of bright repose
His pole-star burns, though mist and cloud

May vail it with a midnight shroud.
We know thou reign'st! All Holy One, All Just!
And bless thee still with love's own boundless trust.

We feel no more that aid is nigh,
When our faint hearts within us die.
We suffer; and we know our doom
Must be one suffering till the tomb.

Yet, by the anguish of thy Son
When his last hour came darkly on;
By his dread cry, the air which rent
In terror of abandonment;
And by his parting word, which rose,
Through faith, victorious o'er all woes;
We know that thou may’st wound, may'st break
The spirit, but wilt ne'er forsake.
Sad suppliants, whom our brethren spurn,

In our deep need to thee we turn!
To whom but thee? All Merciful, All Just!
In life, in death, we yield thee boundless trust.

MRS. HEMANS.

LESSON LI.

GOOD SENSE AND BEAUTY. NOTWITHSTANDING the lessons of moralists, and the declamations of philosophers, it cannot be denied that all mankind have a natural love, and even respect, for external beauty. In vain do they represent it as a thing of no value in itself, as a frail and perishable flower; in vain do they exhaust all the depths of argument, all the stories of fancy, to prove the worthlessness of this amiable gift of nature. However persuasive their reasonings may appear, and however we may, for a time, fancy ourselves convinced by thein, we have in our breasts a certain instinct, which never fails to tell us, that all is not satisfactory ; and though we may not be able to prove that they are wrong, we feel a conviction that it is impossible they should be right.

They are certainly right in blaming those, who are rendered vain by the possession of beauty, since vanity is, at all times, a fault. But there is a great difference between being vain of a thing, and being happy that we have it; and that beauty, however little merit a woman can claim to herself for it, is really a quality which she may reasonably rejoice to possess, demands, I think, no very labored proof. Every one naturally wishes to please. To this end we know how important it is, that the first impression we produce should be favorable.

Now, this first impression is commonly produced through the medium of the eye; and this is frequently so powerful as to 2517 Deck

resist, for a long time, the opposing evidence of subsequen observation. Let a man of even the soundest judgment be presented to two women, equally strangers to him, but the one extremely handsome, the other without any remarkable advantages of person, and he will, without deliberation, attach himself first to the former. All men seem in this to be actuated by the same principle as Socrates, who used to say when he saw a beautiful person, he always expected to see it animated by a beautiful soul.

The ladies, however, often fall into the fatal error of imagining that a fine person is, in our eyes, superior to every other accomplishment; and those, who are so happy as to be endowed with it, rely with vain confidence on its irresistible power to retain hearts, as well as to subdue them. Hence the lavish care bestowed on the improvement of exterior and perishable charms, and the neglect of solid and durable excellence; hence the long list of arts that administer to vanity and folly, the countless train of glittering accomplishments, and the scanty catalogue of truly valuable acquirements, which compose for the most part, the modern system of fashionable female education. Yet so far is beauty from being, in our eyes, an excuse for the want of a cultivated mind, that the women who are blessed with it, have, in reality,a much harder task to perform, than those of their sex who are not so distinguished. Even our self-love here takes part against them; we feel ashamed of having suffered ourselves to be caught like children, by mere outside, and perhaps even fall into the contrary extreme.

Could “ the statue that enchants the world,”—the Venus de Medicis,-at the prayer of some new Pygmalion, become suddenly animated, how disappointed would he be, if she were not endowed with a soul answerable to the inimitable perfection of her heavenly form! Thus it is with a fine wonian, whose only accomplishment is external excellence. She may dazzle for a time ; but when a man has once thought, “ What a pity that such a masterpiece should be but a walking statue !” her empire is at an end. On the other hand, when a woman, the plainness of whose features prevented our noticing her at first, is found, upon nearer acquaintance, to be possessed of the more solid and valuable perfections of the mind, the pleasure we feel in being so agreeably undeceived, makes her appear to still greater advantage:

espeet the ai Is fade, but they

eing of life, har snall view thr

davning prom as of the morni

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

CONTEXTMENT pr 1rh are usually as me; and if it doe tanishing the des condes arising fro a easy under then

of man, in respe extinguishes all m

a Being who has Edestroys all inori aption, with i

« ZurückWeiter »