Слике страница

without visible disagreement, till at last Luxury betrayed her charge, and let in Disease, to seize upou her worshippers. Rest then flew away, and left the place to the usurpers, who employed all their arts to fortify themselves in their possession, and to strengthen the interest of each other.

Thus Rest and Labor perceived their reign to be of short duration and uncertain tenure, and their empire liable to inroads from those who were alike enemies to both. They each found their subjects unfaithful, and ready to desert them upon every opportunity. Labor saw the riches which he had given always carried away as an offering to Rest, and Rest found her votaries in every exigence flying from her to beg help of Labor.

They, therefore, at last determined upon an interview, in which they agreed to divide the world between them, and govern it alternately, allotting the dominion of the day to one, and that of the night to the other, and promised to guard the frontiers of each other; so that, whenever hostilities were attempted, Satiety should be intercepted by Labor, and Lassitude expelled by Rest.

Thus the ancient quarrel was appeased. Rest, united to Labor, gave birth to Health, a benevolent goddess, who consolidated the union of her parents and contributed to the regular vicissitudes of their reign, by dispensing her gifts to those only who shared their lives in just proportions between Rest and Labor.


47. Death.

O Death, with what an eye of desperate lust,
From out thy emptied vaults, thou then didst look
After the risen multitudes of all
Mankind ! Ah, thou hadst been the terror long,
And murderer, of all of woman born.

None could escape thee! In thy dungeon house,
Where darkness dwelt, and putrid loathsomeness,
And fearful silence, villainously still,
And all of horrible and deadly name,-
Thou satt'st, from age to age, insatiate,
And drank the blood of men, and gorged their flesh,
And with thy iron teeth didst grind their bones
To powder, treading out, beneath thy feet,
Their very names and memories. The blood
Of nations could not slake thy parched throat.
No bribe could buy thy favor for an hour,
Or mitigate thy ever cruel rage
For human prey. Gold, beauty, virtue, youth,
Even helpless, swaddled innocency, failed
To soften thy heart of stone. The infant's blood
Pleased well thy taste, and, while the mother wept,
Bereaved by thee, lonely and waste in woe,
Thy ever-grinding jaws devoured her too.

[ocr errors]

Each son of Adam's family beheld,
Where'er he turned, whatever path of life
He trod, thy goblin form before him stand,
Like trusty old assassin, in his aiin
Steady and sure as eye of destiny,
With scythe, and dart, and strength invincible,
Equipped, and ever menacing his life.
He turned aside ; he drowned himself in sleep,
In wine, in pleasure ; travelled, voyaged, sought
Receipts for health from all he met ; betook
To business, speculate, retired; returned
Again to active life, again retired;
Returned, retired again ; prepared to die;
Talked of thy nothingness; conversed of life
To come; laughed at his fears; filled up the cup,
Drank deep, refrained; filled up, refrained again ;
Planned, built him round with splendor, won applause,
Made large alliances with men and things,


Read deep in science and philosophy,
To fortify his soul; heard lectures provo
The present ill and future good ; observed
His pulse beat regular, extended hope ;
Thought, dissipated thonght, and thought again;
Indulged, abstained, and tried a thousand schemes
To ward thy blow, or hide thee from his eye;
But still thy gloomy terrors, dipped in sin,
Before him frowned, and withered all his joy
Still, feared and hated thing! thy ghostly shape
Stood in his avenues of fairest hope;
Unmannerly and uninvited, crept
Into his haunts of most select delight.
Still, on his halls of mirth, and banqueting,
And revelry, thy shadowy hand was seen
Writing thy name of — Death. Vile worm, that gnawed
The root of all his happiness terrene, the gall
Of all his sweet, the thorn of every rose
Of earthly bloom, cloud of his noonday sky,
Frost of his spring, sigh of his loudest laugh,
Dark spot on every form of loveliness,
Rank smell amidst his rarest spiceries,
Harsh dissonance of all his harmony,
Reserve of every promise, and the if
Of all to-morrows! — now, beyond thy vale,
Stood all the ransomed multitude of men,
Immortal all, and in their visions saw
Thy visage grim no more. Great payment day!
Of all by thee e'er conquered, none was left
In thy unpeopled realms, so populous once.
He, at whose girdle hang the keys of death
And life, not bought but with the blood of Him
Who wears, – the eternal Son of God, that morn
Dispelled the cloud that sat so long, so thick,
So heavy o'er thy vale; opened all thy doors,
Unopened before, and set thy prisoners free.
Vain was resistance, and to follow vain.

In thy unveiled caves, and solitudes
Of dark and dismal emptiness, thou satt'st,
Rolling thy hollow eyes, disabled thing!
Helpless, despised, unpitied, and unfeared,
Like some fallen tyrant, chained in sight of all
The people: from thee dropped thy pointless dar.
Thy terrors withered all; thy ministers,
Annihilated, fell before thy face,
And on thy maw eternal Hunger seized.

Nor yet, sad monster, wast thou left alone.
In thy dark dens some phantoms still remained, -
Ambition, Vanity, and earthly Fame,
Swollen Ostentation, meagre Avarice,
Mad Superstition, smooth Hypocrisy,
And Bigotry intolerant, and Fraud,
Ana wilful Ignorance, and sullen Pride,
Hot Controversy, and the subtle ghost
Of vain Philosophy, and worldly Hope,
And sweet-lipped, hollow-hearted Flattery.
All these, great personages once on earth,
And not unfollowed nor unpraised, were left,
Thy ever-unredeemed, and with thee driven
To Erebus, through whose uncheered wastes,
Thou mayest chase them, with thy broken scythe
Fetching vain strokes, to all eternity,
Unsatisfied, as men who, in the days
Of Time, their unsubstantial forms pursued.


48. The Bashful Man.

I LABOR under a species of distress, which, I fear, will at length drive me utterly from that society in which I am most ambitious to appear.

But I shall give you a short sketch of my origin and present situation, by which you will be enabled to judge of my difficulties.

My father was a farmer of no great property, and with no other learning than what he had acquired at a charity school; but my mother being dead, and I an only child, he determined to give me a liberal education, — an advantage which he fancied would make me happy. I was sent to a country grammar school, and from thence to the university, with a view of qualifying me for holy orders. Here, having but a small allowance from my father, and being naturally of a timid and bashful disposition, I had no opportunity of rubbing off that native awkwardness which is the fatal cause of all my unhappiness, and which I now begin to fear can never be amended.

You must know that in my person I am tall and thin, with a fair complexion, and light, flaxen hair; but of such extreme susceptibility of shame, that, on the smallest subject of confusion, the blood all rushes into my cheeks, and I appear a perfect, full-blown rose. The consciousness of this unhappy failing made me avoid society, and I became enamored of a college life, particularly when I reflected that the uncouth manners of my father's family were little calculated to improve my outward conduct. I therefore had resolved on living at the university, and taking pupils, when two unexpected events greatly altered the posture of my affairs; namely, my father's death, and the arrival of an uncle from the Indies.

This uncle I had very rarely heard my father mention, and it was generally believed that he was long since dead; yet he arrived in England only a week too late to close his brother's eyes. My uncle was but little affected, for he had been separated from his brother more than thirty years; and in that time he had acquired a fortune which he used to brag would make a nabob happy; in short, he had brought over with him the enormous sum of thirty thousand pounds, and upon this he built his hopes of never-ending happiness.

Enamored, charmed, captivated, delighted. — Uncouth, odd, strange, ua. usual, not rendered pleasing by familiarity, very awkward.

« ПретходнаНастави »