« ПретходнаНастави »
ecstacy, when she reflected that it was her province to live entirely for others; to compose the felicity of a great people ; to move in a sphere which would afford scope for the exercise of philanthropy the most enlarged, of wisdom the most enlightened; and that, while others are doomed to pass through the world in obscurity, she was to supply the materials of history, and to impart that impulse to society which was to decide the destiny of future generations. Fired with the ambition of equalling, or surpassing, the most distinguished of her predecessors, she probably did not despair of reviving the remembrance of the brightest parts of their story, and of once more attaching the epoch of British glory to the annals of a female reign. It is needless to add, that the nation went with her, and probably outstripped her in these delightful anticipations. We fondly hoped that a life so inestimable, would be protracted to a distant period, and that after diffusing the blessings of a just and enlightened administration, and being surrounded by a numerous progeny, she would gradually, in a good old age, sink under the horizon, amidst the embraces of her family, and the benedictions of her country.
But, alas ! these delightful visions are fled, and what do we behold in their room, but the funeral pall and shroud, a palace in mourning, a nation in tears, and the shadow of death settled over both like a cloud ! O the unspeakable vanity of human hopes ! the incurable blindness of man to fu. turity ! ever doomed to grasp at shadows, to seize with avidity what turns to dust and ashes in his hand, “to sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind.”
Without the slightest warning, without the opportunity of a moment's immediate preparation, in the midst of the deepest tranquillity, at midnight a voice was heard in the palace, not of singing men and singing women, not of revelry and mirth, but the cry, “ Behold the bridegroom cometh !” The mother in the bloom of youth, spared just long enough to hear the tidings of her infant's death, almost immediately, as if summoned by his spirit, follows him into eternity. “ It is a night much to be remembered.” Who foretold this event, who conjectured it, who detected at a distance the faintest presage of its approach, which, when it arrived, mocked the efforts of human skill, as much by their incapacity to prevent, as their inability to foresee it! Unmoved by the tears of conjugal affection, unawed by the presence of grandeur and the prerogatives of power, inexorable death hastened to execute his stern commission, leaving nothing
to royalty itself, but to retire and weep. Who can fail to discern, on this awful occasion, the hand of Him who “bringeth princes to nothing, who maketh the judges of the earth as vanity;" who says, “they shall not be planted ; yea, they shall not be sown; yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth;” and he “shall blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.”
But is it now any subject of regret, think you, to this amiable Princess so suddenly removed, “ that her sun went down while it was yet day," or that, prematurely snatched from prospects the most brilliant and enchanting, she was compelled to close her eyes so soon on a world, of whose grandeur she formed so conspicuous a part? No! in the full fruition of eternal joys, for which we humbly hope Religion prepared her, she is so far from looking back with lingering regret on what she has quitted, that she is surprised it had the power of affecting her so much ;that she took so deep an interest in the scenes of this shadowy state of being, while so near to an “eternal weight of glory;" and, as far as memory may be supposed to contribute to her happiness, by associating the present with the past, it is not the recollection of her illustrious birth and elevated prospects, but that she visited the abodes of the poor, and learned to weep with those that weep; that, surrounded with the fascinations of pleasure, she was not inebriated by its charms; that she resisted the strongest temptations to pride, preserved her ears open to truth, was impatient of the voice of flattery; in a word, that she sought and cherished the inspirations of piety, and walked humbly. with her God.
The nation has certainly not been wanting in the proper expression of its poignant regret, at the sudden removal of this most lamented Princess, nor of their sympathy with the royal family, deprived by this visitation of its brightest ornament. Sorrow is painted in every countenance, the pursuits of business and of pleasure have been suspended, and the kingdom is covered with the signals of distress. But what, my friends, (if it were lawful to indulge such a thought) what would be the funeral obsequies of a lost soul? Where shall we find tears fit to be wept at such a spectacle ; or, could we realize the calamity in all its extent, what tokens of commiseration and concern would be deemed equal to the occasion ? Would it suffice for the sun to veil his light, and the moon her brightness; to cover the ocean with mourning and the heavens with
sackcloth ; or, were the whole fabric of nature to become ani. mated and vocal, would it be possible for her to utter a groan too deep, or a cry too piercing, to express the magnitude and extent of such a catastrophe !*
We once have loved, though love is at an end:
will dream it had a friend. Who with the weight of years would wish to bend,
When Youth itself survives young Love and Joy?
Death hath but little left him to destroy !
To gaze on Dian's wave-reflected sphere;
And flies unconscious o’er each backward year.
Dearer than self, possesses or possessed
breast Would still, albeit in vain, the heavy heart divest. To sit on rocks, to muse o'er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest's shady scene,
And mortal foot hath ne'er, or rarely been ;
With the wild flock that never needs a fold; Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean,
This is not solitude ; 'tis but to hold Conve se with Nature's charms, and view her stores unrolled.
* As this selection of the justly celebrated Sermon has been copied without remark into other“ Collections,” the Editor of this volume deems it necessary to say that it was originally selected, as it is here given, by him,
But, 'midst the crowd, the humi, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess, And roam along the world's tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless ; Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued, If we were not, would seem to smile the less,
Of all that flattered, followed, sought and sued, This is to be alone; this, this is solitude !
A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF AFFECTION IN
Rev. GEORGE CRABBE.*
YES ! there aret real mourners- I have seen
* This exemplary divine, and nature's admired truth-loving poet, died in 1832, aged 78. He was born at Aldborough, in Suffolk.
+ The copula here (" are”) is accented. Readers in general are apt to give the copula “is'' or "not"
an emphatic force when the predicate should plainly receive it ;—thus, in the proposition “truly
pred. God is | loving | unto Israel,” we often hear the copula “is" made emphatic, when the subject “God” and the predicate “ loving' demand the emphasis. In some cases, however, “the copula” is properly the emphatic word when the proposition may be considered as in opposition to its contradictory; and then, if the proposition be affirmative (as in the present example) the verb is or are is accented ; if negative, the adverb not. And with reference to the Decalogue, as Archbishop Whately most judiciously observes, if it had been a question whether we ought to steal or not, the commandment in answer to that, would have been rightly pronounced, “Thou shalt not steal ;" – but the question being, what things we are forbidden to do, the answer is that “to stea!” is one of them, and, consequently, the command should be read “. Thou shalt not steal.”
Then to her mind was all the past displayed,
Happy he sailed, and great the care she took,
comfort men at sea can know,
He called his friend, and prefaced, with a sigh, A lover's message-Thomas, I must die : Would I could see my Sally, and could rest My throbbing temples on her faithful breast, And gazing go!—if not this trifle take, And say,
till death, I wore it for her sake :
He had his wish—had more; I will not paint