Слике страница


There are new developments of human character, which, like the light of distant stars, are yet to visit the eye of man and operate upon human society. Ever since the image of the Godhead was first sketched in Eden, its great Author and angels have been painting upon it; men have tried their hands upon it; influences like the incessant breath of heaven have left each its line upon the canvas; still the finishing stroke of the pencil will not be accomplished until the last, lingering survivor of“ the wreck of matter and the crush of worlds” is changed in “the twinkling of an eye.”

The hemisphere of the present age is studded all over with such pearls“ and patines of bright gold,” as never shone before in the heavens of the human soul. In these latter days, the waves of time have washed up from depths that angels never fathomed, “gems of purer light serene” than were ever worn before in the crown of man. We are now but half way advanced in a new cycle of human history. The race is but just emerging from the long-reaching shadows or an iron age, and coming out into the starlight and sunlight of new influences.

If, as we are assured, scores of new stars have taken rank with the heavenly host, during the last two centuries, stars brighter than they, have, in the same period, kindled up new lights in the moral firmament. Among these new stars, orie, a little lower than that of Bethlehem, has just appeared above the horizon. It is the Star of Woman's Influence. Influential woman is a being of scarcely two centuries: up to that period, and almost hitherto, her influences have fallen upon human character and society, like the feeble rays of a rising winter's sun upon polar fields of ice. But her sun is reaching upward. There is a glorious meridian to which she shall as surely come as to-morrow's rising sun shall reach his in our natural heavens. What man will be, when she shall shine upon him then and thence, we are unable to divine; but we can found an anticipation from the influences of her dawning rays. Her morning light has gilded the visions of human hope, and silvered over the night shadows of human sorrow. There has been no depth of human misery beyond the reach of her ameliorating influence, nor any height of human happiness which she has not raised still higher. Whoever has touched at either of these extremi. ties or at any of their intervening points, could attest that “neither height, nor depth, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present or to come," could divert or vitiate the accents and anodynes of her love. Whether we trace the lineaments of her character in the mild twilight of her morning sun, or in the living beams of her risen day, we find that she has touched human society like an angel. It would be irreverent to her worth to say in what walks of life she has walked most like an angel of light and love; in what vicissitudes, in what joys or sorrows, in what situations or circumstances, she has most signally discharged the heavenly ministrations of her mission; what ordeals have best brought out the radiance of her hidden jewels; what frui. tions of earthly bliss, or furnaces of affliction, have best declared the fineness of her gold, -still there is a scene, which has escaped “the vulture's eye,” and almost every other eye, where she has cast forth her costliest pearls, and shown such qualities of her native character as almost merit our adoration. This scene has been allotted to the drunkard's wife. How she has filled this most desperate outpost of humanity, will be revealed when the secrets of human life shall be disclosed “to more worlds than this.” When the history of hovels and of murky garrets shall be given in; when the career of the enslaved inebriate shall be told, from the first to the lowest degree of his degradation—there will be a memorial made of woman, worthy of being told and heard in heaven. From the first moment she gave up her young and hoping heart, and all its treasures into the hands of him she loved, to the luckless hour when the charmer, wine, fastened around the loved one all the serpent spells of its sorcery-down through all the crushing of her young-born hopes-through years of estrangement and strange insanitywhen harsh urkindness bit at her heartstrings with an adder's tooth-thence down through each successive depth of disgrace and misery, until she bent over the drunkard's grave; through all these scenes, a halo of divinity has gathered around her, and stirred her to angel-deeds of love. When the maddened victim tried to cut himself adrift from the sympathy and society of God and man, she has clung to him, and held him to her heart“ with hooks of steel.” And when he was cast out, all defiled with his leprous pollutionwhen he was reduced to such a thing as the beasts of the field would bellow at-there was one who still kept him throred in her heart of hearts; who could say over the fallen, driveling creature: “Although you are nothing to the world you are all the world to me.When that awful insanity of the drunkard set in upon him, with all its fiendish shapes of torture; while he lay writhing beneath the scorpion stings of the fiery phantasies and furies of delirium tremens—there was woman by his side, adorned with all the attributes of her loveliness. There was her tearful, love-beaming eye, that never dimmed but with tears when the black spirits were at him.

There she stood alone, and in lone hours of night, to watch his breathings with her heart braced up with the omnipotence of her love. No! brute as he was, not a tie which her young heart had thrown around him in his bright days, had ever given way, but had grown stronger as he approached the nadir of his degradation. And if he sank into that dark, hopeless grave, she enswathed him in her broken heart, and laid it in his coffin; or if some mighty angel's arm or voice brought him up from the grave of drunkenness, the deepest ever dug for man, he came forth Lazaruslike, bound fast and forever within the cerements of her deathless affection.

Such is the sceptre; such are the cords which she throws around the wayward and wandering, and leads him back to virtue and to heaven, saying as she gives him in: Here am I and he whom thou gavest me.”

Habits are stubborn things;
And by the time a man is turned of forty,
His ruling passion 's grown so naughty

There is no clipping of its wings.

This truth will best be shown
By a familiar instance of our own.

Dick Strype
Was a dear friend and lover of the pipe;
He used to say, “One pipe of Kirkman's best
Gave life a zest."

To him 'twas meat, and drink, and physic,
To see the friendly vapor
Curl round his midnight taper,
And the black fume
Clothe all the room
In clouds as dark as science metaphysic.
So still he smoked and drank, and cracked his joke;
And had he single tarried,
He might have smoked, and still grown old in smoke,

But--Richard married.
His wife was one who carried
The cleanly virtues almost to a vice,
She was so nice;
And, thrice a week, above, below,
The house was scoured from top to toe,
And all the floors were rubbed so bright
You dared not walk upright,
For fear of sliding;
But that she took a pride in.

Of all things else, Rebecca Strype
Could least endure a pipe;
She railed upon the filthy herb, tobacco;
Protested that the noisome vapor
Had spoiled her best chintz curtains and the paper,
And cost her many a pound in stucco:
And then she quoted old King James, who saith
“ Tobacco is the Devil's breath."
When wives will govern, husbands must obey;
For many a day
Dick mourned, and missed his favorite tobacco,
And cursed Rebecca.

At length the day approached his wife must die. Imagine now the doleful cry Of female friends, and aunts, and cousins, Who to the funeral came by dozens: The undertakers, men and mutes, Stood at the gate in sable suits, With doleful looks, Just like so many melancholy rooks.

Now cakes and wine are handed round: Folks sigh and drink, and drink and sighFor grief makes people dry

But Dick is missing, nowhere to be found,
Above, below, about.
They searched the house throughout,
Each hall and secret entry,
Quite from the garret to the pantry,
In every cupboard, corner, nook, and shelf,
And all concluded he had hanged himself.
At last they found him-Reader, guess you where?
'Twill make you stare :-
Perched on Rebecca's coffin, at his rest,
Smoking a pipe of Kirkman's best !


PARK BENJAMIN. « The Young Prince astonished his father and the court by his dexterity in managing the horse, Bucephalus."-SUPPLEMENT TO Quintíus CURTIUS.

"Bring forth the steed!" It was a level plain
Broad and unbroken as the mighty sea,
When in their prison caves the winds lie chained.
There Philip sat, pavilioned from the sun;
There, all around, thronged Macedonia's hosts,
Bannered and plumed and armed-a vast array.
There too among an undistinguished crowd,
Distinguished not himself by pomp, or dress,
Or any royal sign, save that he wore
A god-like aspect like Olympian Jove,
And perfect grace and dignity,-a youth, -
A simple youth scarce sixteen summers old,
With swift impatient step walked to and fro.
E'en from their monarch's throne, they turned to view-
Those countless congregations,--that young form;
And when he cried again, “ Bring forth the steed!”
Like thunder rolled the multitudinous shout
Along the heavens,—“ LIVE, ALEXANDER !"
Then Philip waved his sceptre,-silence fell
O'er all the plain.—'Twas but a moment's pause,
While every gleaming banner, helm, and spear
Sunk down like ocean billows, when the breeze
First sweeps along and bends their silvery crests
Ten thousand trumpets rung amid the hail
Of armies, as in victory,—Live the King!
And Philonicus, the Pharsalian, kneeled:
From famous Thessaly a horse he brought,
A matchless horse. Vigor and beauty strove
Like rival sculptors carving the same stone,
To win the mastery; and both prevailed.

« ПретходнаНастави »