Imatges de pÓgina
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tion of the same fact; and it will be in the recollection of many, that the murderer of Mr. and Mrs. Bonar at Chiselhurst repeatedly declared that he had never dreamt of the enormity ten minutes before its commission, but that the thought suddenly rushed into his mind, and pushed him forward to the bloody deed. Many people cannot look over a precipice without feeling tempted to throw themselves down: I know a most affection, ate father who never approaches a window with his infant child without being haunted by solicitations to cast it into the street; and a gentleman of unimpeachable honour, who if he happens, in walking the highway, to see a note-case or handkerchief emerging from a passenger's pocket, is obliged to stop short or cross over the way, so vehemently does he feel impelled to withdraw them. These “toys of desperation," generated in the giddiness of the mind at the bare imagination of any horror, drive it to commit the reality as a relief from the fearful vision, upon the same principle that delinquents voluntarily deliver themselves up to justice, because death itself is less intolerable than the fear of it. Let it not be imagined that I am seeking to screen any of these unhappy men from the consequences of their hallucination ; I am merely asserting a singular property of the mind, of which I myself am about to record a frightful confirmation.

Standing on the bridge, and turning away my looks from the landscape in that despair of heart which I have described, my downcast eyes fell upon the waters gliding placidly beneath me. They seemed to invite me to quench the burning fire with which I was consumed; the river whispered to me with a distinct utterance that peace and oblivion were to be found in its Lethan bed : every muscle of my body was animated by an instant and insuperable impulse; and within half a minute from its first maddening sensation, I had climbed over the parapet, and plunged headlong into the water!The gushing of waves in my ears, and the rapid flashing of innumerable lights before my eyes, are the last impressions I recollect. Into the circumstances of my preservation, I never had the heart to inquire : when consciousness revisited me, I found myself lying upon my own bed, with my wife weeping beside me, though she instantly assumed a cheerful look, and told me that I had met with a dreadful accident, having fallen into the river when leaning over to examine some object beneath. That she knows the whole truth I am perfectly convinced, but we scrupulously avoid the subject, by an understood though unexpressed compact. It is add. ed in her mind to the long catalogue of my offences, never to be alluded to, and, alas! never to be forgotten. She left my bedside for a moment to return with my children, who rushed up to me with a cry of joy; and as they contended for the first kiss, and inquired my health with glistening eyes, the cruelty, the atrocity of my cowardly attempt, struck with a withering remorse upon my heart.O villain! yillain!


PURSUIVANT and herald of the spring!
Whether thou still dost dwell

In some rose-laurell’d dell
Of that charm'd island, whose magician king

Bade all its rocks and caves,

Woods, winds, and waves,
Thrill to the dulcet chaunt of Ariel,

Until he broke the spell
And cast his wand into the shuddering sedm

O hither, bither feet,

Upon the south wind sweet,
And sooth us with thy vernal melody!

Or wheiher to the redolent Azores,

Amid whose tufted sheaves

The floral goddess weaves
Her garland, breathing on the glades and shores

Intoxicating air,

Truant! thou dost repair :
Or lingerest still in that meridian nest,

Where myriad piping throats

Rival the warbler's notes,
The saffron namesakes of those islands blest-

O hither, hither wing
Thy flight, and to our longing woodlands sing !

Or in those sea-girt gardens dost thou dwell,

Of plantain, cocoa, palm,

And that red tree whose balm Fumed in the holocausts of Israel;

Beneath Banana shades,

Guava, and fig-tree glades,
Painting thy plumage in the sapphirine hue,

Thrown from the heron blue,
Or rays of the prismatic parroquet,

O let the perfumed breeze

From those Flesperides
Waft thee once more our eager ears to greet!

For, lo! the young leaves flutter in the South,

As if they tried their wings,

While the bee's trumpet brings
News of each bud that pouts its honied mouth;

Blue-bells, yellow-cups, jonquils,
Lilies wild, and daffodils,
Gladden our meads in intertangled wreath :

The sun enamour'd lies,

Watching the violet's eyes
On every bank, and drinks their luscious breath:

With open lips the thorn

Proclaims that May is born, And darest thou, bird of Spring, that summons scorn ? “ Cuckoo! Cuckoo ! 0 welcome, welcome notes !

Fields, woods, and waves rejoice
In that recover'd voice,
As on the wind its Auty music floats.

At that elixir strain,

My youth resumes its reign,
And life's first Spring comes blossoming again :

O wondrous bird ! if thus
Thy voice miraculous

Can renovate my spirit's vernal prime,

Nor thou, my Muse, forbear
That ecstasy to share,
I laugh at Fortune, and defy old Time.


Funera plango ; fulgura frango, Sabbata pango.
Excito lentos, dissipo ventos, paco cruentos.

Laudo Deum verum, plebem yoco, conjugo clerum,
Defunctos ploro, pestem fugo, festa decorò.

Monkish Inscriptions on Bells.

I HAD wandered for a long tiine, one summer's morning, through the successive copses and thinly wooded glades that constitute the remains of Sherwood Forest, pondering upon the days of old, when their deeper and more extensive shades echoed to the horn of Robin Hood, and that romantic outlaw might have started from the thickets through which I was strolling, clad in Lincoln green and accoutred with bow and arrow, to challenge me for intruding upon his leafy haunts; when I observed that the trees, growing gradually thinner, opened at length upon a small lawn, in the centre of which was a piece of water, dotted along its banks with a few straggling oaks. Throwing myself down upon its margin, I was struck with the marvellous transparency of the limpid element, which resembled a mirror spread out upon the grass, reflecting every object of this sequestered nook with a precision that actually confused apprehension by its very clear

Never was so perfect a piece of mimicry. The blue depths of heaven, with the rich colours and majestic motion of the slowly sailing clouds, were not only copied in the hemisphere beneath me, but a goat, that had climbed an overhanging crag by my side, saw himself so perfectly represented below that he made every demonstration of attack with his butting head, as if preparing to leap down upon his shadowy opponent. A squirrel seened to be running up to me out of the water upon the trunk of a reflected tree, upon whose extreme branches a thrush sat piping, as if singing to me from the bottom of the little lake. Other tenants of the air, as they Аuttered above, were seen reflected in the wave beneath ; while fishes now and then darted like meteors athwart these commingled birds and boughs and skies, as if the elements and their respective inhabitants were all confused together. As I perused this cross-reading of Nature with a complacent admiration, the rising breeze wafted towards me from a neighbouring village the melodious chime of its bells, with the echoes of which I had not only been familiar in my boyish days, but had often stolen into the belfry to awaken them myself, though I never merited the appellation of a scientific ringer. I turned my listless steps towards the church, as the sound died away upon the wind, and again at intervals threw its music upon the air, musing upon the almost forgotten feelings with which I had listened to the same mellow tones in my childhood-anticipating the period, now rapidly approaching, when I should lie in the earth beneath them, deaf to their loudest peals--and whispering to myself, in the beautiful words of Moore,


“ That other bards would walk these dells,

And listen to the Sabbath bells;'S

when I fell into a train of thought upon the great sympathy and connexion that exists between these sonorous chroniclers and the public history of the country, as well as the successive stages and leading incidents of every man's private life.

In the absence of any other national music, let us not disdain to appropriate to ourselves that which

« AnteriorContinua »