« PreviousContinue »
means of a wonderful secret emotion, you are warned not to give thoughts a place in your mind, that might disturb your calm serenity. From him comes the remorse that you feel upon your nightly couch, when you have sacrificed a day at the altar of vanity; or, from too great weakness, have, against your better judgment, participated in follies that custom cannot justify. Happy will be your lot, if you do not drive away from you such a protector, nor open your vulnerable heart to the malicious demon who hovers ever near you, and seeks opportunities to find an entrance into your soul.
And how easily may this happen, since he possesses, like deceitful wit, the dangerous power of assuming all manner of appearances ? Oftentimes he conceals himself beneath the aspect of a pleasure, which he calls innocent, and like the scorpion, lurks beneath flowers. Do not permit yourself to be deceived by his smooth words. By similar means, one like him might deceive the purest of women. Recollect that then only are you innocent, when you can address the searcher of hearts with serenity and calmness; when no crowd of idle desires, no inconsiderate wishes, no discontent, no pride on account of accomplishments which would be outweighed by a sunbeam, in the eyes of the wise, darken your spirit. Listen not to the frivolous youth who hails you as rich in intellectual worth, because the brilliant glances of your eyes have won his heart, and believes you to be virtuous, because he has convinced himself that snow-white innocence must necessarily reside in a snow-white bosom. You are fortunate, that you feel within your breast a desire to emulate the most exalted examples of virtue. But you are yet far from having attained the same condition, when you have only learned this or that sentiment from them. A Clarissa, a Byron, or an Amelia, is the most splendid ornament of mankind; they seem half-way between angelic and human natures. You have all their tenderness of heart, Maïa, strive also to possess their greatness of mind. The first is the gift of Nature, the last must be the result of your own exertions. Delicacy without strength or greatness of mind, is weakness; it is a reed that is bent by every zephyr which breathes. But a soul which has accustomed itself to an elevated tone of thought, hears the call of pleasure undisturbed, knowing it to be a voice which invites to its shores, only that it may inflict a luxurious death, and stands like the cedars of God, which have their roots in the depths of the earth, unmoved by the storms that may roar around. And how can a mind which is aware of its own worth, be otherwise than great ; which has compared this earthen clod with heaven, and days which pass away like shadows, with eternity? What has vanity or voluptuousness to offer, to such a mind? What proportion has a grain of dust to creation ? Must not, if you think thus, the exact fulfilment of the most trivial duty give you greater pleasure, than those frivolous souls are capable of experiencing, who are ever wandering in the gardens of folly, and stare at all things with besotted and foolish eyes ? No, Maïa, the envious demon shall not triumph, in drawing you into the same labyrinths. Unmoved by his arts, you will lend your ear to the calm voice of Wisdom, and walk in her paths at an ever-increasing pace; paths where flowers will bloom beneath your feet, and a thousand seraphs, allured by your humble virtues, hover around, and encircle your soul, so that no evil thing can reach you.
X. Y. z.
FROM 'SOURCES OF INSPIRATION,' A MS. POEM, BY W. H. C. HOS MER, B8Q.
What true descendant of the pilgrim stock,
MARK that pale and emaciated man, with his head bowed over a book, taken from one of those stands upon which the richest libraries of Florence expose their works for sale, and beside which he is standing ! He is too poor to purchase the treasure he holds, but he devours it with his eyes, and engraves its contents in ineffaceable characters upon the tablet of his memory. The copyists of Sarbonne have sent the work hither, in hopes of obtaining a higher price than at Paris.
It was a fête day; all Florence was out; and gay and noisy crowds thronged past the reader. The Florentine lords, with their pompous walk, and magnificent cloaks ; beautiful and high-born girls ; noble matrons on ambling palfries, with suites of valets and pages supporting their embroidered trains; processions, followed by long files of the people, filling the air with their songs and acclamations; all alike passed unheeded and unnoticed by the solitary stranger. He remained as fixed and immoveable as a statue.
His dark olive complexion, thick beard, black and curling hair ; his high and deeply-furrowed forehead, aquiline nose, and stronglycompressed lips; his noble, grave, and poetic physiognomy - all, in his person, attracted attention, and commanded respect. The crowds involuntarily shrank back as they approached him; and more than one young girl cast her pious looks toward the stone madonna, in a niche at the corner, and crossed herself, as she passed him.
• Do not disturb him, but pass quietly on,' said one of these to her companion. * And why, Camilla ?'
He is one that can descend to the infernal regions, and transport thither the objects of his hatred, at pleasure !' *Ah! is that he ? replied the other; and they quickened their
pace. He who had excited their terror, only raised his head, sighed, and was again absorbed in the contents of his volume.
At this moment, an ecclesiastic passing, mounted upon a mule richly caparisoned, stopped an instant, and, in an under tone said to the stranger : 'Read, read! for to-morrow thou diest at the stake!'
Perhaps the stranger heard him. He raised not his head, but remained immoveable, and continued his reading. Night came, and closing the book, with a sigh, he returned it to its place, and quitted the spot where he had remained since dawn of day.
The next morning, as he approached the place where the day previous he had perhaps spent a few happy hours, he found the books gone, and the stand removed, and was informed that the faction of The Placks,' had, in one of their secret assemblies, held during the night, at the convent of Saint Pierre, proscribed him, and it was dangerous for him to be publicly seen in the streets of Florence.
• Eh bien !' was his only answer. A number of friends were soon collected around him.
• You are condemned to die !' said one of them. • Without being heard ?'
*I have proof that they intend this night to set your house on fire, and suffer you to perish in the flames, or assassinate you, if you attempt to escape. Save yourself, then, by a timely flight!'
• I will remain.
*In the name of one you have made immortal on earth, as she is in heaven,' cried a friend, pressing through the crowd, ‘in the name of BEATRICE, I conjure you to fly!
The stranger inclined his head, and accompanied by his friend, turned his steps toward the Roman gate of Florence.
• How will you be avenged on your enemies, for their cruelties and insults ?
The stranger replied not; but drawing from his bosom a roll of parchment, he pointed, with a significant air, to three words inscribed thereon : Divina COMMEDIA INFERNO.' Then casting a last, long, lingering look toward his native Florence, he passed through the gate, on foot and alone.
In all your philosophic drove
You had but one alone;
To flatter a buffoon.
Where was your famed Minerva then ?
Did she concoct the bowl?
To rule, she left her owl !
ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG MOTHER, ON THE DEATH OF BOTH OF HER CHILDREN, WITHIN A BHORT
TIME OF EACH OTHER, AT THE AGES OF ONE AND FOUR YEARS.
A GENTLE seraph, from its happy home
Not long the time, ere Heaven oped wide its gates