Page images

When Music, heavenly maid, was young,
While yet in early Greece she sung,
The Passions'oft, to hear her shell,
Thronged around her magic cell,
Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting, -
Possessed beyond the Muse's painting.
By turns they felt the glowing mind
Disturbed, delighted, raised, refined :
Till once, 't is said, when all were fired,
Filled with fury, rapt, inspired,
From the supporting myrtles round
They snatched her instruments of sound;
And, as they oft had heard apart
Sweet lessons of her forceful art,
Each, (for madness ruled the hour,)
Would prove his own expressive power.
First, Fear, his hand, its skill to try,

Amid the chords bewildered laid ;
And back recoiled, he knew not why,

Even at the sound himself had made.

Next, Anger rushed : his eyes on fire,

In lightnings owned his secret stings :
With one rude clash he struck the lyre,

And swept with hurried hands the strings.
With woful measures, wan Despair

Low sullen sounds his grief beguiled ;
A solemn, strange, and mingled air :

'T was sad, by fits ; — by starts, 't was wild.
But thou, O Hope! with eyes so fair,

What was thy delighted measure ?

Still it whispered promised pleasure,
And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail.

Still would her touch the strain prolong;
And from the rocks, the woods, the vale,
She called on Echo still through all her song:

And, where her sweetest theme she chose,

A soft responsive voice was heard at every close ; And Hope, enchanted, smiled, and waved her golden hair : And longer had she sung - but, with a frown,

Revenge impatient rose.
He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down

And, with a withering look,

The war-denouncing trumpet took,
And blew a blast, so loud and dread,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of woe:

And ever and anon, he beat

The doubling drum with furious heat.
And though sometimes, each dreary pause between,

Dejected Pity at his side,

Her soul-subduing voice applied,

Yet still he kept his wild unaltered mien ; While each strained ball of sight seemed bursting from his head.

Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fixed;

Sid proof of thy distressful state!
Of differing themes the veering song was mixed :

And, now, it courted Love; now, raving, called on Hate.

With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
Pale Melancholy sat retired ;
And from her wild sequestered seat,

In notes by distance made more sweet,
Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul;

And, dashing soft from rocks around,

Bubbling runnels joined the sound.
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole,
Or o'er some haunted stream, with fond delay,

(Round a holy calm diffusing,

Love of peace and lonely musing,) In hollow murmurs died away.

But, oh! how altered was its sprightlier tone,
When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,

Her bow across her shoulder flung,
Her buskins gemmed with morning dew,

Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung, The hunter's call, to Faun and Dryad known!

The oak-crowned Sisters, and their chaste-eyed Queen,

Satyrs and sylvan boys were seen,
Peeping from forth their alleys green:

Brown Exercise rejoiced to hear,
And Sport leaped up, and seized his beechen spear.

Last, came Joy's ecstatic trial.
He, with viny crown advancing,

First to the lively pipe his hand addressed :
But soon he saw the brisk awakening viol,

Whose sweet entrancing voice he loved the best.
They would have thought, who heard the strain,

They saw, in Tempe's vale, her native maids,

Amid the fatal-sounding shades,
To some unwearied minstrel dancing ;
While, as his flying fingers kissed the strings,

Love framed with Mirth a gay fantastic round:
(Loose were her tresses seen, her zone unbound ;)

And he amidst his frolic play,

As if he would the charming air repay, -
Shook thousand odors from his dewy wings.

1 XI.- THE USES OF KNOWLEDGE.-Alison. The first end to which all wisdom or knowledge ought to be employed, is to illustrate the wisdom or goodness of the Father of Nature. Every science that is cultivated by men, leads naturally to religious thought, from the study of the plant that grows beneath our feet, to that of the Host of Heaven above us, who perform their stated revolutions in majestic silence, amid the expanse of infinity. When, in the youth of Moses, “the Lord appeared to him in Horeb," a voice was heard, saying, “ draw nigh hither, and put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place where thou standest is holy ground.” It is with such a reverential awe that every great or elevated mind will approach to the study of nature, and with such feelings of adoration and gratitude, that he will receive the illumination that gradually opens upon his soul.

It is not the lifeless mass of matter, he will then feel, that he is examining, - it is the mighty machine of Eternal Wisdom : the workmanship of Ilim, “ in whom everything lives, and moves, and has its being.” Under an aspect of this kind, it is impossible to pur

1 A few of the concluding pieces in the first edition, which were designed for the use of theological students, are now displaced by others of a more general character; as the author's new work, Pulpit Elocution, has since been prepared for the purpose of furnishing appropriate professional exercises.

sue knowledge without mingling with it the most elevated sentiments of devotion ; ---- it is impossible to perceive the laws of nature without perceiving, at the same time, the presence and the Providence of the Lawgiver; — and thus it is, that, in every age, the evidences of religion have advanced with the progress of true philosophy; and that science, in erecting a monument to herself, has, at the same time, erected an altar to the Deity.

The second great end to which all knowledge ought to be employed, is the welfare of humanity. Every science is the foundation of some art, beneficial to men; and while the study of it leads us to see the beneficence of the laws of nature, it calls upon us also to follow the great end of the Father of Nature in their employment and application. I need not say what a field is thus opened to the benevolence of knowledge: I need not tell you, that in every department of learning there is good to be done to mankind : I need not remind you, that the age in which we live has given us the noblest examples of this kind, and that science now finds its highest glory in improving the condition, or in allaying the miseries of humanity. But there is one thing of which it is proper ever to remind you, because the modesty of knowledge often leads us to forget it, — and that is, that the power of scientific benevolence is far greater than that of all others, to the welfare of society.

The benevolence of the great, or the opulent, however eminent it may be, perishes with themselves. The benevolence even of sovereigns is limited to the narrow boundary of human life; and, not unfrequently, is succeeded by different and discordant counsels. But the benevolence of knowledge is of a kind as extensive as the race of man, and as permanent as the existence of society. He, in whatever situation he may be, who, in the study of science, has discovered a new means of alleviating pain, or of remedying disease; who has described a wiser method of preventing poverty, or of shielding misfortune; who has suggested additional means of increasing or improving the beneficent productions of nature, has left a memorial of himself, which can never be forgotten ; which will communicate happiness to ages yet unborn ; and which, in the emphatic language of Scripture, renders him a “ fellow-worker” with God himself, in the improvement of his Creation.


Wilson. The rite of baptism had not been performed for several months in the kirk of Lanark. It was now the hottest time of persecution ; and the inhabitants of that parish found other places in which to worship God and celebrate the ordinances of religion. It was the Sabbath day, - and a small congregation, of about a hundred souls, had met for divine service in a place of worship more magnificent than any temple that human hands had ever built to Deity. Here, too, were three children about to be baptized. The congregation had not assembled to the toll of the bell, - but each heart knew the hour and observed it; for there are a hundred sun-dials among the hills, woods, moors, and fields, and the shepherds and the peasants see the hours passing by them in sunshine and shadow.

The church in which they were assembled, was hewn by God's hand, out of the eternal rocks. A river rolled its way through a mighty chasm of cliffs, several hundred feet high, of which the one side presented enormous masses, and the other corresponding recesses, as if the great stone girdle had been rent by a convulsion. The channel was overspread with prodigious fragments of rocks or large loose stones, some of them smooth and bare, others containing soil and verdure in their rents and fissures, and here and there crowned with shrubs and trees. The


could at once command a long stretching vista, seemingly closed and shut up at both extremities, by the coalescing cliffs.

This majestic reach of river contained pools, streams, rushing shelves, and waterfalls innumerable ; and when the water was low, which it now was in the common drought, it was easy to walk up this scene with the calm blue sky overhead, an utter and sublime sol. itude. On looking up, the soul was bowed down by the feeling of that prodigious height of unscalable and often overhanging cliff. Between the channel and the summit of the far-extended precipices, were perpetually flying rooks and wood-pigeons, and now and then a hawk, filling the profound abyss with their wild cawing, deep murmur, or shrilly shriek.

Sometimes a heron would stand erect and still on some little stone island, or rise up like a white cloud along the black walls of the chasm, and disappear. Winged creatures alone could inhabit this region. The fox and wild-cat chose more accessible haunts. Yet here came the persecuted Christians, and worshipped God, whose hand hung over their heads those magnificent pillars and arches, scooped out those galleries from the solid rock, and laid at their feet the calm water in its transparent beauty, in which they could see themselves sitting in reflected groups, with their Bibles in their hands.

« PreviousContinue »