« PreviousContinue »
Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe,
The sun went down, nor ceased the carnage there,
Departed spirits' of the mighty dead!
I SEE before me the Gladiator lie: he leans upon his hand-his manly brow consents to death, but conquers agony, and his drooped head sinks gradually low-and through his side the last drops, ebbing flow from the red gash, fall heavy, one by one, like the first of a thunder-shower; and now the arena swims around him!-He is gone, ere ceased the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who won. He heard it, but he heeded not: his eyes were with his heart, and that was far away; he recked not of the life he lost, nor prize; but where his rude hut by the Danube lay, there were his young barbarians all at play, there was their Dacian mother-he, their sire, butchered to make a Roman holiday! All this rushed with his blood. Shall he expire, and unavenged? Arise! ye Goths, and glut your ire!
TELL'S ADDRESS TO HIS NATIVE MOUNTAINS.
YE crags and peaks, I'm with you once again,
How high you lift your heads into the sky,
Scaling yonder peak,
THE RUINED COTTAGE.
NONE will dwell in that cottage, for they say oppression reft it from an honest man, and that a curse clings to it; hence the vine trails its green weight of leaves upon the ground; hence weeds are in that garden; hence the hedge, once sweet with honeysuckle, is half dead; and hence the grey moss on the apple tree. One once dwelt there, who had been in his youth a soldier; and when many years had passed, he sought his native village, and sat down to end his days in peace. He had one child-a little laughing thing, whose large dark eyes, he said, were like the mother's he had left buried in a stranger's land. And time went on in comfort and content:-and that fair girl had grown far taller than the red-rose tree her father planted her first English birth-day; and he had trained it up against an ash till it became his pride;-it was so rich in blossom and in beauty, it was called the tree of Isabel. 'Twas an appeal to all the better feelings of the heart, to mark their quiet happiness;their home-in truth a home of love; and, more than all, to see them on the Sabbath, when they came among the first to church, and Isabel, with her bright colour and her clear glad eyes, bowed down so meekly in the house of prayer; and in the hymn her sweet voice audible: her father looked so fond of her, and then from her looked up so thankfully to Heaven! And their small cottage was so very neat; their garden filled with fruits, and herbs, and flowers; and in the winter there was no fireside so cheerful as their own.
But other days and other fortunes came-an evil power! They bore against it cheerfully, and hoped for better times; but ruin
came at last; and the old soldier left his own dear home, and left it for a prison! 'Twas in June, one of June's brightest days:-the bee, the bird, the butterfly, were on their lightest wings; the fruits had their first tinge of summer light; the sunny sky, the very leaves seemed glad; and the old man looked back upon his cottage, and wept aloud. They hurried him away and the dear child that would not leave his side. They led him from the sight of the blue heaven and the green trees, into a low, dark cell, the windows shutting out the blessed sun with iron grating; and for the first time he threw him on his bed, and could not hear his Isabel's good night! But the next morn she was the earliest at the prison gate, the last on whom it closed; and her sweet voice and sweeter smile made him forget to pine.
She brought him every morning fresh wild flowers; but every morning could he mark her cheek grow paler and more pale, and her low tones get fainter and more faint, and a cold dew was on the hand he held. One day, he saw the sunshine through the grating of his cell-yet Isabel came not; at every sound his heart-beat took away his breath-yet still she came not near him! For one sad day he marked the dull street through the iron bars that shut him from the world; at length he saw a coffin carried carelessly along, and he grew desperate-he forced the bars, and he stood on the street free and alone! He had no aim, no wish for liberty-he only felt one want, to see the corpse that had no mourners. When they set it down, ere it was lowered into the new-dug grave, a rush of passion came upon his soul, and he tore off the lid and saw the face of Isabel, and knew he had no child! He lay down by the coffin quietly-his heart was broken! MRS. MACLEAN.
THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
[ROBERT BURNS, Scotland's greatest poet, was born near Ayr in 1759, and died in 1796. He received but a limited English education, to which he afterwards added an acquaintance with Latin, French, and Mathematics. After having been unfortunate in various attempts to gain a living by agricultural and other pursuits, he was appointed an excise officer. As a poet, his rich humour, pathos, and energy, have never been surpassed.]
THE cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They round the ingle form a circle wide; The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace,
The big ha' Bible-ance his father's pride; His bonnet reverently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets, wearing thin and bare;
They chant their artless notes in simple guise,
They tune their hearts-by far the noblest aim: Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise, Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name;
Or noble Elgin beats the heavenward flame,
The tickled ear no heartfelt raptures raise;
The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
With Amalek's ungracious progeny;
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed; How He, who bore in heaven the second name, Had not on earth whereon to lay his head; How his first followers and servants sped:
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land: How he, who lone in Patmos banished,
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand;
And heard great Babylon's doom pronounced by Heaven's command.
Then, kneeling down to heaven's Eternal King,
The saint, the father, and the husband prays; Hope springs exulting on triumphant wing,
That thus they all shall meet in future days; There ever bask in uncreated rays,
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear; Together hymning their Creator's praise,
In such society-yet still more dear;
While circling time moves round in an eternal sphere.
From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,
'An honest man's the noblest work of God;" And certes, in fair virtue's heavenly road,
The cottage leaves the palace far behind; What is a lordling's pomp?-a cumbrous load, Disguising oft the wretch of human kind, Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined!
O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent; Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content! And, oh! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
Oh, Thou! who poured the patriotic tide
That streamed through Wallace's undaunted heart, Who dared to nobly stem tyrannic pride,
Or nobly die,-the second glorious part, (The patriot's God, peculiarly thou art;
His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!)
But still the patriot, and the patriot bard,
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.
I LOOKED far back into other years, and lo! in bright array,
I saw, as in a dream, the forms of ages! passed away.
It was a stately convent, with its old' and lofty walls,
And gardens, with their broad' green walks, where soft the footstep falls;
And o'er the antique dial-stones! the creeping shadow passed,
And little even the loveliest' thought, before the Virgin's shrine,
The scene was changed. It was the court - the gay court of Bourbon
And 'neath a thousand silver lamps, a thousand courtiers' throng;
And higher yet' their path shall be, stronger! shall wax' their might,