Page images
PDF
EPUB

up; those were the words, 'give me up. That was noble ; and then she pitied me; but I was not to be thwarted. I took her with me to the cottage. Ernest de Fleury was there. I joined their hands and ran out - I ran home, and - and -- old as I was, I threw myself into my mother's arms, and burst into tears. Oh! GREAT GOD of this strange universe! what is like unto a mother's love? There I sat all of the day -- all of the evening, my head pressed against the breast that had given me life and nourishment, and there, in broken sentences, amidst sobs, and tears, and groans, I told her all. And my mother, how she sympathized with every heart-pang; how entirely did she understand my feelings and my motives ; how tenderly did she entwine her arms around me, until at last I fell asleep upon her bosom.

The next day I returned to Munich. • How long I should have remained away I know not; but at the end of a twelvemonth I heard from my parents that a fearful epidemic was raging in my native village, and that they desired to see me. I went home. The village was in mourning; a malignant fever was carrying off the inhabitants. Rosalie's mother had just expired, and Rosalie herself lay sick unto death. My parents had thus far escaped.

• I went at once to Rosalie's cottage. I became her physician, attendant, nurse. I watched night and day. The fever had reached its height, the crisis had come, and Rosalie opened her eyes on the fearful morning which should decide her fate. I saw that she was saved. A grateful look of recognition beamed in her countenance. She was very weak, but the danger had passed.

• The next morning fatal news came to the village. A letter to Rosalie's mother, now no more, announced the death of Ernest de Fleury. He had been seized with la grippe,' then the prevailing epidemic in Paris, and had died in six hours.

Rosalie was the first to see the letter. One glance was enough; she fell back'in my arms, in violent convulsions.

• Days and weeks and months I watched by her bed-side. At length her strength returned; the bloom once more freshened her cheek. I was full of hope. One morning, as I entered, she sprang up from the bed, and throwing her arms around me, she exclaimed, (as you

heard her exclaim but just now,) • Dear, dear Ernest ! have you

returned at last ? Oh! do not go out again!' Then my cup of misery was full. My Rosalie, Ernest's Rosalie,

- imbecile!' Bernhardi paused; he spoke not a word for five minutes ; then he said : “You know the whole. She thinks that I am her Ernest, and she is happy in my presence. Physically, she enjoys the extreme of health; mentally, alas ! she is no more ! I came with her to Paris, hoping that the change would benefit her, for Ernest lived here; but it is of no use. My prayer is that

my
life
may

be to outlast hers; for what will become of her when I am no more? Do

you blame me for assuming the execution of the law upon that wretch ? You cannot blame me. I blame not myself.

My life is devoted to her. I honor my MAKER, who has given in CHRIST Jesus the great example of a disinterested love. Who

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

was

spared

6

SO

selfish as to whisper to me that . love must be mutual ?' I acknowledge the devotion of woman. I know that often she dies of a broken heart; but I live broken-hearted !'

Bernhardi had finished. I took his hand and pressed it in silence, and came away. The next day I left en route for Italy, accompanied by Dr. O. H. Partridge, then my fellow-student, now a distinguished physician in Philadelphia.

On our return to Paris, after a lapse of more than a year, I made inquiry for Bernhardi, and learned that, several months before, he had left the city with the unfortunate Rosalie, and had gone no one knew whither.

[blocks in formation]

WHEN ALARIC the Goth was defeated at Pollentia and Verona (A. D. 403,) by STILICHO, the general of HONORIUS, and so driven for a time from Italy, the Romans celebrated that event with great rejoicing and magnificence. A triumphal procession and a conflict of wild beasts at once dazzled and gratified the multitude. The shows of gladiators were then forever brought to an end by TELEMACHUS, an Asiatic monk, whom the people stoned to death in the amphitheatre for attempting to separate the combatants. HONORIUS was thus reminded of his duty as a Christian emperor, and soon after put forth an edict forbidding all such exhibitions for the future.

The streets are thronged in mighty Rome,

The gleaming ensigns spread,
While warriors march in triumph home,

With firm and measured tread;
For bowed at last and forced to yield
On rough Pollentia's crimson field,

Stern ALARIC has fled,
And left his ruthless Gothic powers
All crushed beneath Verona's towers.

Those who once quailed at that dire name

May now deride their foe,
And boast as if they shared the fame

Of glorious StilichO;
Of him who felt no craven fears
Rise at the flash of northern spears,

And struck no feeble blow,
But matched with trophies green and high
The monuments of days gone by.

But when the clear Italian sun

Pours down its noontide fire,
The trumpet speaks the games begun

Which idle crowds admire;
And soon from barred and gloomy caves
Driven howling out by troops of slaves,

In grim and sullen ire,
Beasts, the wild brood of many a land,
Pace with loud rage the level sand.

Gætulia's lion, freshly brought

From scorched and desert plains,
And ravening tigers, newly sought

On Parthia's waste domains ;
Bears from the frozen Oder's mouth,
And panthers from the burning South,

Bred in old Nubian fanes,
Make there a stern and ghastly fray
For tribes more savage far than they.

But hark! the trumpet's warning peal

Is sounding as before,
And bondsmen clear, with staff and steel,

The red arena's floor;
The fainting brutes are swept away,
This saved to bleed another day,

That weltering in its gore ;
And Men, of martial frame and race,
Take with slow step the vacant place.

Two, chosen from the warlike throng,

Begin a deadly strife ; One a gray swordsman, scarred and strong,

One in the bloom of life ; This nursed where shows on Hemus shine, That torn from hills beside the Rhine,

From children, home and wife; And high-born matrons hold their breath, All bent to see the work of death.

Their toil was fierce, but short; and now,

Flung bleeding in the dust,
The Thracian waits, with pale cold brow,

The last and mortal thrust;
When rushing forth, till then unseen,
A swarthy pilgrim leaps between,

Strong in a Christian's trust,
And drenched with blood, yet undismayed,
Stays with fixed grasp the uplifted blade.

A light smooth cross of cedar-wood

The gentle stranger bore, Long worn in holy solitude

On Syria's palmy shore : • Romans,' he said, ' for Him whose birth Gave hopes divine of peace on Earth,

Arise, and evermore, Servants of God in act and name, Cast off these works of guilt and shame!

He ceased : a scowl like noon's eclipse

Spreads fast from seat to seat,
And fourscore thousand hostile lips

Loud words of wrath repeat:
They rave and roar as groves of pine,
Waked on the Etrurian Apennine

When storms the tall crags beat,
Till, heaved and troubled furiously,
Breaks in one surge that living sea.

The German leaves his task undone,

The Thracian creeps aside,
The swordsmen flee like herds that shun

Vexed Arno's foaming tide ;
But as a pharos meets the shock
Of waves on some unsheltered rock

Where seas are deep and wide,
Telemachus looked up and trod
That path of danger, true to God.

And when the stony tempest burst

On his defenceless head,
He stood unshrinking as at first,

As free from doubt or dread;
With aspect full of peace and love,
As if he came from worlds above,

And hands in prayer outspread,
He laid him down, nor breathed again,
Whelmed by that host of vengeful men.

Yet deem thou not the martyr died

Warring for right in vain;
His was THE PRIZE FOR WHICH HE SIGHED,

AND HIS THE ETERNAL GAIN :
Fierce ALARIC shall yet return,
And Rome's fair dwellings blaze and burn,

Filled with red heaps of slain ;
But scenes, where man must bleed for mirth,
Shall blast no more the ransomed Earth.

P O R T E R P I P E R.

gazing of

PORTER Piper was a genius; but do n't imagine for a moment, reader, that Porter was a man addicted to poetry, romance, or star

any kind. Porter was a man of far too much solidity to rise into the airy regions of fairy-land. On the contrary, he looked on poets, novelists and romancers with the same feelings of mingled admiration, contempt and fear with which an old owl, surprised by the return of light, regards the noisy tribe of robins, jays and wrens that flutter and twitter around him. Neither was Porter a philanthropist, nor world-improving schemer, with a noddle full of Utopias. He could see neither profit, utility, nor beauty in universal benevolence, and never were the gates of Paradise more firmly closed upon an unbeliever than were the eyes, ears and pockets of our friend against all attacks from that source. No peripatetic caterer for the stomachs and backs of the poor found grace in the eyes of Porter. No sooner did he bring his prodigious mental machinery to bear upon the gist of their mission, than they prudently vanished from his door, without waiting for verbal warning. Porter was neither historian, theologian, logician, philanthropist, statesman, philosopher, poet, painter, nor sculptor. What then was he?

Porter was a mathematician. From the day of his birth he was no common being. Omens attended his natal day, and a few weeks before that momentous occasion his mother dreamed she was delivered of a triangle. At the precise moment of his arrival ad superas,' or rather ad externas, aures,' all the lead pipe fell from the roof and sides of the house, and the owls in the neighboring grove struck up a most appalling hoot, accompanied by the tenor-cawing of a flock of crows that flew over the house at that time. The meek and patient ass, who had stood until then quietly in his stall, and had always been noted for the singular gravity of his deportment, commenced kicking most furiously against the sides of his stable, accompanying his exertions with a most terrific and prolonged bray; while a paper fools'

сар, which had long decorated the paternal walls in terrorem' to the juvenile and boisterous fry that thronged the mansion, fell suddenly down as the new-born babe was borne beneath it to the bath, and, as if directed by some unseen hand, encircled his infantine brow.

Porter, as he advanced in years, was never seen to shed tears, nor to smile, but ever preserved the same invincible gravity of demeanor. He was remarkable, too, for the slowness and deliberation of his movements. When, in infancy, the maternal breast was presented to him, he usually turned his eyes toward it with a pertinacious stare, and it was only after apparently going through a long and severe mental process that he seemed to have the least idea of the use to which it should be put. When grown somewhat older, and sent, with the rest of his brethren, to the neighboring school, he used to suffer the various tricks and petty persecutions of his more volatile mates with the most stolid and unalterable gravity. Many a time did the mischievous rascals insert pins into him, without his apparently having the least idea of what they were doing. Some. times, when his tormentors thrust beyond all reasonable depth, he would appear to feel uneasy, and after some deliberation, would apply his hand to the part afflicted; but such demonstrations of excitement were unusual.

While his companions were engaged in ball, leap-frog, wrestling, and various other juvenile sports, he employed himself with the most intense gravity in tracing lines in the sand, seemingly engaged in the deepest meditation. When the curly-headed rogues were indulged in a molasses-candy pulling,' and were devouring their portions with shouts of merriment, he always seated himself in a corner, and with a solemn expression busied himself in constructing various uncouth figures with his portion of the sticks. He never played at marbles, nor any frivolous games of the kind; but he would occasionally watch the proceedings, at such times, with the most intense interest, and taking the first opportunity, would suddenly pounce upon the polished heap, and scooping up as many as he could hold in his hands, would lumber off toward one of his retreats, with an uncouth mixture of chuckle and wheeze, the nearest approach to a laugh he was ever known to indulge in. If successful in retaining his unlawful prize, he would employ himself for hours in counting and variously arranging them.

One day, Porter, while rummaging over his father's books, which

« PreviousContinue »