« ForrigeFortsæt »
Whose bark now tenantless-no sail nor freight,
The winds were hush'd, the breeze was silent, all
charm has crime to give it name, A single drop creates sea of shame.
THE VILLAGE CHURCH.
THERE is something truly religious and simple, in the picturesque appearance of a Village Church; but more particularly however when the congregation are all assembled, and the voice of the parson in its calm, holy and primitive tone, is listened to with an earnestness of pious feeling, which not unfrequently distinguish a congregation in the country from one in the city. The Holy Bible lies open before him, his eyes occasionally rest upon its pages, and are raised again beaming with the inspiration a glance has inspired. I stood within the walls of this humble, and modest temple of the Lord. A solemn silence reigned around, no sound broke on the pure calm air, save the chirp of some distant bird, whose notes came slowly on the ear, and were soon lost, or mingling with those of the preacher, were in unison, wasted to heaven! Occasionally too a weeping willow grated on a neighboring tombstone, which seemed like the token of a Spirit, calling its urn’d sister home!
The service over, I left the church, with an impression on the mind, time can never obliterate.
In the rear of the building was the graveyard; here the eye rested on numerous little mounds, with head and foot stones bearing the name and some tribute to the dear departed. I stood, gazed, and meditated.
A country churchyard is at all times to me a scene of beauty-of sombre melancholy reflections, and indescribable
feeling. Its beauty consists in the religious solemnity that surrounds it-its tendency to produce reflections from the fact that within its walls there lies the mortal mould of those spirits with whom we once associated in the sweet bonds of relationship, and the equal and indissoluble ones of friendship—its tendency to excite those feelings which are beyond description-yet impress upon us the certainty that we shall moulder within those dark cemeteries that lie before us, and pass the bounds of this fair and beautiful earth, to seek that “undiscovered country, from whose bourne no traveller returns.” Such, and a thousand other thoughts, will arise when we contemplate the silence of the grave-the lonely and quiet sleeping places of the dead. A country churchyard is better calculated for meditation and reflection, than a city one. There is in and about the former, a calm, still, silent monotony; nought disturbs the quiet beauty of the scene but the wind as it whistles through the tall trees, or sighs the mournful sigh upon the weeping willow. In the town we hear the busy hum of voices, and the thundering of the wheels o'er the paved streets ;—the mind is recalled from its sombre dream, and mingles unconsciously with the light and worldly things that surround us. The city is no place for meditation among the tombs.
It is in moments of this kind, when the mind is estranged from surrounding objects, that the soul will pass in ideal grandeur through nature up to nature's God; each object that presents itself in a country church-yard, is of an interesting and instructing nature. Over each little mound is seen some testimonial erected to the memory of a departed relative, friend, or lover ;-rustic simplicity marks the scene ; and I feel while gazing upon these evidences of true affection, that here I would like to moulder, and pass away into
the world of spirits, leaving behind some kindred friend to decorate thus my lonely grave,
" And trace upon the new made sod
My name—and bleach it with a tear."
As these thoughts passed through my mind, my attention was attracted to a little slab of white marble, upon which was recorded the following :
“ To the memory of Mary Jones, who departed this life April 16th, 1826, aged 18 years.
“ She was unfortunate, not guilty,
The censure of an unfeeling world,
This implied much, and from an intelligent, white-haired boy, I gleaned the following circumstances concerning the fate of poor Mary: “She was the daughter of poor parents ; here lies her father,” pointing to a new made grave; “ and there lies her mother ; she has been dead these many years." 66 What caused the death of her father ?" “Ah! Sir, he died of a broken heart; the shock was too much for him, I will tell you all about it. There came a young man to our village from the city ; he was dressed different from our lads, had fine clothes ; and some people say he had a monstrous
: power of money. Well, Sir, he courted pretty Mary, that Bob Smith would have married any time,-this stranger man put mischief in her head, and she turned Smith away ; he left her to go to the city as he said, to get his father's consent to marry, but he never came back while Mary lived. Sometime after his departure, Mary became melancholy; she used to go down by that little stream of water ;--if you stand here, Sir, you can see the willow beneath which she
has cried for hours; I used to fish there, and often found her weeping as if her heart would break. She was, Sir, what do you call it, when men betray a maiden-I forget ?" “ Never mind, my little boy, go on.” “ Howsomever, Sir, it brought disgrace on her, and every body shunned her; and when her poor father died, Mary had to go to the poor house, where she was delivered of a boy ; in giving it birth she died.”—“Poor Mary,” continued the lad, the pride of our village; two months ago, her seducer, as the schoolmaster calls him, came back and took away the child ; he placed that stone over the grave.”
66 What became of Bob Smith ?" “ He lives over the way there,I forgot to tell you, Sir, that Smith went to the tavern and demanded a private interview with the stranger man; it lasted two hours, and they say, when Smith came out, the tears ran down his cheeks. I never heard what passed.”
I gave the boy two shillings and left the spot, repeating to myself, “ Alas, poor Mary."
"MULTUM IN PARVO.”
“A respectable lady came to my house, recommended by a gentleman in the city, and stated her sufferings. She has three little children, one is sick. I asked her how she obtained, food for them. “Ah,” said she, “it is nothing new for us to do without food, for we have no way of procuring any." I gave her a dollar, a large loaf of bread, rice, potatoes, &c. Gratitude was pictured in her coun