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Thou guidest me as by the hand
Of some meek spirit, linked in mine, Into an ever-blooming land,
A land of sweeter streams than thine.
And every sparkling drop that falls,
Dear charmer of the sylvan green, Unto
musing heart recalls The OMNIPOTENT—UNSEEN.
Through dreary wood and withered lea
Thy lucid water flows;
Waking the eyelids of the rose.
So in the Christian's panting breast
The springs of living water rise, Murmuring of the Land of Rest,
Of greener woods, of brighter skies.
Mourn not, my heart, the idle hours
That I these pleasant paths have trod, Musing among the peaceful bowers,
Where Nature leads me up to God!
KIRKE WHITE AND THE JOHNIANS,
SOME ACCOUNT OF HIS LAST DAYS.
Unhappy White! while life was in its spring,
Even while I am writing these lines, news has been brought to me of another mind become dark, of another victim at the shrine of Science. Surely there can be no introduction more solemn or affectingly appropriate to a memorial of Kirke White than this tolling, as it were, over another departed intellect. It is to be deeply lamented that Mr. Southey, in that memoir in which he has embalmed the virtues of the youthful scholar, should, either from tenderness to the living, or any other motive,
have neglected to expose the fearful results of that high-pressure system, under which the faculties of White were crushed and annihilated. Were I to consult my own feelings, I too should indulge in a similar silence; but the alarming and increasing magnitude of the evil imperatively demands attention. The accusing voice ascends not alone from one grave;
the cry of lamentation is not confined to a single hearth ; it is not one mother who calls in vain for her absent son! The academical life of Kirke White, even viewed through the affectionate narrative of his biographer, was only a prolonged preparation for a sacrifice. The Death's Head is always visible under the mask. Anything more heart-rending than the sufferings of this gifted Martyr is not to be found in the pages of romance. We read, “ of dreadful palpitations, of nights of sleeplessness; so that he went from one acquaintance to another, imploring society, even as a starving beggar entreats for food.” Alas! that we should have his own authority for adding, that he sought for it in vain.' In another letter he says, “ While I am here I am wretched; the slightest application makes me faint.”
“ I am not an invalid; my mind preys upon itself.” But throughout this season of mental torture the mistaken kindness of his friends was urging him forward ; the worn-out energies were stimulated into a mo
mentary and unnatural brightness, the fire was blown into a vivid but quickly-dying flame. He, too, as if deceived by the anticipations of others, began to dream of a “quiet parsonage,” where his mother might pass the summer months with him. She, alas, knew not of his sufferings; for true love in its own afflictions is always dumb. Yet during all this period, Death was, we may say, sitting with him in his chamber; and every morning that broke upon his weary spirit, found him nearer the end of his journey. Melancholy as was the issue of his unhappy career, it would have been incalculably more wretched if he had survived. The intellect was perfectly exhausted,—the very waters of the mental life were dried up; and this creature of lofty impulses, of rare and poetical genius, of the tenderest sensibilities, of the most disinterested piety, would have dragged out an existence of dreary barrenness—a tree in its early May, dead at the top!
I condemn no individual: my attack is upon the system. Hitherto, the name of Kirke White has been employed only to adorn a tale; let it now fulfil the more important service of pointing moral. Let parents consider the value of those honours for which their children too often pay down the price of blood; and let those to whom are intrusted the hopes of a thousand families, remember
that learning profits the mind only so far as it nourishes and strengthens it, and not when, like a worm, it gnaws up the very root. Oh! if they could see, as I have seen, the bleeding spirit, the shattered nerves, the decayed energies, the palpitating heart, the darkened eye, the bewildered brain, and a series of calamities, the remembrance of which alone calls the tears into the eyes ;-if, I say, they could see these things, they would urge the young aspirant to pause for a space in his triumphant course.
A mind once beaten down, riseth not again; this temple, once overthrown, cannot be rebuilt. If he who perished on his road to glory had but abandoned for a little year the scene of his labours, he might now have been an eloquent, a fruitful, and a beloved servant of his Divine Master, blessing, and blest by thousands. With such a reward, the Christian could well have spared the first place in the SenateHouse.
For the following recollections of one who has awakened sympathy in so many hearts, I am indebted to a friend of the poet and of myself, who desíres to be distinguished only by the name of Seymour.