« ForrigeFortsæt »
He loveth, He chasteneth. The stones must be beaten by the hammer before they are fit for the temple. Who would not hasten to the Supper of the Lamb, though he be summoned by a fierce messenger? who would not go to heaven with Elijah, though it were in a whirlwind ?' Let us, my friend, remember these things in the morning; alas! the night cometh quickly, in which no man shall work. Let not the famine come upon us, not having a single sheaf in the garner; let us not be running about for oil when our lamps should be trimmed and burning."
I gazed upon his trembling and attenuated form, and thought that upon one of us, at least, the night was already descending. Of all the disguises under which death approaches us, consumption, in its external appearance, is the least repulsive. The Sun is beautiful in its setting. How White regarded the advances of that mournful calamity, which has laid so many beloved flowers in the dust, may be known from his affecting sonnet
GENTLY, most gently, on thy victim's head,
Consumption, lay thine hand ! let me decay
Like the expiring lamp, unseen, away, And softly go to slumber with the dead.
And if 'tis true, what holy men have said,
That strains angelic oft foretell the day
Of death to those good men who fall thy prey, O let the aërial music round my bed, Dissolving sad in dying symphony,
Whisper the solemn warning in mine ear:
Ere I depart upon my journey drear;
“There is something even beautiful,” he said, “in dying thus; it is the death of a poet. The eye still bright; the heart undismayed; the fancy unclouded. Sickness presents the cup, and Hope crowns it with flowers. The dark chamber is cheered by music; the pillow gilded by sunshine. The victim goes down to the grave with a lantern in his hand. But," he continued in a sadder tone, while the tears filled his languid eyes, “ I fear that a severer trial is in store for me;" putting his hand to his forehead "I feel death here!"
The latter days of Kirke White afford a very melancholy theme for the memory; and the few recollections I am now weaving together, are associated in my mind with the mournful spectacle of a youthful scholar prematurely withering away. In such a state of bodily debility, the mind could not be expected to take a lofty flight. Yet still the occasional gleams that broke in upon his suf
ferings, served to cheer his spirit. Once, when a tranquil night had recruited his powers, he received me with the following verses from the poems of one, who, like himself, was early transplanted into an immortal Garden.
I bud again-
It cannot be
That I am he,
These are thy wonders, LORD of Love!
To make us see we are but flowers that glide,
Who would be more,
Swelling through store,
He talked of the sceptical writers of the age with great sorrow and indignation. “If God," he said, “demanded of Cain-Where is thy brother? will He not also inquire of the self-destroyerWhere is thy soul? The world has no sight more terrible or affecting to a Christian eye, than intellect thus degraded and misapplied. The Temple of the Holy Ghost converted into a den of thieves; desecrated by the worship of a false divinity. Learning, alas! has too many sons thus loving darkness rather than light."
I was lamenting the feebleness of modern Christianity.—“How weak,” he exclaimed, with much fervour, " is the faith even of the most sincere ! Jonas taken from the sea, Lazarus from the
grave, Jeremy from his dungeon, Daniel from the lion's den: are not these instances of the Divine protection sufficient to inspire us with confidence ? But we are still bowed by every wind. Our faith is dead and powerless; nothing starts into life beneath its embrace. Yet the Arm is not shortened that it cannot save. He who walked in the flames with the Hebrew brethren, was also present with Latimer and Ridley. And wherever two or three are gathered together in the name of Jesus Christ, there will He be in the midst of them. Oh, let us trust in Him; and in our darkest and dreariest path walk on with cheerful hope, fearing nothing, since the great SHEPHERD is always nigh at hand, with his rod and staff ready to comfort and protect us.
He spoke with affectionate kindness of Henry Martyn, and mentioned a remark he had made to him, of the influence of religion even upon the accomplishments of literature. “ Poetry itself,” he observed, 6 grew more sweet and beautiful when read by the light of the Star of Bethlehem.” On commencing his residence at Cambridge, Henry had, by the advice of his friends, relinquished his poetical pursuits ; but he occasionally indulged his fancy in writing verses, some of which were hastily scrawled on his mathematical
papers. This, he told me, was like refreshing his senses now and then with a nosegay. Brief and imperfect as these fragments are, they are enough to fill us with regret that the harvest was never reaped. He had made some progress in a sacred poem, which he called The Christiad. The two following stanzas, says Mr. Southey, affected me strangely; and who can read them without experiencing the same sensations !
Thus far have I pursued my solemn theme,
With self-rewarding toil thus far have sung Of Godlike deeds, far loftier than beseem
The lyre which I in early days have strung;
And own my spirits faint, and I have hung The shell that solaced me in saddest hour
On the dark cypress : and the strings which rung With Jesus' praise, their harpings now are o’er, Or, when the breeze comes by, moan and are heard no
And must the harp of Judah sleep again?
Shall I no more reanimate the lay? Oh! thou who visitest the sons of men,
Thou who dost listen when the humble pray,