« ForrigeFortsæt »
Whose brow is wreathed with the silver crown
So, when thou art sleeping in the dust, reverential feet shall tread the floor of thy chamber, and the books marked by thy finger, the paper traced by thy pen, yea, the very table that hath been the mute companion of thy toil, shall become, as it were, sainted relics."
When Cowley uttered these words he was writing his Davideis ; and an anticipation of his own future distinction may have crossed his mind, for Genius is often blest with the prophet's eye. How gladly, in his own case and that of others, would we realize his affectionate aspiration; and tread that chamber where, with Hervey, he spent the night
In search of deep philosophy,
Wit, eloquence, and poetry. Or sit down in the room where the Muse brought flowers to Milton, to strew over the grave of his sister's child:
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly;
Or look out from the window through which the sun shone on the learned visions of Spenser. Pembroke has undergone so few alterations during the last three hundred years, that the rooms once occupied by the noblest and purest spirit that ever hallowed the walls, are still in existence, and are supposed to be those now inhabited by the Tutor of the College. In the Combination Room hangs his portrait, almost as delicious to look upon as his own pictures.
THE HISTORY OF A LOST STUDENT;
TAKEN DOWN FROM HIS OWN LIPS.
If there be any Hell in this world, they which feel the worm
of conscience gnawing at their hearts, may truly say, that they have felt the torments of Hell. Who can express that man's horrors but himself! Sorrows are met in his soul as at a Feast. FEAR, Thought, and ANGUISH, divide his soul between them. All the Furies of Hell leap upon his heart like a stage. Thought calls to Fear, Fear whistleth to Horror, Horror beckoneth to Despair, and saith, ' Come and help me to torment this sinner!'-The Betraying of Christ, 1592.
My first curacy was a parish in Cambridge, which, perhaps, more than any other in the county, requires the constant and unwearied solicitude of the pastor. An older minister would have regarded such a cure with apprehension; but I, with the ardour of youth, only congratulated myself upon the wide field that lay open for the employment of my religious energies. I began to enumerate the wanderers I should reclaim, the wavering I should confirm, the pious I should establish. How far these sanguine anticipations were realized is immaterial to the present narrative.
I was sitting alone on a dreary evening in November, fatigued with the labours of the day, and thinking upon that great account of our flocks, which we shall one day have to render to the SHEPHERD of Souls, when a note was brought to me, the writing of which, though evidently traced by an agitated hand, immediately recalled to my memory a dear friend of my youth, of whom I had been unable for several years to gain any intelligence. It merely stated his severe illness, and requested my earliest attendance. Such a summons allowed of no hesitation, and I determined to set out instantly with the messenger. Mournful were the thoughts which came trooping up in that melancholy walk. Every scene of my college life rose to my eyes with vivid reality; and intimately connected with each was the sick student.
It was nine o'clock when I reached the place of my friends sojourn. By the dim light of the lantern which my companion carried, I succeeded in picking my way along a winding grass-covered path, leading to one of the most desolate cottages I had ever
I could not resist the impulse to stop for a minute and look around; but the darkness of the night was increased by a thick fog, which rendered it impossible to distinguish any object out of the small circle of faint shadow cast by the lantern. The cottage stood alone, and at a considerable
distance from any other habitation: no sound, save the barking of a dog in a neighbouring farm-yard, and the rattle of wheels along the distant road, broke the silence of the hour. Sick of the melancholy scene, I walked up to the door, and gently lifted the latch. The spectacle that presented itself to my eyes I can never forget. The sick man lay upon a bed in the corner of the room, with his face turned to the wall, and from the deep groans that continually broke from him, he was evidently in great suffering. My entrance had not aroused him, and I lingered at the door to survey the place. The chamber was not more than ten or twelve feet square; and from the green patches of damp along the walls and ceiling, appeared to have been for some time uninhabited. The furniture, if I may employ the term, consisted of one or two broken chairs, and an old deal table, on which was placed a rush-light inserted in the neck of a bottle. On the hearth, a few embers sent up an occasional glimmer, serving only to display the gloom of the place. I shuddered while I contemplated this picture of misery, and stooping over the bed, in a low voice whispered “ Sydney!” The sound seemed to blend with his meditations, for he continued muttering to himself, while his fingers wandered listlessly over the shadowy wall.—“ Yes; I did not shed her blood, but I murdered her!”