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viour's example, we cannot fail to feel that its practice is, in these last days, nearly obsolete. When it does exist it is found principally among the poor, who, like the widow in the scripture, deny themselves more and spare more in their poverty, than the rich in their abundance.
THE BEAUTIES OF A SUN-SET SCENE IN THE PRAIRIES OF TEXAS.
BY R, W.
"Go mark the flowers which deck the plain-
ON my way from Matagorda Bay to San Antonio de Bexar, in Texas, night overtook me whilst I was in the midst of an immense -a boundless prairie. Just as the twilight approached I found myself in the midst of a magnificent ocean of flowers. These flowers were of every hue and color, red, white, blue, yellow, pink, purple, crimson and mottled; generally tall, raising their beautiful coronas above the green grass, and waving it to and fro, like the graceful undulations of the golden grain. Here I had my first view of a sun-set scene on the vast prairies of Texas, and a more beautiful and lovely scene I never witnessed, and never expect to see, until I get a view of that city whose streets are paved with gold, and whose walls are made of precious stones-"where God the Son forever reigns,
"And scatters night away."
Foreign tourists may talk of the bright skies of Italy, and the pure atmosphere of Australia, but a brighter sky, or a purer atmosphere, and a more bland and soft, and lovely landscape, was never seen in any land. Even an attempt to describe a sun-set scene on the prairies of Texas is like
“Gilding refined gold, painting the lily,
The grandeur and beauty of such a scene cannot be described; it must be seen and felt to be fully appreciated. But in order to give the numerous readers of The Guardian, who have never had, and perhaps never will, have an opportunity of feasting their eyes on such a lovely prospect, I will endeavor to paint, on paper, what
the scene itself daguerreotyped upon a soul, not altogether dead to the impressions of the beautiful and the sublime.
I was on an elevated spot, with nothing but the heavens and the prairie in sight. The prairie was gently sloping away towards the four points of the compass; and some twelve or fifteen miles from where I stood the horizon cut the land from my view. There was nothing to obstruct one's vision but here and there a solitary and gloomy live oak with his wide-spreading and knarled branches, apparently keeping sentinel in the vast solitude, and a few lazy cattle luxuriating in the rich pasture. And this scene was enlivened by large droves of wild deer, some with their branching antlers bounding like the Spring-bok of Africa over the tall grass, and the mottled fawn by the side of its dam, attempting the same wild gymnastics of the prairie. Night was stealing in upon the prairie; the flowers were instinctively closing their petals to exclude the dews, and to keep their rich hues untarnished for another day. The great luminary of day had laid aside his dazzling splendors, and his rays passing through the dense strata of air near the surface of the earth, permitted the human eye to gaze upon his broad red disc with perfect impunity. At this moment nature herself seemed to pause in order to contemplate the lovely scenes of her own magic creation. The glorious clouds had formed a gorgeous pathway for the sun to glide down upon into his bed of flowers! All around him floated airy clouds, smiling in roseate hues, and blushing in deep vermillion.
"Oh, it was one of those immortal hours
When man, unheedful of the jarring world,
Feels thoughts within him too sublime for words."
As the orb of day slowly sinks down towards the western horizon, he increases in size and glory, until his whole round face is suffused with a tinge of red almost as deep as the purple fluid of life. On his downward course he seems to pause a moment upon the confines of two worlds, and as his lower limb is buried beneath the horizon all nature seems to catch the deep tinge-the atmosphere, the clouds, the earth, the sky, the very grass have all assumed the deep red glow of the sinking sun! You look around upon this magnificent scene; you then look for the sun, but he is seen no more, he has sunk down beneath his beautiful bed of flowers. Like magic, in a moment the scene changes; the clouds have now assumed a golden yellow appearance. You now admire the beautiful sky, but the twilight is very short; soon the clouds are changed into a light silvery gray, and then
"Hesperus, the queen of night, arose
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw."
The stars have now made their appearance, and so clear is the atmosphere, and so light the stars do shine, that you can read a
newspaper without any difficulty. And the evening star throws a shadow like the moon. Oh, it was a beautiful night; I never closed an eye, but all night long I watched the moon and the beautiful stars. I was traveling in the stage. In the morning I had the pleasure of seeing the same glorious sun making his appearance in the east, coming like a strong man to run a race. I was still in the prairie, and had one hundred miles of prairie yet before me, though I had already past over some fifty miles. This may serve to convey an idea of the extent of the prairies in Texas. One of the most striking things in the Texan prairie is the immense number of flowers, and the great variety and richness of the colors. The green foliage, too, is of the deepest hue. The whole prairie is one dense sea of flowers. Here, in these primeval prairies, where human foot has never trod, it is true, as Gray says:
"Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
Why are these immense prairies covered with so many flowers of the sweetest fragrance and richest hues? If it be true, as some transcendentalists tell us, that every flower expands its petals as an act of homage to the great Creator, what a revenue of praise and adoration must ascend to his throne from those boundless prairies! Though the men of Texas, who are the noblest work of God in this lower world, do not praise him, yet the flowers do, and they do it with all their might. We ought to thank God for the beautiful flowers he has made, for their endless variety and rich profusion of colors and fragrance. The world would indeed be dark and gloomy and cheerless without flowers. One of our English sentimental poets-I think it was Charles Lamb-said that one reason why he wanted to remain in this world, was on account of its beautiful flowers. Jesus says "God clothes the grass," i. e., he decorates the flowers, he paints their beautiful petals, and powders their stamens and pistils, and does this to display his handiwork to the children of men. Hence we are called upon to adore the Creator of angels and of flowers. We are to look up to his eternal throne through the workmanship of his hands. And through what channel in the whole range of nature can we look up to him more lovely and more inviting than the floral world? Without running into the follies of Pantheism we can see God in every thing, and especially in the lovely flower. How beautifully has one of our graphic poets expressed in verse what we all feel in our hearts:
"There's not a tint that paints the rose
Or decks the
Or streaks the humblest flower that blooms,
There's not of grass a simple blade,
Where heavenly skill is not displayed,
I shall never forget the flowers of Texas, nor the sun-set scene I witnessed on her broad prairies. It would be worth a man's while to go to Texas, if it were only to see the rich profusion of flowers, and to see the sun setting from the midst of an immense prairie.
THE GATE TO THE LAND OF THE BLEST.
BY THE EDITOR.
Kennt Ich doch den Ausgang finden,
Ach, wie fuhlt ich mich begluckt! SCHILLER.
I OFTEN have asked, when my heart was oppressed,
I have dreamed that the bright golden vista of even
While musing in sorrow, an Angel of Love
Led on by the Angel, and sweetly beguiled,
O can it be so, that this mound of my fears,
I joyed through my tears to the Angel that smiled
Wave gently, ye willows, that shadow that mound!
You have found the bright gate to the Land of the Blest.
THE FALLS OF NIAGARA.
BY THE EDITOR.
Who bade the Sun
Clothe you with rainbows? Who, with living flowers
And, in their furious fall, still thunder-God!
MANY persons have visited the Falls of Niagara; and many have endeavored to describe it. It is now generally believed that it is a great presumption to suppose that any thing about it can be said that has not already been said, or to think that it can be said better. Let this be so; we, the Editor of The Guardian, were also at Niagara, and we claim the privilege of "showing also our opinion."
We have had our imagination wonderfully wrought up in regard to the "Cataract of Niagara," ever since we read, in our boyhood, the description given of it by Goldsmith in the English Reader. Now having seen this great sight ourselves, we will begin by way of inspiring our readers with reverence for our critical skill and close observation-begin, we say, by criticising the description which is contained in the English Reader. Goldsmith tells us that this "fall of water is made by the river St. Lawrence." Now we are not skilful enough to say certainly whether this river was formerly so called; but sure we are that the river between Lake Erie and Ontario is at present called Niagara : it only becomes St. Lawrence after it has passed Ontario. Farther, Goldsmith says: "A river that serves to drain the waters of almost all North America into the atlantic ocean." Any school child that has dipped the least into geography, can tell how far this is from the mark!
When we hear or read of some noted man we form an image of him in our minds; we see him before our fancy's eye, in his form, face and features. But if ever we see the man himself, how different is he from our ideal of him. He does not look at all as we had fancied him. We found it to be just so in our ideal of Niagara. We had fancied it all. The image had grown up in our mind from childhood into its wonderful perfection. But how different the reality from our ideal!
We must mention several things which were not in the Niagara which we visited, as they were in the Niagara of our imagination.
1. The real Niagara is not near so noisy as we had supposed him to be. The name, in the language of the Iroquois Indians, means "Thunder of Waters;" and we had read in the English Reader that "the noise of the fall is heard at the distance of several leagues." We believe this is true in some peculiar states of the atmosphere; but on ordinary occasions the noise is scarcely notice