Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Alone o'er steeps and foaming falls to lean;

This is not Solitude; 'tis but to hold Converse with Nature's charms, and view her stores udroll’d.

But ʼmidst the crowd, the hum, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel, and to possess,
And roam along, the world's tired denizen,
With none to bless us, none whom we can bless,
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress !
None that with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less

Of all that flatter'd, follow'd, sought, and sued, -
This is to be alone; this, this, is Solitude.*

Childe Harold, Canto II. AH! wretched and too solitary he,

Who loves not his own company;

He'll feel the weight of’t many a day,
Unless he call in Sin or Vanity,
To help to bear't away.

COWLEY. On Solitude.

*

[ocr errors]

LIVING a good deal alone will, I believe, correct me of my faults; for a man can do without his own approbation in much society, but he must make great exertions to gain it when he lives alone. Without it I am convinced solitude is not to be endured.

SYDNEY SMITH. Letters. To be exempt from the passions with which others are tormented, is the only pleasing Solitude.

Spectator, No. 4. O SOLITUDE! If I must with thee dwell,

Let it not be among the jumbled heap

Of murky buildings : climb with me the steep,-
Nature's observatory-whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,

May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep

'Mongst boughs pavilion'd, where the deer's swift leap Startles the wild bee from the foxglove bell.

[ocr errors]

* But little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extends. For a crowd is no company : men's faces are but like pictures in a gallery, and talk but a tinkling cymbal where there is no love.

Bacon. Essays.

But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,

Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,

Whose words are images of thoughts refined,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be

Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

KEATS. Sonnets.

Society not exclusive. As among men large fortunes are most commonly made by dealing in articles for which the poor (that is the multitude) are consumers, so in the traffic with society, a man should take into account not the rich and great only, but the many.

H. TAYLOR. Statesman.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh,

And cheer with smiles the bed of death ?
And wilt thou o'er his breathless clay

Strew flowers, and drop the tender tear,
Nor then regret those scenes so gay,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair ?

DR. PERCY.

HISTORY.

66

[ocr errors]

In history a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind. It may in the perversion serve for a magazine, furnishing offensive and defensive weapons for parties in church and state, and supplying the means of keeping alive, or reviving, dissensions and animosities, and adding fuel to civil fury. History consists, for the greater part, of the miseries brought upon the world by pride, ambition, avarice, revenge, lust, sedition, hypocrisy, ungoverned zeal, and all the train of disorderly appetites which shake the public with the same

"troublous storms that toss The private state, and render life unsweet."* These vices are the causes of those storms; religion, morals, law, prerogatives, privileges, liberties, rights of men are the pretexts. The pretexts are always found in some specious appearance of a real good. You would not secure men from tyranny and sedition, by rooting out of the mind the principles to which these fraudulent pretexts apply. If you did

you

would root out everything that is valuable in the human breast.

Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear.

BURKE.

LARGE and comprehensive views, the connection of causes and effects, the steady though often slow and at the time unperceived influence of general principles; habits of calm specu

* Gibbon observes “that the reign of Antoninus is marked by the rare advantage of furnishing very few materials for history, which is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind.

Decline and Fall, Chap. III.

lation, of foresight, of deliberative and providing wisdom; these are the lessons of instruction, and these the best advantages to be gained by the contemplation of history, and it is to these that the ambition of an historical student should be at all events directed.

SMYTH. Lectures on Modern History.

MUSIC.

a

Ferdinand. WHERE should this musick be? i the air, or the

earth?
It sounds no more, and sure it waits upon
Some god of the island. Sitting on a bank,
Weeping again the king my father's wreck,
This music crept by me upon the waters ;
Allaying both their fury and my passion,
With its sweet air.

The Tempest, Act I.

Nor had they waited
For many moments, ere their ears were sated
With a faint breath of music, which even then
Fill'd out its voice, and died away again.
Within a little space again it gave
Its airy swellings, with a gentle wave,
To light hung leaves, in smoothest echoes breaking, *
Thro' copse-clad valleys,-ere their death o'ertaking
The surgy murmurs of the lonely sea.

KEATS. Endymion, Book I.
AND as I wake, sweet music, breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some spirit to mortals good,
Or the unseen genius of the wood.

Il Penseroso. Duke. If musick be the food of love, play on;

Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,

* Thee, shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves,

With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown,
And all their echoes, mourn :
The willows, and the hazel copses green,
Shall now no more be seen
'Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays.

MILTON. Lycidas.

*

The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again: it had a dying fall :
Oh! it came o'er my ear like the sweet south,
That breathes upon a bank of violets, *
Stealing, and giving odour,

Twelfth Night, Act I.
O MUSIC, sphere-descended maid,
Friend of pleasure, wisdom's aid,
Why, goddess, why, to us denied,
Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre aside ?
As in that loved Athenian bower,
You learn an all-commanding power ;
Thy mimic soul, O nymph endear'd,
Can well recall what then it heard.
Where is thy native simple heart,
Devote to virtue, fancy, art ?
Arise, as in that elder time,
Warm, energetic, chaste, sublime !
Thy wonders in that god-like age
Fill thy recording sister's page;
'Tis said, and I believe the tale,
Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Than all which charms this laggard age;
Even all at once together found,
Cecilia's mingled world of sound.
Oh! bid our vain endeavours cease,
Revive the just designs of Greece;
Return in all thy simple state ;
Confirm the tales her sons relate.

COLLINS. Ode : The Passions.

AND ever against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse:
Such as the meeting soul may pierce
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,

The sweetness of the violet's deep blue eyes
Kiss'd by the breath of heaven seems colour'd by its skies.

Childe Harold.

« ForrigeFortsæt »