Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

IV.

A boom!—the Lighthouse gun!

(How its echo rolls and rolls!)
T is to warn the home-bound ships

Off the shoals!
See! a rocket cleaves the sky

From the Fort—a shaft of light!
See! it fades, and, fading, leaves

Golden furrows on the night!

v.

What made Mabel's cheek so pale?

What made Mabel's lips so white? Did she see the helpless sail

That, tossing here and there,

Like a feather in the air, Went down and out of sight? Down, down, and out of sight! O, watch no more, no more,

With face against the pane; You cannot see the men that drown

By the Beacon in the rain!

VI.
From a shoal of richest rubies

Breaks the morning clear and cold; And the angel on the village spire,

Frost-touched, is bright as gold.
Four ancient fishermen,

In the pleasant autumn air,
Come toiling up the sands,
With something in their hands,—
Two bodies stark and white,
Ah, so ghastly in the light,

With sea-weed in their hair!

VII.

O ancient fishermen,

Go up to yonder cot! You '11 find a little child,

With face against the pane, Who looks toward the beach,

And, looking, sees it not.

She will never watch again!

Never watch and weep at night!
For those pretty, saintly eyes
Look beyond the stormy skies,

And they see the Beacon Light.

T. B. Aldrich.

i C—SELF-IGNORANCE.

OF all kinds of ignorance, that which is the most strange, and, in so far as it is voluntary, the most culpable, is our ignorance of self. For not only is the subject in this case that which might be expected to possess for us the greatest interest, but it is the one concerning which we have amplest facilities and opportunities of information.

2. Who of us would not think it a strange and unaccountable story, could it be told of any man now present, that for years he had harbored under his roof a guest whose face he had never seen—a constant inmate of his home, who was yet to him, altogether unknown? It is no supposition, however, but an unquestionable fact, that to not a few of us, from the first moment of existence there has been present, not beneath the roof, but within the breast, a mysterious resident, an inseparable companion, nearer to us than friend or brother, yet of whom after all we know little or nothing.

3. What man of intelligence amongst us would not be ashamed to have had in his possession for years some rare or universally admired volume with its leaves uncut? or to be the proprietor of a repository filled with the most exquisite productions of genius, and the rarest specimens in science and art, which yet he himself never thought of entering? Yet surely no book so worthy of perusal, no chamber containing objects of study so curious, so replete with interest for us, as that which seldom or never attracts our observation—the book, the chamber of our own hearts.

[ocr errors]

4. We sometimes reproach with folly those persons who have traveled far and seen much of distant countries, and yet have been content to remain comparatively unacquainted with their own. But how venial such folly, compared with that of ranging over all other departments of knowledge, going abroad with perpetual inquisitiveness over earth and sea and sky, whilst there is a little world within the breast which is still to us an unexplored i egion!

5. Other scene's and objects we can study only at intervals: they are not always accessible, or they can be reached only by long and laborious journeys; but the bridge of consciousness is soon crossed—we have but to close the eye and withdraw the thoughts from the world without, in order at any moment to wander tbrough the scenes and explore the phenomena of the still more wondrous world within.

6. To examine other objects, delicate and elaborate instruments are often necessary. The researches of the astronomer, the botanist, the chemist, can be prosecuted only by means of rare and costly apparatus; but the power of reflection—that faculty more wondrous than any mechanism which art has ever fashioned—is an instrument possessed by all: the poorest and most illiterate, alike with the most cultured and refined, have at their command an apparatus by which to sweep the inner firmament of the soul and bring into view its manifold phenomena of thought and feeling and motive.

7. And yet with all the unequaled facilities for acquiring this sort of knowledge, can it be questioned that it is the one sort of knowledge that is most commonly neglected, and that, even among those who would disdain the imputation of ignorance in history or science or literature, there are multitudes who have never acquired the merest rudiments of the knowledge of self?

Johx Caird.

CL—DISCIPLINE.
I.

A BLOCK of marble caught the glance
Of Buonarotti's* eyes,
Which brightened in their solemn deeps,

Like meteor-lighted skies.
And one who stood beside him listened,

Smiling as he heard;
For "I will make an angel of it,"
Was the sculptor's word.

II.

And mallet soon and chisel sharp

The stubborn block assailed,
And blow by blow, and pang by pang,

The prisoner unveiled.
A brow was lifted, high and pure;

The waking eyes outshone;
And as the master sharply wrought,

A smile broke through the stone I

in.
Beneath the chisel's edge the hair

Escaped in floating rings;
And, plume by plume, was slowly freed

The sweep of half-furled wings.
The stately bust and graceful limbs

Their marble fetters shed; And where the shapeless block had been,

An angel stood instead!

IV.

O blows that smite! O hurts that pierce

This shrinking heart of mine!
What are ye but the Master's tools,

Forming a work divine?
O hope that crumbles at my feet!

O joy that mocks and flies!
What are ye but the clogs that bind

My spirit from the skies!

* Pronounced Bwo-nii-rOt'-te.

V.

Sculptor of souls! I lift to Thee

Encumbered heart and hands;
Spare not the chisel, set mc free,

However dear the bands.
How blest, if all these seeming ills,

Which draw my thoughts to Thee,
Should only prove that Tbou wilt make

An angel out of me!

CII—A TEBBLE.

LOOKING about us during a walk to see what subject we could write upon that should afford a striking specimen of the entertainment to be found in the commonest objects, our eyes lighted upon a stone. It was a common pebble, a flint; such as a little boy kicks before him as he goes, by way of making haste with a message, and saving his new shoes.

2. "A stone!" cries a reader, "a flint!—the very symbol of a miser! What can be got out of that?"

3. The question is well put; but a little reflection would soon rescue the poor stone from the comparison. Strike him at any rate, and you will get something out of him; warm his heart, and out come the genial sparks that shall gladden your hearth and put hot dishes on your table. This is not miser's work.

4. A French poet has described the process, well known to the maid-servant (till lucifers came up), when she stooped with flashing face over the tinder-box on a cold morning and rejoiced to see the first laugh of the fire. A sexton, in the poem we allude to, is striking a light in a church:

i "The prudent sexton, studious to reveal

Dark boles, here takes from out his pouch a steel,
Then strikes upon a flint. In many a spail.
Forth leaps the sprightly fire against the dark:
The tinder feels the little lightning hit,
The match provokes it, and a candle's lit."

« ForrigeFortsæt »