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heavy columns across the vaulted arch of the universe, only made a path for the ærial chariot of the Caledonian peasant. He would "arise on the wings of the tempest, throw himself into the war of the battling elements—dart along on the firecourse—sieze all that was bold and interesting-adorn them with a serene but awful glory, and bring them all revolving around the perfect mystery. The lightning seemed to play one dazzling circlet and rove once more anew beneath his expressive touch. You can almost hear the rattling thunder, and see the black towering sky-gathering tempest and strange commingling of clouds, as you quaff plenteously of his "elements in commotion." When maniac winter, shrouded in her waste of snows, rolls her mighty avalanches over the land, and with her rocking blast rages through the miserable hovel, scatters the few remaining embers, and clutches with fiend-like grasp, the haggard mother and her darling-when all nature, animate and inanimate, lie prostrate before the sweeping gale—then, too, the heart-stricken bard, sharing in the same hard fate, sings his low, sad dirge of sympathy:
“The wintry west extends his blast,
And hail and rain does blow."
No less happy was he in throwing his soul into the milder and lovelier forms of nature, and in bringing them under his graphic delineation. In vernal spring, the virgin of the seasons; in the mellow fragrance of the unruffled solstice, or in the thoughtful autumnal hour, when happy visions and illumined plans fade away with the dignified retreat of material brilliancy, Burns is ever busy in showing forth the manifold excellence of the Deity. The most striking feature of his external genius, is that he always aims at the pleasing beautiful. The smallest and most insignificant objects with him swelled into importance and uttered lessons of moral sublimity. He reads wisdom in the humble clod; the simple mole suggests great thoughts; the sweetly blooming hawthorn and grapspire preach to him. The highland peasant-girl, chiming her merry verse; the waving tree, the meandering rivulet and chirping of the little bird-all these were not too trivial to be warmed into a bright glow by the ardent pen of Burns. His pleasing representations of the scenery of Scotland—its wide and rugged landscapes and woodland plains—its majestic mountains and furling rivers—its evening skies and sunset splendors, bring all these cheering progpects into life-like views, and his inimitable poems, written under the influence of such awe-inspiring sights, make them pass before the eager gaze like the quick succeeding pictures of a vast panorama, only with more soul-thrilling wonder.
But while the muse of the plough thus swept with manly vigor over the bold highway of external genius, he has also won an imperishable shamrock as he trod the turbulent but quieter path of the passions. It is here that we behold him in the full dignity of his might and power. Joy and grief, hope and despondency, and the most opposite emotions alternately held possession of his mind, and never did poet delineate them in manner so original, so truthful. When grief threw around him her sombre curtain, he poured forth the feelings of his heart in strains of solemn melody, unsurpassed in moving sadness. When joy strewed her garlands in his path, his song echoed in notes of gladness. When his soul groped in the "Slough of Despond,” he drew a picture black as Egyptian night. When hope twinkled in lively visions before him, he could bound aloft and display some of the golden tints and holy peace of the eternal paradise.
These elements entering into his constitution, made the passionate of his poetry pre-eminently versatile. Would you drink deeply in the goblet of fun-humor and sarcasm, the "address to the Devil,” the "ordinations,” or the "jolly beggars,” will quench your thirst. He possesses a genial warmth of the purest kind, and bestows upon every thing about him his choicest honors and decks them with his proudest emanations. There is a melting grief, a touching affection in this strong man, when he bows his head in anguish to the daisy turned over by the ploughshare, and in his own "rustic jingle” bewails its fate: “Thou'st met me in an evil hour, thou bonnie gem." His elegy to the “wee sleeket cowrin tim'rous beastie," and his plaintive words sung over the last days of his favorite Mailie, show the exalted magnanimity of his feeling, and bring the billows of his tenderness fresh before the mind. And when his harp is strung and the sublime pathos steals all quivering over it, then every tongue is still-every bosom throbs, and often the tear starts ; for the past flashes by, and ever and anon a memento recalling some fond union is there, and the spectral of some ancient sire rises from the spirit-land of recollection. He tells us “man was made to mourn.' He calls upon the lonely mountains, the flowery dells, the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, the stars, the pale waning crescent, and he bids them join in his chorus, and meet with him around the grave of “Henderson the man---the brother.” And hear you not
that lowly anthem swelling even now in all its pristine pathos trilled in honor of the memory of his patron and friend :
“But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,
And all that thou hast done for me." But the crowning jewels in his coronet were love and patriotism. These flashed brightly and were the twin-sisters that led him safely up to the mansions of fame. The associations that cluster around the old castle of Montgomery are immortal. They recall the noblest scene that has ever been enacted on the theater of real life, and cast into the shade all the tinsel trash of fiction and romance. Imagination will ever linger around its moldering walls and march again the sad solemnity of the last meeting between Burns and his nut-brown maiden. Their plighted vows—the sacred page—the silver stream-.the gladness of all around-the glorious ascension of that maiden to the happy choir above-the lamentation of Burns, and his mournful words to “His Mary in Heaven," constitute something hallowed and the "holy of holies" in his character, wherein man must not enter. Never did a bosom glow with more exalted enthusiasm for his country, and never have warmer tears bathed the shrine of liberty than those of Burns. The reminiscences that throng the threshold of Scottish nationality have received a deeper and broader tinge of glory from his pen. The days of Bruce—the memory of the bold soldier, William Wallace, and the unfortunate struggles of the children of Caledonia for religion and freedom-all gleam with more fervent worth in the lines of their native minstrel. He wrote for his country--for his peasant brethren, and instructed them in the great lesson of contentment. Well has our own honored bard wreathed a tribute of respect to his power :
“What sweet tears dim the eyes unshed,
Or 'auld lang syne is sung.' It was this blending together of nature and the passions that made him the poet of the people. And now, though he is gone to that bourne from whence no traveller returns, still the voice of truth, the cherished "alma mater" of letters, whispers-he lives. Though his harp lies all unstrung in the palace of the muse, its vibrations are still felt; its pastoral beauties still thrill the soul. He lives; his memory lingers yet among the hills and sequestered glens made famous by his own noble energy. He lives ; all Scotland swells his renown; the babe prattles his name; the Scotch-boy, ragged like Burns, kneels by that solitary grave and weeps for him ; the brawny Highlander, when asked for an emblem of his country's glory, will point to the Ayrshire peasant. He lives; when troubled scenes gather around us, and our pilgrimage of life becomes dreary, then will Burns bid them all be still. He lives; the light that shone from him when he grasped his plough upon the barren field is not quenched; it burns yet, down the broad bosom of the ocean of time it streams; though waves beat against it, immortality will dash them back all shattered and torn, and at last that light will rest on the mount of Justice, and shine as the Pharos of poetic achievement. He lives; in that day when the Goddess of Independence shall visit every clime where the poor man writhes under the lash of bondage; when the army of equality battles bravely under their banner twined with the amaranthine symbol of the master's favor; when every hill-top glows with the beacon fire of freedom; when the lion of royalty groans his last throe and then plunges down into the hell of oblivion; in that momentous hour, pregnant with the future of Church and State, the invisible panoply of genius–Goethe, Byron, Burns—will guard that steel-hearted legion—lead it triumphantly through the horrid throat of blood-plant the covenant ark of liberty amid the red glare of the Sinai of Republicanism, where it will rest in empyrean safety until the sun in heaven pales away and “the stars grow dim with age.”
TO A STAR.
Thou brightly glittering star of even,
LUCRETIA MARIA DAVISON.
THOUGHTS ON INTEMPERANCE.
In the first place we maintain that intemperance is a sin, and one that in the end becomes fearfully aggravated in its character.
It is more immediately a violation of the first and great commandment, which requires of us to love the Lord with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. It will be admitted that our Creator deserves our warmest affection, not merely because he has bestowed upon us innumerable benefits, but because, as an all-wise, holy, just, and merciful God, He is worthy of our love and homage. The attributes of His character invest Him with a moral beauty and glory, which no intelligent being can behold without feelings of love and admiration. To obey this law, therefore, implies the most intimate intercourse with the best and the wisest of all beings, which, as such, brings with it its own immediate reward. The love which it requires of man is ennobling in the highest degree; it elevates him who possesses it into the likeness or similitude of his maker; it confers upon him the highest and purest enjoyments; it calls into exercise his higher nature, and therefore makes him what he was designed to be in the beginning, the greatest and the best of all God's works. Now all sin, as the violation of the divine law, must have an entirely opposite effect upon the human subject. It places our affections upon objects that perish, instead of that which is imperishable and eternal. It must, consequently, make men gross, sensual, and, earthly in their appetites and feelings. Such we find to be the case under whatever form it may manifest itself.
Intemperance, as a sin, must have these two characteristics. It must on the one hand prostitute man's higher or spiritual nature, and on the other promote the active growth of his lower or animal nature. We find universally that the victim of this sin, of all men, is least qualified to love or honor God. Upon no other person has the presence of an invisible world so little influence. Holiness, the crown and glory of man, has no attraction for him. He can scarcely believe that it has any existence whatever. The increasing grossness of his habit of feeling and thinking draws a veil before his eyes, and conceals from his view another world entirely. Turning away his thoughts from God and heaven, from Christ and the Truth, he has no opportunity for the exercise of his higher faculties, which must in this condition, according to a law of his constitution, become morbid, and cease to discharge their appropriate functions. There is no room for faith in an invisible world under these circumstances.