صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


I remember driving, when a little boy, very swiftly through a beautiful but unfrequented valley. The thrush built her nest by the road-side, and the squirrel's shrill chirrup sounded from the bushes as we brushed by.

Whir-r-r, whir-r-r, and away went the cunning partridge, startled at the sound of wheels, from its leafy covert. Tumpte-tump, beat the gay-liveried wood-pecker on his hollow tree, till the single strokes degenerated into a double drag.

Still on we whirled, and as I glanced now on one side, on the other, the pleasure of cach glance was more than half spoiled by the thought of how much I lost in not being able to look all ways at once.

Ever and anon, the clear, beil-like note of some unseen bird, awakened all the boy within me, and I peered here and there through the foliage, to catch a glimpse of the stranger, but the road was smooth; smack, crack went the whip, and away we dashed, faster than ever.

A wicked thought came into my mind, “if a wheel would only run off-then!--my benevolence quickly added, “softly., ever so softly,” but conscience, the little angel, whispered all the while, in most decided tones, "wrong, wrong.” How gladly would I have given up the anticipated visit, and wan. dered the long day, amid those shady recesses !

As we lastened on, I spied on the sunny side of an old log, a sentinel woodchuck, in his overalls of gray; but as we approached, his clumsy heels twinkled in the air, as much as to say, "not at home to day,” and he was gone.

It was the spring-time of nature, as it was of my young spirit; the trees wore a livelier green, and the wild roses that bordered the road exhaled a sweeter perfume than they were wont.

The blood in my veins, instead of flowing lazily along,

Shall we pass

fairly bounded, for the breath of the thousand living, growing things around, somehow gave me new life, and I was happy.

Many a time since, have I thought of that beautiful vale, and the delight with which I should revisit those scenes, that like a dream of the past, haunt my memory still.

Thus I would have you feel, reader, and though in your future acquisitions, you may "forget the things that are behind," and among them, my little book, yet if I unseal any new fountain of pleasure to your mind; if Language appear no longer as an unseemly thing, "a root out of dry ground," devoid of freshness and beauty; is you begin to know, what you long ago learned, I shall glory in being thus forgotten.

“I linger yet with nature,” said one, and who would not? Night has its language too; a kind of spirit-voice, not merely heard, but felt; so have the seasons.

them by? Just as you please, reader; you can turn over the few following leaves upon this subject, unread, and they shall be mine, not yours; but if you do, remember that they are no longer your own; never turn back to them; remember! Or we can go on, hand in hand together, not that I should be lonely to ramble on by myself; O no, that cannot be in such a world as this is, where flowers and stars and seasons talk; but we could converse, you know, “of this and that, and that and this," and when the hour of parting came, why, we would divide our little stock of knowledge equally, and as we traveled on life's journey, we both might wish our paths had run together longer.

Did the deep stillness of a summer's night ever wake you, reader? When the winds were asleep that sung your

lulla. by; when the purling brook seemed to glide more softly than it was wont, as if fearful to disturb Nature's repose; when the strange cry of "Whip-poor-will” had died away in the

[ocr errors]

thicket; when the "drowsy tinklings of the distant fold" were stilled, and even the more than Hebrew guttural,

“Brekckekex koax koax,

Brekekckcx koax koax," of those old choristers and ventriloquists of the swamp were hushed, and the dull roar of the mill-fall struck heavily on the ear, making the silence audible?

In such an hour, who has not sometimes had a feeling of wakefulness steal over his senses, quickening his ear and sharpening his sight, which neither "counting" nor any other opiate of childhood could dispel ?

'Tis meinory’s resurrection hour. Then she gives up her dead. From her secret cells issue a thousand buried deeds to life again. The half-rased tablets glowed anew with lines traced long ago, and long ago forgotten; and as the tide of thought, a mingled one of sorrow, joy, regret, came rushing on, how did its heavings beat against your temples, as does the shut-up sea, against its prison walls.

Those temple-throbs! so painfully distinct and loud, you could not sleep!

Then; how you lay, and longed, and listened for the slightest rustle, or the alarm-note of a startled bird; how fervently you wished the herald horn would sound, or the slow clock strike, or even some fashionable mouse, make late repast on hoarded stubborn crust; any thing to break the silence and dissolve the spell. But nò.

What sound as of a distant drum breaks softly on the ear? muffled and low. Hark! count the strokes. One-twothree-four-go on--more yet—sixty, one, two—it is a funeral march. Reader, your own heart plays it, for 'tis that

you hear.

That low call, has Life, the drummer, beat, the liye-long

day to lure your spirit home; the signal for the soul's review.

What'a feeling of awe and reverence came over you, just to think of it. That clink of the machinery of life! night gives it voice and makes its language heard.

Has passion beat its jarring roll thereon? Then so much quicker will the tune be done. Its march played out, what then? How did the frighted soul turn swan-like on itself, and see itself a being that should survive that wondrous drum of life, yea, and the louder music of this busy earth. “That hour of midnight was the noon of thought,' yes

"Of thai mute eloquence which passes speech.” Was it not, reader ?

What youth has not hung with delight, over the glowing descriptions of the traveler in distant lands? Of Alpine mor. nings; how some queenly peak, heaving from out "he sea of night,” lights up her herald-fire; how the far-off unrisen sun mirrors his form in her centennial snows; then, how these solar watch-fires blazed from cliff to cliff, unsullied altars reared by Nature's God! Of mountain heights, the lone eagle's home, whence cities look like hamlets, and palaces like cots; how Europe lay mapped out beneath, with her blue-rushing Rhine, her castled hills and verdure-mantled vales; and how the clank of engines, the hammer's ceaseless din, the anvil's ring, and all the noises of a world of life, came up on the thin air, soft as the bee's low hum,

-"that winds her mellow horn,

Blithe to salute the sunny smile of morn.” Oft in my boyhood, did I long to stand on spots like these, that I might drink in the deep, rich grandeur of such scenes;

I thought 'twould stir somewhat of nobleness within, and make a man of me. I almost despised my native home, its hills and


woods and streams, and felt like casting off the bonds of love that kept me prisoner there.

Reader, did you never feel so ? I anticipate your ready answer, “yes.” Well, suppose yourself that happy traveler, and as you stood at sunset, perhaps on Jura, the cry

should ring along those snowy heights, “a world ! a world in sight!" how quick would Europe's little acres, unrolled beneath you, be forgotten, as you turned your eye towards that upper sea, the azure depths of heaven!

There, sure enough it is just heaving into view; a brilliant world! “O you only mean a star then.Only, reader! What are all the scenes which you and I admired so much, compared with that bright evening star?


The stars of Heaven and Earth— Their language-The stars'

lesson of Humility and HopeThe morning star-Its languageThe Polar Star-CometsThe extinguished starIts language-Our neighbor in the Universe-The Fall of NiagaraThe sublime teachings of the Stars.

I said a short time since, that the flowers were the stars of this lower world; I would not recall the expression if I could. The stars above, bright, changeless ones, are sisters of the fair flowers, and frail as fair; these whisper of our present, those of our future self; you should regard them both; these as they fade; those as they shine, bright as when they

"Peal'd their first notes to sound the march of Time,” or their birth-song floated over the cradled Earth, their young

« السابقةمتابعة »