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light shall shine aslant the hills and vales and plains of other days; so will gather then, the privileges high, the hopes, the joys, the blessings of the past; so gild a moment, life's evening sky; then fading, flitting, hide behind the cold, gray cloud of night and death!
*The melancholy days are come, the saddost of the year." The glittering garland with which the forests were decked,
“The floating fringe on the Maplo's crest,
That rirals the Tulip's crimson vest;" the willow's narrow leaves, on which the yellow sunlight loved to linger so, have all faded away into the dead-leaf tinge of latest autumn.
Now November's stormy voice is heard, as it comes sighing and moaning through the woods, as if fearful to break the frail tenure by which the withered leaves cling to their parent boughs; now, in surly mood, whirling hither and thither their skeleton-frames, in mockery.
The democratic blackbirds, a rabble rout, hold a clamorous council of flight, in some tall elın; beneath, the red-coated Oriole, the sparrow with its gray hood, and the chuckleheaded Martin, a motley multitude, are perched on stump and stone, while a bright-winged Jay, on a rocking bough near by, is spokesman; the feathers in his Highland cap nod jantily, as he proceeds; listen to him. From the rustling of wings, one would think he had produced quite a sensation; he is evidently talking of the "hard times," of frosts and chills; he has indeed selected a subject which they can all feel.
Now a suppressed twitter or low chirp seems a call for the question; the burst of Babel-sounds which follow, shows it carried by acclamation. Up go the swallows in a cloud; away ride the sparrows on the billowy air. The robin and his wife hear the rushing sound of wings, and leave their old homestead in the thicket; the quaker-wren, with its little blue feet, peeps out from the hole in the wall, as the frost creeps in; too hoo! too hoo ! resounds from the hollow oak tree, as the monkish owl wraps still closer about his ears, the russet muffler which he always wears, winter and summer.
“Then tribe after tribe, with its leader fair,
In the isles of the southern sea lo sing." The little hollows are heaped up with the dead leaves; they answer to the timid rabbit's tread, as it vainly looks for a clover leaf or a blade of green grass; they answer to the eddying gust, and the slow footstep of the thoughtful man. That hoarse, husky tone! That low rustle, who has not heard it, and hearing, been, for the moment, wiser, though perhaps sadder? The twilight is gradually settling into the deep darkness of night; night of the year! Now winter flings over the seeming dead, a snowy shroud, and all is cold and desolate; but there's life beneath that robe, which the voice of the next year's morning will call forth to light and beauty again, when the green forest-tops thrill once more to carol and song, and the gushing rills dance again to a tune of their own.
Who, with winter's languaye sounding in his ear, thinks death a sleep that knows no waking?
Then amid the mountains of the snowy north, there is music; solemn strains, befitting Nature's melancholy mood. The needle-shaped foliage of the pines, presents a thousand living harp-strings, to every breeze and gust of the stormy time; such music has the evening of the year.
Of such a scene, the ploughman-poet, Burns, once said :“This is my best season for devotion; my mind is wrapped up in a kind of enthusiasm to Him, 'who walks on the wings of the wind.'»
“Still sing the God or Seasons, as they roll.
God talks with man through nalure—The convenient "it" _The
eye-The two worlds—What an idea is— What thought is— Man a social being-Language the link-The brute creation.
Thus reader, we have learned a few of the lessons which this beautiful world gives out. School-mates together, pupils of Nature, we have listened together to her voice, and together gazed upon the Deity-penned page; but while we do so no more,
company, let me remind you, that though we have ceased to listen, Nature has not ceased to teach; that every ray of light, as it meets the eye, every wave of air, as it dashes against the ear-drum, brings some new lesson to the thoughtful mind.
The flower of the valley and the central sun; the beating heart and the babbling brook; the morning song and the midaight hush; the comet's glare and the snow-drop's ray, all, all have language. Spring whispers of life, as she wreathen the earth with a garland, and Autumn sings a song;
"Let us never forget to our dying day,
'Passing away ! passing away'!"
Sees God in clouds, and hears Him in the wind;" the Indian, his cradle a canoe, his nurse the restless waters, the winds and waving woods his lullaby; from infancy to age, companion, lover, child of Nature, he needs not the conveni. ent "it," of civilized and (christian?) life; with him, it never rains, it never thunders, but the Great Spirit, Ho
"Wliose body nature is God the soul!" He it is, who talks with man, in brooks and winds and Aowers; “He glows in the stars and blossoms in the trees;" the thunder is His still, small voice ;' the cataract,
"a liglit wave, That breaks, and whispers of its Maker's might!" Nature then, is God's own book, and Nature's LANGUAGE, His.
The eyes of the poor lad seeking for tortoise-eggs, sparkle with joy, if after many efforts, he can thrust his little hand so far into the sand, as only to reach one, for he knows that the contents of the nest will follow, like beads upon a string. It is so in the acquisition of knowledge. The great Author and source of science never constituted a hermit-truth, any more than He created a flower, a man, or a world, without relations and dependencies. Every truth, every fact, is always connected with some other truth, some other fact, and the business of life, is not to forge the chain or weld the links, but simply to draw upon it.
Now in the view which has been taken of Inanimate Nature, I have only put into your hand a link or two, of the mighty chain, nothing more; and in committing it to your charge, just let me bid you in sailor's phrase, “Pull away! Pull away!"
How inimitable is the eye! How exquisite its sense! Within those wondrous crystal walls, far back, a magic curtain* hangs, of wondrous texíure-suspended there by God! No odor ever enters there ; if so, not half so wonderful its power; for we can sce, the flower as day by day it wastes away in floating fragrance. That is a silent hall; no sound is there; then were the mystery less; for one can feel the blown flute thrill with music, the organ tremble with its own deep tones, and sce the struck bell quiver. Not so with light; speeding with more than arrow's flight, it ripples not the air; it pierces glass, yet leaves no írace behind; still flying on, it seeks the eye, that carthly .dome where it delights to dweli; the opening portal bids it in; the glowing canvas wel. comes its approach !
You look up, and the broad, blue sky with its bright host, is mirrored there; the evening clouds go by, like ships at sea, . and they are pictured there, and sailing still, and yet they never near the curtain's cdge! The green valley, the dim mountain, the waving woods are there, green and dim and waving still! From deepest red to faintest violet, no ray this subtile shadow flings, is lost. The speaking countenanco of a friend—the smile, the thought-light, the care-cloud flitting over, are painted there, smiling and fitting too!
Such is the organ of sight; were the sensible images of which I have been speaking, the only images; were there no connection between the material without and the immaterial
*The retina, an expansion of the optic nerve.