صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

And now and then some broken limb comes crashing

from on high, And show'ring down a world of gems that sparkle as

they fly. The lofty Oak! the hundred limb'd! Briareus of the

Trees ! Spreads out his pond'rous, icy arms, loud crackling in the breeze

; And as the roused up lion “shakes the dew drops from

his mane," So doth the woodland monarch shake his crystals o'er

the plain. But time would fail to tell of all that bright and starry

host The north wind brings "to witch the world” from out

the realms of frost; The meanest thing—the most deformed—the dry and

sapless bough, The bramble rude-the rugged thorn, are pure and

spotless now. “Ye councillors of earth!” come forth, “ye princes

who have gold,” Your diadems, ye kings! bring here, the jewel'd crowns

ye hold; Come, Woman, in thine ornaments, in all their costly

sheen, And let them be the loveliest ones that ever graced a

queen. This grass that's trodden under foot, this weed with

branching arms, Thus glittering in the morning sun, hath fifty-fold their

charms; Then cast your baubles vile away, and bend in solemn

thought To Him who hath this gorgeous scene from storm and

tempest wrought. Yet this fair pageant soon must fade before the breath And by the fiat from on high your wealth shall fade as

soon ;

of noon,

Oh! lay not worthless riches up, which“moth and rust”

assail, But those which at the judgment day through Christ

will then avail. What though the sun so soon must melt this frost-work

and its forms, He speaks them into life again, who rides amid the

storms; So, “in the twinkling of an eye,” at His last trumpet

dread, Our bodies, fashion'd gloriously, shall rise up from the

dead. The sun goes up his destined way-how few do heed In tears the vision melts away, “the baseless fabric" I too could shed some tears, alas! that this sweet scene

my calls

falls;

is past,

For scenes as sweet it brings to mind, which fled away

as fast.

THE SALE.
"It is the law throughout the Old Dominion,

When some poor devil dies in peace or battle,
Th’ executor must be of the opinion

His goods are perishing, and sell each chattel;
Whatever treads on hoof or flies on pinion-

Hogs, horses, cows, and every sort of cattle-
Cups, saucers, swingle-trees and looking glasses

Ploughs, pots and pans, tea-kettles and jackasses." A man who never quotes, it has been said, will in return never be quoted. By way, therefore, of quoting, and at the same time of being quoted, I have quoted a poem of my own, which “will never be published,” written in attempted imitation of Beppo, and describing a sale in Virginia. Who has not seen something like the following staring him in the face, on the side of a store or tavern, or upon the post of a sign-board where several roads meet? “I shel purceed to sell to the

4

highest bidder, on Saterday the 3d of Janewary next, at Blank, all the housol and kitchen ferniter of the late David Double, Esq. together with all the horses, muels, sheep and hoges. Cash on all sums of five dollars and under, and a credit of twelve mont, on the ballance. Bond with aproved sekurity will be required," &c. Such a notification as the above, which is copied verbatim et spellatim, operates like an electric shock on a whole neighborhood in that portion of the country in which I reside, especially upon that part of the popu- lei lation which can least afford to buy bargains. The temptation of long credit is too great to be resisted, although no calculations of the ultimate ability to pay are ever made. The grand desideratum is to obtain the necessary security, and to purchase to a greater amount than five dollars. I am myself infected by this prevailing malady, and frequently buy what is of no manner of use to me, simply because no cash is required, and bonds are hard to collect, and suits may be put off by continuances; and matters of this sort, after all, may be settled by executors and administrators. Among the rest, therefore, on the day appointed by the aforesaid notification, I mounted my horse, and sallied out upon the road leading to Blank, and fell in with a large party going to the sale, principally managers, as they call themselves now-a-days, on the neighboring estates. Formerly they were yclept overseers, but the term is falling into disuse, as conveying the idea of something derogatory. They were mounted in every variety of style; there were long tails, and bob tails, and nicked tails; and I saw at least one sheep skin saddle and grapevine bridle.

By-the-by, talking of grapevines, what a country ours is for this invaluable article. Here is no need of hemp manufactories. Nature, in her exuberant goodness, has supplied an abundance of primitive rope, which is just as convenient and efficacious as the best cordage, whether a man wants to hang himself or a dog-whether he wants à cap for his fence, a backband for his plough-horse, a pair of leading lines, or a girth for his saddle. Why should we be the advocates

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of a tariff, when nature supplies us in peace or war with this and many other articles of the first necessity, among which I once heard a Chotanker enumerate mint. “Why,” said he, “should we fear a dissolution of the union, a separation of the north from the south, when there is not a sprig of mint in all New England ?" When this was said, peradventure it might be true; but, to my certain knowledge, at this day the word julap is well understood much farther north than Mason's and Dixon's line. Pardon me, reader, this digression-for I am mounted to-day on a rough-going, headstrong animal, that will have his own way, and wants to turn aside into every by-path which he sees, and is as "willyard a powny;' as that ridden by Dumbiedikes, when he followed Jeanie Deans to lend her the purse of gold.

But to return. I cannot let this opportunity slip of singling out one of this group of horsemen for description, that you may have a graphic sketch of the sort of folks and horses that live hereabouts. Wert thou ever upon Hoecake Ridge? and hast thou ever met in winter a thorough-bred native of that region, mounted upon his little shaggy pony, “skelping on through dub and mire," like Tam O'Shanter? Here he was to-day, in his element, dressed in nankin pantaloons and a thin cotton jacket, and riding in the teeth of a strong northwester, singing “Life let us cherish.” His saddle had no skirts, having been robbed of those useless appendages by some rogue who wanted a pair of brogues; his bridle had as many knots as the sea serpent. But my business is not so much with him as with his pony, whose head and neck may be aptly represented by a maul and its handle. His tail is six inches long, and standing at an angle of forty-five degrees with his back; his hair is long and shaggy; he is cat-hammed, and his chest so narrow that his forelegs almost touch one another; his eyes snap fire when you plague him. You may talk of improving the breed of horses. Tell me not of your Eclipses, your Henrys-of Arabians or Turks. They may be all very well in their places, but this pony is the animal for my country. He can

[ocr errors]

bite the grass which is absolutely invisible to human eyes, and subsist upon it. If you would give him six 0 ears of corn twice a-day, he would be almost too fat to travel. He never stumbles. Give him the rein, and he will pick his path as carefully as a lady. His powers of endurance exceed the camel's. His master is a sot, and his horse will stand all night at a tippling shop, gnawing a fence rail; be almost prefers it to a corn-stalk which has been lying out all winter, his common food. When his master comes forth and mounts, he studies attitudes. If the rider reel to the right, the pony leans to the starboard side; if to the left, he tacks to suit him. If the master fall, he falls clear, having no girth to his saddle, and the pony does not waste time in useless meditation upon accidents that will happen to the best of us, but moves homeward with accelerated velocity, leaping every obstacle in his way to his brush stable.

It was my good fortune to drop in alongside of the man who was mounted upon this incomparable animal, and complimenting him upon his philosophy in the selection of his song, and on the dexterity of his horse, I soon found he was a great politician, and we chatted most agreeably until our arrival at the place of sale. He was a violent. but not a word of politics; literature and politics are different matters altogether. You may be a great politician, you know, without a particle of literature. Politicians are the last people in the world to bear a joke ; and if I were even to glance at the discourse of my neighbors, there are many who would not submit to this interference with their exclusive business; they would see in it “more devils than vast hell can hold.” The world must therefore be content to lose the humor of my singular acquaintance, as I cannot possibly do justice to his conceptions without the mention of names. I shall die, though, unless I find some occasion of disclosing them, for old Hardcastle's man Diggory was never more diverted at his story of the grouse in the gun-room, than I was at the political conceits of my Hoecake-ridger.

Having arrived at Blank, we hung our horses, as

« السابقةمتابعة »