صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

THE WORTH OF HOURS.

117

BELIEVE

41. THE WORTH OF HOURS. 1. ELIEVE not that your

inner eye Can ever in just měasure try The worth of Hours as they go by; 2. For every man's weak self, alas !

Makes him to see them, while they pass,

As through a dim or tinted glass : 3. But if in earnest care you would

Mete out to each its part of good,

Trust rather to your after-mood. 4. Those surely are not fairly spent,

That leave your spirit bow'd and bent

In sad unrest and ill-content: 5. And more,-though free from seeming harn,

You rest from toil of mind or arm,

Or slow retire from pléasure's charm,6. If then a painful sense comes on

Of something wholly lost and gone,

Vainly enjoy'd, or vainly done, 7. Of something from your being's chain

Broke off, nor to be link'd again

By all mere memory can retain,8. Upon your heart this truth may rise,

Nothing' that altogěther dies

Suffices man's just destinies ! 9. So should we live, that every

Hour
May die as dies the natural flower,-

A self-reviving thing of power;
10. That every thought and every deed

May hold within itself the seed
Of future good and future meed ;-

'Nothing (nůth' ing). - Suffices (suf fiz ez), satisfies; to be enough.* Dés' ti nies, necessities; final end.-Meed, a reward ; that which is given on account of merit.

11. Esteeming sorrow, whose employ

Is to develop' not destroy,
Far better than a barren joy.

R. M. MILNE.

42. THE SABBATH IN NEW ENGLAND. MHE observance of the Sabbath began with the Puritans, as THE , ' Saturday night. At the going down of the sun on Saturday, all temporal affairs were suspended ;4 and so zealously did our fathers maintain the letter, as well as the spirit of the law, that, according to a vulgar tradition in Connecticut, no beer was brewed in the latter part of the week, lest it should presume to work on Sunday.

2. It must be confessed, that the tendency of the age is to laxity; and so rapidly is the wholesome strictness of primitive times abating, that, should some antiquary,' fifty years hence, in exploring his garret rubbish, chance to cast his eye on our humble pages, he may be surprised to learn, that, even now, the Sabbath is observed, in the interior of New England, with an almost Ju dā'icale severity.

3. On Saturday afternoon an uncommon bustle is apparent. The great class of procrastinators are hurrying to and fro to complete the lagging business of the week. The good mothers, , like Burns's mātron, are plying their needles, making “auld claes look amaist as weel's the new;" while the domestics, or help (we prefer the nătional descriptive term), are wielding, with might and main, their brooms and mops, to make all tidy for the Sabbath.

4. As the day declines, the hum of labor dies away, and, after

* De vėl' op, uncover; lay open to view. – Pů'ri tans, those desirous of purer forms of worship ; reformers.—s Tém' po ral, belonging to this life or world, or to the body.only.--Sus pênd' ed, stopped. — Zeal' ously, earnestly.—Låx'i ty, looseness ; carelessness of duty.—' An’ti qua ry, one who is well acquainted with things that took place in old times. -- Ju då'ic al, pertaining to the Jews. The Jews are noted for tho strict manner in which they observe the Sabbath.–Pro crås' ti na tors, persons who delay things to a future time ; delayers.

THE SABBATH IN NEW ENGLAND.

119

the sun is set, perfect stillness reigns in every well ordered household, and not a foot-fall is heard in the village street. It can not be denied, that even the most scriptural, missing the excitement of their ordinary occupations, anticipate their usual bedtime. The obvious inference from this fact is skillfully avoided by certain ingenious reasoners, who allege, that the constitution was originally so organized as to require an extra quantity of sleep on every seventh night. We recommend it to the curions to inquire, how this peculiarity was adjusted, when the first day of the week was changed from Saturday to Sunday.

5. The Sabbath morning is as peaceful as the first hallowed day. Not a human sound is heard without the dwellings, and, but for the lowing of the herds, the crowing of the cocks, and the gossiping of the birds, animal life would seem to be extinct, till, at the bidding of the church-going bell, the old and young issue from their habitations, and, with solemn demeanor, bend their measured steps to the meeting-house ;—the families of the minister, the squire, the doctor, the merchant, the modest gentry of the village, and the mechanic and laborer, all arrayed in their best, all meeting on even ground, and all with that consciousness of independence and equality, which breaks down the pride of the rich, and rescues the poor from servility, envy, and discontent.

6. If a morning salutation is reciprocated, it is in a suppressed voice; and if, perchance, nature, in some reckless urchin, burst forth in laughter—“My dear, you forgět it's Sunday,” is the ever ready reproof. Though every face wears a solemn aspect, yet we once chanced to see even a deacon's muscles relaxed by the wit of a neighbor, and heard him allege, in a half-deprecating, half-laughing voice, “ The squire is so droll, that a body must laugh, though it be Sabbath-day."

7. The farmer's ample wagon, and the little one-horse vehicle, bring in all who reside at an inconvenient walking distance, that is to say, in our riding community, half a mile from the church. It is a pleasing sight, to those wło love to note the happy peculiarities of their own land, to see the farmers' daugh

*An tic' i påte, take beforehand.-—Ob' vi ous, plain; clear.-In' ference, that which follows as certainly or probably true ; conclusion.• De mean'or, manner.-Re clp'ro cả ted, given and received by turns.

ters, blooming, intelligent, well-bred, pouring out of these homely coaches, with their nice white gowns, prunella shoes, Leghorn hats, fans, and parasols,' and the spruce young men, with their plaited ruffles, blue coats, and yěllow buttons. The whole community meet as one religious family, to offer their devotions at the common altar. If there be an outlaw from the society,-a luckless wight, whose vagrant taste has never been subdued, he may be seen stealing along the margin of some little brook, far away from the condemning observation and troublesome admonitions of his fellows.

8. Toward the close of the day (or to borrow a phrase descriptive of his feelings, who first used it), " when the Sabbath begins to abate,the children cluster about the windows. Their eyes wander from their catechism to the western sky, and, though it seems to them as if the sun would never disappear, his broad disk does slowly sink behind the mountain ; and, while his ray still lingers on the eastern summits, měrry voices break forth, and the ground resounds with bounding footsteps. The village belle arrays herself for her twilight walk; the boys găther on " the green;" the lads and girls throng to the “ singing-school;" while some coy maiden lingers at home, awaiting her expected suitor; and all enter upon the plěasures of the evening with as keen a relish as if the day had been a preparatory penance.

SEDGWICK.

C.

1.

43. THE COUNTRY CHURCH.
A
BOUT the chapel door, in easy groups,

The rustic people wait. Some trim the switch,
While some prognosticate of harvests full,
Or shake the dubious head, with arguments
Based on the winter's frequent snow and thaw,
The heavy rains, and sudden frosts severe.

*Par a sóls', a small umbrella to keep off the sun._Pên' ance, punishment. — Prog n8s' tic dte, to foretell by signs. — Dů' bi ous, doubtful : uot clear or plain.--- Båsed, founded.

THE COUNTRY CHURCH.

121

2. Some, happily but few, deal scandal out,

With look askance' pointing their victim. These
Are the rank tares in every field of grain-
These are the nettles stinging unaware-
The briers which wound and trip unheeding feet-
The noxious vines, growing in every grove!
Their touch is deadly, and their passing breath
Puison most venomous ! Such have I known-
As who has not and suffer'd by the contact.
Of these the husbandman takes certain note,
And in the proper season disinters
'Their baneful roots; and, to the sun exposed,
l'he killing light of truth, leaves them to pine
And perish in the noonday!

'Gainst a tree,
With strong arms folded o'er a giant chest,
Stands Barton, to the neighborhood chief smith;
Eris coat, unused to aught save Sunday wear,
Grown too oppressive by the morning walk,
Langs on the drooping branch : so stands he õft
Beside the open door, what time the share
Is whitening at the roaring bellows' mouth.
There, too, the wheelwright-he, the magistrate
In small communities a man of mark-
Stands with the smith, and holds such argument
As the unletter'd but observing can;
Their theme some knot of scripture hard to solve.
And 'gainst the neighboring bars two others fan,
Less fit the sacred hour, discussion hot
Of politics; a topic which, inflamed,

Knows no propriety of time or place.
4. There Oakes, the cooper, with rough brawny hand,

Descănts' at large, and, with a noisy ardor,
Rattles around his theme as round a cask;

As kånce , sideways; toward one corner of the eye.- Tåres, weeds. - Van'om ous, deadly; mischievous.—4 Dis in tårs', unburies ; dige out.

Møġ is tråte, a judge; a justice of the peace.- Thème, subject. - Des cånts', talks ; makes remarks

« السابقةمتابعة »