Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

THE SEASONS.

SPRING.-"Lo! the winter is past; the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear upon the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.”-Song of Solomon.

SUMMER.—“Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness; and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with corn. They shout for joy; they also sing.”—Psalm lxv.

AUTUMN.-"Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter in his season; he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest."-Jeremiah.

WINTER.—“He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoar-frost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?"-Psalms.

What an astonishing world is this which we inhabit! How great the number, the magnificence, the variety, and the beauty of the creatures it contains ! What other hand than that of the Omnipotent could have placed in this immense expanse the sun and stars, whose magnitude and prodigious distance from us astonish the imagination? Who has assigned them the path they have walked in for so many thousand years? Who has calculated so exactly the respective powers of all these globes, and who has established so perfect a balance between them and the ether which supports them? Who has placed the earth at such a due distance from the sun, that it is neither too near nor too far off? The vicissitudes of day and night, the revolutions of the seasons, the innumerable multitude of animals, reptiles, trees, and plants, which the earth produces, are all the work of God. If a world so admirable were now created before our eyes, who would not consider it as one of the greatest miracles of the Divine omnipotence ?

STURM.

HYMN OF THE SEASONS.
These, as they change, Almighty Father, these
Are but the varied God. The rolling year
Is full of Thee. Forth in the pleasing Spring
Thy beauty walks, thy tenderness and love.
Wide flush the fields; the softening air is balm;
Echo the mountains round; the forest smiles;
And every sense, and every heart, is joy.
Then comes thy glory in the Summer months,
With light and heat refulgent. Then thy sun
Shoots full perfection through the swelling year:
And oft thy voice in dreadful thunder speaks:
And oft at dawn, deep noon, or falling eve,
By brooks and groves, in hollow-whispering gales.

Thy bounty shines in Autumn unconfined,
And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter awful Thou! with clouds and storms
Around Thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest rollid,
Majestic darkness ! on the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublime, Thou bid'st the world adore,
And humblest Nature with thy northern blast.

Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine,
Deep felt, in these appear! a simple train,
Yet so delightful mix’d, with such kind art,
Such beauty and beneficence combined;
Shade, unperceived, so softening into shade;
And all so forming an harmonious whole;
That, as they still succeed, they ravish still.
But wandering oft, with brute unconscious gaze,
Man marks not Thee, marks not the mighty hand,
That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres;
Works in the secret deep; shoots, steaming, thence
The fair profusion that o'erspreads the spring :
Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature; hurls the tempest forth;
And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.

Nature, attend ! join every living soul, Beneath the spacious temple of the sky, In adoration join; and, ardent, raise One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales, Breathe soft, whose Spirit in your freshness breathes. Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound; Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze Along the vale; and thou, majestic main, A secret world of wonders in thyself, Sound His stupendous praise; whose greater voice Or bids you roar, or bids your roarings fall. Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits, and flowers, In mingled clouds to Him, whose sun exalts, Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints : Ye forests, bend, ye harvests, wave, to Him; Ye constellations, in bright concert strike, Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre. Great source of day! best image here below, Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide, From world to world, the vital ocean round, On Nature write with every beam His praise.. The thunder rolls : be hush'd the prostrate world; While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn. Bleat out afresh, ye hills : ye mossy rocks, Retain the sound: the broad responsive low, Ye valleys, raise; for the Great Shepherd reigns; And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come. Ye woodlands all, awake: a boundless song Burst from the groves! and when the restless day,

Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds ! sweet Philomela, charm
The listening shades, and teach the night His praise.
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles,
At once the head, the heart, and tongue of all,
Crown the great hymn! in swarming cities yast,
Assembled men, to the deep organ join
The long-resounding voice, oft breaking clear
At solemn pauses, through the swelling base;
And, as each mingling flame increases each,
In one united ardour rise to heaven.
Or if you rather choose the rural shade,
And find a fane in every sacred grove;.
There let the shepherd's flute, the virgin's lay,
The prompting seraph, and the poet's lyre,
Still sing the God of Seasons, as they roll !-THOMPSON.

THE ALPS.

Above me are the Alps, The palaces of Nature, whose vast walls Have pinnacled in clouds their snowy scalps, And throned eternity in icy halls Of cold sublimity, where forms and falls The avalanche-the thunderbolt of snow! All that expands the spirit, yet appals, Gather round these summits, as to show How Earth may pierce to Heaven, yet leave vain man below.

BYRON. Dark in colour, robed with everlasting mourning, for ever tottering like a great fortress shaken by war, fearful as much in their weakness as in their strength, and yet gathered after every fall into darker frowns and unhumiliated threatening; for ever incapable of comfort or healing from herb or flower, nourishing no root in their crevices, touched by no hue of life on buttress or ledge, but to the utmost desolate; knowing no shaking of leaves in the wind nor of grass beside the stream-no other motion but their own mortal shivering, the dreadful crumbling of atom from atom in their corrupting stones; knowing no sound of living voice or living tread, cheered neither by the kid's bleat nor the marmot's cry; haunted only by uninterrupted echoes from afar off, wandering hither and thither among their walls, unable to escape, and by the hiss of angry torrents, and sometimes the shriek of a bird that flits near their face, and sweeps frightened back from under their shadow into the gulf of air. And sometimes, when the echo has fainted, and the wind has carried the sound of the torrent away, and the bird has vanished, and the mouldering stones are still for a little timea brown moth, opening and shutting its wings upon a grain of dust, may be the only thing that moves or feels in all the waste of weary precipice, darkening five thousand feet of the blue depth of heaven.

RUSKIN.

HYMN BEFORE SUNRISE IN THE VALE OF CHAMOUNY.

Hast thou a charm to stay the Morning-star
In his steep course? So long he seems to pause
On thy bald, awful head, oh sovran Blanc!
Oh dread and silent mount! I gazed upon thee,
Till thou, still present to the bodily sense,
Didst vanish from my thought: entranced in prayer,
I worshipped the invisible alone.

Yet, like some sweet beguiling melody,
So sweet, we know not we are listening to it,
Thou, the meanwhile, wast blending with my thought,
Yea, with my life, and life's own secret joy:
Till the dilating soul, enrapt, transfused
Into the mighty vision passing—then,
As in her natural form, swelled vast to heaven!

Awake, my soul! not only passive praise
Thou owest! not alone these swelling tears,
Mute thanks and secret ecstasy! Awake,
Voice of sweet song! Awake, my heart, awake!
Green vales and icy cliffs, all join my hymn!

Thou first and chief, sole sovereign of the vale !
Companion of the Morning-star at dawn.
Thyself earth's rosy star, and of the dawn
Co-herald: wake, oh wake, and utter praise !

And you, ye five wild torrents fiercely glad!
Who called you forth from night and utter death,
From dark and icy caverns called you forth,
Down those precipitous, black, jagged rocks,
For ever shattered, and the same for ever?
Who gave you your invulnerable life,
Your strength, your speed, your fury, and your joy,
Unceasing thunder and eternal foam?

Ye ice-falls ! ye that from the mountain's brow
Adown enormous ravines slope amain-
Torrents, methinks, that heard a mighty Voice,
And stopped at once amid their maddest plunge !
Motionless torrents! Silent cataracts!
Who made you glorious as the gates of heaven
Beneath the keen, full moon ? Who bade the sun
Clothe you with rainbows? Who, with living flowers
Of loveliest blue, spread garlands at your feet !
God ! let the torrents, like a shout of nations,
Answer! and let the ice-plains echo, God!
God! sing, ye meadow-streams, with gladsome voice !
Ye pine-groves, with your soft and soul-like sounds!
And they, too, have a voice, yon piles of snow,
And in their perilous fall, shall thunder, God!

Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal frost!
Ye wild goats sporting round the eagle's nest!
Ye eagles, play-mates of the mountain storm!
Ye lightnings, the dread arrows of the clouds;

Ye signs and wonders of the element !
Utter forth God, and fill the hills with praise !

Thou too, hoar mount! with thy sky-pointing peaks,
Oft from whose feet the avalanche, unheard,
Shoots downward, glittering through the pure serene
Into the depth of clouds, that veil thy breast-
Thou, too, again, stupendous mountain! that
Solemnly seemest, like a vapoury cloud,
To rise before me,-Rise, oh ever rise,
Rise like a cloud of incense from the earth!
Thou kingly spirit, throned among the hills,
Thou dread Ambassador from earth to heaver,
Great Hierarch! tell thou the silent sky,
And tell the stars, and tell the rising sun
Earth with her thousand voices praises God !--COLERIDGE.

THE INFLUENCE OF MOUNTAINS.

“O Liberty! the pris'ner's pleasing dream,

The poet's muse, his passion, and his theme;
Genius is thine, and thou art fancy's nurse;
Lost without thee th' ennobling powers of verse;
Heroic song from thy free touch acquires
Its clearest note, the rapture it inspires;
Place me where winter breathes his keenest air,
And I will sing, if liberty be there:
And I will sing at liberty's dear feet,
In Afric's torrid clime, or India's fiercest heat.”

COWPER.

Thanks be to God for mountains! From age to age they have been the best friends of man. In a thousand extremities they have saved him. What great hearts have throbbed in their defiles, from the days of Leonidas to those of Tell and Hofer !

The variety which they impart to the glorious bosom of our planet is no small advantage: the beauty which they spread out to our vision in their woods and waters, their crags and slopes, their clouds and atmospheric hues, is a splendid gift: the sublimity which they pour into our deepest souls from their majestic aspects: the poetry which breathes from their streams, dells, and airy lieights; the songs and legends which have arisen in them is a proud heritage to imaginative minds: but what are all these when the thought comes, that without mountains the spirit of man must have bowed to the brutal and the base, and probably have sunk to the monotonous level of the unvaried plain!

When I turn my eyes upon the map of the world and behold how wonderfully the countries-in which our faith was nurtured, our liberties obtained, and in which our philosophy and literature originated—were all distinctly walled out by God's hand with mountain ramparts, from the eruptions and interruptions of bar

« PredošláPokračovať »