« PredošláPokračovať »
kindred, those who were near and dear by the ties of blood, had been summoned to another scene: and, though my heart could dwell on their removal with the assured confidence, that they had fallen asleep in Jesus, and would hereafter be brought with God, when he came to sit in Judgment on the quick and dead; yet, a few natural tears I could not prevent from flowing, nor could I at once dismiss all sadness from my breast. Others, too, of my relations were unwell; and might even then be approaching the term of their mortal existence, dropping one by one away, and gradually leaving me alone in the midst of a dreary, and to me a deserted, world.
It was in such a frame of mind that I had sought, in the silence of the vesper-hour, the solitude that surrounded me. There is something in solitude and silence which sympathizes with affliction :-the busy hum
1 Thess. iv. 14.
and bustle of men-most of them going on their way with careless indifference amidst the varied business of life, some in joy, others perhaps concealing a hidden pang under a smile, that would wish to make you believe that nought of bitterness rankled in the heart beneath it; and all, or almost all, concerned apparently only for them. selves, seeking their own interests and pleasure-is a burthen too heavy to be borne ; and that very din and tumult, which had formerly, as it were, wiled us from ourselves, now but adds sorrow to sorrow, and heaps grief on grief. Where I was then wandering, however, there was no such interruption. The wind blew, indeed, and freshly ; but its voice was not unpleasing, for it had a mournfulness in its sound that mournfulness which we have listened to with some undefined sensations either of anguish or delight, it may not, possibly, be easy to determine which, when the wildest of the storms had gone by, and the elements were again beginning to return to tranquil
lity, and seemed to be sighing over the desolation they had occasioned in their anger. The lake-bird, too, might have passed me screaming; yet its cry, harsh as it was, wafted shrilly but quickly down the breeze on whose bosom it was sailing, fell with no grating dissonance on my ear. It might have lost its mate, perhaps, in the storm, and like myself might now be lamenting the dissevering of some of its fondest earthly ties. The clouds, also, hung drearily over the prospect. Though not extremely dark, they were of that dun louring colour, which is more fearful oftentimes than the blackness that rides upon the wings of the tempest, even in its most dismaying flight. While the rains descend, and the winds beat, and the thunder rolls, and the lightnings flash, the spirit is upheld by an artificial elasticity in the terror of the moment, and has not leisure for that calmness of reflection which alone. leaves the feelings at liberty to expand, in the depth and breadth and height of suffering. But, let the tumult have passed away
let the world have again resumed something of its wonted composure-let the alarm that overspread the heavens, as they gathered gloom from every cloud that crossed them on its path, have subsidedlet the voice of the gale be once more heard, not in its fury, but in that weariness of sound which tells you the hurricane bas ceased, and the storm is lulling itself to rest --and then, in the unquiet vacancy of the hour, the disburthened bosom will have opportunity to look inward upon itself, and to contemplate its immediate sorrows.
Such were my feelings at the period I allude to; and the scene I surveyed with the eye of sense, appeared unconsciously to assimilate itself to the world within. The mountains were covered with a misty shroud through which their high peaks were seen dimly rising, as if they wished to get beyond the murky clouds that enveloped them, and breathe a purer atmosphere. Nearer, the pastoral hills, which I had beheld but lately smiling in their green robes, and covered
with flocks, frowned through the darkness that was still thickly spread upon their breasts, winning even imagination, in the expectation of rains to come, to view the prospect with more melancholy emotion. The shepherd not yet had unpenned his charge, for the storm had not long died away: the herds were still lowing in their sheds; and the rivulets, swollen into torrents, were still dashing down their sides with an impetuosity that threatened danger to the adjacent folds. The lake, as its waters swept the beach beside me, emitted a hollow dismal murmur that reverberated through the gloom, and increased the sad solemnity of the hour.
While I was thus wandering pensively along, a vessel, returning from the bigher extremity of the lake, attracted my observation. It was moving downward on the long undulations, and while it rose and fell upon the billow, seemed, as I gazed on it, 'to keep,' in the beautiful language of the Grecian Bard, those who were borne along