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imagery, yet more steadfastly hanging there of our own spirits. Again both are gone from than ever hung the banks of summer! For the outward world-and naught remains but a all one sheet of ice, now clear as the Glass of forbidden frown of the cold bleak snow. But Glamoury in which that Lord of old beheld his imperishable in thy imagination will both sunGeraldinemis Windermere, the heaven-loving sets bemand though it will sometimes retire and the heaven-beloved. Not a wavelet mur- into the recesses of thy memory, and lie there murs in all her bays, from the silvan Brathay among the unsuspected treasures of forgotten to where the southern straits narrow into a imagery that have been unconsciously accuriver-now chained too, the Leven, on his sil- mulating there since first those gentle eyes of van course towards that perilous Estuary afar thine had perfect vision given to their depths off raging on its wreck-strewn sands. The —yet mysteriously brought back from vanishfrost came after the last fall of snow_and not ment by some one single silent thought, to a single flake ever touched that surface; and which power has been yielding over that bright now that you no longer miss the green twink- portion of the, Past, will both of them someling of the large July leaves, does not imagina- times reappear to thee in solitude-or haply tion love those motionless frozen forests, cold when in the very heart of life. And then but not dead, serene but not sullen, inspirative surely a few tears will fall for sake of himin the strangeness of their apparelling of wild then no more seen—by whose side thou stoodthoughts about the scenery of foreign climes, est, when that double sunset enlarged thy sense far away among the regions of the North, of beauty, and made thee in thy father's eyes where Nature works her wonders aloof from the sweetest-best-and brightest poetesshuman eyes, and that wild architect Frost, whose whole life is musical inspiration-ode, during the absence of the sun, employs his elegy, and hymn, sung not in words but in night of months in building and dissolving his looks--sigh-breathed or speechlessly distilled ice-palaces, magnificent beyond the reach of in tears flowing from feelings the farthest in any power set to work at the bidding of earth's this world from grief. crowned and sceptred kings? All at once a So much, though but little, for the beautifulhundred houses, high up among the hills, seem | with, perhaps, a tinge of the sublime. Are the on fire. The setting sun has smitten them, and two emotions different and distinct-thinkst the snow-tracts are illuminated by harmless thou, O metaphysical critic of the gruesome conflagrations. Their windows are all lighted countenance-or modifications of one and the up by a lurid splendour, in its strong sudden- same? 'Tis a puzzling question-and we, ness sublime. But look, look, we beseech you, Sphinx, might wait till doomsday, before you, at the sun—the sunset—the sunset region-Edipus, could solve the enigma. Certainly a and all that kindred and corresponding heaven, Rose is one thing and Mount Ætna is another effulgent, where a minute ago lay in its cold -an antelope and an elephant-an insect and glitter the blue bosom of the lake. Who knows a man-of-war, both sailing in the sun-a little the laws of light and the perpetual miracle of lucid well in which the fairies bathe, and the their operation? God—not thou. The snow- Polar Sea in which Leviathan is “wallowing mountains are white no more, but gorgeous in unwieldy, enormous in his gait—the jewelled their colouring as the clouds. · Lo! Pavey-Ark finger of a virgin bride, and grim Saturn with --magnificent range of cliffs-seeming to come his ring--the upward eye of a kneeling saint, forward, while you gaze !-How it glows with and a comet, “ that from his horrid hair shakes a rosy light, as if a flush of flowers decked the pestilence and war.” But let the rose bloom precipice in that delicate splendour! Langs on the mouldering ruins of the palace of some dale-Pikes, methinks, are tinged with finest great king--among the temples of Balbec or purple, and the thought of violets is with us Syrian Tadmor--and in its beauty, methinks, as we gaze on the tinted bosom of the moun- 'twill be also sublime. See the antelope boundtains dearest to the setting srın. But that long ing across a raging chasm--up among the broad slip of orange-coloured sky is yellowing region of eternal snows on Mont Blanc-and with its reflection almost all the rest of our deny it, if you please but assuredly we think Alps—all but yon stranger the summit of that there is sublimity in the fearless flight of some mountain belonging to another region--that beautiful creature, to whom nature grudged ay—the Great Gabel-silent now as sleep-not wings, but gave instead the power of when last we clomb his cliffs, thundering in plumes to her small delicate limbs, unfractured the mists of all his cataracts. In his shroud by alighting among the pointed rocks. All he stands pallid like a ghost. Beyond the reach alone, by your single solitary self, in some of the setting sun he lours in his exclusion wide, lifeless desert, could you deny sublimity from the rejoicing light, and imagination, per- to the unlooked-for hum of the tiniest insect, or sonifying his solitary vastness into forsaken to the sudden shiver of the beauty of his gauzelife, pities the doom of the forlorn Giant. Ha! wings? Not you, indeed. Stooping down to just as the eye of day is about to shat, one quench your thirst in that little lucid well smile seems sent afar to that lonesome moun- where the fairies bathe, what if you saw the tain, and a crown of crimson encompasses his image of the evening star shining in some forehead.
strange subterranean world?
We suspect On which of the two sunsets art thou now that you would hold in your breath, and swear gazing? Thou who art to our old loving eyes devoutly that it was sublime. Dead on the so like the mountain nymph, sweet Liberty ?" | very evening of her marriage day is that virOn the sunset in the heaven-or the sunset in gin bride whose delicacy was so beautifulthe lake? The divine truth is-0 Daughter and as she lies in her white wedding garments of our Age !--that both sunsets are but visions that serve for a shroud--that emblem of eternity and of eternal love, the ring, upon her fin- | turn with his ring, and with his horrid hair ger—with its encased star shining brightly now the comet-might be all less than nothings. that her eyes, once stars, are closed-would, me- Therefore beauty and sublimity are twin feelthinks, be sublime to all Christian hearts. In ings—one and the same birth--seldom insepacomparison with all these beautiful sublimities, rable;—if you still doubt it, become a fire-worMount Ætna, the elephant, the man-of-war, shipper, and sing your morning and evening Leviathan swimming the ocean-stream, Sa-'orisons to the rising and the setting sun.
THE HOLY CHILD.
This House of ours is a prison---this Study cay, but often melts away into changes so inof ours a cell. Time has laid his fetters on our visible and inaudible that you wonder to find feet-fetters fine as the gossamer, but strong that it is all vanished, and to see the old tree as Samson's ribs, silken-soft to wise submis- again standing in its own faint-green glossy sion, but to vain impatience galling as cankered bark, with its many million buds, which perwound that keeps ceaselessly eating into the haps fancy suddenly expands into a power of bone. But while our bodily feet are thus bound umbrage impenetrable to the sun in Scorpio. by an inevitable and inexorable law, our men- A sudden burst of sunshine! bringing back tal wings are free as those of the lark, the dove, the pensive spirit from the past to the present, or the eagle--and they shall be expanded as and kindling it, till it dances like light reflected of yore, in calm or tempest, now touching with from a burning mirror. A cheerful Sun-scene, their tips the bosom of this dearly beloved though almost destitute of life. An undulating earth, and now aspiring heavenwards, beyond Landscape, hillocky and hilly, but not moun. the realms of mist and cloud, even unto the tainous, and buried under the weight of a day very core of the still heart of that otherwise and night's incessant and continuous snow-fali. unapproachable sky which graciously opens The weather has not been windy—and now to receive us on our flight, when, disencum- that the flakes have ceased falling, there is not bered of the burden of all grovelling thoughts, a cloud to be seen, except some delicate braidand strong in spirituality, we exult to soar ings here and there along the calm of the Great
Blue Sea of Heaven. Most luminous is the “ Beyond this visible diurnal sphere,"
sun, yet you can look straight on his face, nearing and nearing the native region of its almost with unwinking eyes, so mild and melown incomprehensible being.
low is his large light as it overflows the day. Now touching, we said, with their tips the All enclosures have disappeared, and you inbosom of this dearly beloved earth! How distinctly ken the greater landmarks, such as sweet that attraction to imagination's wings! a grove, a wood, å hall, a castle, a spire, a How delightful in that lower flight to skim village, a town-the faint haze of a far off and along the green ground, or as now along the smokeless city. Most intense is the silence; soft-bosomed beauty of the virgin snow! We for all the streams are dumb, and the great were asleep all night long-sound asleep as river lies like a dead serpent in the strath. children-while the flakes were falling, “and Not dead-for, lo! yonder one of his folds glitsoft as snow on snow" were all the descendings ters--and in the glitter you see him movingof our untroubled dreams. The moon and all while all the rest of his sullen length is palsied her stars were willing that their lustre should by frost, and looks livid and more livid at be veiled by that peaceful shower; and now every distant and more distant winding. What the sun, pleased with the purity of the morning blackens on that tower of snow? Crows earth, all white as innocence, looks down from roosting innumerous on a huge tree—but they heaven with a meek unmelting light, and still caw not in their hunger. Neither sheep nor leaves undissolved the stainless splendour. cattle are to be seen or heard--but they are There is frost in the air—but he “ does his spi- cared for;~the folds and the farm-yards are all riting gently,” studding the ground-snow thick- full of life and the ungathered stragglers are ly with diamonds, and shaping the tree-snow safe in their instincts. There has been a deep according to the peculiar and characteristic fall—but no storm-and the silence, though beauty of the leaves and sprays, on which it partly that of suffering, is not that of death. has alighted almost as gently as the dews of Therefore, to the imagination, unsaddened by spring. You know every kind of tree still by the heart, the repose is beautiful. The almost its own spirit showing itself through that fairy unbroken uniformity of the scene-its simple veil--momentarily disguised from recognition and grand monotony—lulls all the thoughts --but admired the more in the sweet surprise and feelings into a calm, over which is breathed with which again your heart salutes its fami- the gentle excitation of a novel charm, inspirliar branches, all fancifully ornamented with ing many fancies, all of a quiet character. their snow foliage, that murmurs not like the Their range, perhaps, is not very extensive, green leaves of summer, that like the yellow but they all regard the homefelt and domestic leaves of autumn strews not the earth with de- charities of life. And the heart burns as here and there some human dwelling discovers the innocent. “Pure as snow," are words then itself by a wreath of smoke up the air, or as felt to be most holy, as the image of some the robin redbreast, a creature that is ever at beautiful and beloved being comes and goes hand, comes flitting before your path with an before our eyes--brought from a far distance almost pert flutter of his feathers, bold from in this our living world, or from a distance the acquaintanceship he has formed with you further still in a world beyond the grave the in severer weather at the threshold or window image of a virgin growing up sinlessly to woof the tenement, which for years may have manhood among her parents' prayers, or of been the winter sanctuary of the “bird whom some spiritual creature who expired long ago, man loves best,” and who bears a Christian and carried with her her native innocence unname in every clime he inhabits. Meanwhile stained to heaven. the sun waxes brighter and warmer in heaven Such Spiritual Creaturetoo spiritual long some insects are in the air, as if that mo- to sojourn below the skies--wert Thou—whose ment called to life-and the mosses that may rising and whose setting—both most starlike yet be visible here and there along the ridge of -brightened at once all thy native vale, and a wall or on the stem of a tree, in variegated at once left it in darkness. Thy name has lustre frost-brightened, seem to delight in the long slept in our heart-and there let it sleep snow, and in no other season of the year to be unbreathed-even as, when we are dreaming so happy as in winter. Such gentle touches our way through some solitary place, without of pleasure animate one's whole being, and naming it, we bless the beauty of some sweet connect, by many a fine association, the emo- wild-flower, pensively smiling to us through tions inspired by the objects of animate and of the snow. inanimate nature.
The Sabbath returns on which, in the little Ponder on the idea—the emotion of purity-kirk among the hills, we saw thee baptized. and how finely soul-blent is the delight imagi- Then comes a wavering glimmer of five sweet nation feels in a bright hush of new-fallen years, that to Thee, in all their varieties, were snow! Some speck or stain-however slight but as one delightful season, one blessed life —there always seems to be on the most perfect -and, finally, that other Sabbath, on which, , whiteness of any other substance-or “dim at thy own dying request-between services suffusion veils" it with some faint discolour thou wert buried. witness even the leaf of the lily or the rose. How mysterious are all thy ways and workHeaven forbid that we should ever breathe ings, O gracious Nature! Thou who art but aught but love and delight in the beauty of a name given by us to the Being in whom all these consummate flowers ! But feels not the things are and have life. Ere three years old, heart, even when the midsummer morning she, whose image is now with us, all over the sunshine is melting the dews on their fragrant small silvan world that beheld the evanescent bosoms, that their loveliness is “of the earth revelation of her pure existence, was called earthy”—faintly tinged or streaked, when at the “Holy Child !" "The taint of sin-inherited. the very fairest, with a hue foreboding lan- from those who disobeyed in Paradise-seemed guishment and decay? Not the less for its from her fair clay to have been washed out at sake are those soulless flowers dear to us--the baptismal font, and by her first infantine thus owning kindred with them whose beauty tears. So pious people almost believed, lookis all soul enshrined for a short while on that ing on her so unlike all other children, in the perishable face. Do we not still regard the serenity of that habitual smile that clothed the
. so emblematical of what, in creature's countenance with a wondrous beauhuman life, we do most passionately love and ty at an age when on other infants is but faintprofoundly pity~with a pensive emotion, often ly seen the dawn of reason, and their eyes deepening into melancholy that sometimes, ere look happy just like the thoughtless flowers. the strong fit subsides, blackens into despair! So unlike all other children-but unlike only What pain doubtless was in the heart of the because sooner than they she seemed to have Elegiac Poet of old, when he sighed over the had given to her, even in the communion of transitory beauty of flowers
the cradle, an intimation of the being and
the providence of God. Sooner, surely, than “Conquerimur natura brevis quam gratia Florum!''
through any other clay that ever enshrouded But over a perfectly pure expanse of night- immortal spirit
, dawned the light of religion fallen snow, when unaffected by the gentle sun, on the face of the “Holy Child.” the first fine frost has incrusted it with small Her lisping language was sprinkled with sparkling diamonds, the prevalent emotion is words alien from common childhood's unJoy. There is a charm in the sudden and total certain speech, that murmurs only when indisappearance even of the grassy green. All digent nature prompts; and her own parents the “old familiar faces” of nature are for a wondered whence they came, when first they while out of sight, and out of mind. That looked upon her kneeling in an unbidden white silence shed by heaven over earth carries prayer. As one mild week of vernal sunshine with it, far and wide, the pure peace of another covers the braes with primroses, so shone region-almost another life. No image is with fair and fragrant feeling-unfolded, ere there to tell of this restless and noisy world. they knew, before her parents' eyes--the divine The cheerfulness of reality kindles up our reve- nature of her who for a season was lent to rie ere it becomes a dream; and we are glad them from the skies. She learned to read out to feel our whole being complexioned by the of the Bible-almost without any teaching passionless repose. If we think at all of hu- they knew not how—just by looking gladly on man life, it is only of the young, the fair, and the words, even as she looked on the pretty
daisies on the green_till their meanings stole The linnet ceased not his song for her, though insensibly into her soul, and the sweet sylla- her footsteps wandered into the green glade bles, succeeding each other on the blessed among the yellow broom, almost within reach page, were all united by the memories her of the spray from which he poured his melody heart had been treasuring every hour that her —the quiet eyes of his mate feared her not father or her mother had read aloud in her when her garments almost touched the bush hearing from the Book of Life. “Suffer little where she brooded on her young. Shyest on children to come unto me, and forbid them not, the winged silvans, the cushat clapped not for of such is the kingdom of heaven"—how her wings away on the soft approach of such wept her parents, as these the most affecting harmless footsteps to the pine that concealed of our Saviour's words dropt silver-sweet from her slender nest. As if blown from heaven, her lips, and continued in her upward eyes descended round her path the showers of the among the swimming tears !
painted butterflies, to feed, sleep, or die-unBe not incredulous of this dawn of reason, disturbed by her-upon the wild-flowers—with wonderful as it may seem to you, so soon be- wings, when motionless, undistinguishable from coming morn-almost perfect daylight-with the blossoms. And well she loved the brown, the “Holy Child.” Many such miracles are busy, blameless bees, come thither for the set before us—but we recognise them not, or honey-dews from a hundred cots sprinkled all pass them by with a word or a smile of short over the parish, and all high overhead sailing surprise. How leaps the baby in its mother's | away at evening, laden and wearied, to their arms, when the mysterious charm of music straw-roofed skeps in many a hamlet garden. thrills through its little brain ! And how learns The leaf of every tree, shrub, and plant, she it to modulate its feeble voice, unable yet to knew familiarly and lovingly in its own chaarticulate, to the melodies that bring forth all racteristic beauty; and she was loath to shake round its eyes a delighted smile! Who knows one dew-drop from the sweetbrier-rose. And what then may be the thoughts and feelings well she knew that all nature loved her in of the infant awakened to the sense of a new return that they were dear to each other in world, alive through all its being to sounds that their innocence and that the very sunshine, haply glide past our ears unmeaning as the in motion or in rest, was ready to come at the breath of the common air! Thus have mere bidding of her smiles. Skilful those small infants sometimes been seen inspired by music white hands of hers among the reeds and till, like small genii, they warbled spell-strains rushes and osiers—and many a pretty flowerof their own, powerful to sadden and subdue basket grew beneath their touch, her parents our hearts. So, too, have infant eyes been so wondering on their return home to see the charmed by the rainbow irradiating the earth, handiwork of one who was never idle in her that almost infant hands have been taught, as happiness. Thus early-ere yet but five years if by inspiration, the power to paint in finest old-did she earn her mite for the sustenance colours, and to imitate, with a wondrous art, of her own beautiful life. The russet garb she the skies so beautiful to the quick-awakened wore she herself had won-and thus Poverty, spirit of delight. What knowledge have not at the door of that hut, became even like a some children acquired, and gone down Guardian Angel, with the lineaments of heascholars to their small untimely graves! ven on her brow, and the quietude of heaven Knowing that such things have been—are- beneath her feet. and will be-why art thou incredulous of the But these were but her lonely pastimes, or divine expansion of soul, so soon understand gentle taskwork self-imposed among her pasing the things that are divine-in the “Holy times, and itself the sweetest of them all, inChild ?”
spired by a sense of duty that still brings with Thus grew she in the eye of God, day by it its own delight, and hallowed by religion, day waxing wiser and wiser in the knowledge that even in the most adverse lot changes that tends towards the skies; and, as if some slavery into freedom-till the heart, insensible angel visitant were nightly with her in her to the bonds of necessity, sings aloud for joy. dreams, awakening every morn with a new The life within the life of the “Holy Child," dream of thought, that brought with it a gift apart from even such innocent employments of more comprehensive speech. Yet merry as these, and from such recreations as inno. she was at times with her companions among cent, among the shadows and the sunshine of the woods and braes, though while they all those silvan haunts, was passed let us fear were laughing, she only smiled; and the pass- not to say the truth, wondrous as such worship ing traveller, who might pause for a moment was in one so very young-was passed in the to bless the sweet creatures in their play, could worship of God; and her parents—though not but single out one face among the many sometimes even saddened to see such piety in fair, so pensive in its paleness, a face to be a small creature like her, and afraid, in their remembered, coming from afar, like a mourn- exceeding love, that it betokened an early reful thought upon the hour of joy.
moval from this world of one too perfectly pure Sister or brother of her own had she none-ever to be touched by its sins and sorrowsand often both her parents—who lived in a forbore, in an awful pity, ever to remove the hut by itself up among the mossy stumps of Bible from her knees, as she would sit with it the old decayed forest-had to leave her alone there, not at morning and at evening only, or --sometimes even all the day long from morn- all the Sabbath long as soon as they returned ing till night. But she no more wearied in her from the kirk, but often through all the hours solitariness than does the wren in the wood. of the longest and sunniest week-days, when, All the flowers were her friends-all the birds. I had she chosen to do so, there was nothing to hinder her from going up the hill-side, or down piety so far surpassing their thoughts; and to the little village, to play with the other chil- time-hardened sinners, it is said, when looking dren, always too happy when she appeared and listening to the “Holy Child," knew the nothing to hinder her but the voice she heard error of their ways, and returned to the right speaking in that Book, and the hallelujahs path as at a voice from heaven. that, at the turning over of each blessed page, Bright was her seventh summer--the brightcame upon the ear of the “Holy Child” from est, so the aged said, that had ever, in man's white-robed saints all kneeling before His memory, shone over Scotland. One long, still, throne in heaven.
sunny, blue day followed another, and in the Her life seemed to be the same in sleep. rainless weather, though the dews kept green Often at midnight, by the light of the moon the hills, the song of the streams was low shining in upon her little bed' beside theirs, But paler and paler, in sunlight and moon her parents leant over her face, diviner in light, became the sweet face that had been dreams, and wept as she wept, her lips all the always pale; and the voice that had been al. while murmuring, in broken sentences of ways something mournful, breathed lower and prayer, the name of Him who died for us all. sadder still from the too perfect whiteness of But plenteous as were her penitential tears, her breast. No need no fear-to tell her that penitential in the holy humbleness of her stain- she was about to die. Sweet whispers had less spirit, over thoughts that had never left a sung it to her in her sleep-and waking she dimming breath on its purity, yet that seemed knew it in the look of the piteous skies. But in those strange visitings to be haunting her as she spoke not to her parents of death more the shadows of sins-soon were they all dried than she had often done-and never of her up in the lustre of her returning smiles. Wak- own. Only she seemed to love them with a ing, her voice in the kirk was the sweetest more exceeding love and was readier, even among many sweet, as all the young singers, sometimes when no one was speaking, with a and she the youngest far, sat together by them- few drops of tears. Sometimes she disapselves, and within the congregational music peared-nor, when sought for, was found in of the psalm uplifted a silvery strain that the woods about the hut. And one day that sounded like the very spirit of the whole, even mystery was cleared; for a shepherd saw her like angelic harmony blent with a mortal song, sitting by herself on a grassy mound in a nook But sleeping, still more sweetly sang the “Holy of the small solitary kirkyard, a long mile off Child;" and then, too, in some diviner inspi- among the hills, so lost in reading the Bible, ration than ever was granted to it while awake, that shadow or sound of his feet awoke her her soul composed its own hymns, and set the not; and, ignorant of his presence, she knelt simple scriptural words to its own mysterious down and prayed-for a while weeping bittermusic—the tunes she loved best gliding into ly—but soon comforted by a heavenly calmone another, without once ever marring the that her sins might be forgiven her! melody, with pathetic touches interposed never
One Sabbath evening, soon after, as she was heard before, and never more to be renewed! sitting beside her parents at the door of their For each dream had its own breathing, and hut, looking first for a long while on their many-visioned did then seem to be the sinless faces, and then for a long while on the sky, creature's sleep.
though it was not yet the stated hour of worThe love that was borne for her all over the ship, she suddenly knelt down, and leaning on hill-region, and beyond its circling clouds, was their knees, with hands clasped more fervently almost such as mortal creatures might be than her wont, she broke forth into tremulous thought to feel for some existence that had singing of that hymn which from her lips they visibly come from heaven. Yet all who looked never heard without unendurable tears: on her, saw that she, like themselves, was
“ The hour of my departure's come, mortal, and many an eye was wet, the heart
I hear the voice that calls me home; wist not why, to hear such wisdom falling
At last, O Lord, let trouble cease,
And let thy servant die in peace!” from such lips; for dimly did it prognosticate, that as short as bright would be her walk from They carried her fainting to her little bed, and the cradle to the grave. And thus for the uttered not a word to one another till she re“Holy Child” was their love elevated by awe, vived. The shock was sudden, but not unexand saddened by pity—and as by herself she pected, and they knew now that the hand of passed pensively by their dwellings, the same death was upon her, although her eyes soon eyes that smiled on her presence, on her dis- became brighter and brighter, they thought, appearance wept.
than they had ever been before. But forehead, Not in vain for others and for herself, oh! cheeks, lips, neck, and breast, were all as what great gain !—for those few years on earth white, and, to the quivering hands that touched vlid that pure spirit ponder on the word of God! them, almost as cold, as snow. Ineffable was Other children became pious from their delight the bliss in those radiant eyes; but the breath in her piety-for she was simple as the of words was frozen, and that hymn was alsimplest among them all, and walked with most her last farewell. Some few words she them hand in hand, nor declined companion- spake--and named the hour and day she ship with any one that was good. But all wished to be buried. Her lips could then grew good by being with her--and parents just faintly return the kiss, and no morema had but to whisper her name, and in a mo- film came over the now dim blue of her eyes ment the passionate sob was hushed—the -the father listened for her breath--and then lowering brow lighted—and the household in the mother took his place, and leaned her ear prace. Older hearts owned the power of the I to the unbreathing mouth, long deluding her