« 이전계속 »
Thy gentle wind and thy fair sunny noon,
Ah! 't were a lot too blest
And leave the vain low strife
That makes men mad—the tug for wealth and power,
Early Recollections.-NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
It is delightful to fling a glance back to our early years, and recall our boyish actions, glittering with the light of hope, and the sanguine expectations of incipient being. But the remembrance of our sensations, when we were full of elasticity, when life was new, and every sense and relish keen, when the eye saw nothing but a world of beauty and glory around, every object glittering in golden resplendency, -is the most agreeable thing of all.
The recollection of boyish actions gives small gratification to persons of mature years, except for what may, perchance, be associated with them. But youthful sensations, experienced when the edge of enjoyment was most keen, and the senses exquisitely susceptible, furnish delightful recollections, that cling around some of us, in the last stage of life, like the principle of being itself. How do we recollect the exquisite taste of a particular fruit or dish to have been then! how delicious a cool draught from the running stream! landscape, a particular tree, a field, how much better defined and delightfully colored then, than they ever appeared afterwards.
There was a single tree opposite the door of my father's house: I remember, even now, how every limb branched off, and that I thought no tree could be finer or larger. I loved its shade; I played under it for years; but when I visited it, after my first absence for a few months from home,
though I recognised it with intense interest, it appeared lessened in size; it was an object I loved, but as a tree it no longer attracted wonder at its dimensions. During my absence, I had travelled in a forest of much larger trees, and the pleasure and well-defined image in my mind's eye, which I owed to the singleness of this object, I never again experienced in observing another.
Can I ever forget the sunny side of the wood, where I used to linger away my holidays among the falling leaves of the trees in autumn? I can recall the very smell of the sere foliage to recollection; and the sound of the dashing water is even now in my ear. The rustling of the boughs, the sparkling of the stream, the gnarled trunks of the old oaks around, long since levelled by the axe, left impressions to be obliterated only by death. The pleasure I then felt was undefinable; but I was satisfied to enjoy, without caring whence my enjoyment arose.
The old churchyard and its yew trees, where I sacrilegiously enjoyed my pastimes among the dead,—and the ivied tower, the belfry of which I frequently ascended, and wondered at the skill which could form such ponderous masses as the bells, and lift them so high, these were objects that, on Sundays particularly, often filled my mind, upon viewing them, with a sensation that cannot be put into language.
It was not joy, but a soothing, tranquil delight, that made me forget, for an instant, that I had any desire in the world unsatisfied. I have often thought since, that this state of mind must have approached pretty closely to happiness. As we passed the churchway path to the old Gothic porch on Sundays, I used to spell the inscriptions on the tombs, and wonder at the length of a life that exceeded sixty or seventy years; for days then passed more slowly than weeks pass now.
I visited, the other day, the school-room where I had once been the drudge of a system of learning, the end of which I could not understand, and where, as was then the fashion, every method taken seemed intended to disgust the scholar with those studies he should be taught to love. I looked again at my old seat; but my youthful recollections of the worse than eastern slavery I there endured, made me regard what I saw with a feeling of peculiar distaste.
It was not thus with the places I visited, during the short space of cessation from task and toil that the week allowed. The meadow, where, in true gaiety of heart, I had leaped, and raced, and played,-this recalled the contentedness of
mind, and the overflowing tide of delight I once experienced, when, climbing the stile which led into it, I left behind me the book and the task. How the sunshine of the youthful breast burst forth upon me, and the gushing spirit of unreined and innocent exhilaration braced every fibre, and rushed through every vein!
The sun has never shone so brilliantly since. How fragrant were the flowers! How deep the azure of the sky! How vivid were the hues of nature! How intense the shortlived sensations of pain and pleasure! How generous were all impulses! How confiding, open, and upright, all actions! Inhumanity to the distressed, and insolence to the fallen,' those besetting sins of manhood, how utterly strangers to the heart! How little of sordid interests, and how much of intrepid honesty, was then displayed!
The sensations peculiar to youth, being the result of impulse rather than reflection, have the advantage over those of manhood, however the pride of reason may give the latter the superiority. In manhood there is always a burden of thought bearing on the wheels of enjoyment. In manhood, too, we have the misfortune of seeing the wrecks of early associations scattered everywhere around us. Youth can
see nothing of this. It can take no review of antecedent pleasures or pains, that become such a source of melancholy emotion in mature years. It has never sauntered through the rooms of a building, and recalled early days spent under its roof.
I remember my feelings on an occasion of this sort, when I was like a traveller on the plain of Babylon, wondering where all that had once been to me so great and mighty then was; in what gulf the sounds of merriment, that once reverberated from the walls; the master, the domestic, the aged, and the young, had disappeared. Our early recollections are pleasing to us, because they look not on the morrow. Alas! what did that morrow leave, when it had become merged in the past!
I have lately traversed the village in which I was born, without discovering a face that I knew. Houses have been demolished, fronts altered, tenements built, trees rooted up, and alterations effected, that make me feel a stranger amid the home of my fathers. The old-fashioned and roomy house, where my infant years had been watched by parental affection, had been long uninhabited; it was in decay: the storm beat through its fractured windows, and it was
partly roofless. The garden, and its old elms,-the scene associated with the cherished feelings of many a happy hour,-lay a weedy waste.
Amid thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries;
And the long grass o'ertops the mouldering wall!
But the picture it represented in my youth exhibits it as true and vivid as ever. It is hung up in memory in all its freshness, and time cannot dilapidate its image. It is now become an essence, that defies the mutability of material things. It is fixed in ethereal colors on the tablets of the mind, and lives within the domain of spirit; within the circumference of which the universal spoiler possesses no sovereignty.
The American in England.-IRVING.
ENGLAND is as classic ground to an American, as Italy is to an Englishman; and old London teems with as much historical association as mighty Rome.
But what more especially attracts his notice, are those peculiarities which distinguish an old country, and an old state of society, from a new one. I have never yet grown familiar enough with the crumbling monuments of past ages, to blunt the intense interest with which I at first beheld them.
Accustomed always to scenes where history was, in a manner, in anticipation; where every thing in art was new and progressive, and pointed to the future rather than to the past; where, in short, the works of man gave no ideas but those of young existence, and prospective improvement; there was something inexpressibly touching in the sight of enormous piles of architecture, gray with antiquity, and sinking to decay.
I cannot describe the mute but deep-felt enthusiasm, with which I have contemplated a vast monastic ruin, like Tintern Abbey, buried in the bosom of a genial valley, and shut up from the world, as though it had existed merely for
itself; or a warrior pile, like Conway Castle, standing in stern loneliness on its rocky height, a mere hollow, yet threatening phantom of departed power. They spread a grand, a melancholy, and, to me, an unusual charm over the landscape. I for the first time beheld signs of national old age, and empire's decay, and proofs of the transient and perishing glories of art, amidst the ever-springing and reviving fertility of nature.
But, in fact, to me every thing was full of matter: the footsteps of history were every where to be traced; and poetry had breathed over and sanctified the land. I experienced the delightful freshness of feeling of a child, to whom every thing is new. I pictured to myself a set of inhabitants, and a mode of life, for every habitation that I saw; from the aristocratical mansion, amidst the lordly repose of stately groves and solitary parks, to the straw-thatched cottage, with its scanty garden, and its cherished woodbine.
I thought I never could be sated with the sweetness and freshness of a country, so completely carpeted with verdure; where every air breathed of the balmy pasture, and the honey-suckled hedge. I was continually coming upon some little document of poetry, in the blossomed hawthorn, the daisy, the cowslip, the primrose, or some other simple object, that has received a supernatural value from the muse. The first time that I heard the song of the nightingale, I was intoxicated more by the delicious crowd of remembered associations, than by the melody of its notes; and I shall never forget the thrill of ecstasy with which I first saw the lark rise, almost from beneath my feet, and wing its mercurial flight up to the morning sky.
The Poetry of Ossian.-HowITT.
OSSIAN is a book to be read amid the gloomy silence, or the loud, gusty winds of November. There is an ancient dwelling, in a sylvan and 'out of the world' part of the country, which I frequent about as often as there are months in the year. In the summer it is surrounded by out-door delights, woods, green fields, sweet songs, and all the pleasantnesses of flowers, breezes, and sunshine, which tempt me to loiter among them; but in the autumnal and wintry