페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

takes it up. The father finks into his shroud, and his successor enjoys his honours for a little while, and then resigns them to a third, who, dyir"r, ieaves them to a fourth, and so onad infikftum*. Nothing but familiarity could remove the alarming certainty

• Among the many celebrated passages of the excellent Shakespear there is one upon this subject, not inferior eithef to the morality or eloquence of St. Paul, who was certainly the sublimest as well as the most persuasive orator in the world, and who (as I shall endeavour to evince, in the future progress of these sketches) still remains superior to all his successors. The passage alluded to above, is fresti in «very man's memory, and cannot, indeed, be too frequently recollected or repeated.

To morrow, and to morrow, and to morrow
Creeps in this pretty space, from day to day,
-3"o the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted/oels
The way to duslcy death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an ideot, full of found and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Criticism might, perhaps, enter an objection against the propriety of the word fools, at the end of the fourth line. Our yesterdays, do not only light fools, but the children of Wisdom, the way to death.—We are told by the poet, that even " The paths of glory lead but to the grave."

of

of death from the soul: it still, however, remains a startling matter,and may well give' the hint of preparation, when we reflect, that all the tens of thousands which a century and a half ago, were bustling upon the face of the earth—kings, potentates, princes, and beggars, are now buried in its bowels: and the point comes still nearer to our own " business and bosoms," when we farther consider, that all which now has existence in every part of the habitable world, must be soon inevitably in the fame situation. Such is the progress of dissolving nature, and such the constant decrease and increase of created matter. By theie means also, in a shorter space of time than the flight of one hundred and fifty years, the universe (with respect to its inhabitants) wears a new face, and resembles the preceding age, only in such instances, wherein general likeness of race, or similitude of feature is transmitted, from one generation to another.

F Ossian

Ossian (whose Poem, whether modern productions or not, certainly breathe, in some places, an almost scriptural sublimity, and are not much unlike the scriptural manner of writing) has, with equal propriety and pathos, imagery and morality thus descanted on the brevity of life,

"Desolate is the dwelling of Morina: "silence in the house of her fathers. Raise "the song of mourning over the strangers, "One day we must fall; and they have "only fallen before us. Why dost thou "build the hall, son of the winged days! "Thou lookest from thy towers to-day. "Soon will the blast of the desert come. "The mighty will not return} nor Oscar "rise in his strength. The valiant must "fall one day, and be no more known. "Where are our fathers or warriors! the "chiefs of the times of old? They are set "like stars that have shone: we only hear "the sound of their praise: but they were "renowned in their day, and the terror of !' their times."

This is sine painting, and without any part of that obscurity, or affectation of parages, which now and then sticks to Offian. The moral passages which close the above description, derive a. peculiar merit from their peculiar conciseness. Offian and the divine writers of the Scripture are eminendy happy in their short, complete sentences, in which the fense is always full, without overflowing.

F t

« 이전계속 »