Page images
PDF
EPUB

2. The love of a delicate female is always shy and silent. Even when fortunate, she scarcely breathes it to herself; but when otherwise, she buries it in the recesses of her bosom, and there lets it cower and brood among the ruins of her peace, With her the desire of the heart has failed. The great charm of existence is at an end. She neglects all the cheerful exercises 'which gladden the spirits', quicken the pulses', and send the tide of life in healthful currents through the veins'. Her rest is broken'; the sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by melancholy dreams'; “dry sorrow drinks her blood”," until her enfeebled frame sinks under the slightest external injury.

3. Look for her after a little while, and you find friendship weeping over her untimely grave, and wondering that one, who but lately glowed with all the radiance of health and beauty', should so speedily be brought down to “darkness and the worm!" You will be told of some wintry chill', some casual indisposition', that laid her low'; but no one knows the mental malady that previously sapped her strength', and made her so easy a prey to the spoiler'.

4. She is like some tender tree, the pride and beauty of the grove,-graceful in its form', bright in its foliage', but with the worm preying at its heart'. We find it suddenly withering, when it should be most fresh and luxuriant. We see it drooping its branches to the carth, and shedding leaf by leaf, until, wasted and perished away, it falls even in the stillness of the forest; and as we muse over the beautiful ruin, we strive in vain to recollect the blast or thunderbolt that could have smitten it with decay.

5. I have seen many instances of women running to waste and self-neglect; and disappearing gradually from the earth, almost as if they had been exhaled to heaven, and have repeatedly fancied that I could trace their deaths through the various declensions of consumption, cold, debility, languor, melancholy, until I reached the first symptom of disappointed love.

6. But an instance of the kind was lately told to me: the circumstances are well known in the country where they happened, and I shall but give them in the manner in which they were related. Every one must recollect the tragical story of young Emmet, the Irish patriot; it was too touching to be soon forgotten. During the troubles in Ireland, he was tried', condemned', and executed', on a charge of treason. His fate made a deep impression on public sympathy.

7. He was so young', so intelligent', so generous', so brave 80 every thing that we are apt to like in a young man! His

conduct under trial, too, was so lofty and intrepid. The noble indignation with which he repelled the charge of treason against his country, the eloquent vindication of his name', and his pathetic appeal to posterity in the hopeless hour of condemnation', -all these entered deeply into every generous bosom'; and even his enemies lamented the stern policy that dictated his execution.

8. But there was one heart whose anguish would be impossible to describe. In happier days and fairer fortunes, he had won the affections of a beautiful and interesting girl, the daughter of a late celebrated Irish barrister. She loved him with the disinterested fervor of a woman's first and early love. When every worldly maxim arrayed itself against him, when blasted in fortune', and disgrace and danger darkened around his name', she loved him the more ardently for his very sufferings'.

9. If, then, his fate could awaken the sympathy even of his foes', what must have been the agony of her whose whole soul was occupied by his image' ? Let those tell who have had the portals of the tomb suddenly closed between them and the being they most loved on earth'; who have sat at his threshold, as one shut out in a cold and lonely world, from whence all that was most lovely and loving had departed.

10. But then the horrors of such a grave' !-so frightful', so dishonored'! There was nothing for memory to dwell on that could soothe the pang of separation'; none of those tender' though melancholy circumstances' that endear the parting scene'; nothing to melt sorrow into those blessed tears, sent, like the dews of heaven', to revive the heart in the parching hour of anguish'.

11. To render her widowed situation more desolate, she had incurred her father's displeasure by her unfortunate attachment', and was an exile from the paternal roof". But could the sympathy and kind offices of friends have reached a spirit so shocked and driven in by horror, she would have experienced no want of consolation ; for the Irish are a people of quick and generous sensibilities. The most delicate and cherishing attentions were paid her by families of wealth and distinction. She was led into society; and they tried, by all kinds of occupation and amusement, to dissipate her grief and wean her from the tragical story of her love. But it was all in vain.

12. There are some strokes of calamity that scath and scorch the soul, that penetrate to the vital seat of happiness, and blast it, never again to put forth bud or blossom. She never objected to frequent the haunts of pleasure, but she was as much alone there as in the depths of solitude, -walking about in a sad reverie, apparently unconscious of the world around her. She carried

with her an inward woe, that mocked at all the blandishments of friendship, and “heeded not the song of the charmer, charm he never so wisely.” Nothing could cure the silent and devouring melancholy that had entered into her very soul. She wasted away in a slow but hopeless decline, and at length sunk into the grave, the victim of a broken heart.

LESSON XLII.

TO THE EAGLE.

BY JAMES G. PERCIVAL.

JAMES G. PERCIVAL was born in Berlin, Connecticut, in 1795, and died in Illinois in 1855. He was a poet, musician, astronomer, botanist, lin. guist, geologist, and doctor of medicine ; and, in almost all of these varied departments of knowledge, he was thoroughly accomplished.

1. BIRD of the broad and sweeping wing,

Thy home is high in heaven,
Where wide the storms their banners fling,

And the tempest-clouds are driven.
Thy throne is on the mountain-top';

Thy fields', the boundless air';
And hoary peaks', that proudly prop

The skies', thy dwellings are'.
2. Thou art perch'd aloft on the beetling crag,

And the waves are white below,
And
on,

with a haste that cannot lag',
They rush in an endless flow'.
Again thou hast plumed thy wing for flight

To lands beyond the sea ;
And away, like a spirit wreathed in light,

Thou hurriest, wild and free'.
3. Thou hurriest over the myriad waves,

And thou leavest them all behind;
Thou sweepest that place of unknown graves,

Fleet as the tempest-wind.
When the night-storm gathers dim and dark

With a shrill and boding scream',
Thou rushest by the foundering bark',

Quick as a passing dream.

4. Lord of the boundless realm of air,

In thy imperial name
The hearts of the bold and ardent dare

The dangerous path of fame.
Beneath the shade of thy golden wings',

The Roman legions bore',
From the river of Egypt's cloudy springs',

Their pride, to the polar shore

5. For thee they fought', for thee they fell,

And their oath on thee was laid';
To thee the clarions raised their swell,

And the dying warrior pray'd'.
Thou wert, through an age of death and fears,

The image of pride and power,
Till the gather'd rage of a thousand years

Burst forth in one awful hour.

6. And then a deluge of wrath it came,

And the nations shook with dread;
And it swept the earth till its fields were flame,

And piled with the mingled dead.
Kings were rolld in the wasteful flood,

With the low and crouching slave;
And together lay, in a shroud of blood,

The coward and the brave.

7. And where was then thy fearless flight?

“O'er the dark, mysterious sea,
To the lands that caught the setting light,

The cradle of Liberty.
There, on the silent and lonely shore,

For ages I watch'd alone;
And the world, in its darkness, ask'd no more

Where the glorious bird had flown.

8. “But then came a bold and hardy few,

And they breasted the unknown wave;
I caught afar the wandering crew,

And I knew they were high and brave.
I wheel'd around the welcome bark

As it sought the desolate shore,
And up to heaven, like a joyous lark,

My quivering pinions bore.

9. “And now that bold and hardy few

Are a nation wide and strong';
And danger and doubt I have led them through',

And they worship me in song';
And over their bright and glancing arms',

On field', and lake', and sea',
With an eye that fires', and a spell that charms',

I guide them to victory.”

LESSON XLIII.

THE GLADIATOR.

ANONYMOUS.

1. STILLNESS reigned in the vast amphitheater, and from the countless thousands that thronged the spacious inclosure, not a breath was heard. Every tongue was mute with suspense, and every eye strained with anxiety towards the fatal portal, where the gladiator was momentarily expected to enter. At length the trumpet sounded, and they led him forth into the broad arena. There was no mark of fear upon his manly countenance, as with majestic step and fearless eye he entered. He stood there like another Apollo, firm and unbending as the rigid oak. His fineproportioned form was matchless, and his turgid muscles spoke Înis giant strength.

2. “I am here,” he cried, as his proud lip curled in scorn, “to glut the savage eyes of Rome's proud populace. Ay, like a dog you throw me to a beast; and what is

my

offence? Why, forsooth, I am a Christian. But know, ye cannot fright my soul, for it is based upon a foundation stronger than the adamantine rock. Know, ye whose hearts are harder than the flinty stone,

heart quakes not with fear'; and here I aver, I would not change conditions with the blood-stained Nero', crowned though he be', -not for the wealth of Rome'. Blow

ye your trumpet': I am ready'.”

3. The trumpet sounded"; and a long, low growl was heard to proceed from the cage of a half-famished Numidian lion, situated at the farthest end of the arena The growl deepened into a roar of tremendous volume, which shook the enormous edifice to its very center. At that moment the door was thrown open', and the huge monster of the forest sprung from his den', with one mighty bound, to the opposite side of the arena.

my

His eyes

« PreviousContinue »