Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

pale lips, parched with "life's fitful fever;" the other swells from strong, young hearts, to lips rounded and dewy, with the sweetness of hope and the fulness of strength. The one is timed by a heart that flutters, intermits, flutters and wears out; while that of the other, beats right on, in the bold, stern march of life.

"I shall be," and "I might have been!" What toil and trouble, time and tears, are recorded in those little words—the very stenography of life. How like a bugle-call is that "I shall be," from a young soul, strong in prophecy! "I shall be great, honored, affluent, good."

"I shall be," whispers the glad girl to herself, as with one foot upon the threshold of womanhood, she catches the breath from the summer-fields of life, “I shall be-loved by and by!" That is her aspiration; for to be loved is to be happy,

[ocr errors]

"I shall be," says the struggling boy, “I shall be the possessor of a little home of my own, and a little wife, some day, and the home shall be ours,' and the wife shall be mine, and then-and thenWho can fill out those thens?' Who, but the painter that has dipped his pen in sunset? Who, but the poet whose lips have been touched with a coal fresh from the altar of inspiration?

6

"I shall be-victorious yet," murmurs the man in the middle watch, who had been battling with foes till night fell, and is praying, like the Greek, for dawn again, that he may see to fight.'

"I shall be," faintly breathes the languishing upon her couch of pain-" I shall be better to-morrow, or to-morrow;" and she lives on, because she hopes on, and she grows strong with the "shall be" she has uttered.

[ocr errors]

And the strong man armed, who has fought the good fight,' and has kept the faith,' when they that sustained his extended hands through the battle are departing, and no Joshua to bid the declining sun 'stand still,' as he looks beyond the rugged hills of the world, and sees a window opened in heaven, and a wounded hand put forth in welcome, lays aside the armor he has worn so long and well, and going down into the dark river, he utters, with a hope glorified to faith, I shall be over the Jordan to-morrow!'

Before the memory has a tomb in it-before it becomes the cemetery, the "Greenwood" of the soul"I shall be" is beautiful as an old ballad. When graves are digged therein, and willows are planted, and hopes are buried, and no light breaks out of the

cloud, then "1 shall be" is as grand as an old

When

The battle is done, the harp unstrung,

Its music trembling, dying,

pæan.

Then "I shall be" is as sublime as an old prophecy! But there is another tense in this Grammar of Life it were well to remember; the sparkling moment that dances out from the ripening hours, like golden grain, beneath the flails of Time, as we write, and even as we write, is gathered into the great garner of the Past.

There is an injunction it were well to remember:

"Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant;

Let the dead Past bury its dead;

Act, act in the living Present

Heart within and God o'erhead!'

Don't Forget.

OLD LETTERS! Don't you love, sometimes, to look over old letters? Some of them are dim with years, and some are dim with tears.

Here is one now, the burden of which is, 'Don't forget; the device on the seal is, 'don't forget,' and

the writer thereof went, winters ago, to "the narrow beds of peace." But surely, she needn't have written it, for we can't forget if we would.

Don't forget! They are common words; we hear them, perhaps use them, every day, and yet how needless, we may almost say, how meaningless, they are. What is it we forget? That which was fore'gotten, and set down in the tablets of memory, long ago; set down, we may not remember where, we may not remember when, but it is there still. Remove with the palm of Time, the inscriptions upon marble-eat out with its corroding tooth,' the lettering upon brass, but that thing fore'gotten remains unobliterated. Some breath may whirl back the leaves of memory to its page-in some hour, an epitome of its contents may be unrolled before us. Every thought consigned to memory is immortal-its existence runs parallel with the mind that conceived, and the heart that cradled it. 'Don't forget!' We cannot forget. Earth is full of strains Lethean of man's invention, but the past is with him still.

New days, new hopes, new loves arise; but 'pleasant yet mournful to the soul is the memory of joys that are past.' Our eyes are dazzled with the clear of the present, but dimmed with the cloud of the

past. Ride as we will, on the swiftest billow of tomorrow, we are never out of sight of yesterday. There it shines still, with a tearful, gentle light, like some pale Pleiad through the rack of the storm. 'Don't forget!" Ah! the science that could teach men to forget, would be more welcome than all the trickery of Mnemonics.

66

When the heart beats sadder, and the tide of life runs slower, how the Yesterdays come drifting down to waiting Age--waiting for him who enters hall and hovel, unbidden and unstayed. Don't forget!"

Alas! who does not remember?

[ocr errors]

Even Ocean itself, busy as it is, in laving from its shores, all records of the past, is the great memory of the natural world. Clarence' dream was no fiction, and its treasures glitter, and whiten, and sway amid the groves of red coral. But even the Sea is not oblivious, for "the Sea shall give up its dead."

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »