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hood alone, but the young man till thirty, never feels practically that he is mortal. He knows it indeed, and, if need were he could preach a homily on the fragility of life; but he brings it not home to himself, any more than in a hot June we can appropriate to our imagination the freezing days of December. But now (shall I confess a truth?) I feel these audits but too powerfully. I begin to count the probabilities of my duration, and to grudge at the expenditure of moments and shortest periods, like misers' farthings. In proportion as the years both lessen and shorten, I set more count upon their periods, and would fain lay my ineffectual finger upon the spoke of the great wheel. I am not content to pass away "like a weaver's shuttle.” Those metaphors solace me not, nor sweeten the unpalatable draught of mortality. I care not to be carried with the tide that smoothly bears human life to eternity; and reluct at the inevitable course of destiny. I am in love with this green earth, the face of town and country,—the unspeakable rural solitudes, and the sweet security of streets. I would set up my tabernacle here I am content to stand still at the age to which I am arrived, -I and my friends,—to be no younger, no richer, no handsomer. I do not want to be weaned by age; or drop, like mellow fruit, as they say, into the grave. Any alteration, on this earth of mine, in diet or in lodging, puzzles and discomposes me. My household gods plant a terrible
fixed foot, and are not rooted up without blood. They do not willingly seek Lavinian shores. A new state of being staggers me.
Sun, and sky, and breeze, and solitary walks, and Summer holidays, and the greenness of fields, and the delicious juices of meats and fishes, and society, and the cheerful glass, and candle-light, and fireside conversations, and in. nocent vanities, and jests, and irony itself, do these things go out with life?
Can a ghost laugh, or shake his gaunt sides, when you are pleasant with him?
And you, my midnight darlings, my Folios! must I part with the intense delight of having you (huge armfuls) in my embraces? Must knowledge come to me, if it come at all, by some awkward experiment of intuition, and no longer by this familiar process of reading ?
Shall I enjoy friendships there, wanting the smiling indications which point me to them here,—the recognisable face,-the "sweet, assurance of a look ?”
In Winter this intolerable disinclination to dying—to give it its mildest name-does more especially haunt and beset me. In a genial August noon, beneath a sweltering sky, death is almost problematic. At those times do such poor snakes as myself enjoy an immortality. Then we expand and burgeon. Then we are as strong again, as valiant again, as wise again, and a great deal taller. The blast that nips and shrinks me, puts me in thoughts of death. All things allied to the insubstantial wait upon What master feeling,-cold, numbness, dreams, perplexity, moonlight itself, with its shadowy and spectral appearances,--that cold ghost of the sun, or Phoebus's sickly sister, like that innutritious one denounced in the Canticles: I am none of her minions; I hold with the Persian.
Whatsoever thwarts, or puts me out of my way, brings death into my mind. All partial evils, like humours, run into that capital plague-sore. I have heard some profess an indifference to life. Such hail the end of their existence as a port of refuge; and speak of the grave as of some soft arms, in which they may siumler as on a pillow. Some have wooed Death; but out upon thee, I say, thou foul, ugly phantom! I detest, abhor, execrate, and (with Friar John) give thee to six score thousand devils, as in no instance to be excused or tolerated, but shunned as an universal viper,-to be branded, proscribed, and spoken evil of! In no way can I be brought to digest thee, thou thin, melancholy Privation, or more frightful and confounding Positive!
Those antidotes, prescribed against the fear of thee, are altogether frigid and insulting, like thyself. For what satisfaction hath a man, that he shall “lie down with kings and emperors in death,” who in his lifetime never greatly coveted the society of such bedfellows ? r, for Booth, that “so shall the fairest face appearl
why, to comfort me, must Alice W -n be a goblin? More than all, I conceive disgust at those impertinent and misbecoming familiarities inscribed upon your ordinary tombstones. Every deadman must take upon himself to be lecturing me with his odious truism, that "Such as he now is I must shortly be." Not so shortly, friend, perhaps, as thou imaginest. In the meantime I am alive. I move about. I am worth twenty of thee. Know thy betters! Thy New Years' days are past. I survive, a jolly candidate for 1821. Another cup of wine !--and while that turncoat bell, that just now mournfully chanted the obsequies of 1820 departed, with changed notes lustily rings in a successor, let us attune to its peal the song made on a like occasion, by hearty, cheerful Mr. Cotton :-
THE NEW YEAR
Hark! the cock crows! and yon bright star
But stay! but stay! methinks my sight Better inform'd by clearer light, Discerns sereneness in that brow, That all contracted seem'd but now. His revers'd face may show distaste, And frown upon the ills are past; But that which this way looks is clear, And smiles upon the New-born Year. He looks too from a place so high, The year lies open to his eye; And all the moments open are To the exact discoverer. Yet more and more he smiles upon The happy revolution. Why should we then suspect or fear The influences of a year, So smiles upon us the first morn, And speaks us good so soon as born? Plague on't! the last was ill enough, This cannot but make better proof; Or, at the worst, as we brush'd througb The last, why so we may this too; And then the next in reason shou'd Be superexcellently good : For the worst ills (we daily see) Have no more perpetuity Than the best fortunes that do fall; Which also bring us wherewithal Longer their being to support, Than those do of the other sort: And who has one good year in three, And yet repines at destiny, Appears ungrateful in the case, And merits not the good he has. Then let us welcome the New Guest With lusty brimmers of the best; Mirth always should Good Fortune meets And renders e'en Disaster sweet : And though the Princess turn her back, Let us but line ourselves with sack,