Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

THOMAS MILLER.

"He that can discern the loveliness of things, we call him Poet, Painter, Man of Genius, gifted, loveable."--CARLYLE on Heroes and Hero Worship.

“Wherever the heart speaks, there is always eloquence, interest, and instruction.”--Sır E. Brydges' Recollections of foreign Travel

Everything I see in the fields is to me an object, and I can look at the same rivulet, or at an handsome tree, every day of my life, with new pleasure."'--CowPER, (in a letter to the Rev. Wm. Unwin.)

The return of Spring, with its “glad farm house. Huge bowls of rich samp and light green," is to most of us a renewal of milk are rapidly consumed and as rapidly our youth. The sunshine has a warm, replenished ; and how soothing to weary golden look, and appears to cling to the limbs, to repose upon the fresh smelling brown earth, trees, and fences. It is hap- bed in the large open garret, where we piness to feel its genial influence. We often heard the big drops pattering on the contrast it with

roof, or pouring down in torrents. “ The winter's drenching rain

“O Lord ! this is an huge rain ! And driving snow," (BEATTIE,)

This were a weather for to sleepin in."

CHAUCER. and look forward to the deep and glowing beauty, “the lusty bravery of summer,

The quiet of the country undoubtedly and to autumn, with its russet stubble deepens the religion of a thoughtful mind, fields, transparent air and water, and gay for the current of life there glides along shifting clouds. Nature is ever young,

more calmly than in the city, where but and it is no wonder that the “way of life"

little time is left for reflection. A stillness of her ardent and sincere admirers never

broods over the heart, and over the landfalls “into the sere and yellow leaf.” scape, on a Sabbath morning. The Sunday Recollections of our own youth are min- last past made a most agreeable impresgled with walks by the brook side, rambles sion on us. Rain had fallen during the through meadows and woods; with cool previous night, but the sun rose bright and gushing springs, at which we have often clear on Sunday, and every tree, bush and knelt and slaked our thirst, and made cups blade of grass glittered in its rays. of walnut leaves fastened together by their stems, which proved to be convenient and “ A fresher green the smelling leaves displayed.” elegant. The harvest field also has afford

PARNELL ed us many houis of heart-felt delight. The air was musical with birds ; cows were Raking hay is a great sharpener of the appetite, and what meal can be more de- cropping the short, rich herbage beneath licious than the one eaten under

some magnificent elm trees on the common

opposite the window where we were sit“ Wide branching trees with dark green leaf ting; and over all was the “ blue rejoicing rich clad ?”

LAMB. sky.” Soon, the church bell rang its peals,

summoning the poor and the rich to God's And pleasant it is, too, after the fragrant house, some to return thanks for past blesstoil of the day, to harness up the horses ings, and others to implore for strength to before the lumbering heavy wagon, which bear up under sorrows and afflictions, and never knew the luxury of springs, and fervently to exclaim, “Thy will be done.” slowly to return to the old homestead in Oh, it was a cheering and lovely sight to the dusk of the evening, and find the sup- view the old and the young, fathers, mothper-table well covered with food fit for a 'ers, the young maiden with dancing ring

30

VOL. 1, NO. V. NEW SERIES.

their way

lets, bright eyes, clear complexion, and | Less fearful on this day, the limping hare neat attire, and children with shining faces, Stops, and looks back, and stops and looks on

man, all quietly walking over that “living land

Her deadliest foe. "The toil-worn horse, set scape," beneath those glorious trees, towards the white church from whose tower Unheedful of the pasture, roams at large ;

free, the sound of the bell came undulating on And as his stiff unwieldy bulk he rolls, the ear.

It vividly brought to memory His iron-armed hoofs gleam in the morning that last poetry of Mrs. Hemans:

ray." “How many blessed groups this hour are Miller's “ A Day in the Woods," dedibending

cated to the Countess of Blessington, is a Through England's primrose meadow paths beautifully printed book, and contains a Towards spire and tower, 'midst shadowy ber of young persons wandering about in

series of tales and poems, told by a numelms ascending, Whence the sweet chimes proclaim the hal- the woods, “with ample interchange of lowed day!

sweet discourse.” It smells of green The halls from old heroic ages gray,

leaves and flowery dells, and you hear the Pour their fair children forth; and hamlets low, murmuring of brooks. It is full of eloWith whose thick orchard blooms the soft quence and picturesque beauty. He mi

winds play, Send out their inmates in a happy flow,

nutely and fondly dwells on old customs Like a freed vernal stream. "I may not tread and habits, and is so thoroughly acquainted With them those pathways-to the feverish with all the subjects that he writes upon, bed

that it stamps the work with a peculiar Of sickness bound-yet O my God! I bless value. None but a true poet could have Thy mercy, that with Sabbath peace liath written it.

fill'd My chasten'd heart, and all its throbbings still’d “ His candid style like a clear stream does slide, To one deep calm of lowliest thankfulness.”

And his bright fancy all the way

Does like the sunshine in it play." We cannot refrain from copying some lines

COWLEY. from Grahame's Sabbath, which form a se. ries of perfect and felicitous pictures :

We will make a few selections, that the

reader may judge for himself of the ex“How still the morning of the hallow'd day! quisite poetical material of Miller's mind. Mute is the voice of rural labor, hushed The ploughboy's whistle and the milkmaid's See how beautiful the sunshine sleeps on song

[ocr errors]

the opening flowers, and those that blow upon The scythe lies glittering in the dewy wreath the shady banks stand amid light of their own Of tedded grass, mingled with fading flowers creating. Here comes a heavy bee; he beThat yester morn bloomed waving in the breeze. longs to no hive, but is a free denizen of the Sounds the most faint attract the ear-the hum hills and woods, and stores his sweets in the Of early bee, the trickling of the dew,

bole of some mighty tree, where he can see The distant bleating, midway up the hill. curely feed upon his treasures in the winter, Calmness sits throned on yon unmoving cloud. safe from thc howling tempest. How gayly he To him who wanders o'er the upland leas flies alcag to the deep low music of his own The blackbird's note comes mellowing from the wings ! Now he has plunged into that blue

bell's cup, head foremost, like a diver who And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark dashes at once to the river depths; so he has Warbles with heaven-tuned song; the lulling plunged through the loosened lustre of the brook

petals, the clear cool crystal of the folded dewMurmurs more gently down the deep-worn glen. drop, and is now revelling at the fountain of While from yon lowly roof, whose curling the flower's sweetness. Happy bee! the range smoke

of the sunny hills is all thine own; thou canst O'ermounts the mist, is heard, at intervals, sail down the fragrant valleys, or carry thy The voice of psalms—the simple song of praise. merry minstrelsy through the leafy forest

bowers, then dash away in sunshine and song * With dove-like wings, Peace u'er yon village to the breezy banks of the far-off murmuring broods.

river." The dizzying mill-wheel rests; the anvil's din “ Observe that tall young woman, whose Hath ceased; all, all around is quietness. pale face is saddened by sorrow. Solitary and

dale;

silent she has ventured again into the green Beauties of the Country, with twentyfields, the first time this for many weeks. Her

six illustratious, published by Van Voorst, eye has taken a long sweep across the blue heavens. Fain wonld she glance through the London, 1837, is a beautifully printed volfleecy silver that skirts the loosened clouds,–

ume, with fine descriptions of rural custhrough the golden portals of Paradise would toms, objects, and rich with Mr. Miller's she peer, along the ranks of winged Cherubim peculiar eloquence. In his vocation of and Seraphim, harp-sounding, and the trumpet basket making he has journeyed over the blowing archangels, and there look for one greater part of England, and whether whom she yet loves. Now are her eyes rivet- wearied or otherwise, nature in all its varied upon a little knot of wild violets. Disturb not her contemplation! a vision is rising be

ous aspects has been viewed by him with fore her. Mark those compressed lips : she

a loving heart and fond eye. Every field sees her once beautiful boy, as he lay last had its peculiar charm, every hedge was spring laughing and tumbling in the sunshine, 1 filled with perfume, or associated with boyand running to and fro delirious with joy amongst ish and happy days. He has stopped to the flowers! Oh! her eyes are filling with rest at the wayside inn, and there drank his tears, for she now sees iwo small blanched mug of sparkling, healthy ale, and ate his hands resting upon the ghastly linen ; so pale bit of bread and cheese with a grateful are they that the wan lilies throw not a ray of light upon the frightful whiteness. The few heart, every drop and morsel of it sweetviolets, too, that form a wreath around his an ened by toil and his long walk. There he gelic face, appear to shrink as if they pined for has conversed with farmers and the varithe darkness of the grave to hide the loveliness ous classes that gather together at a roadwhich death hath claimed. The last time she side inn. Many years of careful observagazed on flowers was in a still church-yard: tion, and his innate poetical feeling, have some hand threw a few into the grave, and they

enabled him to write books full of interest were soon broken by the heavy clods, that sounded through her heart as they fell upon

and truth, and such as we verily believe the little coffin ; and that bell—toll! toll! toll! his countrymen will not willingly let die. so slowly and sadly. But she is journeying His is the rare faculty of painting to the homeward,-a weeping flower worshipper.' eye,

old woods, flowery valleys, and flowing “Let us turn to the busy haunts of men rivers, with such minute beauty and force, the dark alleys of the metropolis. Mark the that it gives a man an intense desire to open casement opposite. There stands a broken

leave the dust, turmoil, and heat of city jug which contains a few flowers; a care-stricken woman is gazing fixedly upon them. Saw life, “humming with a restless crowd, ye not that faint smile, that small opening of and to plunge into the cool, shady, deep light upon a sky which is nearly all night ? and silent woods. We think of refreshing Those few flowers, almost withered as they are slumbers, where no noise of vehicles through long keeping, brought back to her rattling over stony pavements intrudes, but mind ihe remembrance of by-gone years. She

the hum of insects and the fragrant air was wafted back on the wings of memory to

enter at the window. The dew has fallen, the cottage of her fathers, and again saw the woodbine-trellised window, through which she

and we have the music of the leaves as the had so often watched the lark springing from

winds on their onward course mildly whisthe · daisy's side,' by which it had all night per to them. We are awakened by the slept, and scattering music on the earth as it song of birds; we behold flowers and grass carolled high up the vaulted heavens; and the

sparkling with diamond drops and glitterneat garden where her beebives stood, ere the humming denizens sallied forth to whisper Jove ing as if with joy, and into the bosoms of the heath-bells.

The cuckoo's song also smote her ear while she "Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, gazed upon them, and she imagined cowslips And liquid lapse of murmuring streams." nodded a fresh welcome as if they beckoned her

MILTON. home again. The gray linnet's note, the bird that built yearly in the furze bushes by the How much better all food tastes in the sedgy brook and sang so sweetly to the mur country than in the city. This on many muring water, which answered again with its cresses and water lilies, and beneath the tali air, change of scene, and exercise ; but liquid voice, as it welled away through the occasions, no doubt, arises from the pure rushes that she loved to gather. But she has most certainly the bread and butter, and turned away to soothe her child. Oh, she is a the milk and cream, meat and vegetables, flower worshipper.”

(freshly gathered from the garden,) are

the city.

superior to what are generally procured in hard sheaths; and the brave little robin,

But above all, there is generally " sacred to the household gods,” recalls a home feeling among country people, to mind pleasurable thoughts of childhood, which carries with it many virtues.

In of “The Children in the Wood." And cities there is scarcely such a place as when summer comes, in imagination, he home. We merely stay in such a street gazes on the sky-lark floating heavenward, at such a number, and without the number and hears the blackbird's mellow voice, we could with difficulty find our residences and loves the rolling river, the flowers, and -for entire blocks of houses are often grass, and hills and woods, and the village precisely similar in all respects. About green with its oak, or sycamore, or elm, in the old homestead we love the very grass, the centre, and the old men sitting beneath and trees, and winding roads, the birds it when their day's work is done, smoking singing over our heads, the flowers bloom- | their pipes, and talking about the weather, ing about us; and the atmosphere seems to the appearance of the crops, the health bear joy and health with it. We think that and prosperity or adversity of their neighfriendships are more apt to strike root and bors, while the children are rolling about endure in the country, than in the city. on the grass. To him the summer's heat For the most part, in cities, what is society is mitigated and sweetened by the fragrant so called, but a wearisome round of com breath of the hay field, and he feels the mon places, stereotyped remarks, which coolness of the old woods, and sees the give no insight into the character of the cattle standing knee-deep in the running individual you are conversing with ? and streams. Miller is truly the same style of dress and mode of living and education form classes of which each

“ Haunted by the sweet airs and sounds which individual constitutes a fragment, separate,

flow but not distinct.

In the country

the

young Among the woods and waters.” SHELLEY. pass much time with one another, under the same roof; they are more thrown upon A novel with the title of “ Gideon Giles, their own resources; they become intimate the Roper," appeared in London in 1841, from the very fact of being acquainted with with thirty-six illustrations by Edward each other's character, disposition, trains Lambert. In this production Miller atof thought. Public opinion is but little tempted to produce a true English work, felt, or little heeded, for they scarcely know to make the scenery and characters thorits influence. There you find much origin- oughly English. The chief events of the ality, both in thought and observation, with story are such as had fallen under his own a depth of sincerity, genuine, and fresh from observation, and he wished to express his the heart.

indignation against an unjust and cruel The recollections of May-poles on the English law. The story turns upon the banks of the silver Trent, of sheep-shearing, fact that a poor man can sell the goods he and harvest home festivals

himself makes, in the town or parish in

which he lives, without a license; but let “ The promise of the spring, him offer the same goods for sale in the The summer's glory and the rich repose

neighboring villages, or at the doors of Of autumn, and the winter's silvery snow," (ROGERS' Human LIFE,)

lonely and out of the way houses, where

the inhabitants would be compelled to go have cheered many an hour of Miller's ex miles to purchase such artieles as he brings istence in the dark and unwholesome streets to their doors, and he is liable to a penalty of London. He forgets not in his exile in of £40 or three months'imprisonment. the city, the country walks in frosty wea The character of Ben Brust is capitally ther, the glow it gave to the blood, the drawn, and excellently well supported deep blue sky, looking far higher than in throughout the work. "He is described as summer—the hoar frost on the trees and a man of “ remarkable exterior,”large and hedges—the freezing showers glazing fat, with a countenance that seemed as if it everything on which they fell; he sees the had never known care ; there was a kind hard brown buds, but thinks of the tender of “come day go day" appearance about leaves and rich colors folded beneath their | him; he looked, to use a homely phrase,

a man.

“a jolly-hearted fellow,”—and such a man quart jug was no bigger.” Nevertheless, in reality was Ben Brust, one who never Ben, with all his idleness and love of ale troubled his head with what his neighbors and meat, is a sturdy and fine specimen of thought about him, who never worked un

He deals in russet yeas and til he was fairly forced, or thought of ob- honest kersey noes," and is ever ready to taining new clothes until the old ones had aid his fellow creatures, and has withal all but dropped from his back. He looked a heartiness and simplicity of character too fat to think ; he was too weighty a that interest the reader extremely in his man for care to bend down; "waking fortunes. He can work zealously enough thought” seldom sat on Ben's eyelids, for when it is for the benefit of another, in he had been heard to say that he never spite of his fondness for a quiet sleep on remembered being in bed five minutes the soft grass under shady trees, places without falling asleep; he was a philoso- where he would throw himself down and pher in his way. If he was hungry he think how foolish it was for the birds to could make a meal in a turnip field; a take the trouble to fly about in the hot bean stack was to Ben a banquet; had sunshine. We read the work to a couple of you named poverty to him he would have mechanics in their workshops. At first it stared, and said, he knew no farmer of that hindered their work but slightly, but in name. Still, he loved a good dinner. A the course of half an hour all work had comfortable man was Ben Brust. Ben ceased; the hammer and jack plane were was married : his wife was a thin, spare, quiet side by side. Their day's work was cross-grained little woman, with a sharp spoiled. We read till late in the evening, vinegar aspect, so thin that she was nick and early next morning were called upon named “Famine,” while Ben was called to finish it; and so anxious were they to Plenty;" he would have bumped down hear the conclusion that they could not go three wives the size of his own, in any fair to work. They saw unerringly, how lifescale in England. Famine went out to like the characters were, and the cares and work, while Plenty lay sleeping in the sun misfortunes and sterling qualities of Gidshine ; she was scratching and saving, eon Giles, found a way to their hearts and washed and cleaned for people in the vil elicited deep sympathy. It is a noble lage. Plenty sat on gates and stiles book, written by a noble man, the owner whistling, or sometimes, standing on the of “no faint and milky heart." All the bridge, would spit in the water and watch characters appear to have been drawn it float away; and when the day was not from individuals falling under Miller's own very hot indeed, go on the other side to see observation, and bits of scenery are deit come through. “Oh, he is a lazy good scribed exquisitely, bringing the very for-nowt,” his wife would exclaim, " but I places before our eyes. never let him finger a farthing of my get Pictures of Country Lise, and Summer tings ; I keep my own cupboard under Ruimbles in Green and Shady Places, with lock and key, and never trouble him for a thirty illustrations by Samuel Williams, bite or a sup, year in and year out; all I London, Bogue, 1847, in all respects susdesire him to do is to keep himself.” Ben, tains Miller's previous reputation. The on the other hand, used to say, “A man's volume contains fifteen essays on various a fool that kills himself to keep himself. and delightful topics, among others one When a rich man dies he cannot take his on Bloomfield's Farmer Boy, a glorious wealth with him, and I've heard the parson piece of criticism. We have room but for advise folks to take no thought for the one extract:morrow; besides, it was a saying before I was born that there is but a groat a year “ Dreamers we have ever bren; although the between work and play, and they say that stern realities of life have thrown their forbidplay gets it; all the comforts of life con den shadows athwart the sunshine in which sist in ósnoring and brusting,' for such

we basked, yet they have never wholly blotted were the elegant terms he chose for sleep places are ever opening before us, and green

out the brighter visions. Glimpses of far-off and food; as to clothes, a flower and a

nestling spots,' which we have loved from our butterfly are finer than anybody in the boyish days. Nature never wearied us, and land.” Ben often wondered, too, “why a the more we have looked upon her face the

« AnteriorContinuar »