« AnteriorContinuar »
In the flushed cheek, the ardent gaze,
Ever on me in fondness turned ;
With mutual fires our bosoms burned.
Thus oft we lie-her snatching eyes,
Like Ocean, rolling fond with bliss;
Entwined among our shining hair.
And now the ruby juice I sip,
Now taste the treasure of her lip,
Imbedded in her azure eye.
Ye virgins of the Arabian bowers,
That braid your tresses bright with dew,
With forms so bright, with hearts so true !
Then, joined to such, may fond desire
Within our glowing bosoms spring,
And fan it with his dove-like wing.
On closing the Volume, we most cordially recommend it to the perusal of our readers, as a pleasant relaxation from more sombrous tomes.
DUCANGE AND HIS TRUNK.
CHARLES DUCANGE, a French writer of the seventeenth century, was a well-bred, good-natured man; fond of learning, though not so addicted to it, but he cheerfidly laid aside his books to welcome any visitors, saying, that he read for his pleasure, and was always inclined to postpone his studies for social duties.
He once sent for some booksellers, and on their arrival shewed them an old trunk, telling them it contained materials for a saleable book; and, for any reasonable consideration, they were at their service. The offer seemed fair, and the prospect of gain still more so : but, upon opening the trunk, they could find nothing except a confused heap of loose papers, which seemed to have been torn and thrown by, as of no use. Ducange, laughing at their embarrassment, told them that he could assure them there was no mistake or deception, for the manuscript was actually in that trunk. At length one of them, upon a closer examination of some of the scraps, discovered each to contain a word, with Ducange's remarks and illustrations upon it; and it appeared that the only difficulty would be to reduce them to alphabetical order. Ducange's probity and erudition being well known, the bookseller, without any farther explanation, made him a handsome offer for the trunk and its valuable, though somewhat chaotic, contents: and this is said to be the origin of Ducange's curious Latin Glossary.
A Sketch from Life.
I once knew two friends--not friends in the modern acceptation of the term, mere associates in combinations of pleasure, but in the deeper and more refined sense---men, whom a similarity of taste, dispositions, and sentiments, once brought together; and whom a lively interest which each felt for the welfare of the other, kept united in the bands of the closest sympathy.
Allan Selby's and Charles Leslie's parents moved in the middle sphere of life: Charles was early left an orphan, and bequeathed to the care of his friend's parents. They were both placed at the same school, and after they left it, the same tutor superintended their education. He was a man of strong natural sense, and although not, perhaps, gifted with any remarkable share of imagination himself, knew well how to kindle and foster that of others. The minds of his young pupils were already well prepared by the foundation of an excellent education, and only wanted the finishing hand of a master to complete the structure. He taught them, not the philosophy of schools, but that of nature ; in her deep recesses he pointed out where knowledge lay concealed, and awakened in the bosoms of his young pupils a love of her beauties and laws, and a taste for innocent and simple enjoyments. They grew up, it is true, with enthusiastic, but amiable notions ---the gaiety of their minds was only excelled by the purity of their hearts."
To bring them more immediately before the reader, I will endeavour to describe their persons. Allan, when in his nineteenth year, was what the world calls, a very fine young man : his countenance was very propossessing, and seemed to be the index of a mind of no common order. His features, though not regular, were highly expressive, and he was generally considered handsome. A subdued melancholy was visible in his countenance, yet his large dark eye seemed to beam with a happy enjoyment of the present. In stature he was considerably above the middle height, and though slenderly formed, his limbs were swung together with great vigour and elegance.
It is now that I shall be suspected of dealing with fiction, in endeavouring to depicture Charles.* He was of a form so matchless, that no description can do him justice. He was of the middle height, roundly, bat-if I may use the expression-harmoniously formed. If his face wanted the majesty of the Apollo Belvidere, it had all its grace and beauty-yes, beauty! (my readers will wish with me that I was describing a female.) Indeed, if his appearance generally excited surprise, it generally ended with an exclama
* This is not a “false creation" of the author's brain,--this “faultless monster" the world has seen: all that ever saw him, confessed he was the handsomest man that they ever beheld. He was also gifted with those endowments I have assigned him. I was once walking with him, when a decent young female sprung forward and caught him round the neck, and kissed him, saying afterwards," he might kill her, if he pleased, since she had kissed the handsomest fellow the sun ever shone upon!" An instance of similar female admiration is related in Brown's “ Northern Courts,” that occurred to the young King of Denmark while in this country.
tion,“ What a pity so fair a creature should be born a man!” There were some who were malicious enough to say it was a libel on the sex to call him such. Nature had, indeed, bestowed her choicest gifts on this her favourite child. But if his person was characterised by feminine beauty, no
one could say
his mind or manners were of an effeminate order. No, he was loved for his warm and manly sentiments, which discovered the high source they språng from ; his manners were engaging and open, at the same time firm and commanding
There was another charm connected with these two individuals, that made their friends still prouder of them; both were celebrated for their promising poetical genius. It may be daring for me to compare that of Selby, with the immortal verse of Lord Byron ; but I used to fancy I could trace a strong resemblance. His mind was of a high and soaring nature; his subjects were beyond mortality, he grasped at the very highest; he seemed only great when among the heavens, the ocean, or the air. The deep bursts of passion which were blended with his poetry; the lofty tone of melancho ly that seemed not of this earth, or was not to be subdued by any thing on it; a deep and mournful looking back on the past, further helped the similitude.
The muse of his friend was like his person, bewitching and graceful. His poetry partook of the tender and voluptuons spirit of our Anacreon; though it breathed no sentiment that could redden the cheek of modesty. He had a brilliant and rich fancy, which clothed his verse with the most delightful imagery; and although it occasionally descended to prettiness, never sank as low as mediocrity. There was a deep and spirit-stirring tone of tenderness throughout it; and a warm adoration of nature, and a keen perception of her beauties, rendered his efforts equally attractive as his friend Allan's.
It is a melancholy truth, that those gifted with premature or extraordinary talents, are generally fated to meet with a short existence. They spring up like some beautiful flower, which for a few hours delights the beholder, and like an ephemera, expires at the close of the day it first unfolded its blossoms. I might crowd my pages with instances, but let the reader look back at the instances his own memory affords, and see whether he knows not enough that will render the observation true. The grub chooses the finest fruit; the worm glories in despoiling the most promising tree; the insect fixes on the fairest flower; and genius loves to reside where death has placed his seal. Chatterton, and Kirke White, names which will ever associate themselves with our ideas of youth, and taste, and genius, are among the many instances that history loves to sigh over. To the indescribable anguish of all, it was discovered that Allan gave signs of an approaching consumption; every care was taken, every remedy provided; but in spite of all endeavour the symptoms became more decided, and soon told the disease was inherent in his constitution. When every one was all anxiety and fear for the fate of Selby, to the surprise and consternation of all, Charles showed indications of the same distressing malady. There was a deep and awful mysteriousness about this time apparent in the conduct of both; they seemed to be deeply impressed with the sense of an expected change; their cheerfulness did not seem to forsake them;
but the breaking out of a refined spirit, that could not mingle with worldly concerns, was visible in their actions.
They calmly submitted, though palpably more in compliance with the anxiety of their friends, than faith in their service, to all the regulations which their medical advisers enjoined. The disease was rapidly gaining ground, and the symptoms were such as to make the case (for there was no division of hope or fear, they were both equally dear) entirely hopeless. There seems a sacred halo spread around such as are marked by this disease, to indicate they are not long for this earth, but designed for a better and more exalted sphere.
The season of the year that they were last able to appear among their friends was May; it was always their's, as it is most other people's, favourite month. But its approach could not be hailed so joyously as formerly; it seemed to bring to every thing else freshness and strength, while they were wearing away. Their appearance was that of two thriving plants, scattered by the lightning, and withering in the first bloom of their glory. A casual observer would have thought these young sufferers to be enjoying the most favourable health, so deceitful in this disease are the symptoms of Death: like a crafty serpent, that is determined upon the death of its victim, he comes not with frightful menaces to startle or alarm, but insinuates its approach in the most subtle and beautiful forms, the more effectually to deceive his unwary victim. Yet upon nearer approach, the ravages of the worm might be discerned: the bloom on their cheeks was not a vigorous glow, but a hectic forewarning; the brilliancy of their eyes was not the brightness of health, but the fire of the disease that was consuming within. A placid expression of resignation and happiness was visible in the countenances of both; nor did their looks deceive, for they truly reflected their souls.
It was but a short time previous to their decease, that they summoned up strength enough to take their accustomed ramble in a garden contiguous to their residence. It was a fearful, and although it rended some bearts, a blissful thing, to see two blossoms, which had, as it were on the same stem, bloomed and run through the short measure of their years together, gradually fade and sink at the same time to an early grave. On this morning every flower, every leaf, seemed to bloom with fresher lustre. " To think,” said Allan, “ that these flowers, which we ourselves have reared, and lamented the shortness of their sweet lives, should outlive us; that we, who have seen them open their leaves into life, should be gathered into the earth before they are scattered on its surface !"
Why should I dwell on a tale oft told—they were soon unable to leave their apartments, it was then the request of both that they might be in the same room, as each would be unable to visit the other were they separated. It is a fearful warning, when the physician grants all the whims and caprices of his patient: in this they were indulged, and when all around them were dissolved in grief- they remained calm--in joyful expectancy of the new scene they were about to enter.
It was heart-rending that one should witness the death of the other, but in consequence of their being in the same apartment it could not be prevented. Allan was summoned first. He parted with all around him as if taking a final adieu-but with his friend he said no more than he was accustomed to say when parting for the evening; he felt it as a like separation, and
was assured that the morning was not far distant when they should both meet again.- As the fatal moment approached, the sufferer alone seemed aware it was so near-none from his countenance could have supposed, that the hand of death was on him; till a strange convulsion that played round his mouth-a palpitation that lifted the clothes that covered his breast and a fixed, immovable look, struck all around him with a breath less fear. It was soon over, for in an instant a rich glow. usurped the hectic flush on his cheeks—his eyes beamed with more than usual brilliancy, and his whole corporeal and mental faculties seemed regenerated. When, in a deep and soul-piercing tone, he uttered this brief and simple prayer:
“Oh God! who hast given me grace to part from the bonds of mortality, cleanse my soul from the vanities and wishes that may anchor there. And by that hope, which now suppports my sinking spirit, pardon, I beseech thee! those errors incurred by the weakness of our nature. And if the prayers of the suppliant may approach thy heavenly throne, grant, oh most dear and merciful Father, strength to her, who conceived and gave me birth, that she may pass the remainder of her years without repining at thy will, till it shall please thee to call her to that home where those she loves best are already gathered!"
He then paused his eyes remained fixt and upturned towards Heaven. In a moment the features were relaxed—the mouth was still open, though breathless his mother fell on his bosom, just as his soul had winged its flight from the cold clay next her heart.-Leslie said no more than—" in life, in death the same; may I die like him!”
Were I writing fiction, it would follow as a matter of course that the friends died at the same moment in each other's arms,-this was not the case- Leslie survived his friend, five days. .
Glaz'd o'er his eyes. Though some may consider it common-place, it was the dying wish of both, that as their souls were inseparable on earth, their bodies might not be separated in death. Yet it was still a strange and beautiful feeling, that although they estimated the body as the proper part, the only one which could return to earth-as the mere shell, which would lose all that was estimable, when the soul left its confinement-that they should still wish them to be united; it shewed the same reciprocal feeling baunted them to the last : and it was gratified. The same mound of earth covers all that is left of these young favourites of nature.
To perpetuate their memory, beyond the recollections of their friends, the mother of Allan placed over their grave a tablet with their names, and the date of their deaths ; with the dying words of her son, as the epita pb that best recorded their virtues,