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a poet, as far as two writers who wrote and thought in different languages can be compared, the palm must be awarded to Gay. (See bis “Poet and the Rose," vol. 6 P. R.) It is only in his fables that Fontaine may be said to have excelled him. From accounts that have been handed down to us, they were very similar in disposition. Both are represented as combining the wit of manhood with the simplicity of childhood ; in Fontaine's case his simplicity is said to have bounded on stupidity. Fontaine was born in 1621, and died in 1695, at which time Gay was but seven years of age ; and it is a fair inference to suppose that the author of the English Fables was a student of the French ones; both were dramatists, and both were “pets”' with the wits with whom they associated; Gay being intimate with "all the talent" of his time-Fontaine with Molière, Boileau, Racine, and all the brilliant stars then clustered in the French capital. Besides two comedies Fontaine wrote “Les Amours de Pysche," "Tales Anacréontiques," &c. He was patronised by the French nobility, and for thirty-five years lived in Paris, successively with the Duchesses of Buillon and Orleans, Madame de Sablière, and Madame d'Hervart.] When Nature, released from the cold icy trammels
Which winter had formed, all her lustre renews, When the gold of the cowslip each meadow enamels,
And the amethyst blends with soft emerald hues; At this sprightly season of love and of joy,
A horse from his stable was sent by his master, In freedom these holiday hours to employ,
And graze at his ease in a rich verdant pasture. À wolf who was prowling in search of adventures,
The glossy, plump animal joyfully spies : With caution the paddock's enclosure he enters
In hopes of possessing so tempting a prize. “Ah! wert thou, stout beast," cries the thief,“ but a
mutton, In a moment that carcase I'd seize as my own: As it is, some disguise I must artfully put on,
Before I can tear thy fat flesh from the bone." So, gravely saluting, he questioned the steed“Are you here, my fair sir, for your health or for
pleasure ? From the symptoms I fear you're a great invalid, For in health men allow their poor nags but small
As a pupil of Galen accept my assistance;
By feeling your pulse I shall find what your state is ; I have travelled thus far, from a very great distance,
To give the afflicted my best advice gratis. Very choice are the wise in selecting their food,
For plants that are noxious the functions disturb all, As Solomon knew well the bad from the good,
I can point out each root in old Culpepper's herbal.” The horse Isgrim's character knew by repute,
And plainly perceived what the traitor designed: So he says “ Learned Doctor, my pains are acute,
An abscess is formed in my off-foot-behind." “A delicate part," quoth the Leech, "and indeed
In the choice of a surgeon 'tis well to be wary; Allow me to touch it, and then I'll proceed
Like a perfect adept in the art veter'nary. But first, of your pain let's examine the cause" — The horse launched his heels, and no kick could be
kinder, He crushed to a mummy the hypocrite's jaws, And dashed from their sockets each holder and
grinder. “ All this I deserve," said the wolf, full of sadness :
"In the trade of a butcher I'd been quite at home, ah ! To change my profession was absolute madness
Who dares kill a patient without a diploma !"
OWEN MEREDITH. [We are betraying no confidence in repeating, since the fact has been proclaimed in several journals, that “Owen Meredith " is the Hon. Henry Bulwer Lytton, the son of the eminent novelist, Lord Lytton. Worthy of his high literary parentage, Mr. Bulwer writes genuine poetry. His lines are full of music and tenderness; and his subjects, though generally drawn from nature, are placed in dramatic situations by a skilful hand. His published poems are “The Wanderer," "Clytemnestra," and "Lucile," from which latter we extract the following exquisite fragment for a Reading.)
"Oh is it a phantom ? a dream of the night?
But it is not the wind
A pale woman enters, As wan as the lamp's waning light, which concentres Its dull glare upon her. With eyes dim and dimmer, There, all in a slumbrous and shadowy glimmer, The sufferer sees that still form floating on, And feels faintly aware that he is not alone. She is flitting before him. She pauses. She stands By his bedside, all silent. She lays her white hands On the brow of the boy. A light finger is pressing Softly, softly, the sore wounds: the hot blood-stain'd
dressing Slips from them. A comforting quietude steals Thro’ the rack'd weary frame: and, throughout it, he
feels The slow sense of a mercisul, mild neighbourhood. Something smoothes the toss'd pillow. Beneath a grey
hood Of rough serge, two intense tender eyes are bent o'er
him, And thrill thro' and thro' him. The sweet form before
him, It is surely Death's angel Life's last vigil keeping ! A soft voice says~ Sleep!'
And he sleeps: he is sleeping.
" He waked before dawn. Still the vision is there : Still that pale woman moves not. A minist'ring care Meanwhile has been silently changing and cheering The aspect of all things around him.
Revering Some power unknown and benignant, he bless'd In silence the sense of salvation. And rest
Having loosen'd the mind's tangled meshes, he faintly Sigh'd—“Say what thou art, blessed dream of a saintly • And minist’ring spirit !
A whisper serene Slid softer than silence—“The Sæur Seraphine, "A poor Sister of Charity. Shun to inquire Aught further, young soldier. The son of thy sire, For the sake of that sire, I reclaim from the grave. "Thou didst not shun death : shun not life. "Tis more
brave • To live than to die. Sleep !
He sleeps: he is sleeping.
“He waken'd again, when the dawn was just steeping The skies with chill splendour. And there, never
flitting, Never fitting, that vision of mercy was sitting. As the dawn to the darkness, so life seem'd returning Slowly, feebly within him. The night-lamp, yet burning, Made ghastly the glimmering daybreak.
He said, 'If thou be of the living, and not of the dead, 'Sweet minister, pour out yet further the healing • Of that balmy voice; if it may be, revealing *Thy mission of mercy! whence art thou ?'
O son • Of Matilda and Alfred, it matters not! One · Who is not of the living nor yet of the dead : • To thee, and to others, alive yet'-she said
So long as there liveth the poor gift in me • Of this ministration : to them, and to thee, • Dead in all things beside. A French Nun, whose
vocation Is now by this bedside. A nun hath no nation. • Wherever man suffers, or woman may soothe, • There her land ! there her kindred !"
She bent down to smoothe The hot pillow, and added Yet more than another. • Is thy life dear to me. For thy father, thy mother, • I knew them-I know them.'
"Oh can it be? you ! My dearest, dear father! my mother ! you knew "You know them ?
She bow'd, half averting, her head In silence.
He brokenly, timidly said, Do they know I am thus ?'
Hush !'—she smiled, as she drew From her bosom two letters: and—can it be true ? That beloved and familiar writing!
He burst Into tears—My poor mother,-my father! the worst Will have reached them!'
"No, no!' she exclaim'd with a smile, • They know you are living; they know that mean
while 'I am watching beside you. Young soldier, weep not!' But still on the nun's nursing bosom, the hot Fever'd brow of the boy weeping wildly is press'd. There, at last, the young heart sobs itself into rest : And he hears, as it were between smiling and weeping, The calm voice say— Sleep !
And he sleeps, he is sleeping. (By permission of Messrs. Chapman and Hall.)
WAKE NOT THE DEAD.