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cellence was doomed never to be fulfilled. Nevertheless we do think that there are many hands very capable of making a rally—why do they not?
“ When trees do drop their fruits in antumn ripeness,
In the church-yard at Woollaston, there is a tombstone with the following inscription : “ In Memory of Francis Lyal, who died on the 23rd of December, 18—, aged 20 years." I saw this grave receive its tenant; and there were many circumstances of sadness connected with it, in addition to those inseparable from such a scene. Lyal was one of those interesting and gifted beings in whom “ la lame use le fourreau.” This class of persons is not unnumerous ; and yet we feel towards each of its individuals as if he alone belonged to the race. There is a sacred halo round those whom we see in the bloom of years destined for the grave; who at the time when others are looking hopefully forward to the pleasures and prosperities of life, have their thoughts fixed solely on eternal issues. Their prospects are all beyond the grave-their hopes are all in Heaven.
Lyal was at school with me; and being some years my junior, and his parents being known to mine, he was, in some measure, under my protection. I had thus
occasion to witness the buddings of a mind which gave promise to be one of no common order. I have never seen a spirit so eager of distinction. When he was first raised into a form, he would strain every nerve to render his exercises equal to those of the boys at the head of it; and, though his frame was never strong, he used to engage with the extremity of eagerness in all games of vigorous athletic contention. We always feel interest for those who have looked up to us for help ; no wonder, then, that that which I had towards one of such qualities as Lyal should be great. The difference of the few years which were between our ages,-a difference great in boyhood,-prevented all jarring of competition, all feeling of school-boy envy. I had a pride in the advancement and distinction of all kinds which my protégé was rapidly winning; and when I left school I prophesied and hoped that he would brilliantly outstrip his fellows. I was sent to an university on the Continent, and lost sight of Lyal for some years. At that age, health is little looked to, further than the absence of direct sickness; and he had not heeded, and I had not marked, signs which might have foretold what followed. As it was, I had no thought of finding him in the state I did. On my return from the Continent, I went down into the part of the country where his parents lived, and one of the first persons I asked for was Lyal. I was told that he was in a rapid consumption, and the first moment I saw him too fatally confirmed it. The deep red hectic spot burned in the centre of his cheek. The fire of genius was fading from his large grey eye, and was supplied by the false brightness of his deceitful malady. The skin of his forehead was of that perfect and transparent white which adds the mockery of beauty to the ravages of disease; and his bright brown hair had that
silken flow which is common in persons of delicate frame. He had always been tall, and his form was now wasted to a fearful thinness ;-but if his figure had the spareness of a greyhound, it had much of its elegance also. His gait was the flat-footed tread of weakness, not the bounding step which is common to youth. In a word, he was wasted to almost the utmost point of fragility to which the human frame can be reduced without dissolution. But it is remarkable that in this extreme degree of extenuation neither his figure nor his face evinced the least effeminacy. If the vigour of mighty intellect was gone, its mark was indelibly stamped upon the features. Genius might have sunk from its “ throne of light,” but it was plain that it had once been there. Its traces, indeed, will always be visible where it has once existed. A volcano may have passed away, but its vestiges will still remain. Lyal shewed great happiness at seeing me.
He spoke with tenderness of former days, and alluded, in a manner the most heart-touching to the frustration of the hopes which I had felt and expressed concerning him. He acknowledged that he also had once hoped to have done something which would have made his name live behind him ; and it seemed to be his chief regret that he was going down to the tomb without having, as he expressed it, “ done one thing for which it was worth while to have lived.”
He had been at Oxford, and had distinguished himself much during the short time his health permitted him to stay there. But he did not remain long enough at the university to attain any of its higher honours. It appeared, however, that he had lingered on there too long; that he had striven against declining strength, until he had sunk at once under increasing disease into the state
of debility in which I found him--and from which he never recovered.
I soon perceived that he was preyed upon by a melancholy which increased the power of his disease ; but I never could rightly ascertain its cause. At some times I have thought that it was nothing more than the depression which his state must necessarily engender, while at others it seemed to be produced by some more direct and powerful sorrow.
The following lines, which were found among his papers after his death, prove plainly the existence of this sadness, but they throw but little light upon its
The freshness of my heart's young day
Nothing can now restore-
Can be regained no more.
'Tis true that still in
Its youthful glow's grown cold.
The comrades of my boyish days
Are what their age should be-
Looks onward ardently!
But I am like the youthful tree
The lightning strikes to earth-
It knows no second birth.
I was in the country when Lyal died; and, having been a school-fellow and a youthful friend, I was asked to attend the funeral. It was an office indeed of pain, but
I did not hesitate to go.
A young man of such distinguished promise was naturally the idol of his parents ;in dreadful addition he was their only child! Of the mother's grief at the time I cannot speak, for, of course, I saw it not; but to use a homely but most forceful phrase, “She has never held up her head since.” The father's sorrow I did see, for he would not be dissuaded from being himself the chief mourner:-he said he was so in heart, and he would be in form.
Alas, what a morning that was! When I arrived at the house, I was admitted by a servant whom I recognised as having been the tutor and associate of poor Lyal in his field sports. The man said nothing, but the unspeakable look which he gave me as he shewed me to the room where the company was assembled, was the very epitome and essence of speechless sorrow and affection. But on occasions like these, circumstances of contrast add pain as much as those of parallel,—at least it was so in this case. When I entered the room where the mourners were, I could not but be forcibly struck with the strong difference of expression on the countenance of the servant and the friends friends !-of the deceased. There were about a dozen persons present, who were in detached groups talking, as I found, of the gossip of the county and the general news of the day. A young man, who had been at school with Lyal and me, came up to me as I entered, and, after saying, “ Poor fellow ! who would have thought it !”-in a tone as if he considered it necessary to say something on the subject which occasioned our meeting, began to discuss the merits of a new horse which I had seen him on a few days before. The wretched father was, I need scarcely say, not present : his feelings would, I think, have imposed some restraint on these heartless, swallow-like profaners of the name