« AnteriorContinuar »
victions, and to give their relative importance to every object, which we know belongs to it, and which are of infinite reality and worth.
I know that I have a soul; that it is immortal; that its highest happiness depends upon its purity; that its worth is beyond all account; that it is capable of endless improvement, and that its purity and progress are committed to my care. Shall I forget or neglect this truth, because I have appetites, and the world has pleasures ? - because the trust demands watchfulness and industry, and because indolence is enticing ? Shall I dim this glorious reality with the reeling eye of sensuality and passion ? Shall I delude myself with the fancied permanency and sufficiency of the world's delights! Shall I strive to reason away what I know, and make the uncertainty of life's duration an uncertainty of its end ? Shall I make my own and my soul's interests separate concerns, and evade its demands, soothe its clamors, and cheat it of its sustenance; and live, with what poor peace I may, with this mysterious, inward something, this different self, that ever dogs my steps, and with shrouded form and hollow voice, blames my ways, warns my councils, and curses memory?
The same questions, which are their own answer, might be put with regard to the lofty relations of man to God - to futurity. Can a man be said to live in reality, who regards these so carelessly, as to surrender his highest privileges for the paltry indulgence of passion, more immediate, but of infinite worthlessness?
When I ask to live in reality, I do not so much pray for a deeper conviction of the great truths of life and religion for I think that myself and a good portion of the world believe them fully - as for that self-possession of soul, that dignity of mind, which never loses sight of its lofty relations; which permits not the pleasures of the world to beguile it of its gaze at reality. We need that fixedness and earnestness of view, which no allurements can distract; no mists bedim; no shadows deceive ; no spectres scare. We need the courage to look the realities of life full in the face, note their features, and recognise their acquaintance, for ever. If the world is indeed a stage; if we all sit gazing but upon painted boards, diamonds of glass, and paper crowns, with vulgar men and women for kings and queens, the light of fætid tallow for the illumination of heaven, and horns, and trumpets, and fiddles, for angelic choirs, let us amuse ourselves with the exhibition, but without forgetting that it is not real; that we are not indeed in the regions of bliss and peace; that it is all a fleeting show. Let us look, now and then, at least, at the spectacle by day-light, and strain our eyes, if need be, to see through the golden foil, and the tinsel drapery, of mock royalty. Let us not forget, that the sun in heaven is worth, countless times, all the beams that ever streamed from the torch of art, and that the green earth outvalues, by more than can be told, all the Elysian fields that fancy and cunning ever devised.
I willingly enter the lists with all whose art it is to deceive the world, and whose policy supports the source of its delusion, by gloryfying a false imagination. The matter-of-fact man,' in the true use of that language, is mine, before all the poets. Imagination, when devoted to its native purposes, is divine; and he who lives in reality, needs it, and has it, most. If imagination is that power which tricks out in borrowed and unsubstantial finery the nudity and homeliness
of all things present, and thus decoys the affections of man toward unsatisfying and transitory objects; if it teaches him to transform tremendous and ever-present realities into dim and distant shapes, lost in the importance which it lends to the unsubstantial yet unspiritual forms that flatter his passions, and gratify his appetites, then it is the greatest foe to human happiness.
Not such the beneficent goddess that befriends the man of reality; who strives to see things as they are, and to give their due importance to his respective relations to God, the world, and his own nature. Imagination is the genius of Faith. She embodies and makes alive and present, distant, passive, and impersonal objects. She transports us to the golden streets of the heavenly city. She bears up the fervent spirit upon her downy and rapid wings, and sets it down at the very gate of heaven.
She assists us to rob death and the grave of their natural and mortal horror, by presenting to the mind the beauty, purity, and peace, of a life hereafter. She traverses ocean; pierces the past, and fastens her wings to unfledged thought, till it mounts and rises into form and presence. This is reality.
During all the time of the foregoing reflections, the play had been going on; the actors came and went, in due time and succession; the scenes changed; the music struck up, and pit and galleries clapped their hands, and shouted. Kings were deluded and slain ; lovers were thwarted and miserable ; Hate planned, and Revenge accomplished. The whole matter was declared to be well done, and the papers said it was a wonderful performance. My evening's employment, though I had a good right to look at the pageant, having paid my admittance fee, was the foregoing reflections, which l have attempted to write out, for the benefit of the reader.
FROM 'KITTENHAWTEN: AN UNPUBLISHED POEM, BY THE LATE J. M. BRIGHT, ESQ,
Oh, it is sweet to sail the deep,
With the broad pennant gaily spread;
And the last blush of day hath fled;
To roam when only one is near;
The tale which Beauty stays to hear.
That guides him on the stormy wave;
It shines upon his sea-wrought grave :
Which beams from under Beauty's brow,
The given and exchanged vow.
From the main-royal tops on high,
'Land! land! the wished-for land is nigh!'
When Beauty at my side shall stand,
To me a willing heart and hand !
A POETASTER's LAMENT.
If all our tuneless bards could feel with me,
From my dull rhymes' perusal ne'er can feel
Ev'n could I hope that when this clay was cold,
Start as I heariis notes discordant ring;
Oh Nature, mighty mother! who didst mould
This clay, which clogs me, that I may not fiy
THE WHITE SQU ALL.
A SKETCH : BY ROBERT BURTS, ESQ., U. S. N., AUTHOR OF THE SCOURGE OF THE OCEAN.'
All hail to thee, dark blue Ocean ! Once more I sweep along thy flashing waters; once more I gaze upon thy broad expanse, whence the eye can turn to naught but heaven, as if indeed there were nothing beneath it, whose sublimity could rival thine. Nor is there ! Of all nature's terrestrial wonders, thou art the most stupendous, the most imposing, the most beautiful, the most terrible ! I have stood upon the loftiest mountains of the earth, and from the eternal snows that cap
their summits, have looked down upon the green hills and fertile valleys, that spread smiling in the sunshine below me; and my soul bowed down in acknowledgment of the unwonted loveliness of the
Then as I gazed, dense clouds gathered around me, and all below was shut out from my vision. A broad curtain of impenetrable haze, through which the lightning was flashing, and along which the thunder was rolling, was alone before me; and as I stood above all this, like some solitary being in the infinity of space, I trembled, for it was fearfully magnificent. Again, I have looked from the shores of the most beautiful river of my native land. Before me swept the richlyfreighted argosies, spreading their white wings on high, curling the crystal waters around their prows, and sending their gay banners aloft, to coquet with the summer breeze; behind me, rose the tall spires and glittering domes of a proud, a glorious city; and far as the
eye could reach, spread fields of golden grain, tall forests, and grassy plains; while on every hill were reared the snow-white walls of a brave and happy people. It was to me a scene of peculiar enchantment, for it was the birth-place of my hopes, the theatre of my boyhood. And I have gazed upon that mighty marvel of Niagara, where the simple red man listened to the voice of Manitou, and looked in wonder
upon his bow of hope; and I too have felt the awe it inspires; but never, oh, Ocean! have I seen thy peer nor thy equal. Thou hast no rival — mighty, illimitable element! Thou art indeed the fittest type of Him who holds thy many waters' in the hollow of his hand!
Such were the musings of Captain Sutherland, as he paced the quarter-deck of the Sparrow-hawk. But hold! good reader, while I 'prate of our whereabout.' Know, then, that you are on board of an American sloop of war, and that you are even now running along to the eastward of the Bahamas, heading to the southward, the wind right aft, and steering-sails set alow and aloft.
* Fine night,' said Mr. Topblock, who was officer of the deck, addressing Captain Sutherland. He was in the habit of saying that it was a fine night; it was his preface to conversation, and he invariably broke the ice with some such hammer.
• Very,' responded the commander. Sutherland was to his officers the very essence of politeness.
· Fine run to-day, Sir,' rejoined Mr. Topblock, increasing the angular distance of his legs, putting the trumpet under his left arm, and thrusting both hands in his breeches pockets.
• Yes; I believe we have a degree and a half on the slate, since meridian.'
* Fine breeze, too,' remarked the lieutenant.
Mr. Topblock made no immediate reply, but he wondered who the d-1 Æolus might be. Mr. Topblock could not be called a heathen mythologist; but he was a discreet man, and determined not to agitate a subject upon which he was so totally ignorant. Before he had time, however, to start another topic, the
of • sail ho! rose from the forecastle, and died away to leeward, on the wings of the breeze.
Where away !' inquired Mr. Topblock, through the trumpet.
• Broad on the larboard bow,' responded the look-out; and Sutherland, on turning to the indicated direction, beheld a pile of canvass looming through the gloom of the night.
• The glass, quarter-master,' exclaimed Mr. Topblock; and that gentleman sent his glance through an inverted telescope. . Can you distinguish her ? asked Captain Sutherland.
Perfectly.' • What do you make her out ?'
• A ship on the starboard tack, running with the wind free ; small ship, Sir; Frenchman, perhaps, bound to the Spanish Main ; fine ships, those Frenchmen, Sir.'
Haul up a point,' said Sutherland; we will speak her.'
* Ay, ay, Sir; quarter-master, bring her to, a point, and let me know when she 's her course.'
Course now, Sir,' said the man at the wheel. Very well; keep her so.'
In the mean time, Sutherland had been scanning the stranger, who was now drawing nearer and nearer every moment. The stars gave but a dim light, yet there was a sufficient brightness abroad, to afford him a view of her spars and hull, even at the distance of a mile. Another half hour, however, brought both ships within hail, and the stranger then took in his steering-sails, furled his royals, and hauled up his courses. Nearly at the same time, the like maneuvre was performed on board of the Sparrow-hawk, and the bows of either ship deviated a little, when they commenced dashing ahead, upon the same point of the compass.
At this moment, a tall figure sprang into the mizzen rigging of the new comer, and applying a huge lee-gangway trumpet to his mouth, sang out, in a clear and powerful voice, the customary ship ahoy !!
· Fine voice,' muttered Mr. Topblock, as he gave forth a wellturned hilloa !'
• What ship is that l'inquired the stranger.
Mr. Topblock looked at Sutherland; Sutherland made an affirmative gesture, and the former answered: The United States' sloop of war Sparrow-hawk; and what ship is that, pray ? - and where bound !- and how long out ? -- and where from?
It was a good while before the stranger replied; but the interrogatories of Mr. Topblock were so multifarious, that it required an unusual time to arrange their respective answers. At length, however, they came : • The Royal Alfred, from London, bound to Vera Cruz, thirty days out.'
Then the courses and royals of the stranger fell from the yards ; the after sails were braced sharp up on the larboard tack; the spanker hauled out, the flying-jib run up, the head yards trimmed on a parallel with those in the rear, and all sail made by the wind.
* The fellow dislikes our company, and is about to take an unceremonious leave,' remarked Sutherland. The late conflict has soured John's temper, and he will never look upon us with any thing like complacency again.'
Queer, that English merchants should hire yankee skippers,' muttered an old tar, who stood looking at the stranger, with his hands thrust in the breast of his pea-jacket; ' but mayhap these seamen have thrown up the marlinspike for the musket, a thing about as likely as that I, Jack Jeer, should one day turn diwine.'
Sutherland listened attentively to the bo’son’s-mate's soliloquy, for he himself thought it singular that she should haul close upon the wind, instead of steering the more direct course for her place of destination.
think the man that hailed us, an American, Jeer?' * Ay, Sir,' responded the tar, ‘ and a Nantucketer, at that, or I'm a green-born. I could detect the woice o' one o' them fellows, if he was to bellow a half a knot through a stove-pipe.'
The stranger, though dashing rapidly through the water, was yet within hail, when Sutherland, seizing a trumpet, sprang upon a gun, and desired him to heave to, and send a boat alongside. The tall figure again leaped into the mizzen rigging, and replied, that all his VOL. XIII.
• Do you