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as we said before, as they seem, rather than as they are, thereby giving then a claim to human interest and sympathy.
Whatever disenthralls us from subjection to the senses, and renders us more spiritual and less worldly, elevates our nature. Religion does this in the highest degree, by supplying us with pleasures which have no connection with the body, and but little with earth. Poetry does this in the next degree, not only by creating a world of its own, where the almost disembodied spirit may range at will, but by throwing a brilliance and a glow over the coarsest scenes of earth and sense, that well-nigh transform their nature by turning them from sensual to sensuous ; and vice goes far to lose its viciousness when it loses its grossness.
We could linger over this delightful theme “from morn to noon, from noon to dewy eve;" a thousand interesting questions throng upon us, the answers to which lie hidden in the deepest chambers of the mind; we should wish to speak of the reality and truth of that world created by the poet, of the trusting faith to be reposed in his pictures, of the high and solemn office he bears as the High Priest of the moral world—the interpreter of its mystic symbols -the regenerator of its fallen and defiled beauty. But we hope at some future time to treat more fully of the whole range of subjects comprehended in the effects and object of Poetry. For the present we bid our readers farewell.
Hurrah for the nectar !_the nectar- the nectar,
The bright-flowing nectar that warms in the bowl ;
Hurrah for the nectar, the life of the soul !
We have drank-we have tarried from morning to even,
From even to morning we tarry again ;
Then let us be Turks while the goblets remain.
To the smile of each lov'd one, the glow of each beauty,
We pledge a full bumper, the gush of the soul ;
When Cupid, young urchin, sits crowning the bowl.
Away with your sadness and dull melancholy,
With all but the bright-flowing nectar-away!
Should nurse any care but the goblet to-day.
Then a pledge for the nectar, the bright-gushing nectar,
The sparkling nectar, the life of the soul :
The noblest sage is the flow of the bowl !
TALES OF OUR UNIVERSITY.No. I.
A LEGEND FOR SENIOR WRANGLERS.
“More strange than true.”
Midsummer Night's Dream.
Many years ago—it were useless to tell how many, although report would fix the date at the commencement of the Mathematical Tripos, which has been established somewhat less than a century—a student of the University of Cambridge, habited in full acadeinicals, was plodding his way, slowly and silently, along the road conducting to the famous Gog-Magog Hills. It was a still evening late in autumn; the birds were chanting vespers to the departing sun; a faint, gentle breeze murmured through the air, scarcely sufficient to shake the brown leaves that hung in thick foliage on the trees. It was one of those calm and dreamy periods of existence, which speak tranquillity to the soul; when the blitheness of the visible world around us is responded to with chords of exquisite melody by the internal sympathy of our own hearts; like the beloved voice of a lamented mother, or the remembered music of some far-off land. It was a merry evening, but the student was unconscious of its merriment. Slowly and sadly” he wended his way onward, as heedless, apparently, of the distance of his journey, as of the descending twilight and lengthening shadows. And what were the thoughts which occupied the attention of the young collegian? He was in love, undoubtedly, and the charms of his mistress had smitten his susceptible breast : he was awakening from the unseen future_bright and cherished visions of conjugal tenderness, and matrimonial felicity. But what, in truth, was he thinking of? Was he indeed in love? Was it of the darkeyed girl, who sat near him in St. Mary's Church on the last Sunday, and of the stolen and half-timid glances which she occasionally cast at him? Oh, no! The dark-eyed girl shared no corner of his heart. He was not in love.
What were his thoughts ? His young sisters were dear to his bosom, and they were many miles away over the wide, wide-bounding sea, and the curling, frothy ocean; and his thoughts were with them-yes, that they were. The young student was thinking of his sisters, and of his happy home, and of the steep mountains. Happy, happy student!
But what were his thoughts? Were they of his young sisters, who were many miles away, over the wide sea and the curling ocean? Were they of his own happy home, and the steep mountains of his own dear land? Oh, no! the student was not thinking of home.
He had reached the Gog-Magog Hills—those hills which are celebrated in the academical history of every Cambridge gownsman, and which afforded to the late Robert Hall so good an incident for a bon mot. He had reached the Gog-Magog Hills, and the earth was indeed darkening, and the stars were peeping out from heaven
“ The stars are forth-the moon above the tops
Of the snow-shining mountains, Beautiful!" But there was no snow upon the ground, and the Gog-Magog Hills (as every University-man at least is aware) are not mountains—merely excrescences of nature, slight protuberancés elevated above the rest of the too level country, by no very dire convulsion of nature : so that Byron's
quotation is out of place. The young student stood upon the summit of these hills, and cast his eyes around him. The “gloaming" of a summer twilight had descended upon the earth like the mantle of Coila upon the shoulders of Burns; and the gownsman stood alone upon the hills, and there were four miles between him and King's College Chapel. But he thought neither of the distance, nor of the sacred edifice, which has braved so many centuries of tempest and decay,—has survived so many revolutions of states and changes of empires, and now stands, like a pyramid amidst the storm, the object of unbounded admiration. The young student thought not of the Chapel.
The dream of the opium-eater is a fearful thing. "The morning was come of a mighty day,– day of crisis and final hope for human nature, then suffering some mysterious eclipse, and labouring in some dread extremity. Then came sudden alarms, and hurryings to and fro; trepidations of innuinerable fugitives I know not whether from the good cause or the bad; darkness and lights ; tempest and human faces; and, at last, with the sense that all was lost, female forms, and the features that were worth all the world to me--and but a moment allowed, and clasped hai and heartbreaking partings, and then everlasting farewells! and with a sigh, such as the caves of hell sighed, when the incestuous mother uttered the abhorred name of Death, the sound was reverberated—everlasting farewells! and again, and yet again, reverberated-everlasting farewells! And I awoke in struggles, and cried aloud, “I will sleep no more.'”
This dream is indeed what we before pronounced it, a fearful thing ; and into such a trance was the young student fallen, as he threw himself upon the ground, and fixed his listless and vacant gaze upon the bright evening star that shone in the far horizon. But its operative was not opium. He threw himself upon the ground; and strange thoughts, and still stranger feelings flashed across his brain. It was the delirium of jealousy. The young Cantab was jealous-jealous of his fellow-studentsmadly, fiercely jealous. It wanted scarcely three months to the general Senate House Examination :-he was not prepared : he had worked hardvery hard ; morning and evening-evening and morning he had worked, and toiled, and struggled_in vain-all in vain; his fellow-students, and one whom he hated with a mortal hatred, would look down upon him, and would banter and laugh! The student knew this—he felt it, and he was jealous.
It is not that I shall not be the first of the wranglers, but that Hester M.Gregor will be a higher man. I would buy the seniority at any price.”
“You would, would you ?" uttered a deep voice near him.
The young student started, and jumped up. The darkness in which the world had been but lately enveloped, had yielded to the brilliant and beautiful light of the moon. The heaven was radiant with fleecy clouds, the grass was sparkling with the dew-drops that glittered in the soft moonshine. “ You would, would you ?" uttered the deep voice.
The student started, and looked behind him in terror. The light of the moon was clear, and the country was visible for a great distance_but no being was to be seen. “ It was only the winds," ejaculated the student.
“ The winds sing not upon a summer's night,” was the mysterious reply. The gownsman's hair stood on end; the voice which had answered him was not of earth at least so thought the student: his jealous fears_his mathematical honors, all escaped from his memory. He made an effort to run down the hills, but alarm had paralyzed him; he stood rooted to the spot.
“ The winds sing not upon a summer's night, I tell you.” The speaker was a little, old, haggard-looking man, with a long beard, and hair that flowed down to his ancles. He was dressed in a dark fustian coat that seemed to have seen some service-it was torn and ragged; a large pair of silver buckles ornamented his shoes, which were of a strange ungainly make, and terminated at the toes in a peak. His head was covered with a huge slouched hat, similar to that worn by the London coal-heavers.
“ And what price would you pay ?" was the demand of this singular intruder.
The student attempted an answer, but his voice died away ere the air vibrated with the sound. His heart sunk within him ; he felt that the being before him was a visitant from another world, and he gasped for very fear, and his breath came thick and clammy. It is a dreadful thing to fancy one's self in the presence of a spectre.
“ You say you would pay any price, to obtain the seniority over Hester M'Gregor—now what would you pay? ?”
The inquirer was earnest in his interrogatory; the student was terrified at the idea of offending him_he faltered out a reply,
I would pay anything_anything, that is, which is lawful.”
“ Listen,” continued the stranger : “I can obtain for you your desire : one word from me, and you shall be at the head of all your fellow-students -at the head of them all; what say you to that ?"
The student's eyes glistened with delight, notwithstanding his fear. “I would pay you any price, whatever you may demandi-can you indeed do this ?” “I can—but ask no questions. You will pay anything, will you ?"
Only what?" “ It must be lawful.”
“ Lawful or unlawful, it is too late now to hesitate-you have agreed. What is your price ?”
“ For God's sake, let it not be an that is, I mean, not of another world_let it not be an infernal compact.”
It will be at least a binding one--the bargain is mine," replied the being; “the price is
6. Not MY SOUL." “ It is not your soul.” The student breathed more freely, but his knees still knocked together with fright, and the cold sweat still stood in large drops upon his forehead. “ It is not your soul,” continued the being ; " but hearken, and you shall learn the nature of the bargain. You see this repeater-it is a beautiful jewel, a rare gem-there is not another like it in the world: it is your's, but hearken ! if you omit to wind it up any one night, before the moon risesmind, BEFORE THE MOON RISES- -the bargain is closed, and your fate becomes mine. Are you agreed ?”
“ It is indeed a beautiful jewel,” and the student's breast thrilled with vanity as he beheld it. “ It is indeed beautiful_but what is its price ?”.
“Nothing—I affix no price whatever. It is your's, but remember to wind it up before the moon rises; omit that one night-only one night, and your fate is mine. Beware, I warn you !"
The student gazed upon the watch : it was set round with diamonds, a rare, beautiful jewel, and that jewel might be his at an easy purchase. He remembered too that Hester M Gregor's watch was considered the most handsome in the University ; but Hester M Gregor's watch did not equal this.
I accept your conditions,” he replied; but how does this affect my mathematical honours ?”
“ Take the watch under the conditions which I have specified, and you become senior wrangler. Do not start-senior wrangler, I say. I know the name you bestow upon the most talented. Do you accept the offer ?"
“I do, but what, if I forget my duty_if the moon rise, and the chain be run out what then?”
“ You LOSE YOUR REASON !"
An involuntary shudder ran through the student's frame; not that there was anything in the words of very fearful import, but the thought MADMAN flashed upon his brain, and the possibility — but, tush, there was no possibility. He should always remember to wind it up—as if he could forget it, with such a curse hanging over his head—impossible! It was impossible, and he knew it. “I accept the conditions,” he shouted. The watch was in his hands—he felt it-he grasped it. Oh! what transports were in that grasp ! “ Yet stop,” he cried_but the being was nowhere to be
* * * * * * seen.
It was late when the student arrived in Cambridge, past the hour of closing the College gates; but he was a richer man than when he last passed under the great arch of Trinity, with Sir Isaac Newton's rooms above it; he was a richer man, and a man sure of the highest mathematical honours
-sure, quite sure, without a possibility of failure. His heart leaped with delight! what would Hester M'Gregor say now? aye,
what would he say?
Days—months, rolled away-months-days—blithe and bonny days, for the student had taken his degree, and a most splendid degree it was, Senior WRANGLER! His friends were as glad and proud as himself. What a happiness to have such friends! Days rolled away, and Hester M'Gregor had left Cambridge out of sheer mortification : how the student chuckled when he heard of it! it was a lucky ramble, that, to the GogMagog Hills that night !
Well, months did roll away, and the watch was regularly wound up; a fine rare jewel, that! One would have thought the student's friends would never have ceased their admiration. His grandfather had bought it for him of a Scotch jeweller, the only man who could have made such an unique, and he could make no more, for he was dead. Ah! ah! what a good grandfather!
The river Cam, notwithstanding its narrow channel and ambiguous windings, is a great source of temptation to those who are gifted with a liking for the nautical. “ We will try a boat to-day,” said the student to his friends, on a glad sunny afternoon in the early part of May. So away they rowed up the stream towards Ely, and the fish played along its margin, and the dragon-flies sported in the bright sunshine, or dipped their gauze wings and painted bodies in the glassy surface of the water. Away they rowed ;-it was a bonny day.
If Hester M Gregor were here now, Vivian, (Vivian was the student's name,) would he not die of ennui, or something worse ?” began one of the party, after a long conversation relating to subjects unconnected with the history of our tale.
“ I think he would,” replied Vivian. • Did you notice his features when the degrees were given, and when the names were read over ?”
I did ; never was demon half so deadly-he would have strangled you for very revenge. I saw how his fingers clutched, and his hands clenched, till the nails were actually driven into their palms, and the red blood trickled forth and dropped upon the floor of the Senate House.”
" The mad fool!_but never mind him ; our friend Vivian is seniorwrangler, and why should we heed? But we had better turn our oars now -We have lost our dinner as it is, and the moon has risen ; how early she rises to-day-the sun has hardly set“ The moon risen!” screeched Vivian, " for God's sake, where ?"
There-behind you; but what is the matter-what is that to you? why do you look so pale?” Vivian felt instinctively for his repeater,-he held it to his ear-it was silent, the chain had run out. Good God! how