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TWELVE, that deep, still hour was rapidly advancing. Already the full moon was riding near the zenith, flooding the earth in light and stillness, save a slight shadow from time to time, as some thin white cloud far up in the sky fitted like a spectre over its face. But a few hours before I had seen it pass through the tree-lops to the east of my window, on its upward voyage of beauty. I had watched the little elm boughs as they moved slowly, and yet rapidly across its bright disk ; and, with their progress, I seemed, amid the breathless silence, to feel the earth rushing swiftly onward in its revolution, with the sweep of wings, and to hear that faint, but delicious music which poets and philosophers have attributed to the spheres. The thousand white tomb-stones of the city Cemetery stood, like an army sleeping in its ranks, immediately before me; in the distance, (for it seems afar off in the night time,) rose East Rock, that familiar, yet still beautiful object, and far the most beautiful when seen in solemn grandeur by shadowy moonlight ; while, away to the Northwest, the wooded range running from West Rock Northward appeared, dim and indistinct, yet lovely as a fairy-land! The moonbeams glowed on the glass dome of the Medical College near me on the right—that uncouth and suspicious looking building, wherein, it is whispered, many a strange sight is seen, and many a dark deed executed and glancing over its projecting roof, left a dusky, spectral shadow that made the heart beat fearfully.
I have said it was profoundly silent. No sound of carriage wheels or human footstep reached my ear. The thousands of human beings who, but a few hours before, thronged the streets and places of business, the sooty screamer of charcoal, the lazy coachman, the gaping countryman, the ennuied lawyer, the burly merchant, the rapid young clerk, the silk-and-velveted matron, daughter of rank and affluence, the laughing student, and the wandering-eyed lass-yea, even the old colVOL. I.
ored crier, with his tinkling bell, and bis “H-e-a-r ye !”—all were hushed-all were as unconscious as if a sudden pestilence had stolen away every soul from its tenement, save where, perchance, some embarrassed tradesinan was cheered by a bright but empty vision of better fortune—or where some red-lipped maiden lay smiling in a dream of love. The solemn noises of those sombre craftsmen on my left, whose groaning engine and shrieking chisels are, through the live-long day, incessantly moulding the marble block into monuments for the dead, had hours ago dwindled into silence. Even the breeze made hardly a moaning among the branches-it was gentle, and warm, and balmy. Spring had softened the obdurate turf and loaded the air with a moist, odoriferous exhalation, and it was now flowing gratefully in at my window, enriched by additional fragrance from a vase of Howers before me.
Oh, that was a night for fancies, for memories, for deep and earnest thought! How many deliriously joyful hours have I spent in that same window, recalling the past, and imaging the future! You may call it weakness, effeminacy, folly, to busy one's self about what is gone and irretrievable—to be so sentimental about childhood and early years. You may tell me to bury the past, seize the present, and hope for the future. I am sorry I cannot receive your philosophy. I cannot yet consent to seal up the fountains of tender enjoyment which the finger of God has opened in my heart. I have still much faith in the beauty and utility of the human sensibilities. Many a Collegian, I am aware, would feel himself disgraced by anything like emotion-would hazard the world sooner than be seen to shed a tear. He would infinitely prefer to be found drunk in the gutter than thinking tenderly of the good mother who bore him. Such a one may not, indeed, have so petrified his heart as to feel no motion of natural affection, but he is ashamed of Nature herself, and seeks to rise above her laws by repressing every exhibition of love or remembrance. He is grown so great, his powers are so magnificent, his views so exalteil, that he would fain persuade himself of his divinity, or, at least, of an origin higher than poor, frail humanity, if such a thing were possible ; and, indeed, all this has been done in ages past, but somehow unfortunately at the present day, the idea that every man existing, however great, must have been born of woman, weak woman if you please, is too generally prevalent to admit of this deception.
Alas! how much native goodness has been smothered and destroyed by thus degrading the human feelings, by that hardening process which is thought so essential to the dignity of manhood! But do you ask what is the use of all your sentiment? Do you say this is a life of earnest toil, of stout-hearted conflict? For what, I answer, do you toil; for what do you battle? Is it for wealth, for station, for fame ? Then freeze your humanity, idolize your intellect, and make men adore because they wonder at and fear, and not because they love you. But is it for God and humanity ? Then you must feel human wants, and sympathize with human suffering. You must feel the glory of goodness, of charity, of affection, which alone can relieve them. In