« AnteriorContinuar »
plicity, the sincerity of nature, would kindle the , themselves ennobled and refined by sharing thos eye, light up the countenance, and give an inexpres duties with them; and will receive, in return co sible charm to the plainest features.
operation and sympathy in the discharge of various The advice was excellent, but the motive, by other duties, now deemed inappropriate to women. which it was urged, brought a flush of indignation The more women become rational companions, partover my face. Men were exhorted to be, rather ners in business and in thought, as well as in affecthan to serm, that they might fulil the sacred mis- tion and amusement, the more highly will men sion for which their souls were embodied; that they appreciate home—that blessed word, which opens might, in God's freedom, grow up into the full sta- to the human heart the most perfect glimpse of ture of spiritual manhood; but women were urged Heaven, and helps to carry it thither, as on an to simplicity and truthfulness, that they might be angel's wings. come more pleasing.
• Domestic bliss, Are we not all immortal beings? Is not each That can, the world eluding, be itself one responsible for himself and herself? There is
A world enjoyed ; that wants no witnesses
But its own sharers and approving heaven; no measuring the mischief done by the prevailing That, like a flower deep hid in rocky cleft,
Smiles, though 'tis looking only at the sky.' tendency to teach women to be virtuous as a duty to man rather than to God—for the sake of pleasing Alas, for these days of Astor houses, and Trethe creature, rather than the Creator. God is thy monts, and Albions! where families exchange comlaw, thou mine,' said Eve to Adam. May Milton be fort for costliness, fireside retirement for flirtation forgiven for sending that thought out into everlast- and flaunting, and the simple, healthful, cozy meal, ing time' in such a jewel setting. What weakness, for gravies and gout, dainties and dyspepsia. There vanity, frivolity, infirmity of moral purpose, sinful is no characteristic of my countrymen, which I reflexibility of principle-in a word, what soul.stifling, gret so deeply, as their slight degree of adhesiveness has been the result of thus putting man in the place to home. Closely intertwined with this instinct, is of God!
the religion of a nation. The Home and the Church But while I see plainly that society is on a false bear a near relation to each other. The French foundation, and that prevailing views concerning have no such word as home in their langnage, and I women indicate the want of wisdom and purity, believe they are the least reverential and religious which they serve to perpetuate-still, I must acknow- of all the Christian nations. A Frenchman had been ledge that much of the talk about Women's Rights in the habit of visiting a lady constantly for several offends both my reason and my taste. I am not of years, and being alarmed at a report that she was those who maintain there is no sex in sonls; nor do sought in marriage, he was asked why he did not I like the results deducible from that doctrine. Kin- marry her himself. Marry her!' exclaimed he,mont, in his admirable book, called the Natural His- "Good heavens! where should I spend my evenings ?' tory of Man, speaking of the war-like courage of the The idea of domestic happiness was altogether a ancient German women, and of their being respect foreign idea to his soul, like a word that conveyed fully consulted on important public affairs, says : no meaning. Religious sentiment in France leads
You ask me if I consider all this right, and deserv. the same roving life as the domestic affections ; ing of approbation? or that women were here en. breakfasting at one restaurateur's and supping at gaged in their appropriate tasks? I answer, yes; another's. When some wag in Boston reported that it is just as right that they should take this interest Louis Philippe had sent over for Dr. Channing to in the honour of their country, as the other sex. Of manufacture a religion for the French people, the course, I do not think that women were made for witty significance of the joke was generally apwar and battle ; neither do I believe that men were. preciated. But since the fashion of the times had made it so, There is a deeper spiritual reason why all that and settled it that war was a necessary element of relates to the domestic affections should ever be greatness, and that no safety was to be procured found in close proximity with religious faith. The without it, I argue that it shows a healthful state of age of chivalry was likewise one of unquestioning feeling in other respects, that the feelings of both veneration, which led to the crusade for the holy sexes were equally enlisted in the cause : that there sepulchre. The French revolution, which tore down was no division in the house, or the state; and that churches, and voted that there was no God, likewise the serious pursuits and objects of the one were also annulled marriage; and the doctrine, that there is the serious pursuits and objects of the other.' no sex in souls, has usually been urged by those of
The nearer society approaches to divine order, the infidel tendencies. Carlyle says, · But what feeling less separation will there be in the characters, duties, it was in the ancient, devout, deep soul, which of and pursuits of men and women. Women will not marriage made a sacrament, this, of all things in the become less gentle and graceful, but men will be world, is what Diderot will think of for æons with come more so. Women will not neglect the care out discovering; unless perhaps it were to increase and education of their children, but men will find the vestry fees.'
The conviction that woman's present position in society is a false one, and therefore re-acts disas. trously on the happiness and improvement of man, is pressing by slow degrees on the common consciousness, through all the obstacles of bigotry, sensuality, and selfishness. As man approaches to the truest life, he will perceive more and more that there is no separation or discord in their mutual duties. They will be one ; but it will be as affection and thought are one : the treble and bass of the same harmonious tune.
BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
The night is dark, the stinging sleet,
Swept by the bitter gusts of air, Drives whistling down the lonely street,
And stiffens on the pavement bare.
Old fields, and clear blue summer days,
Old meadows, green with grass and trees, That shimmer through the trembling haze
And whiten in the western breeze,
Rises within her heart again,
Makes summer of the icy rain.
From all humanity apart,
Through the lone chambers of her heart. Outside the porch before the door,
Her cheek upon the cold, hard stone, She lies, no longer foul and poor,
No longer dreary and alone. Next morning, something heavily
Against the opening door did weigh, And there, from sin and sorrow free,
A woman on the threshold lay. A smile upon the wan lips told
That she had found a calm release, And that, from out the want and cold,
The song had borne her soul in peace. For, whom the heart of man shuts out,
Straightway the heart of God takes in, And fences them all round about
With silence mid the world's loud din ; And one of his great charities
Is Music, and it doth not scorn
Of the polluted and forlorn;
Farther in guilt had wandered thence,
To die in maiden innocence.
The street-lamps flare and struggle dim
Through the white sleet-clouds as they pass, Or, governed by a boisterous whim,
Drop down and rattle on the glass. One poor, heart-broken, outcast girl
Faces the east-wind's searching flaws, And, as about her heart they whirl,
Her tattered cloak more tightly draws.
The flat brick walls look cold and bleak,
Her bare feet to the sidewalk freeze; Yet dares she not a shelter seek,
Though faint with hunger and disease.
The sharp storm cuts her forehead bare,
And, piercing through her garments thin, Beats on her shrunken breast, and there
Makes colder the cold heart within.
She lingers where a ruddy glow
Streams outward through an open shutter, Giving more bitterness to woe,
More loneness to desertion utter.
BY HANS VON SPIRGEL.
One half the cold she had not felt,
Until she saw this gush of light Spread warmly forth, and seem to melt
Its slow way through the deadening night. She hears a woman's voice within,
Singing sweet words her childhood knew, And years of misery and sin
Furl off and leave her heaven blue.
I am a lover of all woman kind,
And maidens old are not old maids to me. Though beauty flees, there still remains the mind,
And mind is surely better company! What though the harp be new and trimmed with gold;
Does sweeter music tremble in its tone Than when the gaudy polish has grown old,
And nought is left but sweet accord alone ?
Because the casket is defaced by time?
Her heart, a harp that music yields sublime.
The jewel's glow-the harp's sweet melody.
Her freezing heart, like one who sinks
Outwearied in the drifting snow, Drowses to deadly sleep, and thinks
No longer of its hopeless woe :
BY LYDIA MARIA CHILD,
To the sailor on the sea,
Their music down from Heaven,
quivered, as she exclaimed, "Why, father! he has such a large, handsome cage; and as much as ever
he can eat and drink.' There is nothing which makes me feel the im · And would you be a slave,' said he, if you could prisonment of a city, like the absence of birds. live in a great house, and be fed on frosted cake ?' Blessings on the little warblers! Lovely types After a moment's thought, the child began to say are they of all winged and graceful thoughts. Dr. half reluctantly, · Would he be happier, if I opened Follen used to say, "I feel dependent for a vigorous the door of his cage ?' • He would be free !' was and hopeful spirit on now and then a kind word, the the emphatic reply. Without another word, she loud laugh of a child, or the silent greeting of a took the cage to the open window, and a moment flower.' Fully do I sympathize with this utterance after, she saw her prisoner playing with the humof his gentle and loving spirit; but more than the ming-birds among the honey-suckles. benediction of the flower, more perhaps than even One of the most remarkable cases of instinctive the mirth of childhood, is the clear, joyous note of knowledge in birds was often related by my grandthe bird a refreshment to my soul.
father, who witnessed the fact with his own eyes.
He was attracted to the door, one summer day, by • The birds! the birds of summer hours, They bring a gush of glee,
a troubled twittering, indicating distress and terror. To the ebild among the fragrant flowers,
A bird, who had built her nest in a tree near the We hear their thrilling voices
door, was flying back and forth with the utmost In their swift and airy flight, And the innost heart rejoices
speed, uttering wailing cries as she went. He was With a calm and pure delight.
at first at a loss to account for her strange moveAmid the morning's fragrant dew, Amidst the mists of even,
ments; but they were soon explained by the sight They warble on, as if they drew
of a snake slowly winding up the tree.
Animal magnetism was then unheard of; and who-
soever had dared to mention it, would doubtless With a blessing and a prayer.'
have been hung on Witch's Hill, without benefit of But alas! like the free voices of fresh youth, they clergy. Nevertheless, marvellous and altogether come not on the city air. Thus should it be; where unaccountable stories had been told of the snake's mammon imprisons all thoughts and feelings that power to charm birds. The popular belief was that would fly upward, their winged types should be in the serpent charmed the bird by luoking steadily at cages too. Walk down Mulberry-street, and you ed, that if the snake was struck, the bird felt the blow,
it; and that such a sympathy was thereby establishmay see, in one small room, hundreds of little
and writhed under it. feathered songsters, each hopping about restlessly in his gilded and garlanded cage, like a dyspeptic mer
These traditions excited my grandfather's curiosichant in his marble mansion. I always turn my humane man, he resolved to kill the snake before he
ty to watch the progress of things; but, being a head away when I pass; for the sight of the little
had a chance to despoil the nest. The distressed captives goes through my heart like an arrow. The darling little creatures have such visible delight in
mother meanwhile continued her rapid movements
and troubled cries; and he soon discovered that she freedom;
went and came continually, with something in her • In the joyous song they sing;
The In the liquid air they cleave;
bill, from one particular tree-a white ash. In the sunshine ; in the shower;
snake wound his way up; but the instant his head In the nests they weave.'
came near the nest, his folds relaxed, and he fell to I seldom see a bird encaged, without being reminded the ground rigid, and apparently lifeless. My grandof Petion, a truly great man, the popular idol of father made sure of his death by cutting off his head, Haiti, as Washington is of the United States. and then mounted the tree to examine into the mys
While Petion administered the government of the tery. The snug little nest was filled with eggs, and island, some distinguished foreigner sent his little covered with leaves of the white ash! daughter a beautiful bird, in a very handsome cage. The little bird knew, if my readers do not, that The child was delighted, and with great exultation contact with the white ash is deadly to a snake. exhibited the present to her father. • It is indeed This is no idle superstition, but a veritable fact in very beautiful, my daughter,' said he; but it makes natural history. The Indians are aware of it, and my heart ache to look at it. I hope you will never twist garlands of white ash leaves about their show it to me again.'
ankles, as a protection against rattlesnakes. Slaves With great astonishment, she inquired his reasons. often take the same precaution when they travel He replied, " When this island was called St. Domin-through swamps and forests, guided by the north star; go, we were all slaves. It makes me think of it to or to the cabin of some poor white man, who teaches look at that bird; for he is a slave.'
them to read and write by the light of pine splinters, The little girl's eyes filled with tears, and her lips and receives his pay in massa's' corn or tobacco.
I have never heard any explanation of the effect, The father-bird scarcely ever left the side of the produced by the white ash; but I know that settlers nest. There he was, all day long, twittering in in the wilderness like to have these trees round their tones that were most obviously the outpourings of log houses, being convinced that no snake will vo. love. Sometimes he would bring in a straw, or a luntarily come near them. When touched with the hair, to be interwoven in the precious little fabric. boughs, they are said to grow suddenly rigid, with One day my attention was arrested by a very unusustrong convulsions ; after a while they slowly re. al twittering, and I saw him circling round with a cover, but seem sickly for some time.
large downy feather in his bill. He bent over the The following well authenticated anecdote has unfinished nest, and offered it to his mate with the something wonderfully human about it:
most graceful and loving air imaginable ; and when A parrot had been caught young, and trained by a she put up her month to take it, he poured forth Spanish lady, who sold it to an English sea-captain. such a gush of gladsome sound! It seemed as if For a time the bird seemed sad among the fogs of pride and affection had swelled his heart, till it was England, where birds and men all spoke to her in almost too big for his little bosom. The whole a foreign tongue. By degrees, however, she learn- transaction was the prettiest piece of fond coquetry, ed the language, forgot her Spanish phrases, and on both sides, that it was ever my good luck to seemed to feel at home. Years passed on, and found witness. Pretty Poll the pet of the captain's family. At last It was evident that the father-bird had formed her brilliant feathers began to turn grey with age; correct opinions on the woman question;' for durshe could take no food but soft pulp, and had not ing the process of incubation he volunteered to per. strength enough to mount her perch. But no one form his share of household duty. Three or four had the heart to kill the old favourite, she was times a day would he, with coaxing twitterings, pero entwined with so many pleasant household recol. suade his patient mate to fly abroad for food; and lections. She had been some time in this feeble the moment she left the eggs, he would take the condition, when a Spanish gentleman called one day maternal station, and give a loud alarm whenever to see her master. It was the first time she had cat or dog came about the premises. He certainly heard the language for many years. It probably performed the office with far less ease and grace brought back to memory the scenes of her youth in than she did; it was something in the style of an that beautiful region of vines and sunshine. She old bachelor tending a babe; but nevertheless it spread forth her wings with a wild scream of joy, showed that his heart was kind, and his principles rapidly ran over the Spanish phrases, which she had correct, concerning division of labour. When the not uttered for years, and fell down dead.
young ones came forth, he pursued the same equaliz. There is something strangely like reason in this. ing policy, and brought at least half the food for his Itm akes one want to know whence comes the bird's greedy little family. soul, and whither goes it.
But when they became old enough to fly, the There are different theories on the subject of in-veriest misanthrope would have laughed to watch stinct. Some consider it a special revelation to each their manœuvres ! Such chirping and twittering! creature ; others believe it is founded on traditions Such diving down from the nest, and Aying up again! handed down among animals, from generation to Such wheeling round in circles, talking to the young generation, and is therefore a matter of education. ones all the while! Such clinging to the sides of My own observation, two years ago, tends to con. the shed with their sharp claws, to show the timid firm the latter theory. Two barn-swallows came little fledgelings that there was no need of falling! into our wood-shed in the spring time. Their busy, For three days all this was carried on with inearnest twitterings led meat once to suspect that they creasing activity. It was obviously an infant flying were looking out a building-spot; but as a carpenter's school. But all their talking and fussing was of no bench was under the window, and frequent hammer. avail. The little downy things looked down, and ing, sawing, and planing were going on, I had little then looked up, and, alarmed at the infinity of space, hope they would choose a location under our roof. sunk down into the nest again. At length the paTo my surprise, however, they soon began to build rents grew impatient, and summoned their neighin the crotch of a beam, over the open door-way. I bours. As I was picking up chips one day, I found was delighted, and spent more time in watching my head encircled with a swarm of swallows. They them, than • penny-wise people would have approv. flew up to the nest, and chatted away to the young ed. It was, in fact, a beautiful little drama of do- ones; they clung to the walls, looking back to tell mestic love. The mother bird was so busy, and 80 how the thing was done ; they dived, and wheeled, important; and her mate was so attentive! Never and balanced, and floated, in a manner perfectly did any newly married couple take more satisfaction beautiful to behold. with their first nicely-arranged drawer of baby. The pupils were evidently much excited. They clothes, than these did in fashioning their little jumped up on the edge of the nest, and twittered, woven cradle.
and shook their feathers, and waved their wings;
BY WILLIAM WORDS WORTH.
and then hopped back again, saying, "It's pretty garlands; receiving presents at every door, where sport, but we can't do it.'
they stopped to sing a welcome to the swallows, in Three times their neighbours came in and repeat that graceful old language, so melodious even in its ed their graceful lessons. The third time, two of ruins, that the listener feels as if the brilliant azure the young birds gave a sudden plunge downward, of Grecian skies, the breezy motion of their olive and then futtered and hopped, till they alighted on a groves, and the gush of their silvery fountains, had small upright log. And oh, such praises as were all passed into a monument of liquid and harmonious warbled by the whole troop! The air was filled sounds. with their joy! Some were flying round, swift as a ray of light; others were perched on the hoehandle, and the teeth of the rake; multitudes clung to the wall, after the fashion of their pretty kind;
LUCY. and two were swinging, in most graceful style, on a pendant hoop. Never, while memory lasts, shall I forget that swallow party! I have frolicked with Three years she grew in sun and shower, blessed Nature much and often; but this, above Then Nature said, “ A lovelier flower all her gambols, spoke into my inmost heart, like On earth was never sown; the glad voices of little children. That beautiful This Child I to myself will take ; family continued to be our playmates, until the fall She shall be mine, and I will make ing leaves gave token of approaching winter. For A Lady of my own. some time, the little ones came home regularly to
Myself will to my darling be their nest at night. I was ever on the watch to
Both law and impulse : and with me welcome them, and count that none were missing.
The Girl, in rock and plain, A sculptor might have taken a lesson in his art,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower, from those little creatures perched so gracefully on
Shall feel an overseeing power the edge of their clay-built cradle, fast asleep, with
To kindle or restrain. heads hidden under their folded wings. Their familiarity was wonderful. If I hung my gown on a
She shall be sportive as the fawn nail, I found a little swallow perched on the sleeve.
That wild with gloe across the lawn If I took a nap in the afternoon, my waking eyes
Or up the mountain springs; were greeted by a swallow on the bed-post; in the
And her's shall be the breathing balm, summer twilight, they flew about the sitting room
And her's the silence and the calm in search of flies, and sometimes lighted on chairs and
Of mute insensate things. tables. I almost thought they knew how much I The floating clouds their state shall lend loved them. But at last they flew away to more To her; for her the willow bend; genial skies, with a whole troop of relations and
Nor shall she fail to see neighbours. It was a deep pain to me, that I should
Even in the motions of the Storm never know them from other swallows, and that
Grace that shall mould the Maiden's form they would have no recollection of me. We had
By silent sympathy. lived so friendly together, that I wanted to meet them in another world, if I could not in this; and I
The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear wept, as a child weeps at its first grief. There was somewhat, too, in their beautiful life
In many a secret place of loving freedom which was a reproach to me.
Where rivulets dance their wayward round, Why was not my life as happy and as graceful as
And beauty born of murmuring sound theirs ? Because they were innocent, confiding, and
Shall pass into her face. unconscious, they fulfilled all the laws of their being And vital feelings of delight without obstruction.
Shall rear her form to stately height,
Her virgin bosom swell;
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give
While she and I together live
Here in this happy dell.”
Thus Nature spake—The work was done
How soon my Lncy's race was run! The old Greeks observed a beautiful festival, call She died and left to me ed « The Welcome of the Swallows,' When these This heath, this calm, and quiet scene; social birds first returned in the spring-time, the The memory of what has been,
And never more will be. children went about in procession, with music and