图书图片
PDF

And here we are reminded of a passage in that admirable Essay of Mrs. Barbauld's "Upon the Inconsistency of our Expectations." It should be written upon every young man's heart. "Is knowledge," asks this writer, "the pearl of great price? That too may be purchased by steady application, and long solitary hours of study and reflection. Bestow these and you shall be wise. 'But,' says the man of letters, 'what a hardship is it that many an illiterate fellow, who cannot construe the motto of the arms on his coach, shall raise a fortune and make a figure, while I have little more than the common conveniences of life.' Was it then in order to raise a fortune that you consumed the sprightly hours of youth in study and retirement? Was it to be rich that you grew pale over the midnight lamp and distilled the sweetness from the Greek and Roman spring? You have then mistaken your path, and ill-employed your industry. 'What reward have I then for all my labours?' What reward! A large comprehensive soul, well cleansed from vulgar fears and perturbations and prejudices; able to comprehend and interpret the works of man—of God. A rich, flourishing, cultivated mind, pregnant with inexhaustible stores of entertainment and reflection. A perpetual spring of fresh ideas, and the conscious dignity of superior intelligence. Good heaven! and what reward can you ask besides?" Even in the humblest occupations, however the desire of gain, and the ambition of rising in the world may tend to stimulate men's energies and insure their elevation, he is, after all and in the end, the most successful artisan, as he certainly is the happiest man, who seeks not money nor distinction chiefly, but perfection in his art, and is bent, not only upon knowing the true principles of his trade, but also upon realizing his knowledge in the product of his labour.

From what we have said it follows that the one thing most desirable to possess is not any amount of information, however large, but an ardent thirst for knowledge. Not he that knows much is the true lover of knowledge, but he, who, whether he knows much or little, is eager to know more, in whom the desire of knowledge burns an unquenchable flame. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." If this saying be taken without a very essential qualification, then is all knowledge dangerous. For the amount of all human knowledge is very little in comparison with the actual sum of truth. But it is not the little knowledge that is dangerous, but the knowledge, whether little or great, that is accounted by its possessor enough, and which he makes no effort and has no desire to increase. By this estimation of it, he shows that he holds it, not in the love of

it, but for his vanity or ambition. The true sign of intellectual life is not the quantity of information one has acquired, nor the abundance of the appliances of learning which he has collected in the shape of books and libraries, but a steadily increasing desire of knowledge. The poor man, who has to show, as his sole literary wealth, only an odd volume, well thumbed, of some standard work, nay, the "swart artisan," who has not even a book, but who, while he is toiling amidst smoke and fire at the anvil or the forge, is greedy to know the properties of iron, is more truly an educated man than he who sits in the pride of learning amidst whole shelves of folios. The love of knowledge is the one thing essential. This point is well illustrated in the " Contributions of Q. Q." by two soliloquies, the one of a young lady just from school, who is supposed, as the term is, to have finished her education, and who, wonderful creature! has nothing more to learn. She enumerates with great satisfaction the ologies sho has gone clean through, and truly the amount is no trifle. But on the next page, a philosopher is introduced, one who has descended into the depths of knowledge and brought back as his deepest conviction, a sense of his own ignorance.

From what has been said it follows that the common excuse given by men engaged in the aotive pursuits of life for the entire neglect of intellectual culture is quite beside the mark. "Why," they ask, "why should we submit to such hard labour, and read and study? Of what earthly use is it to us? It does very well for those whose profession is learning in one form or another, but it is no concern of ours." Let it be that, commercially speaking, the pursuit of knowledge is of no use to the man of business, that it will not help the sale of a single bale of goods, but rather, through the diversion of mind it may occasion, cause a lucrative transaction now and then to miscarry, still it is a fact, that is not to be ignored, that in every man, whatever may be his walk in life, active or retired, there burns, more or less brightly, the divine fire of mind. Every man has that in him which no mechanical routine will satisfy, which demands knowledge as its natural sustenance, and the absolute condition of its growth. If there were men who have nothing to do with the acquisition of knowledge, one cannot but think that there would be a difference between their whole structure, and that of the wise and educated, a difference, that is not at all discoverable now upon the closest inspection. If the man of business has no use for a mind, he would have been made very differently. As one is sometimes said to be born with a silver spoon in his mouth, the business man would have come into life with a pen behind his ear, and with an instinctive faculty for the calculation of interest, simple and compound. But there is no such wide difference as this among men. Noble words and the history of noble deeds cause all men to thrill and glow, and every man sympathizes with his fellow-men in the progress of knowledge, and in the discoveries of science. In every soul of us there is a hunger to know, which is feeble only when it is neglected. For the sake of this precious part of us, knowledge is to be sought, be our occupations what they may. The mind has wants far more vital than those of the body. The reader has read in his childhood of the Prince in the Eastern story, who, by some magical charm, was turned, one half of him into marble, so that while one side was living flesh, the other was cold immovable stone. How much more deplorable the condition of him, whose mind, which is infinitely more to him than his body, is sunk in the stone-like stupor of ignorance, and who has it to remember that it is so by his own will. When will that blessed day dawn, when the higher nature of man, with its boundless aspirations, its immortal hunger, will be duly reverenced and cared for?

But there is no man, no young man certainly, who, having the opportunity of mental culture, has come to the deliberate determination to relinquish entirely all hope of intellectual culture. Multitudes please themselves with the idea of retiring by and by, and exchanging the irksome shop or counting-room for a quiet library and literary recreations. What grown up man can be beguiled by such a delusion? Have we not seen the folly of it over and over again in real life? Dr. Johnson mentions the case of a tallow-chandler, who, having amassed a considerable fortune, retired, making over his business to his foreman, with the delightful prospect of literary ease. It does not appear that he was a niggardly man, and had any objection, generated by his old trade, to the consumption of tho midnight taper. But certain it is that he gave no encouragement to his old

employment by any studies of his, pushed far into the night, for he grew very weary, and was soon seen hovering round the old shop, until at last he went in, and begged as a particular favour that they would let him know their melting days, and he would come and help them. Thus, fitted by no preparation for the retirement which he had been looking forward to for years, he was forced to fly for relief to the most disgusting part of his old business. When we hear men promising themselves a refined literary leisure hereafter, while the common cares of life are twisting their roots in with the whole texture of their minds, and binding every faculty round and round, we are reminded of the old lady who was observed to attend daily upon the drawing of a lottery. One of the clerks, noting her constant attendance, asked her for the number of her ticket: "My dear child," she exclaimed, "I have not got any ticket. But, if it please Heaven that I should draw a prize, I can draw a prize whether I have a ticket or not." Is the absurdity in this case one whit greater than that of him who thinks to enjoy the delights of knowledge without that intellectual preparation essential in the very nature of things? Is not he, too, looking for a prize for which he has purchased no ticket?

It is necessary to the efficacy of all labour that it be spontaneous. No work is well done, whether in the workshop, the school, or the study, that is not done, as the sailors say, "with a will." And yet, we know not how it is, the very best way of inducing hearty and victorious exertion is to put oneself under the iron necessity of exertion. This is the way to awaken the energy of a slumbering will. Let him, therefore, who is resolved to vindicate the claims, and feed the appetite, of his mind, bind himself irrevocably to the task. A task it may be for a long while, but the time will come when it will be his privilege and pleasure, and he will be ready to declare with Fcnelon that if the riches of the Indies were poured at his feet, he would not exchange for them his love of reading.

DESPEDIDA.

BY EUGENE LIES.

Not for me does Spring unfold her wing

O'er the land I loved so well; Not for me her showers will rouse the flowers

That are sleeping in the dell; Kre tho Catskill's snow to tho Hudson flow,

I shall be far o'er the sea; So, my native isle, will thy s

Be for others, not for mo.

Fare thee well, dear shore; I am travel-sore,

I am weary of the sky;
If my mould could rest within thy breast,

I would gladly, gladly die.
But I'll sleep afar, 'neath a chilly star,

In a strange land o'er the sea.
So, my native soil, will this mortal coil

Be for others, not for thee.

THE DEATH OF TURGESIUS.

AN HISTORICAL BALLAD.

"How fair U voung Melehat" her handmaidens cry;
"How blooming her cheek and how brilliant her eyol
How queenly she ptcea her father's proud hall,
The wondor, the beauty, the loved of them alii
No maid in the dance can so gracefully move,
Or sing half as sweetly as she dot* of love.
Oh, dull is the minstrel, no wreaths shall he wear,
Whose harp has no soft note for Meleha the Fair'"

n.

Her siro was Melachlln, the Ard High of Meath,
The bravest that ever drew blade from its sheath;
When Northmen, the Loclannochs,s came o'er the sea,
His heart for tho contest beat wildly and free.
Of L?inster tho darling, of Leinster the pride,
How fiercely in buttle the war-axe he plied;
The swiftest to smite, and the slowest to spare,
Was Melachlin, the father of Meleha the Fair.

in.

Bat vainly he strove, all his valour was vain,
To shak-i the rude strength of Turgesius the Dane—
Who still mule our bravest kneel low at bis throne,
With trembling to pay him the Arighid Srone.f
He ravaged the Island with spear and with sword,
He warred against learning, and scoffed at the Lord I
Till fate drove him on the base purpose to bare,
Would tarnish your honour, young Meleha the Fair.

rv.

The wily Melachlin speaks fair to the Dane,
His band tightly clutching the hilt of his skeyne—
"Yes, Meleha the Fair, with her maidens fifteen,
All tender and youthful, and fair to be seen,
In secret I'll send to tho place that you name,
In secret, oh Kingl lest my people cry ' shame 1'
Melachlin has said it, you'll meet with her there,
The light of my homestead, my Meleha the Fair."

The proud Danish Lord to Rath Tara is gone,
Melachlin stands musing a moment alone;
Then loudly he summons tho best of his band,—
"Ho, seek through the breadth and the length of my land
For young men, fifteen, who can strike for tho weak,
All spotless of honour, and beardless of cheek,
Hearts that undaunted all dangers will dare
To shield from tho tyrant my Meleha the Fair."

TX

They come at his bidding all radiant with youth,
With souls all religion, and bosoms all truth;
'Neath white veilsj of beauty the young men conceal
Their bosoms well guarded with armour of steel,

Beneath their long garments the poniards they hide,
Whose blades ere tho morrow blood-red shall be dyed;
Then loud rang the voice of Melachlin in air,
u How like you your maidens, my Meleha the Fair?"

VII.

In Loch Var, an island was, green, and how fair!
Turgesius was feasting and revelling there,
With nobles fifteen, in rich dresses arrayed,
Awaiting young Meleha, the fair Irish maid:
She comes in her beauty, she stands before all,
Her brave guard around her, so slender and tall—
Turgesius approached her, before his rude stare
The soft eyes looked earthward, of Meleha the Fair.

VIIL

Then rose the false maidens, they rush on tho foe,
See, see from th«ir poniards the blood-torrents flow;
With shoutings for Erin they strike down the hordo,
But spare for Melachlin, Turgesius, their Lord.
They bind him, and in. with a shout from the heath,
All fury, all fire, leaps Melachlin of Meath:
His eyes like a tiger's with fierce beauty glare,
So wroth was the father of Meleha the Fair.

IX.

I saw them when homewards the warrtors hied,

Brush quick through the valley, and breast the hill side;

I saw the proud pageant, I saw the fierce Dane,

All madly, but vainly, writhe under his chain;

They mocked him, they scoffed him, they gave him a grave,

Unblest by a priest, under Loch Ainnin's wave;

Then bent they by thousands their fealty to swear

To Melachlin the bold, sire of Meleha the Fair.

The student for learning in safety could roam,
The peasant securely could rest in his home,
The priest on the altar to heaven could pray,
The maiden through meadow and greenwood could stray;
The fields of their fathers once more were their own.
The kine were all pastured, the good seed was sown;
Green Krin was joyful, she dreamed not of care,
While ruled by the father of Meleha the Fair.

* Loclannochs—Anglice, the powerful at sea.

f A tax imposed on the Irish by Turgesius; the defaulters were punished by the loss of their noses; hence the name " Arighid Srone," nose-money.

\ Long white veils, to use the language of the Morning Post, were "much worn" by ladies in the ninth century.—Seo M'Geoghegan's History and Moore's for the story.

Th« Stort Op The Ballad.—The Danish tyrant now imposed a tax of an ounce of gold on the chief of every family. Those who did not pay, were subject to the penalty of having their noses cut off, from which the tax, in the language of the country, was called "Arighid Srone," that is, nose-money.

Such was the state of Ireland during the sway of these tyrants. No alliance or marriage took place; everyone passed his time in the strictest retirement; the secular and regular clergy, in order to shelter themselves from the fury of the Normans, lay concealed in the woods, I where they celebrated the divine mysteries, and spent their days in prayer and fasting; while the faithful sought them in secret, to receive consolation from them, and join in their prayers for the delivery of the people. They were at length heard; and the persecution, which had lasted about twelve years, was terminated by an event as sudden as it was singular, and one for which no parallel is to be found in history.

Turgesius had a castle built for himself in the vicinity of Melachlin, prince or Ard Righ, "high king," of Meatb, and went frequently to visit his neighbour. Melachlin was a man of considerable talents, an able politician and brave warrior, and possessed all the qualities requisite to govern a kingdom. He one day asked the tyrant what he should do to get rid of a certain kind of very destructive birds that had lately arrived in the country? The tyrant, not mistrusting the statement, answered, that their nests should be destroyed. Melachlin, who, by the birds, meant the Normans, readily felt the force of this answer, and occupied himself solely with devising means to act upon it; an opportunity for which was soon afforded him by the tyrant. Some days afterwards, he, Turgesius, being on a visit with the Prince of Meath, saw his daughter, Meleha, who was young and formed to please, particularly in the eyes of a man so depraved in character. His passion for her became violent, and wishing to make her his concubine, he demanded her of her father. Nothing was farther from the thoughts of Melachlin, than the idea of dishonouring hia daughter. It was, however, a delicato affair, and stratagem was necessary, in the absence of strength, to extricate himself from the dilemma. Having j weighed every circumstance, he on one side saw the danger of refusing the barbarian, who was absolute master in the country, and whose conduct was ruled nolely by passion: on the other, should his project succeed, he conceived a faint hope of delivering his country from slavery. Having formed his plan, ho turned his thoughts towards carrying it into effect. He told the tyrant that his proposal was hard, but that as he could refuse him nothing, he would send him his daughter on an appointed day, together with fifteen young ladies of her own ago to keep her company, and render her those services her rank required; at the same time requesting that tho whole affair might be kept secret, so as to screen his daughter's honour.

In the mean time, Melachlin had the whole country searched for fifteen young men without beards, of acknowledged honour and bravery, whom he caused to be dressed in female attire, with each a poniard concealed under his robe, and gave them the instructions necessary to execute his project, which would put an end to tyranny. He also inspired them with sentiments of religion and patriotism, and commanded them to defend the honour of the Princess at the peril of their lives , *nd t° have the doors i for him, in order that he might come to their , with a body of troops, whom he should hold in t at a short distance; and, lastly, to seize the tyrant and chain him, without depriving him of life.

Turgesius did not fail to repair on the day appointed, to receive the Princess Meleha and her fifteen young ladies; he even invited fifteen of the principal officers of his army to share in the festival. After spending the day in feasting, each of the officers was shown to the apartment Intended for him, and orders given for the guards and other domestics to retire. Turgesius himself remained alone in his apartment, where he impatiently awaited the arrival of the Princess Meleha. The porter, who was the only one of the domestics intrusted with the secret, soon entered, accompanied by the Princess, with her little troop of Amazons, who came like a second Judith to deliver her people. The tyrant, who was heated with wine, was about to insult the Princess, when the young men immediately threw off their robes, and drawing their weapons, seised him and tied him with cords to the pillars of his bed.

They then opened the gates of the castle to permit Melachlin and bis troops to enter; fell on the garrison, beginning with the officers, and put all, except Turgesius, to the sword.

When Melachlin had given the place up to pillage, in which they found immense booty, he repaired to the spot where the tyrant was bound and reproached him bitterly with his tyranny, cruelty, and other vices; and having loaded him with chains, had him carried in triumph before him. Ho allowed him to live a few days, in order that he should be a witness before his death of the sufferings of his countrymen, and then caused him to be thrown, chained as he was, into Loch Ainnin, in Westmeath, where he perished.—[See M'Geoghegan's History, pages 218, 219, passim; also Oiraldus Cambrensis, for a different account.]

[merged small][ocr errors]

In a dell where sun and shade contended,
Grew a floweret lonely night and day;

Musingly I lingered, and there blended
With the breeze a voice that seemed to say:

"Mother Earth, from whence I rose,

Take me to thy breast again;
For my weary petals close

But to open to new pain.
Nightly, far above me spring

Flowers that twinkle in their gladness;
But alas! to me they bring

Only sense of lonelier sadness."

Ere it ceased, an angel-bird alighted,

Bearing in its rosy beak a seed; Soon the evening dews, to true love plighted,

From its shell a blushing violet freed.

Then arose the sound of joy t

Thence the mournful flower was sad no mor Spells that stole its perfume all were broken,

Soon again the breeze this message bore:

"Mother Earth, from whence I rose,

Take the thanks thy son would give;
Shield her from tho winter snows,

Let me live that she may live.
And, ye flowers that bloom on high,

Ye are bright, and never wither,
But ye cannot match her eye,

In your deep blue realms of ether."

Each returning spring new joys shall gather,
Till the lawn, and every velvet sod

Bears the image of the happy father.
Yields the mother's incense up to God.

[graphic]

ARNOLD DE WINKELRIED.

AN HISTORICAL BALLAD.

BY GRACE GREENWOOD.

AY immortal in Helvetia—day to every Switser de, Day that saw Duke Leopold down before Sempach appear;

Just as morning fresh and stilly dawned above the ancient town,

And the mountain mists uprolling let the waiting sunlight down.

Full four thousand knights and barons marched with

Leopold that day, With their Tassals, squires, and burghers, following in

grand array;

'Twas the Duke himself came foremost, slowly came in

state and pride, With the knight of Ems, brave Eyloff, gravely riding at

his side.

Fiery-eyed with ancient hatred, rode proud Gessler, as

became

One of the abhorred lineago, and the old accursed

Up amid the winds and sunshine Austria's blazoned banners danced—

With a mighty clash of armour Austria's haughty hosts advanced;

Calling on the God of freedom, with a shout for Switzerland,

Down against tho mailed thousands rushed the little patriot band 1

With their short swords and their halberds, and their

simple shields of wood; With their archers, and their slingors, and their pikemen

stern and rude. VOL. VI. 30

It was while their serfs and hirelings cut the Switzer's tall grain down,

That the Austrian knights paraded on their steeds before the town:

"Ho! our reapers would have breakfast!" thus the Sire

de Ileinach calls— "The Confederates make it ready I* cried tho Avoyer from the walls.

Now, upon a hill to northward, in among the sheltering

wood,

The Confederates' little army still and firm and fearless

stood;

They from Gersau, Zug, and Glarls, the Waldstctten, and

Lucerne,

But not a burgher or a knight from false and recreant Berne.

There with looks of old defiance glared they down upon

the foe,

And their hearts were hot for vengeance when they

thought of long-ago; For full many a pike now gleaming in tho pleasant summer light,

Had their fathers dipped in Austrian blood at Morgarten's mountain fight I

But as thick as stands at harvest golden grain along the Rhine,

Stood the spears of the invaders, gleaming down the

threat'ning line; And as pressed the hardy Switzers close upon their

leader's track,

Everywhere that wull of lances met their way, and hurled them back;

Till the blood of brave Confederates stained tho hillside and the plain,

Drenching all the trampled greensward like a storm of mountain rain;

« 上一页继续 »