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The cheerful, sunny hum of the flies fits across a sunny spot. There is a is altogether summer-like, and so glad- peculiar impressiveness in this mode some that you pardon them their in- of being made acquainted with the trusiveness and impertinence, which flight of a bird; it impresses the mind continually impel them to fly against more than if the eye had actually seen your face, to alight upon your hands, it. As we look round to catch a and to buzz in your very ear, as if they glimpse of the winged creature, we wished to get into your head, among behold the living blue of the sky, and your most secret thoughts. In truth, the brilliant disk of the sun, broken a fly is the most impertinent and in- and made tolerable to the eye by the delicate thing in creation, - the very intervening foliage. Now, when you type and moral of human spirits with are not thinking of it, the fragrance of whom one occasionally meets, and who, the white pines is suddenly wasted to perhaps, after an existence trouble- you by a slight, almost imperceptible some and vexatious to all with whom breeze, which has begun to stir. Now they come in contact, have been the breeze is the softest sigh imaginadoomed to reappear in this congenial ble, yet with a spiritual potency, insoshape. Here is one intent upon alight- much that it seems to penetrate, with ing on my nose. In a room, now, - in its mild, ethereal coolness, through the a human habitation, — I could find in outward clay, and breathe upon the my conscience to put him to death; spirit itself, which shivers with gentle but here we have intruded upon his delight. Now the breeze strengthens own domain, which he holds in com- so much as to shake all the leaves, mon with all other children of earth making them rustle sharply ; but it and air; and we have no right to slay has lost its most ethereal power. him on his own ground. Now we
And now, again, the shadows of the look about us more minutely, and ob- boughs lie as motionless as if they serve that the acorn-cups of last year are were painted on the pathway. Now, strewn plentifully on the bank and on in the stillness, is heard the long, melthe path. There is always pleasure in ancholy note of a bird, complaining examining an acorn-cup, — perhaps as- above of some wrong or sorrow that sociated with fairy banquets, where they man, or her own kind, or the immitigawere said to compose the table-service. ble doom of mortal affairs, has inflicted Here, too, are those balls which grow upon her, the complaining, but unreas excrescences on the leaves of the sisting sufferer. And now, all of a sudoak, and which young kittens love so den, we hear the sharp, shrill chirrup well to play with, rolling them over the of a red squirrel, angry, it seems, with carpet. We see mosses, likewise, grow somebody — perhaps with ourselves ing on the banks, in as great variety – for having intruded into what he is as the trees of the wood. And how pleased to consider his own domain. strange is the gradual process with And hark! terrible to the ear, here is which we detect objects that are right the minute but intense hum of a mosbefore the eyes! Here now are whor- quito. Instinct prevails over all sentitleberries, ripe and black, growing ac- ment; we crush him at once, and there tually within reach of my hand, yet is his grim and grisly corpse, the ugliunseen till this moment. Were we to est object in nature. This incident has sit here all day, a week, a month, and disturbed our tranquillity. In truth, doubtless a lifetime,
objects would the whole insect tribe, so far as we thus still be presenting themselves as can judge, are made more for themnew, though there would seem to be no selves, and less for man, than any reason why we should not have de- other portion of creation. With such tected them all at the first moment. reflections, we look at a swarm of
Now a cat-bird is mewing at no great them, peopling, indeed, the whole air, distance. Then the shadow of a bird but only visible when they flash into
the sunshine, and annihilated out of which by and by will be those small visible existence when they dart into things with smoke in them which a region of shadow, to be again repro- children call puff-balls. Is there nothduced as suddenly. Now we hear the ing else? Yes; here is a whole colony striking of the village clock, distant, but of little ant-hills, - a real village of yet so near that each stroke is distinct- them. They are round hillocks, formed ly impressed upon the air. This is a of minute particles of gravel, with an sound that does not disturb the repose entrance in the centre, and through of the scene; it does not break our Sab- some of them blades of grass or small bath, — for like a Sabbath seems this shrubs have sprouted up, producing an place, — and the more so, on account effect not unlike trees that overshadow of the cornfield rustling at our feet. It a homestead. Here is a type of dotells of human labor; but being so mestic industry, - perhaps, too, somesolitary now, it seems as if it were so thing of municipal institutions, — peron account of the sacredness of the haps likewise - who knows? - the Sabbath. Yet it is not ; for we hear very model of a community, which at a distance mowers whetting their Fourierites and others are stumbling scythes ; but these sounds of labor, in pursuit of. Possibly the student when at a proper remoteness, do but of such philosophies should go to the increase the quiet of one who lies at ant, and find that Nature has given his ease, all in a mist of his own mus- him his lesson there. Meantime, like ings. There is the tinkling of a cow- a malevolent genius, I drop a few grains bell, - a noise how peevishly discord- of sand into the entrance of one of these ant were it close at hand, but even dwellings, and thus quite obliterate it. musical now. But hark! there is the And behold, here comes one of the inwhistle of the locomotive, the long habitants, who has been abroad upon shriek, heard above all other harsh- some public or private business, or ness; for the space of a mile cannot perhaps to enjoy a fantastic walk, and mollify it into harmony. It tells a sto- cannot any longer find his own door. ry of busy men, citizens from the hot What surprise, what hurry, what constreet, who have come to spend a day fusion of mind are expressed in all in a country village, - men of business, his movements ! How inexplicable - in short, of all unquietness; and no to him must be the agency that has wonder that it gives such a startling effected this mischief ! The incident scream, since it brings the noisy world will probably be long remembered in into the midst of our slumberous peace. the annals of the ant-colony, and be As our thoughts repose again after this talked of in the winter days, when they interruption, we find ourselves gazing are making merry over their hoarded up at the leaves, and comparing their provisions. But now it is time to different aspects, the beautiful diver
The sun has shifted his posisity of green, as the sun is diffused tion, and has found a vacant space through them as a medium, or reflected through the branches, by means of from their glossy surface.
which he levels his rays full upon too, here and there, dead, leafless my head. Yet now, as I arise, a branches, which we had no more been cloud has come across him, and makes aware of before than if they had as- everything gently sombre in an instant. sumed this old and dry decay since Many clouds, voluminous and heavy, we sat down upon the bank. Look are scattered about the sky, like the at our feet; and here, likewise, are ob- shattered ruins of a dreamer's Utojects as good as new. There are two pia; but I will not send my thoughts little round, white fungi, which proba- thitherward now, nor take one of them bly sprung from the ground in the into my present observations. course of last night, — curious pro- And now how narrow, scanty, and ductions, of the mushroom tribe, and meagre is the record of observations,
compared with the immensity that was it should be wicked in whatever kind to be observed within the bounds which and degree, and only desiring to study I prescribed to myself! How shallow it out. Would not this, in other words, and thin a stream of thought, too, - be the separation of the intellect from of distinct and expressed thought, - the heart? compared with the broad tide of dim emotions, ideas, associations, which There are some faces that have no were flowing through the haunted re- more expression in them than any gions of imagination, intellect, and other part of the body. The hand of sentiment, sometimes excited by one person may express more than the what was around me, sometimes with face of another. no perceptible connection with them ! When we see how little we can ex- An ugly person with tact may make press, it is a wonder that any man a bad face and figure pass very toleraever takes up a pen a second time. bly, and more than tolerably. Ugliness
without tact is horrible. It ought to To find all sorts of ridiculous em- be lawful to extirpate such wretches. ployments for people that have nothing better to do ; —as to comb out the
To represent the influence which cows' tails, shave goats, hoard up seeds dead men have among living affairs. of weeds, etc., etc.
For instance, a dead man controls the
disposition of wealth; a dead man sits The baby, the other day, tried to on the judgment-seat, and the living grasp a handful of sunshine. She also judges do but repeat his decisions; grasps at the shadows of things in dead men's opinions in all things concandle-light.
trol the living truth; we believe in
dead men's religions; we laugh at dead To typify our mature review of our men's jokes; we cry at dead men's early projects and delusions, by repre- pathos; everywhere, and in all matsenting a person as wandering, in man- ters, dead men tyrannize inexorably hood, through and among the various castles in the air that he had reared in his youth, and describing how they
When the heart is full of care, or look to him, — their dilapidation, etc. the mind much occupied, the summer Possibly some small portion of these and the sunshine and the moonlight structures may have a certain reality, are but a gleam and glimmer,- a vague and suffice him to build a humble dream, which does not come within us, dwelling in which to pass his life. but only makes itself imperfectly per
ceptible on the outside of us. The search of an investigator for the unpardonable sin : he at last finds it in Biographies of eminent American his own heart and practice.
merchants, it would be a work likely
to have a great circulation in our comThe trees reflected in the river ; mercial country. If successful, there they are unconscious of a spiritual might be a second volume of eminent world so near them. So are we.
foreign merchants. Perhaps it had
better be adapted to the capacity of The unpardonable sin might consist young clerks and apprentices. in a want of love and reverence for the human soul; in consequence of which, For the virtuoso's collection :- Althe investigator, pried into its dark exander's copy of the Iliad, enclosed depths, - not with a hope or purpose in the jewelled casket of Darius, still of making it better, but from a cold, fragrant with the perfumes Darius kept philosophical curiosity, - content that in it. Also the pen with which Faust
signed away his salvation, with the taken to be dead, to be all really living drop of blood dried in it.
in this world. The machinery might
be a person's being persuaded to beOctober 13, 1844.— This morning, af- lieve that he had been mad; or having ter a heavy hoar-frost, the leaves, at dwelt many years on a desolate island; sunrise, were falling from the trees in or having been in the heart of Africa our avenue without a breath of wind, or China; and a friend amuses himself quietly descending by their own weight. with giving this account. Or some travIn an hour or two after, the ground was eller from Europe shall thus correct strewn with them; and the trees are popular errors. almost bare, with the exception of two or three poplars, which are still green. The life of a woman, who, by the The apple and pear trees are still green; old Colony law, was condemned to so is the willow. The first severe wear always the letter A sewed on her frosts came at least a fortnight ago, garment in token of her sin. - more, if I mistake not.
To make literal pictures of figurative Sketch of a person, who, by strength expressions. For instance, he burst into of character or assistant circumstances, tears, - a man suddenly turned into a has reduced another to absolute slavery shower of briny drops. An explosion and dependence on him. Then show of laughter, a man blowing up, and that the person who appeared to be his fragments flying about on all sides. the master must inevitably be at least He cast his eyes upon the ground, -a as much a slave as the other, if not man standing eyeless, with his eyes
All slavery is reciprocal, on thrown down, and staring up at him in the supposition most favorable to the wonderment, etc., etc., etc. masters.
An uneducated countryman, supposPersons who write about themselves ing he had a live frog in his stomach, marble and their feelings, as Byron did, may applied himself to the study of medi- Turan be said to serve up their own hearts, cine, in order to find a cure, and so duly spiced, and with brain-sauce out became a profound physician. Thus of their own heads, as a repast for the some misfortune, physical or moral, public.
may be the means of educating and
elevating us. To represent a man in the midst of all sorts of cares and annoyances, Concord, March 12, 1845. — Last with impossibilities to perform, and night was very cold, and bright stardriven almost distracted by his inade- light; yet there was a mist or fog quacy. Then quietly comes Death, and diffused all over the landscape, lying releases him from all his troubles; and close to the ground, and extending he smiles, and congratulates himself on upwards, probably not much above the escaping so easily.
tops of the trees. This fog was crys
tallized by the severe frost; and its What if it should be discovered to little feathery crystals covered all the be all a mistake, that people, who were branches and smallest twigs of trees supposed to have died long ago, are and shrubs ; so that, this morning, at really dead? Byron to be still living, first sight, it appeared as if they were a man of sixty; Burns, too, in ex- covered with snow. On closer examitreme old age; Bonaparte likewise ; nation, however, these most delicate and many other distinguished men, feathers appeared shooting out in all diwhose lives might have extended to rections from the branches, -above as these limits. Then the private ac- well as beneath, and looking, not as quaintances, friends, enemies, wives, if they had been attached, but had been
put forth by the plant, -a new kind of
not less bright than if it had glittered, foliage. It is impossible to describe while other portions of the scene were the exquisite beauty of the effect, when partly obscured, but not gloomy, -on close to the eye; and even at a dis- the contrary, very cheerful, - it was a tance this delicate appearance was not picture that never can be painted nor lost, but imparted a graceful, evanes- described, nor, I fear, remembered with cent aspect to great trees, perhaps a any accuracy, so magical was its light quarter of a mile off, making them look and shade, while at the same time the like immense plumes, or something that earth and everything upon it were would vanish at a breath. The so- white; for the ground is entirely covmuch admired sight of icy trees cannot ered by yesterday's snow-storm. compare with it in point of grace, deli- Already, before eleven o'clock, these cacy, and beauty; and, moreover, there feathery crystals have vanished, partly is a life and animation in this, not to through the warmth of the sun, and be found in the other. It was to be partly by gentle breaths of wind; for seen in its greatest perfection at sun- so slight was their hold upon the twigs rise, or shortly after ; for the slightest that the least motion, or thought alwarmth impaired the minute beauty most, sufficed to bring them floating of the frost-feathers, and the general down, like a little snow-storm, to the effect. But in the first sunshine, and ground. In fact, the fog, I suppose, while there was still a partial mist hov- was a cloud of snow, and would have ering around the hill and along the scattered down upon us, had it been river, while some of the trees were lit at the usual height above the earth. up with an illumination that did not All the above description is most shine, - that is to say, glitter,- but was unsatisfactory
ON TRANSLATING THE DIVINA COMMEDIA.
OW strange the sculptures that adorn these towers !
Birds build their nests; while canopied with leaves
Parvis and portal bloom like trellised bowers,
But fiends and dragons from the gargoyled eaves
And underneath the traitor Judas lowers !
What exultations trampling on despair,
What tenderness, what tears, what bate of wrong,
Uprose this poem of the earth and air,