den has been laid out among the hills of Gowanus; and beneath the trees, quiet tomb-stones will soon be reflected in the lake, whose banks rëechoed, sixty-two years since, the alarum of soldiers then mirrored in its placid bosom, now engulfed in the stream of eternity.






SWEET vale! reclining in the soft embrace
Of these enamored hills, on all sides flanked
Sublime with mountain battlements, which fling
Their sylvan shadows o'er thee, and shut out
The din and turmoil of a jarring world;


How passing dearer to my grateful heart,
Thy dower of simple charms, than all the pomp
Of climes more favored of the
Though redolent of gorgeous flowers
In rich profusion scattered all abroad,
As faery hands had pranked with fragrant gems
The green luxuriance of the tropic bowers!


Pure are thy skies, and bright the magic show
Of clouds that memorize thy morns and eves,
With all the tinted witcheries of light;
And oft, while gazing on their wondrous shapes,
Aerial cities, temples, domes, and towers,
All fair, as quarried from the rainbow's heart,
I've deemed that, half revealed to mortal eyes,
Heaven's nearer palaces of glory shone;
Or that angelic architects, to bless

The good with glimpses of their future home,
Those mansions emblematical had reared!
To all is Nature kind; but here, methinks,
She partial is, and prodigal of charms.
Thy every scene with loveliness is clothed,
As with a robe by beauty's magic wrought:
More fair thy lawns, more musical thy groves,
More green the sylvan drapery of thy hills,
More broad the scope of those eternal peaks,
Whence springs thine azure arch of mighty span,
More soft the sunlight of thy days, more bright
With starry eyes thy nights, than many a vale
Far-famed in songs of old renown may boast.

Here, too, hath God his temple; unadorned
With sculptured frieze or propylæa fair,
Yet lovelier robed in chaste simplicity,
It crowns yon lifted verdure; and at morn,
The Sabbath morn, how beautiful to mark
The thoughtful groups that seek its sacred courts,
In blest fruition of the hallowed hours

That bade life's stormy passions, 'Peace, be still!'
Nor far removed, through shades of funeral gloom,
Pale gleam the marble sentinels, that stand,
Like white-robed cherubim, on solemn watch
Around the camp of death. A river near,
Like cheerful minstrel in a pleasant land,
From lawn to lawn goes warbling on its way;
While from the fairest hills of all the group,
That leans to list the music of its song,
Proud halls to learning dear benignly smile


From out their circling groves, where studious thought,
Amid the volumed trophies of the wise,
May glean the harvest of a nobler lore
Than ever crowned the warrior's crimson toils.

But hence, sweet vale, adieu! the parting hour
Frowns on the fond enchantment of thy scenes;
But on my heart their joys are all inscribed,
And memory holds the talisman of love:
O ne'er shall I forget thee, vale of vales!
Thee, dear Elysium of life's morning dream,
Though fate should lead my wandering feet to climes
More fair than Eldorado's loveliest scene;

But ever more thy pomp of twilight skies;
Thy gales with health and sweetness on their wings;
Thy cloistered halls, and rustling alcoves green;
And woods, whose foliage in the autumn days
Restores the vanished rainbow's richest hues;
And hills, and groves, and old familiar haunts,
By bosky spring, or isolated cliff,

Lifting its solemn dial to the sun;

And walks that wind away to sylvan dells,
Where truant streams laugh out as all unheard;
And paths that climb, with sinuous curve and bold,
Up to the hoary peaks, whereon the clouds
Unfurl their brightening banners to the morn;
All these, sweet vale! in absence and in gloom,
Shall still be mine; and as thy faithful birds,
Rejoicing, seek thy vernal bowers again,
So shall my thoughts from alien scenes return,
To brood in gladness o'er thy dearer charms!

[ocr errors][merged small]



In the autumn of 1836, while travelling through a portion of the interior of the state of Maine, I stopped at a small new village, between the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers, nearly a hundred miles from the sea-board, for the purpose of giving my horse a little rest and provender, before proceeding some ten miles farther that evening. It was just after sun-set; I was walking on the piazza, in front of the neat new tavern, admiring the wildness of the surrounding country, and watching the gathering shadows of the gray twilight, as it fell upon the valleys, and crept softly up the hills, when a light onehorse wagon, with a single gentleman, drove rapidly into the yard, and stopped at the stable door.


Tom,' said the gentleman to the ostler, as he jumped from his wagon, take my mare out, rub her down well, and give her four quarts of oats. Be spry, now, Tom; you need n't give her any water, for she sweats like fury. I'll give her a little when I am ready to start.'

Tom sprang, with uncommon alacrity, to obey the orders he had received, and the stranger walked toward the house. He was a tall, middle-aged gentleman, rather thin, but well proportioned, and well dressed. It was the season of the year when the weather began to grow chilly, and the evenings cold; and the frock-coat of the stranger,

trimmed with fur, and buttoned to the throat, while it insured comfort, served also to exhibit his fine elastic form to the best advantage. His little wagon, too, had a marked air of comfort about it; there was the spring-seat, the stuffed cushions, and the buffalo robes; all seemed to indicate a gentleman of ease and leisure; while, on the other hand, his rapid movements and prompt manner, betokened the man of business. As he stepped on to the piazza, with his long and handsome driving whip in his hand, the tavern-keeper, who was a brisk young man, and well understood his business, met him with a hearty shake of the hand, and a familiar 'How are you, colonel? Come, walk in.'

There was something about the stranger that strongly attracted my attention, and I followed him into the bar-room. He stepped up to the bar, laid his whip on the counter, and called for a glass of brandy and water, with some small crackers and cheese.

'But not going to stop to supper, colonel? Going farther to-night?' inquired the landlord, as he pushed forward the brandy bottle.

Can't stop more than ten minutes,' replied the stranger; ‘just long enough to let the mare eat her oats.'


had when you


Is that the same mare,' asked the host, that were here last?'

'Yes,' answered the colonel; 'I've drove her thirty miles since dinner, and am going forty miles farther, before I sleep.'

'But you 'll kill that mare, colonel, as sure as rates,' said the landlord; she 's too likely a beast to drive to death.'

'No, no,' was the reply; she 's tough as a pitch-knot; I feed her well; she 'll stand it, I guess. I go to Norridgewock before I sleep



With a few more brief remarks, the stranger finished his brandy, and crackers and cheese; he threw down some change on the counter, ordered his carriage brought to the door, and bidding the landlord good night, jumped into his wagon, cracked his whip, and was off like a bird. After he was gone, I ventured to exercise the Yankee privilege of asking' who he might be.'

'That's Colonel Kingston,' said the landlord; a queer sort of a chap he is, too; a real go-ahead sort of a fellow as ever I met with; does more business in one day than some folks would do in a year. He's a right good customer; always full of money, and pays well.'

'What business or profession does he follow?' I asked.

'Why, not any particular business,' replied the landlord; 'he kind o' speculates round, and sich like.'


'But,' said I, I thought the speculation in timber-lands was all over; I did n't know that a single person could be found, now, to purchase lands.'

'O, it is n't exactly that kind of speculation,' said the landlord; 'he's got a knack of buying out folks' farms; land, house, barn, live stock, hay, and provisions, all in the lump.'

'Where does he live?' said I.

'O, he 's lived round in a number of places, since he 's been in these parts. He 's been round in these towns only a year or two, and it's astonishing to see how much property he 's accumulated. He stays in Monson most of the time, now. That's where he came

from this afternoon. They say he's got a number of excellent farms in Monson, and I'll warrant he 's got some deeds of some more of 'em with him, now, that he 's going to carry to Norridgewock tonight, to put on record.'

I bade the landlord good evening, and proceeded on my journey. What I had seen and heard of Colonel Kingston, had made an unwonted impression on my mind; and as Monson lay in my route, and I was expecting to stop there a few days, my curiosity was naturally a little excited, to learn something more of his history. The next day I reached Monson; and as I rode over its many hills, and along its fine ridges of arable land, I was struck with the number of fine farms which I passed, and the evidences of thrift and good husbandry that surrounded me. As this town was at that time almost on the extreme verge of the settlements in that part of the state, I was surprised to find it so well settled, and under such good cultivation. My surprise was increased, on arriving at the centre of the town, to find a flourishing and bright-looking village, with two or three stores, a variety of mechanics' shops, a school-house, and a neat little church, painted white, with green blinds, and surmounted by a bell. A little to the westward of the village, was one of those clear and beautiful ponds, that greet the eye of the traveller in almost every hour's ride in that section of the country; and on its outlet, which ran through the village, stood a mill, and some small manufacturing establishments, that served to fill up the picture.

Happy town!' thought I, 'that has such a delightful village for its centre of attraction, and happy village that is supported by surrounding farmers of such thrift and industry as those of Monson!' All this, too, I had found within a dozen or fifteen miles of Moosehead Lake, the noblest and most extensive sheet of water in New-England, which I had hitherto considered so far embosomed in the deep, trackless forest, as to be almost unapproachable, save by the wild Indian or the daring hunter. A new light seemed to burst upon me; and it was a pleasant thought that led me to look forward but a few years, when the rugged and wild shores of the great Moosehead should resound with the hum and the song of the husbandman, and on every side rich farms and lively villages should be reflected on its bosom.

I had been quietly seated in the village inn but a short time, in a room that served both for bar and sitting-room, when a small man, with a flapped hat, an old brown 'wrapper,' a leather strap buckled round his waist, and holding a goad-stick in his hand, entered the room, and took a seat on a bench in the corner. His bright, restless eye glanced round the room, and then seemed to be bent thoughtfully toward the fire, while in the arch expression of his countenance, I thought I beheld the prelude to some important piece of intelligence, that was struggling for utterance. At last, said he, addressing the landlord, 'I guess the colonel ain't about home to-day, is he?'


'No,' replied Boniface, he 's been gone since yesterday morning; he said he was going up into your neighborhood Hav' n't you seen any thing of him?'


Yes,' said the little man with the goad-stick; 'I see him yesterday afternoon, about two o'clock, starting off like a streak, to go to Norridgewock.'


'Gone to Norridgewock!' said the landlord; what for? He did n't say nothing about going, when he went away.' More deeds, I guess,' said the little teamster. Deacon Stone out of his farm, at last.'

He's worried

He has n't got Deacon Stone's farm, has he?' exclaimed the landlord.

'Deacon Stone's farm!' reiterated an elderly, sober-looking man, drawing a long pipe from his mouth, which he had until now been quietly smoking in the opposite corner.

'Deacon Stone's farm!' uttered the landlady, with upraised hands, as she entered the room just in season to hear the announcement.

'Deacon Stone's farm!' exclaimed three or four others, in different parts of the room, all turning an eager look toward the little man with the goad-stick. As soon as there was a sufficient pause in these exclamations, to allow the teamster to put in another word, he repeated:

'Yes, he's worried the deacon out, at last, and got hold of his farm, as slick as a whistle. He's been kind o' edging round the deacon, this three weeks, a little to a time; jest enough to find out how to get the right side of him; for the deacon was a good deal offish, and yesterday morning the colonel was up there by the time the deacon had done breakfast; and he got them into the deacon's fore room, and shet the door; and there they staid till dinner was ready, and had waited for them an hour, before they would come out. And when they did come out, the job was all done; the deed was signed, sealed, and delivered. I'd been in there about eleven o'clock, and the deacon's wife and the gals were in terrible fidgets for fear of what was going on in t' other room. They started to go in, two or three times, but the door was fastened, so they had to keep out. After dinner, I went over again, and got there just before they were out of the fore room. The deacon asked the colonel to stop to dinner, but I guess the colonel see so many sour looks about the house, that he was afraid of a storm a-brewing; so he only ketched up a piece of bread-and-cheese, and said he must be a-goin'. He jumped into his wagon, and give his mare a cut, and was out of sight in two


How did poor Mrs. Stone feel?' asked the landlady; 'I should thought she would 'a died.'

'She looked as if she'd turn milk sour quicker than a thundershower,' said the teamster; and Jane went into the bed-room, and cried as if her heart would break. I believe they did 'nt any of 'em make out to eat any dinner, and I thought the deacon felt about as bad as any of 'em, after all; for I never see him look so kind o' riled, in my life. Now, Mrs. Stone,' said he to his wife, 'you think I've done wrong, but after talking along with Colonel Kingston, I made up my mind it would be for the best.' She did n't make him any answer, but begun to cry, and went out of the room. deacon looked as if he would sink into the 'arth. He stood a minute or two, as if he was n't looking at nothing, and then he took down his pipe off the mantel, and set down in the corner, and went to smoking as hard as he could smoke.




After a while, he turned round to me, and says he, Neighbor, I do n't know but I 've done wrong.' 'Well,' says I, in my opinion,

« 上一页继续 »