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The ALHAMBRA BY MOONLIGHT.
The moon, which then was invisible, has gradually gained upon the nights, and now rolls in full splendor above the towers, pouring a flood of tempered light into every court and hall. The garden beneath my window is gently lighted up, the orange and citron trees are tipped with silver, the fountain sparkles in the moonbeams, and even the blush of the rose is faintly visible. I have sat for hours at my window inhaling the sweetness of the garden, and musing on the checkered features of those whose history is dimly shadowed out in the elegant memorials around. Sometimes I have issued forth at midnight when every thing was quiet, and have wandered over the whole building. Who can do justice to a moonlight night in such a climate and in such a place? The temperature of an Andalusian midnight, in summer, is perfectly ethereal. We seem lifted up into a purer atmosphere; there is a serenity of soul, a buoyancy of spirits, an elasticity of frame, that re...!er mere existence enjoyment. The effect of moonlight, too, on the Athan,' ra has something like enchantment. Every rent and chasm of time, every mouldering tint and weather-stain, disappears, the marble resumes its original whiteness, the long colonnades brighten in the moonbeams, the halls are illuminated with a softened radiance, until the whole edifice reminds one of the enchanted palace of an Arabian tale. At such time I have ascended to the little pavilion, called the Queen's Toilette, to enjoy its varied and extensive prosject. To the right, the snowy summits of the Sierra Nevada would gielm like silver cleads against the darker firmament, and all the outlines of the mountain would be softened, yet delicately defined. My delight, however, would be to lean over the parapet of the tocador, and gaze down upon Granada, spread out like a map below me, all buried in deep repose, and its white palaces and convents sleeping as it were in the moonshine. Sometimes I would hear the fai:t sounds of castamets—from- some party of dancers lingering in the Alameda; at other times I have heard the dubious tones of a guitar, and the notes of a single voice rising from some solitary street, and have pictured to myself some youthful cavalier serenading his lady's window, a gallant custom of former days, but now sadly on the decline, except in the remote towns and villages of Spain. Such are the scenes that have detained me for many an hour loitering about the courts and balconies of the castle, enjoying that mixture of reverie and sensation which steal away existence in a Southern climate, and it has been almost morning before I have retired to my bed, and been lulled to sleep by the falling waters of the fountain of Lindaraxa. The A//ambra.
The love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection, when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved are softened away into pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness, who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gayety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom, yet who would exchange it, even for the song of pleasure or the burst of revelry 7 No: there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. There is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave l—the grave It buries every error, covers every defect, extinguishes every resentment From its peaceful bosom so.g. none but fond regrets and tender recollections. Who can look down upon the grave even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb that he should ever have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him 7 But the grave of those we loved,—what a place for meditation : There it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue and gentleness, aid the thousand endearments lavished upon us almost roleeded in the daily intercourse of intimacy; there it is that we dwell upon the tenderness, the solemn, awful tenderness, of the parting scene. The bed of death, with all its stifled griefs, its noiseless attendants, its 1:1:1:... watchful assiduities | The last testimonies of expiring love | The feeble, fluttering, thrilling—oh, how thrilling —pressure of the hand 1 The faint, faltering accents, struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection The last fond look of the glazing eye, turning upon us even from the threshold of existences Av. go to the grave of buried love, and meditate | There settle the account with thy conscience for every past oenefit unrequited, every past endearment unregarded, of that departed being, who can never, never, never return to be soothed by thy contrition 1 If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent, if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the fond bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thy arms to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth, if thou art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee,_if thou art a lover, and hast ever given one unmerited pang to that true heart which now lies cold and still beneath thy feet,_then be sure that every unkind look, every ungracious word, and every ungentle action, will come thronging back upon thy memory and knocking dolefully at thy soul; then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant on the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and pour the unavailing tear, more deep, more bitter, because unheard and unavailing.
Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beauties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, if thou canst, with these tender yet futile tributes of regret; but take warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction over the dead, and henceforth be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the living.
PORTRAIT OF A DUTCH MAN.
The renowned Wouter (or Walter) Wan Twiller was descended from a long line of Dutch burgomasters, who had successively dozed away their lives, and grown fat upon the bench of magistracy in Rotterdam, and who had comported themselves with such singular wisdom and propriety that they were never either heard or talked of.-which, next to being universally applauded, should be the object of ambition of all magistrates and rulers. There are two opposite ways by which some men make a figure in the world: one by talking faster than they think; and the other by holding their tongues and not thinking at all. By the first, many a smatterer acquires the reputation of a man of quick parts; by the other, many a dunderpate, like the owl, the stupidest of birds, comes to be considered the very type of wisdom. This, by-theway, is a casual remark, which I would not for the universe have it thought I apply to Governor Van Twiller. It is true he was a man shut up within himself, like an oyster, and rarely spoke except in monosyllables; but then it was allowed he seldom said a foolish thing. So invincible was his gravity that he was never known to laugh, or even to smile, through the whole course of a long and prosperous life. Nay, if a joke were uttered in his presence that set light-minded hearers in a roar, it was observed to throw him into a state of perplexity. Sometimes he would deign to inquire into the matter; and when, after much explanation, the joke was made as plain as a pikestaff, he would continue to smoke his pipe in silence, and at length, knocking out the ashes, would exclaim, “Well! I see nothing in all that to laugh about !”
The person of this illustrious old gentleman was formed and proportioned as though it had been moulded by the hands of some cunning Dutch statuary, as a model of majesty and lordly grandeur. He was exactly five feet six inches in height, and six feet five inches in circumference. His head was a perfect sphere, and of such stupendous dimensions, that dame Nature, with all her sex's
ingenuity, would have been puzzled to construct a neck capable of supporting it; wherefore she wisely declined the attempt, and settled it firmly on the back of his back-bone, just between the shoulders. His body was oblong, and particularly capacious at bottom; which was wisely ordered by Providence, seeing that he was a man of sedentary habits, and very averse to the idle labor of walking. His legs were short, but sturdy in proportion to the weight they had to sustain; so that when erect he had not a little the appearance of a beer-barrel on skids. His face—that infallible index of the mind—presented a vast expanse, unfurrowed by any of those lines and angles which disfigure the human countenance with what is termed expression. Two small gray eyes twinkled feebly in the midst, like two stars of lesser magnitude in a hazy firmament; and his full-fed cheeks, which seemed to have taken toll of every thing that went into his mouth, were curiously mottled and streaked with dusky red, like a spitzenberg apple.
His habits were as regular as his person. He daily took his four stated meals, appropriating exactly an hour to each; he smoked and doubted eight hours, and he slept the remaining twelve of the four-and-twenty. Such was the renowned Wouter Van Twiller,-a true philosopher; for his mind was either elewated above, or tranquilly settled below, the cares and perplexities of this world. He had lived in it for years, without feeling the least curiosity to know whether the sun revolved round it, or it round the sun; and he had watched, for at least half a century, the smoke curling from his pipe to the ceiling, without once troubling his head with any of those numerous theories by which a philosopher would have perplexed his brain, in accounting for its rising above the surrounding atmosphere.
JOSEPH S. BUCKMINSTER, 1784–1812.
Joseph Stevens Beckwisster was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, May 26, 1784. His ancestors, both by his father's and his mother's side, for several generations, were clergymen. His father, Dr. Buckminster, was for a long time a minister of Portsmouth, and was esteemed one of the most eminent clergymen of the State. His mother, the only daughter of Dr. Stevens, of Kittery, was a woman of an elegant and cultivated mind; and, though dying while the subject of this memoir was very young, she had made such impressions on his mind and heart as deeply and permanently affected his character.
Mr. Buckminster was a striking example of the early development of talents. There was no period, after his earliest infancy, when he did not impress on all who saw him a conviction of the certainty of his future eminence. He received his education preparatory for college at Exeter Academy, New Hampshire, undel the care of the venerable Dr. Benjamin Abbot, for whom all his pupils ever entertained the highest veneration." At the age of thirteen he entered Harvard University, nearly a year in advance, and at once took the highest rank as a scholar, which he continued to maintain throughout his whole collegiate career. In 1800, he received the honors of the University, and entered at once upon the study of theology, for which he had an inclination at an early age. In October, 1804, he was invited to preach before the Brattle Street Church, Boston, and he was ordained as their pastor January 30, 1805. But a cloud was soon to overshadow this fair prospect; for, in October of that year, he was attacked by a fit of epilepsy, brought on by too intense application to his studies. In the spring of 1806, the increase of this fatal malady induced his friends to insist upon his taking a voyage to Europe; and, accordingly, he embarked in May for Liverpool. After travelling through Great Britain and a considerable portion of Western Rurope, he returned home in September of the next year. He was welcomed by his congregation with unabated affection, and resumed the duties of his office with redoubled activity, and for a few years he continued to labor with unwearied industry, continually filling a larger space in the public eye, when, in the midst of all his usefulness, he was suddenly cut down. A violent attack of his old disorder at once made a total wreck of his intellect, and, after lingering for a few days, during which he had not even a momentary interval of reason, he sank under its force, June 9, 1812, having just completed his twenty-eighth year. Few men ever died more lamented by the community in which they lived than Mr. Buckminster. His death was felt by all classes, and all sects of Christians, to be a great public loss. His life was one of uniform purity and rectitude, of devotion to his Master's service, of disinterested zeal for the good of mankind. As a scholar, Professor Norton remarks, “There is no question that he was one of the most eminent men whom our country has produced. In the time which was left him by his many interruptions, he had acquired such a variety of knowledge, that one could hardly converse with him on any subject connected with his profession, or with the branches of elegant literature, without having some new ideas suggested, without receiving some information, or being at least directed how to obtain it. Yet he did not labor to acquire learning merely for the sake of exhibiting it to the wonder of others; but his studies were all for profit and usefulness. Of his public discourses I do not fear speaking with exaggerated praise. To listen to them was the indulgence and gratification of our best affections. It was to follow in the triumph of religion and virtue.”
1 Dr. Johnson has very justly said, “Not to mention the school or master of distinguished men is a kind of historical fraud by which honest fame is injuriously diminished.”
* Read a memoir prefixed to his works, 2 vols., Boston, 1839; also an article in the “North American Review,” x. 204; but, above all, “Memoirs of the Rev. Joseph Buckminster, D.D., and of his Son, Rev. Joseph Stevens Buckminster,” by his sister, Eliza Buckminster Lee. Also a very fine article in the “Christian Examiner" for September, 1849.