« 上一頁繼續 »
still-house make if moved upon the rising ground?' The question puzzled his sons, but after a little conversation it was explained, and it was decided to commence the following morning removing the still-house for the purpose of a sheep-pen, instead of lighting the fires at midnight, as was the custom. This was brought about, as the sequel proved, by the Judge having been engaged during the day in reading the now antique tract entitled “Enquire at Deacon Giles's Distillery.'”.
The reading of that very tract proved afterwards one of the providences on which depended so greatly the future happiness and usefulness of my whole life. It led to my first acquaintance with Miss Wetmore, through the circumstance of her becoming — by the friendship of her very dear friend Mrs. Washington - a pupil with a class of young ladies attendant on a course of lectures by myself, on the History of English Literature from Alfred and Wycliffe and Tyndale and the Reformers and Bunyan and Sir Walter Raleigh and the poets and prose-writers, down to Addison and Irving and Goldsmith and Burke. The preparation of those lectures was a constant delight to me. But who could have imagined that it might become the determination of my happiness through
life! I am reminded of Cowper's beautiful poem, so exquisitely beautiful and true!
“Mysterious are His ways, whose power
Brings forth that unexpected hour,
Say, loved one, had you never known
Just so the Omnipotent, who turns
A deep, exquisite, grateful delight in the beauties of natural scenery was always a source of happiness in my dear wife's habitual traits of character. She enjoyed the cultivation of a sense of the beautiful and grand in the opening minds of children. The love of Nature was a ruling element of her own creative imagination, - a power which, in whatever degree it may be possessed, is an original endowment of the soul, a divine gift, along with that of the idea and sense of Eternity, and combining, for its highest exercise, clearness of perception, purity and power of conscience, judgment, refinement of taste, and deep religious veneration. It is thus a faculty greatly dependent for its development on careful discipline, example, and instruction, but always essential to the highest genius, and a source of the purest intellectual and devotional pleasure.
A delicate, judicious perception of the qualities of excellence in literature and art is more dependent upon this mental and emotional endowment, and its careful education, than almost any other possession. Besides being essential to the perfection of a moral and religious nature, it is a pure and life-long fountain of domestic happiness, and will always take a commanding authority among all the means of usefulness in our earthly state. It is next to a spiritual acquaintance with the word of our Heavenly Father, when we have learned to look through Nature up to Nature's God. In neither case could we have done this, unless God had originally set the idea of his own eternity in the hu. man mind and heart. There could never have been the idea of God without the kindred idea of eternity.
The following stanzas are in my dear wife's handwriting, and were the simple expression in brief of her own feelings:
How thankless art thou,
Child of Man,
The glory all around,
For man's delusion given;
That show him heir of heaven! Writing immediately afterwards to some dear correspondent, appreciating her own delight in the beautiful scenes unfolding all around her, she adds her own experience, as follows:
“I cannot tell you how I enjoy this rural life. To me beautiful fields and flowers and May weather and lovely walks are almost as intoxicating and reviving as they were in early youth; and the far brighter sun of another life seems to illumine all. In every sweet and lovely view I sit and look over the leafy woods, the running stream below sweetly murmuring in my ear. A peace and rest mingled with sadness, even my lonely rambles and revellings in the luxuriant beauty of these lanes and fields, how soothing, how enchanting! How I wish you could see the loveliness of Nature all around! At this time onę always fancies every