網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb : the clods of the valley shall be sweet unto us, and every man shall follow us, as there are innumerable before us."

All power will have forsaken the strongest, and the loftiest Ő will be laid low, and every eye will be closed, and every

voice hushed, and every heart will have ceased its beating. And when we have gone ourselves, even our memories will not stay behind us long. A few of the near and dear will

bear our likeness in their bosoms, till they too have arrived 10 at the end of their journey, and entered the dark dwelling of unconsciousness.

In the thoughts of others we shall live only till the last sound of the bell, which informs them of our departure,

has ceased to vibrate in their ears. A stone, perhaps, may 15 tell some wanderer where we lie, when we came here, and

when we went away ; but even that will soon refuse to bear us record : “time's effacing fingers” will be busy on its surface, and at length will wear it smooth ; and then

the stone itself will sink, or crumble, and the wanderer of 20 another age will pass, without a single call upon his sympathy, over our unheeded graves.

Is there nothing to counteract the sinking of the heart which must be the effect of observations like these ? Can

no support be offered ? can no source of confidence be 25 named ? O, yes! there is one Being, to whom we can look

with a perfect conviction of finding that security which nothing about us can give, and which nothing about us can take away.

To this Being we can lift up our souls, and on Him we 30 may rest them, exclaiming, in the language of the monarch

of Israel, “ Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God!” “Of old hast

thou laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens 35 are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou

shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a gar

ment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”

Here, then, is a support which will never fail ; here is 5 a foundation which can never be moved — the everlasting

Creator of countless worlds, “the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity.” What a sublime conception ! He inhabits eternity, occupies this inconceivable duration, per

vades and fills throughout this boundless dwelling. 10 The contemplation of this glorious attribute of God is

fitted to excite in our minds the most animating and consoling reflections. Standing as we are amid the ruins of time and the wrecks of mortality, where everything about

us is created and dependent, proceeding from nothing, and 15 hastening to destruction, we rejoice that something is pre

sented to our view which has stood from everlasting, and will remain forever. We can look to the throne of God : change and decay have never reached that; the revolution

of ages has never moved it; the waves of an eternity have 20 been rushing past it, but it has remained unshaken ; the

waves of another eternity are rushing towards it, but it is fixed, and can never be disturbed.

XLIII. - A FLOWER FOR THE WINDOW.

LEIGH Hunt. (LEIGH HUNT was born at Southgate, in the county of Middlesex, England, October 19, 1784, and died August 28, 1859. He was a man of letters by profession, and was for many years a writer for the periodical press in London. He appeared as a poet at an early age. His poetry was of a kind that was easy to disparage, and not difficult to ridicule. Its simplicity sometimes degenerated into baldness, and the tone of sentiment was not always free from mawkishness. There were certain peculiarities of expression in it, which appeared like affectation ; besides a frequent use of novel words, and a flowing laxity in the structure of his verse. He was criticized accordingly with indis criminate severity ; especially by those writers who differed with him in politics, he being an ardent liberal. Of late years more justice has been done him; and his tenderness of feeling, luxuriant fancy, and warm sympathy with nature and the affections of the heart, are appreciated as they should be

Mr. Hunt was also a prose writer; and he wrote prose, to say the least, as well as he wrote poetry. His sketches and essays, which have appeared from time to time, and been collected under the names of “ The Indicator and Companion” and “ The Seer,” are delightful compositions ; full of genial feeling, graceful fancy, and an inextinguishable spirit of youth.

He was also an admirable critic of poetry. His “ Imagination and Fancy,” and “ Wit and Humor,” – consisting of poetical extracts illustrating these qualities, with critical notices are written with earnest feeling, and a lively and discriminating sense of the merits of the authors he discusses. They have been republished in this country, and are commended to all who wish to acquire a good taste in poetical literature.]

Why does not every one, who can afford it, have a geranium in his window, or some other flower ? It is very cheap; its cheapness is next to nothing, if you raise it

from seed, or from a slip; and it is a beauty and a com. 5 panion. It sweetens the air, rejoices the eye, links you

with nature and innocence, and is something to love. And if it cannot love you in return, it cannot hate you ; it cannot utter a hateful thing even for your neglecting it; for,

though it is all beauty, it has no vanity; and such being 20 the case, and living as it does purely to do you good and afford pleasure, how will you be able to neglect it ?

But, pray, if you choose a geranium, or possess but a few of them, let us persuade you to choose the scarlet

kind, the “old original” geranium, and not a variety of 15 it, not one of the numerous diversities of red and white,

blue and white, or ivy-leaved. Those are all beautiful, and very fit to vary a large collection ; but to prefer them to the originals of the race is to run the hazard of prefer

ring the curious to the beautiful, and costliness to sound 20 taste.

It may be taken as a good general rule, that the most popular plants are the best; for otherwise they would not have become such. And what the painters call “pure

colors” are preferable to mixed ones, for reasons which 25 Nature herself has given when she painted the sky of one

color, and the fields of another, and divided the rainbow itself into a few distinct colors, and made the red rose the queen of flowers.

Variations toon, but almost the original or be not v

Variations in flowers are like variations in miic, often beautiful as such, but almost always inferior to the theme on which they are founded — the original air. And the rule holds good in beds of flowers, if they be not very

in hoda of Arwore of the man not very large, or in any other small assemblage of them. Nay, the largest bed will look well, if of one beautiful color, while the most beautiful varieties may be inharmoniously mixed up. Contrast is a good thing, but we must observe

the laws of harmonious contrast, and unless we have space 10 enough to secure these, it is better to be content with unity and simplicity, which are always to be had.

We do not, in general, love and honor any one single color enough, and we are instinctively struck with a con

viction to this effect, when we see it abundantly set forth. 15 The other day we saw a little garden wall completely cov

ered with nasturtiums, and felt how much more beautiful they were than if anything had been mixed with them; for the leaves and the light and shade offer variety enough.

The rest is all richness and simplicity united, which is the 20 triumph of an intense perception. Embower a cottage

thickly and completely with nothing but roses, and nobody would desire the interference of another plant.

Everything is handsome about the geranium, not excepting its name; which cannot be said of all flowers, 25 though we get to love ugly words when associated with

pleasing ideas. The word “geranium” is soft and pleasant; the meaning is poor, for it comes from a Greek word which signifies a crane, the fruit having the form of a crane's head or bill. Cranesbill is the English name for geranium, though the learned appellation has superseded the vernacular. But what a reason for naming a flower ! as if the fruit were anything in comparison, or any one cared about it. Such distinctions, it is true, are useful to

botanists; but as a plenty of learned names are sure to be 35 reserved for the freemasonry of the science, it would be

well for the world at large to invent joyous and beautiful names for these images of joy and beauty. In some instances we have them; such as heartsease, honeysuckle, marigold, mignonette (little darling), daisy (day's eye)

And many flowers are so lovely, and have associated nanies, 5 otherwise unmeaning, so pleasantly with one's memory,

that no new ones would sound so well, or seem even to have such proper significations.

In pronouncing the words lilies, roses, tulips, pink, jonquils, we see the things themselves, and seem to taste 10 all their beauty and sweetness. Pink is a harsh, petty

word in itself, and yet assuredly it does not seem so; for in the word we have the flower. It would be difficult to persuade ourselves that the word rose is not very beauti

ful. Pea is a poor, Chinese-like monosyllable; and brier 15 is rough and fierce, as it ought to be ; but when we think

of sweet-pea and sweet-brier, the words appear quite worthy of their epithets. The poor monosyllable becomes rich in sweetness and appropriation; the rough dissyllable

also ; and the sweeter for its contrast. 20 The names of flowers, in general, among the polite, are

neither pretty in themselves, nor give us information. The country people are apt to do them more justice. Goldylocks, ladies'-fingers, rose-a-ruby, shepherd's-clock,

shepherd's-purse, sauce-alone, scarlet-runners, sops-in-wine, 25 sweet-william, and many other names, give us some ideas,

either useful or pleasant. But from the peasantry come many uncongenial names, as bad as those of the botanist. It is a pity that all fruits and flowers, and animals too,

except those with good names, could not be passed in 80 review before somebody with a genius for christening, as

the creatures were before Adam in paradise, and so have new names given them, worthy of their creation.

Suppose flowers themselves were new ! Suppose they had just come into the world, a sweet reward for some 35 new goodness, and that we had not yet seen them quite

developed ; that they were in the act of growing; had just

« 上一頁繼續 »