Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Before them, pointing out the path, did fly
A cherub and a seraph! Strait they bent
Their airy course to where the other lay,
Missing its sister, and searching in its dreams
For the dear arms that erst enfolded it,
Like one rose-leaf within another wrapped ;
The cherub stooped, and kissed its infant brow:
•Come, sister, come !' she softly whispered ; 'come,
Ere sin shall stain thee. It is granted me,
That as on earth we loved companions were,
So shall we undivided live in heaven.'
The cherub spake; and o'er the babe she cast
A crimson veil the angels bore between them.
And in all tongues, was written there, ' THROUGH MY BLOOD!'
The angelic band struck loud their heavenly harps,
And bending o'er the pillow, sweetly sang:

Soul, leave thy clay;

Mortal, be free!
Come, spirit, away;

We wait for thee!
Come mortal, a way! glorious seraph, come!
We wait to bear thy happy spirit home!'
Time heard appall'd, and spread his hoary wings;
Death instant came, and on the infant's pulse
He laid his icy louch, and she became
An angel.

Loud sound the harps celestial !
And swift, with pinions interlaced, and songs
That filled the sky with harmony most sweel,
The sister-cherubim and seraph bright,
By all the glittering host encompassed round,
Flew upward, a golden cloud appearing
As they soared, and entered into Heaven!

[ocr errors][merged small]

MY MOTHER'S GRAVE.

* FULL many a bosom knows and feels,

Left in the flower of life alone,
And many an epitaph reveals,

On the cold monumental stone!'

a

It was a mild evening in spring. The green grass, which is so refreshing to the eye at this season, was just appearing, and the early violets shed around them a faint perfume. The last rays of the setting sun, ere they bade farewell to earth, were lingering around the gilded spire of the little temple of God. The bustle and confusion which had marked the day, and the various sounds which are familiar to the ear of the rustic the echo of the woodman's axe, the merry song or loud laugh of the husbandman faded gradually away, until a faint and drowsy hum was all that reached the ear. paring to draw around her the robes of darkness, and to indulge a sympathetic rest with man. Who is there that cannot feel the influence of this impressive hour ? Who can indulge one evil thought, when all around him is so holy? A tender melancholy steals over the soul, and the powers of memory seem to awaken, and act with renewed strength and vigor.

The clouds which once darkened our horizon, again arise, but they are divested of their gloom; they again cast a shadow, it is true, but it is a shadow congenial to the soul.

Nature was pre

"This is the hour when Memory wakes

Visions of joy, that could noi last;
This is the hour when Fancy takes

Her survey of the past.

'She brings before the pensive mind

The hallowed forms of other years,
And friends who long bave been consigned

To silence and to tears.'

Yes; when do more tender associations cluster, than at such an hour? Where, than at the grave ? At whose grave, than that of A MOTHER ? When we forget all else, seldom can we forget her. Hers is the last, last hallowed name' ever blotted out from the seared heart; and while it remains, there is HOPE; for it is the inspiring watch-word, at which a host of emotions start up, and rally to the rescue of virtue. It is as a germ from which, when all of goodness is departed, there may still spring up and flourish a luxuriant aftergrowth of the affections. She indeed never proves recreant to her love; and if we forget her, our right hand should forget its cunning. Like some angel spirit, she bends over the couch of sickness, and as her soft hand is impressed upon the brow, and her soothing accents whispered in the ear, as if by some magician's spell the burning fever appears to slacken, and the limbs toss no more in agony. Or if the hand of disease is heavily laid upon her child, and he must die, she softens the pillow of his wo, and as he feels his mother's burning tear upon his cheek, he is enabled to enter with a more courageous step, and with a serener spirit, upon the dark valley of the shadow of death.' There is nothing in nature so enduring as her love. No affection can surpass it. No time can erase it. It is unlike all other loves. That of man to woman may be equally intense ; it may weave an enchantment around him; it may engross his soul, and tinge with a delicious sweetness all the springs of his existence. Perhaps it has been fanned into life by the mere charms and blandishments of external beauty, and so may decline and perish with them. However pure, perchance, and strong, may be the stream at first, it may easily be turned aside, and the waters of bitterness mingle with it.

It is unlike the affection of a father. That may feel equally, but it is less expressive. A tearless eye directed to his dying child, a word of sorrow and of pity, and he represses his rising feelings, and returns again to his business with the world. But she is ever present. The sylph-like form, the care-wom cheek, the soft, bird-like accents of her voice, impart a charm to her affection, and cause it to take a deeper root in the heart. Her love commences with the first pulsations of existence, and follows on through every change of fortune. Not so with a father's. For if a son has rebelled against him, blasted his hopes of promise, and wasted his substance in riotous living,' he proudly resolves that he will banish him from his thoughts for ever, and that he who has proved so ungrateful as a son, shall never more enter his doors. And henceforth there is no return for the wanderer. For though, drugged with the world's bitterness, he comes back in tears, and with brokenness of heart, ejaculates : 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son ;' how few are willing to receive the returning prodi

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

gal; to go forth to meet him ;' to 'fall on his neck and kiss him,' or to kill for him the fatted calf.' The unrelenting fiat has gone forth, which makes him an alien from the halls of his father, and from the home of his youth. Dejected and penitent, he seeks in vain to enter the paternal doors. We have seen instances of this vindictive spirit, and cold repulse. There are many, many thus irretrievably lost, when they might have been snatched as brands from the burning.' How unchristian is it! - how fearfully differing from that model of perfect charity, prescribed by the Saviour of mankind !

But 'can a mother forget her child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms, can never alter her unalienable love. She neither fortifies herself with pride, nor steels her soul with resentment, nor shuts up the avenues of pardon, nor casts away the memory of the ungrateful. But regarding with a sorrowful recollection the days that are past, she mourns over hopes blasted, and a treasure lost; and indulging in no severe upbraidings, and no bitter taunts, she lets the wound bleed. And if ever he is made to feel his error; if, like the dove which left its only place of safety, after wandering over the waste of earth, and finding no refuge for a troubled spirit, he returns once more whence he so unkindly departed, she opens the deserted ark of her affection, and regards the olive-branch of peace. Oh! holy spirit of maternal charity! Beautiful illustration of that prayer which saith, 'Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us ! For while other feelings may be blunted by insensibility, or mingled with selfishness, or utterly destroyed by earthly contact, this remains— distinct, pure, separate — as God himself implanted it; a heavenly attribute upon the altar of a woman's heart.

6

[ocr errors]

I REMEMBER vividly the circumstances of her departure. Consumption had already done its powerful work. Unlike many who are smitten with this disease, she preferred to die in the bosom of her family. Why should the stag, pierced to the heart in its own thickets, seek refuge in the deeper glades, to bleed to death ?* It is a wrong idea, this, of searching in a land of strangers for health which is 'clean gone forever.' How many are thus yearly cut down in the midst of their wanderings ! In some desolate chamber, they lie in the agonies of death. No soft hand presses their brow; no familiar voice whispers in the ear; no cherished friend performs their funeral obsequies. Death is indeed bitter, under such circumstances, being without its usual alleviations. It is a sweet consolation to die at home :

"On some fond breast the parting soul relies,

Some pious drops the closing eye requires ;
Even from the tomb the voice of nature cries,

Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.'
There is something dreadful, yet beautiful, in consumption. It

"Qualis conjecta cerva sagitta
Quam procul incautam nemora inter Cressia fixit
Pastor agens telis, liquitque volatile ferrum
Nescius; illa fugå sylvas saltusque peragrat
Dictæos: hæret lateri letalis arundo."

16

VOL. XIII.

comes stealing on so softly and so silently. It comes, too, in the garb of mockery and deception, and clothes its victims in beautiful garments for the grave. The hectic flush, the snowy brow, the brilliant eye; who could believe that these were death's precursors, the signet of the conqueror! It invests the patient with a preternatural patience and sweetness under suffering, keeping alive, at the same time, in her breast the illusion of hope. Even in her moments of keenest suffering, she looks forward to days of returning happi. ness; and while the worm is for ever preying at the core, and her slender form becomes each day more feeble and attenuate, she hails before her a gilded prospect, and the mind and spirits are buoyant with the thought. But when the final struggle has at last commenced, how sublime is the spectacle! To behold the immortal mind so calm, so tranquil, and so triumphant; waxing brighter and brighter, while the tenement which contains it is but a poor fleshless skeleton; to behold the eye beaming with undiminished lustre toward the objects of its affection, until the soul at last bursting the charnel vault which has too long confined it, takes one triumphant bound. Then is the body still and silent. The feather is unruffled by the breath, and the glass retains its polish; for dust has returned to dust again, and the spirit unto God who gave it.

It was a tempestuous night. The rain poured down in torrents. The lightnings gleamed luridly. At midnight, I entered the apartment. A solitary taper gleamed dismally on the hearth. The forms of those in the room appeared like gloomy shadows, flitting to and fro. A stifled soh, and the ticking of a watch on the table, were the only sounds; and they struck like a barbed arrow to my heart. I observed her hand beckoning. Her head was raised with pillows. A smile shot from her glazing eye. She essayed to speak. I bent down my head with eagerness, to catch the last whisperings of her voice. There was a pause. She made signal to those about her to repress their emotions, as they valued her last legacy. The sobs ceased, the groans were scarcely audible, and the tear stood still upon the cheek of the mourner. "Ah! that is kind,' she began, in a voice as soft as music. Nature must have her course. The fountains of grief were too full. They burst the barriers which prudence would have fain erected, and poured forth in a torrent, sweeping all before them. A cry, long, loud, and piercing, filled the apartment. She cast back a look of sorrowful reproach.

She arose in the couch. A paroxysm of coughing seized her. writhed for a moment in convulsive agonies, and then fell back upon the pillow. A gleam of lightning, bright, dazzling, appalling, shot through the casement. She was DEAD! • Let us pray!' exclaimed the reverend pastor; and with one accord the assembly knelt, while, at the noon of night, he offered up a fervent prayer. It was short, but clothed in the poetic language of the scriptures. It spoke of the silver cord being loosed, and the golden bowl being broken. It was finished. We arose from our knees, cast one look at the emaciated form of the departed, and left the apartment.

She

[blocks in formation]

BY H. T. TUCKERMAN, ESQ., AUTHOR OF THE 'ITALIAN SKE TCH-BOOR.'

[blocks in formation]

agreea

6

FROM CHINA, AND THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS. BEFORE entering upon the extensive and varied original foreign correspondence, to which we adverted in the last number of the twelfth volume of this Magazine, we shall resume and conclude, for the present, our extracts from the epistles of an entertaining and instructive correspondent at Manilla, which — if we may judge from the reception given by the journals of the day to those which have already appeared — will not be without interest or amusement to the reader. The circumstances under which the writer

pens

his ble missives, should be taken into consideration, as we think, in a proper estimate of their character. Reflect how equable must be that spirit, which can patiently endure, while in the glow of epistolary composition,' peculiar to an oriental climate, the piquant salutations of musquitos that are striped,' as he tells us, “like zebras, and bite like rabid dogs !' - not to forget the host of kindred annoyances, so vividly depicted in a former article. It should seem, also, from the following outline of men and manners' in the Philippine Islands, that there are other désagremens, quite as vexatious as venomous insects.

* We are a colony of griping, close-fisted, money-making devils, whose only study is to overreach a neighbor or a friend, and do him out of his ducats. Our little republic, in the suburbs of Manilla, is composed of yankees, pipe-smoking Germans, gin-drinking Englishmen, herring-eating, whiskey-drinking, Scottishmen o' the Hielands, and fiddling Frongsays.' 'The first-named worthies are guilty of occasional study; the second think only of their business, smoke, and drink good gin; the third drink shocking bad gin, smoke thirty cigars per diem, and despise every thing which is not England-come

a

6

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »