« ÎnapoiContinuă »
The flame of being quiver'd and was quench'd.
The moon shone dimly down!-Gertrude 'twas thee!
I touch'd thy brow, 'twas cold and pale.-I spake
But silence seal'd thy lips; and I awoke.
Trembling and faint I rose, but still that dream
Floats faint and fearfully before my eyes!—
GER. And dwell thy thoughts so long on such a dream?
A buoyant spirit as thine used to be,
And a mind strong by nature, would not deem
That such as these were proper themes for thought,
But love shall bring forgetfulness of this!
And by the friendship of our earlier years,
The plighted vows of our affection, and
Our thoughts and hopes of better days to come,
I do beseech thee to forget such dreams!—
Szr. That love must have an end full soon, unless
It can survive the ruin of the grave!
And all the tenderness of former years,
Present affection, and our future hopes,
Be wither'd with me or bloom o'er the tomb!
GER. O do not look so wildly on me, Seymour,
Nor let thy thoughts be of the grave. Long years
And happier shall yet be ours, and love
Shall smile, whose smile survives the grave.
SET. Listen, dear Gertrude, for these words may be
The last my lips shall utter on this theme!
When the long sleep of death shall come upon me,
Let that affection which though sorrow glows,
That love which warmed our hearts in earlier years,
Linger around the grave that keeps my dust,
And consecrate the melancholy place,
And let it fade,-if it should ever fade,-
As does the echo of the mellow flute,
Breathed o'er the sweet and silver-chorded lyre.
That love impressed so deeply on thy heart,
Should be the record of departed life,
Nor perish sooner than the marble stone,
That chronicles the name of him beneath!
(The Scene closes.)
The Waterfall, and the grave of Seymour-Summer, Sunset.
And art thou here no longer? Has the voice
Of fearful destiny called unto thee,
And has his hand seal'd thy affectionate lips,
Forever and forever? I have watch'd
Until the going down of the bright sun,
And his last beam is sleeping on thy grave!
Thine is a dreamless sleep, that knows no waking,
But he shall shine upon the earth again!
The groves are green around me, yet full soon
Nature shall tune her harp of Autumn tide,
Winds wake upon the mountain, and a sound
Be in the valley of fast falling leaves,
Scatter'd and sere, and rustling; so must fade
The pride, and bloom, and beauty of the Summer,
And solemn Autumn in the garb of age,
And nature worn and weary soon decay.
But unto nature shall be youth again !—
She shall give birth to Spring, and Spring to flowers
Summer and Autumn shall again go by
And frozen Winter,-circling round the earth.
But thou art in the grave,-that has no portal,-
The grave, where youth can never dawn again,
Where love is not, nor heard the voice of mirth,
Where is no fear, nor hope, nor tears, nor sadness,
Nor chance, nor change, like what are on the earth.
O mournful, mournful is the dashing wave,
Where bright and broken o'er the steep it rolls,
And gushes wild among its moss-grown rocks ;-
This was his frequent and his favourite haunt,
At morning and at evening, and these groves
Have known his wanderings, and have heard the sighs
Of his so young, but worn and wasted spirit.—
And it is meet, that he should sleep at last,
In this wild spot, with which he was familiar,
That the same winds, that caught his sighs before,
Might breathe them o'er his low and lonely grave,
And the same boughs, whose shade he lov'd in life,
Should wave, mournfully wave above his slumber!-
Why am I here? The past with all its joys
And sorrows, and its smiles and tears, is gone!
The lamp of Hope, that beam'd in other days
A light of beauty on my happier years,
Is washed, dim'd, and gone! Why linger 1?
I hear a mournful voice none else may hear!
I see a spectred form, that becons me!
It points me to the grave !-Seymour, I come.
FIRST P. This is a lonely spot, yet beautiful,
That he has chosen for his silent rest
From this world's troubles,-for his last cold couch,
And his last slumber, long, but still not wakeless.
And yet if spirits from their graves come forth
To walk the earth at night fall, and the spots,
That were the habitations of the dust
They tenanted, his spirit too shall haunt
These shadowing groves he loved so well in life,
And on the night-breeze melancholy speak.
SECOND P. They say, that troubled spirits always walk,
While dust is mingling with its dust again,
And it would seem, that his, so sad in life,
Would not sleep quiet in its lonely grave,
Where is no silent fellowship in death,
And no communion with those gone before,
But would come back to visit us again.
FIRST. P. Poor Gertrude, she will die of grief! For he
Was all her hope, and he is wither'd now!
SECOND P. He died in peace and yet 'tis said sad sounds
Were heard at night, and he had seen sad dreams,
Ere yet his mournful spirit was set free.
Still it would seem that death was sweet to him,
If it were not that Gertrude would be left
Lonely and comfortless in this wide world
FIRST P. Hist! hist! some one is here!
The Peasants and a Stranger.
Peace, gentle friends!
Unless my truant feet have led me far
From the right path, the peasant pointed out,
'Tis some where near this spot a person dwells
Known by the name of Seymour. I have come.
With tidings, that will be of joy to him
And those that here are dear to him. Know ye
Aught of his dwelling!
STRANGER. What !-in the grave?—The grave, so cold and silent!-
Then is the hand, that would have sav'd too late!-
The voice, that would have call'd from tears to joy,
Unheard!-the friend, that would have cherish'd,
Come but to see the green turf on the grave
Of him, that cold neglect has wither'd!
But yet the friendship, that was ours before,
Shall not be crush'd by death's unsparing hand:
For as the impress of the seal remains,
Though the frail wax that holds it may be broken,
So youthful friendship lingers through the heart,
Where time more deeeply had impres'd it, breaks!-
He had an aged mother with him, and
A maid of somewhat greener years. To them
The proffer'd gift may not be brought in vain.
And how bear they the chastening rod ?
SECOND P. 'Tis she!-'tis she!
Relies upon a hope, that never falters!-
But Gertrude, she, so young is broken-hearted!
(A corpse is precipitated over the Waterfall.)
Then nought is left,
Save 'tis to light'n the burthen of Old Age,
And smooth a few short footsteps to the grave!
Now lead me to the desolated dwelling,
Over whose threshold have the feet of death
So lately pass'd!-
This way the foot-path leads,
ADAM SMITH'S THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS.
Continued from page 157.
PASSIVE IMPRESSIONS AND ACTIVE PRINCIPLES.
IF virtue be a primary object of natural desire, how comes it that as such it is seldom sought, at least in the way best calculated to obtain it, or when sought, obtained? Whereas vice, its contrary, which cannot be considered an object of natural desire, is yet apparently often pursued, and as often obtained? Virtue as an object of natural desire is a passive impression, and, unhappily for human nature, like all passive impressions, the stronger it is allowed to become, the weaker grows that habit of moral ability by which alone virtue is to be obtained-the active principle or habit of practical exertion. The man whose delicacy of sentiment is most perfect, and whose passive impressions consequently are in the last degree refined, is less apt to acquire that habit of exertion which seems alone to be regarded as constituting virtue, than another man of less constitutional virtue and refinement. The latter consequently, if not early initiated into practical habits, is more liable to error and misconduct than the former: for, as Adam Smith remarks. "this disposition (delicacy of sentiment) tho' it may be attended with imperfections, is incompatible with any thing grossly criminal." This disposition, he proceeds to observe, is the happiest foundation upon which the superstructure of perfect virtue can be built."* This constitutional temperament is often so intense as to become dangerous; and has not unfrequently proved fatal to the possessor. On the contrary, the man of dull moral perceptions and of course moral constitution, is most easily susceptible of those practical habits which in the end would undoubtedly lead to virtue, that is, to virtuous exertion. Before a man thus constituted, has evert gone over the theory of virtue in his mind," before his passive impressions have acquired strength, his active principles or habits of practical exertion have been confirmed. The pasive impressions of
* Theory of Moral Sentiments. Part ii. Section 3.
This may seem an invidious distinction, but it is one nevertheless, sanctioned by our actual observation; and we doubt not by that of almost every other man.
VOL. I.-No. IV.