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And the gray turret of our own chateau,
The loving laughter in their children's eyes,
D'A. Upon my brow, dear girl,
There sits, I trust, such deep and solemn peace
And recognizes, in submissive awe,
The summons of his God.
B. Thou dost not mean
No, no! it cannot be! Didst thou not say,
D'A. Where is the spirit's home?
Oh! most of all, in these dark, evil days,
Beyond the sword's reach, and the tempest's power? Where, but in heaven?
We must die!
We must look up to God, and calmly die.
Come to my heart, and weep there! For awhile,
In the still courage of a woman's heart.
Do I not know thee? Do I ask too much
B. Oh! clasp me fast!
Thy trembling child! Hide, hide me in thine arms! Father!
D'A. Alas! my flower, thou'rt young to go;
To quit forever the dishonored soil,
Our king upon the scaffold; let us think
B. A dark and fearful way!
An evil doom for thy dear honored head!
D'A. No, my Blanche; in death
We shall not be divided.
I shall see
B. Thanks to God! He, by thy glance, will aid me. His light before me to the last. Oh! pardon these weak shrinkings of thy child! When shall the hour befall?
D'A. Oh! swiftly now,
And suddenly, with brief, dread interval,
Comes down the mortal stroke. But of that hour
My father! lay thy hand
On thy poor Blanche's head, and once again
D'A. If I may speak through tears,
A stainless lily in my widowed house,
There springing up, with soft light round thee shed,
I bless thee! He will bless thee! In his love
B. Now is there strength
Infused through all my spirit. I can rise
D'A. Seest thou, my child,
Yon faint light in the west? The signal star
It seems to quiver; yet shall this night pass,
As if unworthy fear, or wavering faith,
Silenced the strain? No! let it waft to Heaven
We see no more in thy pure skies,
We know thou reign'st, the unchanging One, th' All Just!
And bless thee still with free and boundless trust!
We read no more,
His pole-star burns, though mist and cloud
We know thou reign'st! All Holy One, All Just!
We feel no more that aid is nigh,
Yet, by the anguish of thy Son
And by his parting word, which rose,
We know that thou may'st wound, may'st break
The spirit, but wilt ne'er forsake.
Sad suppliants, whom our brethren spurn,
To whom but thee? All Merciful, All Just!
GOOD SENSE AND BEAUTY.
NOTWITHSTANDING the lessons of moralists, and the declamations of philosophers, it cannot be denied that all mankind have a natural love, and even respect, for external beauty. In vain do they represent it as a thing of no value in itself, as a frail and perishable flower; in vain do they exhaust all the depths of argument, all the stories of fancy, to prove the worthlessness of this amiable gift of nature. However persuasive their reasonings may appear, and however we may, for a time, fancy ourselves convinced by them, we have in our breasts a certain instinct, which never fails to tell us, that all is not satisfactory; and though we may not be able to prove that they are wrong, we feel a conviction that it is impossible they should be right.
They are certainly right in blaming those, who are rendered vain by the possession of beauty, since vanity is, at all times, a fault. But there is a great difference between being vain of a thing, and being happy that we have it; and that beauty, however little merit a woman can claim to herself for it, is really a quality which she may reasonably rejoice to possess, demands, I think, no very labored proof. Every one naturally wishes to please. To this end we know how important it is, that the first impression we produce should be favorable.
Now, this first impression is commonly produced through the medium of the eye; and this is frequently so powerful as to
resist, for a long time, the opposing evidence of subsequen observation. Let a man of even the soundest judgment be presented to two women, equally strangers to him, but the one extremely handsome, the other without any remarkable advantages of person, and he will, without deliberation, attach himself first to the former. All men seem in this to be actuated by the same principle as Socrates, who used to say when he saw a beautiful person, he always expected to see it animated by a beautiful soul.
The ladies, however, often fall into the fatal error of imagining that a fine person is, in our eyes, superior to every other accomplishment; and those, who are so happy as to be endowed with it, rely with vain confidence on its irresistible power to retain hearts, as well as to subdue them. Hence the lavish care bestowed on the improvement of exterior and perishable charms, and the neglect of solid and durable excellence; hence the long list of arts that administer to vanity and folly, the countless train of glittering accomplishments, and the scanty catalogue of truly valuable acquirements, which compose for the most part, the modern system of fashionable female education. Yet so far is beauty from being, in our eyes, an excuse for the want of a cultivated mind, that the women who are blessed with it, have, in reality, a much harder task to perform, than those of their sex who are not so distinguished. Even our self-love here takes part against them; we feel ashamed of having suffered ourselves to be caught like children, by mere outside, and perhaps even fall into the contrary extreme.
Could "the statue that enchants the world,"-the Venus de Medicis, at the prayer of some new Pygmalion, become suddenly animated, how disappointed would he be, if she were not endowed with a soul answerable to the inimitable perfection of her heavenly form! Thus it is with a fine woman, whose only accomplishment is external excellence. She may dazzle for a time; but when a man has once thought, "What a pity that such a masterpiece should be but a walking statue!" her empire is at an end. On the other hand, when a woman, the plainness of whose features prevented our noticing her at first, is found, upon nearer acquaintance, to be possessed of the more solid and valuable perfections of the mind, the pleasure we feel in being so agreeably undeceived, makes her appear to still greater advantage: