Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

And how the scorched foot did shrink
As it touched the slippery plain :
And some had gathered beneath the trees
In hope of finding shade;

But, alas! there was not a single breeze
Astir in any glade!

The cities were forsaken,

For their marble wells were spent ; And the walls gave back the scorching glare Of that hot firmament:

But the corses of those who died were strewn In the street, as dead leaves lay,

And dry they withered, and withered alone; They felt no foul decay.

Night came. The fiery sun sank down,
And the people's hope grew strong:
It was a night without a moon,
It was a night in the depth of June,
And there swept a wind along;
'Twas almost cool: and then they thought
Some blessed dew it would have brought.

Vain was the hope! there was no cloud

In the clear, dark, blue Heaven; But, bright and beautiful, the crowd

Of stars looked through the even.
And women sat them down to weep
Over their hopeless pain;

And men had visions dark and deep,
Clouding the dizzy brain;

And children sobbed themselves to sleep,
And never woke again.

The morning came; not as it comes
Softly 'mid rose and dew;

Not with those cool and fresh perfumes
That the weariest heart renew;
But the sun sprang up, as if eager to see
What next his power could do.

A mother held her child to her breast,
And kissed it tenderly,

And then she saw her infant smile:
What could that soft smile be?

A tear had sprung with a sudden start,
To her hot, feverish eye;

It had fallen upon that faint child's lip,
That was so parched and dry.

I looked upon the mighty sea;
O, what a sight it was!

All its waves were gone, save two or three,
That lay, like burning glass,

Within the caves of those deep rocks
Where no human foot could pass.

And in the very midst, a ship

Lay in the slime and sand;
With all its sailors perishing,
Even in sight of land;

Oh, water had been a welcome sight
To that pale, dying band!

Oh, what a sight was the bed of the sea!
The bed where he had slept,

Or tossed and tumbled restlessly,
And all his treasures kept

For ages; he was gone; and all

His rocky pillows shown,

With their clustering shells, and sea-weed pall,
And the rich gems round them thrown.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

And I began to feel the pang,
The agony of thirst;

I had a scorching, swelling pain,
As if my heart would burst.

My tongue seemed parched; I tried to speak;
The spell that instant broke;

And, starting at my own wild shriek,
I awoke.

In mercy

LESSON CLXXX.

CALM AT SEA.

Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,

'Twas sad as sad could be;

And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck; no breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink:
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

MISS M. A. BROWNE.

The very deep did rót: alas!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea..

About, about, in reel and rout

The death-fires danced at night; The water, like a witch's oils,

Burnt green, and blue, and white.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought
Was withered at the root;

We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!

How glazed each weary eye,
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist;

It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:

As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged, and tacked, and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood;
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

COLERIDGE.

LESSON CLXXXI.

QUALITIES OF A WELL-REGULATED MIND.

A PROPER discipline and regulation of the mind, require:

1st. The cultivation of a habit of steady and continuous attention; or of properly directing the mind to any subject which is before it, so as fully to contemplate its elements and relations. This is necessary for the due exercise of every other mental process, and is the foundation of all improvement

of character, both intellectual and moral. We frequently have occasion to remark, how often sophistical opinions and various distortions of character may be traced to errors in this first act of the mind, or to a misdirection and want of due regulation of the attention. There is, indeed, every reason to believe, that the diversities in the power of judging, in different individuals, are much less than we are apt to imagine; and that the remarkable differences observed in the act of judging, are rather to be ascribed to the manner in which the mind is previously directed to the facts, on which the judgment is afterward to be exercised. It is related of Sir Isaac Newton, that, when he was questioned respecting the mental qualities which formed the peculiarity of his character, he referred it entirely to the power which he had acquired of continuous attention.

2d. A careful regulation and control of the succession of our thoughts. This remarkable faculty is very much under the influence of cultivation; and on the power so acquired depends the important habit of regular and connected thinking. It is primarily a voluntary act; and in the exercise of it in different individuals there are the most remarkable differences. In some, the thoughts are allowed to wander at large without any regulation, or are devoted only to frivolous and transient objects; while others habitually exercise over them a stern control, directing them to subjects of real importance, and prosecuting these in a regular and connected manner. This important habit gains strength by exercise; and nothing, certainly, has a greater influence in giving tone and consistency to the whole character. It may not, indeed, be going too far to assert, that our condition, in the scale both of moral and intellectual beings, is in a great measure determined by the control which we have acquired over the succession of our thoughts, and by the subjects on which they are habitually exercised.

3d. The cultivation of an active, inquiring state of mind, which seeks for information from every source that comes within its reach, whether in reading, conversation, or personal observation. With this state of mental activity ought to be closely connected attention to the authenticity of facts so received; avoiding the two extremes of credulity and skepticism.

4th. The habit of correct association; that is, connecting facts in the mind according to their true relations, and to the

« ÎnapoiContinuă »