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O Primavera, gioventù dell' anno,
D'erbe novelle, e di novelli amori;
Non tornano i sereni
E fortunati di delle mie gioie.
Thus admirably imitated by Drummond of Hawthornden:
Sweet Spring! thou com'st with all thy goodly train,
Do with thee come, which turn my sweet to sours,
But she, whose breath imbalmed thy wholesome air,
Let then considerations of this kind inculcate some useful lesson, and they may, at times, be innocently, if not too frequently indulged. Let them teach the young and gay the necessity of making use, at the same time, of the spring of the year and the spring of life; of acquiring, while their minds may yet be impressed with new images, the love of innocent enjoyments, and a passion for useful and virtuous wisdom. In fine, let them remember, as a fine writer has expressed it, that a blighted spring makes a barren year, and that the vernal flowers, however beautiful and gay, are only introduced by Nature as preparatives for autumnal fruits.'
To persons advanced in life, true wisdom will not fail to administer the noblest motives for manly consolation and rejoicing hope. A good
man will reflect, that since it is impossible for his declining years to return to their first spring of health and vigour, it is yet in his power to soften the inconveniences he may feel, by the cultivation of such virtues, and the enjoyment of such pleasures, as have a natural tendency to produce an easy and contented mind. Taught to look into himself, he will wisely reflect on the vanity of setting his heart on external enjoyments. He will feel nothing of that unsocial disposition, which the gloom of austerity excites. On the contrary, a pensive tenderness, a serene but not unpleasing melancholy will be diffused over his soul, inspiring the sweet tranquillity of benevolence, yet awake, at the same time, to all the active energy of goodness. Hence the charms of a virtuous life, and of a devout intercourse with the God of Seasons, • the Great Arbiter of life and death.' For he knows, ' that his Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after his skin worms destroy his body, yet in his flesh shall he see God. Hence he looks forward, not merely with a serenity of soul, but with the aspirations of piety, and the triumph of anticipating faith he looks forward to that blissful period, when the vicissitude of seasons shall be no more; when the spirits of the just made perfect' shall enjoy the society of angels and archangels, resplendent in celestial beauty and happy in perpetual spring.
A MOONLIGHT SCENE.
Lucidum coeli decus-
The beauty of heaven, the glory of the stars."
SON OF SIRACH.
· THERE are certain great and magnificent objects in the creation, the contemplation of which has a tendency to produce a kind of internal elevation and expansion; to raise the mind above its ordinary state; and to excite a degree of wonder and astonishment, which it cannot often express. The emotion is certainly delightful; but it is entirely of the serious kind; and it is attended most commonly, by a degree of solemnity and awe, very different from the sprightly sensations inspired by scenes, that glow, as it were, with excessive ra diance and overpowering beauty.
The scenes, indeed, which are most calculated to inspire sublimities of thought,' are not so much the smiling landscape, the variegated fields, and dazzling skies, as the venerable woods, the highimpending cliff, or the headlong torrent. Hence, too, nocturnal views are commonly the most sublime. The firmament, filled with stars, that are scattered through infinite space, with such magnificent profusion, impresses the imagination with ideas far more grand and awful, than when we view it enlightened by all the splendour of the Of this sentiment is our favourite poet of the Night:
And see, Day's amiable sister sends
Of mitigated lustre; courts thy sight,
Night opes the noblest scenes, and sheds an awe,
The objects, moreover, which the eye contemplates by day, do not affect the pensive mind with a pleasure so serene, if I may so express myself, as the milder glories of a moonlight evening. We then behold a new picture of things, which is more delicately shaded, and disposed into softer lights, than that which the radiant ruler of the day had before displayed. Each tumultuous care and important agitation has vanished with the garish eye of day.' The discordant passions are soothed into serenity and peace, by the stillness of all around. In this happy moment we imbibe, as it were, the universal repose of Nature; for there is not an object but seems to be at rest; and the musing wanderer can scarce forbear to exclaim with Lorenzo,
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank'!
The greatest poets in every age have vied with each other in the description of a moonlight evening. But, among all the treasures of ancient and
• Merchant of Venice, Act v.
modern poetry, I know not one superior, for pleasing imagery, and variety of numbers, than that of Milton:
Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
I can recollect only one description that is worthy to be mentioned after this. It is of a fine moonlight night, by way of simile, in the eighth book of the Iliad. It is esteemed, indeed, a masterpiece of nocturnal painting. But Milton's description, it must be observed, leaves off where that of Homer begins:
As when the Moon, refulgent lamp of night
O'er heav'n's clear azure sheds her sacred light,
Nor have the Sacred Writers been unobservant of this bright sovereign of the shades". The patriarch Job observes, that he could behold the
'Nemorumque potens Diana,