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Glide on, in the glory and gladness sent
The boundless visible smile of Him,
To the veil of whose brow your lamps are dim.'
TO A STAR.a
1. THOU bright glittering star of even,
Thou gem upon the brow of heaven!
Oh! were this fluttering spirit free,
2. How calmly, brightly, dost thou shine,
3. There, beings pure as heaven's own air,
4. There cloudless days and brilliant nights,
5. Thou little sparkling star of even,
a Perhaps the planet Venus, usually called the evening star, is alluded to. The nearest of the fixed stars is supposed to be more than seventy billions of miles distant from the earth.
A GHOST STORY.
1. I HAD heard, in my youth, as I presume most of my readers have done, the usual quantity of marvelous tales of ghosts, and witches, and spirits; nestled closer toward the others in the room, when the fearful tale was telling, hardly dared to go to bed after it was finished, and when there, covered my head closely with the bed-clothes, for fear some awful spectacle would blast my eye-sight, and lay shivering and trembling for very terror, until sleep furnished the welcome relief. These tales had a wonderful effect upon my imagination, and made me very timid when alone, especially at night.
2. I have had the usual experience, too, of fancying apparitions from the moonbeams falling upon the wall, my clothes hanging upon the chair, or any other thing which a little light and a great deal of imagination could readily convert into the semblance of a spirit. But as I always had a proneness to investigate every thing, these appearances, upon examination, of course were satisfactorily accounted for; but many times I have made the examination when absolutely shivering with fear. Several such false alarms rather tended to restore my courage, and to convince me that spiritual apparitions were not quite as common as I had supposed.
3. When I was about fifteen years of age, I was low in health, and my nervous system was greatly deranged, requiring some care and change of scene to restore the tone of my physical frame. My father sent me to reside with an aged clergyman of a small parish in a quiet and secluded town in Connecticut. I occupied a small, neat bed-room, the bed in which was hung with curtains of dark calico; and the whole room and furniture had a somewhat somber and antique air, in perfect keeping with the house, the place, and the owner. 4. One night I awoke, and found myself lying on my back; and saw, sitting upon the side of the bed and just at the part
ing of the curtain, in a line between my eyes and the window, a very aged man. The spectacle struck me with some surprise at first, but no dread. I could see distinctly the bedcurtains, the furniture of the room, the old bureau of dark wood, with its filigree-work, and brass handles, my own clothes hanging on a chair, the window and the stars shining through it, and that figure sitting upon the side of my bed.
5. Every thing was well known and familiar except the figure. That was the figure of a very old man, clad in a Quaker garb, with a rusty, broad-brimmed hat upon his head, a rusty and thread-bare suit of gray clothes, as if they had been much worn; large buttons upon his coat; a vest, with broad and wide flaps; small clothes upon his spindle legs, with large, old-fashioned buckles at the knees, which I could see just at the edge of the bed, below which his feet hung down out of sight.
6. I did not at first pay much attention to his face. Soon my eyes were attracted to that, when I perceived it was deeply wrinkled, and ashy pale, with a beard of long, thin, white hair, which hung quite down to his bosom in straggling, snowy locks. The eye was white and lusterless, and immovable, and was fixed upon me with a dead, stony gaze, but wholly devoid of vitality or expression. There was no movement of muscle, limb, or feature, but there seemed to be a fascination in that gaze which riveted my own sight, without the power of withdrawing it.
7. Soon a sensation of fear began to creep over me, which by degrees amounted to terror, and the very agony of horror. The blood absolutely froze in my veins, and I could feel my hair rising on end, while great drops of sweat stood on my forehead, and a sense of suffocation and dread pervaded my whole frame. The same stony gaze was riveted upon me, looking directly into my own eyes, which I could not remove from the revolting object.
a The sect of Quakers, properly Friends, originated from George Fox, of England, about A. D. 1647.
8. I strove to breathe, speak, shout, raise my hand, or move my eyes. I seemed to struggle, but all in vain, while a breathless horror grew more and more oppressive. At length, in the violence of effort, I succeeded in moving a limb, when the figure, without changing its position, without motion, and with the same look, posture, and attitude, gradually, but rapidly, grew thinner and more shadowy, until I could see the mere outline and the very stars through it, when it completely vanished, vanished into thin air, and nothing was visible but the familiar furniture of the room.
9. The oppression and terror of feeling gradually disappeared, also; but it was long before I could compose myself to reflect rationally upon what I had seen. I soon, however became satisfied I had evidently been laboring under the influence of nightmare, when I was either actually awake, or when my dream had supplied all the well known objects, and imagination had conjured up this as one of the hideous visions of such disease.
10. As soon as the paroxysm passed off, and the stagnant blood began again to flow, the terrible vision vanished. This is my ghost story, and it has satisfied me of the true theory of supernatural apparitions. If I was a philosopher, I should urge that these visions were conjured up by physical disease, and that the disease itself accounts for. the sensation of horror and dread attending the apparition. But I am no philosopher, and shall leave others to draw their own inferences.
11. I have only related a simple and veritable fact, which occurred to myself. I have seen no ghosts since, and fear none, except as they are harbingers, or rather attendants, upon a disease, which is at all times distressing, and, doubtless sometimes fatal. I have related the tale to dispel, if possible, the idle terrors of supernatural apparitions, as unfounded in reason, philosophy, and religion.
IMAGINARY DEDICATION OF A HEATHEN TEMPLE.
1. As we drew near to the lofty fabric, I thought that no scene of such various beauty and magnificence, had ever met my eye. The temple itself is a work of unrivaled art. In size it surpasses any other building of the same kind in Rome, and for the excellence of workmanship, and purity of design, although it may fall below the standard of Hadrian'sa age, yet for a certain air of grandeur, and luxuriance of invention, in its details, and lavish profusion of embellishment in gold and silver, no temple, or other edifice of any preceding age, ever, perhaps, resembled it.
2. Its order is Corinthian, of the Roman form, and the entire building is surrounded by its slender columns, each composed of a single piece of marble. Upon the front is wrought Apollo surrounded by the Hours. The western extremity is approached by a flight of steps, of the same breadth as the temple itself. At the eastern, there extends beyond the walls, to a distance equal to the length of the building, a marble platform, upon which stands the altar of sacrifice, and which is ascended by various flights of steps, some little more than a gently rising plain, up which the beasts are led that are destined to the altar."
3. When this vast extent of wall and column, of the most dazzling brightness, came into view, every where covered, together with the surrounding temples, palaces, and theaters, with a dense mass of human beings, of all climes and regions, dressed out in their richest attire - music, from innumerable instruments, filling the heavens with harmony — shouts of the proud and excited populace, every few moments, and from different points, as Aurelian® advanced, shaking the air with its
a la'dri-an, or A'dri-an; a Roman emperor, successor to Trajan. b A-pollo; the son of Jupiter and Latona. In mythology the god of all the fine arts. c Hours; the goddesses of the seasons, blossoms, &c. d The ancient Greeks and Romans offered beasts in sacrifice to conciliate the favor of their gods. e Au-reli-an; a Roman emperor of military abilities, who died A. D. 275.