Obrazy na stronie

bles, what bumps and bruises, does it get in learning to walk? How bitterer than the drunkard's agony its thirst, when first denied the breast ! It counts it all to cruelty and neglect. No sooner does it make an effort to talk, than it suffers perpetual disappointment in being misconceived, and in having its most earnest expressions slighted.

But though humanity is thus fulfilling its destiny from its earliest breath, still infancy has its mission to the world. It has been called most beautifully the Perpetual Messiah. The morality of childhood begins in the nurse's arms.' Infancy binds us to home. The mother hurries from the theatre, the ball, sick of heartless mirth, to find real pleasure by her infant's side. Side-walks are less crowded in prolific years. The merchant pauses amid desperate speculations and the hazard of his fortune, for his little ones at home; the drunk. ard pushes aside the bowl; the gambler leaves his dice; and thoughtless youth, become a mother or a father, grows circumspect and grave. We do not talk much of this influence; perhaps are not fully aware of its extent; but it operates silently upon us all. Even the dying gladiator, - butchered to make a Roman holiday,' heeded not the inhuman shout which hailed the wretch who won.'

-His eyes
Were with his heart, and that was far away;
He reck'd not of the life he lost, nor prize,
But where his rude hut by the Danube lay,

There were his young barbarians all at play.'
And this is our reading of the first chapter of our history.
Taunton, Mass.

J. N. B.

[blocks in formation]

Up in the morning, 'as soon as the lark,'
Late in the evening, when falleth the dark,
Afar on the upland, or under the tree,
Come the sweet voices of children to me.
I am an old man, and my hair is gray,
But I sit in the sunshine to watch you at play,
And a kindlier current doth run through each vein,
And I bless you, bright creatures! again and again.
I rejoice in your sports, in the warm summer weather,
While, hand locked in hand, ye are striving together;
But I see what ye see not; the sorrow and strife
Of the years that will come in the contest of life.

For I am an old man, and age looketh on
To the time that will be, from the time that is gone ;
But you, blessed creatures ! you think not of sorrow,
Your joy is to-day, and ye have no to-morrow!
Av, sport ye, and wrestle - be glad as the sun,
And lie down to rest when your pastime is done ;
For your dreams are of sunshine, of blossom, and dew,
And ihe God of the Blessed' doth watch over you,
While the angels of heaven are missioned to keep
Unbroken the calm of your innocent sleep ;
And an old man's blessing doth o'er you dwell,
The whole day long : and so fare ye well!

Say to the flower thou hast plucked, bloom on,

Bloom on, sweet rose !
Say to the grass that's mown, be fresh once more ;
Say to the wreath removed from Beauty's brow,
When the mad hour of revelry is o'er,

Again be sweet and bright,

And grace that brow another night;
But say not to the fair girl's withered heart,
Crushed by a villain's coward art-
To that sad heart, erewhile so warm and pure,
But now whose wound the grave alone may cure,

'Sad heart, be glad!' Montreal, December, 1837.

A. A. M:




It was a glorious morning in the latter part of June, and at an hour so early, that the heavy dews of summer were yet hanging unexhaled on wold and woodland, although the sun had lifted his broad disc above the horizon, when the two armies came in view on Winsley field, near Horncastle. It was a gallant and a graceful spectacle as ever met the eye of man. The scene a broad and waving tract of moorish meadow land, checkered with many a patch of feathery coppice — birch, ash, and alder — tufts of furze, full of its golden bloom, and waving fern - and here and there a bare gray rock peering above the soil, or a clear pool of water reflecting the white clouds that hung aloft, all motionless in the blue firmament; and over this romantic champaign a magnificent array of horse, four thousand at the least in numbers, contracting or extending their bright squadrons, now falling into column, and now deploying into line, as best they might among the obstacles of this their battleground -- their polished armor and their many-colored scarfs now flashing out superbly as the sunshine kissed their masses with its golden light, now sobered into mellower hues, as some great cloud would fit across the sky and cast its sweeping shadow over them; their trumpets ever and anon waking the echoes of the woodlands that surrounded them on every side with their exulting notes, and their gay standards fluttering in the breeze — their gallant chargers, arching their necks against the curb, bounding and curvetting along, as if they panted for the onset - while toward the eastern limits of the plain, upon a gentle elevation, flanked on the one side by the gully of a deep and stony brook, and on the other by a coppice, tangled with ancient thorns, and matted with wild rose briers, which protected likewise the whole rear of his position, Cromwell had formed his line. Nor, though inferior far in numbers, and lacking all that chivalrous and splendid decoration which their floating plumes and gorgeous dresses lent to the cavaliers, could his dark



squadrons have been looked upon without attention

ay, and admiration also, by the most unromantic of observers. The admirable discipline and perfect armature of the stern zealots who composed the ranks - the plain, but soldierly and bright accoutrements - the horses, superior even to the chargers of the royalists in blood, and bone, and beauty, and, above all, in that precise and jealous grooming, without which all the rest are little worth — the grim and stubborn countenances of the riders — some animated with a fiery zeal that would have smiled exultingly upon the stake of martyrdom, some lowering with a dark and sullen scowl, but all severe, and resolute, and dauntless! A single glance sufficed to tell that every battlefield to them must be a triumph or a grave!

Silent they stood and motionless their long array drawn up, two deep, by squadrons at brief intervals — solemn and voiceless, presenting a strange contrast to the shifting movements and the intricate manæuvres of their approaching enemy. Not a man moved in his saddle, not a sound broke the quiet of their discipline, save now and then the stamp and neigh of an unruly charger, or the sharp clatter of his steel caparison. And now the cavaliers, within a short mile's distance, having already cleared the broken ground, might be seen halting on the farther verge of the smooth space which swept away toward them in a gentle slope, unmarred by bush, or brake, or obstacle of any kind to the career of the most timid rider; when, with some three or four of his most trusty captains, Cromwell advanced before his lines. Of stout, ungainly stature when dismounted, none showed to more advantage on his war-horse, and in full caparison of battle, than did the colonel of the iron-sides. It was not that his seat was graceful, or that he ruled his charger with the ease of the manège, but that he swayed him with an absolute dominion, which seemed to arise rather from his mere volition, than from the exercise of strength or skill. His whole soul seemed engrossed by the approaching conflict - careless of self, exalted, and enthusiastical. His eyes flashed with a brightness almost supernatural from the dark shadow of his morion, and his whole visage wore an aspect so irradiate with energy and mind, that Edgar wondered how he ever could have deemed him ill-favored or ungraceful. His horse, a superb black, bore him as if he too were conscious of Divine authority; and such was the commanding greatness of his whole appearance, that no human eye could have descended to remark the plainness of his wararray! Of the small group of officers who rode beside the bridle of their leader, the most were ordinary-looking men, burghers of Huntingdon, or small esquires of the surrounding country, selected for the stations which they occupied, by the wise politician who had levied them, on account of those morose and gloomy tenets which, with an early prescience, he discovered to be the only power that might cope with the high spirit of the gentlemen who formed the bulk of their antagonists - men who affected, or imagined visions and transports - who believed themselves predestined instruments, and deemed that in the slaying of malignants they were doing an especial service to the God whose chosen servants they declared themselves, with a faith in the truth of the assertion which rendered them almost

invincible. Among these plain and heavy-looking soldiers, the form of Ardenne, high-born, and full of the intuitive and untaught grace of noble blood, gallantly armed and handsomely attired — for he was not one of those who fancied that the approbation of Heaven could be won by a rusty corslet or an ill-blacked boot-mounted on a dark chestnut, thorough-bred, yet powerful enough to bear a man-at-arms fully accoutred through the longest day, showed like a glorious falcon among a tribe of buzzards; yet even he, handsome, and


and fairly clad, filled not the eye like the majestic person of his colonel. At a quick trot they swept along the lines, inspecting their array, with now a word of commendation, and now a short reproof, to the dark fanatics, who had been chosen lance-pesades or sergeants for their savage and enthusiastic humor. Just as they finished their career, a long and cheery shout, accompanied and blended with the clang of kettle-drums and the shrill flourish of their trumpets, burst from the columns of the cavaliers, now wheeling into line, and eager for the onset. No shout or burst of instruments replied from the parliamentarians; but their leader, at the sound, checking his charger

from his speed till he reared bolt upright, threw forth his arm with a proud gesture of defiance: ‘Brethren,' he called aloud, in accents harsh, but clearly audible, and thrilling to the heart; • Brethren and fellow-soldiers in the Lord, the men of Belial are before you

the persecutors of the saints — the spillers of the innocent blood — godless and desperate ! - slayers of babes and sucklings — ravishers of maids and matrons

- revilers of the prophets and the law accursed of the Lord Jehovah! Wherefore, faint not, nor be of feeble heart, for surely on this day shall the Lord yield them

hands, that

ye may work his vengeance on their heads, and execute his judgments. For said he not of old, * Lo! I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in

my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come!' So saith the Lord of Hosts. Amen! amen! Selah!'

And, with a deep and sullen hum, the puritans took up the words, • So saith the Lord of Hosts. Amen! amen! Selah!'

* And are not we,' continued the fierce zealot, with increasing energy, “and are not we — blinded although we be, and ignorant, and sinful — I ask ye, brethren, are not we the chosen of the Lord, and shall we not obey his bidding ? Smite them, then smite the idolatrous, besotted followers of the old Antichrist, even as just Elijah slew the priests of Baal at the brook of Kishon. Be strong, and fear ye not ! For lo! the Lord hath said, 'Ye shall not suffer one of them to live !' and who are we that we should now gainsay the bidding of the Lord, even the Lord of Hosts? Lift up your voices, then that yon malignants may perceive in whom we put our trust!'

Again, and in a sterner and more heart-felt shout, the approbation of the puritans greeted their leader's ears; and as he ceased, with brandished blades and inflamed features, and with voices that drowned utterly the feebler music of the cavaliers, already confident of victory, and maddened with religious zeal, they thundered forth their favorite hymn.

"What saith the God of battles, the mighty Lord of Hosts?
'Ye shall prevail against them, though loud their godless boasts!
Ye shall destroy them utterly, and root them from the land,
For I will give ye strength, and edge your battle-brand!

"At the rebuke of one shall mighty thousands fly,

For I have heard my people's prayer, their sad and grievous cry!
And I will raise my glorious voice, that it be heard afar,
And show the lightning of my hand - my right hand in the war.

"Wo unto them that put their trust in the Egyptian's crown

His chariots and his horsemen - his power and his renown!--
The Egyptian he is man--not God - in whom they put their trust;
His horses are not spirit - but frail and fleeting dust!

"When I stretch out my band, together they shall fall,

The helper and the holpen – yea! they shall perish all!
Of old ordaiu'd was Topliet; for the king it was made hot,
As thorns that in the furnace blaze, or briers beneath the poi!

"' But ye- ye are my people -- the ransom'd of my soul!

Glory shall be your heritage, Jerusalem your goal !
And the sceptre shall not leave ye, and ihe crown shall not depart
From the faithful house of Judah from the chosen of my heart!'

[ocr errors]

The fierce strains ceased, and a loud acclamation followed them, solemnly breathing a sublime, yet savage spirit of defiance, and was responded to immediately by the huzzahs of the advancing cavaliers, and the rich symphonies of horn and kettle-drum. A small reserve of some five hundred men was posted in the rear, and, in one mighty line, the rest swept forward at a brisk trot, the front rank with their carbines all unslung, and matches lighted. Cromwell gazed steadfastly upon them for an instant; then his eye lightened, and his lip curled scornfully, as he addressed his second in command : 'Lieutenant-colonel Ardenne,' he exclaimed, “dismount two hundred of our best dragooners, and, under Fight-the-good-fight Egerton, let them file down that gully to our left, and fire constantly on the advance of these misproud malignants.' Without a moment's pause the order was transmitted and obeyed; and, ere five minutes had elapsed, the party was detached and scrambling down the rocky bed of the ravine, unnoted by the royalists, under the guidance of as morose and bold a puritan as ever levelled musket, or misquoted holy writ. "Sir Edmund Winthrop,' Oliver continued, ' your stout lieutenant shall hold your regiment, as our reserve, here on this ground of vantage - but shall not stir from it, unless at your command or mine. We will not larry for their charge, but meet them horse to horse — in onset of alternate squadrons. I lead the first division, you shall support me with the second. When you shall bear my bugle sound a recal and rally, then strike in, and the Lord strike with you! 'Truth' is our word, and · Peace.' Amen! Selah!'

Even as he spoke, the royalists gave fire from their first rank, but at too great a distance to do execution, and halted to reload. “Steady, men !' shouted Cromwell, whose sword was not yet drawn, from the extreme left, as he perceived a demonstration of anxiety to charge among his troopers ; steady, men; let them come nigher, and when they fire again, shoot also ye, upon their fash, through your whole

« PoprzedniaDalej »