« PoprzedniaDalej »
How blissful is it, O, J.....! when sympathizing souls commune ! Souls, which perhaps once loved in a former heaven, and now that they meet, the remembrance of each other arises dimly, like the confused recollection of a dream, of which naught but an indefinite though agreeable idea can be realized. Perchance Fate separated them, when they descended from that happy condition, to commence their perilous pilgrimage of trial in this strange land. But their better genius again unites them, even though years, mountains, and oceans may intervene. Scarcely do these twin souls awake from the confusion into which their fall into this wretched world has plunged them; scarcely do they feel their former serenity return, ere a secret longing also arises, strange even to themselves. They aspire to a good which is wanting; they are not contented. Oftentimes they are buried in solitary reveries, or, under the dark wings of the night, wander in serious dreams. A thousand varied visions pass before the meditating soul, but the chord is yet untouched; at length it creates an image worthy of its affection; it contemplates and loves it, and wishes, like Pygmalion, that it might exist, as yet ignorant that this picture has an original, and that it is only engaged in recalling lineaments once familiar. How pleasing is then the astonishment of these harmonizing spirits, when at an unhoped-for and unexpected moment, that original stands in all its beauty before them! A secret magnetic attraction draws them together; they gaze and love for ever; and the more deeply, the longer they examine. And how could they do otherwise than love? Their hearts are attuned to the sweetest harmony. Nature has the same charms for both ; this pure azure of the heavens, these balsamic flowers, this blooming landscape, that slumbers peacefully beneath the silver light of the moon, and the more lofty aspirations of the mind, spiritual beauty, order, goodness, innocence, virtue, which, unencouraged, unknown, and uninitiated, remains in the midst of the turmoils of a degenerate world, faithful to the call of heaven. All these affect both in the same manner. How delightful is it to them to unlock to each other their inmost thoughts ! How readily do they comprehend them! How speedily does each feeling find an answering emotion in the heart of the other! There is no great thought, no beautiful perception, no joyful hope, no noble deed, that they do not share in common. There is no dissonance in the one, which is not changed into harmony by the sympathy of the other. The mutual desire to approach ever more nearly the immortals in that holy land from whence they have sprung; this rooted desire, whether it be called virtue or religion, unites them in all that they think, and in all that they do. For what other species of harmony can exist between soul and soul, that is not based upon virtue?
Beware, oh ye grovelling souls! whom avarice or luxury (degrading cares!) unite for a brief space under the same yoke, beware that ye profane not the names of Love and Friendship! Call not that
sympathy, which is only a shameful concurrence in vice; a feeling which you gratuitously baptize with the names of Love and Friendship, as Leda would conceal a vicious disposition beneath the glowing roses of her cheeks. Rest satisfied with your grosser pastimes and pleasures, undisturbed by us. Restrain yourselves within your proper limits, and grant that we may view the world in a different light; that we would rather nourish and enlarge our minds with mighty and certain hopes, than plunge into transient voluptuousness; would rather rejoice in a holy belief, than in wild creations of the fancy, that have no existence save in the brain of the dreamer; that our souls would rather commune with themselves, than be wasted in a thousand idle desires and frivolous follies; and that we believe ourselves to live so much the more, as the spirit soars free and conformable to its inborn nature, and as we can loosen the bonds that confine us to this earthly sphere.
And how can it be otherwise, than that all who are blessed with this mode of reflection, should stand in a close spiritual union, and yearn the one to the other, although they may never have seen or opened their lips to each other? Their inclinations sympathize, their prayers
in common to the same God; their souls strive in the same paths toward perfection ; their hopes aim at the same objects. It is true, that a veil is often suspended between them, so that they shall never know each other. Many will meet for the first time in another world. It is thus ordained by Him, who is all-wise. The earth is not to become a heaven. Nevertheless, a kind Providence frequently so orders it, that even here they may unite. And although space and time intervene, the mind of man has discovered a mean by which both may be annihilated, the inhabitants of far distant lands in a moment commune together, and the living be transported into the society of venerable shades, whose virtue is renovated with each century.
How often, when my soul flies from the vexations of the day to calm, solitary meditation, applies itself to its most beloved thoughts, and surrounds itself with visionary creations; how often then the sweet reflection has soothed me, that there is a companionship between minds, and that many paternal souls are scattered over the earth, who, perhaps, at this moment, like myself, are buried in reverie, and are calling up around them similar images and reflections. Then I indulge in these delightful dreams with calm rapture, and wander forth in imagination to meet these kindred spirits to my own, and sympathize with them, according to the circumstances in which they are placed. Perchance, this one longs for a friend to whom he may unburthen the sorrows of his heart ; one who will understand his feelings, and so advise him as to insure the return of peace; perchance, there is another, inexperienced but well-intentioned, in want of instruction; another astray, in need of advice; another despairing, to whom encouragement would be salvation ; and another thoughtlessly pursuing a career, from whose fatal termination premonition might secure him. Thus do I imagine a varied tissue of events, in which my dearest and most intimate companions are concerned ; and animated by Friendship, I consider how I would teach or encourage, console or strengthen, punish or applaud. Then, committing my reveries lo paper, my heart finds a delightful satisfaction in the belief, that thus it will commune with the absent, and give to them the same pleasure that I myself have experienced.
Take then, ye honored spirits ! to whom I am attracted more warmly than to others, (for which latter no other emotion than pity is possible to be felt,) take these remembrances and exhortations from your friend, who hopes to see you in a better world. You alone can understand these pages ; you alone will comprehend and feel the force of my language, and only in your hearts will the sympathetic emotions of my own be adequately responded to.
BEAUTIFUL Celia !—you do not yet know your tenderest lover! Your enchanting beauty has collected around you a swarm of cringing slaves; but they do not love you. How little must you comprehend your own value, if you should become proud in consequence of their attentions! They do not love you, Celia. It is a grosser feeling that animates their rivalry. Each one of your charms in their eyes promises its own peculiar zest, its own peculiar rapture. These suitors regard you in the same light as Eve considered the apple, which appeared to her delightful to the eye, and yet more so to the taste. But I, who never saw you with my physical eyes,
can only consider you with my mental vision; and this reveals, beneath your earthly form, something more beautiful than beauty itself. Flowers, pictures, and statues I may admire, but this heavenly gift, which elevates
visible presence as much above all other beauties, as an angel excels a butterfly, this divine possession entirely captivates my heart. Without flattering yon, (for wherefore should an ethereal lover, a genius, flatter ?) I will direct your attention to more noble objects than the untiring worshippers of your youthful charms can place before you. I would wish to inspire your heart with an elevated pride, that will place you far beyond each rosy-cheeked maiden, in whom either nature or education has forgotten to elaborate the chiefest perfection ; whose whole history may be summed up in a few words; who bloom, are plucked, and wither. Reflect, that you are advancing to an age, when the world will consider you either with approving or censorious eyes. Your beauty will attract toward you an attention which mere beauty is not worthy of. It is time, therefore, that you should learn the true object of your
existence. If the force of sympathy is rightly comprehended by me, reflection is at this moment whispering to your soul that which I now think.
Lovely Celia, the whole world is a shadow; a reflection of immortality, which alone is eternal and divine. Your soul is the image of the Divinity, your person the image of your soul. These colors, these graces, are the lustre with which it invests the body, and by means of which it should effect its proper objects. Beauty is a promise by which the soul is bound to entertain no thought that is not great, noble, and elevating. It is the talisman by which others should be made attentive to the lessons of virtue. For one possessed of beauty should be a tutoress; teaching by the example that she sets.
Virtue, which, invested with beauty, moves among mankind, enters into their interests and passions, and is plainly to be observed by them; pleases more, touches more tenderly, and drives its arrows deeper into the heart, than when arrayed in all the imposing wisdom of the schools, or in the enchanting diction of a Richardson. Modesty appears more engaging, when it blushes upon lovely cheeks; the expression of feelings that betray a gentle disposition and goodness of heart, sounds more sweetly when proceeding from ruby lips ; and how does a beautiful eye enrapture us, when, beaming with earnest, undissembled emotion, it is raised in prayer toward the throne of the Almighty, and the pious reflections that well forth from the devout mind, are revealed with a bright and dazzling splendor in its glances! If wisdom, if innocence, if humility, if the noble sentiments which belief in the religion of Christ induces, operates with all their power upon hearts already softened and overcome by mere personal beauty, how can they do otherwise than admire this higher excellence ? And in each elevated soul, from admiration will arise love, from love, emulation. O, Celia ! what a benefactress to mankind could you not become! How many fools you might shame, who are not able to believe that unconquerable virtue may reside in a tender heart, at the same time with youth ! How many could you not oblige to honor virtue against their will ! How many who once feared her, would then, attracted by your charms, view her more closely, and consent to worship at her shrine ! How would the mere rarity of the sight attract attention! The world would believe that it was an angel appearing among men, to teach them by example. Then, perhaps, beauty and wisdom, when united, might touch those thoughtless persons who are too foolish to love virtue for its own sake. O, Celia ! disappoint not the design of the Creator who formed thee! Do not so employ the graces of your person, that they will be but syrens, inviting us to death!
Forgive, forgive, O, beautiful friend ! my honest earnestness. I know that you would rather lose all the lustre of your charms, than that a moral deformity should be concealed behind so beautiful a mask; the venom of the serpent lie hidden beneath the flowers. I see even more. A noble thirst for knowledge flashes from your eyes. An awaking consciousness of the dignity of your own nature, a crowd of lofty presentiments, excite the pulses of your heart. You despise the male insects which flutter around you, in whatsoever garb they may choose to glitter. You long after the applause of the king and ruler of the world, who alone dives into the labyrinth of our inclinations, and alone is fitted to judge of our actions. With how novel a beauty will you enhance our now deformed world ! How much will all the friends of virtue love you! What a heaven will that fortunate person, to whom destiny shall award you as a reward for his virtue, find in your possession! How blessed will be the lot of those, whom with maternal care you shall rear in the paths of innocence and virtue! You will be a Byron in your youthful days, and a venerated Shirley, when the hand of time shall whiten your locks; and although age may deprive your cheeks of their roses, it will never be able to efface the harmonious expression of your features.
X. Y. Z.