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poetry. To her tender feeling and naturally contemplative mind, every knell that summons the mourner to weep, awakens her sympathy, and the dirge flows as would her tears, to comfort the bereaved were she beside them. Nor is the death song of necessity melancholy. Many of hers sound the notes of holy triumph, and awaken the brightest anticipations of felicity; -ay,
“ Teach us of the melody of heaven.” She “ leaves not the trophy of death at the tomb,” but shows us the “ Resurrection and the Life.” Thus she elevates the hopes of the Christian, and chastens the thoughts of the worldly minded. This is her mission, the true purpose of her heavenendowed mind; for the inspirations of genius are from heaven, and, when not perverted by a corrupt will, rise as naturally upward as the morning dew on the flower is exhaled to the skies. The genius of Mrs. Sigourney, like the “ imperial Passion Flower," has always been
“ Consecrate to Salem's peaceful king;
Mrs. S. J. HALE.
LESSON L XXIII.
The mother sat beside her fire,
Well trimmed it was, and bright,
Amid that wintry night.
She heard them not, those wind-swept pines,
For o'er a scroll she hung,
Aš when that love was young.
And thrice her son, beside her knee,
Besought her favoring eye,
Before she made reply.
There was an open grave, and many an eye Looked down upon it. Slow the sable hearse Moved on, as if reluctantly it bare The young, unwearied form to that cold couch, Which age and sorrow render sweet to man. There seemed a sadness in the humid air, Listing the long grass from those verdant mounds Where slumber multitudes.
There was a train Of young, fair females, with their brows of bloom, And shining tresses. Arm in arm they came, And stood upon the brink of that dark pit, In pensive beauty, waiting the approach Of their companion. She was wont to fly, And meet them, as the gay bird meets the spring, Brushing the dew-drop from the morning flowers, And breathing mirth and gladness. Now, she came With movements fashioned to the deep-toned bell : She came with mourning sire, and sorrowing friend, And tears of those, who at her side were nursed By the same mother.
Ah! and one was there, Who, ere the fading of the summer rose, Had hoped to greet her as his bride. But Death Arose between them. The pale lover watched So close her journey through the shadowy vale, That almost to his heart the ice of death Entered from hers. There was a brilliant flush Of youth about her, and her kindling eye Poured such unearthly light, that hope would hang Even on the archer's arrow, while it dropped Deep poison. Many a restless night she toiled For that slight breath which held her from the tomb, Still wasting like a snow-wreath, which the sun Marks for his own, on some cool mountain's breast, Yet spares, and tinges long with rosy light.
Oft, o'er the musings of her silent couch, Came visions of that matron form, which bent With nursing tenderness, to soothe and bless Her cradle dream : and her emaciate hand
In trembling prayer she raised, that He, who saved
THE HERMIT OF NIAGARA.
About fifteen years since, in the glow of early summer, a young stranger, of pleasing countenance and person, made his appearance at Niagara. It was at first conjectured that he might be an artist, as a large portfolio, and books and musical instruments, were observed among his baggage.
He was deeply impressed by the majesty and sublimity of the cataract and its surrounding scenery, and expressed an intention to remain a week, that he might examine it accurately. But the fascination which all minds of sensibility feel in the presence of that glorious work of the Creator, grew strongly upon him, and he was heard to say, that six weeks were inadequate to become acquainted with its outlines.
At the end of that period, he was still unable to tear himself away, and desired to “ build there a tabernacle,” that he might indulge both in his love of solitary musings, and of nature's sublimity. He applied for a spot upon the island of the “ Three Sisters," where he might construct a cottage after his own model, which comprised, among other peculiarities, isolation, by means of a drawbridge. Circumstances forbidding a compliance with his request, he took up his residence in an old house upon Iris Island, which he rendered as comfortable as the state of the case would admit. Here he continued about twenty months, until the intrusion of a family interrupted his recluse habits. He then quietly withdrew, and reared for himself a less commodious shelter, near Prospect Point. His simple and favorite fare of bread and milk, was readily purchased, and whenever he required other food, he preferred to prepare it with his own hands.
When bleak winter came, a cheerful fire of wood blazed upon his hearth, and by his evening lamp he beguiled the hours with the perusal of books in various languages, and with sweet music. It was almost surprising to hear, in such depth of solitude, the long-drawn, thrilling tones of the viol, or the softest melodies of the flute, gushing forth from that lowbrowed hut, or the guitar, breathing out so lightly amid the rush and thunder of the never-slumbering torrent.
Yet, though the world of letters was familiar to his mind, and the living world to his observation,—for he had traveled widely, both in his native Europe and the East,—he sought not association with mankind, to unfold or to increase his stores of knowledge. Those who had heard him converse, spoke with surprise and admiration of his colloquial powers, his command of language, and the spirit of eloquence that flowed from his lips. But he seldom, and sparingly, admitted this intercourse, studiously avoiding society, though there seemed in his nature nothing of moroseness or misanthropy. On the contrary, he showed kindness to even the humblest animal. Birds instinctively learned it, and freely entered his dwelling, to receive from his hands crums or seeds.
But the absorbing delight of his existence was communion with the mighty Niagara. Here, at every hour of the day or night, he might be seen, a fervent worshiper. At gray dawn he went to visit it in its fleecy vail: at high noon he banqueted on the full splendor of its glory; beneath the soft tinting of the lunar bow, he lingered, looking for the angel's wing whose pencil had painted it; and at solemn midnight, he knelt, soulsubdued, as on the footstool of Jehovah. Neither storms, nor the piercing cold of winter, prevented his visits to this great temple of his adoration.
When the frozen mists, gathering upon the lofty trees, seemed to have transmuted them to columns of alabaster; when every branch, and shrub, and spray, glittering with transparent ice, waved in the sun-beam its coronet of diamonds, he gazed, unconscious of the keen atmosphere, charmed and chained by the rainbow-cinctured cataract. His feet had worn a beaten path from his cottage thither. There was, at that time, an extension of the Terrapin Bridge, by a single shaft of timber, carried out ten feet over the fathomless abyss, where it hung tremulously, guarded only by a rude parapet. To this point he often passed and repassed, amid the darkness of night. He even took pleasure in grasping it with his hands, and thus suspending himself over the awful gulf; so much had his morbid enthusiasm learned to feel, and even to revel amid the terribly sublime.
Among his favorite daily gratifications was that of bathing. The few who interested themselves in his welfare, supposed that he pursued it to excess, and protracted it after the severity of the weather rendered it hazardous to health. He scooped out, and arranged for himself, a secluded and romantic bath, between Moss and Iris Islands. Afterward, he formed the habit of bathing below the principal fall. One bright, but rather chill day, in the month of June, 1831, a man employed about the ferry saw him go into the water, and, a long time after, observed his clothes to be still lying upon the bank.
Inquiry was made. The anxiety was but too well founded. The poor hermit had indeed taken his last bath. It was supposed that cramp might have been induced by the unwonted chill of the atmosphere or water. Still the body was not found; the depth and force of the current just below being exceedingly great. In the course of their search, they passed onward to the whirlpool. There, amid those boiling eddies, was the pallid corpse, making fearful and rapid gyrations upon the face of the black waters.
At some point of suction, it suddenly plunged and disappeared. Again emerging, it was fearsul to see it leap half its length above the flood, and with a face so deadly pale, play among the tossing billows, then float motionless, as if exhausted, and anon, returning to the encounter, spring, struggle, and contend, like a maniac battling with mortal foes.
It was strangely painful to think that he was not permitted