Obrazy na stronie

shroud is falling from his fleshless frame as he lanches his dart at his victim. She is sinking into her affrighted husband's arms, who strives, with vain and frantic effort, to avert the blow. The whole is executed with terrible truth and spirit. We almost fancy we hear the gibbering yell of triumph, bursting from the distorted jaws of the specter. But why should we thus seek to clothe death with unnecessary terrors, and to spread horrors around the tomb of those we love ? The grave should be surrounded by every thing that might inspire tenderness and veneration for the dead, or that might win the living to virtue. It is the place, not of distrust and dismay, but of sorrow and meditation.

Two small aisles on each side of one of the chapels present a touching instance of the equality of the grave. In one is the sepulcher of the haughty Elizabeth ; in the other is that of her victim, the lovely and unfortunate Mary. Not an hour in the day, but some ejaculation of pity is uttered over the fate of the latter, mingled with indignation at her oppressor. The walls of Elizabeth's sepulcher continually echo with the sighs of sympathy, heaved at the grave of her rival. A peculiar melancholy reigns over the place where Mary lies buried. The light struggles dimly through windows, darkened by dust. The greater part of the place is in deep shadow, and the walls are stained and tinted by time and weather. A marble figure of Mary is stretched upon the tomb, around which is an iron railing, much corroded, bearing her national emblem, the thistle. I was weary with wandering, and sat down to rest myself by the monument, revolving in my mind the chequered and disastrous story of poor Mary.

The sound of casual footsteps had ceased from the Abbey. I could only hear, now and then, the distant voice of the priest, repeating the evening service, and the faint responses of the choir. These paused for a time, and all was hushed. Suddenly, the notes of the deep-laboring organ burst

upon falling with doubled and redoubled intensity, and rolling as it were, huge billows of sound. How well do their volume and grandeur accord with this mighty building! With what pomp do they swell through its vast vaults, and breathe their awful harmony through these caves of death, and make the silent sepulcher vocal! And now, they rise in triumphant acclama

the ear,

tion, heaving higher and higher their accordant notes, and piling sound on sound. And now, they pause, and the soft voices of the choir break out into sweet gushes of melody ; they soar aloft and warble along the roof, and seem to play about these lofty vaults like the pure airs of heaven. Again, the pealing organ heaves its thrilling thunders, compressing air into music, and rolling it forth upon the soul. What longdrawn cadences! What solemn, sweeping concords ! It grows more and more dense and powerful ; it fills the vast pile, and seems to jar the very walls; the ear is stunned; the senses are overwhelmed. And now, it is winding up in full jubilee ; it is rising from earth to heaven ; the very soul seems rapt away, and floating upward on this swelling note of harmony!

I sat for some time lost in that kind of reverie which a strain of music is apt sometimes to inspire. The shadows of evening were gradually thickening around me; the monuments began to cast a deeper and deeper gloom; and the distant clock gave token of the slowly waning day. I rose, and retraced my morning's walk, and as I passed out at the portal of the cloisters, the door closing with a jarring noise behind me, filled the whole building with echoes. I endeavored to form some arrangement in my mind of the objects I had been contemplating, but found they were already passing into indistinctness and confusion. What, thought I, is this vast assemblage of sepulchers but a treasury of humiliation; a huge pile of reiterated homilies on the emptiness of renown, and the certainty of oblivion? It is, indeed, the empire of Death ; his great and shadowy palace; where he sits in state, mocking at the relics of human glory, and spreading dust and forgetfulness on the monuments of princes. How idle a boast, after all, is the immortality of a name! Time is ever silently turning over his pages. We are too much engrossed by the story of the present to think of the character and anecdotes that gave interest to the past; and each age is a volume thrown aside to be speedily forgotten. The idol of to-day pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection ; and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of to-morrow. What then is to insure this pile, which now towers above

from sharing the fate of mightier mausoleums? The time must come, when its gilded vaults, which now spring so loftily, shall lie in rubbish beneath the feet; when, instead of the sound of melody and praise, the wind shall whistle through the broken arches, and the owl hoot from the shattered tower; when the garish sunbeam shall break into these gloomy mansions of death ; and the ivy twine around the fallen columns; and the fox-glove hang its blossoms about the nameless urn, as if in mockery of the dead. Thus man passes away ; his name perishes from record and from recollection ; his history is a tale that is told, and his very monument becomes a ruin.





Sweet-scented flower! who art wont to bloom

On January's front severe,
And o'er the wintry desert drear

To waft thy waste perfume !
Come, thou shalt form my nosegay now,
And I will bind thee round my brow;

And, as I twine the mournful wreath,
I'll weave a melancholy song:
And sweet the strain shall be and long,

The melody of death,

Come, funeral flower! who lov'st to dwell

With the pale corse in lonely tomb,
And throw across the desert gloom

A sweet decaying smell.
Come, press my lips, and lie with me
Beneath the lowly alder-tree;

And we will sleep a pleasant sleep,
And not a care shall dare intrude,
To break the marble solitude,

So peaceful and so deep.

And, hark! the wind-god, as he flies,

Moans hollow in the forest trees,
And sailing on the gusty breeze,

Mysterious music dies.
Sweet flower! that requiem wild is mine,

It warns me to the lonely shrine,
The cold turf-altar of the dead;

shall be in yon lone spot,
Where as I lie, by all forgot,
A dying fragrance thou wilt o'er my ashes shed.


My grave


It is a beautiful belief,

That ever round our head
Are hovering, on noiseless wing,

The spirits of the dead.

It is a beautiful belief,

When finished our career,
That it will be our destiny

To watch o'er others here;

To lend a moral to the flower,

Breathe wisdom on the wind,
To hold commune, at night's pure noon,

With the imprisoned mind;

To bid the erring cease to err,

The trembling be forgiven,
To bear away from ills of clay

The infant to its Heaven.

Ah, when delight was found in Jife,

And joy in every breath,
I cannot tell how terrible

The mystery of death.

But now,

the past is bright to me,
And all the future clear,
For 't is my faith, that after death

We still shall linger here. J. H. PERKINS. LESSON CCXXVI.


IF I had thought thou couldst have died,

I might not weep for thee;
But I forgot, when by thy side,

That thou couldst mortal be.
It never through my mind had passed

That time would e'er be o'er,
And I on thee should look my last,

And thou shouldst smile no more!

And still upon that face I look,

And think 't will smile again;
And still the thought I will not brook,

That I must look in vain.
But when I speak, thou dost not say

What thou ne'er left'st unsaid :
And now I feel as well I may,

Sweet Mary! thou art dead!

If thou wouldst stay, e'en as thou art,

All cold and all serene,
I still might press thy silent heart,

And where thy smiles have been.
While e'en thy chill, bleak corse I have,

Thou seemest still my own; But there I lay thee, in thy grave,

And I am all alone!

I do not think, where'er thou art,

Thou hast forgotten me;
And I, perhaps, may soothe this heart,

In thinking too of thee:
Yet there was round thee such a dawn

Of light ne'er seen before,
As fancy never could have drawn,
And never can restore !


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