Imágenes de páginas



flock and the herd, have been slain in ten years' time to feed me, besides what the forest has supplied me with.

4. "Many hundreds of fishes have, in all their variety, been robbed of life for my repast,' and of the smaller fry, some thousands. A measure of corn would hardly suffice' me fine flour enough for a month's provision, and this arises to about six score bushels; and many hogsheads of wine and other liquors have passed through this body of mine-this wretched strainer of meat and drink! And what have I done all this time for God and man? What a vast profusion of good things wasted upon a useless life and a worthless liver!

5. "There is not the meanest creature among all those which I have devoured, but hath answered the end of its creation better than I. It was made to support human nature, and it has done so. Every crab and oyster I have eat, and every grain of corn I have devoured, hath filled up its place in the rank of beings with more propriety and honor than I have done. Oh, shameful waste of life and time!"

6. In short, he carried on his moral reflections' with so just and severe a fōrce of reason, as constrained him to change his whole course of life; to break off his follies at once, and to apply himself to gain some useful knowledge, when he was more than thirty years of age. He lived many following years, with the character of a worthy man and an excellent Christian;" he died with a peaceful conscience,' and the tears of his country were dropped upon his tomb.

7. The world, that knew the whole series of his life, were amazed at the mighty change. They beheld him as a wonder of reformation, while he himself confessed and adored the Divine power and which had transformed him from a brute mercy

[blocks in formation]

to a man. But this was a single instance, and we may almost venture to write miracle' upon it. Are there not numbers, in this degenerate' age, whose lives thus run to utter waste, without the least tendency to usefulness? DR. FRANKLIN.





HERE is something patriarchal still lingering about rural

most prīmēval' simplicity reigns over that northern land,— almost primeval solitude and stillnèss.

2. You pass out from the gate of the city, and, as if by magic, the scene changes to a wild, woodland landscape. Around you are forests of fir. Overhead hang the long, fan-like branches, trailing with moss, and heavy with red and blue cones. Under foot is a carpet of yellow leaves; and the air is warm and balmy. 3. On a wooden bridge you cross a little silver stream, and anon come forth into a pleasant and sunny land of farms. Wooden fences divide the adjoining fields. Across the road are gates, which are opened by troops of children. The peasants take off their hats as you pass. You sneeze, and they cry, "God bless you."


4. The houses in the villages and smaller towns are all built of hewn timber, and for the most part painted red. The floors of the taverns are strown with the fragrant tips of fir boughs. In many villages there are no taverns, and the peasants take turns in receiving travelers.


5. The thrifty housewife shows you into the best chamber, the walls of which are hung round with rude pictures from the

Mir' a cle, a wonder or wonderful thing; an effect or event that differs or departs from the known laws of nature.


2 De gen' er ate, having become worse than one's kind; having lost in worth or goodness; degraded; mean. Těnd' on cy, direction or course

toward any place, effect, or result; desire.

♦ Pri mē' val, primitive; belonging to the earliest times; original.


Cōnes, bodies diminishing to a point; the fruit of the pine, fir, etc., that is shaped like a cone.


A non', quickly; immediately.


Bible, and brings you her heavy silver spoons,-an heirloom,'— to dip the curdled milk from the pan. You have oaten cakes baked some months before; or bread with anise-seed and coriander in it-or, perhaps, a little pine bark in it.

6. Meanwhile the sturdy husband has brought his horses from the plow, and harnessed them to your carriage. Solitary travclers come and go in uncouth one-horse chaises. Most of them have pipes in their mouths; and hanging around their necks in front a leather wallet, in which they carry tobacco, and the great bank-notes of the country, as large as your two hands.

7. You meet, also, groups of Dalecarlian peasant women traveling homeward, or townward, in pursuit of work. They walk barefoot, carrying in their hands their shoes, which have high heels under the hollow of the foot, and soles of birch bark.

8. Frequent, too, are the village churches, standing by the roadside, each in its own little garden of Gethsem'anè. In the parish register great events are doubtless recorded. Some old king was christened or buried in that church; and a little sexton, with a rusty key, shows you the baptismal fant, or the coffin.

9. In the churchyard are a few flowers, and much green grass; and daily the shadow of the church spire, with its long, tapering finger, counts the tombs, representing a dial-plate of human life, on which the hours and minutes are the graves of men. The stones are flat, and large, and low, and perhaps sunken, like the roofs of old houses. On some are armorial bearings,' on others, only the initials of the poor tenants, with a date, as on the roofs of Dutch cottages.


[blocks in formation]


wore armor, the face, as well as the entire person, was concealed. In order that the soldiers might recognize their leaders, the commander wore on his shield, or as a crest for the helmet, some device, such as a bird, a beast, a spear, sword, etc. By degrees this custom was reduced to a system, and the king arrogated the right of bestowing on his brave followers the exclusive privilege of wearing certain devices on the shield or the helmet. This was the foundation of the science of heraldry, and the origin of coats-of-arms

10. Nor must I forget the suddenly changing seasons of the northern clime. There is no long and lingering spring, unfolding leaf and blossom, one by one; no long and lingering autumn, pompous with many-colored leaves and the glow of Indian But winter and summer are wonderful, and pass into each other. The quail has hardly ceased piping in the corn, when winter, from the folds of trailing clouds, sows broadcast over the land snow, icicles, and rattling hail.


11. The days wane' apace. Erelong the sun hardly rises ǎbove the horiʼzon, or does not rise at all. The moon and the stars shine through the day; only, at noon, they are pale and wan, and in the southern sky a red, fiery glow, as of sunset, burns along the horizon, and then goes out. And pleasantly under the silver moon, and under the silent, solemn stars, ring the steel shoes of the skaters on the frozen sea, and voices, and the sound of bells.

12. And now the northern lights begin to burn, faintly at first, like sunbeams playing in the waters of the blue sea. Then a soft crimson glow tinges the heavens. There is a blush on the cheek of night. The colors come and go; and change from crimson to gold, from gold to crimson. The snow is stained with rosy light. Twofold from the zenith, east and west, flames a fiery sword; and a broad band passes athwart the heavens, like a summer sunset.

13. Soft, purple clouds come sailing over the sky, and through their vapory folds the winking stars shine white as silver. With such pomp as this is merry Christmas ushered in, though only a single star heralded the first Christmas. And in memory of that day the Swedish peasants dance on straw; and the peasant girls throw straws at the timbered roof of the hall, and for every one that sticks in a crack shall a groomsman come to their wedding.

14. And now the glad, leafy, midsummer, full of blossoms and the song of nightingales, is come! In every village there is a May-pole fifty feet high, with wreaths, and roses, and ribbons, streaming in the wind; and a noisy weathercock on top, to tell the village whence the wind comèth and whither it goëth. The sun does not set till ten o'clock at night; and the children

1 Wāne, decrease; waste away.

A thwart, across; through



are at play in the streets an hour later. The windows and doors are all open, and you may sit and read till midnight without a candle.

15. Oh, how beautiful is the summer night which is not night, but a sunlèss, yet unclouded day, descending upon earth with dews, and shadows, and refreshing coolness! How beautiful the long, mild twilight, which, like a silver clasp, unites to-day with yesterday! How beautiful the silent hour, when morning and evening thus sit together, hand in hand, beneath the starlèss sky of midnight!

16. From the church tower in the public square the bell tolls the hour, with a soft, musical chime; and the watchman, whose watch-tower is the belfry, blows a blast in his horn for each stroke of the hammer: and four times to the four corners of the heavens, in a sonōrous' voice, he chants—

"Ho! watchman, ho! twelve is the clock!
God keep our town from fire and brand,
And hostile hand! twelve is the clock!"

From his swallow's nest in the belfry he can see the sun all nignt long; and further north the priest stands at his door in the warm midnight, and lights his pipe with a common burning-glass. HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW,



HE observance of the Sabbath began with the Puritans,"

a great their descendants,

on Saturday night. At the going down of the sun on Saturday, all temporal' affairs were suspended; and so zealously did our fathers maintain the letter, as well as the spirit of the law, Chat, according to a vulgar tradition in Connecticut, no beer

1 So norous, high-sounding: giv. ing a clear or loud sound

"Pūri tans, persons in the time of Queen Elizabeth and her immediate successors, so called in derision, because they professed to follow the pure word of God, and reject the ceremonies and government of the

Episcopal Church; the first settlers of New England.

9 Těm' po ral, belonging to this life or world, or to the body only.

* Sus pěnd' ed, caused to cease for a time; delayed; stopped.


• Zĕal' ous ly, earnestly; with eagerness.

« AnteriorContinuar »