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presence of some kindred spirit,-it is to these that the reposi. tories of the dead bring home thoughts full of admonition, of instruction, and slowly, but surely, of consolation also. They admonish us, by their very silence, of our own frail, transitory being. They instruct us in the true value of life, and in its noble purposes, its duties, and its des ination. They spread around us, in the reminiscences of the past, sources of pleasing, though melancholy reflection.
4. I have spoken but of feelings and associations common to all ages, and all generations of men—to the rude and the polished—to the barbarian and the civilized—to the bond and the free-to the inhabitant of the dreary forests of the north, and the sultry regions of the south-to the worsb:per of the sun, and the worshiper of idols—to the heathen, dwelling in the darkness of his cold mythology, and to the Christian, rejoicing in the light of the true God. Everywhere we trace them, in the characteristic remains of the most distant ages and nations, and as far back as human history carries its traditionary out1 ses. They are found in the barrows, and cairns, and mounds of olden times, reared by the uninstructed affection of savage tribes; and everywhere the spots seem to have been selected with the same tender regard to the living and the dead; that the magnificence of nature might administer comfort to human sorrow, and incite human sympathy.
5. If this tender regard for the dead be so absolutely universal, and so deeply founded in human affection, why is it not made to exert a more profound influence on our lives? Why do we not enlist it with more persuasive energy in the cause of human improvement? Why do we not enlarge it as a sourcu of religious consolation ? Why do we not make it a more efficient instrument to elevate ambition, to stimulate genius, and to dignify learning ? Why do we not connect it indissolubly with associations, which charm us in nature, and engross us in art? Why do we not dispel from it that unlovely gloom, from which our hearts turn, as from a darkness that ensnares, and a horror that appalls our thoughts ?
6 To many, nay, to most of the heathen, the burying-place was the end of all things. They indulged no hope, at least, no solid hope, of any future intercourse or reunion with their friends. The farewell at the grave was a long, and an everlasting farewell. At the moment, when they breathed it, it brought to their hearts a startling sense of their own wretchedness. Yet, when the first tumults of anguish were passed, they visited the spot, and strewed flowers, and garlands, and crowns around it, to assuage their grief, and nourish their piety. They delighted to make it the abode of the varying beauties of nature; to give it attractions, which should invite the busy and the thoughtful; and yet, at the same time, afford ample scope for the secret indulgence of sorrow.
7. Why should not Christians imitate such examples ? They have far nobler motives to cultivate moral sentiments and sen. sibilities; to make cheerful the pathways to the grave; to combine with deep meditations on human mortality the sublime consolations of religion. We know, indeed, as they did of old, that “man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.” But that home is not an everlasting home; and the mourners may not weep, as those who are without hope.
8. What is the grave to us, but a thin barrier, dividing time from eternity, and earth from Heaven? What is it, but “the appointed place of rendezvous, where all the travelers on life's journey meet,” for a single night of repose ?
"'Tis but a nightma long and moonless night,
We make the grave our bed, and then are gone”
Know we not,
“The time draws on
THE BELL AT GREENWOOD.*
No joyful peal dost thou ever ring;
Hadst thou the power of speech, old Bell,
How strangers are hither brought to sleep,
* A beautiful cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
flow a wife hath followed a husband's bier,
VII. How father and mother, in accents wild, Have bewailed the loss of a darling child; How a friend o'er a friend hath shed the tear, As he laid him down to slumber here;
VIII. How the victim of sorrow's ceaseless smart, Hath given up life with a willing heart, And thought of this spot with a smiling face, Glad, at last, to find him a resting-place
And dost thou ring forth a peal less sad
Oh, a mournful office is thine, old Bell I
“CHARLES LAMB,” says an acute critic, “is one of the most admirable of those humorists who form the peculiar feature of the literature, as the ideas they express, are the peculiar distinction of the character of the English people. He was born in 1775, and died in 1834; and forms a bright light in that intellectual galaxy of which Wordsworth is the center. He was esseztially a Londoner: London life supplied him with his richest materials; and yet his mind was so imbued, so saturated with our older writers, that he is original by the mere force of self-transformation into the spirit of the elder literature: he was, in short, an old writer, who lived by accident a century or two after his real time. Wordsworth is peculiarly the poet of solitary rural nature ; Lamb drew an inspiration as true, as delicate, as profound, from the city life in which he lived; and from which he never was, for a moment, removed but with pain and a yearning to come back."
NEW YEAR'S EVE.
CHARLES LAMB. 1. Every man hath two birthdays: two days, at least, in every year, which set him upon revolving the lapse of time, as it affects his mortal duration. The one is that which, in an especial manner, he termeth his. In the gradual desuetude of old observances, this custom of solemnizing our proper birthday, hath nearly passed away, or is left to children, who reflect nothing at all about the matter, nor understand anything in it beyond cake and orange. But the birth of a New Year is of an interest too wide to be pretermitted by king or cobbler. No one ever regarded the first of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam.
2. Of all sound of all bells—(bells, the music nighest bordering upon heaven)-most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year. I never hear it without a gathering up of my mind to a concentration of all the images that have been diffused over the past twelvemonth; all I have done or suffered, performed or neglected-in that regretted time. I begin to know its worth, as when a person dies. It takes a personal color; nor was it a poetical flight in a contemporary, when he exclaimed,
" I saw the skirts of the departing Year !"