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A N INCIDENT IN
I suppose the spirit of every human Being — like a golden reach of Landscape in the richest warmth of Summer- to be, in some of its passages, at times overshadowed by clouds of despondency, or of foreboding,
or of grief, or of regret. Day, in its brilliancy, after the glory of the Sun hath rested in joy for some hours, creates and exalts these vapours of the natural world to soften and temper the ineffable light. And thus also, in the spiritual world, shadows not less certainly, after some hour of transport or of intellectual brightness, are made to pass across the firmament of the mind : or to dwell slowly; or to descend from on high and rest above like a tent of authority; or utterly to lower, or to overcast, or darken it.
Hereafter perhaps in some far-future state of the Soul's existence, it will be given us to know and comprehend if we should desire, how these vapours of the mind that we now construe into trials and sadnesses, may like the clouds of Earth have shaded sheltered refreshed sobered and fertilized the Soul. How out of these its apparent griefs and overshadowings the young leaf hath lifted its green head, and the herbage and fountains and brooks and woods of the moral world have renewed as in youth their anthem of Verdure and delight.
It is not so now. It is not so here. And it was with a depressed, a forlorn heart, that I made my way upon a Sunday morning into the Southern aisle of one of our distant churches, listening as I walked forward up the aisle to the deep and solemn Voluntary that precedes our noble service. I had hardly seated myself in a pew where I felt welcome, when that precious expression of the Warriour-King entered unexpectedly into my thoughts :
Ore thing have I desired of the LORD; that will I seek after; that I might dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His Temple.
•Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on
I was thus in the position so often and so zealously desired and longed for by the heroick Leader and King of Israel, the man of arms from his youth; and, during the dissentions of Israel, so fruitlessly and in vain longed for by him
within my own breast and small experience while travelling at different periods over the Continent of Europe, how often had I, even I, longed for one such Sabbath among my own people as was at this moment to be vouchsafed to me! What Protestant Christian traveller on the Continent of Europe hath not also yearned for this?
"If ever you have look'd on better days,
If ever been where bells have knolled to church'How strong is the invocation, how numerous, how beautiful the associations that spring upward in the heart to fashion a reply? I was in the very spot where bells had knoll’d; and I felt the cloud that oppressed me preparing to fold up its tented outlines, and the Shadow to pass off at the brightening of these thoughts.
Yet still despondency and grief maintained themselves upon the
A thousand sacred sweets
large field of my soul; and although the service was read by the voice that in reading I most love to hear; and which, in articulating the words of Holy Writ
, not only with admirable discretion and musical emphasis, but with a knowledge that can but be the result of profound investigation, enriches the mind of the hearer with a fresher and more glorious knowledge of the Divine Love- still I remained in the darkness that foretells the storm.
The service proceeded and I participated in it, but nothing remark. able occurred either in the responses, or chaunting, or the singing of the psalm. But the priest gave out as the hymn for the occasion, the two concluding stanzas of the one hundred and forty-ninth ; of which the following are the simple and touching verses :
“The hill of Sion yields
Or walk the golden streets.
And every tear be dry;
To fairer worlds on high.' Then it was that a voice, from which no note had come before, took up the strain at it's first commencement, and carried it in every letter through to the termination of the Gloria Patri. It was a veiled voice : low, repressed, diminished. The most expert and best-taught Bullfinch in it's mellowest flow of miniature sound was never half so sweet, nor approached mid-way it's nicety of articulation : while it's compass, it's capacity was such, that before half the first stanza was completed you felt that, restrained and compressed as it was, it contained within it a thousand nightingales in ambush, all ready with their Tereu jug jug jug gurglings of liquid pleasure, with which they could in a moment have filled all arches of the vaulted church.
It played with Joy as at a game of Cup and Ball. And yet, in it's pathos, it recalled gone days that had long past. Enriching the present, and yet reconciling us to its flight. Other voices are coldly exact and critically dull in their admeasurement of Time; upon this, Time seemed to wait and linger and dwell, as upon a mistress of all Time and all Verse.
The clearness and elegance of her enunciation, the syllabick and yet not formal division of her words, the rising swell, and the cadence that seem'd too beautiful to die, all converted the strain into a musical rhetorick of thought; such as when verse and song were one.
With what an oleum lætitiæ, with what a liquid melody of gladness, did the letter L as often as it occurred delight the listener as it slid along the side of her coraline mouth! and the R, rolling over her little gracious tongue, how it loved her as it left the delicious concave for the open
air! there to recount and to record and to reverberate her expressions
prayer and praise! It seemed as if there had never been any other Letter than the Letter R. Let
every tear be dry.' Joy and goodness and religious fervour awakened at her call of hope and of assurance; the heart was consoled, refreshed; and to hear her was to know, if never known before, that the dew of God's precious blessing of Woman descends upon the soul of man in the tones of her voice.
I longed ardently to behold her ; but placed as I was, directly in her front, I felt that it would be rudeness, and that it might be profanation, to turn quite round as I must have done to gain a glimpse of those eloquent lips; and I abstained.
I was rewarded for the self-denial. My attention, undisturbed by any exercise of the sight, revelled in the fresh remembrance of her enchanting tones. I walked homeward alone, with every cloud dispersed, and every faculty exercised in listening, still listening, to the words and notes that she had breathed. It was one of the sacred sweets' yielded by the hill of Şion;' I felt it to be such; and I felt myself to be, may I not say it?
travelling through IMMANUEL's ground,
To fairer worlds on high.' I have been several times since then, perhaps I ought to say often since then, to the same church, at the same hour, and have seated myself in the same spot; but no such sound has again entranced my senses. I should distinguish the slightest note from that of
other voice, as readily, as certainly, as decide betwixt blue and crimson. From whom could it have proceeded? May it have been that the organs of some dumb Girl shall, utterly unknown to herself, have been occupied and employed by a wandering seraph that had descended to the surface of Earth to heal delight instruct console?-Oh Voice, holy and pure! come once again to me before I depart and am no more! come to me even at the moment that I bid adieu to Earth, and teach me again of fairer worlds on High! Oh Voice! holy and pure! oh SPIRIT ! beautiful, celestial, that canst not die, once only again before the golden bowl be broken, or ever the silver cord be loosed; -once, once again!
Ye sons of Columbia ! land of the brave,
W. CBOTTENDON BROWN
WEOM NOBODY CAN BENEFIT, AND THE MAN WHOM NOBODY CAN INJURE.
IN Queens county, Long-Island, a body of water called Success Pond' has long attracted the attention of the curious, by reason that one part of it seems unfathomable. The late Doctor Samuel L. Mitchell, of New-York, of learned memory, made many fruitless efforts to reach the bottom; and that his labors therein might not be wholly barren of interest to posterity, he stocked the pond with perch, which are now become so numerous, that between the pleasure of fishing for them, viewing the surrounding picturesque scenery, and searching for the unfathomable part of the pond, the place, under the name of Lakeville,' is become quite a fashionable resort for New-Yorkers during the heat of summer, and good hotels accommodate the many visitors. The following narrative, how puerile soever it may seem in other situations, is a part of the established amusement of the place, and is preserved at the best hotel in the front pages of a book in which visitors write their names. We have taken the liberty to transcribe the story literally as we found it, and principally for the philosophical purpose of showing what trifles will amuse even wise and grave people when they are in search of amusement; and hence presenting to the thoughtful, who are occasionally unhappy from lack of amusement, the question of whether the fault may not be in themselves rather than in external circumstances. These remarks must not, however, be construed as insinuating any mistrust of the narrative, for we would not commit so great an offence against the tradilional glories of Lakeville. Indeed, we are firm believers in a plurality of worlds ; a world of imagination at least, as well as a physical world; and as we deem the sorrows of the imaginative world more immedicable and less endurable than the sorrows of the physical world, we would be the last to abridge any man's imaginative pleasures.
In this pond, many years ago a boy was fishing immediately over the unfathomable spot, as is conjectured; and of a sudden he felt that something uncommon was nibbling at his bait; and on jerking the line, he became assured that he had hooked a large prize. He pulled cautiously, but experienced much difficulty in raising his line; and when he succeeded, he was astonished at finding attached to his hook not a fish, but a young lady of surpassing beauty. The hook had caught her by the under lip, and while she moaned piteously, she said · Harry, Harry, cut the line and permit me to descend, for I am not mortal but a Naiad, who reside in the deepest recesses of the pond.'
The boy possessed a turn for traffic, and he was determined to drag her ashore and exhibit her for money, as he had lately seen a live seal exhibited; which was nothing near as curious. The Naiad, however, became angry when she found that her tears and entreaties were disregarded ; and catching the line with one of her hands, she snapped it asunder with ease; and as she was plunging to the bottom of the pond, she exclaimed, angrily, “You fool, since you will not benefit those whom PROVIDENCE places within your influence, no man shall be able to benefit you !
The boy was not a little mortified at the result of the adventure, and particularly at the escape of so curious an animal; but as he never expected lo need benefits from other people, he cared nothing for the malediction; and gathering up his fishing-tackle, he departed toward home, reporting every where, as he went, the curious adventure he had experienced; though he omitted the colloquy, as he suspected it would not redound to his credit.
The narrative was not long in spreading over the surrounding neighborhood, and another lad thought he would try his success in this strange fishing; but he kept his intention secret, lest he should expose himself to ridicule for believing so improbable a tale. He accordingly resorted to the pond very early one morning with a fish-line sufficiently strong for the kind of fish that he was seeking, and casting his hook into the unfathomable hole, awaited the result with more patience than faith ; but he soon found that his bait was assailed, and on jerking up his line, dragged with much difficulty to the surface, the beautiful being that the other boy had hooked. She began to moan as she had moaned previously, and said entreatingly, Richard, Richard, cut the line and permit
, me to descend.' At the sight of her distress his resolution for capturing her forsook him, and he took from his pocket a knife to comply with her request; but she no sooner discovered his intention, than she raised her hand to her rosy mouth, and with ease extricated herself from the