« PreviousContinue »
Josephine, The Tomb of
269 | Our Struggle for Independence 117
235, 434, 534
Percival, James G. 26, 44, 199, 231, 425
33 Passage from a Journal in Scotland 183
408 Recollections of a Housekeeper 82
6, 93, 188
67 Stanzas, by Mary Anne Browne
351 Saint Perrine, by B. W. Richards 208
453 Sketches of Travel
, by Rev. T.
517 Sketch of a Self-made Sculptor 270
Stanzas by George W. Dennison 415
460 The Nightingale, by James G. Percival, 44
482 The Soul, by Prof. Longfellow, 71
Trials and Triumphs,
347 | Yemassee, The
260 341 470
BEAUMONT AND WALLACE, PRINTERS,
GENTLE READER: We are standing together at that fairy vestibule, which opens, rich with hope and bright to expectation, upon another twelve-month,-a coming lapse of time, that, like a swell of the ocean, tossing with its fellows, heaves onward to the land of Death, and Silence. We gaze around, for a moment, from the point where we stand ; and as the events of backward eras come thronging to our minds, the griefs or the raptures that have been commended to us in the annual span, as yet hardly closed, again move the soul and heart, to animate or to subdue. From the transports that are gone, there rises, like a strangely-pleasant odour from autumnal fields, the antepast of coming enjoyment; while from the sorrows that we have borne, there breathe the voices of Resignation, and the warnings of Experience. We bethink us of imaginings that time has dissolved, -of visions unrealized : and as we gather contentment from surveying the mingled web that has been given us, we seem to ask but the power to bear, without undue depression or elateness, the lot that is to come. We desire not the eye of the seer, or the spell of the horo. scope, to engraft in us the power of discerning our onward way:
"We stand between the meeting years,
The coming and the past, –
Wilt thou be like the last?'
And if we look aright, we are not over-joyed at the jocund day which seems to sit in misty brightness upon the delectable scenes of that distance, whose enchantments are born of remoteness, and only dazzle when afar. Comparing our years in the mass, we find them all wearing the same shade and garniture, save that, as they increase they shorten : the tide of existence acquires additional momentum as it rolls; and the land. marks that we pass on the receding shores, admonish us, by the rapidity with which they disappear, that our days are few at the longest, and chequered at the best. The melody that melts from the sweet reed of Joy in the morning, while piped for the careless ear, is changed before noontide to the stern monitions of Reality; and as we prosecute our journey, we perceive how diminutive is the contrast between the life that is passed to us, and that which is yet unknown,—but which, sooner or later, in this world or another, must come to all. Thus, if approached with a feeling of true soberness, the theme leads the spirit upwards; it relaxes that vesture of decay which girds it in; and counsels a readiness for that period when Weakness shall be clothed upon with Strength; when the passions shall no longer sting or stain,—when Mortal puts on Immortality. These are reflections which few can dissemble, and none can disdain : they press themselves upon the mind; for who can avert his glance from the future? Who can “excusably decline the considera. tion of that vast duration, which maketh pyramids pillars of snow, and all that's past, a monument ?
But there is little in these reveries to render the world less charming, or to sully its loveliness with a pale and sickly cast of thought. From the Uncertainty which sways us, we borrow both gladness and gloom. She is the mother of Hope, and the parent of Despondency. What though we may not pierce the future for a solution of our hopes ? Neither can we for our griefs. The fair sky may be palled by the ragged drapery of the cloud, or its darkness may be scattered by unexpected lustre. To look with certainty for either, would be a foolishness of expectation. In the variegated fabric of life, we shall sometimes see the working of the fatal sisters; at othersome, the gleaming of our better stars: we must be satisfied with both warp and woof,—though the interwoven colors be gay and beautiful, or sombrous and pale : thus we must take: them,—for thus we find them.
There is something inspiring and delightful in the commencement of the year. The custom of our metropolis has made it a point of peculiar radiance; a halcyon period, when heart's-ease would seem to be the general feeling, and smiles, the social insignia. Then, the visit is exchanged between friends whom perhaps the departed year had somewhat alienated; old associations are revived, and cordialities that had well nigh been forgotten, are strengthened and renewed. As the lip is. wetted with friendly wine, the bosom expands in the generous warmth of honest enjoyment: the cold formalities of factitious station give place to undisguised welcomes, and open-handed cheer. The rich and the poor meet together, and the spirit of pleasure is with all. As the parties go their rounds, and familiar forms and faces appear to greeting eyes, the necessity of friendship, and the desolation of its absence, come home to the mind : it is felt that comfort is lost, when allied to selfishness, and that it is good to be respected, or beloved. And as those meet, between whom the year has passed in sullen estrangement, -upon whose anger many evening sun have descended,—a relenting spirit obeys the min. gled voices of Memory and Friendship; the kind resolve is made and followed; so that, instead of the thorn to goad and wound, there springs up in the pathway of the Reconciled, the olive or the myrtle. How sweet indeed is the sight of human goodness, struggling to surmount the petty passions which discolor its beauty, and bending to the benign sug. gestions of that pure, gentle principle—peace with men! Doubtless there are many severe strivings with natural pride, before these ends can be reached. Many a one may have imagined himself cut in Broadway, and inly determined never to accost the unkind expositor of that visual obli. quity again; but the New Year awakens such throngs of conciliatory sentiments, that it is impossible to resist them. The call is made, the oversight, or the neglect, explained the breach is closed,- and Friend