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in jovial June,
How blithe the blackbird's lay!
Sir W. Scott.- Marmion, canto iv., st. 15.
Season of flowers and promised fruits, with joy
Shall be to fashion lays in ancient strain,
Bidding earth's elder days return again
Rings as in ages past ; and the soft voice
Of rivulets making the meads rejoice,
Insect, and fount, that centuries ago
Delighted them with most melodious flow,
“The minstrel's merry month of June !”—so the realization of poetic visions when the sumwe think Sir E. Bulwer Lytton has styled it in mer moon-floating in a liquid sky where darkone of his graceful poems; and although the ness, for a season, cannot once dwell-lights up epithet may have been applied a hundred times the sparkling, dew-drops into diamonds, and beside, it can never pall on repetition, because changes the darkest water to a crystal stream, it is so truthfully expressive. Spring is now surpassing fairy tales in magic power, giving changing imperceptibly into Summer : the buds new beauty to the beautiful. Breathe not the of promise are expanding into the matured folded flowers a voiceless prayer—a spiritually flowers, that we may have the fruition of earlier audible anthem amid their incense? Are not the foreshadowings—the accomplishment as well as quick pulsations of Nature's giant heart as perthe prophecy.
ceptible as in the glowing noon? Yes, during Not yet have the plumed choir wholly ceased the deep sleep of all-day-toiling creatures, the their vernal strains—the songs emanating from never-resting principle of life works still around love-though one after another they become us; and the thankful hymn of Creation has not silent as the season advances. Still, beneath ceased since first the worlds were made. the evening shadows, deep in thick-wooded Ten thousand mighty eyes look down upon glens, sings the blithe mavis; and now, when us; ten thousand starry orbs, whose everlasting other warblers slumber, the sedge-bird, sitting music in their courses is to us indistinct, though among the river willows, will pour a strain as it blends perpetually with the angels' and the sweet, if not as classical, as that of the southern archangels' songs. Along the north, beneath nightingale. Why should we lament Phi- the polar star, lingers the purple day, whose lomela's absence-we who have a legend for reign knows now no interruption upon the every rock, a spirit sitting by every stream? It Arctic hills. So in the midst of Night may Day is well to dream beneath the olive groves of be found; and, in the hour of blackest sorrowGreece, of Tereus' guilt and Progue's savage Hope. feast.
A change appears ! A creeping mist-a A night in June! how balmy! how delicious gathered veil of wreathing vapours, that hides
The parted from me by the seas,
Them too thou bringest oft at night ; No wonder that thy dream should please
With such ineffable delight.
I prize thy blessing, little one,
Not less that at the break of morn The effulgence of Italia's sun
Into my quiet room is borne :
Your joint attendance I would keep,
And value each for each's sakeThy tranquil smile before I sleep ;
His golden glory when I wake.
For thou art that last thought to heaven,
Ere dreams that may be death we face ; And he, the strength and courage given From God to run our mortal race.
P. P. C.
the lowlands, and for a space obscures even the heavenly host. And this is also beautiful, for
“though the stars be dim,
COLERIDGE. A poet is essentially a naturalist, although he may be utterly ignorant of the technicalities of science : so also a true naturalist must be imbued with a portion of the poetic spirit, although he may never have written one line of verse. Nature and Poetry are one-united and indissoluble-alike in the past and in the present, in the distance and at hand. Why is it, that whilst so many thousands eagerly embark in speculations and pursuits calculated to harden their hearts and stifle man's best feelings, so few pause to look on the book of Nature, and to study her mysterious but most exquisite laws ? Mammon! corrupter of the human soul! thou -"the least erected spirit that fell from heaven” -prompter alike of the greatest and the meanest crimes, this likewise is thy work !
But not for us is thy worship: avoid thee, evil one! Be it ours still to gaze and to admire-to study and to adore, reading on the high hills and in the lowly valleys-on the fertile plains and on the never-silent sea, the wondrous love which The Almighty Himself hath written there-wandering in the deep woodlands when noon is high, or amid the dewy moonlight - listening to the cheerful melody of singing birds, or the hum of nightwandering insects-watching the flowers spring, and bloom, and die, even as doth man himself -each creature and every herb fufillling the just law of its given life, making earth still lovely, though sin has obscured its primæral beauty.
When can we better hold converse with Nature than in the leafy “merrie” June?
Banks of the Yore.
THE VESPER HOUR.
Lovely star, whose pallid splendour
Breaks through evening's sickly light, Ere that lessening light surrender
Nature to the gloom of Night.
How I love thy hour, when sadness
Stealthily invades the breast, As the scenes of recent gladness
Night's descending shades invest !
When the holy thoughts that slumber
While we swell the festive throng, Wake, and Memory loves to number
Over, days departed long ;
When the zephyr's lowly whisper,
Stealing through the branches nearLike the tones of friends far distant
Falls on Contemplation's ear;
When the thought of joys that never
We again on earth may know, Shared with hearts now hushed for ever,
Bids the tears of Feeling flow;
A RECOLLECTION OF THE GIFTED.
YOU A T T.
“Beside the marble bust
We shall begin by bespeaking the reader's And then it was, in those dark and solitary love and pity towards our simple heroine, for she hours, that she doubtless imbibed that passion deserved and needed both, and was early distin- for literature to which she owed her aiter-fame. guished from amidst those with whom she asso- Not that we would by any means insinuate that ciated, as much by her rare beauty, as by a sin- fame is necessary to happiness--far from it; gular affliction to which we shall presently but, judging from the future destiny of tlie advert. On the night which we have selected other members of the fainily, we may safely confor our first scene, there was a dance given at clude that Elizabeth's talents were given her to the farm-house where Elizabeth, for we will be a blessing both to herself and them, and to know her at present by no other name, resided, enable her to become their guardian angel in with a widowed mother, and a numerous family the time of need. of brothers and sisters, the latter all more or Owing in a great measure to her own patient less distinguished for their personal attractions; perseverance, our heroine had of late almost but they wanted that “ something than beauty entirely conquered the youthful defect to which dearer," which formed through life the sweetest we have alluded, although its consequences recharm of her of whom we write.
mained, colouring her whole future existence. They were all very merry, somewhat too It was choice rather than necessity which kept boisterously so, perhaps, to suit the more re- her apart and solitary on that festival night, fined notions of our modern belles ; but it was looking through the half-open casement, and what Elizabeth had been accustomed to, and lost in a thousand wild dreams. What a world she was never very fastidious in welcoming all of romance lay hid in that young heart ! - real, sorts and kinds of innocent mirth and recrea- girlish romance, ready to be poured out on the tion, come in what shape they would. There first object that presented itself - lighting up were times when the natural joyousness of her everything with its own golden hues, and disposition burst through all restraint—when making into itself strange idols, to which it her laugh is described to have been the most turns back in after years with mingled smiles musical and gladsome sound imaginable—but and weeping! Beside this, came restless and this was not one of them. And it was no new haunting desires —the love of change-ambithing then for her to stand apart and neglected, tious aspirings after celebrity—the proud conas it were, for a whole evening.
sciousness of untried powers. Nothing would She was at this period about seventeen years do but Elizabeth must be an actress ! It was a
“ with a figure,” to use the language of strange choice, more especially for her, and one of her biographers, " that could not be seen doubtless awakened by early association, for she without astonishment at its rare loveliness ; tall was not the only one of her family who had and slender, of the purest complexion and most imbibed a passion for theatricals, although, for beautiful features; her hair was of a golden obvious reasons, they abstained from offering auburn; her eyes full of a sweetness and deli- any encouragement to their young sister; and cacy that checked presumption, while they in- even laughed at the idea of her appearing on the terested and captivated the heart.” There have stage. been many beautiful women in the world, who That night they had another subject of mirth. have lived, and died, and been forgotten; and so Elizabeth, it appears, had a lover! We rather might our heroine, but for that one misfortune, suspect that she had a great many, but only one which may after all have been only a blessing in “ real one,” as her sister Deborah called him; “a disguise. But we are slow to recognise such, man almost old enough to have been her father.” and more apt to repine than submit meekly to She had met with him while on a visit to LonHis will who ordereth everything for the best. don, some years previously, and permitted him
Poor Elizabeth had a defect in her speech, occasionally to correspond with her : it was one which for a long time kept her from society, of these letters left carelessly about, for the and rendered her scarcely intelligible to strangers. whole world might have seen them for aught she
A Recollection of the Gifted.
cared, that formed the ground-work of their , been almost as great as between their age ; and present mirthful attack; the girl herself laugh- she doubtless teased him occasionally, and was ing as merrily as any of them; she little thought not a little self-willed and provoking, at which then what the end would be--what changes a times he seemed harsh. We are also told that tivelvemonth only would have brought to pass. they had many warm debates, sometimes ending The spell of her solitary musing was broken : in disputes, concerning the division and approshe romped, she danced, she smiled; flitting priation of her salary; Elizabeth being very here and there in her bright, girlish loveliness, anxious to reserve a portion of her earnings for like a sunbeam ! and winning the hearts of old the benefit of those dear ones at home, who were
Wilful, coquettish, full of a playful never long absent from her thoughts, and whose wit, in which there mingled not a particle of illo necessities required even then all that she could nature-waiting upon the guests with her own well spare towards their relief. One instance in hands-performing a thousand domestic offices particular is related, where the sum given her --and looking all the time like one of those for the purchase of a new dress had been exbeautiful princesses of whom we read in fairy pended in a suitable present for her mother ; tales. Such was Elizabeth, in the home of her and the young wife looked so beautiful in her childhood, on that night. Very soon afterwards old one, that her husband lost all heart to scold she quitted its humble roof for ever.
in gazing at her. Her defence was simple And now we change the scene from that lone enough, but there was no gainsaying it. farm-house in Suffolk, bright with fair faces, dear mother will be so pleased ! 'and you know and echoing to the simple merriment of young it does not signify for myself, for I always look and gladsome voices, to the Bristol theatre, well whatever I wear!” Such scenes, with the crowded to the ceiling with an eager and ex- | little variation of time and circumstances, are pectant multitude, gathered together to witness common enough in every-day life – passing the début of a new actress, of whom report spoke clouds-April showers, chased away by the rein exaggerated terms of praise. The character turning sunshine of a fond smile-trifles, that a selected for her was Cordelia, in “ King Lear," kiss, or a kind word, hush to rest for ever, and by no means a very arduous one, but requiring which it is the curse of celebrity to have raked nevertheless a gentle and womanly tenderness, up and exposed, with a thousand exaggerations which was naturally and effectively sustained and misconstructions, to the public gaze-dothroughout. From the very first, when the mestic grievances, that may be written with tears, kindness of her reception drew forward the but which it seems almost like sacrilege to pubyoung débutante to drop her timid curtsy, and lish! Whatever might have been his faults (and the light, falling full upon her face, discovered who among us is faultless ?) Elizabeth seems to its rare and dazzling beauty, she disarmed all have taken pleasure in bearing record to, and criticism, and fairly took the house by storm. dwelling upon, numberless instances of kind
Never," writes one of the first critics of the ness and affection; an affection that had withday, never were there tones that spoke to and stood all the caprices of time, and her own early from the heart like hers.” From which we may indifference, and been again proffered at the safely conclude that she had entirely conquered very moment when the consequences of her that early defect, of which mention has before girlish imprudence, in leaving home without been made. But for all her beauty, and her sil- the knowledge of her family, had exposed her very voice, she never rose above respectability to misconstruction and even insult, and she as an actress; her good sense, perseverance, and stood most in need of a protector, personal advantages, preventing her from sink- In seasons of trial and wounded feeling, when ing below that standard.
the heart only knoweth its own bitterness, wild Again the youthful Cordelia curtsied her repinings and complainings may have found graceful thanks for their flattering plaudits, and utterance--nay, it is only natural that it should a few moments afterwards stood, with her lap be so; but who among us does not shudder at full of bouquets, and a countenance beaming the very idea of such revelations being made with glad triumph, looking up into the face of public? If Elizabeth did not love him with all a man somewhat advanced in years, whose the romance of which her young heart was sympathy seemed alone wanting to complete her capable, they were at any rate tolerably happy happiness. And kindly and readily was it on the whole ; and his death, which happened given; for he was not a little proud of his young when she was but six-and-twenty, proved a wife, as he well might be.
source of deep affliction; not only at the time, The reader will have doubtless long since re- but often and often years afterwards, during cognized Elizabeth, in the successful debutante. the trying period of her lonely struggle through He whose smile she had first sought, the very the world. The following extract from her same whom her sister Deborah had called “old journal briefly and touchingly alludes to this enough to be her father," was now her husband. event—“ Began the year a happy wife-finished And yet a few months only had passed away; it a wretched widow.' it might have been years, by the change they had It is pleasant enough to pass over the conwrought. Urged into marriage rather by cir- necting links in the iron chain of circumstances cumstance than affection, it is certain that he --now stained and rusted with tears, and anon was not the object of her romantic love. The ilashing brightly forth---and pause just where it difference in their dispositions appears to have suits our fancy,
Our heroine has turned authoress! the real The great ones of the earth have immortalized it bent of her restless genius has discovered itself with their praises-the sorrowful hallow it with at last. She is sitting alone in a small room, their blessings; or bless her, it may be, unconscantily furnished, the shutters of which are sciously, for the secret and timely aid afforded closed, in order that she may not be disturbed; by this unknown benefactress. while a ray of sunlight escaping through them, She writes on; but the hands, once so small falls upon a face still retaining much of its and white, havegrown coarse and toil-spread; and original beauty. What a study for an artist! are chilled, beside, with the piercing cold, which She is not writing now; the pen has fallen from makes her pause ever and anon, to gather closer her hand, and she leans back idly, lost in medic about her the faded and well-worn shawl, meant tation. The bright golden hair is swept care- to supply the place of a fire; and still she smiled lessly from the fair brow; there is a roguish at the inward revelations of her own glad thoughts. smile dimpling the parted lips, and shining tear. It is no task upon which she is now employed, fully forth from those clear, thoughtful eyes, but a labour of love; and she writes thus out like the April sunlight. Ten to one but she is of a full heart, to one who both loved and underdreaming of the earlier scenes of her widow- stood her : hood--its numerous enjoyments-its innocent “ Many a time this winter, when I cried with flirtations—its little romantic episodes—its femi- cold, I said to myself, ' But, thank God, my nine manæuvring; for Elizabeth was a very sister has not to stir from her room; she has her woman--nay, almost a child in her frank and fire lighted every morning; all her provisions guileless simplicity. Naturally fond of admira- bought, and brought to her ready cooked; she tion, and too candid to attempt to conceal it; a would be less able to bear what I bear; and little disposed to coquetry, corrected by the how much more would I have to suffer, but from truthfulness of a nature that disdained all sub- this reflection! It almost made me warm when terfuge-doing good, and thinking good of every I reflected that she suffered no cold.”. human being – self-denying - open-hearted - It must have been at some such period as open-handed—often erring, but never sinning; this, that Elizabeth experienced the full force of that is, as men use the term, for in the sight of her own simple and touching record of human God we are all sinners, even the best and purest, weakness and sorrow, together with the only and that she knew well. Such was our heroine. source of true strength and consolation, thus And if it be indeed true that “all good deeds briefly given to the world—“ Prayed, cried, and are acted poetry,” then was her life one long felt purely!" and beautiful poem!
My evenings,” she writes to the same And now she has started up and resumed her friend, in a sadder strain—“ my evenings now pen. If the truth must be confessed, the hand begin to get dull. They are so long, and no fire writing is somewhat cramped, and her orthogra- to warm them. All the entertainment I require phy occasionally rather doubtful, to say the least is the exchange of a few sentences, and I do not of it, but will be read with tears, nevertheless. sometimes obtain that for days together." There is a flower on the table before her, most And then again the natural cheerfulness of likely the gift of some friend; and presently, her disposition, which nothing could destroy for perceiving for the first time that it looked faded long, breaks pleasantly forth: and drooping, Elizabeth rose up from her task "I am at the top of the house, so far removed to open the window a little way, in order that it from the first part of it, that I cannot even hear might have air and light. We mention this the noise in the street.' But then I have a great triðling incident, as affording a truthful and deal of fresh air, more delightful than most beautiful illustration of the real character of one people in London, and an enchanting view of of the most unselfish beings that perhaps ever the Thames, the Surrey hills; and of three existed. Her natural kindness of heart ex- windmills, often throwing about their giant arms, tended even to a flower ; while for herself, the secure from every attack of the Knight of the darkness and the gloom had been unfelt. Woeful Countenance !"
Another scene, and we have done. This time But it is time that the mystery in which we it must be a winter one, and when the winter of have thought proper to shroud the real name of her life was somewhat more advanced, otherwise our heroine should be cleared away; that is, if there is little change. The authoress is still the reader have not already guessed it. In alone at her task; toiling on with a persevering order to effect which revelation we have only to industry that made amends for many early refer them to the title-page of that one work deficiencies in her education, and worked out its which was alone sufficient to make it famous, own reward. But the beauty is passing away had she never written another line — " THE from lip and brow, over which the shadow of SIMPLE STORY.” years gathered thick and fast. The golden hair We can remember, as though it were but yes, is streaked with grey-the eyes lacked some- terday, the eagerness with which we first perused thing of their usual brightness; but nevertheless it—the tears we shed—and how we could not it was still a sweet face to look upon. Her sleep at night for thinking of it, and marvelling early dreams, her youthful aspirings, are all how it would end, feeling ready to exclaim with realized, and her name enrolled among the Desdemonagifted of the land! and, what is better still, en- " In faith, 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange, graven upon many a grateful and loving heart. 'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful!"