« PreviousContinue »
The past was bright, like those dear hills The traitorous scroll that snatched the so far behind her bark;
crown from her ancestral line : The future, like the gathering night, was My lords ! my lords !” the captive said, ominous and dark !
were I but once more free, One gaze again-one long, last gaze- With ten good knights on yonder shore, to 'Adieu, fair France, to thee!”
aid my cause and me, The breeze comes forth--she is alone on That parchment would I scatter wide to the unconscious sea.
every breeze that blows,
And once more reign a Stuart Queen o’er HOLYROOD PALACE.
my remorseless foes !” The scene was changed. It was an eve of A red spot burned upon her cheek-raw and surly mood,
streamed her rich tresses down; And in a turret-chamber high of ancient She wrote the words—she stood erect-a Holyrood
queen without a crown! Sat Mary, listening to the rain, and sigh
BATTLE OF LANGSIDE. ing with the winds, That seemed to suit the stormy state of The scene was changed. A royal host a men's uncertain minds.
royal banner bore, The touch of care had blanched her cheek And the faithful of the land stood round --her smile was sadder now;
their smiling queen once more : The weight of royalty had pressed too She stayed her steed upon a hill—she saw heavy on her brow;
them marching byAnd traitors to her councils came, and she heard their shouts - she read success rebels to the field;
in every flashing eye: The Stuart sceptre well she swayed, but the The tumult of the strife begins—it roars-sword she could not wield.
it dies away; She thought of all her blighted hopes--the And Mary's troops and banners now, and dreams of youth's brief day,
courtiers—where are they? And summoned Rizzio with his lute, and Scattered and strewn, and flying far, debade the minstrel play
fenceless and undoneThe songs she loved in early years—the God! to see what she has lost, and think songs of gay Navarre,
what guilt has won ! The songs, perchance, that erst were sung Away! away! thy gallant steed must act by gallant Chatelar:
no laggard's part; They half beguiled her of her cares, they Yet vain his speed, for thou dost bear the soothed her into smiles,
arrow in thy heart. They won her thoughts from bigot zeal, and fierce domestic broils :
FOTHERINGAY CASTLE. But hark! the tramp of armèd men! the The scene was changed. Beside the block Douglas' battle-cry!
a sullen headsman stood, They come—they come—and lo! the scowl And gleamed the broad axe in his hand, of Ruthven's hollow eye!
that soon must drip with blood. And swords are drawn, and daggers gleam, With slow and steady step there came a and tears and words are vain,
lady through the hall, The ruffian steel is in his heart--the faith- And breathless silence chained the lips, ful Rizzio's slain !
and touched the hearts of all : Then Mary Stuart brushed aside the tears Rich were the sable robes she wore-her that trickling fell:
white veil round her fell“Now for my father's arm !” she said; And from her neck there hung the crossmy woman's heart farewell !”
the cross she loved so well!
I knew that queenly form again, though LOCHLEVEN CASTLE.
blighted was its bloomThe scene was changed. It was a lake, I saw that grief had decked it out-an ofwith one small lonely isle,
fering for the tomb ! And there, within the prison-walls of its I knew the eye, though faint its light, that baronial pile,
once so brightly shoneStern men stood menacing their queen, till I knew the voice, though feeble now, that she should stoop to sign
thrilled with every tone
I knew the ringlets, almost gray, once Who sunned themselves beneath her threads of living gold
glance, and round her footsteps bowed ! I knew that bounding grace of step-that Her neck is bared--the blow is struck symmetry of mould !
the soul is passed away; Even now I see her far away, in that calm The bright, the beautiful, is now—a bleedconvent aisle,
ing piece of clay! I hear her chant her vesper-hymn, I mark The dog is moaning piteously; and, as it her holy smile
gurgles o'er, Even now I see her bursting forth, upon Laps the warm blood that trickling runs her bridal morn,
unheeded to the floor! A new star in the firmament, to light and The blood of beauty, wealth, and power-glory born!
the heart-blood of a queenAlas, the change! she placed her foot The noblest of the Stuart race—the fairest upon a triple throne,
earth hath seenAnd on the scaffold now she stands-be- Lapped by a dog! Go, think of it in silence side the block, alone!
and alone; The little dog that licks her hand, the last Then weigh against a grain of sand the of all the crowd
glories of a throne !
H. G. BELL.
THE RAVEN. ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I Presently my soul grew stronger; hesipondered, weak and weary,
tating then no longer, Over many a quaint and curious volume of “Sir,” said I, “or madam, truly your forforgotten lore
giveness I implore ; While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly But the fact is I was napping, and so gently there came a tapping,
you came rapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at And so faintly you came tapping, tapping my chamber door.
at my chamber door, 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, “tapping That I scarce was sure I heard you.” Here at iny chamber door--
I opened wide the door;-
Darkness there, and nothing more. Ah distinctly I remember it was in the Deep into that darkness peering, long I bleak December,
stood there wondering, fearing, And each separate dying ember wrought its Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever ghost upon the floor.
dared to dream before; Eagerly I wished the morrow;-vainly had But the silence was unbroken, and the I sought to borrow
darkness gave no token, From my books surcease of sorrow, sorrow
And the only word there spoken was the for the lost Lenore-
whispered word, Lenore !” For the rare and radiant maiden whom the This I whispered, and an echo murmured angels name Lenore
back the word, “Lenore !”— Nameless here for evermore.
Merely this, and nothing more. And the silken sad uncertain rustling of Back into the chamber turning, all my soul each purple curtain
within me burning, Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic ter- Soon I heard again a tapping, somewhat rors never felt before;
louder than before. So that now, to still the beating of my heart, “Surely,” said I, “surely that is someI stood repeating,
thing at my window lattice; "Tis some visitor entreating entrance at Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this my chamber door
mystery exploret Some late visitor entreating entrance at my Let my heart be still a moment and this chamber door;-
mystery explore;This it is, and nothing more."
'Tis the wind, and nothing more !"
Open here I flung & shutter, when with | But the raven still beguiling all ny sad many a flirt and flutter
soul into smiling, In there stepped a stately raven of the Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in saintly days of yore !
front of bird, and bust, and door; Not the least obeisance made he; not an Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook instant stopped or stayed he;
myself to linking But, with mien of lord or lady, perched Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this above my chamber door
ominous bird of yorePerched upon a bust of Pallas, just above What this .gri ungain ghastly, gaunt my chamber door
and ominous bird of yore Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Meant in croaking “Nevermore.” Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad This I sat engaged in guessing, but no fancy into smiling,
syllable expressing By the grave and stern decorum of the To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burnt into countenance it wore,
my bosom's core; "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, This and more I sat divining, with my head thou,” I said, art sure no craven,
at ease reclining Ghastly, grim, and ancient raven, wander. On the cushion's velvet lining that the ing from the nightly shore,-
lamp-light gloated o'er, Tell me wnat thy lordly name is on the But whose velvet violet lining, with the Night's Plutonian shore."
lamp-light gloating o'er, Quoth the raven, Nevermore !"
She shall press, ah, ucvermore ! Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to “Prophet !” said I,“thing of evil-prophet hear discourse so plainly,
still, if bird or devil! Though its answer little meaning, little By that heaven that bends above us, by relevancy bore;
that God we both adore For we cannot help agreeing that no living Tell this soul, with sorrow laden, if within human being
the distant Aidenn Ever yet was bless'd with seeing bird above It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the his chamber door,
angels name LenoreBird or beast upon the sculptured bust Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the above his chamber door,
angels name Lenore." With such a name as “Nevermore." Quoth the raven, Nevermore.” But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid Be that word our sign of parting, bird or bust, spoke only
fiend !" I shrieked, upstarting-That one word, as if his soul in that one Get thee back into the tempest and the word he did outpour.
Night's Plutonian shore ! Nothing further then he uttered—not a Leave no black plume as a token of the lie feather then he fluttered
thy soul hath spoken ! Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other Leave my loneliness unbroken, quit the friends have flown before;
bust above my door! On the morrow he will leave me, as my Take thy beak from out my heart, and take hopes have flown before."
thy form from off my door!” Then the bird said, “Nevermore.” Quoth the raven,
“Nevermore.” Startled at the stillness broken by reply so And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, aptly spoken,
still is sitting, Doubtless,” said I, what it utters is its On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my only stock and store,
chamber door; Caught from some unhappy master wl And his eyes have all the seeming of a unmerciful disaster
dæmon's that is dreaming, Followed fast and followed faster, till his And the lamp-light o'er him streaming songs one burden bore
throws his shadow on the floor; Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy And my soul from out that shadow that is burden bore
floating on the floor Never--nevermore."
Shall be lifted—“Nevermore.”
E. A. POE.
It is one of the prerogatives of man to have eyes. Many living creatures have none. The eyes which others-for example, the star-fishes—have, are mere sensitive points, dimly conscious of light and darkness, but not perceiving colours, or distinguishing forms. The eyes of flies are hard, horny lanterns, which cannot be moved about like our restless eyes, but look always in the same direction ; whilst spiders, having many more things to look after than one pair of such lanterns will suffice for, have eyes stuck all over their leads, and can watch a trapped gnat with one eye, and peer through a hole in their webs with another. We are much better provided for than any of these creatures, although we have but two small orbs to see with. Think, first, how beautiful the human eye is, excelling in beauty the eye of every creature. The eyes of many of the lower animals are doubtless
very beautiful. You must have admired the bold, fierce, bright eye of the eagle; the large, gentle, brown eye of the ox; the treacherous green eye of the cat, waxing and waning like the moon, as the sun shines upon it or deserts it; the pert eye of the sparrow; the sly eye of the fox; the peering little bead of black enamel in the mouse's head; the gem-like eye' which redeems the toad from ugliness; and the intelligent, affectionate expression, which looks out from the human-like eye of the horse and the dog. There are these and the eyes
other animals full of beauty ; there are none, indeed, which are not beautiful; but there is a glory which excelleth in the eye of man. We realize this fully only when we gaze into the faces of those we love. It is their eyes we look at when we are near them, and recall when we are far away. The face is a blank without the eye; and the eye seems to concentrate every feature in itself. It is the eye that smiles, not the lips; it is the eye that listens, not the ear; it that frowns, not the brow; it that mourns, not the voice. Every sense and every faculty seems to flow towards it, and find expression through it, nay, to
be lost in it: for all must at times have felt as if the eye of another was not his, but he; as if it had not merely a life, but also a personality of its own; as if it was not only a living thing, but also a thinking being
But apart from this source of beauty, in which man's eye must excel that of all other creatures as much as his spirit excels in endowments theirs ; it is in itself, even when life has departed from it, and the soul no longer looks through its window, a beautiful and a very wonderful thing. Its beauty is, perhaps, most apparent in the eye of an infant, which, if you please, we shall suppose not dead, but only asleep with its eyes wide open. How large and round they are; how pure and pearly the white is, with but one blue vein or two marbling its surface; how beautiful the rainbow ring, opening its mottled circle wide to the light! How sharply defined the pupil, so black and yet so clear, that you look into it as into some deep, dark well, and see a little face look back at you, which you forget is your own, whilst you rejoice that the days are not yet come for those infant eyes, when “they that look out of the windows shall be darkened !” And then, the soft pink curtains which we call eyelids, with their long silken fringes of eyelashes, and the unshed tears bathing and brightening all ! How exquisite the whole! How precious in the sight of God must those little orbs be, when he has bestowed upon them so much beauty!
But apart altogether from that beauty which delights the painter, the human eye is a wondrous construction. Let us glance for a moment at its wonderfulness. It is essentially a hollow globe, or small spherical chamber. There is no human chamber like it in form, unless we include among human dwelling-places the great hollow balls which surmount the Cathedral or Basilica Domes of St. Peter and St. Paul. The eye is such a ball : the larger part of it, which we do not see when we look in each other's faces, forms the white of the eye, and consists of a strong, thick, tough membrane, something like parchment, but more pliable. This forms the outer wall, as it were, of the chamber of the eye; it may be compared to the
an acorn, or to a still more familiar