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any leeply pleasurable sensations, or be other man, the depth and the intensity of the cau: during the summer there is such a
mind's worst malady, tells us thatconstant springing up of beauty, such an unceasing supply of vigour in the animal and "The glance of melancholy is a fearful gin;" vegetable world, that our ideas of spring are and fearful deed, is that insatiable appro. carried on until the commencement of priation to her own gloomy purposes with autumn. There are a still smaller number which melancholy endows her victims. of individuals who venture to say they love Fearful would it be to read and sinful to the dark days of winter, because, in order to write, how melancboly can distort the fairest find our greatest enjoyment in this season, picture, extract bitterness from all things we must possess a fund of almost uninterrupted domestic happiness, and few there anguish-unmitigable anguish—from what
sweet and lovely, darkness from light, and are who can boast of this inestimable bless
was benificently intended to beautify and to ing; few indeed who, when thrown entirely bless. upon the resources which their own hearts,
Each day, also, has its associations, so their own homes, or their own families af- nearly resembling those of the seasons, that ford, do not sometimes wish to escape, if only it will not be necessary to examine in their to enjoy the refreshment of green fields, free
separate characters the natural divisions of air, and sunny skies.
morning, noon, evening, and night. But The good and the happy, the young
and the innocent, whose hearts are full of hope, highly poetical, may justly claim a large
evening, as being universally allowed to be find peculiar gratification in the rich pro- share of our attention. mise of spring, in the growth and perfection of plants, the rejoicing of the animal creation,
“ Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad." and the renovated beauty of universal nature. There is within themselves a kind of These words occur immediately to every sympathy, by which they become a part of poetical mind on the first consideration of the harmonious whole, a grateful trust this solemn and lovely hour. Indeed, they which accords with this promise, a springing occur so familiarly, that, if it were possible up and growth of joyful expectation which they could lose their charm, it would already keeps pace with the general progress of the have been destroyed by frequency of repetinatural world, and echoes back a soul-felt re tion. But these two lines contain within sponse to the voice which tells of happiness. themselves a volume of poetic feeling, that
How different in all, except their power will live imperishable and unimpaired, so over the feelings, are the sympathies which long as the human mind shall retain its are called forth by the contemplation of bighest and purest conceptions of the nature autumn! The beauty or rather the bloom of real poetry. The very words have a of nature, is then passing away, and the resemblance to the general lull of nature gorgeous and splendid hues which not un- gently sinking into the silence of nightfrequently adorn the landscape remind us too “Now came still evening on;" “ twilight forcibly of that mournful hectic which is gray” presents us with more than a picture known to be a fatal precursor of decay. --with a feeling-a distinct perception of Every thing fades around us like our own thin shadows, and white mists gradually hopes; summer with her sprightliness has blending together; and the last line comleft us, like the friends of our youth; while pletely imbodies in a few simple words, our winter, cold winter, comes apace; alas ! too ideas of the all-pervading influence of like the chiliing prospect that lies before us evening, with its universally tranquillizing, in the path of life. Thus, imagination mul- solemn and mysterious power. tiplies our gloomy associations, and renders The mystery of twilight is not the least autumn the season best beloved by the mor charm it possesses to an imaginative and bid and cheerless, for very sympathy with poetic minch From the earliest records of its tendency to fade.
intelligent beings, we learn that mystery He who knew, perhaps better than any | has ever been inconceivably powerful in its
influence upon the human mind. All false That excitement is uniformly the accomreligions have been built upon this founda- paniment of mystery, is owing to this cause; tion, and even the true has its mysteries, for mystery is not the subject of any one particwhich we reverence it the more. Those ular train of ideas, nor can it exclusively ocsubjects which excite the deepest veneration cupy the reasoning powers, for want of someand awe, strike us with an indefinite sense thing tangible to lay hold of'; but while the of something which we do not-which we senses or feelings are strongly affected by cannot, understand; and the throne of the that which is new, or strange, or fearful, or the monarch, by being veiled from vulgar eyes, magnificent, it opens a field in which all the is thus invested with a mystery to which it faculties of the mind, set at liberty from phyis greatly indebted for its support. Were sical restraint, may rush forth to expatiate all marrind clearly convinced of the inesti or combat, without any one gaining the asmable value of true virtue, were they all cendency. Sometimes fear for a moment noble, generous, and devoted, and were all takes the lead, but the want of sufficient sovereigns immaculate, they might then go proof or fact to establish any definite cause forth amongst their people, defended only by of alarm, encourages hope; love peoples their own dignity, supported only by the the unfathomable void with creatures of affection and esteem of their subjects. But its own formation; or hate, revenge, and since we have learned in these degenerate malice wreak their fury upon they know times that kings are but men, and since not what; while imagination, the sovereign there are base natures abroad, ever ready queen of mystery, reigns supreme and unto lay hold of and expose the slightest proof disturbed over her own aerial realm. Thus of fallibility in their superiors, it is highly does mystery afford illimitable scope for necessary to the maintenance of regal ma the perpetual activity and play of all the jesty, that the sovereign should be raised thoughts or passions of which we are capaabove the cognizance of vulgar penetration; ble. By allowing liberty of operation to all, that properly initiated members should con- the violence of each is neutralized, and hence stitute the court, within whese penetralia | the power of mystery over the mind of man. the ignorant and common herd are not per It may be argued, that mystery has often mitted to intrude; and that in order to give been the means of exciting the most violent the mandate which issues from the throne, passions, such as fear or superstition. Mysthe awfiil solemnity of an oracle, its irrevo- tery has unquestionably been made by artcable veto should be uttered unseen. ful men the means of exciting the curiosity,
It next becomes our business to inquire and arresting the attention of their deluded how mystery possesses this power to fasci- followers; and thus rendering them more nate the strongest mind, and to lead captive willing and servile recipients of false views, the most tumultuous passions.
or base desires. But in order that either Along with mystery, there is invariably fear or superstition should be excited to any some degree of excitement; and excitement, violent degree, it must have been necessary if we may judge by the general conduct to dissolve the veil of mystery, and reveal and pursuits of mankind, is, when not ex- distinctly some palpable object of dread, or tended so as to create a feeling of pain, a subject of mistaken worship. universally delightful sensation. In speak But to return from this digression to the ing of a love of excitement, those who look more pleasing consideration of that delightgloomily upon human nature, are apt to ful hour of day, which brings to every creadescribe it as a defect; but would it not be ture the most powerful and indissoluble assomore philosophical, as well as more consis-ciations with what it loves best. tent with a grateful disposition, to regard
" Home to the weary, to the hungry cheer, this principle as having been implanted in
To the young bird its mother's brooding wings." our nature to stimulate us to exertion, and to render the various occupations of life a Before the mystery of evening, if not in a succession of pleasing duties, rather than of higher degree, we are charmed with its reirksome toils ?
pose. The stillness that gradually steals
over the creation extends to our own hearts. might have been forgotten. The evening Passion is lulled, and if we are not, we long melody of the birds, stealing gently upon the to be at rest.
humid air, and heard more distinctly than “I will return at the close o? day,' says their noon-day song, calls up the image of the wanderer as he goes forth; and in some friend with whom we have listened to the evening we begin to listen for his wel that sound; nor can we pursue our wonted come, though weary step. “It is but an evening walk without being remindec ay 'he other day of toil,” says the labourer as he very path, the trees, the flowers, ana even brushes away the morning dew, “In the the atmosphere, of that familiar interchange evening I shall rest again;" and already his of thought and feeling, never enjoyed in such children are watching at the cottage door, perfection as at the close of day. But, and his wife is preparing his evening meal. above all other ideas connected with this All day the rebellious child has resisted the hour, we love the repose of evening. Every chastisements of love; but in the evening living creature is then sinking to rest, darkhis soul is subdued, and he weeps upon ness is stealing around us like a misty curhis mother's bosom. We can appease the tain, a dreamy languor subdues our harsher yearnings of the heart, and drive away re- feelings, and makes way for the flow of all flection—nay, we can live without sympathy, that is tender, affectionate, or refined. It is il until evening steals around our path, and scarcely possible to muse upon this subject tells us with a voice which makes itself be without thinking of the return of the wanheard, that we are alone. In the freshness derer, the completion of labour, the folding of morning, and through all the stirring oc of the weary wing, the closing of innocent cupations of busy noon, man can forget his eyes in peaceful slumber, the vesper hymn, Maker; but in the solemn evening hour he and the prayer or thanksgiving with which feels that he is standing in the presence of every day should be closed. his God. In the day-time we move on with How is it, that when there is so much the noisy multitude, in their quest of sordid even in external nature to remind ungrategain, or we wear without weariness or com ful man of his duty, he should be backward plaint the gilded chains which bind down in offering that tribute which is due to the the soul, or we struggle against the tide of Author of all his blessings ? Is it so hard a time and circumstance, battling with straws, thing to be thankful for the bountiful sun, and spending our strength in fruitless war-when we see what a train of glory goes fare; but in the evening we long to find a path along with his departing light? For the where the flowers are not trampled down by gentle and refreshing dews which come many feet, to burst the degrading bonds of with timely nourishment to the dry and custom, and to think and feel more like im- drooping plants? For those very plants, mortal beings; we see the snall importance and their unspeakable utility and beauty ? of those contested points about which so ma For all that the eye beholds of loveliness or ny parties are at war, and we become willing magnificence, or that the ear distinguishes to glide on with the stream, without fretting of harmony? But above all, for that unourselves about every weed or feather on its wearied sense of enjoyment with which it is surface; esteeming peace of mind and good- possible for man to walk through the creawill towards men far before the defence of tion, rendering thanks to his Creator at any particular set of opinions, or even the every step. establishment of our own.
Far be it from the writer of these pages to Evering is the time for remembrance; for advocate the vain philosophy of past agesdie powers of the mind having been all day the vague notion lo:ig since discarded from in exercise, still retain their activity, and the rational world, that the contemplation being no longer engaged in necessary or of the grandeur, beauty, or even perfection worldly pursuits, branch out into innumera- of the universe, is sufficient of itself to lead ble associations, from things present and the heart to God. I speak of such contemvisible, to those which are unseen and re-plation as being the natural and suitable mote, and which but for such associations exercise of an immortal mind, and of the
glories of creation as corroborating evidence her purity; nor have all the scenes of dethat a gracious will has designed the mys- gradation, fraud, or cruelty, which her tery of our being, and that a powerful hand mysterious light has illuminated, been able, continues to uphold the world which we in- even in these clear-sighted and practical habit. I speak of the soothing calm of even- times, to render less solemn and imposing, ing, not with the puerile notion that mere that soul-pervading influence, with which the sentimental musing is conducive to the vi- moon is still capable of inspiring those who tality of the true spirit of Christianity—that have not entirely subdued or sacrificed the spirit which is compelled to engage in active tender, generous, or sublime emotions of warfare with the world, and sometimes to their nature. maintain its stand amidsi all that is repulsive In power, and majesty, and glory, the sun to the poetic mind; but I speak of the even- unquestionably claims our regard before all ing hour as a season of repose and whole- other objects of creation. But the sun is sorne refreshment to this spirit, and of all less poetical than the moon, because his atother enjoyments derived from the admira- tributes are less exclusively connected with tion of nature as lawful, natural, and highly our mental perceptions. By combining the conducive to the feeling of thankfulness idea of heat with that of light, our associawhich unfailingly pervades the soul of the tions become more sensitive and corporeal, true Christian.
and consequently less refined. The light of the sun is also too clear, and too generally pervading in its nature, to be so poetical as
that of the moon. It leaves too little for the THE POETRY OF THE MOON.
imagination. All is revealed to the eye;
and myriads of different objects being thus To write a chapter on the moon, appears, made distinctly visible, the aitention wants at first sight, a task no less presumptuous that focus of concentration which gives inin itself, than inevitably fruitless in its con- tensity and vividness to all our impressions. sequences-fruitless as regards that kind of " But the stars," some may ask, “ are they interest which on behalf of the queen of not sufficiently distant and magnificent for night has been called forth and sanctified sublimity--mild enough for purity--beautiful by the highest powers of genius, as well as enough for love ?" Yes; but they are too abused and profaned by the lowest. To distant--100 pure-too cold for human love. apostrophize the moon, even in the most | They come not near our troubled world, they ecstatic lays, would, in the present day be smile not upon us like the moon. We feel little less absurd than to attempt
that they are beautiful. We behold and
admire. No wonder that the early dwellers " To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, To throw a perfume n'er the violet,
upon earth should have been tempted to beTo smootbe the ice, or add another hue
hold and worship. But one thing is wanting, I'nto the rainbow, or with lantern light
that charm, whether real or ideal, which To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish."
connecis or seems to connect, our mental Yet in order to prove that the moon is of sufferings, wants, and wishes, with some all natural and sensible objects, pre-eminent- high and unattainable source of intelligence ly poetical, no other facts need be adduced -the charm of sympathy. Thousands of than these; that all the effusions of disordered purified and elevated minds have expatiated fancy which have been offered at her shrine, upon the stars as the most sublime of all since first the world began, have not deprived created obje ts, and so unquestionably they the queen of night of one iota of her regal are ;* but sublimity is not all that constitutes dignity; not all the abortive efforts of deceptive art, (and not a few have presented a
• Every one disposed to doubt this truth, may iind mockery of her inimitable beauty.) have, in full conviction by reading in Montgomery's Lectures on the slightest degree impaired the charın of Poetry, a few pages devoted to this subject; perhaps
the inost poetical effusion that ever lowed from an elo. her loveliness ; not all the allusions of sickly
quent pen, inspired by u retined imaginatiou, a highly sentiment, or vulgar affectation, have sullied gitted mind, and a devout spirit.
the essence of poetic feeling. The spirit of l of these lays is proof of a totally different poetry dwells not always in the high and nature, and has nothing to do with the case in distant heavens, but loves to vary its exist point; the inspiration being in the moon hertence by the enjoyment of tender and home- self— the virtue of that inspiration in the souls felt delights. Thus, we are not satisfied, of her votaries. Here however we find adeven in our hightest intellectual pursuits, ditional, and perhaps stronger proof of the unless we find something to appropriate, and same fact; for not only have poets of every call our own; and thus while we admire the age, and every country, found in the queen of stars as splendid portions of the heavens, we night a never-tiring theme; but she has unboth admire and love the moon, because, / questionably the honour of having called forth still retaining her heavenly character, she some of the most memorable, and most brilapproaches nearer to our earth. We can liant effusions of poetic genius. To quote not look upon the stars without being struck illustrative passages on this subject would with a sense of their distance, their unattain- be to fill volumes, and to make selections able height, the immeasurable extent of would be almost impossible, amongst inspace that lies between the celestial fields stances so numerous and so fraught with inwhich they traverse with a perpetual har- terest; but there is one scene in the Mermony of motion, and the low world of petty chantof Venice which deserves particular nocares where we lie grovelling. But the tice, for the natural and simple manner in moon-the placid moon, is just high enough which the poet has given us the most perfect for sublimity, just near enough for love. So idea of an exquisite moonlight night, apbenign, and bland, and softly beautiful is her parently without effort, and almost without ever-beaming countenance, that when per description. It is where the two lovers, essonifying, as we always do, the moon, she caped from danger and suspicion, first find seems to us rather as purified than as having time and opportunity for the quiet enjoyment been always pure. We feel as if some fel- which is best appreciated after imminent lowship with human frailty and surfering risk. In this picture (for it is nothing less) had brought her near us, and almost wonder we behold most strikingly the master hand whether her seasons of mysterious darkness by which the scene is drawn. Here is no babare accompanied with that character of high bling aboutsilver rays, ósost influence," "smiand unimpeachable dignity which attends ling light;' the passage commences merely her seasons of light. Her very beams, when with—- The moon shines bright; and then they steal in upon our meditations, seem so perfect is the enjoyment of the lovers, both fraught with tenderness, with charity, and in each other and in all that surrounds them, love: so that we naturally associate them that they immediately strike off comparisons in our own minds, not so much with super- between that particular night, and others that natural perfection, as with that which has have been vividly impressed upon their imbeen refined and sublimated by a moral aginations, not by observation, but by pasprocess. We call to remembrance the dark- sages from (perhaps their favourite) authors, est imputation ever cast upon the moon, in where the moon has been called in 10 aid those dark times when to be a goddess was the representation of some of the most strikby no means to be free from every moral | ing scenes. Had the happiness of Lorenzo stain ; and then, in fanciful return for all her and Jessica been less absorbing, or had the sweet, and cheering, and familiar light, we night been less beautiful, they might have sometimes offer a sigh of pity to the vestal told us how, and upon what objects the Dian, that she should have paid so dearly moon was then shining. But with them all for having loved but once, and that with so was complete. They had no comments to pure a flame, that it disturbed not the dreams make upon the lovely night, which we are of a slumbering shepherd boy.
left to suppose too exquisite for description; To prove that the moon is of all visible ob- and after amusing themselves and each jects the most poetical, there needs no other other with simple, but most beautiful alluevidence than the number of poetic lays in sions to classic history, they very naturally which she has been celebrated. The merit fall into that playful humour, which belongs