Page images
PDF
EPUB

Some on the silent river drift, bound none of us know

where; Some in a hospitable rift, hide from the frosty air; Ah! sad the thought! their many hues now rudely

mixed together, Were once the care of Summer dews, the pride of the

sunny weather.

And while the elm-tree's amberded store, chestnut and

red-brown beech, Are writing thus the solemn lore their fading beauties

teach, Young children, winnowing the leaves, the fallen nuts

are seeking, Spring leaves themselves, they little know what the

Autumn leaves are speaking!

They dream not of the dull heart-beat, and the soul

sky overcast, That follow memory's restless feet, through the dead

leaves of the past; Nor how fond hope our toil employs, as we seek, and

seek in vain, To winnow from our withered joys, one that shall live

again.

But, stay-methinks a voice I hear from the amber

gold and brown Of the dying leaves, that in the clear, cold air are

rustling down; Are rustling down while the soft breeze prays, or in

recesses dim Of the cloistered wood, doth sweetly raise the notes of

a parting hymn.

They say those leaves so beautiful, those leaves in death

so fair, Like us, live ever dutiful; like us, expire in prayer;

184 Scene in the Trials of Margaret Lyndsay. And then the sun that sees your fall shall be that

Father's eye, Whose winds of heaven delight to call his children to the sky.

(Copyright-contributed.)

SCENE IN THE TRIALS OF MARGARET LYNDSAY.

PROFESSOR Wilson. The twenty-fourth day of November came at lastma dim, dull, dreary, and obscure day, fit for parting everlastingly from a place or person tenderly beloved. There was no sun, no wind, no sound, in the misty and unechoing air. A deadness lay over the wet earth, and there was no visible heaven. Their goods and chattels were few; but many little delays occurred, some accidental, and more in the unwillingness of their hearts to take a final farewell. A neighbour had lent his cart for the flitting, and it was now standing loaded at the door ready to move away. The fire, which had been kindled in the morning with a few borrowed peats, was now out, the shutters closed, the door was locked and the key put into the hand of the person sent to receive it. And now there was nothing more to be said or done, and the impatient horse started briskly away from Braehead. The blind girl and poor Marion were sitting in the cart_Margaret and her mother were on foot. Esther had two or three small flower-pots in her lap, for in her blindness she loved the sweet fragrance and the felt forms and imagined beauty of flowers; and the innocent carried away her tame pigeon in her bosom. Just as Margaret lingered on the threshold, the robin redbreast that had been their boarder for several winters, hopped upon the stone seat at the side of the door, and turned up its merry eyes to her face. “There,” said she, “is your last crumb from us, sweet Roby, but

Scene in the Trials of Margaret Lyndsay. 185

there is a God who takes care o' us a'.” The widow had by this time shut down the lid of her memory, and left all the hoard of her thoughts and feelings, joyful or despairing, buried in darkness. The assembled group of neighbours, mostly mothers with their children in their arms, had given the “ God bless you, Alice, God bless you, Margaret, and the lave,” and began to disperse; each turning to her own cares and anxieties, in which, before night, the Lyndsays would either be forgotten, or thought on with that unpainful sympathy, which is all the poor can afford or expect, but which, as in this case, often yields the fairest fruits of charity and love.

A cold sleety rain accompanied the cart and the foot travellers all the way to the city. Short as the distance was, they met with several other flittings, some seemingly cheerful, and from good to better-others with wobegone faces, going like themselves down the path of poverty on a journey from which they were to rest at night at a bare and hungry house.

The cart stopped at the foot of a lane too narrow to admit the wheels, and also too steep for a laden horse. Two or three of their new neighbours-persons in the very humblest condition, coarsely and negligently dressed, but seemingly kind and decent people-came out from their houses at the stopping of the cart wheels, and one of them said, “Ay, ay, here's the flitting, I'se warrant, frae Braehead. Is that you, Mrs. Lyndsay ? Hech, sirs, but you've gotten a nasty cauld wet day for coming into Auld Reekie, as you kintra folks ca’ Embro. Hae ye had ony tidings, say ye, o' your guidman since he gaed aff wi' that limmer ? Dool be wi' her and a’ sic like.” Alice replied kindly to such questioning, for she knew it was not meant unkindly. The cart was soon unladen, and the furniture put into the empty room. A cheerful fire was blazing, and the animated and interested faces of the honest folks who crowded into it, on a slight acquaintance, unceremoniously and curiously, but without rudeness, gave a cheerful welcome to the new dwelling. In a quarter of an hour the beds were laid down—the room decently arranged one and all of the neighbours said, “Guid night," and the door was closed upon the Lyndsays in their new dwelling.

They blessed and ate their bread in peace. The Bible was then opened, and Margaret read a chapter. There was frequent and loud noise in the lane of passing merriment or anger, but this little congregation worshipped God in a hymn, Esther's sweet voice leading the sacred melody; and they knelt together in prayer. It has been beautifully said by one whose works are not unknown in the dwellings of the poor

"Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes;
Swift on his downy pinions flies from woe,
And lights on lids unsullied with a tear.”

Not so did sleep this night forsake the wretched. He came like moonlight into the house of the widow and the fatherless, and under the shadow of his wings their souls lay in oblivion of all trouble, or perhaps solaced even with delightful dreams.

(By permission of Messrs. Blackwood & Sons.)

THE MITHERLESS BAIRN.

WILLIAM Thom.

WHEN a' ither bairnies are hushed to their hame
By auntie, or cousin, or frecky grand-dame,
Wha stands last and lanely, an' naebody carin'?
'Tis the puir doited loonie-the mitherless bairn.

The mitherless bairn gangs to his lane bed,
Nane covers his cauld back, or haps his bare head;
His wee hackit heelies are hard as the airn,
An' litheless the lair o' the mitherless bairn.

Aneath his cauld brow siccan dreams hoven there,
O' hands that wont kindly to kame his dark hair ;
But morning brings clutches a' reckless and stern,
That lo'e nae the locks o' the mitherless bairn!

Yon sister, that sang o'er his saftly rocked bed,
Now rests in the mools where her mammy is laid ;
The father toils sair their wee bannock to earn,
An' kens na the wrangs o' his mitherless bairn.

Her spirit that passed in yon hour o' his birth,
Still watches his wearisome wanderings on earth;
Recording in heaven the blessings they earn
Wha couthilie deal wi' the mitherless bairn!

Oh! speak na him harshly-he trembles the while,
He bends to your bidding, and blesses your smile;
In their dark hour o anguish, the heartless shall learn
That God deals the blow for the mitherless bairn!

OMNISCIENCE AND OMNIPRESENCE OF GOD.

East. God is everywhere, and knows all persons, and all events.

Of the truth of this fact we have a consciousness, which no art, no reasoning, can expel. We feel conscious that there is no place in heaven above, or on earth beneath, from whence God is excluded :-we feel conscious that in the deepest vale, as well as on the mountain top, in subterraneous caverns, as well as open

« PreviousContinue »