Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

OLIVER CROMWELL.

(Dryden.)

IS grandeur he derived from heaven alone;

For he was great ere fortune made him so: And wars, like mists that rise against the sun,

Made him but greater seem, not greater grow.

No borrow'd bays his temples did adorn,

But to our crown he did fresh jewels bring ; Nor was his virtue poison'd soon as born,

With the too early thoughts of being king.

Fortune (that easy mistress to the young,

But to her ancient servants coy and hard), Him at that age her favourites rank'd among,

When she her best-loved Pompey did discard.

He, private, mark'd the faults of others' sway,

And set as sea-marks for himself to shun; Not like rash monarchs who their youth betray

By acts their age too late would wish undone.

And yet dominion was not his design;

We owe that blessing not to him but Heaven, Which to fair acts unsought rewards did join,

Rewards that less to him than us were given.

His ashes in a peaceful urn shall rest ;

His name a great example stands to show How strangely high endeavours may be blest,

Where piety and valour jointly go.

[graphic][merged small]

,

(Milton.)
HEN I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He returning, chide ;

“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?" I fondly ask; but Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, “ God doth not need
Either man's work, or His own gists; who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best; His state

Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

[ocr errors][graphic]
[graphic][merged small]

(Johnson.) ZHE greatest work of man, except the wall of China. . .

The pyramidal form may have been chosen for a fabric, intended to co-extend its duration with that of the world;

its gradual diminution gave it such stability as defeated all the common attacks of the elements, and could scarcely be overthrown by earthquakes themselves, the least resistable of natural violence. A concussion that should shatter the Pyramid would threaten the dissolution of the Continent.

of the Chinese wall, it is easy to assign the motive. It secured a wealthy and timorous nation from the incursions of barbarians, whose unskilfulness in arts made it easier for them to supply their wants by rapine than by industry, and who, from time to time, poured in upon the habitations of peaceful commerce, as vultures descend upon domestic fowl. Their celerity and fierceness made the wall necessary, and their ignorance made it efficacious.

But for the Pyramids no reason has ever been given adequate to the cost and labour of the work. The narrowness of the chambers proves that it could afford no retreat from enemies, and treasures might have been deposited at far less expense with equal security, It seems to have been erected only in compliance with that hunger of imagination which preys incessantly upon life, and must be always appeased by some employment. Those who have already all that they can enjoy must enlarge their desires. He that has built for use till use is supplied, must begin to build for vanity, and extend his plan to the utmost power of human performance, that he may not be soon reduced to form another wish.

This mighty structure is a monument of the insufficiency of human enjoyments. A king, whose power is unlimited, and whose treasures surmount all real and imaginary wants, is compelled to solace, by the erection of a Pyramid, the satiety of dominion and tastelessness of pleasures, and to amuse the tediousness of declining life, by seeing thousands labouring without end, and one stone, for no purpose, laid on another. Whoever thou art, that, not content with a moderate condition, imaginest happiness in royal magnificence, and dreamest that command or riches can feed the appetite of novelty with perpetual gratification, survey the Pyramids, and confess thy folly.

[graphic]
[graphic][ocr errors]

O

BLAAVIN.

(Alexander Smith.) WONDERFUL mountain of Blaavin,

How oft since our parting hour You have roard with the wintry torrents, You have gloom'd through the thunder-shower! But by this time the lichens are creeping Grey-green o'er your rocks and your stones, And each hot afternoon is steeping Your bulk in its sultriest bronze. O sweet is the Spring wind, Blaavin, When it loosens your torrents' flow, When with one little touch of a sunny hand It unclasps your cloak of snow. O sweet is the Spring wind, Blaavin, And sweet it was to meFor before the bell of the snowdrop Or the pink of the apple treeLong before your first Spring torrent Came down with a flash and a whirl, In the breast of its happy mother There nestled my little girl.

« ZurückWeiter »