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POETIC SELECTIONS.-THE CHILDRENS' CORNER.
Take it, O Father, e'er my courage fail,
And merge it so in Thine own will that e'en,
If in some desperate hour my cry prevail, And Thou give back my gift, it may have been
So changed, so purified, so fair have grown,
I may not keep or feel it as mine own,
REST IN THE GRAVE.
REST in the grave!-but rest is for the weary,
And her slight limbs are hardly girt for toil;
Rest is for lives worn-out, deserted, deary, Which have no brightness left for death in spoil.
We yearn for rest, when power and passion wasted
Have left to memory nothing but regret: She sleeps, while life's best pleasures, all untasted,
Had scarce approached her rosy lips as yet.
Her childlike eyes still lacked their crowning sweetness,
Her form was ripening to more perfect grace.
May never grow and quicken and have birth!
She knew not love who might have loved so truly,
Though love dreams stirred her fancy, faint and fleet;
Her soul's ethereal wings were budding newly,
Her woman's heart had scarce begun to beat.
We drank the sweets of life, we drink the bitter,
And death to us would almost seem a boon;
But why, to her, for whom glad life were fitter,
Should darkness come ere day had reached its noon?
No answer,-save the echo of our weeping, Which from the woodland and the moor is heard,
Where, in the spring-time, ruthless stormwinds sweeping
Hath slain the unborn flower and newfledged bird. -Temple Bar.
The Childrens' Corner.
SOMEBODY MUST BE IN.
HERE is a little story which tells better than a dictionary can the meaning of the word "disinterestedness."
The late Archdeacon Hare was once, when tutor of Trinity College, Cambridge, giving a lecture, when a cry of "Fire" was raised. Away rushed his pupils, and forming themselves into a line between the building, which was close at hand, and the river, passed buckets from one to another. The tutor quickly following, found them thus engaged; at the end of the line one youth was standing up to his waist in the river, and he looked consumptive.
"What!" cried Mr. Hare, "you in the water, Sterling? you are so liable to take cold!"
Somebody must be in it," the youth answered; "why not I, as well as another?"
The spirit of this answer is that of all great and generous doing. Cowardice and coldness, too, say, "Oh! somebody will do it," and the speaker sits still; he is not the one to do what needs doing. But nobility of character, looking at necessary things, says, "Somebody must do it; why not I?" and the deed is done.
THE PATHOS OF THE BIBLE.
PALESTINE, to-day, is a land of ruins. Fields, once fertile, are desert; hill-sides, once clothed with vineyards, are barren and unsightly; cities dismantled, harbours choked with rubbish and the refuse of the sea. All is worse than solitude—accursed, "trodden under foot of the Gentiles;" yet the hills are musical with words that shall outlast them an eternity. Traverse the valley of Hebron-there lie the bones of the patriarchs; visit the borders of the Dead Sea-its sluggish waters roll over the cities of the plain, and trace the fire-storm from heaven. And there, beautiful for situation, the Holy City stands-Jerusalem-whither the tribes went up; the guilty city, where He warned and healed and pleaded-over which He wept; the fated city, desecrated by man's darkest crime, consecrated by the marvellous manifestations of redeeming love. As the verification of prophetic truth-as the centre of memories tenderest, most sacred- these ruins are Nature's tribute to the pathos of the Bible. They recall the touching narration of Holy Writ, whose sympathetic influence is felt wherever the Word has gone forth. Divested of its pathos, the Bible were but a compilation of social ethics.
An ancient legend has it, that a tyrant of the East went forth to battle with the Greeks. Gazing upon the mass of living millions enlisted in his cause, the monarch's heart was melted. He wept, he knew not why. The tears came not, as he supposed, from any inference of reflection. They rose spontaneously, as they will at times amid the bustle of a crowded thoroughfare. Our own emotions are reflected back from other hearts. We feel the thrill of spiritual contact, the mighty presence of life. Such is the pathos of the Bible, the underlying tenderness which makes the book of books the book of human nature; sounding the depths of human sympathy, universal, indefinable, profound.
Poetry and pathos in the Bible are subordinate. It never controverts its sacred office, nor makes effect a purpose. The tender and poetical are humble instruments to seal the truth upon the consciences of men. The child who cannot comprehend the love divine is melted as he hears from mother lips the sweet story of Him who was Himself a babe at Bethlehem, who loved and blessed the little children. The man who, scarcely better than the child, can know the wonders of the same inexplicable love, is impressed by the simplicity and tenderness which mark that strange, eventful life.
THE LAKE POETS.
THE LAKE POETS.
EARLY in this century, three great poets-Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey-lived in the north-western corner of England, in the Lake district. Here, among themselves, they formed a little colony of poetry and genius, far from the noise of cities. From here, at intervals, they sent out their writings into the world; and as they grew famous they came to be called the "Lake Poets." In the year 1803, they were all married and settled in the Lake country, and were already known as poets. Wordsworth, the eldest, was thirty-three, Coleridge thirty-one, and Southey twentynine. Wordsworth had published two volumes of poems, called "Descriptive Sketches" and "Lyrical Ballads;" but his chief works were to come. Coleridge was known by this time as the author of the "Ancient Mariner." Southey, the youngest of the three, and the most industrious, had published two epic poems, "Joan of Arc" and "Thalaba, the Destroyer." Wordsworth, who survived the others, and lived to be the greatest of the three, has especially connected himself with the Lake district, which is now often called the "Wordsworth Country." For fifty years, from 1800 to 1850, he lived and wrote there-first at Allan Bank, Grasmere, and then at Rydal Mount. His greatest works were composed there. All his love and happiness were centred there; and there, in the green Grasmere churchyard, he lies buried. You must all be familiar with many of his shorter poems, written about the flocks and flowers and simple cottage life of the Lake country, such as his “Rainbow," his "Pet Lamb," and the story of poor Lucy Gray
"The sweetest thing that ever grew
who was lost in the snow on the hills, and whose little spirit is said still to wander upon the "lonesome wild." Southey wrote of distant lands and other times than his own; but the greater part of his life was spent in the quiet vale of Keswick, and many of his minor poems are peculiarly English. Everybody has read his poem called After Blenheim," about the skull which little Peterkin found by old Kaspar's cottage, and the "famous victory" which had been fought on that ground long before. He, too, was the author of the well-known fairy tale, the "Three Bears," which was probably written for his own children before it found its way into our nursery story-book. Coleridge was a philosopher as well as a poet. In actual quantity, he has left us less poetry than
either Wordsworth or Southey. But what he did write-his ghastly" Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner," his "Christabel," the beautiful little love poem, "Genevieve," and his famous "Hymn before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni"-have given him a place among our great English poets.
A WRITER in the Globe brings together the following exampleswhich might be almost indefinitely multiplied of blundering literary judgments :
A writer in the seventeenth century-William Winstanley-in his "Lives of the English Poets," thus speaks and prophesies of Milton "John Milton was one whose natural parts might deservedly give him a place among the principal of our English poets, having written two heroic poems and a tragedy. But his fame has gone out like a candle in a snuff, and his memory will always stink." One of the most illustrious of Milton's brother bards-Edmund Waller-in one of his letters refers to "Paradise Lost" as a tedious poem by the blind old school-master, in which there is nothing remarkable but the length. Horace Walpole, as shrewd a man and as accomplished a critic as ever lived, has obligingly informed us who were the "first writers" in 1753. Posterity would probably guess, with Macaulay, that they were Hume, Fielding, Smollett, Richardson, Johnson, Warburton, Collins, Akenside, Gray. Not at all. They were, according to a contemporary, Lord Chesterfield, Lord Bath, Mr. William Whitehead, Sir Charles Williams, Mr. Soame Jenynge, Mr. Cambridge, and Mr. Coventry-that is to say, a pack of scribblers, only one of whom is known even by name to ninety-nine readers out of a hundred-Lord Chesterfield-and he is remembered chiefly as the ninepin of Dr. Johnson and Cowper. George Steevens has remarked that nothing short of an Act of Parliament would induce people to read the sonnets of Shakespeare; and Johnson prophesied a safe immortality for Pomphret's famous "Choice." Every one knows how the great Edinburgh received Byron's first attempts, and what it "prophesied" concerning him. When Dickens brought out " Pickwick," a leading review, condescending to notice the "low cockney tale," shrewdly perceived that the author was already proving himself unequal, and that the "thin vein of humour" was rapidly showing signs of exhaustion.__In the author of "Enone," "Locksley Hall," and "The Lotus Eaters,"
A WORTHY SON.
the keen and searching critical acumen of the Quarterly could only see a minor star of that "galaxy or milky-way of poetry of which the lamented Keats was the harbinger," and the future author of the " Idylls" and "In Memoriam" was received with peals of laughter, and consigned placidly to oblivion.
A WORTHY SON.
ON one of the many bridges in Ghent stands two large brazen images of father and son, who obtained this distinguished mark of the admiration of their fellow-citizens by the following incident:Both the father and the son were, for some offence against the state, condemned to die. Some favourable circumstances appearing on the side of the son, he was granted a remission of his sentence, under certain provisions; in short, he was offered a pardon, on a most cruel and barbarous condition-viz., that he would become the executioner of his father! He at first resolutely refused to preserve his life by means so fatal and detestable. This is not to be wondered at; for let us hope, for the honour of our nature, that there are very few sons who would not have spurned with abhorrence, life sustained on a condition so horrid and unnatural. The son, though, long inflexible, was at length overcome by the tears and entreaties of a fond father, who represented to him that, at all events, his (the father's) life was forfeited, and that it would be the greatest possible consolation for him in his last moments, that in his death he was an instrument of his son's preservation. The youth consented to adopt the horrible means of recovering his life and liberty; he lifted the axe- —but, as it was about to fall, his arm sank nerveless, and the axe dropped from his hand. Had he as many lives as hairs, he could have yielded them all, one after another, rather than again conceive, much less perpetrate, such an act. Life, liberty, everything, vanished before the dearer interests of filial affection; he fell upon his father's neck, and embracing him, triumphantly exclaimed, " My father! we die together!" and then called another executioner to fulfil the sentence of the law. Hard must their hearts indeed be-bereft of every sentiment of virtue, every sensation of humanity-who could stand insensible spectators of such a scene. A sudden peal of involuntary applause, mixed with moans and sighs, rent the air. The execution was suspended, and on a simple report of the transaction to the authorities, both were pardoned. High rewards and honours were conferred on the son; and finally, these two admirable brazen