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is as bright and clear as crystal; every bough and twig is strung with ice-beads, frozen dew-drops, and the whole tree sparkles, cold and white, like the Shah of Persia’s diamond plume.
Then the wind waves the branches, and the sun comes out and turns all these myriads of beads and drops to prisms, that glow, and hum and flash with all manner of colored fires, which change and change again, with inconceivable rapidity, from blue to red, from red to green, and green to gold; the tree becomes a sparkling fountain, a very explosion of dazzling jewels, and it stands there the acme, the climax, the supremest possibility in art or nature of bewildering, intoxicating, intolerable magnificence! One cannot make the words too strong.
Month after month I lay up hate and grudge against the New England weather ; but when the ice-storm comes at last, I say: "There, I forgive you now; the books are square between us; you don't owe me a cent; go and sin some more; your little faults and foibles count for nothing; you are the most enchanting weather in the world.”
God and Beauty.
RICHARD S. STORRS, JR.
How perfectly replete is God's mind with all the laws and types of beauty.
We go into a collection of flowers and fruits, like those which we often see exhibited in the city or populous village, and there observe the innumerable varieties of color and of form assembled before us. Crimson, purple, scarlet, violet, every possible shade and tint of the green, the purest white, the richest, most velvety dark-blue or black, pearl color, gold color, lilac, vermillion, shades that melt into and are lost in each other, shades that are far too delicate to be defined by the relatively coarse apparatus of words—all are here, in inexhaustible richness, in seemingly inextricable confusion and medley, yet in really absolute proportion and harmony. Very often several are combined in one flower; and always when combined, in most beautiful, even musical, agreement and concord. The cup of the blossom is of white, edged with crimson; the petals are of scarlet, drooping gracefully out of their silver sheath; and even these are tufted and crested at the end, as if by a patient, assiduous tastefulness that could not let them go, with a golden finish.
We try to make the flower immortal and almost pine because it is not. We would stop, if we could, the steady and silent wheels of time, before they crushed the fragile glory. God will not let the flower live because he has another yet nobler thought, of more complete beauty, which he would show us. He hangs around such sights of beauty the stately grace and majesty of the earth—its woods and plains, its streams and seas, the sunshine flashing over all, the sunsets gorgeous in their pomp of pillared amethyst, opal, gold. He pours the beauty of the moonlight, even upon a resting world, weird and fantastic, yet lovely as a dream. He spreads the infinite canopy of the night, and touches it everywhere with dots of splendor. He makes each season a moving panorama of sights and sounds, of brilliant gleams or fragrant odors, full, constantly, of beauty to him who studies it.
He does not do this for the observation of man alone, remember; he does it for the utterance of his own interior and spontaneous thought. The whole creation teems thus with beauty, because his own mind teems with it evermore. He fills the forest depths, which no man sees, with foliage, yearly reproduced and yearly lost, age after age; with blossoming vines; with brilliant and tuneful birds; with grasses and mosses, all delicate and all transient. He paves the sea itself with shells, and edges the coasts with coral reefs, and makes the fish, which no man sees except through some strange violence of storms, a very mirror of every tint most sumptuous and splendid. In the midst of the forests, in the depths of the solid structure of the tree, he hides the curling and delicate grains which art laboriously searches out and displays. Amid rough rocks he drops the diamond; under the rude and earthly shell, he spreads the sheen of precious pearl; around gray cliffs the modest harebells wreathe their necklace at his command. The tiniest insect is covered over with beauty, his wings inlaid and plaited with gold, his breast and crest tipped with silver and pearl, the infinitesimal lines of his eye burnished beyond all human art !
And then God goes to other worlds, with his united creative energy, and there he erects a still different structure. He lays the very foundations differently, of masses and proportions, that he may build the whole edifice anew, and may spread with the same divine prodigality another series of inimitable decorations.
The Vale of Cashmere.
Who has not heard of the Vale of Cashmere,
With its roses the brightest that earth ever gave, Its temples, and grottos, and fountains as clear
As the love-lighted eyes that hang over their wave? Oh to see it at sunset,—when warm o'er the Lake
Its splendour at parting a summer eve throws, Like a bride, full of blushes, when lingering to take
A last look of her mirror at night ere she goes ! When the shrines through the foliage are gleaming half
shown, And each hallows the hour by some rites of its own. Here the music of prayer from a minaret swells,
Here the Magian his urn, full of perfume, is swinging,
And here, at the altar, a zone of sweet bells
Round the waist of some fair Indian dancer is ringing. Or to see it by moonlight,—when mellowly shines The light o'er its palaces, gardens, and shrines; When the water-falls gleam, like a quick fall of stars, And the nightingale's hymn from the Isle of Chenars Is broken by laughs and light echoes of feet From the cool, shining walks where the young people meet,Or at morn, when the magic of daylight awakes A new wonder each minute, as slowly it breaks, Hills, cupolas, fountains, called forth every one Out of darkness, as if but just born of the Sun. When the Spirit of Fragrance is up with the day, From his Haram of night-flowers stealing away; And the wind, full of wantonness, woos like a lover The young aspen-trees, till they tremble all over. When the East is as warm as the light of first hopes,
And Day, with his banner of radiance unfurled, Shines in through the mountainous portal that opes,
Sublime, from that Valley of bliss to the world!
The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne,
Stood pretty dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids,
Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
-Antony and Cleopatra, ii., 2.
TONE OF ARGUMENT.
(See Tone Drill No. 21.)
[The tone of Argument indicates that the speaker is in discus. sion with some person, real or imaginary, whom he is seeking to convince. This tone is closely allied to Assertion, and at times runs into Indignation, Contempt, Interrogation and Concession.]
The Present Age.
I confess, standing here in this responsible situation, I do not understand this much-used and much-abused phrase—the “material age.” I cannot comprehend-if anybody can I very much doubt—its logical signification. For instance, has electricity become more material in the mind of any