Pagina-afbeeldingen
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With nail and palm to horrible condition

Each beat and tore her breast, with cry so lurid

That to my guide I turned in suspicion. • Medusa, come; to adamant assured

So shall we change him,' cried they, downwards gazing,

''Twas ill the assault of Theseus we endured.' Turn thyself round, no more thy vision raising;

For if it once the Gorgon's face beholdeth

No chance is left thee for thy steps' retracing.' So saith the Master, and himself enfoldeth

My face turned backwards, and with act imperious

Me with his own hands, mine not trusting, holdeth. Oye of understanding sound and serious,

Regard the doctrine which is here concealed

Beneath the veil of this my verse mysterious. Now came, across the turbid waves revealed,

A crashing sound, tremendous, awe-inspiring,

Whereat in terror both the fosses reeled ; Not otherwise than as a wind untiring,

Born of opposing solar heats, which heweth

The forest through, and no respite desiring
Rendeth the boughs, and far their fragments streweth:

Before it rolls a cloud of dust immensest,

And beasts and shepherds in full flight pursueth. He freed my eyes, and said, “With gaze intensest

Direct thy vision o'er the foam long-standing

There where the bitter fog to view is densest.' As frogs before the serpent foe disbanding

Speed through the water, all their powers employed,

Till each is gathered on the welcome landing ; So I beheld some thousand souls destroyed

Fly before one who passed the Stygian river

With unwet feet upon the surface buoyed. His left hand waved he often, to deliver

His face from the gross air suspended o'er him,

And of this sole annoyance seemed receiver.
I saw how like one sent from heaven he bore him,

And turned me to the Master, who then signed

That I should quiet stand, and bow before him. Ah me, with what superb disdain he shined !

He reached the gate, one touch with wand was given,

And straight it opened, free and unconfined.
O abject race, from heaven's high palace driven !'

Began he on the threshold fear-frequented;
'Whence is't such insolence in you bath thriven ?

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Against that will why kick ye discontented,

Whose law its end unmutilate declareth,

And oftimes hath your bitter woe augmented ? What profits it to push at fate? Il fareth

Your Cerberus, be it to your mind recalled,

Who chin and throat hairless to this day beareth.' Then backwards o'er the foul road unappalled

He went, without a word to us, appearing

As one whom other cares have spurred and galled, Than of the things that lie before him. Fearing

No longer, towards the land our steps we carry

After those words of blessed import bearing. Then enter we without an adversary;

And I who was desirous of discerning

The lot a place so strong enclosed, tarry When once within, my eyes around me turning,

And lo, on all hands a great plain extendeth,

With woes replete and evil torments burning. Like as at Arles, where Rhone its waters lendeth

To the lake, or where Quarnaro's gulf comprising

The Italian limits, up to Pola sendeth Its laving tide, the tombs all round arising

Destroy the level; so 'twas here repeated,

Save that the method was of worse devising ; For roots of flame amid the graves were seated,

Which to such glow to kindle them were able,

No art on earth needs iron more fiercely heated. Their lids were lifted all in balance stable,

And out there issued such wild lamentation,

As well might suit the lost and miserable. And I, “O Master, say what is this nation

That here within these vaults to woe allied

Make known with sighs their grievous situation.' Then, Here are the heresiarchs,' he replied,

• With their disciples of all sects : the spaces

More than thou wouldst believe, are occupied. Like here with like is buried; and their places

With less or greater heat are circumvented.'

Then passing to the right, we turned our paces Between the ramparts and the souls tormented.

(To be continued.)

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MUSINGS OVER THE CHRISTIAN YEAR

AND LYRA INNOCENTIUM.

SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.

We must begin with the Lyra to-day, that we may ascend the scale, and, like the lessons to mankind, begin with “Thou shalt do no murder,' and end with ‘Love.'

Though St. John's reference to Cain does not form part of the Epistle of to-day, it naturally connects itself therewith; and “He that hateth his brother is a murderer,' is the passage of the New Testament that responds to Cain's wrath and fallen countenance. Here, then, we have a paraphrase of the reproof of the Almighty to Cain.

In a sermon, (published, I think, among the Plain Sermons by the Authors of Tracts for the Times,) reference was made to the remarkable force of the expression, “Sin lieth at the door,' as though it were a couching monster outside, ready to spring upon the unwary, the instant the least occasion should be given. Any envious malicious sensation of pining at the favour of another, is such a monster, and the first slight annoyance or provocation, will be his moment for mastering the soul, and leading to word and deed of violence.

Chain the evil, then, while there is time. Unlike the miserable Cain, learn to rejoice in the superiority of thy brother, and to be thankful, even though his gain be thy loss. For a time there must be grief and pain ; the sensation leaves a mark in its degree; but alms, prayer, and repentance, may wear it out; deeds of love will force the eye to acquire a kindly glance, and the sullen answer become a meek confession. Prayer and acts of love are the only cure for envy and jealousy.

The lovely Song of Love in the Christian Year is one of the gems of the whole collection; and we could not but keep it to the last. The sunset verse, with the clouds mantling round the sun for love, and the ocean verse, are equally exquisite in the scenes they call up, and the ideas they connect with them. Everyone, we imagine, must have some special glowing sunset called up by this verse-one, mayhap, when the west is a sea of pale burnished radiance, into which tiny clouds of ineffable light, like Fouqué's dream of Aslauga's golden hair, seem to float, and lose themselves; or it may be an azure vault, dappled with roseate cloudlets, like the half-developed angel heads that crowd the back-ground of the Madonna di San Sisto, and glowing with cherubic fire, deep but calm, as they become lost in the central radiance about which they throng, as it were for love.

Everyone too has their own remembrance of some woodland walk, winding along above the beach, letting the many-twinkling smile' be now and then glimpsed through the foliage, and the gentle gasping ripple, flow, and dash, making still music in the shade, as of a great moving and heaving thing struggling for life.' Perhaps by the light thrown by Sir J. T. Coleridge's memoir, some of the woods around Sidmouth may be taken to have suggested the description.

In cloud and sea, an appearance suggesting love and life is the charm; and love is the only sign of life in a soul. The love of Christ, as man embraced, as God adored,' must be the spring of the Christian's life.

• But he, whose heart will bound to mark

The full bright burst of summer morn,
Loves, too, each little dewy spark

By leaf or floweret worn.
Cheap forms and common hues, 'tis true,
Through the bright shower-drop meet his view:
The colouring may be of this earth,
The lustre comes of heavenly birth.

Even so, who loves the Lord aright,

No soul of man can worthless find;
All will be precious in his sight,

Since Christ on all hath shind;
But chiefly Christian souls, for they,
Though worn and soiled with sinful clay,
Are yet to eyes that see them true,
All glistening with baptismal dew.'

No wonder, then, that the most innocent are the most universally loving; or if they who hate the sin most, yet love the poor sinner best. Just as nothing can break the tie of blood, and brothers are brothers evermore, so Christians keep their brotherhood in kindness and pity for ever.

Would that we did so! Great is the need; for the Church is beset by "wild thoughts within, bad men without;' and all that can be done for our consolation, is to draw nearer day by day,' each to his brethren, all to God ; never changing our road for any persecution, nor marvelling in wonder or dismay to find the martyr's foe,' the wicked world, as hostile to good as she always was.

• But fixed to hold Love's banner fast,
And by submission win at last.'

THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.

The angels, who, as our blessed Lord tells us in the Gospel for this day, rejoice over one sinner that repenteth, are the subject of the meditation before us.

First, we bave the agony of shame and self-reproach that comes over a nature not yet hardened or callous, and makes it unable to brook the gaze of any human eye; driving the conscious offender to take refuge as far as possible from his kind-seeking the loneliest depths of forest or mountain. Children, under a deep sense of shame, will thus seek

solitude ; and thus, too, has many a conscience-stricken man become a hermit: the inclination for loneliness, under distress of mind, is everywhere to be found. Yet is the solitude ever attained? The guilty conscience ererywhere feels a present gaze; and the very leaves seem to tell out the sad secret of the heart ; and this is verily the intuitive sense of the watchfulness of the Eye that never slumbers nor sleeps ; it may be, too, of the Cherubim, who are full of eyes within,' and of the great cloud of witnesses who encompass us; and moreover, of our guardian angel, whose bound we cannot pass, and who grieves to see our heedlessness of the lovely works with which our God has filled every spot in His creation. So profusely has He scattered them, that man's selfish murmur is,

own

* Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The mute unfathomed caves of ocean bear ;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.'

Forsooth, everything is wasted that man does not enjoy, from the rainbow-tinted shell, to the gorgeous paradise depths of a tropical forest ! But who knows whether purer beings do not delight in their beauty, and make it a fresh subject of adoration for the Maker of heaven and earth. (The idea has been dwelt on and drawn out in Dr. Newman's Sermon for St. Michael's Day.) So, if indeed the woods and fields be full of God's messengers, the angels, what a grief and shame to think that their joy should be dimmed by the presence of a human creature, one of God's own children, and moreover, in the very crisis of renovation! The moody shame and sullen grief that has brought the sufferer to his present misery, will become either remorse and despair, or repentance and hope.

• O turn and be thou turned; the selfish tear
In bitter thoughts of low-born care begun,
Let it flow on, but flow refined and clear,
The turbid waters brightening as they run.'

The sorrow for shame and punishment_let it become sorrow for sin. Then comes hope of pardon ; then comes comfort; then comes humility and acknowledgement; then comes the welcome of the loving below, the more full rejoicing of the angels above, when the lost sheep is brought home by the Good Shepherd.

The same most touching thought, that of the angels' joy, is the keynote of Languor, that other poem for this day, of which Sir J. T. Coleridge has told us the history-namely, that he suggested that the tender welcome of a convalescent in the family, is a likeness, as it were, of the joyful watch over the reclaimed sinner in his penitence.

Very sweet are the opening verses, describing the happy children, who

• Mark in playful pensiveness llow fast the evening clouds undress

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