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A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to airy thinness beat.
If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
Yet when the other far doth roam
And grows erect as that comes home.
Like th' other foot obliquely run.
And makes me end where I begun."-(DONNE.)
In all these examples it is apparent that whatever is improper or vicious is produced by a voluntary deviation from nature in pursuit of something new and strange; and that the writers fail to give delight by their desire of exciting admiration.
Essay on Cowley.
ALCANDER AND SEPTIMIUS.
BY OLIVER GOLDSMITH.
Athens, even long after the decline of the Roman empire, still continued the seat of learning, politeness, and wisdom. The emperors and generals, who in these periods of approaching ignorance still felt a passion for science, from time to time added to its buildings, or increased its professorships. Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, was of the number: he repaired those schools which barbarity was suffering to fall into decay, and continued those pensions to men of learning which avaricious governors had monopolized to themselves.
In this city, and about this period, Alcander and Septimius were fellow students together. The one the most subtle reasoner of all the Lyceum; the other the most eloquent speaker in the Academic Grove. Mutual admiration soon begot an acquaintance, and a similitude of disposition made them perfect friends. Their fortunes were nearly equal, their studies the same, and they were natives of the two most celebrated cities in the world; for Alcander was of Athens, Septimius came from Rome. In this mutual harmony they lived for some time together, when Alcander, after passing the first part of his youth in the indolence of philosophy, thought at length of entering into the busy world, and as a step previous to this, placed his affections on Hypatia, a lady of exquisite beauty. Hypatia showed no dislike to his addresses. The day of their intended nuptials was fixed, the previous ceremonies were performed, and nothing now remained but her being conducted in triumph to the apartment of the intended bridegroom.
An exultation in his own happiness, or his being unable to enjoy any satisfaction without making his friend Septimius a partner, prevailed upon him to introduce his mistress to his fellow student, which he did with all the gaiety of a man who found himself equally happy in friendship and love.-But this was an interview fatal to the peace of both; for Septimius no sooner saw her but he was smit with an involuntary passion. He used every effort, but in vain, to suppress desires at once apartment in inexpressible agony; and the so imprudent and unjust. He retired to his emotions of his mind in a short time became so strong, that they brought on a fever, which the physicians judged incurable.
During this illness Alcander watched him with all the anxiety of fondness, and brought his mistress to join in those amiable offices of friendship. The sagacity of the physicians, by this means, soon discovered the cause of their patient's disorder; and Alcander, being apprised of their discovery, at length extorted a confession from the reluctant dying lover.
It would but delay the narrative to describe the conflict between love and friendship in the breast of Alcander on this occasion; it is enough to say, that the Athenians were at this time arrived at such refinement in morals, that every virtue was carried to excess. In short, forgetful of his own felicity, he gave up his intended bride, in all her charms, to the young Roman. They were married privately by his connivance; and this unlooked-for change of fortune wrought as unexpected a change in the constitution of the now happy Septimius. In a few days he was perfectly recovered, and set out with his fair partner for Rome. Here, by an exertion of those talents of which he was so eminently possessed, he in a few years arrived at the highest dignities of the state, and was constituted the city judge, or pretor.
Meanwhile Alcander not only felt the pain of being separated from his friend and mistress, but a prosecution was also commenced against him by the relations of Hypatia, for his having basely given her up, as was suggested, for money. Neither his innocence of the crime laid to his charge, nor his eloquence in his own defence, was able to withstand the influence of a powerful party. He was cast, and condemned to pay an enormous fine. Unable to raise so large a sum at the time appointed, his possessions were confiscated, himself stripped of the habit of freedom, exposed in the market-place, and sold as a slave to the highest bidder.
A merchant of Thrace becoming his purchaser, | appearance confirmed suspicion. Misfortune Alcander, with some other companions of dis- and he were now so long acquainted, that he tress, was carried into that region of desolation at last became regardless of life. He detested and sterility. His stated employment was to a world where he had found only ingratitude, follow the herds of an imperious master; and falsehood, and cruelty, and was determined to his skill in hunting was all that was allowed make no defence. Thus, lowering with resoluhim to supply a precarious subsistence. tion, he was dragged, bound with cords, before demned to hopeless servitude, every morning the tribunal of Septimius. The proofs were waked him to a renewal of famine or toil, and positive against him, and he offered nothing every change of season served but to aggravate in his own vindication; the judge, therefore, his unsheltered distress. Nothing but death was proceeding to doom him to a most cruel or flight was left him, and almost certain and ignominious death, when, as if illumined death was the consequence of his attempting by a ray from heaven, he discovered, through to flee. After some years of bondage, however, all his misery, the features, though dim with an opportunity of escaping offered: he em- sorrow, of his long-lost, loved Alcander. It is braced it with ardour, and travelling by night, impossible to describe his joy and his pain on and lodging in caverns by day, to shorten a this strange occasion; happy in once more seelong story, he at last arrived in Rome. The ing the person he most loved on earth, disday of Alcander's arrival Septimius sat in the tressed at finding him in such circumstances. forum administering justice; and hither our Thus agitated by contending passions, he flew wanderer came, expecting to be instantly from his tribunal, and, falling on the neck known and publicly acknowledged. Here he of his dear benefactor, burst into an agony of stood the whole day among the crowd, watch- distress. The attention of the multitude was ing the eyes of the judge, and expecting to be soon, however, divided by another object. taken notice of; but so much was he altered The robber who had been really guilty was by a long succession of hardships, that he apprehended selling his plunder, and, struck passed entirely without notice; and in the with a panic, confessed his crime. He was evening, when he was going up to the pretor's brought bound to the same tribunal, and acchair, he was brutally repulsed by the attend- quitted every other person of any partnership ing lictors. The attention of the poor is in his guilt. Need the sequel be related? generally driven from one ungrateful object to Alcander was acquitted, shared the friendship another; night coming on, he now found him- and the honours of his friend Septimius, self under a necessity of seeking a place to lie lived afterwards in happiness and ease, and in, and yet knew not where to apply. All left it to be engraved on his tomb, that "no emaciated and in rags as he was, none of the circumstances are so desperate which Provicitizens would harbour so much wretchedness, dence may not relieve." and sleeping in the streets might be attended with interruption or danger: in short, he was obliged to take up his lodging in one of the tombs without the city, the usual retreat of guilt, poverty, or despair.
The Bee, 1759.
In this mansion of horror, laying his head upon an inverted urn, he forgot his miseries for a while in sleep; and virtue found on this flinty couch more ease than down can supply to the guilty.
It was midnight when two robbers came to make this cave their retreat, but happening to disagree about the division of their plunder, one of them stabbed the other to the heart, and left him weltering in blood at the entrance. In these circumstances he was found next morning, and this naturally induced a further inquiry. The alarm was spread, the cave was examined, Alcander was found sleeping, and immediately apprehended and accused of robbery and murder. The circumstances against him were strong, and the wretchedness of his
o, friend, we nurse in vain a scholar-faith,
Though one that with its husky logic feeds
How should this move to good or guard from scaith?
It carries with it no awakening force,
[John Crawford Wilson, born at Mallow, Cork, Ireland. Poet, dramatist, and miscellaneous writer. His chief poetical works are: The Village Pearl: Elsie; Flights to Fairyland; and Lost and Found, a pastoral. Jonathan Oldaker, or Leaves from the Diary of a Commercial Traveller, is a series of sketches and tales which has passed through several editions. His most important dramas are Gitanilla and a stage version of his poem Lost and Found. He has on several occasions appeared with much success as a public reader of selections from his own works and those of other authors. "Mr. Wilson's style is animated and rapid: we have seldom read verses which breathe more earnestly the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, the love of love. To the moral qualities which distinguish poets, Mr. Wilson may lay an undoubted claim. Genuine feeling is so infectious, that such a writer can hardly tell a plain and pathetic story to unsympathizing hearers."Athenæum.]
"I must go Home to-day!"
A golden beam Of dazzling sunlight streamed from heaven to earth; Through clouds that seemed like polished silver domes Of temples angel-built, or fairy towers Spotless and white, with sparkling minarets, Drifting like icebergs in a calm blue sea, The fiery shaft ran down-down to a bed On which lay prone a little wasted form Of faded earth, from which the struggling soul Yet panted to be free.
It was a girl
A little sickly girl lay on that bed-
"I must go HomeNot a short holiday, my mother dear, Like those I've had from school-from school to Home, And then from Home to school; the Home so short, And, oh, the school so long! but always Home; And it will be to-day-must be to-day."
"My darling is at Home!" the mother sobbed, As with a moistened feather she essayed
To damp the parched lips, round which the dews
She smiled within the sunbeam, and her hand, Like it, transparent seemed, as it was raised Pointing to Heaven. A Heaven not far awayBut near; so near-that e'en her dying smile Seemed not to herald night, but the bright dawn Of an unclouded and eternal day.
The mother felt, as kneeling by that bed She tended every want, and on her breast Pillowed the sufferer's head-that the frail shell, The young worn mould encircled by her arms, Was crumbling fast to dust-and that the wings Of a freed angel would be heavenward spread When earth's last gyves fell off, and the last sigh Followed the sunbeam, sent to light her Home.
They called her "Lily"-Lilian was her nameBut from her birth she seemed so waxen whiteSo fairy slight-so gentle and so pure, That to her father's mind she ever brought The image of that pale and fragile flower: And so he called her "Lily." "Twas a term In which endearment, tenderness, and hope Were all wreathed up; the hope too often crossed By jealous fears, when some untoward breath Too roughly bent to earth the sickly flower, Leaving it drooping on its yielding stem.
And there she lay at last,-almost in HeavenOf Time and of Eternity a part
A dying, living link, uniting those
Her eyes were closed. Her mother thought she slept The sleep that wakes no more: but 'twas not so. A step was on the stair-the fading eyes Opened again on earth--the wasted cheeksDimpled once more, as round the lips a smile Played like the shadow of a silver cloud Upon a sunlit stream. "Mother! 'tis he'Tis father's footstep-and so very kindSo thoughtful of his Lily, he has left His heavy boots below; he pauses nowClings to the rail, and sobs. I hear it all! He fears I am gone Home. Go, mother dear! Tell him I could not go till he returned. I want to feel his kiss upon my lips; And take it up to Heaven."
And then a choking whisper from without. "May I come in? If she is gone, say 'No.' If not, say 'Yes.' I'll tread so very light-
I shall not wake her, wife. May I come in?"
A faltering voice said, "Come!" "Twas Lily's voice;
So he went in-a stalwart lusty man
A giant, with a tiny infant's heart,
Weeping big tears that would not be controlled.
He sat beside her bed, and in his hands Buried his streaming eyes. His soul rebelled: "She had no right to die-to rive his heart; Rob him and it, of all life's tenderest ties." He felt as he could say, Lily, lie there For ever dying; but, oh! never die 'Til I die too." He thought not of his wifeShe was his other self. She was himself; But Lily was their cherished life of lifeOf each and both a part-so grafted on, That, if removed, they must become once more Two bodies with two souls-no longer one, Their living link destroyed-not loving less, But singly loving-'twixt their hearts a gulf Unbridged by Lily's love;-a love so pure That not a taint of selfishness was near; All this he felt, and on the future looked As on a desolation.
Lily spokeOr whispered rather-but a thunder peal Would less affect him than her sinking tones: "Raise me, dear father; take me to your breastYour broad kind breast, so full of love for me"Twill rest me on my road-'tis half way Home!
And then he rose, and round her wasted form His brawny arms-before whose mighty strength The massive anvil quivered, as his hands Swung high the ponderous sledge-or in whose gripe The fiery steed stood conquered and subduedClosed, as the breath of heaven, or God's own love, So lightly, softly, gently, hemmed they in The little dying child. Then there he sat, Her face upon his breast, and on his knee Her tearless mother's head; for all her tears Were inly wept, dropping like molten lead Upon her breaking heart.
Far in the west
Again he pressed her lips, but in the kiss
BY MARY RUSSELL MITFORD.
A few years back, a gentleman of the name of Danby came to reside in a small decayed borough town-whether in Wiltshire or Cornwall matters not to our story, although in one of those counties the aforesaid town was probably situate, being what is called a close borough, the joint property of two noble families. Mr. Danby was evidently a man of large fortune, and that fortune as evidently acquired in trade,—indeed he made no more secret of the latter circumstance than the former. He built himself a large, square, red house, equally ugly and commodious, just without the town; walled in a couple of acres of ground for a kitchen-garden; kept a heavy one-horse chaise, a stout pony, and a brace of grayhounds; and having furnished his house solidly and handsomely, and arranged his domestic affairs to his heart's content, began to look about amongst his neighbours; scraped acquaintance with the lawyer, the apothecary, and the principal tradesmen; subscribed to the reading-room and the billiard-room; became a member of the bowling-green and the cricketclub, and took as lively an interest in the affairs of his new residence as if he had been born and bred in the borough.
Now this interest, however agreeable to himself, was by no means equally conducive to the quiet and comfort of the place. Mr. Danby was a little, square, dark man, with a cocked-up nose, a good-humoured, but very knowing smile, a pair of keen black eyes, a loud voluble speech, and a prodigious activity both of mind and body. His very look betokened his character, and that character was one not uncommon among the middle ranks of Englishmen. In short, besides being, as he often boasted, a downright John Bull, the gentleman was a reformer, zealous and uncompromising as ever attended a dinner at the Crown and Anchor, or made a harangue in Palace Yard. He read Cobbett; had his own scheme for the redemption of tithes; and a plan, which, not understanding, I am sorry I cannot undertake to explain, for clearing off the national debt without loss or injury to anybody.
Besides these great matters, which may rather be termed the theorique than the practique of reform, and which are at least perfectly inoffensive, Mr. Danby condescended to smaller and more worrying observances, and was, in
deed, so strict and jealous a guardian of the purity of the corporation, and the incorruptibility of the vestry, that an alderman could not wag a finger, or a churchwarden stir a foot, without being called to account by this vigilant defender of the rights, liberties, and purses of the people. He was beyond a doubt the most troublesome man in the parish, and that is a wide word. In the matter of reports and inquiries Mr. Hume was but a type of him. He would mingle economy with a parish dinner, and talk of retrenchment at the mayor's feast; brought an action under the turnpike act against the clerk and treasurer of the commissioners of the road; commenced a suit in Mr. Danby's family consisted of a wife-a Chancery with the trustees of the charity school; quiet lady-like woman, with very ill health, and, finally, threatened to open the borough who did little else than walk from her bed to -that is to say, to support any candidate who her sofa, eat water-gruel and drink soda-water, should offer to oppose the nominees of the two—and of an only daughter, who was, in a word, great families, the one Whig, and the other the very apple of her father's eye. Tory, who now possessed the two seats in parliament as quietly as their own hereditary estates; an experiment which recent instances of successful opposition in other places rendered not a little formidable to the noble
What added considerably to the troublesome nature of Mr. Danby's inquisitions was, the general cleverness, ability, and information of the individual. He was not a man of classical education, and knew little of books; but with things he was especially conversant. Although very certain that Mr. Danby had been in business, nobody could guess what that business had been. None came amiss to him. He handled the rule and the yard with equal dexterity; astonished the butcher by his insight into the mysteries of fattening and dealing; and the grocer by his familiarity with the sugar, and coffee markets; disentangled the perplex ities of the confused mass of figures in the parish books with the dexterity of a sworn accountant; and was so great upon points of law, so ready and accurate in quoting reports, cases, and precedents, that he would certainly have passed for a retired attorney, but for the zeal and alertness with which, at his own expense, he was apt to rush into lawsuits.
Rose Danby was indeed a daughter of whom any father might have been proud. Of middle height and exquisite symmetry, with a rich, dark, glowing complexion, a profusion of glossy, curling, raven hair, large affectionate black eyes, and a countenance at once so sweet and so spirited, that its constant expression was like that which a smile gives to other faces. Her temper and understanding were in exact keeping with such a countenance—playful, gentle, clever, and kind; and her accomplishments and acquirements of the very highest order. When her father entered on his new residence she had just completed her fifteenth year; and he, unable longer to dispense with the pleasure of her society, took her from the excellent school near London, at which she had hitherto been placed, and determined that her education should be finished by masters at home.
With so remarkable a genius for turmoil, it is not to be doubted that Mr. Danby, in spite of many excellent and sterling qualities, succeeded in drawing upon himself no small degree of odium. The whole corporation were officially his enemies; but his principal opponent, or rather the person whom he considered as his principal opponent, was Mr. Cardonnel, the rector of the parish, who, besides several disputes pending between them (one especially
respecting the proper situation of the church organ, the placing of which harmonious instrument kept the whole town in discord for a twelvemonth), was married to the Lady Elizabeth, sister of the Earl of B., one of the patrons of the borough; and being, as well as his wife, a very popular and amiable character, was justly regarded by Mr. Danby as one of the chief obstacles to his projected reform. Whilst, however, our reformer was, from the most patriotic motives, doing his best or his worst to dislike Mr. Cardonnel, events of a very different nature were gradually operating to bring them together.
It so happened, that this little town contained one celebrated artist, a professor of dancing, who kept a weekly academy for young ladies, which was attended by half the families of gentility in the county. M. Le Grand (for the dancing master was a little lively Frenchman) was delighted with Rose. He declared that she was his best pupil, his very best, the best that ever he had in his life. "Mais voyez, donc, Monsieur?" said he one day to her father, who would have scorned to know the French for "how d'ye do;"-"Voyez, comme elle met de l'aplomb, de la force, de la nettete, dans ses entrechats! Qu'elle est leste, et legere, et petrie de graces, la petite!" And Mr. Danby, comprehending only that the artist was praising his darling, swore that Monsieur was a good fellow, and returned the compliment