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Jane. What aileth my virtuous Ascham? What is amiss? why do I tremble?
Ascham. I remember a sort of prophecy, made three years ago : it is a prophecy of thy condition and of my feelings on it. Recollectest thou who wrote, sitting upon the sea-beach, the evening after an excursion to the Isle of Wight, these verses ?
Invisibly bright water! so like air,
And, held the bench, not to go on so fast. Jane. I was very childish when I composed them; and, if I had thought any more about the matter, I should have hoped you had been too generous to keep them in your memory as witnesses against
Ascham. Nay, they are not much amiss for so young a girl, and there being so few of them, I did not reprove thee.
Half an hour, I thought, might have been spent more unprofitably; and I now shall believe it firmly, if thou wilt but be led by them to meditate a little on the similarity of situation in which thou then wert to what thou art now in.
Jane. I will do it, and whatever else you command; for I am weak by nature and very timorous, unless where a strong sense of duty holdeth and supporteth me.
There God acteth, and not his creature. Those were with me at sea who would have been attentive to me if I had seemed to be afraid, even though worshipful men and women were in the company; so that something more powerful threw my fear overboard. Yet I never will go again upon the water.
Ascham. Exercise that beauteous couple, that mind and body, much and variously, but at home, at home, Jane ! indoors, and about things indoors; for God is there too. We have rocks and quicksands on the banks of our Thames, 0 lady, such as ocean never heard of; and many (who knows how soon !) may be engulfed in the current under their garden walls.
Jane. Thoroughly do I now understand you. Yes, indeed, I have read evil things of courts; but I think nobody can go out bad who entereth good, if timely and true warning shall have been given.
Ascham. I see perils on perils which thou dost not see, albeit thou art wiser than thy poor old master. And it is not because Love hath blinded thee, for that surpasseth his supposed omnipotence; but it is because thy tender heart, having always leant affectionately upon good, hath felt and known nothing of evil.
I once persuaded thee to reflect much ; let me now persuade thee to avoid the habitude of reflection, to lay aside books, and to gaze carefully and stedfastly on what is under and before thee.
Jane. I have well bethought me of my duties : 0 how extensive they are! what a goodly and fair inheritance! But tell me, would you command me never more to read Cicero and Epictetus and Plutarch and Polybius? The others I do resign : they are good for the arbour and for the gravel walk: yet leave unto me, I beseech you, my friend and father, leave unto me for my fireside and for my pillow, truth, eloquence, courage, constancy.
Ascham. Read them on thy marriage-bed, on thy child-bed, on thy death-bed. Thou spotless undrooping lily, they have fenced thee right well. These are the men for men: these are to fashion the bright and blessed creatures whom God one day shall smile upon in thy chaste bosom. Mind thou thy husband.
Jane. I sincerely love the youth who hath espoused me; I love him with the fondest, the most solicitous affection; I pray to the Almighty for his goodness and happiness, and do forget at times, unworthy supplicant! the prayers I should have offered for myself. Never fear that I will disparage my kind religious teacher, by disobedience to my husband in the most trying duties.
Ascham. Gentle is he, gentle and virtuous : but time will harden him: time must harden even thee, sweet Jane! Do thou, complacently and indirectly, lead him from ambition.
Jane. He is contented with me, and with home.
Ascham. Ah Jane! Jane! men of high estate grow tired of contentedness.
Jane. He told me he never liked books unless I read them to him: I will read them to him every evening; I will open new worlds to him richer than those discovered by the Spaniard : I will conduct him to treasures, O what treasures ! On which he may sleep in innocence
Ascham. Rather do thou walk with him, ride with him, play with
him, be his faery, his page, his everything that love and poetry have invented; but watch him well; sport with his fancies, turn them about like the ringlets round his cheek; and if he ever meditate on power, go toss up thy baby to his brow, and bring back bis thoughts into his heart by the music of thy discourse.
Teach him to live unto God and unto thee; and he will discover that women, like the plants in woods, derive their softness and tenderness from the shade.
10.-DEJECTION: AN ODE.
COLERIDGE. [SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE was born on the 20th of October, 1772, at Saint Mary Ottery, Devonshire, of which parish his father was the vicar. His early education was in that noble institution, Christ's Hospital; and having there attained the scholastic rank of Grecian, he secured an exhibition to Jesus College, Cambridge, 1791. But he quitted the University without taking a degree, having adopted the democratic opinions of the day in all their extreme results. This boyish enthusiasm eventually subsided into calmer feelings. He gave
up to what is one of the first duties of man–the formation of his own mind. His character was essentially contemplative. He wanted the energy necessary for a popular writer; and thus people came to fancy that he was an idle dreamer. What he has left behind him will live and fructify, when the flashy contributions to the literature of the day of four-fifths of his contemporaries shall have utterly perished. There is no man of our own times who has incidentally, as well as directly, contributed more to produce that revolution in opinion, which has led us from the hard and barren paths of a miscalled utility, to expatiate in the boundless luxuriance of those regions of thought which belong to the spiritual part of our nature, and have something in them higher than a money value. Since Mr. Coleridge's death in 1834 some of his works have been collected and republished in a neat form and at a moderate price :— The Poetical Works, 3 vols. ;—The Friend, a Series of Essays, 3 vols.;—Aids to Reflection, 2 vols.;—On the Constitution of Church and State, 1 vol. ;--Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit, 1 vol. ;—Literary Remains, 4 vols. To these will be added his Biographia Literaria,' a new edition, in 2 vols. These publications were chiefly superintended by his accomplished nephew, Mr. Henry Nelson Coleridge, whose early death was a public loss.]
Late, late yestreen I saw the new Moon,
Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence.
Well! If the Bard was weather-wise, who made
The grand old ballad of Sir Patrick Spence,
This night, so tranquil now, will not go hence
Upon the strings of this Eolian lute,
Which better far were mute.
But rimmed and circled by a silver thread,)
The coming on of rain and squally blast.
And the slant night-shower driving loud and fast !
And sent my soul abroad,
A grief without a pang, void, dark, and drear,
A stifled, drowsy, unimpasioned grief,
In word, or sigh, or tear
All this long eve, so balmy and serene,
And its peculiar tint of yellow green:
And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars,
My genial spirits fail,
And what can these avail To lift the smothering weight from off my breast?
It were a vain endeavour,
Though I should gaze for ever
not hope from outward forms to win The passion and the life, whose fountains are within.
O Lady! we receive but what we give,
And would we aught behold, of higher worth,
loneless ever-anxious crowd,
Enveloping the Earth-
A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth,
of heart! thou need'st not ask of me What this strong music in the soul may
be! What, and wherein it doth exist, This light, this glory, this fair luminous mist,