« AnteriorContinuar »
ship we are forgetting the higher and more spiritual one ear listens, and that it is addressed without a witaltars.
ness to one who cannot stand aside from herself and Hitherto I have spoken only of the sounds of separate the enchanter froin his music. It is an insidiirrational and inanimate nature. A better than ous and beguiling power; and I have seen men who, these, and the best music under haven, is the mu. without any pretensions to dignity or imposing address, sic of the human voice. I doubt whether all voices would arrest attention the moment their voices were are not capable of it, though there must be degrees heard, and who, if they leaned over to murmur in a in its beauty. The tones of affection in all children womau's ear, were certain of pleasing, though the reare sweet, and we know not how much their un mark were the very idlest common-place of conversa.
tion. pleasantness in after life may be the effect of sin, and coarseness, and the consequent habitual expres.
A sweet voice is indispensable to a woman. I do sion of discordant passions. But we do know that not think I can describe it. It can be, and sometimes the voice of any human being becomes touching by is
, cultivated. It is not inconsistent with great vivacidistress, and that even on the coarse-minded and the ty, but it is oftener the gift of the quiet and unobtrulow, religion and the higher passions of the world sive. Loudness or rapidity of utterance is incompati. have sometimes so wrought, that their eloquence was
ble with it. It is low, but not guttural ; deliberate, like the strong passages of an organ. I have been but not slow. Every syllable is distinctly heard, but much about the world, and with a boy's unrest and they follow each other like drops of water from a foun.
tain. It is like the cooing of the dove—not shrill, nor a peculiar thirst for novel sensations, have mingled for a time in every walk of life; yet never have I
even clear, but uttered with the subdued and touching known man or woman, under any strong feeling that
readiness which every voice assumes in moments of
deep feeling or tenderness. It is a glorious gist in wowas not utterly degraded, whose voice did not
I should be won by it more than by beautydeepen to a chord of grandeur, or soften to ca
more even than by talent, were it possible to sepadences to which a harp might have been swept plea- rate them. But I never heard a deep, sweet voice from santly. It is a perfect instrument as it comes from
a weak woman. It is the organ of strong feeling, and the hand of its Maker, and, though its strings may of thoughts which have lain in the bosom till their sarelax with the atmosphere, or be injured by misuse credness almost hushes utterance. I remember listenand neglect, it is always capable of being re-strung ing in the midst of a crowd, inany years ago, to the to its compass, until its frame is shattered. Men have seldom musical voices. Whether it is I was bewildered. She was a pure, high-hearted, im.
voice of a girl-a mere child of sixteen summers-till that their passions are coarser, or that their life of passioned creature, without the least knowledge of the caution and reserve shuts up the kindliness from which world, or her peculiar gift; but her own thoughts it would spring, a pleasant masculine voice is one of had wrought upon her like the hush of a sanctuary, the rarest gifts of our sex. Whenever you do meet it, and she spoke low as if with an unconscious however, it is always accompanied either by noble awe. I could never trifle in her presence. My nonqualities, or by that peculiar capacity for under. sense seemed out of place, and my practical assustanding all characters, which Goethe calls a “pre. rance forsook me utterly. She is changed now. She sentiment of the universe," and which enables its pos- has been admired, and found out her beauty, and the sessor, without a spark of a generous nature himself, music of her tone is gone. She will recover it by and to know perfectly what it is in others, and to de. by, when the delirium of the world is over, and she ceive the world by assuming all its accompany. begins to rely upon her own thoughts for company ; ments and all its outwardy evidence. I speak now, but her extravagant spirits have broken over the thrilland throughout these remarks, only of the conversa ing timidity of childhood, and the charm is unwound. tional tone. A man may sing never so well, and There was a lady whom I used to meet when a boy, still speak execrably; and I rarely have known a as I loitered to school with my satchel in the summer person who conversed musically, to sing even a mornings, and of whom, by and by, I came to dream, tolerable song.
night and day, with a boy's impassioned and indefinite A good tone is generally the gift of a gentleman, longing. She was a married women, perhaps twenty for it is always low and deep; and the vulgar never years older than I, but very-very beautiful. She was possess the serenity and composure from which it like one's idea of a Countess-large, but perfectly alone can spring; they are always busy and hurried, light and graceful, with an eye of inexpressible softand a high, sharp tone becomes habitual.
ness and languor. I was certain she had a low, deliThere is nothing like a sweet voice to win upon cious tone, and as she passed me in the street, I used the confidence. It is the secret of the otherwise unac- to fancy how the words must linger and melt on that countable success of some men in society. They never red lip, with its deep-colored and voluptuous fulness. talk for more than one to hear, and to that one, if a Years after, when I had become a man, I was introduwoman, and attractive, it is a most dangerous, because ced to her. I made some passing remark, and with my unsuspected spell; and everyone knows how the boyish impression still Aoating in my mind, waited alvoice softens instinctively with the knowledge that but most breathlessly for her answer. When she did speak
I was perfectly electrified. Such a wonderful rapidity ations far more calculated to excite terror, but notbins of utterance, such a volume of language, I never heard ever overcome me like that solitary vigil. I bad been from the lips of a woman. My dream was over. up night after night with my friend, and was
It was always a wonder to me, that the voice is so certainly much unnerved by fatigue and exhaus. neglected in a fashionable education. There is a pow. tion ; but the circumstance furnishes matter of specuer in it over men, greater even than manner, for it is lation to the inquirer after the phenomena of human never suspected. Nothing repels like indifference, and indifference is a loud talker, to whom any body may The music of church bells has become a matter of listen, and whom, therefore, nobody cares to hear. But poetry. Thomas Moore,whose mere sense of beauty is a low tone is redolent of the great secret of a woman's making him religious, and who knows better than any power-reliance ! Nothing wins like reliance. Be it other man what is beautiful-has sung “ those evenin manner or tone, it is alike irresistible. I have seen ing bells” in some of the most melodious of bis elaboa woman who would captivate most men by simply rate stanzas. I remember, though somewhat imperleaning on their arm. It was the only thing she knew, fectly, a touching story connected with the church bells and she did that beautifully. It said more plainly than in a town of Italy, which had become famed all over she could have spoken it, “ I confide in you utterly;" Europe for their peculiar solemnity and sweetness. and who, that had not been initiatel, could resist such They were made by a young Italian artizan, and were an appeal ? There is something in words spoke soft- bis heart's pride. During the war, the place was sackly, and meant for one's ear alone, which touches the ed and the bells carried off, no one knew whither. Af. heart like enchantment. I never linger by a low. ter the tumult was over, the poor fellow returned to voiced woman if she is not young. It indicates either his work ; but it had been the solace of his life to wan. a childlike innocence and truth, or it is the practised der about at evening and listen to the chime of his witchery of a woman of the world, who knows too bells, and he grew dispirited and sick, and pined for well for me the secret of her power.
them till he could no longer bear it, and left his home, There are circumstances in which the simplest sound determined to wander over the world and hear them becomes awful. I once watched with a dying friend once again before he died. He went from land to in a solitary farm-house. It was a clear still night in land, stopping in every village, till the hope that alone December, and there was not a sound to be heard be sustained him began to falter, and he knew at last that yond his just audible breathing. It wanted but a quar- he was dying. He lay one evening in a boat that was ter 10 one, and I began to anticipate the striking of the slowly floating down the Rhine, almost insensible, and large clock which stood in the farthest corner of the scarce expecting to see the sun rise again, that was room in which I sat. It was, at first, simply with now setting gloriously over the vine-covered hills of reference to my friend's comfort, for he was in a gen. Germany. Presently, the vesper bells of a distant tle doze, and I feared it might wake him from the only village began to ring, and as the chimes stole faintly sleep be bad got that night. I sat looking at the clock. over the river with the evening breeze, he started from The minute hand crept slowly on. I began to feel an his lethargy. He was not mistaken ; it was the deep, nervous interest in its progress, and, as it advanced solemn, heavenly music of his own bells; and the visibly, I leaned over and grasped more firmly the arm sounds that he had thirsted for years to hear, were of the huge chair. As it grew near, a strange fear be- melting over the water. He leaned from the boat, with gan to curdle my blood, and I could feel my hair stir, bis ear close to the calm surface of the river, and lisas if each individual filament were withering at tened. They rang out their hymn and ceased—and the root. It crept on-and on. There was but one he still lay motionless in his painful posture. His com. minute left! I felt a smothering sensation at my panions spoke to him, but he gave no answer-his heart, and it seemed to me as if my life must stop. But spirit had followed the last sound of the vesper chime. that one minute seemed to me an hour. Before it had
There is something exceedingly impressive in the expired, every event of my life had rushed through my breaking in of church bells on the stillness of the Sabmemory, and the awful responsibility of time, and the bath. I doubt whether it is not more so in the heart aggregate of pain, and despair, and agony, that was of a populous city than anywhere else. The presence fell by the hundreds that were dying at that moment, of any single, strong feeling, in the mind a great and the guilt that was festering in the darkness the people, has something of awfulness in it wbich exhearts of those who may not sleep, and, over all, my ceeds even the impressiveness of Nature's breathless own thoughtless and immeasurable prodigality of Sabbath. I know few things more imposing than to time, and health, and opportunity, crowded into my walk the street of a city when the peal of the early bells soul, as if its capacity were equal to the concentrated is just beginning. The deserted pavements, the closed anguish of a demon. The machinery at last began to windows of the places of business, the decent gravity stir. It seemed to me that every vein in my body was of the solitary passenger, and, over all, the feeling in an icy worm. My nerves stretched to an intenser your own bosom that the fear of God is brooding like pitch-large drops of sweat rolled from my forehead, a great shadow over the thousand human beings who and my heart stopped-almost. It struck! and I fell are sitting still in their dwellings around you, were back in my chair, in a paroxysm of hysterical laugh enough, if there were no other circumstance, to hush ter! I have watched often since, and have been in situ. I the heart into a religious fear. But when the bells peal
No carved wood, no broken branches,
Ever drift from that far wild ; He who on that ocean launches
Meets no corse of angel-child.
All is mystery before thee;
But in peace, and love, and faith, And with hope attended, sail'st thou
Off upon the ship of Death. Undismayed, my noble sailor,
Spread then, spread thy canvass out; Spirit! on a sea of ether
Soon shalt thou serenely float! Where the deeps tro plurimet soundeth,
Fear no hidden breakers there, And the fanning wings of angels,
Shall thy bark right onward bear.
Quit now, full of heart and comfort,
These Azores—they are of earth ; Where the rosy clouds are parting,
There the Blessed Isles loom forth.
out suddenly with a summuns to the temple of God, and their echoes roll on through the desolate streets, and are unanswered by the sound of any human voice, or the din of any human occupation, the effect has sometimes seemed to me more sulemn than the near thunder.
A more beautiful, and perhaps quite as salutary as a religious influence, is the sound of a distant Sabbath bell in the country. It comes floating over the hills like the going abroad of a spirit, and as the leaves stir with ils vibrations, and the drops of the dew tremble in the cups of the flowers, you could almost believe that there was a Sabbath in Nature, and that the dumb works of God rendered visible worship for his goodness. The effect of Nature alone is purifying, and its thousand evidences of wisdom are too eloquent of their Maker not to act as a continual lesson ; but combined with the instilled piety of childhood, and the knowledge of the inviolable holiness of the time, the mellow ca. dences of a church bell give to the hush of a country Sabbath, a holiness to which only a desperate heart could be insensible.
Yet, after all, whose ear was ever “ filled with hearing,” or whose “ eye with seeing ?” Full as the world is of music-crowded as life is with beauty which surpasses, in its mysterious workmanship, our wildest dream of faculty and skill-gorgeous as is the overhung and ample sky, and deep and universal as the harmonies are which are wandering perpetually in the atmosphere of this spacious and beautiful worldwho has ever heard music and not felt a capacity for better? or seen beauty, or grandeur, or delicate cunning, without a feeling in the inmost soul of unreached and unsatisfied conceptions? I have gazed on the dazzling loveliness of woman till the value of my whole existence seemed pressed into that one moment of sight; and I have listened to music till my tears came, and my brain swam dizzily-yet, when I had turned away, I wished that the woman had been perfecter : and my lips parted at the intensest ravishment of that dying music, with an impatient feeling that its spell was unfinished. I used to wonder, when I was a boy, how Socrates knew that this world was not enough for his capacities, and that his soul, therefore, was immortal. It is no marvel to me now.
Seest thou now thy San Salvador ?
Him, thy Saviour, thou shalt hail, Where no storms of earth shall reach thee,
Where thy hope shall no more fail.
BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
Where is the true man's fatherland ?
Is it where he by chance is born ?
Doth not the yearning spirit scorn In such scant borders to be spanned? Oh, yes! his fatherland must be As the blue heaven wide and free!
Is it alone where freedom is,
Where God is God and man is man?
Doth he not claim a broader span For the soul's love of home than this? Oh, yes! his fatherland must be As the blue heaven wide and free!
TO COLUMBUS DYING.
From the German of Ochlenschlæger.
BY W. H. FURXESS.
Soon with thee will all be over,
Soon the voyage will be begun, That shall bear thee to discover
Far away a land unknownLand, that each alone must visit,
But no tidings bring to men, For no sailor, once departed,
Ever hath returned again.
Where'er a human heart doth wear
Joy's myrtle-wreath, or sorrow's gyves,
Where'er a human spirit strives
Where'er one man may help another,
Thank God for such a birthright, brother,-That spot of earth is thine and mine! There is the true man's birth-place grand, His is a world-wide fatherland!
THE TWO PATHS.
Aye, they in plodding on so steadily
Did gain a heap of gold, While I, who hurried on so merrily,
Gained brighter wealth ten-fold.
A wealth of thought and cheerfulness,
The coinage of the soul, And more than all, a hope to bless,
With promise fill'd my bowl.
They ride in princely chariots proud,
By blooded coursers drawn,They feast in stately halls the crowd
Of friends in lace and lawn.
I've seen the bells of tulips turn
To drink the drops that fell
The two lips of a belle?
The two lips of a belle;
The two lips of a belle?
Doth hold up to the sky,
And thus the oak gets higb;
'Tis thus the oak gets high, By having water in its cups,
Then why not you and I ?
Their banners to the air;
The girls like tulips fair;
The girls like tulips fair;
The girls like tulips fair.
My carriage is the wide-winged thought,
By fancy wheeled above,My home the world-wide space unbought,
My feast the seast of love.
They labored on till life was waning
To live above all strife,I lived the whole, the present gaining,
And with me cherish'd life.
BY JOHX PIERPONT.
Shall e'er cold water be forgot
When we sit down to dine?
Pour'd out by hands divine ?
Pour'd out by hands divine;
Pour'd out by hands divine.
To Beauty's cheek, tho' strange it seems,
'Tis no more strange than true, Cold water, though itself so pale,
Imparts the rosiest hue;
Imparts the rosiest hue;
Doth find her rosiest hue.
A GENTLE STORY. Once a little band of angels descended to this earth, and wandered over its beautiful places in search of something so purely beautiful, that it should be an acceptable offering before the throne of the Eternal. And many things fair and exquisite arose in their path ;-sweet delicate flowers and little glistening dew-drops; diamonds in the earth ; pearls in the sea ; stars in the sky; bright things gleaming and flashing everywhere; joyous faces and graceful forms moving to and fro, more frequent than all, and almost more beautiful. But the angels passed on; for nothing which can fade or be destroyed is wor. thy of Heaven. On, on they wandered-on through the great forests, amid the deep valleys, over the bright seas, searching everywhere for that lovely thing that was to add fresh beauty, even unto Heaven.
At length they stood in consultation on the seashore, and beheld a fisherman's child so strangely, so enchantingly beautiful, that those glorious angels were amazed, and bent over him in silent admira. tion. At length their leader spake
“Shall we bring a mortal and perishing gift to the throne of our Immortal Father."
« Our High Father is all powerful. He could give him immortality," replied another.
" Innocence and love are heavenly beauties ; but they can live only in Heaven. Shall we not snatch him from this bad world's temptations?” said a third.
Cold water, too, (tho' wonderful,
'Tis not less true, again)
Doth make the strongest men;
Doth make the strongest men;
And grow the strongest men.
Thus spake the tender, pitying angels. But their leader said. There is a beauty far transcending innocence—a beauty which childhood and innocence may never possess. Shall we wait, my brethren, for this, or offer to our God an imperfect gift ?”
And so the angels waited until the child became a man-for to immortal spirits, whose inheritance is eternal, the life of man is but an hour.
Then pain and sorrow came upon the man, and drove the rose from his cheek, and the light from his heart; and anguish bowed his frame, and care planted furrows on his brow. Then, when all his soul was dark, the angels drew near and whispered of unspeakable bliss, so that his heart grew strong and earnest, and faith was the first gem in his crown of beauty. Now temptations gathered thickly abont him-now his guardians hovered near his path, watching his struggles, answering his thoughts, raising him when nearly trodden down, yet keeping him encompassed with tribulations, until he cast away his own strength-and the beauty of humility was perfected.
Still they poured temptation upon his pathwayfor without temptation there can be no victory. Still, as he rose triumphant from every struggle, his countenance grew more angelic, his beauty more godlike, till at last, when they had breathed into his spirit of that joy with which they were filled, and his soul melted with love and great adoration, they looked with awe upon their work and pronounced it fit for Heaven!
And when those who had loved him looked upon his withered, lifeless form, they were sad, and mourned his departed beauty. And it was so; for the soul, so strengthened and purified—that soul, so intensely beautiful, whose light its earthly covering could no longer obscure, was borne rejoicing by the angels to the throne, resting not in the joy of spirits innocent and untried, but mounting high, higher, to dwell forever in the presence of the fountain of all joy, and all truth, and all knowledge, and all glory.
Spirits sadder and more dread