Imagens da página

Mr. Fields, upon his second visit to Eu- that I could plead, or equitable warrant in rope, in 1851, was in Paris during the latest established usage--solely and merely upon your French revolution, and witnessed the coup

own spontaneous motion." d'élât of Louis Napoleon—the bloody

Upon Mr. Fields's return to America he encounter between the troops and the

was invited to deliver the Phi Beta Kappa populace upon the Boulevards in December

poem before the society at Harvard Uniof that year. A cannon ball shattered the versity, and during the same season was house two doors from where he stood elected to fill the same office at Dartamong the crowd. He spent a winter in mouth. He delivered about this time a Italy, devoting the principal portion of the

very successful lecture before the Mertime to Rome, where he enjoyed the high cantile Library upon “ Preparations for culture arising from an appreciative study Travel,” which, while it was replete with of the great works of art. He remained humor, was full of sensible and valuable a number of months in England, three of suggestions. Various colleges, lyceums, which he gave to London and its literary &c., have since kept Mr. Fields from the circles. Several clubs invited him to a

temptation of placing his light under a membership, and opened to him all their

bushel. His unpublished poem upon social privileges. At a corporation dinner

“Eloquence” has already been publicly of the city he was honored with a toast, read more than twenty times, and the and brought down the house, in the form demand is still unsupplied. of nine rousing cheers, by a successful and

If our merchant-poet lives, (and may a spirited address. In Edinburgh he re

good Providence grant this !) he has not newed the grateful acquaintance, which

yet written his best verse. He has but he had formed upon his previous visit, stepped out upon the threshold of manhood, with Professor Wilson, and commenced and the dew is still upon his lips. The that intimate and confidential intercourse

poems that will bear up his name and with De Quincy which is even to this day productive of valuable results to the memory when other generations walk our

streets, and we slumber under old tombliterary world. The * Opium-Eater,"

stones, are still receiving their vital whose writings, in eighteen volumes, Mr. warmth, and quickening in his imagination, Fields has edited and published in a truly and waiting the hour of resurrection. elegant series, in America, welcomed him Little of the sad travail of the historic to his house, and accompanied him upon poet has Mr. Fields known. Of the several excursions in Scotland. One day emaciated face, the seedy garment, the they walked fourteen miles together on a trip to Roslin Castle, De Quincy be collapsed purse, the dog-eared and often guiling the time, and cheating the miles rejected manuscript, he has never known,

save from well-authenticated tradition. of their weariness, with anecdotes of his

His muse was born in sunshine, and has earlier days, when Coleridge, Southey, only been sprinkled with the tears of and Charles Lamb were his companions affection. Every effort has been cheered among the hills of Westmoreland.

to the echo, and it is impossible for so There is a touching and characteristic

genial a fellow to fail of an ample and vein of melancholy running through the approving audience for whatever may highly-complimentary letter prefacing the fall from his lip or pen. The spur of American edition of his autobiographic necessity, which is the almost indispensasketches. To Mr. Fields he says :

ble goad to great endeavors, is of course “ These papers I am anxious to put into your

wanting; and the temptation of our hands, and, so far as regards the United States, Apollo, with his golden harp, is to be of your house exclusively; not with any view satisfied with the success which has been, to future emoluments, but as an acknowledg- and can be so readily purchased, and not ment of the services which you have already to attempt, by painful self-discipline, to rendered me: namely, first, in having brought together so widely scattered a collection—a write himself excelsior! Willis says of difficulty which in my own hands, by too pain. Mr. Fields's poems :ful an experience, I had found, from nervous depression, to be absolutely insurmountable; “They are scholar-like in their structure, secondly, in having made me a participator in musical, genial-toned in feeling, effortless, and the pecuniary profit of the American edition pure-thoughted. He has a playful and delicate without solicitation, or the shadow of any ex. fancy, which he uses skillfully in his poems of pectation on my part; without any legal claim | sentiment, and a strongly perceptive observation,

Vol. VII.-32


which he exercises finely in his hits at the times present day; and their night-watch carried and didactic poetry.".

each a bell, to give the alarm in case of acOf his personal appearance here is a

cident or danger. They hung bells, also, charaeteristic profile, cut by the same

to the necks of criminals on their way to slashing hand :

execution, that persons might be warned

from their path, as it was deemed a bad “Mr. Fields is a young man of twenty-five,

omen to meet those sacrifices devoted to (a few years older now,) and the most absolute specimen of rosy and juvenescent health that

the dii manes; and Phædrus mentions would be met with by the takers of the census. that bells were commonly attached to the His glowing cheek and white teeth, full frame necks of animals. To remove them was and curling beard, clear eyes and ready smile,

theft, according to the civil laws of Rome; are, to tell the truth, most unsymptomatic of

and if the animals were lost, the person the poet-not even very common in publishers."

who had stolen the bells remained answerTo add that he is of about medium able for their value. That the ancient height and well-proportioned, would bring Jews were in the habit of suspending bells our merchant-poet before the mind's eye round the necks of animals, we ascertain as visibly, perhaps, as pen-painting is by these words of the prophet Zechariah : capable of doing.

“In that day there shall be upon the bells of horses, Holiness unto the Lord."

The Greeks hung bells, with whips, to A CHAPTER ON BELLS.

the chariots of victorious generals, by way and venerable are the as- of reminding them that, notwithstanding sociations connected with bells. They their services and valor, they were still are the special poets of man's life; the within the pale of law and justice. Those unconscious assistants of his deeds; the soldiers who went the rounds of their garministering servants of his religion. At his risons and camps by night, carried small birth, they rejoice; at his marriage, theirs bells, which it was their duty to ring at are the merriest voices; at his death, alas! each sentry-box. In funeral processions, they are too often his only mourners. a bell-man walked before the body; and They swell the clamorous alarms of revolt at Athens, a priest of Proserpine, called —they herald in the triumph—they peal Hierophantus, rang a bell to summon the sweetly and holily over meadow and val- citizens to sacrifice. All Greek and Roley, calling the prayerful to the old gray man market-places, temples, camps, and church on the Sabbath morning. No frontier towns, were furnished with them; other object of common manufacture and and in the vast public baths of Rome, nogeneral use is hallowed by memories so tice was given of the hours of opening by various ; no other tongue tells a story so the ringing of a bell. touching to the ear of universal humanity. It is an agreeable instance of the gen

The use of bells is so ancient as to be erous chivalry practiced by the ancient lost in the gloom of remotest antiquity. Florentines, that so far from seeking to Setting aside that bell which, as we are told obtain any advantage over their enemies by an Eastern writer, was manufactured by means of a surprise, they gave them a by Tubal Cain, and used by Noah to sum- month's warning before they drew their mon his ship-carpenters to their daily la- army into the field, by the continued tollbors, we may content ourselves with the ing of a bell, named by them Mortinella. earliest authentic mention of them as it The earliest mention of bells, as applied occurs in the Book of Exodus, where we to the purposes of religious worship, is by find that the high-priest was ordained to Polydore Virgil, who states that Paulinus, wear golden bells, alternating with golden Bishop of Nola, a city of Campania, in pomegranates, on the blue vestment in Italy, first adapted them to his church in which he was robed during the perform- the year 400; hence the word campanile, ance of religious ceremonies. It is re- belfry, still used in Italian. They were markable that the same fashion was ob- not adopted in the churches of Britain till served in the decorations of the regal near the end of the seventh century, but costume of the ancient Persians.

they were in use in Caledonia as early as The Romans had bells and knockers at the sixth ; and in the year 610, we read their doors, and porters to answer the in- that the army of the French monarch, quiries of visitors, as we have in this Clothaire II., was terrified from the siege

of the city of Sens by the ringing from uity ; but he adds that the design was the bells of St. Stephen's Church. The “not so much to shake the air, and so dissecond excerpt of Egbert, in 750, com- sipate the thunder, as to call people to manding every priest to sound the bells church to pray that the parish might be of his church at the proper hours, and preserved from that terrible meteor.” Be then to perform the sacred offices, is trans- these opinions as they may, they scarcely lated into an antique French capitulary of balance the written evidence of legendary 801, favoring the supposition that, by this lore, the graven inscriptions upon bells time, bells were common to the parish- themselves, the still lingering superstitions churches of both countries. Alletius as of many lands, and the graceful perpetuaserts that bells were used for churches by tions of them in the pages of our poets. the Greek Christians up to the period Thus Longfellow, on the alarm and rout when Constantinople was taken by the of evil spirits on the ringing of cathedral Turks, who forthwith prohibited their be- bells :ing rung, lest their clamor should disturb

I have read in some old marvelous tale, the repose of souls, which, according to

Some legend strange and vague, their belief, wander through the realms of

That a midnight host of specters pale air. He adds, that they were still used Beleaguer'd the walls of Prague. after this in places remote from the ears Beside the Moldau's rushing stream, of the new rulers, and that there were With the wan moon overhead, very ancient bells on Mount Athos.

There stood, as in an awful dream, The passing-bell took its origin in a su

The army of the dead. perstition that dates back to the earliest White as a sea-fog, landward bound, Egyptian periods-namely, to the belief The spectral camp was seen, that at the moment of death good and

And with a sorrowful deep sound

The river flow'd between. evil spirits lie in wait for the liberated soul, and fought together for it on its way

No other voice nor sound was there, to heaven. These wicked demons, ac

No drum nor sentry's pace;

The mist-like banners clasp'd the air, cording to Durandus, were terrified even

As clouds with clouds embrace. unto flight at the sound of bells ; and the

But when the old cathedral bell louder the ringing, the more complete our Proclaim'd the morning-prayer, victory over the powers of darkness.

The white pavilions rose and fell This singular superstition is thus recorded On the alarmed air. by W. De Worde in the pages of the

Down the broad valley, fast and far, “Golden Legend :"

The troubled army fled;

Uprose the glorious morning-star"It is said the evill spirytes that ben in the

The ghastly host was dead ! regyon of thayre doubte moche whan they here the belles rongen: and this is the cause why the belles ben rongen whan it thondreth, and

It is amusing to know that, so recently whan grete tempeste and outrages of wether happen, to the ende that the feinds and wycked as 1852, the Bishop of Malta gave orders spirytes should be abashed and flee, and cease for all the church-bells on the island to be of the movynge of tempeste."

rung for the purpose of calming a violent Not only to drive away evil spirits, but and more modern date, bear entries of

gale. Many church accounts of ancient in later ages to counteract the natural in

bread, cheese, and beer provided for the fluences of storm and pestilence, did it be

ringers during thunderings.” This recome customary to ring the bells of churches. Let the bells in cities and influence of bells on storms, recorded on

minds us of the statements regarding the towns be rung often,” says one Dr. Her

the bells themselves, and brings us at the ring in a treatise upon pestilential conta

same time to the subject of inscriptions. gion, 1625, “and let the ordnance be discharged; therefore the air is purified." Vivos voco-Mortuos plango-Fulgura frango. And there still exists a belief in Switzerland, that the undulation of air caused by I call the living – I mourn the dead—I break

the lightning the sound of a bell breaks the electric fluid of a thunder-cloud. Lobineau ob- This brief and impressive announcement serves, that the custom of ringing bells at was common to very many church-bells the approach of thunder is of great 'antiq. 1 of the middle ages, and is to be found on



the bell of the great Minster of Schaff

Solemnly, mournfully, hausen, and on that of the church near

Dealing its dole,

The curfew-bell Lucerne. Another and a usual one, which

Is beginning to toll. is, in fact, but an amplification of the first, is this:

Cover the embers,

And put out the light; Funera plango-Fulgura frango_Sabbato pan

Toil comes with the morning,

And rest with the night. Excito lentos-Dissipo ventos--Paco cruentos.

Dark grow the windows, I mourn at funerals—I break the lightning-I

And quench'd is the fire ; proclaim the Sabbath.

Sound fades into silence, I urge the tardy—I disperse the winds—I calm

All footsteps retire. the turbulent.

No voice in the chambers, On the largest of three bells, placed by

No sound in the hall ! Edward III. in the Little Sanctuary, West

Sleep and oblivion minster, are these words :

Reign over all ! King Edward made me thirtie thousand weight Gray says

and three; Take me down and wey me, and more

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day; shall

you find me;

and Dante, in the Purgatorio, makes it which recalls to us a Cambridge tradition, weep for the day that is dying. In Shakthat the bells of King's College Chapel speare, Benedick“ hath a heart as sound were taken by Henry V. from some church as a bell;" Hamlet's intellects are “like in France after the battle of Agincourt. sweet bells jangled out of tune ;” Lady

On the famous alarm-bell called Roland, Capulet, on the discovery of the dead in the belfry-tower of the once powerful lovers of Verona, exclaims :city of Ghent, is engraved the subjoined inscription, in the old Walloon or Flemish

O me! this sight of death is as a bell,

That warns my old age to a sepulcher! dialect:

Mynen naem is Roland; als ik klep is er Sweeter, gentler, holier, perhaps, than brand, and als ik luy is er victorie in het land. all bells, are those of the vespers in the Anglice. My name is Roland; when I toll

ear of the peasant returning from his toil there is fire, and when I ring there is victory in in the vineyard-in the ear of the fisherthe land.

man pausing upon his oars in the still The books of the Roman Catholic faith

bay—in the ear of the traveler weary of contain a ritual for the baptism of bells,

the day's long pleasure. Heard under a which decrees that they be named and

deep Italian sky, lapsing in with the latest anointed--a ceremonial which was sup

songs of the birds, and with the shrill note posed to insure them against the machina of the cicada, that sound echoes along the tions of evil spirits.

quiet shore beautiful and melancholy, like The Curfew Bell is popularly supposed

a voice out of the dim past. to have been introduced by the Conqueror,

“The stanza respecting the Ave Maria," and imposed as a badge of servitude upon says a living critic of rare taste and feelthe nation ; but it was really a precaution ing, “is surely the best in Don Juan:”against fire, then prevailing throughout Ave Maria! blessed be the hour ! Europe, and only a stricter observance of The time, the clime, the spot where I so oft the old law was enforced during the reigns Have felt the moment in its fullest power of the two first Williams. The practice while swung the deep bell in the distant tower,

Sink o'er the earth, so beautiful and soft, is now more interesting to us on account

Or the faint dying day-hymn stole aloft, of the pleasant allusions which it has fur- | And not a breath crept through the rosy air, nished to our poets, than for any records And yet the forest leaves seem'd stirr'd with or traditions resulting from the custom.

prayer. On a plat of rising ground

Few readers, we trust, are unacquainted I hear the far-off curfew sound, with Schiller's Song of the Bell; which, Over some wide-water'd shore,

answering a double purpose, depicts with Swinging slow with solemn roar,

equal truth and splendor the casting, comLongfellow has a brief suggestive poem pleting, and uses of a bell, and the birth, on the curfew beginning thus :

progress, and duties of a man's life.

The National Magazine.

"I commenced reading the Scriptures with deep interest to find out how a sinner could be saved, and in two months read the Psalms and different portions of the

Old Testament, and the New Testament I think more NOVEMBER, 1855.

than twenty times through. The Psalms, John's Gospel, and the Epistle to the Romans, were particularly

precious. It required great effort to attend to domestic EDITORIAL NOTES AND GLEANINGS.

duties and my business in the office, for I felt con

tinually that it would profit me nothing to gain the THE YELLOW FEVER AT NORFOLK AND PORTS

whole world and at last lose my own soul.' I sought

out preachers, and heard Mr. Duncan frequently, but MOUTH, VA.-A terrible picture of the fearful

could not learn from any of them the way of salvation. ravages of this epidemic is given in the address One evening, after the family had all retired, I went of the Rev. Mr. McCabe, chairman of a com

up into a vacant garret, and walked backward and

forward in great agony of mind; I kneeled down, the mittee appointed by the citizens to wait on the

instance of Hezekiah occurred to me; like him I President of the United States, and seek, turned my face to the wall, and cried for mercy. An through him, some relief from the general gov- answer seemed to be vouchsafed in an impression, ernment.

that just as many years as I had passed in rebellion

against God, so many years I inust now endure before “We appear before you, sir, as the representatives

deliverance could be granted. I clasped my hands and of a sorrowing, suffering, disease-stricken, and death

cried out, “Yes, dear Lord, a thousand years of such smitten people, a committee appointed at a ineeting

anguish as I now feel, if I may only be saved at last.' held in the town of Hampton on yesterday, composed

I continued to read, and whenever I could steal away of a number of the citizens of Norfolk, Portsmouth,

unobserved into the garret, there I walked the floor and Hampton, to wait upon tho President of the

when all around was huslied in sleep; there I prayed United States, and the appropriate heads of depart

and poured out tears of bitter sorrow. While thus ments, to seek that relief which the awful exigencies of

engaged one night, the plan of salvation was revealed the case require, and which the resolutions we now

to me in the figure of Noah's Ark. I saw an ungodly submit most respectfully ask. As chairman of that

raco swopt away with the flood, but Noah and bis committee, I am somewhat anticipated in my remarks

family were saved, for God shut them in the ark. I by the appalling facts which must each day reach the

felt that, as a sinner, I was condemned and justly exears of your excellency, as borne upon the wings of

posed to immediate and everlasting destruction. I the telegraph or through the medium of the public

saw distinctly that in Christ alone I must be saved, if

saved at all, and the view I at that moment had of prints; and yet, sir, startling and terrible as are each day's official reports from Norfolk and Portsmouth of

God's method of saving sinners I do still inost heartily the progress of the yellow fever in those cities, they

entertain, after thirty years' experience of his love. Call far and fearfully short of the awful reality.

This was Saturday night, and that night I slept more “Norfolk and Portsmouth are now, sir, but little

sweetly than I had done for many weeks. Before more than vast charnel-houses, and their unburied

daylight on Lord's-day morning I 'awoke, and went dead are, perchance at this moment, attracting the

down stairs quietly, made a fire in the front parlor keen scent of the ravening vultures. Thousands of

and threw open the window-shutters, and as soon as I the people of those devoted cities have fled, panic

could see commenced reading the New Testament. stricken; and would to God the rest bad flown! Had

I opened to the thirteenth chapter of John, and camo it been so, sir, we would have been spared the recital

to where Peter said, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.' of this tale of woe, and your excellency the pain of

Jesus answered bim, If I wash thee not, thou hast no fastening to a story whose burden is desolation and

part with me.' Simon Peter saith unto him, "Lord, death. Mr. President, physicians are falling at their

not my feet only, but also my hands and my head ?' posts; nurses are dying at bedsides; and the ministers

At that moment my heart seemed to melt. I felt as if of the cross of Christ, as they stand at the couches of

plunged into a bath of blood divine--I was cleansed the sick and dying, are struck down

from head to foot-guilt and the apprehension of pun.

ishment were both put away, tears of gratitude gushed • Dumb and shivering.'

from iny eyes in copious streams, the fire in the grate

shone on the paper upon the wall, and the room was “Business is almost entirely suspended in both full of light. I fell upon the hearth-rug on my face, cities. The city of Norfolk bas but a nominal govern. at the feet of Jesus, and wept and gave thanks; my ment, and nearly every private dwelling is converted sins, which were many, were all forgiven, and a peace into a mort-house, and from almost every chamber of mind succeeded which passeth understanding. Bless comes out & wail--for death is there. The remaining the Lord, O my soul! from that hour to the present a population of these seemingly doomed cities are too doubt of my calling and election of God has never feeble and too few to give efficient help to the sick crossed my path. With all my imperfections, shortand the suffering; and ere long, unless God stay tho comings, and backslidings of heart, I have from that destroyer, and the strong arm of man in power be hour steadfastly believed that Neither death, nor stretched forth in their behall, the total depopulation life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor of those places by death must be the result, and the things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor genius of desolation will sit in ghastly and gloomy tri- depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate umph, sole master of their ports and marts. The reso- me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus my lutions which we herewith present will to some er- Lord!"" tent explain what it is we desire; and we submit them in a just and abiding confidence, that as a man, and as the chief magistrate of the country, in the welfare of

Cotton MATHER, the author of the “Magnaevery section whereof we believe you feel an interest, lia Christi Americana," originally published in you will suggest and afford that relief which must be London, and reprinted at Hartford in 1820, immediato to be available."

was one of the most voluminous writers the

world has ever seen. Previous to the year 1718 THE Rev. Dr. Core, pastor of the First Bap- he had published the lives of one hundred and tist Church in this city, and one of the oldest fourteen men and twenty women, "and more,” ministers among us, died on the 29th of Au- says his biographer afterward, “not to say gust, in the seventieth year of his age. In his anything of the transient but honorable menearly life Mr. Cone was a play-actor of some tion many others have had in the doctor's considerable eminence, but was converted in his tractates." thirtieth year, devoted himself to the ministry, An immense unpublished manuscript of his, and was, for many years, one of the most popu- entitled “Illustrations of the Sacred Scriplar pulpit orators in the land. His own ac- tures,” is stored in the library of the Massacount of his conversion, which we find in one chusetts Historical Society, where it is shown of our exchange papers, is deeply interesting. in sir volumes folio, of rough-edged, whity. After giving a statement of his conviction by brown foolscap, written in the author's round, the Holy Spirit, he says:

exact hand, in double columns; its magnitude

« AnteriorContinuar »