« ElőzőTovább »
landscapes, soft as the luxurious dreams ofj Claude, or startling as the severer fancies of Salvator;—a land where the realities of life! assume a more romantic guise,—whose atmosphere is redolent of "sweet coming fancies,"—whose very language is a language of love.
The lakes of Italy, though small, are beautiful in the verdure of their vine-clad banks, and the clearness of their streams. Who will not admire the " dreamy lake" of Como, whose sparkling waters roll along the mossy banks of that enchanting land? When the setting sun has shed its rosiest smiles upon her bright waves, and sunk to rest, the glittering '' wanderers of the night," one by one, appear 'to gaze upon their images lefiecled from her silent depths.
"Oh, beautiful clime! the clime of love!
Thou beautiful Italy!
Ever have smiles for thee!
But what is in love with thee!
The beautiful lake! the Larian lake!
Soft lake, like a fairy sea!
Never had a bath like thee!
Even now are mid-deep in thee!
Beautiful child of the lonely hills;
Ever blessed may thy slumbers be 1
Never sadden'd the smile on thee!
Bring nothing but sweets to thee!
In all parts of this classic land, the sea and mountains diversify the scene and add to its softness a rugged beauty.
"Ye mountains! here in your rugged majesty of rocks,
"Ye swelling seas, whose depths eternal move,
Nor is Italy less remarkable for the fertility of her soil, than for the beauty and granduer of her scenery. She is the land of the mulberry, the olive and the vine; her "orange groves and spicy breezes" have been the theme of the poet's sweetest lays; for upon her, nature seems to have showered its greatest blessings.
From the early records of Italy, it appears that the land was divided into petty nations. Rome sprang up amid them, rather as a band of refugees than a regular state. She first subjected one, and then another of these nations, until, finally, the whole of Italy was in her power; when she crossed the seas to conquer the known world. The Romans, being a rude and daring people, soon extinguished the civilization of the nations they subdued. Etruria lost her arts, and Carthage her com
merce, but when these hardy warriors penetrated to the cities of Greece, the works of archiiecture, and sculpture, of that land so softened the ruggedness and subdued the pride of the Romans, that they became as much smitten with the beauties of the arts as they had already been with the love of conquest . The orators, painters, sculptors, and architects of Rome, sought to transplant to Italy, the splendid eloquence, refinement, and elegance of Athens.
The great wealth of Rome—the fruit of so many conquests—introduced the most unbounded luxury, which enervated the virtue, corrupted the principles, and vitiated entirely the simplicity and purity of their ancient manners.
The Empire of Rome was, after dreadful convulsions, established upon the ruins of the Senate and the Republic ;—the world became the property of one man! During the reign of Augustus and his immediate successors, poetry and the arts were carried to the highest state of perfection. Then came the Praetorian bands, who, by their oppression, bloodshed and tyranny, have left an eternal stain on the name of Rome. She was racked by tumults and contentions; the barbarians entered, and she fell a prey to their ravages
Then Charlemagne swayed his sceptre over her beautiful plams. Again the scene was changed; for in the republics of Venice, Genoa and Florence are found the most brilliant eras of ltalia's history. Their navies covered the soas, and formed anew the intercourse of distant people, which the calamities of revolutions had seversd; drew from their secret places the hidden lore of Greece, and lit up the lamp of learning which for some ages had scarcely shed a ray in Europe. Princes became the patrons of the arts. Architecture once more rose majestically on the earth, and the rights of man emerged from the most abject slavery to just consideration and importance. But, alas! for human perseverance and success—these proud Republics fell, like their great mother—Rome. Factions,—the destroyers of liberty,—first reared their horrid heads within the bosoms of these mighty governments. Here intrigue and corruption guided the state which brought oppression and bloodshed within, whilst rebellion and dissension stalked without the walls. Foreign powers were called in, who soon subjected to vassalage the people who had sought their assistance.
Thus those threo cities fell back to insignificance; and Italy is now the theatre of struggles for mastery and despotism.
"Oh Italy! that thnu wert in thy nakedness Less lovely or more powerful, and couldst claim Thy richt, and awe the robbers back, who press To shed thy blood, and drink the tears of thy distress."
OR, THE "CHANCE WORLD."
At the foot of one of those gigantic mountains in Asia, which lift up their heads so far above the clouds, that the eye of man never saw their summits, stood a beautiful cottage facing the east. The mountain stream leaped and murmured on the north; the verdant plain, where the bright-eyed gazelle sported, }ay spread out in front; the garden and the olive-yard, filled with every flower and every fruit which an oriental sun could pencil and ripen, lay on the south; while back, on the west, rose the everlasting mountain. Here were walks and shades, and fruits, such as were found nowhere else. The sun shone upon no spot more luxuriant; the moonbeams struggled to enter no place more delightful; the soft wings of the breezes of evening fanned no such abode in all the east. The howl of the wolf was never heard here; the sly fox never came here to destroy; and here the serpent's hiss was never heard.
This cottage was the home of Hafed, the aged and the prosperous. He reared this cottage; he adorned this spot; and here for more than fourscore years he had lived and studied. During all this time, the sun had never forgotten to visit him daily; the harvest had never failed, the pestilence had never destroyed, and the mountain stream had never dried np. The wife of his youth still lived to cheer and bless him; and his son and daughter were such as were not to be found in all that Province. No youth could rein the horse, hurl the javelin, chase the lion, or del ight the social circle, like this son. Nodaughterof kings could be found so beautiful and perfect, as was this daughter, with an eye so bright and joyous, and a form so symmetrical as hers.
But who can ensure earthly happiness?— In one short week, Hafed was stripped of all his joys.
His wife went to see a new white peacock, which it was said a neighbor, who lived a mile off in the ravine, had just brought home. She took cold, and a quick fever followed; and on her return Hafed saw that she must die. Before two days were gone the old man was standing at her open grave. He gazed long, and he said impatiently—"Cover her, —cover the only woman that I ever loved!"
The son and daughter both returned from the burial of their mother, fatigued and sick. The nurse gave them, as she thought, a simple medicine. In a few hours it was found to be poison. Hafed saw that they must die; for the laws of nature are fixed, and poison kills. He buried them in one wide, deep grave, and it seemed as if in that grave lie buried his reason and his religion. He tore
his grey hair, he cursed the light of day, and wished the moon turned into blood; and, above all, he blasphemed his God, declaring that the laws which he had established were all wrong, and useless, and worse than none. He wished-the world were governed by chance; but as this was a hopeless wish, he wished that at his death he might go to a world where
there was no God to fix unalterable laws
He arraigned the wisdom of God in his government over the world, declaring that his plans were weak, and worse than none, and that it would be far better to have no God in the universe!
In the centre of Hafed's garden stood a large and beautiful palm tree. Under it was Hafed sitting, the second evening after closing the grave of his children. The seat on which he sat had been reared by his son. On the leaf of the tree which lay before him, were some exquisite verses, written by the pencil of his daughter. Before him lay the beautiful country, covered with green, sprinkled here and there, as far as the eye could see, with the habitations of men, and upon this great landscape the shadows of the mighty mountains were now setting. In the east, the moon was just pushing up her modest face, and the gold of day was softening into the silver of night. While Hafed looked on all this, grief began to swell in his throat; his tongue murmured; his heart was full of hard thoughts of God, which nearly amounted to blasphemy.
As the night deepened, Hafed, as he then thought, fell asleep with a heavy heart. When he supposed he awoke, it was in a new spot. The mountain, the landscape, the home were all gone. All was new.
As he stood wondering where he was, he saw a creature approaching him, which, at first, he mistook for a baboon; but on its coming near, he discovered that it was a creature somewhat resembling a man, but every way mal-formed, ill-shaped, and monstrous.
He came up and walked around Hafed as he would a superior being, exclaiming " beautiful, beautiful creature!"
"Shame, shame on thee!" said Hafed; "dost thou treat a stranger thus with insults? Leave off thy jests, and tell me where I am, and how I came here!"
"I do not know how you came here, but here you are in our world, which we call chance-world, because every thing happens here by chance."
"Ah! is it sol This must be delightful! This is just the world for me. Oh! had I always lived here, my beautiful children would not have died under a foolish and inexorable law! Come, show me this world— for I long to see it. But have you really on God, nor any one to make laws and govern you just as he sees fit?"
"1 don't know what you mean by God; we have nothing of that kind here—nothing but chance; but go with me and you will understand all about it."
As they proceeded, Hafed began to notice that everything looked queer and odd. Some of the grass was green, some red, some white, some new, and some dying; some grew with the top downward; and on the whole the sight was very painful. He stopped to examine an orchard; here chance had been at work. On a fine looking apple-tree, he saw no fruit but large, coarse cucumbers. A small peach tree was breaking down under its load of gourds. Some of the trees were growing with their tops downwards, and the roots branching out into the air. Here and there were great holes dug, by which somebody had tried to get down twenty or thirty feet, in order to get the fruit. The guide told Hafed there was no certainty about these trees; and you could never tell what fruit a tree would happen to bear. The tree which this year bears cucumbers, may bear potatoes next year, and perhaps you would nave to dig twenty feet for every potatoeyou obtained.
They soon met another of the "chancemen." His legs were very unequal in length, one had no knee, and the other no ancle.— His ears were set upon is shoulders, and around his head was a thick, black bandage. He came groping his way, and Hafed at once asked how long since he had lost his sight?
"I have notlost it," he said; "but when I was born, my eye-balls happened to be turned in instead of out, and the back parts being outward, are very painful in the light, and so I put on a covermg."
"Well, but cans't thou see anything? Methinks thou mayest see strange things within."
"True, but the difficulty is to get any light in there. I have contrived various ways to do so—have had it poured into my ears and nose; but all will not do. Yet I am as well off as others. My brother has one good eye on the top of his head; but he only looks directly up with it to the clouds; and the sun almost puts it out. He shuts it up most of the time during the day; but it happens to be one that will not stay shut, and so when he sleeps the flies trouble him badly. I have a sister who has nineteen eyes in her head. Shesees eighteen things too many. Even now she can't realise that she has not nineteen fathers, and as many mothers. She goes to bed, and falls on the floor nineteen times at least before she gets in. She goes to drink, and shesees nineteen cups, and knows not which is the real cup. But so it happened, and she is as well off as most in this ' chance world.' But,
after all, it is a glorious world, 1 do assure you."
"Wonderful!" said Hafed.
As they proceeded a little further, they met a young lady.
"That young lady," said the guide," is the greatest beauty in all these parts. All our young men are bewitched by her; and there have been no less than twenty duels on her account already. You will be amazed at seeing a being so perfect."
As they met, Hafed stared more fully than is usually considered polite among the Orientals. The beauty had a face not altogether unlike the human face, excepting that the mouth was under the chin, the eyes looked separate ways, and the color of the hair was a mixture of red, light blue, white and yellow. One foot had the heel forward, and one arm was altogether wanting.
"Wonderful, wonderful, truly !" cried Hafed. "Twenty duels! but I hope they were not all killed, were they?"
Here the beauty becran to ogle and mince in her steps most enchantingly.
"Killed!" said the guide; "you seem to know nothing about us. They all met and fought together; but as every thing goes here by chance, it is not often that we can get our powder to burn. In this case only one got his gun off at all, and that did not happen to go off till night, when he was going to bed, when it wounded his hand, which has been bleeding ever since."
"Ever since! How long ago was this? She did not look as if it could have been done to-day."
"Oh, it was two years ago."
"Two years ago! and why don't you seek the leech, and have the poor boy saved from bleeding to death—even though he was a fool —for more reasons than one V
"Ah! you don't understand it. Every thing goes by chance here; and there is only a chance that a man who is wounded will ever be healed."
"I don't understand it, truly," said Hafed.
They stopped to look at some ' chance-cattle' in a yard. Some had but three legs; some had the head on the wrong part of the body; some were covered with wool, under which they were sweltering in a climate always tropical. Some were half horse, half ox. Young elephants were there, with flocks of sheep; horses with claws like a lion, and ireese clamping round the yard with hoofs like horses. It was all the work of chance.
"This," said the guide, " is a choice collection of cattle; you never saw the like before."
"That is true—truth itself," cried Hafed. "Ah! but the owner has been at almost infinite pains and expense to collect them.— I don't believe there is another such a collection any where in all this 'chance-world.'
"1 hope not," said Hafod.
Just as they were leaving the premises, the owner came out to admire and show, and talk over his fine treasures. He wanted to gaze at Hafed—but his head happened to be near the ground between his feet, so that he had to mount up on a wall before he could get a fair clue to the stranger.
"Don't think I am a happy man," said he to Hafed, " in having so many and such perfect animals. Alas! even in this happy and perfect world, there are always drawbacks. That fine looking cow yonder happens to give nothing but warm water for milk. Some of them have good looking eyes, but from some defect are stone blind. Some cannot live in the light, and few of them can hear. No two eat of the same food, and it is a great labor to take care of them.
"I sometimes feel as if I had almost as lief be a poor man."
"I think I should rather," said Hafed.
While they were talking, in an instant they were in midnight darkness. The sun was gone and Hafed could not for some time see his guide.
"What has happened," said he.
"Oh! nothing uncommon," said the guide. "The sun happened to go down now. There is no regular time for him to shine—but he goes and comes just as it happens, and leaves us as suddenly as you see."
"As I don't see," said Hafed; "but I hope he will come back at the appointed time, at any rate."
f That, sir, will be just as it happens.— Sometimes he is gone for months, and sometimes for weeks, and sometimes only for a few minutes. Just as it happens. We may not see him again for months, but perhaps he will come soon."
"But how do you talk about months and days when you have no such things?"
"I will soon tell you about that. We measure time by the yard"
"By the yard V
"Yes—we call that time which the most perfect men among us take in walking a yard, to be the sixtieth part of an hour. These hours we reckon into days, and these days into years. To be sure, we are not very exact, because some men walk so much faster than others—but this is just as their legs happen to be long or short.
As the guide was proceeding, to the inexpressible joy of all, the sun at once broke out. The light was so sudden, that Hafed at firtt thought he must be struck with lightning, and actually put his hands to his eyes, to see if they were safe. He then clapped his hand over his eyes, till he could gradually bear the
light. There was a splendor about the sun which he had never before seen—and it was intolerably hot . The air seemed like a furnace.
"Ah!" said the owner of the cattle, "we must now scorch for it! My poor wool-ox must die at Once! Bad luck, bad luck to us! The sun has come back much nearer than he was before. But we hope he will happen to go away again soon, and then happen to come back further off next time."
The sun was now pouring down his heat so intensely that they were glad to go into the house for shelter—a miserable looking place indeed. Hafed could not but compare it with his own beautiful cottage. Some timbers were rotten—for the tree was not, as it happened, the same*thing in all its parts. Some of the boards happened to be like paper, and the nails tore out, and these were loose, and coming off. They had to do their cooking out under the burning sun—for when the smoke once got into the house, there was no getting it out, unless it happened to go, which was not very often.
They invited Hafed to eat. On sitting down at the table, he noticed that each one had a different kind of food, and that no two could eat out of the same dish. He was told that it so happened, that the food which one could eat, was poison to another, and what was agreeable to one, was nauseating to another. Selecting the food which looked most inviting, Hafed attempted to eat. What was his surprise, when he found that his hands did not happen to be under the control of his will, and instead of carrying the food to his mouth, these active servants put it into his right ear! On examining, he found that it was so with all the rest, and by imitating the company, and twisting his head round over his right shoulder, and placing his mouth where the ear was, he managed to eat. In amazement he asked how this happened.
"Ah !" said they, laughing at his ignorance of the world, " we have no fixed laws here. All is chance. Sometimes we have one or more limbs for a long time" which are not under the control of our will.' It is just as it happens;
"I suppose that to be coffee," said Hafed, "and I will thank you for a cup."
It was handed him. He had been troubled with a tooth-ache for some hours, and how did he quail, when, on filling his mouth, he found it was ice, in little pieces about as large as pigeon-shot.
"Do you call ice-water, coffee, here !"— said Hafed, pressing his hand upon the cheek wheie the tooth was now dancing with pain.
"That is just as it happens. We put water over the fire, and sometimes it heats it, and sometimes it freezes it. How can it be otherwise, when we have here no fixed laws of any kind! It is all chance work."
Hafed rose from the table in anguish of spirit. He remembered the world where he had lived, and all that was past. He had desired to live in a world where there was no God—where all was governed by chance, so far as there was anything that looked like government. Here he was, and here he must live. He threw himself on a bed and recalled the past—the beautiful world in which he had once lived—his ingratitude—his murmurings, and his blasphemy against the wisdom and the goodness of God. He wept like infancy. He would have prayed, and even began a prayer; but then he recollected that there was no God here—nothing to direct events—nothing but chance. He shed many and bitter tears of repentance. At last he wept himself asleep.
When Hafed again awoke, he was sitting under his palm tree, in his own beautiful garden. It was morning. At the appointed moment, the glorious sun rose up in the East —the fields were all green and fresh—the trees were all right and upwards, and covered with blossoms—the beautiful deer were bounding in their gladness over the lawn, and the songsters in the trees, which, in plumage and sweetness, might have vied with those that sung in Eden, were uttering their morning song.
Hafed arose, recalled that ugly dream,and then wept for joy. Was he again in a world where chance does not reign! He looked up, and then turned to the God of heaven and earth, the God of laws and of order. He gave glory to him, and confessed that his ways, to us unsearchable, are full of wisdom. He was a new man. Tears indeed fell at the graves of his family; but now he lived to do good to men, and to make others happy. He I called a young and worthy couple, distant re-j latives, to fill his house. His home again smiled, and peace and contentment came back, and were his abiding guests.
Hafed would never venture to affirm whether this was a dream, or a reality. On the whole he was inclined to think it real, and that there is somewhere a chance world —but he always shook his head, and declared that so far from wishmg to live there, nothi ng gave him greater cause of gratitude as he knelt in daily prayer, than the fact that he lived in a world where God ruled—and ruled by laws fixed, wise and merciful.
How To Commit Murder.—Take a pretty young lady; tell her she has a pretty foot; she will wear a thin shoe, go out in wet weather, catch a cold, then a fever, and die in a month. . .•
Written for the Ladiea' Garland.
MARRYING A GENTLEMAN.
"So, Sarah Eitly and Annie Morton are to be married next week," said Jane Lawton to her friend, Mary Warner. "Pray, tell me the gentlemen's names; I am so very anxious to know? Only to think, Mary, before us!" Jane said this last sentence in a half pettish, hilf angry tone, as if the marriage of two of her friends displeased her.
"You know both the gentlemen," replied Mary. "Sarah's intended is Charles Harris, Annie's is Frank Ashbridge."
"Is Annie to marry Frank Ashbridge ?"— Why, I have always set him down for Sarah. But you are only trying me?"
"Indeed, I am telling you the truth. The marriages of both are to take place next week."
"Well, really, how surprising! I must go and congratulate Annie, for she has won the gentleman. As for Sarah, I pity her choice. Why, Charles Harris is only a clerk in his uncle's dry goods' warehouse! Ashbridge hns a fine fortune now, and when his father dies, it will receive a great addition. Good bye, Mary; I must go directly and see Annie."
'•Ashbridge had a fine fortune, you might have said, heartless girl," thought Mary, as Jane departed. "But f fear there is not much remaining now, after having given so> many fine suppers and bachelor's treats.— Time, however, will show who has won the true gentleman.'"
* • # » *
Three years have elapsed since the marriage of Sarah and Annie. In a splendid mansion in the centre of the city lives Mrs. Ashbridge. It is in her dressing-room that we again introduce her to the reader. She was robing to attend a ball. Her fair form was encased in a rich white satin dress, and her long black hair curled tastefully around her neck.
"Where con my small brilliant be?" she hurriedly exclaimed, looking among the various B rticles that were scattered promiseonsly on her toilet table. "'Pshaw! what a trouble it is! I cannot find it. The ball opens in an hour, and without it I cannot go."
Annie hastily seized the handle of a small bell, and giving it a pull, it sent forth its shrill silvery sound over the whole house.
"What can the woman want now?" was Ashbridge's exclamation, as the sound of the bell saluted his ears; "however, I suppose I