Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ceivable uprush from beneath. In place of the quiet cloud I had left, the air (if I may use the expression) was filled with flying debris—a mass of detached vertical fusiform (that is, extended) filaments, brighter and closer together, where the 'pillars' had formerly stood, and rapidly ascending.

They consisted of glowing hydrogen, and looked like mere filaments, but they were from four or five thousand to thirteen or fourteen thousand miles long, and from nine hundred to fourteen hundred miles wide—threads, therefore, of goodly dimensions.

These monstrous filaments were rapidly ascending. When I first saw them some of them had already reached a height of nearly 100,000 miles; in ten minutes the uppermost were more than 200,000 miles above the solar surface. This was ascertained by careful measurement. The velocity of ascent, 166 miles per second, is considerably greater than anything hitherto recorded.

But, wonderful as a velocity of 166 miles per second must appear, the velocity indicated by this upward motion is enormously greater. Matter flung forth from the sun could not reach a height of 200,000 miles, unless it crossed the sun's surface (or what appears to us as such) with a velocity of upwards of 210 miles per second. Here is at once an increase of 50 miles per second. But even this is not all. Although matter flung from the sun at this enormous rate would reach a height of 200,000 miles (not taking into account the resistance of the solar atmosphere), it would by no means traverse the last 100,000 miles of such an upward flight at an average rate of 166 miles per second. As the filaments rose they gradually faded away like a dissolving cloud, and at a quarter past one only a few filmy wisps, with some brighter streamers low down near the sun, remained to mark the place. Thus we seem precluded from regarding the range of 200,000 miles, enormous though it is, as the extreme limit reached by the filaments.

In the meantime the little white cloud had grown and developed wonderfully, into a mass of rolling and everchanging flame, to speak according to appearances. First it was crowded down, as it were, along the solar surface; later it rose almost pyramidally 50,000 miles in height; then its summit was drawn out into long filaments and threads, which were most curiously rolled backwards and downwards, like the volutes of an Ionic capital; and finally, it faded away, and by half-past two had vanished like the other.

THE TEAR OF EEPENTANCE.—Moore.

Thomas Moore was torn in Dublin in 1779, and died in 1852. His longest poem is " Lalla Rookh," of which this is one of the tales. He was an intimate friend of Byron and Sheridan, and wrote the lives of both. His poetry is melodious and elegant, but it wants simplicity and naturalness.

One morn a Peri at the gate
Of Eden stood, disconsolate;
And as she listen'd to the Springs

Of Life -within, like music flowing,
And caught the light upon her wings

Through the half-open portal glowing,
She wept to think her recreant race
Should e'er have lost that glorious place!

"How happy," exclaim'd this child of air,
"Are the holy Spirits who wander there,

'Mid flowers that never shall fade or fall;
Though mine are the gardens of earth and sea,
And the Stars themselves have flowers for me,

One blossom of Heaven out-blooms them all!"

The glorious Angel who was keeping
The gates of Light, beheld her weeping;
And, as he nearer drew and listen'd
To her sad song, a tear-drop glisten'd

Within his eyelids, like the spray
From Eden's fountains, when it lies

On the blue flow'r, which—Bramins say—
Blooms nowhere but in Paradise!
"Nymph of a fair but erring line!"
Gently he said,—" One hope is thine.
'Tis written in the Book of Fate,

The Peri yet may he forgiven,
Who brings to this eternal gate

The Gift that is most dear to Heaven!
Go, seek it, and redeem thy sin—
'Tis sweet to let the Pardoned in!"

Rapidly as comets run
To the embraces of the sun,
Fleeter than the starry brands,
Flung at night from angel hands

At those dark and daring sprites

Who would climb the empyreal heights,

Down the blue vault the Pebi flies,

And, lighted earthward by a glance That just then broke from morning's eyes,

Hung hovering o'er our world's expanse.

Still laughs the radiant eye of Heaven,
Nor have the golden bowers of Even
In the rich West begun to wither;—
When, o'er the vale of Balbeo winging

Slowly, she sees a child at play,
Among the rosy wild-flowers singing,

As rosy and as wild as they;
Chasing, with eager hands and eyes,
The beautiful blue damsel-flies
That flutter'd round the jasmine stems,
Like winged flowers or flying gems:—
And, near the boy, who, tired with play,
Now nestling 'mid the roses lay,
She saw a wearied man dismount

From his hot steed, and on the brink
Of a small imaret's rustic fount

Impatient fling him down to drink. Then swift his haggard brow he turn'd

To the fair child, who fearless sat, Though never yet hath day-beam burn'd

Upon a brow more fierce than that— Sullenly fierce—a mixture dire, Like thunder-clouds, of gloom and fire! In which the Peri's eye could read Dark tales of many a ruthless deed.

* * * *

Yet tranquil now that man of crime
(As if the balmy evening time
Soften'd his spirit) look'd and lay,
Watching the rosy infant's play :—
Though still, whene'er his eye by chance
Fell on the boy's, its lurid glance

Met that unclouded, joyous gaze,
As torches that have burnt all night
Through some impure and godless rite,

Encounter morning's glorious rays.

But, hark! the vesper call to prayer,

As slow the orb of daylight sets,
Is rising sweetly on the air

From Syria's thousand minarets!
The boy has started from the bed
Of flowers, where he had laid his head.
And down upon the fragrant sod

Kneels, with his forehead to the south,
Lisping th' eternal name of God

From Purity's own cherub mouth,
And looking, while his hands and eyes
Are lifted to the glowing skies,
Like a stray babe of Paradise,
Just lighted on that flowery plain
And seeking for its home again!

* * * *

And how felt he, the wretched Man
Eeclining there—while memory ran
O'er many a year of guilt and strife,
Flew o'er the dark flood of his life,
Nor found one sunny resting-place,
Nor brought him back one branch of grace!

"There was a time," he said, in mild,
Heart-humbled tones,—" thou blessed child!
"When, young, and haply pure as thou,
"I look'd and pray'd like thee—but now—"
He hung his head—each nobler aim,

And hope, and feeling, which had slept From boyhood's hour, that instant came

Fresh o'er him, and he wept—he wept! Blest tears of soul-felt penitence!

In whose benign, redeeming flow Is felt the first, the only sense

Of guiltless joy that guilt can know.

And now—behold him kneeling there
By the child's side, in-humble prayer,
"While the same sunbeam shines upon
The guilty and the guiltless one,
And hymns of joy proclaim through Heaven
The triumph of a Soul Forgiven!

'Twas when the golden orb had set,
While on their knoes they lingered yet,
There fell a light more lovely far
Than ever came from sun or star,
Upon the tear that, warm and meek,
Dew'd that repentant sinner's cheek.
To mortal eye this light might seem
A northern flash or meteor beam—
But well the enraptured Peri knew
'Twas a bright smile the Angel threw
From Heaven's gate, to hail that tear
Her harbinger of glory near!

*' Joy! joy for ever! my task is done—
The Gates are passed, and Heaven is won!"

Peri.—In Persian Mythology a de- of the heavens. — Frykb. Tmaret.— A

scendant of fallen spirits excluded from small caravanserai where travellers are

Paradise till a penance had been ac- lodged and fed for three days, without

complished. Baalbec.—A ruined city of charge. Damsel-flies.—You behold there

Syria, north of Damascus, in the valley a considerable number of a remarkable

of the Lebanon. Starry Brands.—The species of beautiful insects, the elegance

Mahometans suppose that falling stars of whose appearance, and their attire,

are the fire-brands wherewith the good procured for them the name of Damsels,

angels drive away the bad, when they —Sonniki. approach too near the empyrean, or verge

Composition.—Write the story of the poem in your own words, in prose.

AN ODE TO PEACE.—T. Hood.

The following is the supposed effort of an inspired Footman, written amidst interruptions.

WRITTEN ON THE NIGHT OF MY MISTRESS'S GRAND ROUT.

Oh, Peace! oh come with me and dwell—

But stop, for there's the bell.
Oh, Peace! for thee I go and sit in churches,

On Wednesday when there's very few
In loft or pew—
Another ring, the tarts are come from Birch's.
Oh, Peace! for thee I have avoided marriage—

Hush! there's a carriage.
Oh, Peace! thou art the best of earthly goods—

The five Miss Woods.
Oh, Peace! thou art the Goddess I adore—

There come some more.
Oh, Peace! thou child of solitude and quiet—
That's Lord Drum's footman, for he loves a riot.

« ElőzőTovább »