Page images

Tic-tac! tic-tac! go the wheels of thought; our will cannot stop them; they cannot stop themselves; sleep cannot still them; madness only makes them go faster; death alone can break into the case, and, seizing the ever-swinging pendulum, which we call the heart, silence at last the clicking of the terrible escapement we have carried so long beneath our wrinkled foreheads.


[ocr errors]

I have lived by the sea-shore and by the mountains. No, I am not going to say which is best. The one where your place is is the best for you. But this difference there is : you can domesticate mountains, but the sea is feræ naturæ. You


have hut, or know the owner of one, on the mountain-side ; you see a light half-way up its ascent in the evening, and you know there is a home, and you might share it. You have noted certain trees, perhaps; you know the particular zone where the hemlocks look so black in October, when the maples and beeches have faded. All its reliefs and intaglios have electrotyped themselves in the medallions that hang round the walls of your memory's chamber. The sea remembers nothing. It is feline. It licks your feet,-its huge flanks purr very pleasantly for you; but it will crack your bones and eat you, for all that, and wipe the crimsoned foam from its jaws as if nothing had happened. The mountains give their lost children berries and water; the sea mocks their thirst and lets them die. The mountains have a grand, stupid, lovable tranquillity; the sea has a fascinating, treacherous intelligence. The mountains lie about like huge ruminants, their broad backs awful to look upon, but safe to handle. The sea smooths its silver scales until you cannot see their joints,—but their shining is that of a snake's belly, after all. In deeper suggestiveness I find as great a difference. The mountains dwarf mankind and foreshorten the procession of its long generations. The sea drowns out humanity and time; it has no sympathy with either; for it belongs to eternity, and of that it sings its monotonous song for ever and ever.

Yet I should love to have a little box by the sea-shore. I should love to gaze out on the wild feline element from a front window of my own, just as I should love to look on a caged panther, and see it stretch its shining length, and then curl over and lap its smooth sides, and by-and-by begin to lash itself into rage, and show its white teeth, and spring at its bars, and howl the cry of its mad, but, to me, harmless fury.


I can't say just how many walks she and I had taken together, before this one. I found the effect of going out every morning was decidedly favorable on her health. Two pleasing dimples, the places for which were just marked when she came, played, shadowy, in her freshening cheeks when she smiled and nodded good-morning from the school-house steps. * * *

The schoolmistress had tried life. Once in a while one meets with a single soul greater than all the living pageant that passes before it. As the pale astronomer sits in his study with sunken eyes and thin fingers, and weighs Uranus or Neptune as in a balance, so there are meek, slight women who have weighed all which this planetary lífe can offer, and hold it like a bauble in the palm of their slender hands. This was one of them. Fortune had left her, sorrow had baptized her; the routine of labor and the loneliness of almost friendless city-life were before her. Yet, as I looked upon her tranquil face, gradually regaining a cheerfulness which was often sprightly, as she became interested in the various matters we talked about and places we visited, I saw that eye and lip and every shifting lineament were made for love,– unconscious of their sweet office as yet, and meeting the cold aspect of Duty with the natural graces which were meant for the reward of nothing less than the Great Passion.

It was on the Common that we were walking. The mall, or boulevard of our Common, you know, has various branches leading from it in different directions. One of these runs downward from opposite Joy Street southward across the whole length of the Common to Boylston Street. We called it the long path, and were fond of it.

I felt very weak indeed (though of a tolerably robust habit) as we came opposite the head of this path on that morning. I think I tried to speak twice without making myself distinctly audible. At last I got out the question,—Will you take the long path with me? Certainly,—said the schoolmistress,—with much pleasure. Think, I said, -before you answer: if you take the long path with me now, I shall interpret it that we are to part no more! The schoolmistress stepped back with a sudden movement, as if an arrow had struck her.

One of the long granite blocks used as seats was hard by,—the one you may still see close by the Gingko-tree. Pray, sit down, -I said. No, no,-she answered, softly,-I will walk the long path with you!

The old gentleman who sits opposite met us walking, arm in arm, about the middle of the long path, and said, very charm ingly, -" Good-morning, my dears !"


ALBERT PIKE was born in Boston, December 29, 1809. At the age of sixteen, he was admitted to Harvard College, but, not being able to meet its expenses, he became an assistant teacher in a grammar-school at Newburyport, and at the end of the year its principal. In 1831 he was seized with a spirit of adventure, and started in his travels to the West and South, going through New York, Obio, Kentucky, Tennessee, to St. Louis,—thence to Santa Fe, where he was engaged a year in merchandise,—and thence along the Red River to Little Rock. Here a trifling circumstance caused bim to make that place his home; for, being out of funds, he wrote some pieces of poetry for a newspaper printed there, with which the editor was so much pleased that he invited him to become his partner. The proposition was gladly accepted, and here commenced a new era of his life. The “ Arkansas Advocate" was edited by him to the close of the year 1834, when it became his property. Soon after this he studied law, was admitted to the bar, sold his printing-establishment, and devoted himself to his profession.

Mr. Pike has published a volume entitled Prose Sketches and Poems. Among the latter is a beautiful and spirited piece, for which he deserves to be remembered, entitled


Thou glorious mocker of the world! I hear

Thy many voices ringing through the glooms
Of these green solitudes, and all the clear,
Bright joyance of their song enthralls the ear

And floods the heart. Over the sphered tombg
Of vanish'd nations rolls thy music-tide.

No light from history's starlike page illumes
The memory of those nations,-they have died.

None cares for them but thou, and thou mayst sing,

Perhaps, o'er me,-as now thy song doth ring
Over their bones by whom thou once wast deified.
Thou scorner of all cities ! Thou dost leave

The world's turmoil and never-ceasing din,
Where one from others no existence weaves,
Where the old sighs, the young turns gray and grieves,

Where misery gnaws the maiden's heart within;
And thou dost flee into the broad, green woods,

And with thy soul of music thou dost win
Their heart to harmony,-

-no jar intrudes
Upon thy sounding melody. Oh, where,

Amid the sweet musicians of the air,
Is one so dear as thee to these old solitudes ?
Ha! what a burst was that! the Æolian strain

Goes floating through the tangled passages
Of the lone woods,--and now it comes again,-
A multitudinous melody,-like a rain

of glossy music under echoing trees,

Over a ringing lake; it wraps the soul

With a bright harmony of happiness,
Even as a gem is wrapt, when round it roll

Their waves of brilliant flame,-till we become,

E'en with the excess of our deep pleasure, dumb,
And pant like some swift runner clinging to the goal.
I would, sweet bird, that I might live with thee,

Amid the eloquent grandeur of the shades,
Alone with nature,—but it may not be;
I have to struggle with the tumbling sea

Of human life until existence fades
Into death's darkness. Thou wilt sing and soar

Through the thick woods and shadow-checker'd glades,
While naught of sorrow casts a dimness o'er

The brilliance of thy heart, but I must wear,

As now, my garmenting of pain and care,-
As penitents of old their galling sackcloth wore.
Yet why complain ?-What though fond hopes deferr'd

Have overshadow'd Youth's green paths with gloom!
Still, joy's rich music is not all unheard, -
There is a voice sweeter than thine, sweet bird,

To welcome me, within my humble home;-
There is an eye with love's devotion bright,

The darkness of existence to illume!
Then why complain? When death shall cast his blight

Over the spirit, then my bones shall rest

Beneath these trees, -and from thy swelling breast,
O'er them thy song shall pour like'a rich flood of light.

[ocr errors]


ANNA PEYRE Dinnies is the daughter of Judge Shackelford, of Georgetown, South Carolina. When a child, her father removed to Charleston, where she was educated. For many years she wrote poetry for various magazines, under the signature of Moina. In 1830, she was married to Mr. John C. Dinnies, of St. Louis, Missouri, where she resided for many years. In 1845, her husband removed to New Orleans, where she now lives. In 1846, she published a richly-illustrated volume, entitled The Floral Year. Her pieces celebrating the domestic affections are marked by unusual grace and tenderness.


“ She flung her white arm round him-Thou art all

That this poor heart can cling to.'”
I could have stemm'd misfortune's tide,

And borne the rich one's sneer,
Have braved the haughty glance of pride,

Nor shed a single tear.

I could have smiled on every blow

From Life's full quiver thrown,
While I might gaze on thee, and know

I should not be “alone.”
I could—I think I could-have brook'd,

E’en for a time, that thou
Upon my fading face hadst look'd

With less of love than now;
For then I should at least have felt

The sweet hope still my own
To win thee back, and, whilst thou dwelt

On earth, not been “alone." But thus to see, from day to day,

Thy brightening eye and cheek,
And watch thy life-sands waste away

Unnumber'd, slowly, meek;
To meet thy smiles of tenderness,

And catch the feeble tone
Of kindness, ever breathed to bless,

And feel, I'll be " alone;"
To mark thy strength each hour decay,

And yet thy hopes grow stronger,
As, fill'd with heavenward trust, they say,

“ Earth may not claim thee longer;". Nay, dearest, 'tis too much,—this heart

Must break when thou art gone: It must not be; we may not part:

I could not live " alone!”


“I know thee not, - I loathe thy race;

But in thy lineamients I trace
What time shall strengthen,-not efface."


Thou strange, unhidden guest! from whence

Thus early hast thou come?
And wherefore? Rude intruder, hence!

And seek some fitter home!
These rich young locks are all too dear,-
Indeed, thou must not linger here!
Go! take thy sober aspect where

The youthful cheek is fading,
Or find some furrow'd brow, which Care

And Passion have been shading;
And add thy sad, malignant trace,
To mar the aged or anguish'd face!
Thou wilt not go ? Then answer me,

And tell what brought thee here!
Not one of all thy tribe I see

Beside thyself appear,

« PreviousContinue »