Billeder på siden




I MUST now leap over a space of two years, and introduce you to a rustic root-house, in the garden of Dr. L. It was a lovely evening in June; and good Mrs. L―, after the labours of the day, had seated herself here to watch the sun as he descended to his repose, and enjoy the drowsy influences of the breeze as it swept by, bearing on its wings the perfumes of flowers, and that indescribable mingling of sounds, which, like some music, calls up the remembrances of early days. Mrs. L's speculations were, however, on present things. She had noticed, with all a mother's solicitude, the growing intimacy of Edward and Amelia, and it had been to her the cause of many sleepless hours and anxious days. To their marriage she was opposed -poverty and pride, were in her opinion but a bad portion; and though the talents of Malcolm were undoubted, and she believed his principles correct, she could not but believe their marriage would be a source of unhappiness both to him and Amelia. To the latter, she had not as yet revealed her fears and forebodings, and she was now planning in what way she might best communicate them, when the abrupt entrance of Amelia gave her the long wished-for opportunity. She soon brought her to acknowledge her love for Malcolm; for her high-souled integrity shrunk from even the semblance of prevarication. She then, in the gentlest manner, communicated her own wishes on the subject, adding, "You know, Amelia, your good is all I can desire, but I cannot see you doomed to a life of poverty, without, at least, an attempt to rescue you from it."

"Poverty," answered Amelia, "is to me no objection. I am not one of those romantic misses who can talk about love and a cottage, but I am willing, in joining my lot to Edward's, to endure a portion of this world's penury. Besides, my dear madam, why call Edward poor? He has the best wealth-intellectual wealth. There is that maketh himself poor, and yet hath great riches.'"

[ocr errors]

Such were not Mrs. L's views on the subject, and at length (more, perhaps, by appealing to Amelia's love for her, than by any sound arguments) she brought her to promise that she would separate from Edward, and endeavour to eradicate the love of him from her heart. And in all this, she sought only Amelia's good, and fondly flattered herself that she had found it. Alas! she knew not the deep strength of woman's love! In accordance with her promise to Mrs. L-, Amelia, at their next meeting, detailed to Edward what had passed, and with a calmness that No. 52. DECEMBER 27, 1837.-2d. VOL. I.

astonished herself, told him that henceforth they must meet as strangers. This scene I will not attempt to describe. Edward's first emotion was anger, but it soon gave way to a tenderer one, and with a bursting heart he bade Amelia adieu, and left the village, as he thought, for ever. Little did he then imagine what would afterwards befall him there.

In the meantime, Caroline had been thrown into a fashionable boarding-school, where, unfortunately, but little care was taken of the pupils, more than to see that the daily task was readily recited, the entrance courtesy properly made, and the seat at the piano taken with sufficient grace. The result, on a girl like Caroline, may be easily anticipated. Her head was com pletely turned-her daily conversation was of dress and amusement, and her nightly dreams of new conquests. Among the many visitors who, without the least scrutiny into their characters, were admitted to the institution, was a young lieutenant, of polished address, but worthless character. He soon enrolled himself in the list of her admirers, and became the recipient of her most flattering attentions. This boarding-school flirtation, in time, however, became something more serious, and grew into a passion involving, at least, the happiness of Caroline. On her return to the village of Hartford, he accompanied her, and by his suavity and attention completely won the heart of Major W-, who saw in the future prospects of his adopted child, only bright and happy days. Not so with Mrs. L. She, from the first, with a shrewdness peculiar to her nature, saw and guessed the character of the stranger. But in vain did she represent the matter to Major W——. His invariable answer was, "Pho! pho! Madam L, you was young yourself once"-and sometimes he would add, "See how your Amelia is pining because you did not let her marry Edward Malcolm." This was indeed too true. Poor Amelia had found the difficulty of suppressing her love." She had tried to banish the memory of past days from her mind-but how could she do it? She dared not pray for forgetfulness, for she felt that remembrance had in it nought of sin; and she pined, and drooped, till it was evident to all that consumption had laid its iron grasp upon her, and that her days on earth were numbered. Such was her condition at the time of Caroline's arrival in the village of Hartford. Still she continued to perform her daily round of household duties and delightful charities. But the cheek each day grew paler, and the "plague spot" assumed a deeper hue. Poor Madam L- saw

3 G

this with the deepest sorrow, but without the least suspicion that she had aught to do in producing it; and Amelia's gentle spirit rejoiced that the pain of such a feeling was spared her.

feeling of certainty; and nothing but the deepest piety and the humblest faith could have borne up her spirit under this accumulated load of misery. As it was, her suffering was severe; a lover and a sister both taken the one indeed most awfully, for she could not but remember that he died with the weapon in his hand which was designed to cause the death of another-and the other lost too to her, and, as she feared, to all the good and virtuous. Still she could feel that there might yet be mercy for both; and this holy hope brought healing to her wounded spirit on its wings.

Meantime weeks, months rolled on, and nothing was heard from the fugitives. The matter was almost hushed up in the village, when one day fresh interest was aroused, by a letter to Amelia, from her wretched sister, post.marked from the metropolis of our New England. It was couched in terms of the most earnest entreaty, urging her as she loved her, to come to her instantly, or she would be too late. Amelia, though on the borders of the "spirit land" herself, hastened to comply with her request, and, accompanied by the worthy Dr. L—, set off upon her sad and lonely journey. They reached the city in safety, and on following the direction in the letter, they found, in a narrow and filthy street, a dirty hovel, filled with ragged and miserable inmates; and among them, clothed in rags, and evincing in her whole appearance the most abject suffering, the once gay and ac complished Caroline. Preparations were instantly made for her removal, for Major W— had in

As a last resort, Mrs. L― desired Amelia to counsel her sister, and advise her never to wed Lieutenant B. But how could she do this? How could she, the living proof of the unconquerableness of woman's love, advise her sister to a course which might end as fatally as her own? She shrunk from it; and though her love for Caroline would have prompted her to it, on the other hand, her fears dissuaded her from such a course. After much deliberation and many struggles, she penned a few lines to Malcolm, urging him by the remembrance of their former love, and the promises he had once made to her, to come to Hartford, and fathom the character of Lieutenant B——, Her request was immediately complied with; and a few days saw Edward established at the little inn in Hartford, a careful though unsuspected observer of his actions. For some time nothing passed which would in any degree confirm the suspicions of Mrs. L. One day, however, in a conversation with Malcolm, the lieutenant, who had been indulging pretty freely in the juice of the grape, gave him some details, and made some statements, which convinced him of his libertine principles and debauched habits. On representing the matter to Caroline, however, she made light of it, laughed at what she called the indiscretions of a man of fashion, and finally told Edward that she would prefer the gay lieutenant, with all his vices, to any one she would be likely to find in the vil-structed them to spare no expense that might be lage of Hartford. On the lieutenant's next visit, she related what had passed, and hinted that should her adopted father hear it, the consequences might be disagreeable. Angry, alike at his own folly in having discovered himself to Edward, and at Edward's relating it to his mistress, the lieutenant immediately sought him; he found him pacing the road, in a state of the greatest mental excitement; high words ensued; blows followed words; a challenge on the spot They still had one comfort-for Caroline could was given Edward, forgetting in the heat of assure them that she was a wedded wife, and passion his character and his principles, accepted produced her marriage certificates. For some it; shots were exchanged; and Malcolm in an time Amelia could have but little communication instant was laid upon the ground, a corpse. The with her, owing to her great weakness. One horror occasioned throughout the village by this day, however, Caroline appeared somewhat to event may be easily imagined; even Major revive, and gave to her sister some particulars W-'s eyes were opened-but it was too late; relating to her life, after her marriage with the infatuated girl had fled with her lover, and Lieutenant B. For a time, nothing could the only hope that now remained was, that surpass the kind attentions he showed her. On she went as his wife, and not his dupe. To her arrival in the metropolis, she was introduced Amelia the stroke was doubly dreadful. She had to some of the lieutenant's gay friends, whose fondly indulged the hope that, if Malcolm could detestable character was for a long time unagain visit the village, something might chance suspected by her. A continual round of amusewhich might bring about their union, and they ments occupied her attention; and by degrees might yet be happy. It was indeed a slender she came to hear principles advanced, and sentithread on which to hang a hope, but the poor girl ments avowed, which once would have shocked had nursed it until it had grown almost to a her. Nor can we wonder that such was the

necessary to her comfort; he dared not trust himself to meet his adopted child, for his kind heart was almost broken with the shock of her ingratitude. Meantime the strictest search was made for the lieutenant, and it was discovered that he had resigned his commission, and embarked on board a vessel of questionable appearance, which had for some time been hovering about the port.

event. Her character was unbased on sound religious views, she knew little or nothing of the great truths of Christianity, and on eternal things she had never bestowed a thought. Thus, sinking by degrees, she fell into the lowest depths of infamy; scenes of riot and debauchery were now familiar to her sight, nay, she even delighted in them; and her only regrets were that she was no longer to mingle in the gaieties of life; for the realities of death she had made no preparation.

A few days before her death, Amelia, who had all along endeavoured to arouse her to a sense of her situation, seated herself by her bedside, and thus addressed her:

[ocr errors]

My dear Caroline, I wish you would allow me to call in Dr. L; you must be aware that you are daily losing strength, and why will you not, my sister, prepare for the worst?"

Amelia," answered she, "it is in vain to urge me; I know nothing more of death than that it | is a long sleep-that in dying, I leave life and all its pleasures, and only cease to exist."

"Such thoughts, my sister, are dreadful."

[ocr errors]

Dreadful, Amelia! I do not know it; I wish not to think of it; I like not to talk of, or meditate on death," her voice assumed a sepulchral hollowness as she uttered the words,-" for sometimes there are dreadful visions come over me when I am thinking of it; I hear sounds that I cannot describe, I see sights which I dare not tell; and it is only by exerting myself to remember the gay scenes of former days that I can banish them."

[blocks in formation]


[ocr errors]


Well, well!" answered Caroline, "I sent for you to nurse me, and not to preach to me. tell you, Amelia, as I have lived so will I die; I love life, and I cannot bear to leave it. I would wish, at least, to pass away in unconsciousness. One thing I have to ask-that you will bury me by my mother, and that when you die you will lie there too; for, it may be weakness, but I feel it strong at my heart-I wish to lie near those I have loved."

With these words, she motioned Amelia away, and the gentle sister retired, with the sad thought heavy at her heart, that her Caroline was beyond every influence but that of prayer. Still she continued to watch around her couch, in the faint hope that she might return even at this eleventh hour. Her hopes, however, were in vain. A stupor shortly after came on, and Caroline passed from time to eternity, wrapped in an apathy fearfully symbolical of the spiritual stupor that benumbed her soul.

Her last request was complied with. She was buried on one side of her mother, in the churchyard. The mournful winds of November, sighing through the trees, scattered the dead leaves from their branches, as they bore her to her long home-a sad emblem of the decay and blasting of her early hopes, her follies, vanities, and sins.

Amelia only survived her sister a few months. Her earthly lot seemed, to a careless observer, to be all miserable, and to have in it nought of comfort; but it was not so. In prayer, in meditation, and reading the sacred volume, she passed many hours, and they were hours of joy. And when at last her gentle spirit passed away from earth, it left her mortal tenement with the exclamation, "It is very pleasant!"

The opening spring was just breathing its balmy fragrance around, when they laid Amelia in her "narrow house," by the side of her mother. As the cheerless autumn had been emblematic of her sister's fate, so was the bright and glorious spring of her own. As all nature was bursting from her long sleep, so was the angel spirit of Amelia bursting from the chill and sadness of this world into the effulgence and glory of heaven.

Such, my dear young friends, is the history of Amelia and Caroline Hastings. If it shall add one particle of strength to your conviction of the need of early religious education, my object will be gained; I shall be repaid the trouble of writing, and you the trouble of perusing, a long, and I fear, a tedious letter,

From your affectionate friend,


BUT notwithstanding the apology for the admixture of what appears like unseemly metaphor in the case of identity I purpose to establish, the objection will vanish on a closer inspection.

The proof of this cannot be gainsaid, for the language used by Jacob, as applied to


Shiloh, as closely applies to Silenus. was also mounted on an ass; and that ass was thought to have taught the "pruning of vines." His eyes are also red with wine; "his garments washed in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes." His teeth may be also said to be

"white with milk," for new milk was one of his !
peculiar offerings. All this, as we have said, is
merely metaphorical, and originates from the
peculiar defect of the first language employed
by men. The real innocence of the metaphor
in question may be easily explained. Every Ori-
entalist knows that, under the images of drunken
and Anacreontic songs, Hafiz the poet has at-horse-bridles."
tempted to adumbrate the spiritual mysteries of
the Persian creed. Every one also knows that Solo-
mon's Song, one of the most charming pastorals
in any language, can be taken in nothing but a
spiritual sense. In a literal sense it would be
little better than a Hebrew empsychedion, advo-
cating incest, and clothing licentiousness in the
soft colours of pastoral poetry. In short, inebri-
ation of mind is even now employed as a com-
mon figure to express rapture. But the origin
of the typical use of the image of drunkenness
is traceable to the following circumstance :-The
same word means a bunch of grapes and pros-
perity, in Hebrew. Hence the rabbinical pro-
verb of the wine of Adam being preserved in
some secret repository till the final festival of all
nations-the feast of "fat things and wine on the
lees," at the millennium. But wine, among the
Egyptians, had another interpretation. It was a
common opinion all over the East that the tree
of knowledge, by which man fell, was a vine;
and, indeed, the vulgar legend of its being an
apple-tree is totally without foundation. The
Turks consider it in the same light to this day:
and thence, beyond doubt, the Mohammedan pro-
hibition of wine. The Egyptians held it in
equal abhorrence, and from the same cause; and
they expressed their abhorrence in a metaphor,
namely, that wine was the blood of the giants;
which clearly points to antediluvian violence and
crime as its source. Wine, with them, there-
fore, had a second meaning, implying blood. One
of the titles of Osiris Bacchus was, "Treader of
the Wine-press." The Messiah is represented,
at his second coming, in the same character; and
treading the wine-press, throughout the whole of
the Jewish prophetic writings, has the Egyptian
meaning, and means slaughter."
Take, for instance, that most sublime and ter- the wine."
rible eclogue of Isaiah :-
"Who is this that cometh from Edom, with
dyed garments from Bozrah? He that is glo-
rious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of
his strength."



"Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth the winepress?" (like Osiris Leneus,-" he that treadeth❘ the wine-press.")

This was a rite in the mysteries of Osiris.

For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come."

The same imagery runs through the judg ments of the Apocalypse. For instance," The wine-press was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the wine-press, even unto the

"I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me; I will trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments."

[ocr errors]

In the same manner, the woman who sitteth upon many waters is said to have a wine-cup in her hand, and to be drunken with the blood of the saints.

I have said quite enough to show that the wine-cup in the hand of Silenus, his drunkenness, and his garments stained with wine, were never intended by the original inventors of the personification to be literally taken, as was the case with


The image here is derived from Osiris, or the the Greeks. But we have, fortunately, one of the strongest proofs that the character of this deity was not of the gross description which it suited the Greeks to give him. I mean the beautiful sixth eclogue of Virgil. He there appears in the same dignified character as Shiloh in the eclogue of Isaiah, and the prophecy of Jacob. That Virgil derived this, the eclogue to Pollio, and the apotheosis of Daphnis, from Sybilline oracles, or traditions then current over the

The woman here described is evidently the Omorca of the Chaldeans, the material demon of the Platonists, and personification of evil. She is the same person as the Medusa, who prostituted Minerva's temple, the severing of whose head by Perseus caused the deluge, by the flow of blood; and from that blood arose Pegasus, the place of which, on the most ancient sphere, was certainly filled by the ass and foal, peculiar to the sign we are discussing. Thus the decapitation of Medusa represented the judgment on antediluvian crime at the flood. I have before alluded to the decapitated animal figure, with human hands and feet, in which form Isis Omnia, or nature, is frequently represented embracing the zodiacs, and the Gorgon head with its single eye near it, which is preserved, indeed, on the modern sphere, and grasping in the hand of Perseus. It is singular that David represents the Jewish church in the wilderness under the form of an animal, as the Egyptian church appears to have been. And this shows the harmony of the Apocalyptic denunciation against the "great whore" presiding-as Omorca and Isis did—“ over many waters;" for certainly the figure was meant to be a type of the false church, the creed of Egypt and Babylon. The treading of the winepress, and the deluge of her blood, meant, therefore, the total destruction of her reign of violence. The Gorgons, indeed, were the three Egyptian furies, and the three furies were emblems of the vintage, as their names signify; one meaning, "to gather ;" another, " to store in pitchers ;" and the third, Megæra, in reality meaning, "to press

whole eastern world, cannot be doubted. would be out of my way to go into argument upon this wide field of inquiry; but it does appear to me that the language of Isaiah might as well be applied to Marcellus as the epistle of Pollio. The application of the death of Daphnis to Julius Cesar is equally incoherent and overstrained. It evidently describes, on the model of some Sibylline or oriental oracle, the violent death of the Syrian deity Adonis, Isis, or Thammuz, or Atys, (for they were all the same person,) his resurrection and ascension to heaven. There is nothing singular in Virgil having employed the poetical eclogue in developing secrets which were shut to the common eye and ear, and which, it is not improbable, that he may have gained from the Sibylline books which Pollio was intrusted to revise. The pastoral eclogue is employed in treating of the same subject by the Hebrew prophets, and by Solomon. The Messiah is always represented as a shepherd, as Osiris was; the Arcadia, the country of shepherds and innocence, was the properest scene which Virgil could have chosen. So Creeshna, the incarnate second person of the Hindoo trinity, is represented as a shepherd in Hindoo sacred poetry; and his amours with the shepherdesses is told in a strain not very dissimilar from that of Solomon's Song, and with circumstances agreeing with those which Virgil refers to Daphnis. Even a Greek blunder in mythology could not entirely turn aside the undeviating stream of ancient tradition. Thus Apollo, when on earth, became a shepherd; and, among other amours, it was then that his pursuit of Daphne occurred. Every one knows that Constantine considered Apollo as a type of the Messiah, and dedicated his threefold serpentine column to the God of Christianity. But, in again referring to Creeshna, there is a remarkable tradition respecting him, which deserves mention, since it strikingly illustrates the prophecy of Jacob-" His teeth shall be white with milk;" for Creeshna is recorded as showing his mouth, after eating milk, to some of his companions; who, on looking therein, discovered a microcosm of the whole universe. Milk and honey are both used in a mystical sense by the prophets; and perhaps with reference to the veneration of Egypt for the cow and the bee, one representing spirit and the other matter. Thus the phrase "butter and honey shall be eat," would seem, on this principle, simply to pre-shadow an incarnation; at all events, milk was eminently devoted to Silenus.


to, the Genesis of the inspired Moses; and then, like the "king of the mysteries," he shows the folly of the vulgar and popular creed. Indeed, it appears to me a portion of Virgil's design, of laying open the secrets and traditions of the mysteries. That he should do so just at the birth of our Saviour, when these secrets and traditions were on the point of being accomplished, is not one of the least extraordinary circumstances about that highly-gifted genius, and we are almost led with Petrarch to call him a Christian. We say nothing of the Mithratic or Magian priests; but this is certain, that, at the time in question, there was an universal anticipation, over the whole pagan world, of some great and Divine king who would unite the world under his authority.

Virgil opens his eclogue in a manner which suffices to show that he was going to expound a mystery. He describes the binding and unloosing of the god, as Homer describes that of Proteus, when Menalaus sought information at his oracle. Now, the changes of Proteus into animals and vegetables, meant nothing but the sacred language; and the binding and solving of his fetters, their secresy and interpretation. The metaphor is employed to this day. Virgil, therefore, begins by implying that he is going to interpret a religious parable, and unloose the knot of a traditional secret. The god's face is smeared, as was the case in the mysteries; and then, being unbound, he relates the cosmogony and moral order of the world.

It is a most remarkable circumstance and striking corroboration of my inference, that many commentators imagine, in consequence of the Epicurean doctrines he puts into Silenus's mouth, that Virgil meant to do honour to Silo, (both names being radically the same,) the pupil of Epicurus, who had been his master. Virgil, therefore, may have employed the name typically, as he employed that of Daphnis, derived from the laurel, which symbol is immortality, instead of Atys or Thammuz; and as he couches a compliment to Asinius Gallus, under the name of Gallus, a high priest of Atys and Cybele, and one of the titles of the universal funereal deity.

It is remarkable, that even in this eclogue, the metaphors resemble those of Isaiah :—

"Jura vero in nemora fuunesque ferasque videres, Ludere, tum rigilas motare cacumina quercus.” And again at the conclusion:

"Audiet Eurotas, jussitque ediscere lauros
Pulsa referunt ad sidera valles."

Bryant has considered Silenus to be a repre

Now, what is the character assigned by Virgil to his Silenns ? It is one of that transcendant superiority which, contrasted with the vulgar mis-sentation of Noah; and the ass on which he is understanding as to the sylvan deity, has stag- carried, being the original Pegasus, to be the gered the commentators. He describes him as ark which arose upon the deluge from the giant's a shepherd-prophet, a divine philosopher and le- blood. He being a vine-dresser, certainly supgislator. He is a description of the beginning ports the inference; and thus he may be scripof the world, not very dissimilar from, or inferior turally considered a type of the second Noah.

« ForrigeFortsæt »