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The amplification of the simple “ regumque turres " into, a garde,” &c. is at once beautifully striking and sublime, and the imitation evidently far surpasses the orignal'
Death, then, is the universal doom. Its empire equally extends over every sex, class, and denomination ; its summons requires immediate attendance, and its edict is irrevocable. The infant at the mother's breast, the youth bedecked with all the smiles of beauty, and all the promises of future strength and maturity, the man in the fullness of health and confidence,--sufficiently testify the uncertainty of human existence. We daily behold the grandest projects defeated, the most glorious designs frustrated, the fondest hopes blasted, and the earthly career of multitudes cut off in the very sunshine of their days : and the period will come when the gay, the laughter-loving, the proud, the licentious the extravagant, as well as the humble, the meek, the lowly, the injured, and the oppressed, will be laid low in the grave ;-will be forgotten, even as the path of the vessel is known by the track which she leaves behind ; but when that closes up, all knowledge of her career is lost--for ever !
Death, then, is a fit subject for meditation. It not only deepens the pensiveness of the philosophic mind, but renders more interesting the tragic page. In the palace and in the cottage,in the hall of festivity, and in the dwelling of misery and wretch: edness,-in the public haunts and in the prison-house--it is the oft recurring object,-and, under every circumstance, tends to a conviction of the fragility of human existence.
The grave is the test of the truth of affection ; it is the ordeal to try the sincerity of our protestations, and fervency of our attachment; it is the gauge wherewith to measure the depth of our love and our devotion. When the object has been laid in the tomb; when all that was fair and smiling, lovely and blooming, has faded away, become food for worms, or mouldered into a handful of ashes, interest no longer influences the ration, nor is the form present to refresh the recollection ; every thing is trusted to memory, and it is soon manifest whether the soul in reality cherishes a fond regard, or indicates a perfect indifference for the departed.
There is something so pleasing, so delightful to the soul, though certainly tinctured with a portion of melancholy ;-50 alleviating, soothing, so consolatory, in sorrow for the dead, that the survivor would nowise forego it. See the mother, whose infant has perished,
--as the sweetly budding rose which by some rude hand has been rent from its parent stem,-how she indulges in daily grief! And would she forget her bereavement; would she willingly drown all recollection of her loss ? Not for the wealth of worlds! Though the thought be attended with the bitterness of of sorrow,—though the remembrance wring her heart with the keệnest anguish,.--though all the horrors of the death scene, when the object of her fondest hopes, and her most anxious wishes, lay a cold and lifeless corpse before her eyes, arise to her fancy,—though every thought be a pang, and every pang attended with a flood of tears-yet she revels in all the luxury of recollection ! See the heart-rending despair, the deep affliction of the youth, who has attended the mortal remains of her he most loved; of her, whose sinile never failed to awaken delight in his bosom, and whose look was suficient to dispel every cloud from his brow-to its last tenement. Would he accept the consolation which oblivion imparts ? Let him who has experienced that misery, and encountered that misfortune,- let him return an answer, for he best can tell !
But it is astonishing how, oftentimes, the human mind can be perverted, how the feelings can be benumbed, and the senses chilled. It is surprising how quickly at times the heart can be hardened, how soon it can become incapble of sympathy, and callous to misery and wretchedness. This may, indeed, be attributable to custom and habit, to daily intercourse with the world; and, consequenly, I may be justified in saying, to experience. The grave-digger, when in the very act of his occupation, when surrounded by the signs of mortality, when throwing up bones and ashes, and when on every tomb-stone around him he beholds the death's-head and hour-glass,—can even laugh and joke, and sing of love :
“ In youth, when I did love, did love,
Methought it was very strange !" And well might the sensitive mind of Hamlet ask the occasi on of the grave.digger's merriment :
“ HAMLET.-Has this fellow no feeling of his business ? hc sings at grave making!
Horatio.-Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
Hamlet.—'Tis e'en so : the hand of little employment hath the dantier sense.
This may be exemplified. With what coolness do we gaze upon a funeral procession in the streets ! The sight does not excite one serious or solemn thought. We cast upon it a listless look, pass it with the most perfect indifference, and it is lost to us for
But the attendants are in a degree worse than the passengers. The mutes laugh, and talk, and whistle—the undertaker smiles with great self-satisfaction, as he is mentally calculating the profits of the job ; the thoughts of the hearse-driver are engaged upon his sweetheart ; and the mourners, with much deliberation, are speaking of the rumoured change in the ministry, the last goverment loan, or the latest intelligence from Turkey, Russia, and Greece.
Turn we from this to survey the death chamber, and a sight
no less surprising and extraordinary will meet our view. The husband, an old East Indian, who had with patient industry amassed a princely fortune, and who, on his return to his native country, married a young woman, has scarcely breathed his last, when every corner is ransacked for the Will. It is at length found; when one offers his services as reader-general, and is immediately encircled by a gaping body of relatives, old, young, male and female, nephews and nieces, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren, and cousins even to the tenth degree. The widow, who is secure of the bulk of his property, in the meantime is quietly sitting in the corner, attended by her dear Captain, to whom she has already given her consent, as the courtship was carried on during the husband's indisposition, and the offer made on the very morning that he breathed his last. One of her eyes is laughing with secret pleasure, while from the other she is endeavouring to squeeze a tear. In every other face keen expectation and earnest hope are visibly depicted ; and while the will is being perused, you can see the success which each individual has experienced. While cousin Sue has (after she heard of a bequest of five hundred pounds to herself) burst into a flood of tears, attaching a string of the most endearing epithets to the name of the deceasd ; Charles and Simon are congratulating each other upon their good fortune ; and Polly and Dicky are rushing out in a violent passion, cursing the old miserly dog, who could die without leaving them a single sixpence, for the many attentions which they had paid him, and the many inquiries which they had made after him during the period of his illness.
Miss Draggletail is waiting-how patiently, may possibly be imagined for the death of her old aunt Stubbins, before her passion for her dear George, who is nothing loth to wait, provided he can touch the tocher, can be crowned with the fower of Hymen's yellow garland."
The Honourable Mr B- has run through two cosiderable fortunes ; has been altogether imprudent, inconsiderate, and extravagant ; but now he is obliged to pull in his horns, put down his chariot and curricle, dismiss his retinue of servants, sell his house, furniture, and plate, his stud of horses, and his pack of hounds; retire with his lady to rusticate in the country, until the death of an old unclc, for which he prays night and day, shall enable him to move with his wonted degree of eclat in circles of fashion.
Walking down St. James's-street a fews days ago, I met my old fellow-collegian, young Wilding. When at Oriel he was a sad incorrigible dog, thoughtless, extravagant, over head and ears in debt, and generally without a penny in his pocket. He was the same in exterior ; and I much doubt whether time and experience had instilled into his head the smallest grain of prudence and economy. He was dressed in a suit of mourning; and upon inquiring the occasion of that garb of woe, I was informed it was on account of his father's death. I had no sooner received this intelligence, than he was accosted by an elderly gentleman, who I remembered was one of the father's oldest friends, and understood, from their conversation, had been appointed one of the executors. “ Sad loss !” said the stranger, after some minutes' conversation. "Sad loss, indeed!"echoed young Wilding, turning up his eyes like a dying magpie, and heaving a deep sigh “ Sad loss, indeed, sir ! so kind, so generous, so affectionate ! so every thing that a father should be! But he has paid the debt of nature ;-he has gone, and left me behind, to mourn his loss !" and he drew his hand across his eyes.
“ Your father, young man," replied the other, “ was a good man, a kind mån, a moral man, a religious man, a careful man-one who always kept an eye to the main chance,--that's the only way to succeed in the world now-a-days ! but I am happy to see he has left behind a son so affectionate,-a son who is aware of the father's worth, who is sensible of the loss which he has sustained and who, I hope, will imitate his example !"-" I do feel his loss,” exclaimed the young man, placing his hand to his heart; and he said much more to the following import :
“ 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor the dejected 'baviour of the visage,
Our companion, however, had no sooner left us, than Wilding burst out into a loud fit of laughter. “ There he goes,” exclained he, " there he goes, a damn'd old scurvy rascal! he and my old dad did well to go hand in hand,--to lay their plans and scrape up cash together ;--but the old fellow is one of the executors, and I must keep up appearances !” “Well, Jack," said I, “I hope you have now got a comfortable independence, sowed your wild oats, and turned a sober steady fellow!" Another loud laugh burst forth from my companion, “Why, on that point,” said Jack, “ I cannot say much; but go with me to the Opera to-night, and I'll convince you. The old gentleman has gone at last.-rest his soul,—though he was tough to the last, and I have popt into his fortune ;--the scrapings of fifty years, -sixty thousand pounds, my boy, ha, ha, ha! How dad would stare if he saw in what maner his boy Jack was spending his cash! I verily believe he wanted to take his money with him ; for even in his last moments he held fast the keys of his moneychest ; nor would he relinquish his hold, till he was dead, ha, ha! Come and call upon me, happy to see or any other friend, -live at the Albany,—ha, ha, ha! Good bye,—for there goes one of my sweet birds !” pointing to a fashionably dressed female on the other side, to whom he ran across, took her arin, and walked off in triumph.
A Marquis of Winchester, who lived in the reign of Charles the Second, used to dine at six or seven in the evening, and to continue the meal until the same hour in the morning; during which time he sometimes drank, sometimes listened to music, conversed, or smoked ; while the rest of the company were not expected to follow his example, but had their free choice to go or come, sit or rise, sleep or eat and drink. The dishes and bottles were never removed from table. When morning came, the Marquis would hunt or hawk, if the weather was fair; if not, he would dance; go to bed at eleven, and repose until evening, when he rose to begin the same round of debauch again.
“ A tavern,” says an old writer, “ is a common consumption of the afternoon, and the murderer or maker-away of a rainy day. To give you the total reckoning of it, it is the busy man's recreation, the idle man's business, the melancholy man's sanctuary, the stranger's welcome, the Inns of Courts man's entertainment, the scholar's kindness, and the citizen's county. It is the study of sparkling wits, and a cup
their book.”. A considerable change has taken place in the manners of the people in regard to taverns. Formerly they were the general place of resort for men of genius, rank, and fortune; and even Princes did not disdain to visit them. The Boar’s Head, was celebrated