« PreviousContinue »
TO MARY UNWIN.
1. Mary! I want a lyre with other strings,
Such aid from heaven as some have feigned they drew, An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new
And undebased by praise of meaner things,
I may record thy worth with honour due,
And that immortalizes whom it sings:--
By seraphs writ with beams of heavenly light,
On which the eyes of God not rarely look, 4. A chronicle of actions just and bright
There all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine;
-William Couper. "Cowper writes,” it has been said, “with an intensity of pathetic tenderness peculiar to his loving and ingenuous nature. Cowper is our highest master in simple pathos.”
MORNING ORISONS IN PARADISE.
1. But first from under shady arborous roof,
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Their orisons, each morning duly paid
For neither various style
3. "These are Thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine. 4. Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels, for ye behold Him, and with songs
Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end. 5. Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall'st.
His praise, who out of darkness called up light. 6. Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth
Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Rising or falling, still advance His praise. 7. His praise, ye winds that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
Bear on your wings and in your notes His praise. 8 Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Have gathered aught of evil, or conceald,
- Paradise Lost, book v.
Questions on the lesson :—What did Adam and Eve see as they emerged from their retreat? What is said of the sun's position? Of his rays? What he made visible? What two things were no wanting to enable them to praise? What different forms did their praise take? What name is given to God? What emotion do His works excite? If His works are so fair what may be inferred regarding himself? What do His lowest works tell us of Him? Whom does the speaker in vite first to praise Him? Why does he invite them first? How is the morning (or evening) star described? The moon? What other heavenly bodies are called upon? What other objects in Nature are invited to take part in the hymn?
five other wandering fires, the five planets known in Milton's time, viz.:—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. As Venus has already been referred to, the Earth may be included.
In mystic dance, not without song, the followers of Pythagoras believed that the heavenly bodies, including the sun, moon, and planets, revolved round a great central fire, or hearth of the universe. The spaces between these heavenly bodies were believed to have been determined according to the laws of musical harmony. Hence arose the belief that, as they revolved, the planets occasioned musical notes according to their position, which notes together constituted a musical harmony--"the music of the spheres.”
in quaternion run, earth, water, air, ether (or fire) were formerly believed to perpetuate by their alternation the whole framework of nature. From earth was water, from water, air, from air, ether; and then reversely from ether, air, from it water, and from water earth.
ON WIT AND “BULLS."
1. The pleasure arising from wit proceeds from our surprise at suddenly discovering two things to be similar in which we suspected no similarity. The pleasure arising from bulls proceeds from our discovering two things to be dissimilar in which a resemblance might have been suspected. The same doctrine will apply to wit and to bulls in action. Practical wit discovers connection or relation between actions in which duller understandings discover none; and practical bulls originate from an apparent relation between two actions, which more correct understandings immediately perceive to have no relation at all.
2. Louis XIV., being extremely harassed by the repeated solicitations of a veteran officer for promotion, said one day loud enough to be heard: “That gentleman is the most troublesome officer I have in my service.” “That is precisely the charge," said the old man, "which your Majesty's enemies bring against me."
An English gentleman was writing a letter in a coffeehouse; and perceiving that an Irishman stationed behind him was taking that liberty which Parmenio used with his friend Alexander, instead of putting his seal upon the lips of the curious impertinent, the English gentleman thought proper to reprove the Hibernian, if not with delicacy, at least with poetical justice. He concluded writing his letter in these words: “I would say more, but a tall Irishman is reading over my shoulder every word I write.” “You say what is false, you scoundrel," said the self-convicted Hibernian.
3. The pleasure derived from the first of these stories proceeds from the discovery of the relation that subsists between the object he had in view, and the assent of the officer to an observation so unfriendly to that end. In the first rapid glance which the mind throws upon his words, he appears, by his acquiescence, to be pleading against himself. There seems to be no relation between what he says and what he wishes to effect by speaking.
4. In the second story, the pleasure is directly the