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Surrounded by trials and environed by temptations, woman stands trials the hardest to bear, and temptations the most difficult to overcome ; and to meet these she is endowed with a weak and delicate frame, and with a mind in which fortitude appears to hold but a small place. And yet the disasters which almost break down the spirit of man are borne patiently, energetically, and nobly, by the softer sex, as though trouble had a magical power over the female heart, on the mere touch of which, woman rose from weakness and dependance, to be a guide, a comforter, and a support. It was once a matter of debate, whether women ought to be educated, and, proud of his own learning, man bounded off, by a broad line of demarcation, female intellect from his own. But if he wants to know how trouble is to be endured or temptation resisted, let him cast aside his speculations of science, let him shut up his books on the strength of human intellect, and the greatness of human understanding, let him banish from his sight his wild and visionary theories, in which there exist as much fiction as truth, and let him go to woman—woman whom, in his pride and his intolerance he hardly thought worth educating, and there he will_find that what intellect has failed to accomplish, has been achieved by the moral affections alone. Having pointed out some of the trials and temptations to which woman is liable while endeavoring to discharge the oiligations which society imposes on her, we will now proceed to show the consolation that religion affords in affliction. If we take life as it is, divested of all hope of the future, a more gloomy picture could scarcely be imagined. We come into a world, which, at every step we turn, presents sorrow and disappointment. Each Inakes for himself an idea of happiness, and all set forth on the pursuit of the fancied good; but all find that their happiness existed in imagination only, and that the pursuit thereof was like that of a boy chasing a butterfly, which is no sooner grasped than the bright hues come off in the hand; while, on the other hand, there arises to the mind a long train of troubles which ourselves must encounter, and the still more lengthened ones which would befall those we love best. Misfortune, and pain, and death, haunt our footsteps, and hardly will one difficulty be overcome, ere another, as from tile ashes of the former, will arise, like a cloud in the west to dim the brightness of the day. At every turn we take, at every point we reach, we find that trouble and perplexity are assailing us. It is only when religion is taken into account, that the justness of God's dealings with the human family becomes apparent. The god of the savage is a god of wrath and revenge, delighting in slaughter, and revelling in blood. The god of the skeptic is a being who, after having once given laws, allows all to go on without interference or control. But the God of the Christian is a God of love—a God who, while concerned in ordering the movement of systems, has a thought for the lowliest and the meanest of the creatures he has formed. It is this great truth which religion inculcates, and is a truth in which, as creatures subjected to sorrow, and pain, and death, we have the eatest possible interest; for without this truth being ully understood, affliction will never be regarded under a proper point of view, or be borne with a right spirit. There is a mother bending in tearful agony over the lifeless form of her only child. The bitterness of grief is present to her in its most poignant form; and as she presses her lips to the pale, cold cheek of her beloved child, she feels that the blow has been unjustly dealt, and that the bud should have been left to become a flower ere it was smitten by the blast.
God, should I not have spared this fairest slower? Should I have let the blast of death sweep over it, and bring down the yo, the beautiful, the innocent, to the cold grave? Could I have dimmed the lustre of those eyes, which, blue as the midnight heavens, were, like those heavens, the habitation of love * Could I have faded the color of that fair cheek, than which the rose's teints were scarcely more beautisul ? Could I have destroyed all that beauty, withcred ail that fairness, and brought so soon the dread curse which condemns dust to return to its kindred dust?” It is thus a mother might be supposed to complafn when she sees the child of her love lying cold and still. She will probably think that much of injustice has been done alike to herself and to her child in thus destroying the sondest hopes of the one, and the life of the other. But if we may suppose the Almighty as desiring to vindicate the justness of his own actions, it would be thus, we may imagine, the reply would be made : “In your sorrow, oh! fond mother, you accuse me of injustice and partiality, dealing affliction in undue measure to one, and granting happiness beyond a common share to another. But to all creased things which live upon your globe have 1 thus dealt. IJo not the evidences which are to be gathered from every beast, every bird, and every insect, attest that all has been done which could give to the things which I have created the greatest possible am unt of enjoyment Where the life is brief, is il. not bright ! and to those creatures which die when the sun goes down, has not their life been a day of sunshine ! And why with the human family should it be supposed that I deal more hardly than with the insect of a day ? Have I not endowed the human race with vast powers and surprising faculties, far beyond those I have given to the rest of earth's tenants. giving to them an immortal soul, and destining them to dwell in that high kingdom where my own throne is set, when their present life is ended ? All that I have done for human-kind, the love I have manifested for them, bearing with their ingratitude, and with the contempt manifested toward my commandments, ought to have been sufficient to have brought all hearts to be centred on myself. I sent into the world prophets and wise men, gifted with supernatural powers, and endued with a prescience belonging only to myself, and even went so far as to assume humanity myself, that the bright heritage forfeited by apostacy might be regained. And, for all that has been done, for all that has been borne, I ask no hard service. Love and obedience are all that is demanded :—love to myself, which, while it is my due, is the highest honor bestowed upon humanity, and obedience to my laws, the infringement of which is sure to bring misery to the transgressor. “But so degraded is the human heart, that even with the best, earth still holds them in restrains. Some links are binding down the heart—some dean friend has the affections, and the heart is weaned srom myself. But as I know the frailty of humanity, I deal with it as gently as I can. Removing the ties and breaking the links which bind to earth, I thus seek to bring the heart back to myself. If affliction be sent, it is to show the perishableness of everything earthly; if sickness, to bring back the heart to look for support where alone it is to be found. “You arraign me unjustly in accusing me of harshly dealing with you. It is true, death has overtaken your child in the bright dawn of love : but that child was to you an idol, occupying every thought. and causing you to forget God. You put the gift in the place of the Giver, and set you affections upon that so entirely as to exclude from your thoughts obligations yet more binding. But now that your child is no more, you will, when time has so 'own
Recognising a Father's hand in the chastisement, you will learn to set your affections on brighter objects and on more endearing things. “A mother's love—it is a holy feeling. I, who gove that love, know best its depth and servency. But even that feeling may be abused. It may descend to idolatry, and then the thoughts are turned completely from their God. “But is, to turn the mother's heart to religious duties, I have permitted that her child should fail under the power of the destroyer, have I herein dealt un|. Am I not the God of life 2 can I, therefore, pleased with death ! In taking the young from she world, I but remove them to a happier land. The bright bud which childhood wears, is not always certain of blooming as brightly; and in all cases are they taken from the evil to come. Life is not always happiness, nor early death a curse. If your child had lived, temptations would have assailed it, which it would not have overcome: troubles and sorrows would have crowded upon it, and life would have presented little of enjoyment, and very much of sufsering. Will you then arraign my dispensations, delaring them unjust and harsh, when the stroke which seemed to destroy, has saved you both !—saved you in that your heart will return to think of God; and saved your child, by removing it before the world had thrown round it its attractions, which would have engrossed its soul, and brought its ruin.” • It is under this view that the Bible presents the dealings of God, and under no other creed than Chrissianity is there to be gathered anything of comfort or oonsolation. It is only the thought that God's purnoses are always for the best, which can cheer under suffering, comfort under trouble, and deprive death of is sting. Sorrow is deprived of much of its bitterress by regarding the affliction as sent by a Being whose attributes are those of benevolence and love. The doctrine of a particular Providence is a doctrine fraught with the greatest consolation to mankind, who are born to sorrow. Not only is it that nothing cau happen but what God permits—nothing can happen but what he enjoins. The notion of God should not be, that he has lit up the sun, and given the winds power to roam through the world; but rather that his glance is in every beam, and his breath in every breeze. The idea should not be entertained, that af. ter having given life to men, God concerns himself no more with his creatures; but rather that through his special interference is it that breath follows breath, and pulse succeeds pulse; so that in every trouble and in every joy—in every hope which rises to cheer, and in every doubt which darkens, the hand of God may be discerned, producing out of a thousand seeming ills, and a thousand apparent discrepancies, not only a general, but an individual good. And how much of consolation is there to a heart when deeply stricken with sorrow, to be able to feel that all afflictions are set for a wise purpose, and that there is a bright kingdom hereafter, where pain shall have no entrance . It would go far to dry a mother's tears, which the death of her child has caused to flow, if she could be thus persuaded to regard the dealings of God. It would be to take half the bittertless from sorrow, if she could be made to feel that in allowing death to take her child, God has been deallog both kindly and gently, in that he has removed it from the world when the heart was innocent, and pain and sorrow scarcely known. When the mind is impressed with religion, there is always a calmness and serenity, prosperity does not date, nor adversity depress; and the reason of this is, that both are considered as coming from God—the one as well as the other counted as ministering to good.
by death of those held the dearest, and those the most loved, though not the only ones besalling humanity, are the hardest to be borne. The tears which sal' from mourners' eyes, whether it be a parent over a child, a wife over a husband, a child over a parent, cr a sister over a brother or a sister—these speak of afflictions the bitterest and most trying ; for other losses may again be made up, but when death bereaves us of those we love, who shall bring back the departed tears can not do it—grief has no power—prayers avail not. “We shall go to them, but they will not return to us,” is the conviction forced upon every mind which has thought upon God. And how sweet is the
thought that the dead will again be seen—that those
long mourned for on earth will be met again in a brighter land . This feeling is of itself sufficient to dry the eye and cheer the heart. Brief may be the separation—a journey would almost have parted them for as long a lapse of time, and then those endearing ties of friendship and love, which bound but for a moment and then were severed, shall be reunited in that land where nothing dies. That such will be the case, Religion assures us; while Hope raises her radiant finger and points upward to the skies. But not only in these cases is the power of religion felt—in others less severe its influence is apparent. Is it the loss of property which is grieving the heart 1 has worldly substance cruunbled away, leaving but scanty means of subsistence, in place of the hitherto comparatively large resources and ample revenue ! The voice of religion is heard—“If earthly riches make to themselves wings and fly away, are there not yet riches more enduring stored in heaven? Earthly. riches are fleeting and transient; heavenly, firm, and abiding. Earthly possessions can but be enjoyed for a sew years; heavenly are eternal.” And does it not, then, take much from the hardness of poverty to think that abundance may soon again be the portion—and abundance which never grows less, and knows mo change 2 In whatever form trouble may come—in whatever shape or under whatever aspect religion still brings a comfort and a support; there is not a sorrow which it can not cheer, nor a doubt which it can not remove, nor a difficulty which it can not prepare for; it bids us “cast all our care upon God, for he careth for us.” And not only is religion a guide through life—it is also that which teaches us how death may be best prepared for. The calmest and happiest death-beds are those which have religion to cheer. We do not always expect that nothing of weakness will be displayed even by those whose lives have been most exemplary, and whose hearts have been firmly fixed upon God. The breaking up of this earthly house— the tearing down the curious fastenings, that the soul may quit its tenement—this of itself is almost sufficient to bring dismay and fear. And the liberated spirit, where shall it find a home 1 It must travel, a lonely and a widowed thing, through the vastness of immensity; the place of its future abode “eye hath not seen,” and of all the souls which have quitted human bodies, not one has returned to tell of the land in which it dwells. And that body, too, which is st “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and which has been guarded with so much care, is to be taken down, joint from joint and limb from limb, to become a plaything for the winds and a sport for the elements, and to mingle with its kindred dust and ashes. No marvel is it, with such thoughts as these, that the mind should display something of weakness. It might even be considered marvellous if no weakness were exhibited, considering how tearful a thing death is, and what a vast change it will effect. But to those who have made religion the guide of life, death is not searful. The spirit, it is true. must
to the God who gave it, destroys the pain which the thought of its separation would otherwise give. And the body, this must return to the grave; but the thought of the great glories which await it hereaster, more than compensate for the dishonor attending dissolution. And so it comes to pass, that while weeping friends stand around, vainly striving to hide their grief, the dying person contemplates the death which is so fast approaching, with calmness and complacency, and after having bid all those who are gathered round the bedside an affectionate farewell, and entreated them to mitigate their sorrow, yields the last breath with the bright hope of a glorious immortality. If thus religion were made the guide of life, we should not be so cast down when sorrow came. Having our thoughts fixed on a higher and better land, our words would be those of that honest Hibernian, who, on being told that the house in which he dwelt was on fire, replied, “What care I for the house. I sm but a lodger " We should feel that we were but lodgers on earth ; that our home was heaven ; and little, therefore, should we be moved by those calamities which befall us, except so far as to make our affections become more firmly centred on our happy nome. If we were fairly to regard earth and all belonging to it, we should not suffer all our affections to be engrossed by it; for an individual is but as a speck or an atom—a bubble in the ocean. And little as a single individual is counted, less is the concern manifested when death shall have ended his worldly career. The morrow aster he shall have quitted this lower world, the sun will rise as brightly, the birds will sing as sweetly, and the flowers bloom as beautifully as ever. Nature never puts on the garb of mourning, nor ever drops a tear. Why, then, should we maintain such a vast attachment to this world, which cares not for our presence while living, nor mourns our loss when dead Î a world, moreover, which cheats us at every turn, giving shadows for substances, and phantoms for realities, and which gives so long a train of troubles and pains. And yet, knowing all this, still the world has a vast influence over us; and though in every other instance we put off a present small good for a future great one, in this particular we preser the present and insignificant to the future and glorious, so that if it were not for the afflictive dispensations of Providence, we should never carry our thoughts beyond the present narrow limits, and the future would be kept entirely from our view. These keep the mind from entirely resting on earth, by the continual display of the transitoriness and unsatisfactoriness of its possession. Were it not for the hope of a glorious hereafter, we should be creatures who were always grasping at the unsubstantial, and pursuing the visionary—mariners without a compass—travellers without a guide—catching at shadows, and attempting to track the course of meteors; and as all our endeavors to procure the fancied good would be utterly unavailing, we should meet with nothing but continual disappointment. The afflictive dispensations of Providence, at the same time, lead the mind to see how hollow, at best, are the pleasures earth has to bestow, and to draw the mind thence to heaven. But if affliction be not borne with a right spirit, it works harm in place of good; if the heart be not softened, it is sure to become hardened. Afflictions never leave us entirely as they find us; and when they do not reform, they make us callous. The mind will never retain exactly the same position after as before the discipline of Providence; and if we do not go forward we are certain to retrograde. But it seems to be counted of all things the most desperate of wickedness to continue in a state of irreligion after afflicticrs have been sent; for of Ahaz is
this testimony left, as is to mark him off from a. others: “And in the time of his distress did he tres pass against the Lord : this is that king Ahaz.” Many were the evil actions of this king, but through none is he marked out for obloquy and shame; the ban is fixed upon him for having in distress trespassed against his God... So generally true is it, than when suffering and trouble come the heart turns to God, that it cer. tainly seems to show a degree of desperation and hardihood to sin in the time of distress. Those who are impressed with a firm sense of religion are seldom ruffled by the events of time. Such are mostly contented ; for whatever their stations, they look round the globe and see yet many worse off than themselves—many who wander through the world deserted and forlorn, with none to sooth or cheer them under the severest affliction—without a home, without a friend. They then look up to the bright heavens above, and reflect that but a few bri i years and their habitation will be in that glorious lan. When friends forsake, they have still the bright flowers and the green trees, upon which they can place their affections; and more than all, they still have their God; so that in no case can they be downcast or disheartened—that they have always something to cheer and something to enjoy. It was religion which supported the propagators of Christianity in its earliest days, urging them to brave danger, persecution, and death; it was religion which supported martyrs at the stake and the scaffold, when doomed to seal the charter of their faith with then blood; it has been religion which has supported sn many under trials the most severe, and afflictions the most bitter; it has been religion which has cheered the poor in their destitution, the orphan in his loneli
iness, the widow in her sorrow, the suffering in their
pain; and, more than all, it has been religion which has taken the bitterness from death, making it almost a blessing more than a curse, compelling the tyrant to perform the part of a friend rather than that of a destroyer; so that not only with complacency but even with gladness, have many sunk to that sleep which shall last till the judgment-day, when they will arise in glory, and as they enter heaven declare with joy that religion was happiness. God has given religion to be our guide, and promised his grace to be our support; and so enwoven to religion with the best feelings of the human heart, that vice instinctively pays respect to virtue, and consesses a superiority and excellence in real religion; so much so, that the vicious man would become the virtuous, if it were not that habits of dissipation had so bound him—habits which, like the poisoned vest of Hercules, can only be pulled off by tearing the skan from the bone. It is only by religion—for religion is virtue—that we can be happy either here or hereafter; for God has sc linked happiness with holiness, that, like twin sisters, where the one is, the other strays not far distant. By the power of religion we are enabled to overcome the eviks of our nature, and to live in obedience to the law of God; evil habits may be overcome, evil dispositions cured, and a fitness for heaven be obtained. even on this side of the grave. The first, the brightest, and the best of all acquire. ments, is real religion; for by this is effected love to God, and peace and good-will to mankind Nothing of malice or envy will be displayed or encouraged—no outbreaks of temper tolerated, no falseness or dissim. ulation allowed; but that charity which thinketh no evil, and attempteth all good, will be enthroned in the heart and exhibited in the conduct of all who are endeavoring to become followers of “those who through faith and patience now inherit the promises.”
The Poem, or Romance, of LALLA Rookh having how reached its twentieth edition, a short account of the origin and progress of a work which has been hitherto, at least, so very fortunate in its course, may not be deemed, perhaps, superfluous or misplaced. It was about the year 1812 that, impelled far more by the encouraging suggestions of friends than by any confident promptings of my own ambition, I was induced to attempt a Poem upon some Oriental sublect, and of those quarto dimensions which Scott's tute triumphs in that form had then rendered the regular poetical standard. A negotiation on the subject was opened with the Messrs. Longman in the same year, but, from some causes which have now escaped my recollection, led to no decisive result; nor was it till a year or two after, that any further steps were taken in the matter-their house being the only one, it is right to add, with which, from first to last, I held any communication upon the subject. On this last occasion, an old friend of mine, Mr. Perry, kindly offered to lend me the aid of his advice and presence in the interview which I was about to hold with the Messrs. Longman, for the arrangement of our mutual terms ; and what with the friendly zeal of my negotiator on the one side, and the prompt and Bheral spirit with which he was met on the other, there has seldom occurred any transaction in which Trade and Poesy have shone out so advantageously in each other's eyes. The short discussion that then look place between the two parties, may be comprised in a very few sentences. “ |. of opinion,” said Mr. Perry-enforcing his view of the case by arguments which it is not for me to cite, “that Mr. Moore ought to receive for his Poem the largest price that has been given, in our day, for such a work.” “That was,” answered the Messrs. Longman, “three thousand guineas.” “Exactly so,” replied Mr. Perry, “and no less a surn ought he to receive.” It was then objected, and very reasonably, on the part of the firm, that they had never yet seen a single line of the Poem; and that a perusal of the work ought to be allowed to them, before they embarked so large a sum in the purchase. But no;-the romantic view which my friend Perry took of the matter was, that this price should be given as a tribute to reputation already acquired, without any condition for a previous serusal of the new work. This high tone, I must consess, not a little startled and alarmed me; but, to the honour and giory of Romance,—as well on the publishers' side as the poet's, this very generous view of the transaction was, without any difficulty, acceded to, and the firin agreed, before we separated, that I ** to receive three thousand guineas for my Poem.
At the time of this agreement, but little of the work, as it stands at present, had yet been written. But the ready confidence in my success shown by others, made up for the deficiency of that requisite feeling within myself; while a strong desire not wholly to disappoint this “auguring hope,” became almost a substitute for inspiration. In the year 1815, therefore, having made some progress in my task, I wrote to report the state of the work to the Messrs. Longman, adding, that I was now most willing and ready, should they desire it, to submit the manuscript for their consideration. Their answer to this offer was as follows:– “We are certainly impatient for the perusal of the Poem ; but solely for our gratification. Your sentiments are always honourable.”"
I continued to pursue my task for another year, being likewise occasionally occupied with the Irish Melodies, two or three numbers of which made their ap pearance during the period employed in writing Lalla Rookh. At length, in the year 1816, I found my work sufficiently advanced to be placed in the hands of the publishers. But the state of distress to which England was reduced in that dismal year, by the exhausting effects of the series of wars she had just then concluded, and the general embarrassment of all classes, both agricultural and commercial, rendered it a juncture the least favourable that could well be conceived for the first launch into print of so light and costly a venture as Lalla Rookh. Feeling conscious, therefore, that, under such circumstances, I should act but honestly in putting it in the power of the Messrs. Longman to reconsider the terms of their engagement with me, leaving them free to postpone, modify, or even, should such be their wish, relinquish it altogether, I wrote them a letter to that effect, and received the following answer:-"We shall be most happy in the pleasure of seeing you in February. . We agree with you, indeed, that the times are most inauspicious for “poetry and thousands;' but we believe that your poetry would do more than that of any other living poet at the present moment.”f
The length of time I employed in writing the few stories strung together in Lalla Rookh will appear, to some persons, much more than was necessary for the production of such easy and “light o’love” fictions But, besides that I have been, at all times, a far more slow and pains-taking workman than would ever be guessed, I fear, from the result, I felt that, in this instance, I had taken upon myself a more than ordinary responsibility, from the immense stake risked by oth ers on my chance of success. For a long time, therefore, after the agreement had been concluded, though generally at work with a view to this task, I made but very little rea, progress in it; and I have sil by me the beginnings of several stories, continued, some of them, to the length of three or four hundred lines, which, after in vain endeavouring to mould them into shape, I threw aside, like the tale of Cambuscan, “left half-told.” One of these stories, entitled The Peri's Daughter, was meant to relate the loves of a nymph of this ačrial extraction with a youth of mortal race, the rightful prince of Ormuz, who had been, from his infancy, brought up in seclusion, on the banks of the river Amou, by an aged guardian named Mohassan. The story opens with the first meeting of these destined lovers, then in their childhood; the Peli having wafted her daughter to this holy retreat, in a bright enchanted boat, whose first appearance is thus described:—
* April 10, 1815 1 November 9, 18ts
- - - -
For, down the silvery tide afar, There came a boat, as swift and bright
As shines in heav'n some pilgrin-star, That leaves its own high home, at night, Toyhool to distant shrines of light.
“It comes, it comes,” young Orian cries,
- - - -
Within the boat a baby slept,
And now the fairy boat hath stopp'd Beside the bank—the nymph has dropp'd Her golden anchor in the stream:
- - - -
A song is sung by the Peri in approaching, of which the following forms a part:—
My child she is but half divine,
In another of these inchoate fragments, a proud female saint, named Banou, plays a principal part; and her progress through the streets of Cusa, on the night of a great illuminated festival, I find thus described:
It was a scene of mirth that drew
While turban'd heads of every hue,
Had this series of disheartening experiments been carried on much further, I must have thrown aside the work in despair. But at last, fortunately, as it proved, the thought occurred to me of founding a story on the fierce struggle so long maintained between the Ghebers," or ancient Fire-worshippers of Persia, and their haughty Moslem masters. From that moment, a new and deep interest in my whole task took possession of me. The cause of tolerance was again my inspiring theme ; and the spirit that had spoken in the melodies of Ireland soon found itself at home in the East.
Having thus laid open the secrets of the workshop to account for the time expended in writing this work. I must also, in justice to my own industry, notice the pains I took in long and laboriously reading for it. To form a store-house, as it were, of illustration purely Oriental, and so familiarize myself with its various treasures, that, as quick as Fancy in her airy spiritings required the assistance of fact, the memory was ready, like another Ariel, at her “strong bidding,” to furnish materials for the spell-work,+such was, for a long while, the sole object of my studies; and whatever time and trouble this preparatory process may have cost me, the effects resulting from it, as far as the humble merit of truthfulness is concerned, have been such as to repay me more than sufficiently for my pains. I have not forgotten how great was my pleasure, when told by the late Sir James Mackintosh that he was once asked by Cokouel Wilks, the historian of British India, “whether it was true that Moore had never been in the East !” “Never,” answered Mack. intosh. “Well, that shows me,” replied Colonel Wilks,
| “pretendent que les Guebres sont les Jansenistes