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I do not know what it is to be melancholy', and can', therefore', I take a view of natureb in her deep and solemn scenes', with the
same pleasure as in her most gay and delightful ones'. By this I means', I can improve myself with objects which others consider
with terrour'. When I look upon the tombs of the great', every emotion of envy dies within me'; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful', every inordinate desire goes out'; when I meet with the grief of parentse upon a tombstone', my heart melts with compassion'; when I see the tomb of the parentsc them. selves', I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow'. When I see kings lying by those who deposed them';-- when I consider rival wits placed side by side', or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes'; I reflect', with sorrow and astonishment', on the little competitions', factions', and debates of mankind'. When I read the several dates of the tombs', of some that died yesterday', and some six hundred years ago', I consider that great day when we shall all of us be cotemporaries', and make our appearance together.
I sat', for some time', lost in that kind of reverie which a strain of musick is apt', at times', to inspire'. The shadows of evening were gradually thickening around me'; the monuments began to cast deeper and deeper gloom'; and the distant clock againd gave token of the slowly waning day'.
I rose', and prepared to leave the abbey'. As I descended the flight of steps which lead into the body of the building', my eye was caught by the shrine of Edward the Confessor'; and I ascended the small staircase that conducts to it', to take from thence a general survey of this wilderness of tombs'. The shrine is elevated upon a kind of platform'; and close around it are the sepulchres of various kings and queens'. From this eminence', the eye looks down between pillars and funeral tro. phiese to the chapels and chambers below, crowded with tombs', where warriours', prelates', courtiers', and statesmen',' lie mouldering in “ their beds of darkness'." Close by me stood the great chair of coronation', rudely carved of oak', in the bar.
quér'fore. Natshåre. «På'rênts-not, pår'unts. dA-gen'. Trở fiz. States'men.
barous taste of a remote and gothick age'. The scene seemed almost as if contrived', with theatrical artifice', to produce an effect upon the beholder'. Here was a type of the beginning and the end of human pomp and power'; here it was literally but a step from the throne to the sepulchre'. Would not one think', that these incongruous mementoes had been gathered together as a lesson to living greatness'?-to show it', even in the moment of its proudest exaltation', the neglect and dishonour to which it must soon arrive'?-how soon that crown which encircles its brow', must pass away'; and how soon it must lie down in the dust and disgraces of the tomb', and be trampled upon by the feet of the meanest of the multitude'? For', strange to tell', even the grave is here no longer a sanctuary'. There is a shocking levity in some natures', which leads them to sport with awful and hallowed things'; and there are base minds', which delight to revenge on the illustrious dead', the abject homage and grovellingd servility which they pay to the living'. The coffin of Edward the Confessor has been broken open', and his remains despoiled of their funeral ornaments';e the sceptre has been stolen from the hand of the imperious Elizabeth', and the effigy of Henry the Fifth lies headless'. Not a royal mon. ument but bears some proof how false and fugitive is the hom. age of mankind'. Some are plundered'; some', mutilated'; some', covered with ribaldry and insult';—all', more or less', outraged and dishonoured'!
The last beams of day were now faintly streaming through the painted windows in the high vaults above me': the lower parts of the abbey were already wrapped in the obscurity of twilight'. The chapels and aisles' grew darker and darker'. The effigies of the kings faded into shadows'; the marble fig. ures of the monuments assumed strange shapes in the uncer. tain light'; the evening breeze crept through the aisles like the cold breath of the grave'; and even the distant foot-fall of a verger', traversing the Poet's Corner', had something strange and dreary in its sound'. I slowly retraced my morning's walk', and', as I passed out at the portal of the cloisters', the door', closing with a jarring noise behind me', filled the whole building with echoes'.
I endeavored to form some arrangement in my mind of the objects I had been contemplating', but found they were already falling into indistinctness and confusion'. Names', inscriptions', trophies’," had all become confounded in my recollection', though
•S&p'ůl'kůr. Mo'ment. Hôm'dje. Grðv'vol'ling. Or'ná'mentsnot, munts. fllze. Fig'ůrze. hTrö'fiz.
I had scarcely taken my foot from off the threshold'. What', thought I', is this vast assemblage of sepulchres but a treasury of humiliation'; a huge pile of reiterated homilies on the empti. ness of renown', and the certainty of oblivion'? It is', indeed', the empire of death'; his great shadowy palace', where he sits in state', mocking at the relicks of human glory', and spreading dust and forgetfulness on the monuments of princes'. How idle a boast', after all', is the immortality of a name'! Time is ever silently turning over his pages'; we are too much engrossed by the story of the present', to think of the characters and anecdotes that gave interest to the past'; and each age is a volume thrown aside to be speedily forgotten'. The idol of today pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection'; and will', in turn', be supplanted by his successor of to-morrow'. “Our fathers'," says Sir Thomas Brown', “ find their graves in our short memories', and sadly tell us how we may be buried in our survivors'.” History fades into fable'; fact becomes clouded with doubt and controversy'; the inscription moulders from the tablet'; the statue falls from the pedestal'.* Columns', arches', pyramids', what are they but heaps of sand'—and their epitaphs', but characters written in the dust'? What is the secu. rity of the tomb', or the perpetuity of an embalmment'? The remains of Alexander the Great', have been scattered to the wind', and his empty sarcophagus' is now the mere curiosity of a museum'. “ The Egyptian mummies which Cambyses or time hath spared', avarice now consumeth'; Mizraim cures wounds', and Pharaoh is sold for balsams'.”
What', then', is to insure this pile which now towers above me', from sharing the fate of mightier mausoleums'?! The time must come when its gilded vaults', which now spring so loftily', shall lie in rubbish beneath the feet'; when', instead of the sound of melody and praise', the wind shall whistle through the broken arches', and the owl hoot from the shattered tower when the garish sunbeam shall break into these gloomy man. sions of death'; and the ivy twine round the fallen column'; and the foxglove hang its blossoms about the nameless urn', as if in mockery of the dead'. Thus man passes away'; his name perishes from record and recollection'; his history is as “ a tale that is told';" and his very monument becomes a ruin'.
Sår-kőf'fd.gủs. cMů-ze'ům. Måw-sd-le'ůmz.
On Subscribing for Books. [Extract from Flint's Review of Dr. Emmons' Fredoniad.] We are sensible', that many will think we have meddled with a theme which is wholly below the dignity of criticism'. We do not think so'. We would not', without object', wound the feelings of Mr. Emmons', nor of any man'; and it is painful to us to say what our notion of duty compels us to say of this work'. We should not have named the work', had it not suggested to us thoughts that we deem equally true and important',' and remarks which we deem to be the appropriats award of legitimate criticism'.
We know not how large an edition of this work was printed'; but there are four volumes of it', and the expense must have been very considerable'. Just so much patronage will be withdrawn from some work of real merit'. We hear', and authors hear', and editors hear', and projectors of new works hear', and every literary man hears this grating and discordant theme': “ Indeed', sir', I cannot subscribe to your work'. I am tormented', by day and by night', at home and abroad', in the house and by the way', in church and on 'change', at fu. nerals and at theatres', by subscription-papers'. Here have I been applied to this day for my name for three new periodicals', and four new books'. I am taxed beyond all enduring'. Sub. scription rogues'! I had rather encounter a highwayman with his pistols', than one of these fellows with his paper'.” We appeal to you', my dear book-maker', if you have not heard all this in substance a hundred times'. You need not tell us', that it goes straight to your commune sensorium (common seat of feeling) and the medullary marrow', with the causticity of vitriol'. What is the inference'? “I must treat you all alike', or subscribe', as I am in the good or the bad fit';" —and probably poet Emmons obtains your name', and a man of genius and talents goes away mortified and rejected'.
Because ten thousand drivellers and fools are deserting the plough and the work-bench', and merging good tinkers in bad poets', and editors', and book-makers', shall the world go back to the ages of barbarism'? Shall the press be suspended'? Will you treat all the thousand prowlers', who are dispersed over the country with subscription-papers', like a judgment of
•Woond. 'Im-por'lånt-not, tunt
locusts', alike? We say'.. not'. We say', that literature is necessary to every country that is not peopled with savages', or slaves'. We say', that every man owes something', in the form of support', to literature', as strictly as he does to liberty', education', or religion'. You can no more disengage yourself from this obligation', than from that of bestowing charity'. Your judging and discriminating faculties were given you', to enable you to select from the hundred applications for your name in this way', those works which you ought to encourage'. You ought to make it a matter of deliberation and conscience to decide to whom you ought to give', and from whom with. hold', your countenance and patronage'. If you have been caught purchasing forty thousand verses of trash', shall you crush the spirit of modest and ingenuous talent by neglect'? If your lady has been taken in with pit-coal indigo', is it good reason', that she should', therefore', forever after refuse to purchase the real die'?
We hold the common objection', “ I am tormented to death with subscriptions'," to amount', in substance', to this admission': “I have a poor head', and', withal', am a good deal of a Goth', and care very little about literature',, or any thing that causes man to differ from the brute'. I know of no difference between poet Emmons', and Bryant', or even Milton'. I am told that there are geese and swans'; but', being of the former breed myself', I take all fowls to belong to my class', and all works that ask subscription', to be on the same footing'.” .
This is not the language of a patriot',' a scholar', or a geni tleman'. A thousand ask patronage', and a thousand ask
charity'; and there are deserving and undeserving objects in each class'. It is a duty', that you should exercise your best judgment in making the proper discrimination'.
There is that in the preface of the Fredoniad', which', at the first look', disarms criticism', and inspires pity'. But a weak', undistinguishing pity', founded on animal tenderness and good nature', is neither a rational nor a benevolent sentiment'. True benevolence is wise in its views'. This gentleman says', he was cautioned against writing these verses', and found no en. couragement except from one man'. Why did he not heed the caution'? Instead of furnishing the community with an arguments against yielding its aid to literary efforts', he might have administered pills', or cut down trees', or made chimneys', and in a thousand ways have been usefully', and cheerfully', and
Lit'&r'a-tåre. T06_not, td. CTHèr'fore. Såb'stanse-not, stunse. På'tré 'ůt. Räsh'ůn'ål. 6Ar'gů'mént.