« EdellinenJatka »
The parents of the deceased had resided in the village from childhood. They had inhabited one of the neatest cottages, and by various rural occupations, and the assistance of a small garden, had supported themselves creditably and comfortably, and led a happy and a blameless life. They had one son, who had grown up to be the staff and pride of their age.—“Oh, sir !" said the good woman, "he was such a likely lad, so sweet tempered, so kird to every one around him, so dutiful to his parents! It did one's heart good to see him of a Sunday, drest out in his best, so tall, so straight, so cheery, supporting his old mother to church —for she was always fonder of leaning on George's arm, than on her good man's; and, poor soul, she might well be proud of him, for a finer lad there was not in the country round.”
Unfortunately, the son was tempted, during a year of scarcity and agricultural hardship, to enter into the service of one of the small craft that-plied on a neighboring river. He had not been long in this employ, when he was entrapped by a pressgang, and carried off to sea. His parents received the tidings of his seizure, but beyond that they could learn nothing. It was the loss of their main prop. The father, who was already infirm, grew heartless and melancholy, and sunk into his grave. The widow, left lonely in her age and feebleness, could no longer support herself, and came upon the parish. Still there was a kind feeling towards her throughout the village, and a certain respect as being one of the oldest inhabitants. As no one applied for the cottage in which she had passed so many happy days, she was permitted to remain in it, where she lived solitary and almost helpless. The few wants of nature were chiefly supplied from the scanty productions of her little garden, which the neighbors would now and then cultivate for her. It was but a few days before the time at which these circumstances were
ld me, that she was gathering some vegetables for her repast, when she heard the cottage door that faced the garden suddenly opened. A stranger came out, and
seemed to be looking eagerly and wildly around. He was dressed in seamen's cloths, was emaciated and ghastly pale, and bore the air of one broken by sickness and hardships. He saw her, and hastened toward her, but his steps were faint and faltering, he sank on his knees before her, and sobbed like a child. woman gazed upon him with a vacant and wandering eye—“Oh my dear, dear mother! don't
your son! your poor boy George !" It was, indeed, the wreck of her once noble lad; who, shattered by wounds, by sickness, and foreign imprisonment, had, at length, dragged his wasted limbs homeward, to repose among the scenes of his childhood.
I will not attempt to detail the particulars of such a meeting, where joy and sorrow were so completely blended: still he was alive he was come home he might yet live to comfort and cherish her old age! Nature, however, was exhausted in him; and if any thing had been wanting to finish the work of fate, the desolation of his native cottage would have been sufficient. He stretched himself on the pallet where his widowed mother had passed many a sleepless night, and he never rose from it again.
The villagers, when they heard that George Somers had returned, crowded to see him, offering every comfort and assistance that their humble means afforded. He, however, was too weak to talk-he could only look his thanks. His mother was his constant attendant, and he seemed unwilling to be helped by any other hand.
There is something in sickness that breaks down the pride of manhood ; that softens the heart, and brings it back to the feelings of infancy. Who that has suffered, even in advanced life, in sickness and despondencywho that has pined on a weary bed in the neglect and loneliness of a foreign land—but has thought on the mother " that looked on his childhood," that smoothed his pillow, and administered to his helplessness.. Oh! there is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son, that transcends all other affections of the heart.
It is neither to be chilled by selfishness, nor daunted by danger, nor weakened by worthlessness, nor stifled by ingratitude. She will sacrifice every comfort to his convenience; she will surrender every pleasure to his enjoyment; she will glory in his fame, and exult in his prosperity: and, if adversity overtake him, he will be the dearer to her by misfortune; and, if disgrace settle upon his name, she will still love and cherish him ; and, if all the world beside cast him off, she will be all the world to him.
Poor George Somers had known well what it was to be in sickness, and none to soothe-lonely and in prison, and none to visit him. He could not endure his mother from his sight; if she moved away, his eye would follow her. She would sit for hours by his bed, watching him as he slept. Sometimes he would start from a feverish dream, look anxiously up until he saw her venerable form bending over him, when he would take her hand, lay it on his bosom, and fall asleep with the tranquillity of a child. In this way he died.
My first impulse, on hearing this humble tale of affliction, was to visit the cottage of the mourner, and administer pecuniary assistance, and, if possible, comfort. I found, however, on inquiry, that the good feelings of the villagers had prompted them to do every thing that the case admitted: and as the poor know best how to console each other's sorrows, I did not Venture to intrude.
The next Sunday I was at the village church; when, to my surprise, I saw the poor old woman tottering down the aisle to her accustomed seat on the steps of the altar.
She had made an effort to put on something like mourning for her son; and nothing could be more tonching than this struggle between pious affection and utter poverty: a black riband or so—a faded black handkerchief-and one or two more such humble attempts to express by outward signs that grief which
When I looked round upon the storied monuments, the stately hatchments, the cold marble
pomp, with which grandeur mourned magnificently over departed pride; and turned to this poor widow, bowed down by age and sorrow at the altar of her God, and offering up the prayers and praises of a pious, though a broken heart, I felt that this living monument of real grief was worth them all.
I related her story to some of the wealthy members of the congregation, and they were moved at it. They exerted themselves to render her situation more comfortable, and to lighten her afflictions. It was, however, but smoothing a few steps to the grave. In the course of a Sunday or two after, she was missed from her usual seat at church, and before I left the neighborhood, I heard, with a feeling of satisfaction, that she had quietly breathed her last, and gone to rejoin those she loved, in that world where sorrow is never known, and friends are never parted.
REFLECTIONS ON FIRST APPROACHING ROME. On the heights above Baccano the postillions stopped, and pointing to a pinnacle that appeared between two hills, exclaimed—“ Roma!”-that pinnacle was the cross of St. Peter's.--The “ETERNAL CITY” rose before us!
As the traveller advances over the dreary wilds of the Campagna, where not one object occurs to awaken his attention, he has time to recover from the surprise and agitation which the first view of Rome seldom fails to excite in liberal and ingenuous minds. He may naturally be supposed to inquire into the cause of these emotions, and at first he may be inclined to attribute them solely to the influence of early habits, and ascribe the feelings of the man to the warm imagination of the school boy. Without doubt the name of Rome echoes in our ears from our infancy: our lisping tongues are turned to her language; and our first and most delightful years are passed among her orators, poets and historians. We are taught betimes to take a deep interest
in her fortunes, and to adopt her cause, as that of our own country, with spirit and with passion. Such impressions. made at such an age, are indelible, and it must be admitted, are likely to influence our feelings and opinions during life.
But the prejudices instilled into the mind of the boy, and strengthened by the studies of youth, are neither the sole nor even the principle causes of our veneration for Rome. The Mistress of the World claims our respect and affection, on grounds which the Christian and the philosopher must admit with grateful acknowledgment. In addition to her ancient origin and venerable fame, to her mighty achievements and vast empire, to her heroes and her saints, to the majesty of her language, and the charms of her literature; “ habe ante oculos hanc esse terram quæ nobis miserit gura quæ leges dederit.” Rome has been, in the hands of Providence, the instrument of communicating to Europe and to a considerable portion of the globe, the three greatest blessings of which human nature is susceptible —Civilization, Science, and Religion.
The system of Roman government was peculiarly adapted to the attainment of this great end, and the extension of its empire, seems to have been ordained by Heaven for its full accomplishment. The despotism of the Eastern monarchies kept all prostrate on the ground in abject slavery; the narrow policy of the Greek republics confined the blessings of liberty within their own precincts : Rome, with more enlarged and more generous sentiments, considering the conquered countries as so many nurseries of citizens, gradually extended her rights and privileges to their capitals, enrolled their natives in her legions, and admitted their nobles into her senate. Thus her subjects, as they improved in civilization, advanced also in honors, and approached every day nearer to the manners and to the virtues of their masters, till every province became another Italy, every city another Rome. With her laws and franchises she communicated to them her arts and sciences; wherever the Roman eagles penetrated, schools were