« VorigeDoorgaan »
Easter Hymns :
11.—The Angel ....
BIRDS AND FLOWERS, AND OTHER
The Old Man and the Carrion Crow 177 Newcastle-upon-Tyne.....
The Seven Temptations.
What's done we partly may compute,
ALARIC A. WATTS, ESQ. THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED, BY HIS SINCERE FRIEND,
degree, at the shapes of atrocity into which some of them are transformed; and learn to bear with others
as brethren, who have been tried tenfold beyond our The idea of this poem originated in a strong impres
own experience, or perhaps our strength. sion of the immense value of the human soul, and of
The evil agent whom I have employed for the all the varied modes of its trials, according to its own working out of this moral process, in this poem, may infinitely varied modifications, as existing in different either be regarded literally, as he is represented, individuals. We see the awful mass of sorrow and according to the popular creed; or simply, as a perof crime in the world, but we know only in part—in sonification of the principle of temptation, as each a very small degree, the fearful weight of solicitations individual reader's own bias of sentiment may lead and impulses of passion, and the vast constraint of him to prefer: for my own part, I regard him in the circumstances, that are brought into play against latter point of view. suffering humanity. In the luminous words of my
There may be some who may not approve of the motto,
extent of crime which I have brought into action in What's done we partly may compute,
the course of these dramas. They may deem the But know not what's resisted.'
experiment especially dubious in a female writer. Thus, without sufficient reflection, we are furnished But let such reflect, that without high temptation with data on which to condemn our fellow-creatures, there could be no high crime; without high crime but without sufficient grounds for their palliation and there could be no actual and adequate representation commiseration. It is necessary for the acquisition of human nature, as we know it to exist. And of that charity, which is the soul of Christianity, for therefore to have flinched in this respect, would have us to descend into the depths of our own nature; to been to defeat the whole object of my work. Let put ourselves into many imaginary and untried situa- those reflect also, that it has not been my plan to tions, that we may enable ourselves to form some render the description of crime alluring. In that tolerable notion how we might be affected by them; case I should have deserved, not only all the blame how far we might be tempted — how far deceived the timid or the rigidly righteous conld heap upon how far we might have occasion to lament the evil me, but also that of the philosophical observer of our power of circumstances, to weepover our own weak. nature ; for my view of it then would have been ness, and pray for the pardon of our crimes; that, false and injust. But I have painted the career of having raised up this vivid perception of what we crime such as it is—one uniform downward tendency might do, suffer and become, we may apply the rule to degradation and ruinous misery; and have thereby to our fellows, and cease to be astonished in some held up to young and old, to strong and weak, to
THE POOR SCHOLAR.
the high and the lowly of earth, the most important ours thou murmurest against: it is for less than this moral lesson that the light and darkness of this that he obtained them !" strange life can teach to tried, allured, rational yet " You shall see,” said Achzib exultingly, “what I corruptible, intellectual yet sense-involved beingswill do. I will select seven human beings, and tempt the most important we are capable of giving or them according to their several natures ; and if I receiving
prove not beyond dispute the superior power of evil, The scenes, characters, and events in these dramas let me be called tenfold, Achzib the liar!" are, as in human life, exceedingly various, and ex- · Be it so!" replied the other two. ceedingly diversified in their degrees of moral purity or turpitude ; but if they are allowed only to be such Achzib was upon earth. He took up his abode in as fall really within the scope of our nature, they a famous city, and assuming the character of a phineed no defence, for they must be full of lessons of losopher, inquired out their most learned men. All wisdom and of stimulus to good.
told him of a poor scholar. Achzib saw him and conversed with him. He found him young, worn out with study, and as simple, unpractised and inexperienced in the ways of men as a child. This shall
be my first essay, said Achzib; and accordingly, acTHE SEVEN TEMPTATIONS.
cumulating learned treatises and immeasurably long parchments of puzzling but unsound philosophy, he made his attempt. Whether Achzib or the Poor
Scholar triumphed, shall be seen. In a gloomy chaotic region of universal space inhabited by the Spirits of Evil, who, enraged at their expulsion from heaven, still endeavoured to revenge themselves upon the justice of God, by over
THE POOR SCHOLAR. turning or defacing the beauty of his moral creation in the spirit of man, sate three of the lower order of
PERSONS. Spirits. Among them was, Achzib the liar, or the runner to and fro-a restless, ambitious spirit, who,
ACHZIB, THE PHILOSOPHER. hating good, coveled distinction among the bad.
For a long time they had sate in silence, each occupied by his own cogitations; and there is no telling how much longer they might have remained so, had not the attention of the youngest been diverted by a
The Scholar's Room. — Evening. gloomily magnificent procession, which was dimly seen passing in the distance.
Little Boy, reading. "These things I have spoken “ Another of the favoured ones," said he, “ is this unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the day crowned !"
world ye shall have tribulation : but be of good cheer, “Ay,” replied Achzib, “it is an easy thing for I have overcome the world." Here endeth the 16th some to obtain distinction! I have desired it for long; chapter of the Gospel according to St. John. I have done services to merit it; but my merits, like Poor Scholar. Most precious words! Now go your my desires, are fruitless."
way i “ Hast thou," inquired the eldest of the three, The summer fields are green and bright; * proved the supremacy of evil? bast thou shown Your tasks are done. - Why do you stay? that we are stronger than God ?"
Christ give his peace to you: Good night! “I have done much," said Achzib, “as ye all Boy. You look so pale, sir! you are worse; know !"
Let me remain, and be
your nurse! " But, if thou have failed to do this,' rejoined the Sir, when my mother has been ill, other, “thou canst not have deserved the distinction I've kept her chamber neat and still, thou desirest!”
And waited on her all the day! " But that is soon done!" answered Achzib.
Schol. Thank you! but yet you must not stay; “Not so soon !" interrupted the youngest spirit. Still, still my boy, before we part "I have tried to prove it till I am weary; and now Receive my blessing — 'tis my last! I unreluctantly make the confession, that though we I feel Death's hand is on my heart, are mighty, God is mightier than we-his mercy is And my life's sun is sinking fast; stronger than our hate, his integrity than our craft!" Yet mark me, child, I have no fear,
"I deny all this,” said Achzib, “and I will prove 'Tis thus the Christian meets his end : it beyond controversy! I will directly ascend to the I know my work is finished here, earth: and of the human spirits whom I will tempt, And God — thy God too — is my friend! I will win the greater number, if not all of them, to The joyful course has just began; their ruin !"
Life is in thee a fountain strong; " If thou do this," said the eldest spirit, “ thou wilt Yet look upon a dying man, indeed deserve to be crowned like him whose hon. Receive his words and keep them long!
THE POOR SCHOLAR AND LITTLE BOY.