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Such might be the remark now, observing thus “ the tear forgot as soon as shed, the sunshine of the breast,” the pensive stroll where hearts keep company, each finding in the other a harbour for its rest. “ What a fine instrument the human heart is !” exclaims an English author. “ Who shall fathom it? Who shall sound it from its lowest note to the top of its compass ? Who shall put his band among the strings and explain their wayward music? The heart alone, when touched by sympathy, trembles and responds to their hidden meaning.” Whether it be that Love is known to be no inhabitant of earth, and therefore to be associated with the memory of those who are no longer of it, or from a consciousness that it is with cypress branches Love has wreathed its bower, making its best interpreter a sigh ; or from observing that love and death do not much differ, since they both make all things equal; or that in a place of mirth there is no room for love's laments, since either men possess or else forget ; or that joy itself must have some tragedy in it, else it will never please; or that as
The very first
Of watching the last hour of him who led them," and therefore woman's love and death are in the mind associated; or whether the fact results from some inexplicable connexion which needs a sciential brain to trace disparting bliss from its neighbour pain, defining their pettish limits, and estranging their points of contact,
,-one whoin Love's own college has spent sweet days a graduate may be heard bidding us remark, how it is near or among the tombs that those who love each other, and to whom even the blue skies seem fairer because they love, often keep their guileless tryst
6. Only to meet again more close, and share
The inward fragrance of each other's heart,
Unknown of any, free from suspicious eyes.” Hark to the sweet voice which whispers," I am attended at the cypress grove south of the city." What hast thou to do with tombs or those who come from deathbeds, funerals or tears ? Hast thou prepared weak nature to digest a sight so much distasteful? Hast seared thy conscience? The rich and stately, who do not gratify one's predilection for happy faces, who are but marble in their sense, and whose hearts are often more heavy than a tyrant's crown, may have only a suspicious answer; and truly, standing as we do where death so eloquently, and yet mildly, proclaims the equality of us all, this is an occasion when
some one may exclaim with a celebrated writer, “ Would that I lived more among the people!” Would that some at least of my friends were among those who, in order to borrow a little money, have not, like Marie d'Anjou, wife of Charles VII., their own valet-de-chambre to apply to, and who can count on obtaining all they want by leaving only in his hands a Bible in pledge, as that queen wrote, saying, “pour laquelle somme lui avons baillé et gaigé nostre Bible * but who have to strip their poor chest of drawers and their whitewashed walls of nearly every thing, and repair with it all to a stranger, and who, in fact, have always half their clothes and furniture at his shop, or, as they tell us smilingly, “at their uncle's.” It is strange that the amiable author of Men and Manners should say, dissuading someone from forming acquaintance with the poor, Persons in an inferior station
to yourself will doubt your good intentions and misapprehend your plainest expressions. All that you swear to them is a riddle or downright nonsense. You cannot by possibility translate your thoughts into their dialect. They will be ignorant of the meaning of half you say, and laugh at the rest.” One can understand certainly that a metaphysician or a sophist, who must be proclaiming his thoughts to all the world, will not be likely to please any of the people who can have no feelings or tastes in common with such transcendental individuals ; but let a man be only natural, and content to pass for a son of Adam, and however soft they may find his hands, or high they may suspect his birth to be, he is one of themselves in an instant, and entitled to all the privileges that they can confer.
« Now, as panions," says the author of Sibyl, "independent of every thing else, they are superior to any that I have been used to. They feel and they think. If they do want our conventional discipline, they have a native breeding which far excels it. Compared with their converse, the tattle of our saloons has in it something humiliating. It is not merely that it is deficient in warmth, and depth, and breadth; that it is always discussing persons and cloaking its want of thought in mimetic dogmas, and its want of feeling in superficial raillery ; it is not merely that it has neither imagination, nor fancy, nor sentiment, nor feeling, nor knowledge to recommend it; but it appears, even as regards manner and expression, inferior in refinement and phraseology.” Curran said truly that "the judgment despises it and the heart renounces it.” Now, all this has an immediate relation to our present subject; for, as Lord Jeffrey observes, in allusion to one of Crabbe's poems, “We cannot conceive any walk of gentlemen and ladies made for drawing-rooms, all being in the whistling of their snatch-up silks that should furnish out such a picture as is fur
* P. Clement.-Jacques Cæur, Etud. hist.
nished here;" but the simple, deeply-feeling, merry, and yet thoughtful common people, who form, happily, the far greater part of our fellow-creatures, the spirit of whose women can bear up against more than all the philosophers can master, each of whose sons and daughters—"cui
immundo Sacra conteritur Via socco," as the old poet says-of imperturbable good temper, and an unconscious practical philosophy that defies care and all its works, has tears of pity as readily as laughter in soft eyes, will sometimes take a walk like this without either insensibility or gloom. Their melancholy and their mirth become them equally: Their sadness is a kind of mirth, so mingled as if mirth did make them sad, and sadness merry ; those darker humours that stick misbecomingly on others, on them live in fair dwelling. Many a pair of such friends will pass an evening hour thus deliciously, though it may deserve, perhaps, to be written in red letters in their future history; for one of the parties in each may have gained another revelation of the beauty and excellence of woman's character, ever potent, in all ranks of life, to mould our destiny ; since it still continues true, what Strabo says every one knows, that women are more religious than men, and that they invite men to pay more attention to divine things, to observe festivals and to make supplications, and that it is rare for a man who lives all alone by himself to care for any thing of the Sort, σπάνιον δ' εί τις ανήρ καθ' αυτόν ζών ευρίσκεται τοιούτος *. Men seem to regard this indifference as arguing a masculine character; women know better. The "eye-judging sex” have more tact and insight into character than men ; as Hazlitt says, ' they find out a pedant, a pretender, a blockhead sooner.” The explanation is, that they trust more to the first impressions and natural indications of things, as to physiognomy, without troubling themselves with a learned theory of them.
“O women! that some one of you would take
An everlasting pen into your hands,
Strives to conceal!” Woman often has need, like Juliet, of many orisons to move the heavens to smile upon her state, which is so liable to be crossed ; she will pause and at least look them here; and, in truth, appearing thus at times like a vision of Heaven unto us, we have not unfrequently to wonder how high her thoughts are above ours.
“ Man is a lump of earth; the best man spiritless
To a woman; all our lives and actions
* Lib. vii. 4.
But counterfeits in arras to her virtue.
She is outwardly
From that time no more ours, but what she pleases !” Truly, if such a testimony be of worth, I for one, as Piniero says, “ would not harm a dog that could but fetch and carry for a woman.” In this particular instance they contrive, in their own feminine way, without uttering a word of censure or professing even to like a moral lecture, or any thing holy, to undeceive
Like one of Titian's faces, they do not look downward ; they look forward beyond this world. Nor by mingling love's discourse do they think to abuse the strictness of this place, or offer injury to the sweet rest of these interred bones. '“ Ils se réjouissoient tristement,” says Froissart of the English,“ selon la coutume de leur pays.” Perhaps we are about to notice an instance of which we need not be ashamed. I think it is a French writer who observes that England's dear, artless daughters are often pleased to visit graves, and near them
To meet the welcome face
True to the well-known trysting place." The high have illuminated saloons to meet their friends in ; the low are content with this pensive spot.
Not a leaf
More winningly reserv’d.” So you see the merry-hearted are sometimes induced to take the road of the tombs to hear whispered archly, while straying through them, something of woman's ways and woman's lore, which imbue our life with affection, developing all the kindly feelings of our nature; to witness proof, perhaps, of woman's love for mothers, which nothing interrupts, since to an absent mother, whether dead or aged, a maiden's thoughts, if she be not of the proud, rich races, that know nothing of this road, will ever recur in such a scene, though it be as here to say with a sweet sigh in what shaded, lovely spot she would wish, when they must part, to place her parent's bones. Thus are the joyous led among the sepulchres to read many lessons, to mark how the earth of sleep is often cast on a front of eighteen springs, to feel that
“ Youth may revel, yet it must
Lie down in a bed of dust;" and even to draw the very conclusions that open a way to the centre,
« For who is so busye in every place as youth
To reade and declare the manifest truth?” There is nothing, therefore, in the name inscribed by the way which forbids us to proceed with spirits as light as any class can boast of to take this road, trodden so frequently by the elastic feet of young and happy people,
“ With archness smiling in their eye
That tells youth's heartfelt revelry,
Chanting glad Nature's roundelay.” And if the subject at the bottom be very mournful, as no doubt it is, the objects which it will present us with may even inspire for that reason the greater pleasure ; for, as a great
“ We see in needleworks and embroideries it is more pleasing to have a lively work upon a sad and solemn ground, than to have a dark and melancholy work upon a lightsome ground ;” or, as Hazlitt says in his charming essay upon Merry England, “I do not see how there can be high spirits without low ones.” Perhaps, however, for venturing syllables that some grim chance-comer will think do ill beseem the quiet glooms of such a piteous scene, forgiveness must be asked ; though I have only sought to enrich my tissue with
“ Those golden threads all women love to wind,
And but for which man would cut off mankind.” I have only sought to season this book with that which is the salt to keep humanity sweet; or, if such a simile may be permitted, to make it from the beginning to the end resemble the letter S, which is wittily said to be an excellent travelling companion, because it can turn any number of miles into smiles; for, in truth, the readers who come to such pages generally have no Warburtonian disdain for “ that part of literature in which boys and girls decide." “ The enthusiast Fancy was a truant ever;" and as for the associations which have dictated such passages, why seek to explain them ? Some feelings defy analysis. They gleam upon us beautifully,” as a great writer says,
through the dim twilight of fancy, and yet, when we bring them close to us, and hold them up to the light of reason, they lose their beauty all at once, and vanish in darkness.” If on these three last roads there should be more mention