Page images

ductor of souls, the god Anubis; the formidable dog, the guardian of the mansion of Osiris, (or the divine abode ;) the balance in which the heart or deeds of the deceased are weighed against the symbol of integrity; the infant Harpocrates-the emblem of a new life seated before the throne of the judge; the range of assessors who are to pronounce on the life of the being come up to judgment; and finally the judge himself, whose suspended sceptre is to give the sign of acceptance-or condemnation. Here the deceased has crossed the living valley and river; and in the caves of the death region where the howl of the wild dog is heard by night, is this process of judgment going forward and none but those who have seen the contrasts of the region with their own eyes, none who have received the idea through the borrowed imagery of the Greeks, or the traditions of any other people, can have any adequate notion how the mortuary ideas of the primitive Egyptians, and through them, of the civilised world at large, have been originated by the everlasting conflict of the Nile and the Desert. Harriet Martineau.

[graphic][merged small]


HEARD a thousand blended notes,

While in a grove I sat reclined,

In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link

The human soul that through me ran; And much it grieved my heart to think What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trail'd its wreaths;

And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopp'd and play'd,
Their thoughts I cannot measure,
But the least motion which they made,
It seem'd a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan
To catch the breezy air;

And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from Heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament

What man has made of man!

[merged small][graphic]


THE snows arise, and foul and fierce

All Winter drives along the darken'd air. In his own loose-revolving fields the swain Disaster'd stands; sees other hills ascend,

Of unknown joyless brow; and other scenes,
Of horrid prospect, shag the trackless plain;
Nor finds the river, nor the forest, hid

Beneath the formless wild; but wanders on
From hill to dale, still more and more astray-
Impatient flouncing through the drifted heaps,

Stung with the thoughts of home; the thoughts of home
Rush on his nerves, and call their vigour forth
In many a vain attempt. How sinks his soul
With black despair! what horror fills his heart!
When, for the dusky spot which fancy feign'd
His tufted cottage, rising through the snow,
He meets the roughness of the middle waste,
Far from the track, and blest abode of man ;
While round him night resistless closes fast,
And every tempest, howling o'er his head,
Renders the savage wilderness more wild.
Then throng the busy shapes into his mind,
Of cover'd pits, unfathomably deep,

A dire descent! beyond the power of frost ;

Of faithless bogs; of precipices huge,

Smooth'd up with snow; and, what is land, unknown, What water, of the still unfrozen spring,

In the loose marsh or solitary lake,

Where the fresh fountain from the bottom boils.

These check his fearful steps; and down he sinks
Beneath the shelter of the shapeless drift,

Thinking o'er all the bitterness of death,
Mix'd with the tender anguish Nature shoots
Through the wrung bosom of the dying man-
His wife, his children, and his friends unseen.
In vain for him the officious wife prepares
The fire fair-blazing, and the vestment warm ;
In vain his little children, peeping out
Into the mingling storm, demand their sire,
With tears of artless innocence. Alas!

« PreviousContinue »