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wood, can refuse his assent to this sentiment, or can misunderstand the meaning implied in the observation, that none can paint like Nature. It is not merely in the harmony, the freshness, and the beauty of the coloring, that this is true, but in the contrasts, in the discrepancies, and even in the long breadths of tameness and uniformity which occasionally occur, as well as in the whole style of grouping, sometimes so wild, at other times so subdued, and again so full of unexpected grace and soft luxuriance. There is a peculiar charm in the very freedom and negligence of Nature; and He who willed that this freedom and negligence should exist, beneficently implanted the feeling which should receive enjoyment from it. It might have been otherwise: and, what indeed is remarkable, it is otherwise in regard to works of art. There we expect an exact uniformity, or, at least, a studied adjustment, and we are pained when this is not to be found. Had such a sentiment been extended to natural objects, how much enjoyment would have been lost, how much discomfort would have been experienced.
THE POWERS OF THE WORLD TO COME.
HE is a forlorn child indeed, on whose lip the smile of playfulness is never seen, or whose eye never beams or sparkles with cheerfulness. There is a seed of hope and joy, which springs in the early portion of life, and indicates a longing after better things than are seen, and a capacity of maturer felicity than is tasted here. The buoyancy of youth indeed and its lively aspirations, sink often into the plodding dulness of riper years, and the animated youth becomes the tame and cheerless man.
This, however, is no argument against the truth that hopefulness and joy are strong ingredients in the human
character. Their failure is the fruit of misdirected energy, and efforts devoted to founding stable enjoyment on things that perish in the using. It is because man is capable of hope, that he experiences disappointment. It is because his nature is attuned to the elevation of joy,
that he sinks in sadness.
The feeling mind must necessarily, in a world like this, have a tinge of melancholy shading its character, however strong its powers, and however energetic its exercises. This melancholy does not solely arise from the disjointed state of the world, or the fainting aspirations of the spirit. It relates often to a consciousness of futurity, involving indefinite periods, and incalculable capacities of sensation. The inbred conviction of an existence which shall endure when we have passed away from this world, has led the Californian to store up the remains of his departed kindred in sheds, facing the rising sun, that they may be ready to depart when the mysterious summons shall arrive. It has led the Indian to fix his gaze on the setting sun, to anticipate there his eternal home. This inbred conviction. bowed the indomitable spirit of England's proud queen, when, in her death-pangs, she uttered the unanswered cry, “A nation of wealth for an hour of time !" This caused the daring and scorning philosopher, Voltaire, to tremble at the step he was about to make from things seen and temporal. This has been the source of all the superstitions of men of all casts of mind, and has raised up the spirits of the departed, and the “wraiths" of those about to depart. This has excited longings for "more evidence" of the existence of a world of spirits, though it should come in the form of flitting shades or sheeted ghosts.
Who is there so great in the might of philosophic power, or so absorbed in the pursuit of worldly gains or pleasures, or so sunk in unreflecting ignorance, as not to taste, in some degree, or at some period of his life, of "the powers of the world to come ?" The hardy backwoodsman, who forces his way through hitherto unpenetrated forests, and finds the patriarchal oak smitten by lightning, knows that an Unseen Power is there. The ear that hears, with solemn awe, the rocks hurled to and
fro within the caves of ocean, by the heaving billow; or, in milder mood, listens to the fall of waters, remote from human influence, and unaided by human skill, hears also a voice within his heart that tells him there is One whom he hath not seen, but whom he must one day see. The soul, however unenlightened, however confused in its apprehension, has a pulse beating for immortality, which throbs with solemn pauses, and warns him that there is a world to come, which even now lays fast hold on him.
It is a subject of curious speculation, whether it be possible, by a system of education, and a mode of treatment, entirely to extinguish, in any human breast, those solemn anticipations and mysterious conjectures which constitute a portion of humanity. The deadening effect of a life of pleasure has been depicted by moralists, and largely confessed by those who have been quickened and brought out of it. But the life of pleasure, even while it lasts, is bound up with hours of sadness, and experiences pauses, in which, reflection will force its way, and the voice of anticipation from the immortal spirit, will make itself be heard over the waste of vanity and levity. In hours of anguish, when human aid is unavailing, the spirit confesses that there is a Being far above, and too long out of sight, with whom is might and healing compassion.
Even the females of the East, enclosed in the gorgeous prisons which jealousy has assigned to them, and believing that they must look only to man as their deity, taught that the great duty of their existence is to adorn and accomplish themselves, that they may win his favor, and that their greatest transgressions consist in offending him,even these, in their periods of Nature's sorrow, must have an inextinguishable conviction that man's help is vain. In the heart-burnings and miseries peculiar to their position, they must feel themselves capable of a higher enjoyment than what can flow from human approbation,—they must long to appeal to a tribunal more just than human justice. Prayer is the natural cry of distress. What is the poor excluded female to do? how to get vent for her woes? where to find an object for her hopes? Shut up though
she be, she has learnt that portion of the Moslem's faith, that there is one God. Is it possible, then, that even the infelicities of her portion can quench that spark of the divinity within, which prompts her to aspire after a purer state?
The question is asked in vain; for who shall answer it? Our female travellers, who have been admitted into the society of the harem, from Lady M. W. Montague downwards, have not been of a cast to search deeper than descriptions of dress, furniture, and manners. The time is yet to come, when some better spirit shall penetrate those realms of shade, and bring to light the idle superstitions, or the solemn apprehensions, which shall prove that the nature which God has made, cannot be quenched by his creatures, that his Spirit works in minds benighted in all outward means, and that the powers of the world to come are experienced even by those who are taught only the belief of a degraded immortality. M. G. L. D.
THE WOODS.-THEIR USES.
ON the first sight of a large forest, a superficial observer may be inclined to ask, Why is all this waste of vegetable luxuriance? If this arrangement be indeed the work of an Intelligent Being, how comes it that He has been so laboriously busy in encumbering the earth with such a number and variety of useless trees? Would not a soil so fertile as to support these monstrous weeds, for they scarcely deserve a better name, have been more wisely and beneficently occupied with the production of less luxuriant but more profitable edible herbs; or, if there must be trees, why do they not bear fruits fit for human food?
In answer to this objection, I shall not at present recur to the view which has already been so frequently referred to in the course of this work, of the intention of the Creator that man should be saved from sinking into sloth and
insignificance by the necessity of labor, and should be stimulated to the cultivation of his mental and bodily powers, by rewards held out for his industry,—an intention which is evinced by the scope afforded for agricultural improvement, and which is incompatible with the arrangement that the objection supposes preferable. It will be my object rather to show that woods are by no means so barren and unprofitable as they are sometimes considered, but that, on the contrary, they form an important department in the economy of Nature.
Every part of a tree has its use. The leaves are not only necessary to the growth of the tree itself, as I have elsewhere shown, but, when shed in autumn, they cover the ground so as to protect the roots from the injurious effects of the winter's frosts: while, in their decay, they furnish a manure which adds to the fertility of the soil, otherwise liable to be exhausted by the demands of a gigantic vegetation. I have already spoken of their edible fruits, and I may mention, in a single word, that their seeds, by whatever other means they are protected, whether in the form of nuts or of berries, generally furnish nourishment to some species of living creatures, and thus, either directly or indirectly, not seldom contribute to the support or enjoyment of man.
If from the seeds of trees, we turn to the bark, we shall find that this also has its important uses. I have already considered the application of certain kinds of bark to the purposes of the tanner, but this is far from being the only use to which that part of a tree has been converted. Some species of foreign bark are aromatic, as that of the cinnamon tree; others are medicinal, as the Peruvian bark; and others, again, are capable of supplying the place of hemp in the manufacture of coarse stuffs and cordages; while, from an evergreen oak in Spain, we procure that useful material of which corks are manufactured. From the bark of trees, also, various gums and resins are extracted, of the former of which, gum-arabic, and of the latter, tar, may be considered as the most common and the most useful.
In the 'Spring' and 'Summer' volumes, I have already