+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

the clear blue depths, breasting at his ease
the flood, goes the long steady stroke of the
practised swimmeran animal half amphibious,
seen at times afar off, lifting on the
crest of a wave a mile at sea. With laugh and
splutter a band of juveniles rub their heads
with water in the most approved manner,
as if they were a set of old topers afraid of
apoplexy; or with whoop and hollo engage in
a water combat, or in a race in bunting that
reminds one of running in sacks; while a
still younger member of the human family
roars lustily as he clings to his pitiless
nurse's neck, or emerges half-suffocated from
the prescriptive thrice-repeated dip. Yet
there is something gladsome in the flash of
the waters around the sportive bathers, and
in the glancing glitter of the sun-beams on
the ivory-like arms that are swaying to and
fro upon the blue waters. It speaks of
Summer; and that of itself awakens gladness.

As we look upon the earth in a glorious
summer-day, we feel as if all nature loved us,
and that a spirit within is answering to the
loving call of the outer world. We feel as if
caressed by the beauty floating aroundas if
the mission of nature were to delight us. And
it is so. It was to be a joy for Man that this
glorious world sprang out of Chaos, and it
was to enjoy it that we were gifted with our
many senses of beauty. How narrow the
enjoyment of the body to the domain of the
spirit! The possessions and enjoyments of
man consist less in the acres we can win from
our fellows, than in the wide universe around
us. Creature-comforts are unequally divided,
but the charm of existence, the joy that rays
from all nature, are the property of all. Who
can set a price upon the colours of the rose
or the hues of sunset? Yet, would the
Vernon Gallery be an adequate exchange?
Water and air, prime necessaries of physical
life, are not more free to all, than is its best
and highest food everywhere accessible to
the spirit. What we want is, to rub the dust
of the earth off our souls, and let them mirror
the beauty of the universe. What we want
is, to open the nature within to the nature
withoutto clear the mind from ignorance,
the heart from prejudice. We must learn to
see things as they areto find beauty in
nature, love in man, good everywhere; not to
shut our eyes or look through a distorting
medium. We scramble for the crumbs of
worldly success, and too often have neglected
the higher delights that are free to our taking.
Like the groveller in the Pilgrim's Progress,
we rake amid straws on the ground, when a
crown of joy is ready to descend upon us if
we will only look up. We turn aside the
river from its bed, and toil in the sand for
golden dust, destroying happiness in the search
for its symbol, and forget that the world itself
may be made golden, that the art of the
Alchemist may be ours. The true sunshine
of life is in the heart. It is there that
the smile is born that makes the light
of life, the rosy smile that makes the world
of beauty, and keeps life sweetthe smile
that "makes a summer where darkness else
would be."

We are in one of the pretty lanes of
England. The smoke of a great city is
beginning to curl up into the morning skies, but
the sounds of that wakening Babylon cannot
reach us in our green seclusion. As we step
along lightly, cheerily, in the cool sunlight,
hark to the glad voices of children; and lo! a
cottage-home, sweeter-looking than any we
have yet passed. Honeysuckles and jessamine
wreathe the wooden trellis of the porch with
verdure and flowers. In those flowers the
early bee is hanging and humming, birds are
chirping aloft, and cherubs are singing below.
An urchin, with his yellow curls half-blinding
his big blue eyes, sits on the sunny gravel-
walk, playing with a frisky, red-collared
kitten. On the steps of the door, beneath the
shade of the trellis-work, sit two girls, a
lapful of white roses before them, which
they are gathering into a bouquet, or sticking
into each other's hair. What are they

Come, come, come! Oh, the merry Summer morn!
          From dewy slumbers breaking,
          Birds and flowers are waking.
Come, come, come! and leave our beds forlorn!

Hark, hark, hark! I hear our playmates call!
          Hurrah! for merry rambles!
          Morn is the time for gambols.
Yes, yes, yes! Let's go a-roving all!

Haste, haste, haste! To woodland dells away!
          here flowers for us are springing,
          And little birds are singing
"Come, come, come! Good-morrow! come away!"

A wiseacre lately remarked, as a proof of
the sober sense of the age, that no one now sang,
about the happiness of childhood! Sombre
sense, he should have said,—if he misused the
word "sense" at all. No happiness,—nay, no
peculiar happiness in childhood! Does he
mean to maintain that we get happier as we
get older?—that life, at the age of Methuselah,
is as joyous as at fifteen? Has novelty,
which charms in all the details of existence,
no charm in existence itself? Is suspicion
that infallible growth of years, that baneful
result of knowledge of the worldno damper
on happiness? Is innocence nothing? Is ennui
known to the young! No, no!

Youth is the summer of life; it is the very
heyday of joy,—the poetry of existence. Youth
beholds everything through a golden medium,
through the prism of fancy, not in the glass
of reason; in the rose-hue of idealism, not
the naked forms that we call reality.

"All that's bright must fade,
The brightest still the fleetest!"

We have but to look around us and within
us to see the sad truth exemplified. Summer
is fading with its rosesYouth vanishes
with its dreams. "Passing away" is written