Page images
PDF
EPUB

with unwithering leaf,” said her father, smiling, “ the amomum with its intermingling flowers,' the gay geranium and the jessamine from warm Caffraria ; but tell me what is meant by

'foreigners from many lands, They form one social shade, as if convened

By magic summons of the Orphean lyre,' and the palm of victory shall be yours.”

Clara's brother Maurice was well versed in all the beauties of ancient poetry; he had consequently studied the Heathen mythology with careful attention, and was perfectly acquainted with the names of the various gods and goddesses there commemorated. Fortunately for Clara she had applied to him for an explanation of these identical lines, and she readily answered her father's query.' ..“ Apollo was the god of Wisdom, papa," said she; “ he presided over the fine arts, and was skilled in the practice of music; and he is always represented

en

D

with a harp and a crown of laurel. According to the Heathen mythology mythology you know signifies fable or fiction, the tales of former times, when there existed neither records nor chronology from which true histories might be gained-according to those fables of the Grecian poets, Apollo presented a lyre to Orpheus, and such a wonderful one! for its magic power is said to have been so great that even the most rapid rivers ceased to flow, the savage beasts of the forest forgot their wildness, and the trees and shrubs descended from the tops of the mountains to listen to its delightful sound. This, of course, is all a fable, but it explains those lines, papa; and when I hear of the astonishing effects produced by the music of the Orphean lyre, I am no longer at a loss to know what is meant.” .

You have given a very good description of it, my dear,” said Mr. C.

“ I admire those lines of Cowper's because they describe plants so beautifully, papa," said Clara, “ and I think I shall write them on the outside of the portfolio that contains the collection of Fanny's flowers; one of the embossed cards will just contain them. I am glad that I understand the conclusion too, though, after all, I cannot say that I like fable or fiction even so well as metaphor: fables, you know, are nothing in reality-nothing but what existed in the fancies of the ancients ; but metaphor is something, for it is employed to describe one object by the qualities of some other object more generally known, or more striking in its nature.”

6 We will have a little conversation respecting the “ fancies of the ancients,' as you are pleased to term them, another day," said Mr. C.

« Are you particularly engaged this morning, my dear papa ?” said Clara, as her father closed a volume he held in his hand. “ Are you particularly busy to-day?"

“No, my love; neither particularly engaged nor particularly busy.”

“ Then, papa, will you devote a little time to me? You know I am always anxious to gain knowledge, and that I apply to you, as a thing of course, whenever I want information.” .“ After this preparatory notice, perhaps it will be most prudent in me to consider a little before I grant your request,” said Mr. C., smiling.

“ Well,” continued he, after a pause, “ what is to be the subject of our conversation? Are we to pay our devoirs at the shrine of Flora, and wander in fancy over the flowery plains of India and Caffraria, or are we to rhapsodize

upon the beauties of this lovely spring morning?"

“ No, papa, we will bid adieu to the • beautiful virgin,' for a little time,” said Clara, laughing, “and leave Orpheus to tune his wonderful lyre unnoticed and unheard if he please.

“ I want to have a little talk with you about poetry—about the origin and progress of poetry. The conversations we have already had upon this subject have induced me to read many a favourite poem with renewed pleasure, and I am in fact becoming almost as fond of poetry as my sister Maria.”

“ Poetry, like music, often proves a delightful solace to the mind,” said Mr. C., “and, if well chosen, may be raised from a trifling amusement to a pleasure of the highest kind, as it refines the ideas, rectifies the understanding, and meliorates the heart: and as long as

« PreviousContinue »