Page images

to pass at once over twenty years of her fate; only entreating them still to show so much interest in it, as to cast on them the glance of retrospection.

Are there any, whom we thus address, whose own lives admit of their looking back on such a lengthened period of existence? It is not to them we need observe, that it will be a glance over a checkered scene; the unrolling of a web of many colours, whose tints get more sombre the further we unfold it; yet on those sombre tints the blessing of heaven is often found to rest, as the darkest colours are known to attract and to retain the sun's heat, while the light and gaudy hues, that flaunt and glitter in its rays, remain cold to the touch, and impervious to its vital beam.

To illustrate this remark, let us take Sephora from the sacred dances in the vineyards of Engedi, where we left her in her vestal raiment, her flowing hair anointed with the oil of gladness, her flexile form vivid with youth and health, and her enlivened soul animated by the yet almost unseparated

hopes of nature and immortality:-Let us take her from this festive scene and behold her in her garments of widowhood, her tresses shorn and ashes on her head, sitting low and sorrowfully on the ground by the couch of an only and beloved child, watching the hectic flush of disease in his dying and emaciated countenance.

Let us take Caphtor and transport him to brighter shores : we have just seen him cast away the feverish wreath of human pride, leaving it to toss and perish on the restless deep. Let us behold him now receiving an immortal meed—a crown of incorruptionan 'ever fragrant and unwithering garland, that, unlike worldly honours, imbues and saturates his soul with deep humility. And as his spirit darts along the embowered and crystal streams of life, where angels tune their golden harps, and the unceasing voice of heavenly love is as the rushing sound of many waters; he still finds his highest and most' sacred joy, to cast the trophy at his Saviour's feet, while he knows himself un

worthy to sustain this radiant and eternal weight of glory.

By thus mentioning the fates of Caphtor and Sephora, it will be imagined that their destinies were united. The conclusion is just. They were espoused to each other before the feast of tabernacles came round again, and they were married soon afterwards. But by what avenue love entered their hearts, or when admitted there, how the passion was entertained, we have been unable to ascertain, and consequently are inadequate to communicate. Could the history of this era of their lives be known, perhaps it would not create any particular interest. The Israelites all looked


themselves as naturally born to marry, as to die. A single person, of either sex, could scarcely be found among their tribes. Marriage, therefore, among them was considered as much a fate as a choice. And it is possible the preliminaries that led to it were of a less intricate and soul-monopolizing nature, than

those which we find so profusely and distinctly depicted in our western legends of love ;-legends which turn fiction into truth, and themselves cause the misery they deplore, by promising more from life than it can have to bestow. Yet it must be acknowledged that there is in some minds, wholly unvitiated by such productions, a sort of natural romance--a bright halo that fancy throws round futurity; and which, though suspected to be but a vapour, still gleams on the sight, till overclouded by the actual sorrows of life.

Caphtor and Sephora had both some tincture of this visionary spirit; yet perhaps they were as thoroughly persuaded, as youthful theorists ever are, that happiness is not to be found in this world; but they had not yet themselves proved its fallacy, and consequently had not that real conviction of this truth, that experience alone can give. They looked round on all they knew, and saw that with most the chalice of existence was but a sweetened bitter, or at best but a bitter sweet. They did not dare to say that

they hoped for an unmingled cup, yet they secretly thought the ingredients might be so tempered, as to disguise or exclude all the nauseating drops.

The tribe and family of Caphtor have already been mentioned. His father was the Rabbi Keroob, who was also one of the chief Shophetim of the city of Nain, and sat in the gates judging the people.

Keroob was a man of great pride and wealth, and followed the luxurious manners of a city life. Caphtor lived under his roof; and Sephora, when she was first introduced to the destined abode of her future days, was surprised by an appearance of magnificence that she did not even know existed among them, much less had she ever imagined that she should be surrounded by such splendid vanities.

The floors and pillars of the lofty apartments were of marble, the wainscots of carved cedar, costly brasiers rested on golden tripods, and large and beautiful Grecian vases stood for water jars. The bedsteads were of ivory, rich carpets were

« PreviousContinue »