« PreviousContinue »
distinctly seen, left no doubt that the whole was the work of the three legions.
Farther on were traced the ruins of a rampart and the hollow of a ditch well nigh filled up. This was supposed to be the spot where the few who escaped the general massacre, made their last effort, and perished in the attempt. The plains around were white with bones : on some places thinly scattered, in others lying in heaps, as the men happened to fall in flight, or, in a body, resisted to the last; fragments of javelins, and the limbs of horses, lay scattered about the field: human sculls were seen upon the trunks of trees. In the adjacent woods stood the savage altars where the tribunes, and the principal centurians were offered up a sacrifice with barbarous rites. Some of the soldiers who survived that dreadful day, and afterwards broke their chains, related, circumstantially several particulars. “Here the commanders of the legions were put to the sword; on that spot the eagles were seized; there Varus received his first wound, and this the place where he gave himself the mortal stab, and died by his own sword.
Yonder mound was the tribunal from which Ara mineus harangued his countrymen. Here he fixed his gibbets, there he dug his funeral trenches, and in that quarter he offered every mark of scorn and insolence to the Roman Eagles.” Six years had elapsed since the overthrow of Varus, and in the same spot the Roman army collected the bones of iheir slaughtered countrymen. Whether they were burying the remains of strangers or of their own friends, no man knew ; all, however, considered themselves as performing the last obsequies to their kindred and their brother soldiers. While employed in this pious office, their hearts were torn with contending passions; by turns oppressed with grief, and burning for revenge.
A monument to the memory of the dead was
raised with turf; Germanicus, with his own hand, laid the first sod; discharging at once a tribute due to the legions, and sympathizing with the rest of the army.
EULOGY ON GENERAL WASHINGTON. In contemplating the revolution of this country, 'the mind naturally recurs to the means by which so great an object was accomplished, and its eye at once rests upon Washington! A man, a soldier, and a patriot-" take him for all in all,"
« shall not look upon his like again.” Between Cincinnatus and him, many characteristic features of resemblance may be distinctly traced ;—that admirable Roman, after having successfully fought his country's battles, turned the sword of death, into the life-providing plough-share, and laying down all dignity, save that of human nature, retired to the cultivation of his fields. So did the great, the more than great, the good Washington. Cincinnatus possessed the amor patriæ in no less a degree; but his merit in the possession was certainly less, for, with the first breath he drew, he inhaled the air of freedom, and the first drop of milk that sustained him, was strongly impregnated with the love of liberty! In him, not to have been a republican, had been criminal. Not so was it with Columbia's hero. Although born, fostered, and educated under a monarchy, yet, when the great, the paramount call of country, aroused him to the assertion of her rights, he arose a colossal pillar to perpetuate to future ages the glory of the emancipation of America! But why should such a feeble pen as mine attempt an eulogy? His memory is embalmed with the tears of a grateful people, and his immortal part has met that immortality which is the sure reward of the just and good.
ON GENERAL LA FAYETTE'S RECEPTION IN THE
Never was the aphorism Vox Populi ! Vox Dei ! exemplified until now. It remained for Columbia to give the elucidation. What have been all earthly triumphs compared to the one which is now passing before our eyes.—Alexander entered Babylon reeking with the gore, and riding upon the necks of a prostrate people. Cæsar entered Rome, trampling upon the liberties of his country. La Fayette enters America, with the halo of Washington around his head, and the shouts and blessings of free millions vibrating in his heart, standing upon earth with feelings raised to heaven! Oh what a glorious lesson to poor weak infidelity! and what a proof that man has a soul, and is an emanation of the Deity! But expression sinks under the magnitude of the subject.
Soldier! again thou comest to save thy adopted country, for hereafter, when republics may tauntingly be accused of ingratitude, let America say-LAFAYETTE!
THE WIDOW AND HER SON.
Pittie olde age, within whose silver haires
During my residence in the country, I used frequently to attend at the old village church. Its shadowy aisles, its mouldering monuments, its dark oaken panneling, all reverend with the gloom of departed years, seemed to fit it for the haunt of solemn meditation. A Sunday, too, in the country, is so holy in its repose : such a pensive quiet reigns
of the poor
over the face of nature, that every restless passion is charmed down, and we feel all the natural religion of the soul gently springing up within us.
Sweet day! so pure, so calm, so bright,
The bridal of the earth and sky. I do not pretend to be what is called a devout man, but there are feelings which visit me in a country church, amidst the beautiful serenity of nature, which I experience no where else ; and if not a more religious, I think I am a better man on Sunday, than on any other day of the seven. But in this church 'I felt myself continually thrown back upon the world by the frigidity and pomp worms around me. The only being that seemed thoroughly to feel the humble and prostrate piety of a true christian, was a poor decrepid old woman, bending under the weight of years and infirmities. She bore the traces of something better than abject. poverty. The lingerings of decent pride were visible in her appearance. Her dress, though humble in the extreme, was scrupulously clean. Some trivial respect, too, has been awarded her, for she did not take her seat among the village poor,
but sat alone on the steps of the altar. She seemed to have survived all love, all friendship, all society, and to have nothing left her but the hopes of heaven. When I saw her feebly rising and bending her aged form in prayer,--habitually conning her prayer book, which her palsied hand and failing eyes could not permit her to read, but which she evidently knew by heart-I felt persuaded that the faultering voice of that poor woman arose to heaven far before the responses of the clerk, the swell of the organ, or the chanting of the choir. I am fond of loitering about country churches, and this was so delightfully situated, that it frequently attracted me. It stood on a knoll, round which a small stream made a beautiful bend, and then wound its way through a long reach of soft meadow scenery.
was surrounded by yew trees, which seemed almost coeval with itself. Its tall gothic spire shot up vightly from among them, with rooks and crows generally wheeling about it. I was seated there one still sunny morning, watching two labourers who were digging a grave. They had chosen one of the most remote and neglected corners of the church-yard, where, by the number of nameless graves around, it would appear that the indigent and friendless were hurried into the earth. I was told that the new made grave was for the only son of a poor widow. While I was meditating on the distinctions of worldly rank, which extend thus down into the very dust, the toll of the bell announced the approach of the funeral. They were the obsequies of poverty, with which pride had nothing to do. A coffin of the plainest materials, without pall or other covering, was borne by some of the villagers. The sexton walked before with an air of cold indifference. There were no mock mourners in the trappings of affected wo, but there was one real mourner, who feebly tottered after the corpse. It was the aged mother of the deceased the poor
old woman whom I had seen seated on the steps of the altar. She was supported by an humble friend, who was endeavouring to comfort her. few of the neighbouring poor had joined the train, and some children of the village were running hand in hand, now shouting with unthinking' mirth, and sometimes pausing to gaze, with childish curiosity, on the grief of the mourner.
As the funeral train approached the grave, the parson issued out of the church porch, arrayed in the surplice, with prayer book in hand, and attended by the clerk. The service, however, was a mere act of charity. The deceased had been destitute, and the survivor was pennyless. It was shuffled through, therefore, in form, but coldly and unfeelingly. The well fed priest scarcely moved ten steps