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DIRGE FOR THE BEAUTIFUL
BY D. ELLEN GOODMAN.
1. (p9f9) SOFTLY', peacefully',
Lay her to rest';
On her young breast';
Bend o'er the bed'
Thus early her head'.
Over the tomb;
Beauty and bloom.
Limpid and clear,
Smile through a tear,
Where the loved lies,
Like angels' eyes.
On golden wing',
And melody by'.
Over her breast';
Peaceful her rest!
She was but given',
To blossom in heaven'.
BY G. C. VERPLANCK.
1. The study of the history of most other nations fills the mind with sentiments not unlike those which the American traveler feels on entering the venerable and lofty cathedral of some proud old city of Europe. Its solemn grandeur', its vastness', its obscurity', strike awe to his heart'. From the richly-painted windows', filled with sacred emblems and strange antique forms', a dim religious light falls around! A thousand recollections of romance', and poetry', and legendary story' come thronging in
2. He is surrounded by the tombs of the mighty dead', rich with the labors of ancient art, and emblazoned with the pomp of heraldry! What names does he read upon them? Those of princes and nobles, who are now remembered only for their vices; and of sovereigns, at whose death no tears were shed, and whose memories lived not an hour in the affection of their people. There, too, he sees other names, long familiar to him for their guilty or ambiguous fame. There rest the blood-stained soldier of fortune, the orator who was ever the ready apologist of tyranny, great scholars, who were the pensioned flatterers of power, and poets, who profaned the high gift of genius to pamper the vices of a corrupted court.
3. Our own history', on the contrary, like that poetical temple of fame', reared by the imagination of Chaucer', and decorated by the taste of Pope', is almost exclusively dedicated to the memory of the truly great! Or rather, like the Pantheon of Rome, it stands in calm and severe beauty amid the ruins of ancient magnificence and the toys of modern state.” Within, no idle ornament encumbers its simplicity. The pure light of heaven enters from above, and sheds an equal and serene radiance around. As the eye wanders about its extent, it beholds the unadorned monuments of brave and good men who have bled or toiled for their country, or it rests on votive tablets inscribed with the names of the best benefactors of mankind.
4. We have been repeatedly told, and sometimes, too, in a tone of affected impartiality, that the highest praise which can fairly be given to the American mind is that of possessing an enlighted selfishness; that if the philosophy and talents of this country, with all their effects, were forever swept into oblivion, the loss would be felt only by ourselves; and that if to the aceuracy of this general charge the labors of Franklin present an illustrious, it is still but a solitary exception.
5. If Europe has hitherto been wilfully blind to the value of our example and the exploits of our sagacity', courage', invention', and freedom', the blame must rest with her, and not with America. Is it nothing for the universal good of mankind to have carried into successful operation a system of self-government uniting personal liberty, freedom of opinion, and equality of rights with national power and dignity such as had before existed only in the Utopian dreams of philosophers? Is it nothing, in moral science, to have anticipated, in sober reality, numerous plans of reform in civil and criminal jurisprudence, which are,
now, received as plausible theories by the politicians and economists of Europe?
6. Is it nothing to have been able to call forth on every emergency, either in war or peace, a body of talents always equal to the difficulty? Is it nothing to have, in less than a halfcentury, exceedingly improved the sciences of political economy, of law, and of medicine, with all their auxiliary branches, to have enriched human knowledge by the accumulation of a great mass of useful facts and observations, and to have augmented the power and the comforts of civilized man, by miracles of mechanical invention? Is it nothing to have given the world examples of disinterested patriotism, of political wisdom, of public virtue; of learning, eloquence, and valor, never exerted save for some praiseworthy end? It is sufficient to have briefly suggested these considerations : every mind would anticipate me in filling up the details.
7. No, Land of Liberty! thy children have no cause to blush for thee. What though the arts have reared few monuments among us, and scarce a trace of the Muse's footstep is found in the paths of our forests, or along the banks of our rivers; yet our soil has been consecrated by the blood of heroes, and by great and holy deeds of peace. Its wide extent has become one vast temple and hallowed asylum, sanctified by the prayers and bless ings of the persecuted of every sect and the wretched of al nations.
8. Land of Refuge! Land of Benedictions! Those prayers still arise, and they still are 66 May peace be within thy
walls, and prosperity within thy palaces! May there be no decay, no leading into captivity, and no complaining in thy streets! May truth flourish out of the earth, and righteousness look down from heaven !"
NICOLAS KARAMSIN, a Russian historical and miscellaneous writer, was born in 1765, and died at Moscow, June 3, 1826.
TWO VOICES FROM THE GRAVE.
With the howls of the storm-wind', the creaks of the bier',
Its zephyrs breathe calmly', and soft is its sleep',
And the yellow skull serves the foul toad for a bed',
No tempests are there; but the nightingales come',
Repose on the bough that o'erhangs.
First Voice. (p?f) There darkness and dampness', with poisonous breath',
And loathsome decay', fill the dwelling of death':
And sweet, with the violet's wafted perfume,
And sweetly reposes forever!
A WORTHY AMBITION.
BY HENRY CLAY.
1. I HAVE been accused of ambition in presenting this measure,– ambition ! inordinate ambition ! If I had thought of myself only, I should never have brought it forward. I know well the perils to which I expose myself,—the risk of alienating faithful and valued friends, with but little prospect of making new ones, if any new ones could compensate for the loss of those we have long tried and loved; and the honest misconceptions both of friends and foes.
2. Ambition ! If I had listened to its soft and seducing whispers, if I had yielded myself to the dictates of a cold, calculating, and prudential policy, I would have stood still and unmoved. I might even have silently ed on the raging storm, enjoyed its loudest thunders, and left those who are charged with the care of the vessel of state to conduct it as they could.
3. I have been, heretofore, often unjustly accused of ambition. Low, groveling souls, who are utterly incapable of elevating themselves to the higher and nobler duties of pure patriotism,beings who, forever keeping their own selfish ends in view,