Page images
PDF
EPUB

Compared with these, Italian trills are tame

The tickled ear no heart-felt raptures raise, Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise. 11. The priest-like father reads the sacred page :

How Abram was the friend of God on high;
Or, Moses bade eternal warfare wage

With Amalek's ungracious progeny;
Or, how the royal bard did groaning lie

Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire;
Or, Job's pathetic plaint and wailing cry;

Or, rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire;
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.
12. Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme :-

How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
How He, who bore in Heaven the second name,

Had not on earth whereon to lay his head;
How his first followers and servants sped;

The precepts sage they wrote to many a land;
How be, who lone in Patmos banished,

Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand,
And heard great Babylon's doom pronounced by Heaven's

command.
13. Then, kneeling down, to Heaven's eternal King
The saint, the father, and the husband

prays :
Hope “springs exulting on triumphant wing,”

That thus they all shall meet in future days;
There ever bask in uncreated rays,

No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
Together hymning their Creator's praise,

În such society, yet still more dear,
While circling time moves round in an eternal sphere.
14. Compared with this, how poor religion's pride,

In all the pomp of method and of art,
When men display to congregations wide,

Devotion's every grace, except the heart !
The Power, incensed, the pageant will desert,

The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole,
But haply, in some cottage far apart,

May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul,
And in his Book of Life the inmates poor enroll.
15.

Then homeward all take off their several way;

The youngling cottagers retire to rest;

16.

The parent pair their secret homage pay,

And proffer up to Heaven the warm request
That He, who stills the raven's clamorous nest,

And decks the lily fair in flowery pride,
Would, in the way his wisdom sees the best,

For them and for their little ones provide;
But chiefly in their hearts with grace divine preside
From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,

That makes her loved at home, revered abroad :
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,

“ An honest man's the noblest work of God;"
And certes, in fair virtue's heavenly road,

The cottage leaves the palace far behind :
What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load,

Disguising oft the wretch of human kind,
Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined !

LESSON CLXXV,

DUTY OF LITERARY MEN TO THEIR COUNTRY.

BY T. S. GRIMKE.

1. We cannot honor our country with too deep a reverence; we cannot love her with an affection too pure and fervent; we cannot serve her with an energy of purpose or a faithfulness of zeal too steadfast and ardent. And what is our country? It is not the East, with her hills and her valleys, with her countless sails and the rocky ramparts of her shores. It is not the North, with her thousand villages and her harvest-home, with her frontiers of the lake and the ocean. It is not the West, with her forest-sea and her inland isles, with her luxuriant expanses clothed in the verdant corn, with her beautiful Ohio and her majestic Missouri. Nor is it yet the South, opulent in the mimic snow of the cotton, in the rich plantations of the rustling cane, and in the golden robes of the rice-field. What are these but the sister families of one greater, better, holier family, our country?

2. I come not here to speak the dialect, or to give the counsels of the patriot-statesman. But I come, a patriot-scholar, to vindicate the rights and to plead the interests of the American Lite rature. And be assured that we cannot, as patriot-scholars, think too highly of that country, or sacrifice too much for her

And let us never forget—let us rather remember, with a religious awe-that the union of these States is indispensable to our literature, as it is to our national independence and civil liberties, to our prosperity, happiness, and improvement.

3. If, indeed, we desire to behold a literature like that, which has sculptured with such energy of expression, which has painted so faithfully and vividly, the crimes, the vices, the follies of ancient and modern Europe; if we desire that our land should furnish for the orator and the novelist, for the painter and the poet, age after age, the wild and romantic scenery of

war;

the glittering march of armies, and the revelry of the camp; the shrieks and blasphemies and all the horrors of the battle-field; the desolation of the harvest, and the burning cottage; the storm, the sack, and the ruin of cities; if we desire to unchain the furious passions of jealousy and selfishness, of hatred, revenge, and ambition,—those lions that now sleep harmless in their den; if we desire that the lake, the river, the ocean, should blush with the blood of brothers; that the winds should waft from the land to the sea, from the sea to the land, the roar and the smoke of battle; that the very mountain-tops should become altars for the sacrifice of brothers; if we desire that these, and such as these,—the elements, to an incredible extent, of the literature of the Old World,-should be the elements of our literature; then, but then only, let us hurl from its pedestal the majestic statue of our Union, and scatter its fragments over all our land.

4. But, if we covet for our country the noblest, purest, loveliest literature the world has ever seen,-such a literature as shall honor God, and bless mankind; a literature, whose smiles might play upon an angel's face, whose tears would not stain an angel's cheek,”-then let us cling to the union of these States, with a patriot's love, with a scholar's enthusiasm, with a Christian's hope. In her heavenly character, as a holocaust self-sacrificed to God, at the hight of her glory, as the ornament of a free, educated, peaceful, Christian people, American Literature will find that the intellectual spirit is her very tree of life, and the Union her garden of paradise.

LESSON CLXXVI.

SHOW US THE FATHER.

BY MRS. L. H. SIGOURNEY.

1. Have ye not seen Him, when through parted snows

Wake the first kindlings of the vernal green?
When 'neath its modest vail the arbutus blows,

And the blue violet bursts its mossy screen ?
When the wild rose, that asks no florist's care,
Unfoldeth its rich leaves, have ye not seen Him there?

2. Have ye not seen Him, when the infant's eye,

Through its bright sapphire window, shows the mind ? When in the trembling of the tear or sigh

Floats forth that essence, trembling and refined ? Saw ye not Him, the Author of our trust, Who breathed the breath of life into a frame of dust?

3. Have ye not heard Him, when the tuneful rill

Casts off its icy chains, and leaps away?
In thunders, echoing loud from hill to hill?

In song of birds, at break of summer's day?
Or in the ocean's everlasting roar,

Battling the old gray rocks that sternly guard his shore? 4. When, in the stillness of the Sabbath morn,

The week's dread cares in tranquil slumber rest, When in the heart the holy thought is born,

And heaven's high impulse warms the waiting breast, Have ye nnt felt Him, when your voiceless prayer

Swell’d out in tones of praise, announcing God was there ? 5. Show us the Father! If ye fail to trace

His chariot, when the stars majestic roll, His pencil, ʼmid earth's

loveliness and grace, His

presence, in the Sabbath of the soul, How can ye see Him, till the day of dread, When to the assembled worlds the Book of Doom is read?

LESSON CLXXVII.

WHAT GOOD WILL THE MONUMENT DO?

BY EDWARD EVERETT.

1. But I am met with the great objection, What good will the monument do? I beg leave, sir, to exercise my birthright as a Yankee, and answer this question by asking two or three more; to which I believe it will be quite as difficult to furnish a satisfactory reply. I am asked, What good will the monument do? And I ask, What good does any thing do? What is good ? Does any thing do any good? The persons who suggest this objection, of course, think that there are some projects and undertakings that do good; and I should therefore like to have the idea of good explained, and analyzed, and run out to its elements. When this is done, if I do not demonstrate, in about two minutes, that the monument does the same kind of good that any thing else does, I will consent that the huge blocks of granite, already laid, should be reduced to gravel, and carted off to fill up the mill-pond; for that, I suppose, is one of the good things.

2. Does a railroad or a canal do good ? Answer, yes. And how? It facilitates intercourse, opens markets, and increases the wealth of the country. But what is this good for? Why, individuals prosper and get rich. And what good does that do ? Is mere wealth, as an ultimate end,-gold and silver, without an inquiry as to their use, are these a good ? Certainly not. I should insult this audience by attempting to prove that a rich man, as such, is neither better nor happier than a poor one. But as men grow rich, they live better. Is there any good in this,stopping here? Is mere animal life-feeding, working, and sleeping like an ox-entitled to be called good? Certainly not. But these improvements increase the population. And what good does that do? Where is the good in counting twelve millions, instead of six, of mere feeding, working, sleeping animals?

3. There is, then, no good in the mere animal life, except that it is the physical basis of that higher moral existence which resides in the soul, the heart, the mind, the conscience; in good principles, good feelings, and the good actions (and the more disinterested, the more entitled to be called good) which flow from them. Now, sir, I say that generous and patriotic senti ments, sentiments which prepare us to serve our country, to live for our country, to die for our country,-feelings like those

« PreviousContinue »