« PreviousContinue »
O'er the abyss: his broad-expanded wings
THE PATRIOT'S COURAGE.
BY H. CLAY.
1. I ROSE not to say one word which should wound the feelings of the President. The Senator says, that, if placed in like circumstances, I would have been the last man to avoid putting a direct veto upon the bill, had it met my disapprobation; and he does me the honor to attribute to me high qualities of stern and unbending intrepidity. I hope that in all that relates to personal firmness, all that concerns a just appreciation of the insignificance of human life, -whatever may be attempted to threaten or alarm a soul not easily swayed by opposition, or awed or intimidated by menace,-a stout heart and a steady eye, that can survey unmoved and undaunted any mere personal perils that assail this poor, transient, perishing frame, I may, without disparagement, compare with other men.
2. But there is a sort of courage which, I frankly confess it, I do not possess; a boldness to which I dare not aspire ; a valor which I cannot covet. I cannot lay myself down in the way
of the welfare and happiness of my country. That, I cannot, I have not the courage to do. I cannot interpose the power with which I may be invested—a power conferred, not for my personal benefit, nor for my aggrandizement, but for my country's goodto check her onward march to greatness and glory. I have not courage enough; I am too cowardly for that. I would not, I dare not, in the exercise of such a trust, lie down and place my · body across the path that leads my country to prosperity and happiness.
3. This is a sort of courage widely different from that which a man may display in his private conduct and personal relations. Personal or private courage is totally distinct from that higher and nobler courage which prompts the patriot to offer himself a voluntary sacrifice to his country's good. Apprehension of the imputation of the want of firmness sometimes impels us to per form rash and inconsiderate acts. It is the greatest courage to be able to bear the imputation of the want of courage. But pride, vanity, egotism, so unamiable and offensive in private life, are vices which partake of the character of crimes in the conduct of public affairs. The unfortunate victim of these passions cannot see beyond the little, petty, contemptible circle of his own personal interests. All his thoughts are withdrawn from his country, and concentrated on his consistency, his firmness, himself.
4. The high, the exalted, the sublime emotions of a patriotism which, soaring toward heaven, rises far above all mean, low, or selfish things, and is absorbed by one soul transporting thought of the good and the glory of one's country, are never felt in his impenetrable bosom. That patriotism which, catching its inspirations from the immortal God, and leaving at an immeasurable distance below all lesser, groveling, personal interests and feelings, animates and prompts to deeds of self-sacrifice, of valor, of devotion, and of death itself,—that is public virtue; that is the noblest, the sublimest of all public virtues !
BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
1. THE rich man's son inherits lands,
And piles of brick, and stone, and gold;
And tender flesh that fears the cold;
Nor dares to wear a garment old;
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
The bank may break, the factory burn;
A breath may burst his bubble shares :
And,soft white hands could hardiy earn
A living that would serve his turn;
3. The rich man's son inherits wants :
His stomach craves for dainty fare; With sated heart, he hears the pants
Of toiling hinds with brown arms bare,
And wearies in his easy-chair;
4. What doth the poor man's son inherit?
Stout muscles, and a sinewy heart,
King of two hands, he does his part
every useful toil and art; A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee. 5. What doth the poor man's son inherit ?
Wishes o'erjoy'd with humble things, A rank adjudged with toil-won merit,
Content that from employment springe,
A heart that in his labor sings; A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee. 6. What doth the poor man's
son inherit? A patience learn'd by being poor, Courage, if sorrow come, to bear it,
A fellow-feeling that is sure
To make the outcast bless his door; A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee. 7. O rich man's son ! there is a toil,
That with all others level stands; Large charity doth never soil,
But only whiten, soft, white hands:
This is the best crop from thy lands;
8. O poor man's son! scorn not thy state;
There is worse weariness than thine,
Toil onty gives the soul to shine,
And makes rest fragrant and benign;
9. Both, heirs to some six feet of sod,
Are equal in the earth at last;
Prove title to your heirship vast
By record of a well-fill’d past;
BY PROF. WILSON.
1. GILBERT AINSLIE was a poor man; and he had been a poor man all the days of his life, which were not few, for his thin hair was now waxing gray.
He had been born and bred on the small moorland farm which he now occupied; and he hoped to die there, as his father and grandfather had done before him, leaving a family just above the more bitter wants of this world. Labor, hard and unremitting, had been his lot in life; but, although sometimes severely tried, he had never repined; and through all the mist, and gloom, and even the storms, that had assailed him, he had lived on, from year to year, in that calm and resigned contentment, which unconsciously cheers the hearthstone of the blameless
poor. 2. With his own hands he had plowed, sowed, and reaped his often scanty harvest, assisted, as they grew up, by three sons, who, even in boyhood, were happy to work along with their father in the fields. Out of doors or in, Gilbert Ainslie was never idle. The spade, the shears, the plow-shaft, the sickle and the flail, all came readily to hands that grasped them well and not a morsel of food was eaten under his roof, or a garment worn there, that was not honestly, severely, nobly earned. Gil.
bert Ainslie was a slave; but it was for them he loved with a sober and deep affection. The thralldom under which he lived God had imposed; and it only served to give his character a shade of silent gravity, but not austere; to make his smiles fewer, but more heartfelt; to calm his soul at grace before and after meals; and to kindle it in morning and evening prayer. 3. There is no need to tell the character of the wife of such
Meek and thoughtful, yet gladsome and gay withal, her heaven was in her house; and her gentler and weaker hands helped to bar the door against want. Of ten children that had been born to them, they had lost three; and as they had fed, zlothed, and educated them respectably, so did they give them who died, a respectable funeral. The living did not grudge to give up, for a while, some of their daily comforts, for the sake of the dead; and bought, with the little sums which their industry had saved, decent mournings, worn on Sabbath, and then carefully laid by. Of the seven that survived, two sons were farm-servants in the neighborhood, while three daughters and two sons remained at home, growing, or grown up,—a small, happy, hard-working household.
4. Many cottages are there in Scotland like Moss-Side, and many such humble and virtuous cottagers as were now beneath its roof of straw. The eye of the passing traveler may mark them, or mark them not, but they stand peacefully in thousands over all the land; and most beautiful do they make it, through all its wide valleys and narrow glens; its low holms encircled by the rocky walls of some bonny burn; its green mounts elated with their little crowning groves of plane-trees; its yellow cornfields; its bare pastoral hill-sides, and all its heathy moors, on whose black bosom lie, shining or concealed, glades of excessive verdure, inhabited by flowers, and visited only by the far-flying bees.
5. Moss-Side was not beautiful to a careless or hasty eye; but, when looked on and surveyed, it seemed a pleasant dwelling. Its roof, overgrown with grass and moss, was almost as green as the ground out of which its weather-stained walls appeared to grow. The moss behind it was separated from a little garden, by a narrow slip of arable land, the dark color of which showed that it had been won from the wild by patient industry, and by patient industry retained. It required a bright sunny day to make Moss-Side fair; but then it was fair indeed; and when the little brown moorland birds were singing their short songs aniong the rushes and the heather, or a lark, perhaps, lured thither by some green barley-field for its undisturbed nest, rose ringing all over the enlivened solitude, the little bleak farm smiled like the