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1. 'Tis midnight's holy hour, and silence now
Is brooding, like a gentle spirit, o'er
Jone from the earth forever. 2.
'Tis a time For memory and for tears.
Within the deep, Still chambers of the heart, a specter dim, Whose tones are like the wizard voice of Time Heard from the tomb of ages, points its cold And solemn finger to the beautiful And holy visions, that have pass'd away, And left no shadow of their loveliness On the dead waste of life. That specter lifts The coffin-lid of hope, and joy, and love, And, bending mournfully above the pale, Sweet forms that slumber there, scatters dead flowers O’er what has pass'd to nothingness. The year Has gone, and, with it, many a glorious throng Of happy dreams. Its mark is on each brow;
Its shadow, in each heart. 3
In its swift course,
Upon the strong man; and the haughty form
Revolutions sweep O’er earth, like troubled visions o'er the breast Of dreaming sorrow; cities rise and sink Like bubbles on the water; fiery isles Spring, blazing, from the ocean, and go back To their mysterious caverns; mountains rear To heaven their bold and blacken'd cliffs, and bow Their tall beads to the plain ; and empires rise, Gathering the strength of hoary centuries, And rush down like the Alpine avalanche, Startling the nations; and the very stars, Yon bright and glorious blazonry of God, Glitter a while in their eternal depths, And, like the Pleiad, loveliest of their train, Shoot from their glorious spheres, and pass away
To darkle in the trackless void; yet Time,
EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH ON AGRICULTURE.
BY EDWARD EVERETT.
1. A CELEBRATED skeptical philosopher of the last century the historian Hume—thought to demolish the credibility of the Christian revelation by the concise argument, “It is contrary to experience that a miracle should be true, but not contrary to experience that testimony should be false.” The last part of the proposition, especially in a free country, on the eve of a popular election, is, unhappily, too well founded; but in what bookworm's dusty cell, tapestried with the cobwebs of ages, where the light of real life and nature never forced its way, -in what pedant's school, where deaf ears listen to dumb lips, and blind followers are led by blind guides,—did he learn that it is contrary to experience, that a miracle should be true ? Most certainly he never learned it from sower or reaper,-from dumb animal or rational man connected with husbandry. Contrary to experience, that phenomena should exist which we cannot trace to cause perceptible to the human sense, or conceivable by human thought! It would be much nearer the truth to say, that within the husbandman's experience, there are no phenomena which can be rationally traced to any thing but the instant energy of creative power.
2. Did this philosopher ever contemplate the landscape at the close of the year, when seeds, and grains, and fruits have ripened, and stalks have withered, and leaves have fallen, and winter has forced her icy curb even into the roaring jaws of Niagara, and sheeted half a continent in her glittering shroud, and all this teeming vegetation and organized life are locked in cold and marble obstruction ? And, after week upon week and month upon month have swept, with sleet, and chilly rain, and howling storm, over the earth, and riveted their bolts upon the door of Nature's sepulcher,-when the sun at length begins to wheel in
higher circles through the sky, and softer winds to breathe over melting snows,--did he ever behold the long-hidden earth at length appear, and soon the timid grass peep forth, and anon the autumnal wheat begin to paint the field, and velvet leaflets to burst from purple buds throughout the reviving forest, and then the mellow soil to open its fruitful bosom to every grain and seed dropped from the planter's hand, buried but to spring up again, clothed with a new, mysterious being ?
3. And then, as more fervid suns inflame the air, and softer showers distil from the clouds, and gentler dews string their pearls on twig and tendril, did he ever watch the ripening grain and fruit, pendent from stalk, and vine, and tree; the meadow, the field, the pasture, the grove, each after its kind, arrayed in myriad-tinted garments, instinct with circulating life; every planted seed and grain, which had been loaned to the earth, compounding its pious usury thirty, sixty, a hundred fold,—all harmoniously adapted to the sustenance of living nature, the bread of a hungry world; here a tilled cornfield, whose yellow blades are nodding with the food of man; there an unplanted wilderness,—the great Father's farm,—where He “who hears the raven's cry'' has cultivated, with his own hand, his merciful crop of berries, and nuts, and acorns, and seeds, for the humbler families of animated nature,—the solemn elephant, the browsing deer, the wild pigeon, whose fluttering caravan darkens the sky, the merry squirrel, who bounds from branch to branch in the joy of his little life; has he seen all this, does he see it every year, and month, and day,—does he live, and move, and breathe, and think, in this atmosphere of wonder, himself the greatest wonder of all, whose smallest fiber and faintest pulsation is as much a mystery as the blazing glories of Orion's belt,—and does he still maintain that a miracle is contrary to experience? If he has, and if he does, then let him go, in the name of Heaven, and say that it is contrary to experience that the August Power, which turns the clods of the earth into the daily bread of a thousand million souls, could feed five thousand in the wilderness.
4. What is there on earth which can more entirely charm the eye or gratify the taste than a noble farm? It stands upon a southern slope, gradually rising with variegated ascent from the plain, sheltered from the northwestern winds by woody hights, broken here and there with moss-covered bolders, which impart variety and strength to the outline. The native forest has been cleared from the greater part of the farm; but a suitable portion, carefully tended, remains in wood for economical purposes, and to give picturesque effect to the landscape. The eyes range round three-fourths of the horizon over a fertile expanse, bright with the cheerful waters of a rippling stream, a generous river, or a gleaming lake; dotted with hamlets, each with its modest spire; and, if the farm lies in the vicinity of the coast, a distant glimpse, from the high grounds, of the mysterious, everlasting sea, completes the prospect; it is situated off the high-road, but near enough to the village to be easily accessible to the church, the school-house, the post-office, the railroad, a sociable neighbor, or a traveling friend. It consists in due proportion of pasture and tillage, meadow and woodland, field and garden.
5. A substantial dwelling, with every thing for convenience and nothing for ambition, with the fitting appendages of stable, and barn, and corn-barn, and other farm-buildings, not forgetting a spring-bouse with a living fountain of water, occupies, upon a gravelly knoll, a position well chosen to command the whole 'estate. A few acres on the front, and on the sides of the dwelling, set apart to gratify the eye with the choicer forms of rural beauty, are adorned with a stately avenue, with noble solitary trees, with graceful clumps, shady walks, a velvet lawn, a brook murmuring over a pebbly bed, here and there a grand rock, whose cool shadow at sunset streams across the field; all displaying, in the real loveliness of nature, the original of those landscapes of which art in its perfection strives to give us the counterfeit presentment.
6. The plow walks in rustic majesty across the plain, and opens the genial bosom of the earth to the sun and air; nature's holy sacrament of seed-time is solemnized beneath the vaulted cathedral sky; silent dews, and gentle, showers, and kindly sunshine, shed their sweet influence on the teeming soil; springing verdure clothes the plain; golden wavelets, driven by the west wind, run over the joyous wheat-field; the tall maize flaunts in her crispy leaves and nodding tassels. While we labor and while we rest, while we wake and while we sleep, God's chemistry, which we cannot see, goes on beneath the clods; myriads and myriads of vital cells ferment with elemental life; germ and stalk, and leaf and flower, and silk and tassel, and grain and fruit, grow up from the common earth. The mowing machine and reaper-mute rivals of human industry-perform their gladsome task; the wellpiled wagon brings home the ripened treasures of the year; the bow of promise, fulfilled, spans the foreground of the picture, and the gracious covenant is redeemed, that, while the earth remaineth, summer and winter, and heat and cold, and day and night, and seed-time and harvest, shall not fail.