EVOLUTION OF EXPRESSION
BY CHARLES WESLEY EMERSON
FOUNDER OF EMERSON COLLEGE OF ORATORY, BOSTON
A COMPILATION OF SELECTIONS ILLUSTRATING THE FOUR STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT IN ART AS APPLIED TO ORATORY IN FOUR VOLUMES, WITH KEY TO EACH CHAPTER
TO MY STUDENTS Whose need has been my inspiration and whose understanding my rich reward, these volumes are affectionately DEDICATED
INTRODUCTION ANIMATION ANALYSIS SMOOTHNESS VOLUME FORMING THE ELEMENTS
THE TEA-KETTLE AND THE CRICKET Charles Dickens THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN Robert Browning GROUP OF LYRICS: PIPPA PASSES Robert Browning THE SNOWDROP Alfred Tennyson THE THROSTLE Alfred Tennyson ONE MORNING, OH, SO EARLY Jean Ingelow FREEDOM John Ruskin A LAUGHING CHORUS THE CHEERFUL LOCKSMITH Charles Dickens HOME THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD Robert Browning LOCHINVAR Sir Walter Scott THE POLISH WAR SONG James G. Percival
THE VILLAGE PREACHER Oliver Goldsmith TO THE DAISY William Wordsworth PSALM XXIII David EXTRACT FROM EULOGY ON WENDELL PHILLIPS George William Curtis THE BROOK Alfred Tennyson OLD AUNT MARY'S James Whitcomb Riley
CHILD VERSE: MY SHADOW Robert Louis Stevenson THE SWING Robert Louis Stevenson THE LAMPLIGHTER Robert Louis Stevenson WAITING John Burroughs
THE REVENGE Alfred Tennyson THE OCEAN Lord Byron SPARTACUS TO THE GLADIATORS AT CAPUA Rev. Elijah Kellogg TELL TO HIS NATIVE MOUNTAINS, James Sheridan Knowles BATTLE HYMN Karl Theodor Korner SELF-RELIANCE Ralph Waldo Emerson ADAMS AND JEFFERSON Daniel Webster THE DEFENCE OF LUCKNOW Alfred Tennyson
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING IS THERE FOR HONEST POVERTY Robert Burns
HAMLET TO THE PLAYERS William Shakespeare
THE BOY AND THE ANGEL Robert Browning
SPEECH AND SILENCE Thomas Carlyle THE RICH MAN AND THE POOR MAN Khemnitzer
GATHERING OF THE FAIRIES Joseph Rodman Drake
THE SONG OF THE RAIN Spectator
HEARTY READING Sidney Smith
IVRY Lord Macaulay
THE DAFFODILS William Wordsworth
CHEERFULNESS J. H. Friswell
APRIL IN THE HILLS Archibald Lampman
Teach me, then, To fashion worlds in little, making form, As God does, one with spirit,—be the priest Who makes God into bread to feed the world. —Richard Hovey.
The revised edition of the "Evolution of Expression" is issued in response to frequent requests from teachers and students for a formulation of those principles upon which natural methods in the teaching of expression are based. It is hoped that the brief explanatory text introducing each chapter may aid teacher and pupil to avoid arbitrary standards and haphazard efforts, substituting in their place, psychological law. Growth in expression is not a matter of chance; the teacher who understands nature's laws and rests upon them, setting no limit to the potentialities of his pupil, waits not in vain for results.
No printed text, however, can take the place of a discerning teacher. A knowledge of the philosophy of education in expression avails little without the ability to create the genial atmosphere conducive to the development of the student. The teacher is the gardener, his service—his full service—is to surround the young plant with favorable conditions of light and soil and atmosphere; then stand out of its way while it unfolds its full blossom and final fruitage.
The tendency of modern education is towards the discovery and perfection of methods. The thought of leading educators is turned from the what to the how; to the development of systems of progressive steps through which the pupil may be led to a realization of himself. This trend is best shown in the multiplicity and excellence of recent pedagogical treatises and in the appearance of carefully graded and progressive text-books. The ancients believed that their heroes were born of gods and goddesses. They knew of no means by which the mind could be developed to the compass of greatness. The ancient theory to account for greatness was preternatural birth; the modern theory is evolution. To-day the interest of the child is awakened, his mind is aroused, and then led onward in regular steps.
The study of all forms of art, so far as methods are concerned, should be progressive. For correct guidance in our search for the best methods, we must understand the order of the development of the human mind. A child, before he arrives at an age where he can be taught definitely, is simply a little palpitating mass of animation. Soon he begins to show an attraction toward surrounding objects. Next he begins to show a greater attraction for some things than for others. His hands clutch at and retain certain objects. He now enters the period of development where he makes selections, and thus is born the power of choice. Objects which, at first, appeared to him as a mass now begin to stand out clearly one from another; to become more and more differentiated, while the child begins to separate and to compare. Thus the brain of the child passes through the successive stages from simple animation to attraction, to selection or choice, to separation or analysis. This principle of evolution, operating along the same lines, is found in the race as in the individual. In all man's work he has but recorded his own life or evolution. All history, all religions, all governments, all forms of art bring their testimony to this truth, and in each the scholar may find these successive stages of development.
In the age of Phidias the art of sculpture reached its maturity. No race and no people have ever surpassed the consummate achievements of that period. But this perfection was the result of a process of evolution. There had been graduated steps, and those same steps must to-day be taken in the education of the artist. Art had passed into its second period before authentic Greek history began. The first stage was shown in that nation so justly called the "Mother of Arts and Sciences." In Egypt we find probably the first real manifestations of mind in art forms. They are colossal exhibitions of energy, such as the Temple of Thebes, seven hundred feet in length, statues seventy feet tall, monuments rearing their heads almost five hundred feet in air.
"Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous Of which the very ruins are tremendous."
To Assyria we turn in our search for the next step in the progress of art. Here we find the artists making melodramatic efforts to attract the attention and fascinate the mind with weird and incongruous shapes of mongrel brutes and hydraheaded monsters.
Finding art at this point, the Greeks, true to their race instinct, at once began to evolve from it higher forms. They soon awoke to the perception that beauty itself is the true principle of fascination. Reducing their new theory to practise, the Greek artists turned their attention to perfecting the details of the art they had borrowed. To works originally repellant from their very crudeness, they supplied finish and perfection of the parts. The ideal was still before them; the grotesque monsters might fascinate the beholder, but, however skilfully executed, however perfected in finish, the impression produced was but transitory, and failed to satisfy the craving of the soul Beauty was found to be the only abiding source of satisfaction. As the conceptions of the past no longer satisfied the criterion which their own minds had embraced, the Greek artists sought in nature herself for models of that beauty, which, when placed in art forms, should be a joy forever. The monsters of antiquity disappeared, and in their places, came attempts to faithfully copy nature. To be sure, some specimens of the art era from which the Greeks had just emerged appeared at much later periods of their history; but these creations, as in the case of the Centaur, were usually representations of what were believed to be historical facts, rather than fantastic creations designed by the artist to startle the beholder. The Greek still gratified his passion for beauty of detail, while he was pursuing his new-born purpose of copying nature. It was not long before he found that nature, however skilfully copied, could be perfectly mirrored to the eye of the beholder only when presented as she appears to the mind of man. This discovery budded and blossomed into the consummate flower of true art, the fourth or suggestive era, which reached its acme in the work of Phidias and his contemporaries. Every creation was the expression of some state of mind. Everything was made as it appeared to the eye of the poet, not as it might seem to the man of no sentiment. The impression of the poetic mind found its expression in art, and now the statues think, fear, hate, love.
The same general laws which have governed the rise of sculpture, underlie the evolution of all forms of art. It is the purpose of the present writing to hint at, rather than to trace, the four stages of development in painting, music, and literature. To follow the steps of progress in painting is somewhat more difficult than to trace the evolution of sculpture or architecture, on account of the perishable nature of the materials. Music has unfolded with the unfolding of the human mind, from the startling sounds of the savage,—exhibitions of pure energy,—through efforts at fascination by the medium of weird and unnatural combinations, and through attempts to reproduce natural sounds, ever upward till it breathes the very spirit of nature in a Haydn or a Beethoven.
We may follow the growth of the English drama through the same process, from its dawning in the fantastic miracle plays with their paraphernalia of heaven and hell, of gods, devils, angels, and demons, to the creations' of "the thousand-souled Shakespeare." In religion we see the same phases—from the worship of life itself, of natural phenomena, through the panorama of deities friendly and deities unfriendly, of gods many and of devils many, until the human mind grasps the conception of Unity in deity, and bows in worship before an Infinite Being of Love and Providence.
In the history of government is written the same tale of evolution, from manifestations of brute energy, seeking gratification in subjugation for its own sake,—from the government typified by the iron heel,—to the government which, seeking the education and protection of all the people becomes a school rather than a system of restraint.
Therefore the race, in its march from savagery to civilization, may be considered as one man, showing, first, animation; next, manifesting his objects of attraction; third, displaying his purposes; and finally putting forth his wisdom in obedience to the true, the beautiful, and the good.
These principles of natural evolution have been applied by the writer to the study of oratory. The orator must illustrate in his art the same steps of progress which govern the growth of other arts. He may have developed the power of the painter, the sculptor, the musician, yet if he would unfold the art of the rhetorician, he must pass through the progressive gradations that have marked the education of his powers in other departments. In a single lifetime he may attain the highest art expression, yet he cannot escape the necessity of cultivating his powers by the same process of evolution which the race needed centuries to pass through. It remains for the teacher, therefore, to so arrange the methods of study as to enable the pupil to pursue the natural order of education. In all things he must stimulate and not repress normal growth.
There is an old notion sometimes found among theoretical educators that the mind of a child is like a piece of paper upon which anything may be written; a mould of clay upon which any impression may be made; a block of stone in which the teacher, like the famous sculptor of old, sees, in his poetic vision, an angel, and then chips and hacks until that angel stands revealed. The theory is absurdly and dangerously fallacious. Paper and clay are not living organisms; the orator is not the statue chiselled from the rough stone of human nature, or, if the teacher succeeds in so far perverting nature as to hack and trim a human organism into the semblance of a statue, the product of his work will stand forth a living illustration of the difference between the genuine and the spurious. The stone has no life. Life must be breathed into it, and the sculptor may breathe into it such life as he chooses. The gardener, on the other hand, must obey the laws of the life of the plant he nurtures. He must so direct the forces of nature as to help its inherent tendencies. A certain line of growth is written in the structure of every species of plant. The plant may be hindered or perverted in its development; it may be killed, but it cannot be made to grow into the form of another plant.
The progress of the human mind can be illustrated only by that which is vital, not by anything mechanical. Mind reacts upon whatever is given to it according to the divine laws of its own organism. The human mind, like the plant, must exhibit vitality in abundance before it finds a higher and more complex manifestation. The unskilled teacher, instead of inviting out the young pupil along the line of his own organism, may, at the outset, paralyze the unfolding mind by ill-advised dictation. There can be no true teaching which does not involve growing, and growing in the way intended by nature. The teacher must be something more than a critic. The critic establishes criteria, protects the public, and, in a measure, educates the public taste. When he is able to teach others how to reach true criteria he becomes a teacher. Until he can do this he has no place in the class room.
It will be observed that the four volumes of the "Evolution of Expression" recognize the four general stages of man's development: Volume I., representing the period when the individual is engrossed with subjects or objects as a Whole, and his passion for life is expressed through rude energy, size—the Colossal; Volume II., when he delights in so presenting The Parts to which he has been attracted, as to make them Effective in attracting the attention of others; Volume III., when his appreciation of the use or Service of the Parts carries him beyond the melodramatic to the Realistic; and Volume IV., in which his dawning perception of that higher service resulting from the truthful Relationship of the Parts leads him beyond realism to idealism, the Suggestive.
In choosing the selections for this and the accompanying volumes, the aim has been to preserve the natural oneness between the study of literature and that of expression, and to encourage the appreciation of this unity in the minds of teacher and student. It may be said that the greatest of the world's literature was written for the ear, not for the eye, and its noblest influence is felt only when it is adequately voiced by an intelligent and sympathetic reader. It is the object of these volumes to foster in the student a keener and deeper appreciation of the truth and beauty of great prose and verse, and at the same time to enrich his own and other lives by cultivating the power of expressing the glories which are opened to his vision.
The arrangement of the selections is for the purpose of teaching the art of reading according to the steps of natural evolution hinted at in the foregoing pages, and in a way which experience has found most prolific in practical results.
While no effort has been made to search for novelties, great care has been taken to secure selections which, while of pure literary merit, are especially adapted for drill in the several steps of progress in reading. The power developed in the student through carefully directed drill on these selections will enable him to illuminate whatever other literature he may care to interpret. The arrangement of the selections in small divisions or paragraphs has been made for convenience in the work of the class room.
The "Evolution of Expression" does not offer art criteria by which the work of an orator is to be measured; it presents rather a system of education by which one may attain the plane of art in expression. The teacher or student who desires a formulation of laws which afford a standard of art criticism is referred to the four volumes of "The Perfective Laws of Art," the text-book succeeding the "Evolution of Expression."
The author wishes to express his sincere gratitude to George N. Morang & Co., to Bobbs-Merrill Company, and to Houghton, Mifflin & Co., for their courtesy in allowing him to reprint in this volume selections from their publications.
THE COLOSSAL PERIOD.
The body is one and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body.—ST. PAUL.
How good is man's life, the mere living! How fit to employ All the heart and the soul and the senses forever in joy!
(NOTE.—Let the teacher and student remember that the headings of the chapters name effects rather than causes, signs rather than things signified. They are not, therefore, objects of thought for the student while practising; they are finger points for the teacher; the criteria by which he measures his pupil's development.)
Reading is a communication of thought; a transference of ideas from one mind to other minds so as to influence their thinking in a definite manner. The process is distinctively communicative, involving two parties, speaker and audience, equally indispensable. As well might the student of manual training attempt his work without materials, to paint without paper or canvas, carve without wood or stone, model without clay, as the student of expression to read or speak without an audience. For this reason in all his private practice as well as class drill, the student should hold in mind an audience to whom he directs his attention. The office of the teacher is to hold constantly before the pupil these two mental concepts, his thought and his audience, or his thought in relation to his audience. The pupil must be taught to respond to the author's thought as to his own, and at the same time he must be inspired with the desire to give that thought to others. In his endeavor to awaken other minds his own will be quickened. This mental quickening reports itself in animation of voice and manner. Herein is illustrated a fundamental law of development; what we earnestly attempt to do for another that we actually do for ourselves. The constant endeavor of the teacher, therefore, must be to inspire the pupil to serve his audience through truth, the truth of his discourse. His attempt to gain the attention of his hearers and to concentrate their minds on this truth will secure such concentration of his own mind as will stimulate his interest, and interest is always vital.
Let no one mistake loudness for animation. A whisper may be more vital, more animated than a shout. The slightest quiver of a muscle may reveal greater intensity of thought than the most violent gesticulation. Yet since freedom and abandon of the agents of expression are necessary to their perfect service, let the teacher invite that freedom and abandon without fear of sacrificing good taste. He is not to be regarded as an artist yet; nor is it now profitable to measure him by the criteria of art. Let the form of his expression be as crude as it may, only let it be born of the thought. The student is learning to think on his feet; and the act of mental concentration upon his author's thought in relation to his audience is not at first a simple task. Do not hurry him in his development. Remember that expression to be truthful, must be spontaneous. The teacher needs only to hold the right objects of thought before the pupil's mind, then stand aside and let him grow in nature's own way. No thought of the HOW should be allowed to enter the student's mind while he is speaking, it is only the WHAT that concerns him. Form is born of spirit; the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
The requirement of the present chapter is met when the student is able to fix the attention of those who listen upon the central idea or theme of the selection. The WHOLE or unit of thought should be held before the pupil's mind, and by him, before the mind of the audience, attention not yet being directed specifically to PARTS.
The basis of intelligent vocal interpretation of literature is careful analysis. One cannot express shades of meaning that are not in the mind; until one clearly perceives the motives and relationships of the selection, he cannot reflect them to others. Too much cannot be said upon the importance of thorough thought and study of a selection previous to any effort toward expression. It is needless to explain that one cannot give what he does not possess; and it is equally self-evident that one gains by giving. Long and thoughtful quiescent concentration should precede the concentration of mind while speaking. The author's words are like a gold mine which must be searched by thorough digging for the nuggets of thought beneath. The pupil must live with his author, see through his eyes, think with his intellect, feel with his heart, and choose with his will, picturing to himself every scene, putting himself in the place of every character described.
Like every organism every true work of art has organic unity; it represents a unit of thought, the WHOLE, made up of essential PARTS. Each part is a part of the whole, because in its own way it reflects the whole. The perfect unity of an organism or of a work of art results from the service rendered by each part to every other part.
Here, then, is the logical order of analysis: first, the WHOLE or unit of thought; second, the PARTS; third, the SERVICE, OR THE USE OF THE PARTS; fourth, the RELATIONSHIP OF THE PARTS which is the highest service and results in revelation. In determining this higher service we are reconstructing our whole from the unit of the selection to the revelation of truth resulting from the relationship of parts; the analysis must culminate in synthesis, else it would defeat its purpose. The end of literature, as in other forms of art, is revelation. The end of analysis is to lead to the perception of this revelation. In the earlier stages of development the pupil's attention should not be directed toward minute analysis. At this period his mind is engrossed with the principal thought or unit of the composition,—the dominant theme which is developed in every organic literary composition. Let his mind rest upon this until he lives in the spirit of the theme through a passion for reflecting it to others.
Inasmuch as an attempt to define always limits, it is a question how far it will be profitable to formulate definite statements of the whole, parts, etc. Written expression, as well as oral, is individual. Each pupil may have a different formulation. Inasmuch, however, as every author is possessed by a definite purpose, we may suggest, for the guidance of the student, a tentative analysis of a selection which may aid him in reflecting its truth to an audience.
It is hoped that this brief study of one selection from each chapter may be acceptable as a working basis, a hint of the logical method of procedure rather than an arbitrary model. The elaboration of these principles is without limit and must be left to the teacher. It is the purpose here to give only simple statements intended to be suggestive rather than final.
Example: "The Cheerful Locksmith." (Page 46.)
The Unit, or Whole for working basis: The character of the Cheerful Locksmith.
(a) The sound he makes. Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 7.
(6) His personal appearance. Paragraph 4.
(c) The appearance of objects around him. Paragraphs 5, 6.
The Service of the Parts:
(a) Serves the Whole by engaging the interest at once in the Cheerful Locksmith, whom it introduces, and whose nature it reflects.
(b) Serves by presenting a definite picture of him, radiating cheer.
(c) Serves by revealing further his cheerful personality through its effect upon surrounding objects.
The Relationship of the Parts:
(a) Foreshadows (b) and (c).
(b) Fulfils the expectation awakened in (a) and helps to prepare the mind for (c).
(c) Is a natural outgrowth from (a) and (b).
The revelation of truth through these relationships gives us a "New Whole" which maybe stated thus: The spirit of cheerfulness, radiating from the Locksmith's personality and expressed through his work, is reflected by all around him.
The above analysis is suggested as a guide for study. A tentative analysis of each selection might be offered here; but it is better that the student develop his own powers of discrimination by doing this preliminary work himself, directed, as far as necessary, by the teacher. However, it is not essential that a formal analysis of every selection be made; indeed, as has been already implied, minute analysis may even defeat the end of these opening chapters. The question of formal analysis may be left to the discretion of the teacher, who must determine how far it serves his purpose in each individual instance.
The criterion of Chapter I. does not demand an interpretation based upon the complete analysis given above, which is intended as an illustration of all analysis; if all the relationships suggested above be reflected through an oral reading of "The Cheerful Locksmith," the reader has attained the steps of development embodied in Volume IV. However, in drill on the selections in Volume I., the teacher should never think of limiting the pupil to the significance of that volume; every student should be encouraged to reflect as much of the truth, literal and suggestive, as his degree of discernment and of freedom will allow.
The immediate aim of drill on "The Cheerful Locksmith" should be a hearty response to the spirit of the Whole, however much beyond that may be achieved. The student must be inspired by an ardent desire to awaken the interest of his audience in "The Cheerful Locksmith," as does one who through introductory remarks presents the "speaker of the evening."
It is to be thoughtfully noted that all the selections in this and the three succeeding chapters have been chosen for their easy adaptability to use in the first natural period of art— expression, the Colossal period. They are selections with an easily distinguishable theme. Throughout these chapters the mind of the student should be engaged with the motif of the selection as it first catches the mind. Nothing in later study can make up for the loss of the first glow, the undefined answering response to the animating spirit of a writer's message. His differentiated meanings, his elaborations of theme for the purpose of increased force, intensity or suggestion are but useless lumber to a mind that has not throbbed in sympathy, scarce knowing why. It is just here that almost all teaching in both literature and its expression fails; there is not enough browsing—knee-deep, waist- deep,—for the pure joy of it.
At first, the student may find it difficult to concentrate the minds of his hearers upon his theme steadily and continuously. His ability to do this may come spasmodically. This irregular mental activity reports itself in unevenness of delivery; life appears in gleams not in steady shining. But with continued effort to concentrate other minds upon his subject, this unevenness gives place to ease in delivery, to smoothness of voice. Continuity of thought impels smoothness of expression. When a thought is held steadily in the mind of the pupil, together with a dominating purpose to communicate that thought to others, the tones of his voice become evenly sustained and smooth.
Smoothness may be said to result from a sense of oneness with the audience. So long as there is a gulf between the speaker and audience, there is conscious and apparent effort in the address. It is a growing love, a vital sympathy with the audience that manifests itself in smoothness.
This second step grows in natural sequence out of the first. Out of the abundance of life comes sweetness. In all the successive steps of the pupil's evolution, he is constantly to add, never to discard or lay aside any power previously gained. Rather than outgrow it, he will grow in it. All that he will outgrow will be his faults, his mannerisms, his limitations. As he gains freedom, transcending limitations, his mannerisms will fall away from him; he need never be made conscious that he has had them.
Analysis. Example, "The Village Preacher." The Unit, or Working Whole: A village preacher who radiates the spirit of love.
The student's endeavor must be to reflect continuously the overflowing love of the preacher's nature, which blessed all with whom he came in contact. The audience should feel the presence of the great-hearted man throughout the reading of the entire selection, even when he is not described. For instance, he may be foreshadowed in the introduction.
Out of the effort toward continued concentration is born the perception of values. Dwelling upon the thought and striving to hold it steadily in the minds of those who listen, the pupil begins to perceive its greater value, and to realize that the expression of this value will aid him in holding the attention of his audience. His will becomes more definitely aroused. Feeling his new power, he should be inspired to direct it definitely toward his hearers. This new element of will directed through the perception of value expresses itself in the added quality called volume of voice.
Here, as everywhere, the discernment of the teacher must be relied upon to detect the difference between true and mechanical expression. Failure on the part of the pupil to perceive what is desired may lead him to offer, as a counterfeit of volume, force or loudness. Volume of voice, free from both, is the expression of the growing appreciation of values.
Analysis. Example: "Spartacus to the Gladiators."
The Unit, or Whole: The personality of Spartacus revealed through his effort to inspire his fellows with the spirit of liberty.
The theme which Spartacus presents is of universal value—the spirit of liberty, dear to all mankind. This value must be realized by the student, who must make the effort of Spartacus his own effort, throughout the entire selection. The value of the theme must be behind every spoken word, felt, if not uttered.
FORMING THE ELEMENTS.
The life manifested in the three previous chapters now begins to take more definite thought form. The intellect seeing more clearly, appeals to the intellects of those who listen that they may think with greater sharpness and distinctness the thoughts presented. By aiming to present these thoughts so as to be clearly understood, distinctness and precision of utterance are gained. The elements of speech become more perfectly and beautifully chiseled. Thus keener thinking and greater care in presentation serve in forming the elements and perfecting the articulation, which need not be made a matter of mechanical drill.
Careless enunciation, which so mars the beauty of a speaker's discourse, is usually due to careless thinking. Clear speaking comes from clear thinking. Exceptional cases of long confirmed bad habits, faultily trained ears, or defects in the vocal apparatus, sometimes make technical drill to meet individual cases, a necessary supplement to the persistent practice in earnest revelation of thought. But in ordinary cases the speaker's endeavor to impress his hearers with the parts which make up his discourse will result, in due time, in accurate, distinct articulation. With continued practice this perfection of speech will become habitual. Spirit moulds form; this law cannot be overemphasized. In this new stage of the pupil's development, as always, the desired result proceeds as an effect from an inner psychological cause; it is a natural and spontaneous outgrowth, rather than a dull and lifeless form.
Analysis. Example: "The Song of the Rain." UNIT, OR WHOLE: The beneficence of rain after a drought. Here the student should hold the attention of the audience upon the distinct features of the picture presented. He should make his hearers see and enjoy the rain and appreciate the response of nature and of people to its refreshing influence.
THE TEA-KETTLE AND THE CRICKET.
1. It appeared as if there were a sort of match, or trial of skill, you must understand, between the kettle and the cricket. And this is what led to it, and how it came about.
2. The kettle was aggravating and obstinate. It wouldn't allow itself to be adjusted on the top bar; it wouldn't hear of accommodating itself kindly to the knobs of coal; it would lean forward with a drunken air, and dribble—a very idiot of a kettle —on the hearth. It was quarrelsome, and hissed and sputtered morosely at the fire.
3. To sum up all, the lid, resisting Mrs. Peerybingle's fingers, first of all turned topsy-turvy, and then, with an ingenious pertinacity deserving of a better cause, dived sideways in, down to the very bottom of the kettle; and the hull of the Royal George has never made half of the monstrous resistance in coming out of the water which the lid of the kettle employed against Mrs. Peerybingle before she got it up again.
4. It looked sullen and pig-headed enough, even then, carrying its handle with an air of defiance, and cocking its spout pertly and mockingly at Mrs. Peerybingle, as if it said, "i won't boil. Nothing shall induce me!"
5. But Mrs. Peerybingle, with restored good-humor, dusted her chubby little hands against each other, and sat down before the kettle laughing. Meantime the jolly blaze uprose and fell, flashing and gleaming on the little haymaker at the top of the Dutch clock, until one might have thought he stood stock still before the Moorish palace, and nothing was in motion but the flame.
6. Now it was, observe, that the kettle began to spend the evening. Now it was that the kettle, growing mellow and musical, began to have irrepressible gurglings in the throat, and to indulge in short vocal snorts, which it checked in the bud, as if it hadn't quite made up its mind yet to be good company. Now it was that, after two or three such vain attempts to stifle its convivial sentiments, it threw off all moroseness, all reserve, and burst into a stream of song so cozy and hilarious as never maudlin nightingale yet formed the least idea of.
7. So plain, too! Bless you, you might have understood it like a book; better than some books you and I could name, perhaps. With its warm breath gushing forth in a light cloud, which merrily and gracefully ascended a few feet, then hung about the chimney corner, as its own domestic heaven, it trolled its song with that strong energy of cheerfulness that its iron body hummed and stirred upon the fire; and the lid itself, the recently rebellious lid—such is the influence of a bright example—performed a sort of jig, and clattered like a deaf and dumb young cymbal that had never known the use of its twin brother.
8. That this song of the kettle's was a song of invitation and welcome to somebody out of doors, to somebody at that moment coming on towards the snug, small home and the crisp fire, there is no doubt whatever. Mrs. Peerybingle knew it perfectly, as she sat musing before the hearth.
9. "It's a dark night," sang the kettle, "and the rotten leaves are lying by the way, and above all is mist and darkness, and below all is mire and clay, and there's only one relief in all the sad and murky air; and I don't know that it is one, for its nothing but a glare of deep and angry crimson, where the sun and wind together set a brand upon the clouds, for being guilty of such weather; and the widest open country is a long, dull streak of black; and there's hoar-frost on the finger-post, and thaw upon the track; and the ice isn't water, and the water isn't free; and you couldn't say that anything is what it ought to be; but he's coming, coming, coming!—"
10. And here, if you like, the cricket did chime in with chirrup, chirrup, chirrup of such magnitude, by way of chorus, with a voice so astoundingly disproportionate to its size, as compared with the kettle (size, you couldn't see it!)—that if it had then and there burst itself, like an overcharged gun, if it had fallen a victim on the spot, and chirruped its little body into fifty pieces, it would have seemed a natural and inevitable consequence, for which it had expressly labored.
11. The kettle had had the last of its solo performances. It persevered with undiminished ardor; but the cricket took first fiddle, and kept it. Good heaven, how it chirped! Its shrill, sharp, piercing voice resounded through the house, and seemed to twinkle in the outer darkness like a star.
12. There was an indescribable little thrill and tremble in it, at its loudest, which suggested its being carried off its legs, and made to leap again, by its own intense enthusiasm. Yet they went very well together, the cricket and the kettle. The burden of the song was still the same; and louder, louder, louder still they sang it in their emulation.
13. There was all the excitement of a race about it. Chirp, chirp, chirp! cricket a mile ahead. Hum, hum, hum—m—m! kettle making play in the distance, like a great top. Chirp, chirp, chirp! cricket round the corner. Hum, hum, hum-m-m! kettle sticking to him in his own way; no idea of giving in. Chirp, chirp, chirp, cricket fresher than ever. Hum, hum, hum-m-m! kettle slow and steady. Chirp, chirp, chirp! cricket going in to finish him. Hum, hum, hum-m-m! kettle not to be finished.
14. Until at last they got so jumbled together, in the hurry- scurry, helter-skelter of the match, that whether the kettle chirped and the cricket hummed, or the cricket chirped and the kettle hummed, or they both chirped and both hummed, it would have taken a clearer head than yours or mine to have decided with certainty.
15. Of this there is no doubt; that the kettle and the cricket, at one and the same moment, and by some power of amalgamation best known to themselves, sent each his fireside song of comfort streaming into a ray of the candle that shone out through the window, and a long way down the lane. And this light, bursting on a certain person, who, on the instant, approached towards it through the gloom, expressed the whole thing to him literally in a twinkling, and cried, "Welcome home, old fellow! welcome home, my boy!"
This end attained, the kettle, being dead beat, boiled over, and was taken off the fire.
THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN.
Hamelin Town's in Brunswick, By famous Hanover city; The river Weser, deep and wide, Washes its wall on the southern side; A pleasanter spot you never spied; But, when begins my ditty, Almost five hundred years ago, To see the townsfolk suffer so From vermin was a pity.
Rats! They fought the dogs, and killed the cats, And bit the babies in the cradles, And ate the cheeses out of the vats, And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles, Split open the kegs of salted sprats, Made nests inside men's Sunday hats, And even spoiled the women's chats, By drowning their speaking With shrieking and squeaking In fifty different sharps and flats.
At last the people in a body To the Town Hall came flocking; "Tis clear," cried they, "our Mayor's a noddy; And as for our Corporation,—shocking To think we buy gowns lined with ermine For dolts that can't or won't determine What's best to rid us of our vermin! You hope, because you're old and obese, To find in the furry, civic robe ease? Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking, To find the remedy we're lacking, Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!"
At this the Mayor and Corporation Quaked with a mighty consternation. An hour they sat in council.
At length the Mayor broke silence: "For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell; I wish I were a mile hence. It's easy to bid one rack one's brain, I'm sure my poor head aches again, I scratched it so, and all in vain. Oh, for a trap, a trap, a trap!" Just as he said this, what should hap At the chamber door but a gentle tap. "Bless us!" cried the Mayor, "what's that? Anything like the sound of a rat Makes my heart go pit-a-pat."
"Come in," the Mayor cried, looking bigger; And in did come the strangest figure; His queer long coat from heels to head Was half of yellow and half of red. And he himself was tall and thin, With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin, And light, loose hair, yet swarthy skin— No tuft on cheek, nor beard on chin, But lips where smiles went out and in, There was no guessing his kith or kin; And nobody could enough admire The tall man and his quaint attire.
Quoth one, "It's as my great-grand-sire, Starting up at the trump of Doom's tone, Had walked this way from his painted tomb-stone." He advanced to the council-table: And, "Please your honors," said he, "I'm able, By means of a secret charm, to draw All creatures living beneath the sun, That creep, or swim, or fly, or run, After me so as you never saw.
"And I chiefly use my charm On creatures that do people harm,— The mole, and toad, and newt, and viper,— And people call me the Pied Piper; Yet," said he, "poor Piper as I am, In Tartary I freed the Cham Last June from his huge swarm of gnats; I eased in Asia the Nizam Of a monstrous brood of vampire-bats; And, as for what your brain bewilders, If I can rid your town of rats, Will you give me a thousand guilders?" "One? fifty thousand!" was the exclamation Of the astonished Mayor and corporation.
Into the street the piper stept, Smiling first a little smile, As if he knew what magic slept In his quiet pipe the while; And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered, You heard as if an army muttered; And the muttering grew to a grumbling, And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling, And out of the houses the rats came tumbling,— Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats, Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats, Grave old plodders, gay young friskers, Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins, Families by tens and dozens, Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives,— Followed the piper for their lives. From street to street he piped advancing, And step for step they followed dancing, Until they came to the river Weser, Wherein all plunged and perished.
You should have heard the Hamelin people Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple. "Go," cried the Mayor, "get long poles, Poke out the nests, and block up the holes. Consult with carpenters and builders, And leave in our town not even a trace Of the rats." When suddenly up the face Of the Piper perked in the market place, With, "First, if you please, my thousand guilders." A thousand guilders; the Mayor looked blue And so did the Corporation, too.
"Beside," quoth the Mayor, with a knowing wink, "Our business was done at the river brink; We saw with our eyes the vermin sink, And what's dead can't come to life, I think. A thousand guilders? Come, take fifty." The Piper's face fell, and he cried, "No trifling. Folks who put me in a passion May find me pipe to another fashion."
Once more he stepped into the street And to his lips again Laid his long pipe of smooth, straight cane; And ere he blew three notes There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling, Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling, Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering, Little hands clapping, and little tongues chattering, And, like fowls in a barnyard when barley is scattering, Out came the children running. All the little boys and girls, With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls, And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls, Tripping and skipping ran merrily after The wonderful music—with shouting and laughter.
When, lo! as they reached the mountain's side, A wondrous portal opened wide, As if a cavern were suddenly hollowed; And the piper advanced and the children followed, And when all were in to the very last The door in the mountain side shut fast. Alas, alas for Hamelin!
There came into many a burgher's pate A text which says that heaven's gate Opens to the rich at as easy rate As the needle's eye takes the camel in! The mayor sent east, west, north, and south To offer the Piper by word of mouth, Wherever it was men's lot to find him, Silver and gold to his heart's content, If he'd only return the way he went, And bring the children behind him. But soon they saw 'twas a lost endeavor, And piper and dancers were gone forever.
And the better in memory to fix The place of the children's last retreat, They called it the Pied Piper's Street— Where any one playing on pipe or tabor Was sure for the future to lose his labor. And opposite the place of the cavern They wrote the story on a column, And on the great church window painted The same, to make the world acquainted How their children were stolen away; And there it stands to this very day.
GROUP OF LYRICS.
The year's at the spring, And day's at the morn; Morning's at seven; The hill-side's dew-pearled; The lark's on the wing; The snail's on the thorn; God's in his heaven— All's right with the world.
Many, many welcomes February fair-maid, Ever as of old time, Solitary firstling, Coming in the cold time, Prophet of the gay time, Prophet of the May time, Prophet of the roses, Many, many welcomes February fair-maid!
"Summer is coming, summer is coming. I know it, I know it, I know it. Light again, leaf again, life again, love again," Yes, my wild little Poet.
Sing the new year in under the blue. Last year you sang it as gladly. "New, new, new, new!" Is it then so new That you should carol so madly?
"Love again, song again, nest again, young again," Never a prophet so crazy! And hardly a daisy as yet, little friend, See, there is hardly a daisy.
"Here again, here, here, here, happy year O warble unchidden, unbidden! Summer is coming, is coming, my dear, And all the winters are hidden.
ONE MORNING, OH! SO EARLY!
One morning, oh! so early, my beloved, my beloved, All the birds were singing blithely, as if never they would cease; 'Twas a thrush sang in my garden, "Hear the story, hear the story!" And the lark sang, "Give us glory!" And the dove said, "Give us peace!"
Then I listened, oh! so early, my beloved, my beloved, To that murmur from the woodland of the dove, my dear, the dove; When the nightingale came after, "Give us fame to sweeten duty!" When the wren sang, "Give us beauty!" She made answer, "Give us love!"
Sweet is spring, and sweet the morning, my beloved, my beloved; Now for us doth spring, doth morning, wait upon the year's increase, And my prayer goes up, "Oh, give us, crowned in youth with marriage glory, Give for all our life's dear story, Give us love, and give us peace!"
1. No quality of Art has been more powerful in its influence on public mind; none is more frequently the subject of popular praise, or the end of vulgar effort, than what we call "Freedom." It is necessary to determine the justice or injustice of this popular praise.
2. Try to draw a circle with the "free" hand, and with a single line. You cannot do it if your hand trembles, nor if it hesitates, nor if it is unmanageable, nor if it is in the common sense of the word "free." So far from being free, it must be under a control as absolute and accurate as if it were fastened to an inflexible bar of steel. And yet it must move, under this necessary control, with perfect, untormented serenity of ease.
3. I believe we can nowhere find a better type of a perfectly free creature than in the common house-fly. Nor free only, but brave; and irreverent to a degree which I think no human republican could by any philosophy exalt himself to. There is no courtesy in him; he does not care whether it is king or clown whom he teases; and in every step of his swift mechanical march, and in every pause of his resolute observation, there is one and the same expression of perfect egotism, perfect independence and self-confidence, and conviction of the world's having been made for flies.
4. Strike at him with your hand, and to him, the mechanical fact and external aspect of the matter is, what to you it would be if an acre of red clay, ten feet thick, tore itself up from the ground in one massive field, hovered over you in the air for a second, and came crashing down with an aim. That is the external aspect of it; the inner aspect, to his fly's mind, is of a quite natural and unimportant occurrence—one of the momentary conditions of his active life. He steps out of the way of your hand, and alights on the back of it.
5. You cannot terrify him, nor govern him, nor persuade him, nor convince him. He has his own positive opinion on all matters; not an unwise one, usually, for his own ends; and will ask no advice of yours. He has no work to do—no tyrannical instinct to obey. The earthworm has his digging; the bee her gathering and building; the spider her cunning network; the ant her treasury and accounts. All these are comparatively slaves, or people of vulgar business.
6. But your fly, free in the air, free in the chamber—a black incarnation of caprice, wandering, investigating, flitting, flirting, feasting at his will, with rich variety of choice in feast, from the heaped sweets in the grocer's window to those of the butcher's back yard, and from the galled place on your cab- horse's back, to the brown spot in the road, from which, as the hoof disturbs him, he rises with angry republican buzz—what freedom is like his?
7. Indeed, the first point we have all to determine is not how free we are, but what kind of creatures we are. It is of small importance to any of us whether we get liberty; but of the greatest that we deserve it. Whether we can win it, fate must determine; but that we will be worthy of it we may ourselves determine; and the sorrowfulest fate of all that we can suffer is to have it WITHOUT deserving it.
8. I have hardly patience to hold my pen and go on writing, as I remember the infinite follies of modern thought in this matter, centered in the notion that liberty is good for a man, irrespectively of the use he is likely to make of it. Folly unfathomable! unspeakable! You will send your child, will you, into a room where the table is loaded with sweet wine and fruit— some poisoned, some not?—you will say to him, "Choose freely, my little child! It is so good for you to have freedom of choice; it forms your character—your individuality! If you take the wrong cup or the wrong berry, you will die before the day is over, but you will have acquired the dignity of a Free child."
9. You think that puts the case too sharply? I tell you, lover of liberty, there is no choice offered to you, but it is similarly between life and death. There is no act, nor option of act, possible, but the wrong deed or option has poison in it which will stay in your veins thereafter forever. Never more to all eternity can you be as you might have been had you not done that—chosen that.
10. You have "formed your character," forsooth! No; if you have chosen ill, you have De-formed it, and that forever! In some choices it had been better for you that a red-hot iron bar struck you aside, scarred and helpless, than that you had so chosen. "You will know better next time!" No. Next time will never come. Next time the choice will be in quite another aspect—between quite different things,—you, weaker than you were by the evil into which you have fallen; it, more doubtful than it was, by the increased dimness of your sight. No one ever gets wiser by doing wrong, nor stronger. You will get wiser and stronger only by doing right, whether forced or not; the prime, the one need is to do THAT, under whatever compulsion, until you can do it without compulsion. And then you are a Man.
11. "What!" a wayward youth might perhaps answer, incredulously, "no one ever gets wiser by doing wrong? Shall I not know the world best by trying the wrong of it, and repenting? Have I not, even as it is, learned much by many of my errors?" Indeed, the effort by which partially you recovered yourself was precious: that part of your thought by which you discerned the error was precious. What wisdom and strength you kept, and rightly used, are rewarded; and in the pain and the repentance, and in the acquaintance with the aspects of folly and sin, you have learned SOMETHING; how much less than you would have learned in right paths can never be told, but that it IS less is certain.
12. Your liberty of choice has simply destroyed for you so much life and strength, never regainable. It is true, you now know the habits of swine, and the taste of husks; do you think your father could not have taught you to know better habits and pleasanter tastes, if you had stayed in his house; and that the knowledge you have lost would not have been more, as well as sweeter, than that you have gained? But "it so forms my individuality to be free!" Your individuality was given you by God, and in your race, and if you have any to speak of, you will want no liberty.
13. In fine, the arguments for liberty may in general be summed in a few very simple forms, as follows:
Misguiding is mischievous: therefore guiding is.
If the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch: therefore, nobody should lead anybody.
Lambs and fawns should be left free in the fields; much more bears and wolves.
If a man's gun and shot are his own, he may fire in any direction he pleases.
A fence across a road is inconvenient; much more one at the side of it.
Babes should not be swaddled with their hands bound down to their sides: therefore they should be thrown out to roll in the kennels naked.
14. None of these arguments are good, and the practical issues of them are worse. For there are certain eternal laws for human conduct which are quite clearly discernible by human reason. So far as these are discovered and obeyed, by whatever machinery or authority the obedience is procured, there follow life and strength. So far as they are disobeyed, by whatever good intention the disobedience is brought about, there follow ruin and sorrow.
15. The first duty of every man in the world is to find his true master, and, for his own good, submit to him; and to find his true inferior, and, for that inferior's good, conquer him. The punishment is sure, if we either refuse the reverence, or are too cowardly and indolent to enforce the compulsion. A base nation crucifies or poisons its wise men, and lets its fools rave and rot in its streets. A wise nation obeys the one, restrains the other, and cherishes all.
A LAUGHING CHORUS.
Oh, such a commotion under the ground When March called "Ho, there! ho!" Such spreading of rootlets far and wide, Such whispering to and fro. And "Are you ready?" the Snowdrop asked; "'Tis time to start, you know." "Almost, my dear, "the Scilla replied; "I'll follow as soon as you go." Then, "Ha! ha! ha!" a chorus came Of laughter soft and low From the millions of flowers under the ground— Yes—millions—beginning to grow.
"I'll promise my blossoms," the Crocus said, "When I hear the bluebirds sing." And straight thereafter Narcissus cried, "My silver and gold I'll bring." "And ere they are dulled," another spoke, "The Hyacinth bells shall ring." And the Violet only murmured, "I'm here," And sweet grew the air of spring. Then, "Ha! ha! ha!" a chorus came Of laughter soft and low From the millions of flowers under the ground— Yes—millions—beginning to grow.
Oh, the pretty, brave things! through the coldest days, Imprisoned in walls of brown, They never lost heart, though the blast shrieked loud, And the sleet and the hail came down, But patiently each wrought her beautiful dress, Or fashioned her beautiful crown; And now they are coming to brighten the world, Still shadowed by winter's frown; And well may they cheerily laugh, "Ha! ha!" In a chorus soft and low, The millions of flowers hid under the ground— Yes—millions—beginning to grow. Yes—millions—beginning to grow.
THE CHEERFUL LOCKSMITH.
1. From the workshop of the Golden Key there issued forth a tinkling sound, so merry and good-humored that it suggested the idea of some one working blithely, and made quite pleasant music. Tink, tink, tink—clear as a silver bell, and audible at every pause of the streets' harsher noises, as though it said, "I don't care; nothing puts me out; I am resolved to be happy."
2. Women scolded, children squalled, heavy carts went rumbling by, horrible cries proceeded from the lungs of hawkers; still it struck in again, no higher, no lower, no louder, no softer; not thrusting itself on people's notice a bit the more for having been outdone by louder sounds—tink, tink, tink, tink, tink.
3. It was a perfect embodiment of the still, small voice, free from all cold, hoarseness, huskiness, or unhealthiness of any kind. Foot-passengers slackened their pace, and were disposed to linger near it; neighbors who had got up splenetic that morning, felt good-humor stealing on them as they heard it, and by degrees became quite sprightly; mothers danced their babies to its ringing;—still the same magical tink, tink, tink came gaily from the workshop of the Golden Key.
4. Who but the locksmith could have made such music? A gleam of sun, shining through the unsashed window and checkering the dark workshop with a broad patch of light, fell full upon him, as though attracted by his sunny heart. There he stood working at his anvil, his face radiant with exercise and gladness, his sleeves turned up, his wig pushed off his shining forehead—the easiest, freest, happiest man in all the world.
5. Beside him sat a sleek cat, purring and winking in the light, and falling every now and then into an idle doze, as from excess of comfort. The very locks that hung around had something jovial in their rust, and seemed like gouty gentlemen of hearty natures, disposed to joke on their infirmities.
6. There was nothing surly or severe in the whole scene. It seemed impossible that any of the innumerable keys could fit a churlish strong-box or a prison door. Storehouses of good things, rooms where there were fires, books, gossip, and cheering laughter— these were their proper sphere of action. Places of distrust, and cruelty, and restraint they would have quadruple-locked forever.
7. Tink, tink, tink. No man who hammered on at a dull, monotonous duty could have brought such cheerful notes from steel and iron; none but a chirping, healthy, honest-hearted fellow, who made the best of everything and felt kindly towards everybody, could have done it for an instant. He might have been a coppersmith, and still been musical. If he had sat in a jolting wagon, full of rods of iron, it seemed as if he would have brought some harmony out of it.
HOME THOUGHTS, FROM ABROAD.
Oh, to be in England now that April's there, And whoever wakes in England sees, some morning, unaware, That the lowest boughs and the brush-wood sheaf Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough In England—now! And after April, when May follows And the white-throat builds, and all the swallows! Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge Leans to the field and scatters on the clover Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray's edge— That's the wise thrush: he sings each song twice over Lest you should think he never could recapture The first fine careless rapture! And though the fields look rough with hoary dew, All will be gay when noontide wakes anew The buttercups, the little children's dower —Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
Oh, young Lochinvar is come out of the West,— Through all the wide border his steed was the best! And, save his good broadsword, he weapon had none,— He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone. So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war, There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.
He stayed not for brake, and he stopped not for stone; He swam the Eske river where ford there was none. But, ere he alighted at Netherby gate, The bride had consented, the gallant came late; For a laggard in love and a dastard in war Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.
So boldly he entered the Netherby hall, 'Mong bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all: Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword (For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word), "Oh, come ye in peace here, or come ye in war, Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?"
"I long wooed your daughter—my suit you denied; Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide; And now am I come, with this lost love of mine, To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine. There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar."
The bride kissed the goblet; the knight took it up; He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup. She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh, With a smile on her lip, and a tear in her eye. He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar; "Now tread we a measure?" said young Lochinvar.
So stately his form, and so lovely her face, That never a hall such a galliard did grace; While her mother did fret and her father did fume, And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume, And the bride-maidens whispered, "'Twere better by far To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar."
One touch to her hand and one word in her ear, When they reached the hall door, and the charger stood near; So light to the croup the fair lady he swung, So light to the saddle before her he sprung: "She is won! we are gone! over bank, bush, and scar; They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar.
There was mounting'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan; Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran; There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee; But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see. So daring in love, and so dauntless in war, Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
POLISH WAR SONG.
Freedom calls you! Quick, be ready,— Rouse ye in the name of God,— Onward, onward, strong and steady,— Dash to earth the oppressor's rod. Freedom calls, ye brave! Rise and spurn the name of slave.
II. Grasp the sword!—its edge is keen, Seize the gun!—its ball is true: Sweep your land from tyrant clean,— Haste, and scour it through and through! Onward, onward! Freedom cries, Rush to arms,—the tyrant flies.
By the souls of patriots gone, Wake,—arise,—your fetters break, Kosciusko bids you on,— Sobieski cries awake! Rise, and front the despot czar, Rise, and dare the unequal war.
Freedom calls you! Quick, be ready,— Think of what your sires have been, Onward, onward! strong and steady, Drive the tyrant to his den. On, and let the watchword be, Country, home, and liberty!
JAMES G. PERCIVAL.
THE VILLAGE PREACHER.
Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close, Up yonder hill the village murmur rose; There, as I passed with careless steps and slow, The mingled notes came softened from below; The swain responsive as the milkmaid sung, The sober herd that lowed to meet their young; The noisy geese that gabbled o'er the pool, The playful children just let loose from school; The watchdog's voice that bayed the whispering wind, And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind,— These all in sweet confusion sought the shade, And filled each pause the nightingale had made.
Near yonder copse where once the garden smiled, And still where many a garden flower grows wild, There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose, The village preacher's modest mansion rose. A man he was to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year; Remote from towns he ran his godly race, Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change, his place. Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for power, By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour; Far other aims his heart had learned to prize, More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train; He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain; The long-remembered beggar was his guest, Whose beard, descending, swept his aged breast; The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud, Claimed kindred there, and had his claims allowed; The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay, Sat by his fire and talked the night away; Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done, Shouldered his crutch, and showed how fields were won. Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow, And quite forgot their vices in their woe; Careless their merits or their faults to scan, His pity gave ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride, And e'en his failings leaned to virtue's side; But in his duty prompt at every call, He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all; And, as a bird each fond endearment tries, To tempt his new-fledged offspring to the skies, He tried each art, reproved each dull delay, Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid, And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed, The reverend champion stood. At his control Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul; Comfort came down, the trembling wretch to raise, And his last faltering accents whispered praise.
At church with meek and unaffected grace, His looks adorned the venerable place; Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway, And fools who came to scoff remained to pray. The service past, around the pious man, With ready zeal, each honest rustic ran; E'en children followed, with endearing wile, And plucked his gown to share the good man's smile.
His ready smile a parent's warmth expressed; Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed; To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given, But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven: As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm; Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
TO THE DAISY.
With little here to do or see Of things that in the great world be, Sweet Daisy! oft I talk to thee For thou art worthy, Thou unassuming Common-place Of Nature, with that homely face, And yet with something of a grace Which Love makes for thee!
Oft on the dappled turf at ease I sit and play with similes, Loose types of things through all degrees, Thoughts of thy raising; And many a fond and idle name I give to thee, for praise or blame As is the humour of the game, While I am gazing.
A nun demure, of lowly port; Or sprightly maiden, of Love's court, In thy simplicity the sport Of all temptations; A queen in crown of rubies drest; A starveling in a scanty vest; Are all, as seems to suit thee best, Thy appellations.
A little Cyclops, with one eye Staring to threaten and defy, That thought comes next—and instantly The freak is over, The shape will vanish, and behold! A silver shield with boss of gold That spreads itself, some faery bold In fight to cover.
I see thee glittering from afar— And then thou art a pretty star, Not quite so fair as many are In heaven above thee! Yet like a star, with glittering crest, Self-poised in air thou seem'st to rest;— May peace come never to his nest Who shall reprove thee!
Sweet Flower! for by that name at last When all my reveries are past I call thee, and to that cleave fast, Sweet silent Creature! That breath'st with me in sun and air, Do thou, as thou art wont, repair My heart with gladness, and a share Of thy meek nature!
1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
2. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
3. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runueth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
EXTRACT FROM EULOGY ON WENDELL PHILLIPS.
1. Like other gently nurtured Boston boys, Phillips began the study of law; and, as it proceeded, doubtless the sirens sang to him, as to the noble youth of every country and time. If, musing over Coke and Blackstone, in the full consciousness of ample powers and of fortunate opportunities, he sometimes forecast the future, he doubtless saw himself succeeding Fisher Ames, and Harrison Gray Otis, and Daniel Webster, rising from the bar to the Legislature, from the Legislature to the Senate, from the Senate— who knew whither?—the idol of society, the applauded orator, the brilliant champion of the elegant repose and the cultivated conservatism of Massachusetts.
2. The delight of social ease, the refined enjoyment of taste in letters and art, opulent leisure, professional distinction, gratified ambition—all these came and whispered to the young student. And it is the force that can tranquilly put aside such blandishments with a smile, and accept alienation, outlawry, ignominy, and apparent defeat, if need be, no less than the courage which grapples with poverty and outward hardship and climbs over them to worldly prosperity, which is the test of the finest manhood. Only he who fully knows the worth of what he renounces gains the true blessing of renunciation.
3. When he first spoke at Faneuil Hall some of the most renowned American orators were still in their prime. Webster and Clay were in the Senate, Choate at the bar, Edward Everett upon the academic platform. From all these orators Phillips differed more than they differed from each other. Behind Webster, and Everett, and Clay there was always a great organized party or an entrenched conservatism of feeling and opinion. They spoke accepted views. They moved with masses of men, and were sure of the applause of party spirit, of political tradition, and of established institutions. Phillips stood alone.
4. With no party behind him and appealing against established order and acknowledged tradition, his speech was necessarily a popular appeal for a strange and unwelcome cause, and the condition of its success was that it should both charm and rouse the hearer, while, under cover of the fascination, the orator unfolded his argument and urged his plea. This condition the genius of the orator instinctively perceived, and it determined the character of his discourse.
5. He faced his audience with a tranquil mien and a beaming aspect that was never dimmed. He spoke, and in the measured cadence of his quiet voice there was intense feeling, but no declamation, no passionate appeal, no superficial and feigned emotion. It was simple colloquy—a gentleman conversing. Unconsciously and surely, the ear and heart were charmed. How was it done? Ah! how did Mozart do it, how Raphael? The secret of the rose's sweetness, of the bird's ecstacy, of the sunset's glory—that is the secret of genius and of eloquence.
6. What was heard, what was seen, was the form of noble manhood, the courteous and self-possessed tone, the flow of modulated speech, sparkling with matchless richness of illustration, with apt illusion, and happy anecdote, and historic parallel, with wit and pitiless invective, with melodious pathos, with stinging satire, with crackling epigram and limpid humor, like the bright ripples that play around the sure and steady prow of the resistless ship. The divine energy of his conviction utterly possessed him, and his
"Pure and eloquent blood Spoke in his cheek, and so distinctly wrought That one might almost say his body thought."
7. Phillips cherished profound faith in the people, and because he cherished it he never flattered the mob, nor hung upon its neck, nor pandered to its passion, nor suffered its foaming hate or its exulting enthusiasm to touch the calm poise of his regnant soul. He moved in solitary majesty, and if from his smooth speech a lightning flash of satire or of scorn struck a cherished lie, or an honored character, or a dogma of the party creed, and the crowd burst into a furious tempest of dissent, he beat it into silence with uncompromising iteration. If it tried to drown his voice, he turned to the reporters, and over the raging tumult calmly said, "Howl on, I speak to 30,000,000 here."
8. There was another power in his speech sharper than in the speech of any other American orator,—an unsparing invective. The abolition appeal was essentially iconoclastic, and the method of a reformer at close quarters with a mighty system of wrong cannot be measured by the standards of cool and polite debate. Phillips did not shrink from the sternest denunciation, or ridicule or scorn, of those who seemed to him recreant to freedom and humanity. The idols of a purely conventional virtue he delighted to shatter, because no public enemy seemed to him more deadly than the American who made moral cowardice respectable.
9. He knew that his ruthless words closed to him homes of friendship and hearts of sympathy. He saw the amazement, he heard the condemnation; but, like the great apostle preaching Christ, he knew only humanity and humanity crucified. Tongue of the dumb, eyes of the blind, feet of the impotent, his voice alone, among the voices that were everywhere heard and heeded, was sent by God to challenge every word, or look, or deed that seemed to him possibly to palliate oppression or to comfort the oppressor.
10. I am not here to declare that the judgment of Wendell Phillips was always sound, nor his estimate of men always just, nor his policy always approved by the event. I am not here to eulogize the mortal, but the immortal.
11. The plain house in which he lived—severely plain, because the welfare of the suffering and the slave were preferred to book, and picture, and every fair device of art; the house to which the north star led the trembling fugitive, and which the unfortunate and the friendless knew—the radiant figure passing swiftly through these streets, plain as the house from which it came, regal with, a royalty beyond that of kings—the ceaseless charity untold—the strong, sustaining heart—the sacred domestic affection that must not here be named—the eloquence which, like the song of Orpheus, will fade from living memory into a doubtful tale—the surrender of ambition, the consecration of a life hidden with God in sympathy with man—these, all these, will live among your immortal traditions, heroic even in your heroic story.
12. But not yours alone. As years go by, and only the large outlines of lofty American characters and careers remain, the wide republic will confess the benediction of a life like this, and gladly own that if with perfect faith, and hope assured, America would still stand and "bid the distant generations hail," the inspiration of her national life must be the sublime moral courage, the all-embracing humanity, the spotless integrity, the absolutely unselfish devotion of great powers to great public ends, which were the glory of Wendell Phillips.
GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS.
I come from haunts of coot and hern, I make a sudden sally, And sparkle out among the fern, To bicker down a valley.
By thirty hills I hurry down, Or slip between the ridges; By twenty thorps, a little town, And half a hundred bridges.
I chatter over stony ways, In little sharps and trebles, I bubble into eddying bays, I babble on the pebbles.
With many a curve my banks I fret By many a field and fallow, And many a fairy foreland set With willow-weed and mallow.
I chatter, chatter, as I flow To join the brimming river, For men may come, and men may go, But I go on for ever.
I wind about, and in and out, With here a blossom sailing, And here and there a lusty trout, And here and there a grayling.
And here and there a foamy flake Upon me as I travel, With many a silvery water-break Above the golden gravel.
I steal by lawns and grassy plots, I slide by hazel covers, I move the sweet forget-me-nots That grow for happy lovers.
I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance, Among my skimming swallows; I make the netted sunbeam dance Against my sandy shallows.
I murmur, under moon and stars In brambly wildernesses, I linger by my shingly bars, I loiter round my cresses.
And out again I curve and flow To join the brimming river; For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever.
OLD AUNT MARY'S.
Wasn't it pleasant, O, brother mine, In those old days of the lost sunshine Of youth—when the Saturday's chores were through, And the "Sunday's wood" in the kitchen, too, And we went visiting, "me and you," Out to Old Aunt Mary's?
It all comes back so clear to-day! Though I am as bald as you are gray— Out by the barn-lot, and down the lane, We patter along in the dust again, As light as the tips of the drops of the rain, Out to Old Aunt Mary's!
We cross the pasture, and through the wood Where the old gray snag of the poplar stood, Where the hammering "red-heads" hopped awry, And the buzzard "raised" in the "clearing" sky, And lolled and circled, as we went by Out to Old Aunt Mary's.
And then in the dust of the road again; And the teams we met, and the countrymen; And the long highway, with sunshine spread As thick as butter on country bread, Our cares behind, and our hearts ahead Out to Old Aunt Mary's.
Why, I see her now in the open door, Where the little gourds grew up the sides and o'er
The clapboard roof!—And her face—ah, me! Wasn't it good for a boy to see Out to Old Aunt Mary's?
And, O, my brother, so far away, This is to tell you she waits to-day To welcome us:—Aunt Mary fell Asleep this morning, whispering, "Tell The boys to come!" And all is well Out to Old Aunt Mary's. JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY.
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see. He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head; And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow— Not at all like proper children which is always very slow; For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball, And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.
He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play, And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way. He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see; I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning very early, before the sun was up, I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup; But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head, Had stayed at home behind me, and was fast asleep in bed.
How do you like to go up in a swing, Up in the air so blue? Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall, Till I can see so wide, Rivers and trees and cattle and all Over the country side.
Till I look down on the garden green, Down on the roof so brown— Up in the air I go flying again, Up in the air and down!
My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky; It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by; For every night at teatime and before you take your seat, With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.
Now Tom would be a driver, and Maria go to sea, And my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be; But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I'm to do, O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you!
For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door, And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more; And Oh, before you hurry by with ladder and with light, O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON.
Serene, I fold my hands and wait, Nor care for wind, or tide, or sea; I rave no more 'gainst time or fate, For lo! my own shall come to me.
I stay my haste, I make delays, For what avails this eager pace? I stand amid the eternal ways, And what is mine shall know my face,
Asleep, awake, by night or day, The friends I seek are seeking me; No wind can drive my bark astray, Nor change the tide of destiny.
What matter if I stand alone? I wait with joy the coming years; My heart shall reap where it has sown, And garner up its fruit of tears.
The waters know their own, and draw The brook that springs in yonder height; So flows the good with equal law Unto the soul of pure delight.
The stars come nightly to the sky; The tidal wave unto the sea; Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high, Can keep my own away from me.
A BALLAD OF THE FLEET.
At Flores in the Azores Sir Richard Grenville lay, And a pinnance, like a flutter'd bird, came flying from far away: "Spanish ships of war at sea! we have sighted fifty- three!" Then sware Lord Thomas Howard: "'Fore God I am no coward; But I cannot meet them here, for my ships are out of gear, And the half my men are sick. I must fly, but follow quick. We are six ships of the line; can we fight with fifty- three?"
Then spake Sir Richard Grenville: "I know you are no coward; You fly them for a moment to fight with them again. But I've ninety men and more that are lying sick ashore. I should count myself the coward if I left them, Lord Howard, To these Inquisition dogs and the devildoms of Spain."
So Lord Howard past away with five ships of war that day, Till he melted like a cloud in the silent summer heaven; But Sir Richard bore in hand all his sick men from the land Very carefully and slow, Men of Bideford in Devon, And we laid them on the ballast down below; For we brought them all aboard, And they blest him in their pain, that they were not left to Spain, To the thumbscrew and the stake, for the glory of the Lord.
He had only a hundred seamen to work the ship and to fight, And he sailed away from Flores till the Spaniard came in sight, With his huge sea-castles heaving upon the weather bow. "Shall we fight or shall we fly? Good Sir Richard, tell us now, For to fight is but to die! There'll be little of us left by the time this sun be set." And Sir Richard said again: "We be all good English men. Let us bang these dogs of Seville, the children of the devil, For I never turn'd my back upon Don or devil yet."
Sir Richard spoke and he laugh'd, and we roar'd a hurrah, and so The little Revenge ran on sheer into the heart of the foe, With her hundred fighters on deck, and her ninety sick below; For half of their fleet to the right and half to the left were seen, And the little Revenge ran on thro' the long sea-lane between.
Thousands of their soldiers look'd down from their decks and laugh'd, Thousands of their seamen made mock at the mad little craft Running on and on, till delay'd By their mountain-like San Philip that, of fifteen hundred tons, And up-shadowing high above us with her yawning tiers of guns, Took the breath from our sails, and we stay'd.
And while now the great San Philip hung above us like a cloud Whence the thunderbolt will fall Long and loud, Four galleons drew away From the Spanish fleet that day, And two upon the larboard and two upon the starboard lay, And the battle-thunder broke from them all.
But anon the great San Philip, she bethought herself and went Having that within her womb that had left her ill content; And the rest they came aboard us, and they fought us hand to hand, For a dozen times they came with their pikes and musqueteers, And a dozen times we shook 'em off as a dog that shakes his ears When he leaps from the water to the land.
And the sun went down, and the stars came out far over the summer sea, But never a moment ceased the fight of the one and the fifty-three. Ship after ship, the whole night long, their high-built galleons came, Ship after ship, the whole night long, with her battle- thunder and flame; Ship after ship, the whole night long, drew back with her dead and her shame. For some were sunk and many were shattered, and so could fight us no more— God of battles, was ever a battle like this in the world before?
For he said "Fight on! fight on!" Tho' his vessel was all but a wreck; And it chanced that, when half of the short summer night was gone, With a grisly wound to be drest he had left the deck, But a bullet struck him that was dressing it suddenly dead, And himself he was wounded again in the side and the head, And he said "Fight on! fight on!"
And the night went down, and the sun smiled out far over the summer sea, And the Spanish fleet with broken sides lay round us all in a ring; But they dared not touch us again, for they fear'd that we still could sting, So they watch'd what the end would be. And we had not fought them in vain, But in perilous plight were we, Seeing forty of our poor hundred were slain, And half of the rest of us maim'd for life In the crash of the cannonades and the desperate strife; And the sick men down in the hold were most of them stark and cold, And the pikes were all broken or bent, and the powder was all of it spent; And the masts and the rigging were lying over the side; But Sir Richard cried in his English pride, "We have fought such a fight for a day and a night As may never be fought again! We have won great glory, my men! And a day less or more At sea or ashore, We die—does it matter when? Sink me the ship, Master Gunner—sink her, split her in twain! Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands of Spain!"
And the gunner said "Ay, ay," but the seaman made reply: "We have children, we have wives, And the Lord hath spared our lives. We will make the Spaniard promise, if we yield, to let us go; We shall live to fight again and to strike another blow." And the lion there lay dying, and they yielded to the foe.
And the stately Spanish men to their flagship bore him then, Where they laid him by the mast, old Sir Richard caught at last, And they praised him to his face with their courtly foreign grace; But he rose upon their decks, and he cried: "I have fought for Queen and Faith like a valiant man and true; I have only done my duty as a man is bound to do: With a joyful spirit I Sir Richard Grenville die!" And he fell upon their decks, and he died.
And they stared at the dead that had been so valiant and true, And had holden the power and glory of Spain so cheap That he dared her with one little ship and his English few; Was he devil or man? He was devil for aught they knew, But they sank his body with honor down into the deep, And they mann'd the Revenge with a swarthier alien crew, And away she sail'd with her loss and long'd for her own; When a wind from the lands they had ruin'd awoke from sleep, And the water began to heave and the weather to moan, And or ever that evening ended a great gale blew, And a wave like the wave that is raised by an earthquake grew, Till it smote on their hulls and their sails and their masts and their flags, And the whole sea plunged and fell on the shot-shatter'd navy of Spain, And the little Revenge herself went down by the island crags To be lost evermore in the main.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but nature more, From these our interviews in which I steal From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the universe, and feel What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.
Roll on, thou deep and dark-blue ocean—roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; Man marks the earth with ruin—his control Stops with the shore;—upon the watery plain The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain A shadow of man's ravage, save his own, When for a moment like a drop of rain, He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.
The armaments which thunderstrike the walls Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake, And monarchs tremble in their capitals; The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make Their clay creator the vain title take Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war,— These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake, They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.
Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee— Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage,—what are they? Thy waters wasted them while they were free, And many a tyrant since; their shores obey The stranger, slave or savage; their decay Has dried up realms to deserts;—not so thou, Unchangeable, save to thy wild waves' play- Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow— Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.
Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form Glasses itself in tempests; in all time, Calm or convulsed—in breeze, or gale, or storm, Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime Dark-heaving;—boundless, endless, and sublime— The image of Eternity—the throne Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime The monsters of the deep are made; each zone Obeys thee: thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.
And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy Of youthful sport was on thy breast to be Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me Were a delight; and if thy freshening sea Made them a terror, 'twas a pleasing fear; For I was, as it were, a child of thee, And trusted to thy billows far and near, And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.
SPARTACUS TO THE GLADIATORS AT CAPUA.
1. Ye call me chief; and ye do well to call him chief who for twelve long years has met upon the arena every shape of man or beast the broad Empire of Rome could furnish, and who never yet lowered his arm. If there be one among you who can say that ever, in public fight or private brawl, my actions did belie my tongue, let him stand forth and say it. If there be three of all your company dare face me on the bloody sand, let them come on.
2. And yet I was not always thus,—a hired butcher, a savage chief of still more savage men. My ancestors came from old Sparta, and settled among the vine-clad rocks and citron groves of Syrasella. My early life ran quiet as the brooks by which I sported; and when, at noon, I gathered the sheep beneath the shade, and played upon the shepherd's flute, there was a friend, the son of a neighbor, to join me in the pastime. We led our flocks to the same pasture, and partook together our rustic meal.
3. One evening, after the sheep were folded, and we were all seated beneath the myrtle which shaded our cottage, my grandsire, an old man, was telling of Marathon and Leuctra; and how, in ancient times, a little band of Spartans, in a defile of the mountains, had withstood a whole army. I did not then know what war was; but my cheeks burned, I know not why, and I clasped the knees of that venerable man, until my mother, parting the hair from off my forehead, kissed my throbbing temples, and bade me go to rest, and think no more of those old tales and savage wars.
4. That very night the Romans landed on our coast. I saw the breast that had nourished me trampled by the hoof of the war horse—the bleeding body of my father flung amidst the blazing rafters of our dwelling! Today I killed a man in the arena; and, when I broke his helmet-clasps, behold! he was my friend! He knew me, smiled faintly, gasped, and died;—the same sweet smile upon his lips that I had marked, when, in adventurous boyhood, we scaled the lofty cliff to pluck the first ripe grapes, and bear them home in childish triumph!
5. I told the praetor that the dead man had been my friend, generous and brave; and I begged that I might bear away the body, to burn it on a funeral pile, and mourn over its ashes. Ay! upon my knees, amid the dust and blood of the arena, I begged that poor boon, while all the assembled maids and matrons, and the holy virgins they call vestals, and the rabble, shouted in derision, deeming it rare sport, forsooth, to see Rome's fiercest gladiator turn pale and tremble at sight of that piece of bleeding clay! And the praetor drew back as if I were pollution, and sternly said, "Let the carrion rot! There are no noble men but Romans."
6. And so, fellow gladiators, must you, and so must I, die like dogs! O Rome! Rome! thou hast been a tender nurse to me. Ay! thou hast given to that poor, gentle, timid shepherd lad, who never knew a harsher tone than a flute-note, muscles of iron and a heart of flint; taught him to drive the sword through plaited mail and links of rugged brass, and warm it in the marrow of his foe;—to gaze into the glaring eyeballs of the fierce Numidian lion, even as a boy upon a laughing girl! And he shall pay thee back, until the yellow Tiber is red as frothing wine, and in its deepest ooze thy life-blood lies curdled!
7. Ye stand here now like giants, as ye are! The strength of brass is in your toughened sinews; but to-morrow some Roman Adonis, breathing sweet perfume from his curly locks, shall with his lily fingers pat your red brawn, and bet his sesterces upon your blood. Hark! hear ye yon lion roaring in his den? 'Tis three days since he has tasted flesh; but to-morrow he shall break his fast upon yours,—and a dainty meal for him ye will be!
8. If ye are beasts, then stand here like fat oxen, waiting for the butcher's knife! If ye are men, follow me! Strike down yon guard, gain the mountain passes, and then do bloody word, as did your sires at old Thermopylae! Is Sparta dead? Is the old Grecian spirit frozen in your veins, that you do crouch and cower like a belabored hound beneath his master's lash? O comrades! warriors! Thracians! if we must fight, let us fight for ourselves! If we must slaughter, let us slaughter our oppressors! If we must die, let it be under the clear sky, by the bright waters, in noble, honorable battle.
REV. ELIJAH KELLOGG.
TELL TO HIS NATIVE MOUNTAINS.
Ye crags and peaks, I'm with you once again! I hold to you the hands you first beheld, To show they still are free. Methinks I hear A spirit in your echoes answer me, And bid your tenant welcome home again!
O sacred forms, how proud you look! How high you lift your heads into the sky! How huge you are! how mighty and how free! How do you look, for all your bared brows, More gorgeously majestical than kings Whose loaded coronets exhaust the mine.
Ye are the things that tower, that shine; whose smile Makes glad—whose frown is terrible; whose forms, Robed or unrobed, do all the impress wear Of awe divine; whose subject never kneels In mockery, because it is your boast To keep him free!
Ye guards of liberty, I'm with you once again! I call to you With all my voice! I hold my hands to you To show they still are free. I rush to you As though I could embrace you!
The hour Will soon be here. Oh, when will Liberty Once more be here? Scaling yonder peak, I saw an eagle wheeling near its brow, O'er the abyss his broad-expanded wings Lay calm and motionless upon the air As if he floated there without their aid, By the sole act of his unlorded will, That buoyed him proudly up.
Instinctively I bent my bow; yet kept he rounding still His airy circle, as in the delight Of measuring the ample range beneath And round about; absorbed, he heeded not The death that threatened him. I could not shoot. 'Twas liberty. I turned my bow aside, And let him soar away.
JAMES SHERIDAN KNOWLES.
Father of earth and heaven! I call thy name! Round me the smoke and shout of battle roll; My eyes are dazzled with the rustling flame; Father, sustain an untried soldier's soul! Or life or death, whatever be the goal That crowns or closes round this struggling hour, Thou knowest, if ever from my spirit stole One deeper prayer,'twas that no cloud might lower On my young fame! Oh, hear, God of eternal power!
God! thou art merciful—the wintry storm, The cloud that pours the thunder from its womb, But show the sterner grandeur of thy form; The lightnings glancing through the midnight gloom, To Faith's raised eye as calm, as lovely come, As splendors of the autumnal evening star, As roses shaken by the breeze's plume, When like cool incense comes the dewy air, And on the golden wave the sunset burns afar.