Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

helm.

Was happiest amongst mortals anywhere; The lust which stings, the splendor which en

For, killing nothing but a bear or buck, he i cumbers,
Enjoyed the lonely, vigorous, harmless days ✓ With the free foresters divide no spoil :
Of his old age in wilds of deepest maze.

Serene, not sullen, were the solitudes

Of this unsighing people of the woods. Crime caine not near him, she is not the child

LORD BYRON, Of solitude; Health shrank not from him, for Her home is in the rarely trodden wild, Where if men seek her not, and death be more

WASHINGTON.

FROM "UNDER THE ELM," READ AT CAMBRIDGE, JULY 3, By habit to what their own hearts abhor,

1875, ON THE HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF WASHING.

TON'S TAKING COMMAND OF THE AMERICAN ARMY.
In cities caged. The present case in point I
Cite is, that Boone lived hunting up to ninety ; BENEATH our consecrated elm

A century ago he stood,
And, what's still stranger, left behind a name Famed vaguely for that old fight in the wood,

For which men vainly decimate the throng, Which redly foamèd round him but could not Not only famous, but of that good fame,

overwhelm Without which glory's but a tavern song, - The life foredoomed to wield our rough-hewn Simple, serene, the antipodes of shame, Which hate nor envy e'er could tinge with From colleges, where now the gown wrong;

To arms had yielded, from the town, An active hermit, even in age the child

Our rude self-summoned levies Hocked to see Of nature, or the Man of Ross run wild.

The new.come chiefs and wonder which was he.

No need to question long; close-lipped and tall, 'Tis true he shrank from men, even of his nation;

of his nation: Long trained in murder-brooding forests lone When they built up unto his darling trees, To bridle others' clamors and his own, He moved some hundred miles off, for a station Firmly erect, he towered above them all, Where there were fewer houses and inore ease;

The incarnate discipline that was to free
The inconvenience of civilization

With iron curb that armed democracy.
Is that you neither can be pleased nor please ;
But where he met the individual man,

Haughty they said he was, at first, severe, lle showed himself as kind as mortal can.

But owned, as all men owned, the steady hand

Upon the bridle, patient to command, He was not all alone ; around him grew

Prized, as all prize, the justice pure from fear, A sylvan tribe of children of the chase,

And learned to honor first, then love him, then

revere. Whose young, unwakened world was ever new ; Vor sword nor sorrow yet had left a trace

Such power there is in clear-eyed self-restraint, On her unwrinkled brow, nor could you view

And purpose clean as light from every selfish A frown on nature's or on human face :

taint. The freeborn forest found and kept them free,

Musing beneath the legendary tree, And fresh as is a torrent or a tree.

The years between furl off : I seem to see

The sun-Hecks, shaken the stirred foliage through, Ind tall, and strong, and swift of foot, were they, Dapple with gold his sober buff and blue, Beyond the dwarfing city's pale abortions,

And weave prophetic aureoles round the head
Because their thoughts had never been the prey That shines our beacon now, nor darkens with
Of care or gain : the green woods were their the dead. :
portions ;

O man of silent mooi,
No sinking spirits told them they grew gray ; A stranger among strangers thell,

No fashion made them apes of her distortions ; How art thou since renowned the Great, the Simple they were, not savage ; and their rifles,

Good, Though very true, were not yet used for trifles. Familiar as the day in all the homes of meu !

The winged years, that winnow praise and blame, Motion was in their days, rest in their slumbers, Blow many names out: they but fan to flame

And cheerfulness the handmaid of their toil; The self-renewing splendors of thy fame. Nor yet too many nor too few their numbers ; l . . . . . Corruption could not make their hearts her O, for a drop of that terse Roman's ink soil.

Who gave Agricola dateless length of days,

days.

To celebrate him fitly, neither swerve

Rounding a whole life to the circle fair To phrase unkempt, nor pass discretion's brink, of orbed completeness; and this balanced sonl, With him so statuelike in sad reserve,

So simple in its grandeur, coldly hare So diffident to claim, so forward to deserve! Of draperies theatric, standing there Nor need i shun due influence of his fame In perfect symmetry of self-control, Who, mortal among mortals, seemed as now ! Srems not so great at first, but greater grows The equestrian shape with unimpassioned brow, Still as we look, and by experience learn That paces silent on through vistas of ar:claim. How grand this quiet is, how nobly stern What figure more immovably august

The discipline that wrought throngh life-long Than that grave strength so patient and so pure, throes Calın in good fortune, when it wavered, sure, This energetic passion of repose. That soul serene, impenetrably just,

| A nature too decorous and severe, Modelled on classic lines, so simple they endure? Too self-respectful in its griefs and joys That soul so softly radiant and so white

For ardent girls and boys, The track it left seems less of fire than light, Who find no genius in a mind so clear Cold but to such as love distemperature ? That its grave depths seem obvious and near, And if pure light, as some deem, be the force Nor a soul great that made so little noise. That drives rejoicing planets on their course, They feel no force in that calm, cadenced phrase, Why for his power benign seek an impurer The habitual full-dress of his well-bred mind, source ?

| That seems to pace the minuet's courtly maze His was the true enthusiasm that burns long, And tell of ampler leisures, roomier length of Domestically bright, Fed from itself and shy of human sight,

His broad-built brain, to self so little kind The hidden force that makes a lifetime strong, That no tumultuary blood could blind, And not the short-lived fuel of a song.

Formed to control men, not amaze, Passionless, say you? What is passion for Looms not like those that borrow height of haze : But to sublime our natures and control

It was a world of statelier movement then To front heroic toils with late return,

Than this we fret in, he a denizen Or none, or such as shames the conqueror ? Of that ideal Rome that made a man for men. That fire was fed with substance of the soul, And not with holiday stubble, that could burn Placid completeness, life without a fall Through seven slow years of unadvancing war, From faith or highest aims, truth's breachless Equal when fields were lost or fields were won,

wall, With breath of popular applause or blame, Surely if any fame can bear the touch, Nor fanned nor damped, unquenchably the same, His will say "Here!" at the last trumpet's call Too inward to be reached by laws of idle fame. The unexpressive man whose life expressed so

much.

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
Soldier and statesman, rarest unison;
High-poised example of great duties done
Simply as breathing, a world's honors worn
As life's indifferent gifts to all men born ;

GEORGE WASHINGTON.
Dumb for himself, unless it were to God,
But for his barefoot soldiers eloquent,

By broad Potomac's silent shore
Tramping the snow to coral where they trod,

Better than Trajan lowly lies, Held by his awe in hollow-eyed content ;

Gilding her green declivities Modest, yet firm as Nature's self ; unblamed

With glory now and evermore ; Save by the men his nobler temper shamed ;

Art to his fame no aid hath lent ; Not honored then or now because he wooed

His country is his monument. The popular voice, but that he still withstood ;

ANONYMOUS Broad-minded, higher-souled, there is but one Who was all this, and ours, and all men's, – Washington.

DANIEL WEBSTER.

Minds strong by fits, irregularly great,
That flash and darken like revolving lights,
Catch more the vulgar eye unsehooled to wait
On the long curve of patient days and nights,

Whex, stricken by the freezing blast,

A nation's living pillars fall,
How rich the storied page, how vast,

A word, a whisper, can recall !

[blocks in formation]

This demi-god. Or rather it was man,

ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
And is - a little dust, that will corrupt
As fast as any nameless dust which sleeps

FROM THE "COMMEMORATION ODE." 'Neath Aima's grass or Balaklava's vines.

LIFE may be given in many ways,

And loyalty to Truth be sealed No vineyard grave for him. No quiet tomb

| As bravely in the closet as the field, By river margin, where across the seas

So bountiful is Fate; Children's fond thoughts and women's memories

But then to stand beside her, come,

When craven churls deride her, Like angels, to sit by the sepulchre,

To front a lie in arms and not to yield, Saying : “All these were men who knew to count,

This shows, methinks, God's plan Front-faced, the cost of honor, nor did shrink

And measure of a stalwart man, From its full payment; coming here to die,

Liin bed like the old heroic breeds, They died -- like men."

Who stand self-poised on manhood's solid

earth, But this man? Ah ! for him

Not forced to frame excuses for his birth, Funereal state, and ceremonial grand,

Fed from within with all the strength he needs.
The stone-engraved sarcophagus, and then
Oblivion.

Such was he, our Martyr-Chief,
Nay, oblivion were as bliss

Whom late the Nation he had led,
To that fierce howl which rolls from land to land

With ashes on her head, Exulting, — “Art thou fallen, Lucifer,

Wept with the passion of an angry grief : Son of the inorning?" or condemning, — “Thus

Forgive me, if from present things I turn Perish the wicked !” or blaspheming. -" Here ! To speak what in my heart will beat and burn, Lies our Belshazzar, our Sennacherib,

And hang my wreath on his world-honored um. Our Pharaoh, -- he whose heart God hardened,

Nature, they say, doth dote, So that he would not let the people go."

And cannot make a man

Save on some worn-out plan, Self-glorifying sinners' Wly, this man

Repeating is hy rote : Was but like other men, - you, Levite small,

For hivi her Old-World moulds aside he threw, Who shut your saintly ears, aud prate of hell

And, choosing sweet clay from the breast And heretics, because outside church-doors,

Of the unexhausteil West, Your church-doors, congregations poor and small

With stuff untainted shaped a hero new, Praise Heaven in their own way ; you, autocrat

Wise, steadfast in the strength of God, and true. Of all the hamlets, who add field to field

How beautiful to see And house to house, whose slavish children cower

Once more a shepheral of mankind indeed, Before your tyrant footstep ; you, foul-tongued

Who loved his charge, but never loved to lead ; Fanatic or ambitious egotist,

One whose meek flock the people joyed to be, Who think God stoops from his high majesty

Not lured by any cheat of birth, To lay his finger on your puny head,

But hy his clear-grained human worth, And crown it, that you henceforth may parade

And brave old wisdom of sincerity ! Your maggotship throughout the wondering

They knew that outward grace is dust ;

They could not choose but trust world, ---“ I am the Lord's anointed !"

In that sure-footed mind's unfaltering skill,

And supple-tempereil will

Fools and blind 1 | That bent like perfect steel to spring again and This czar, this emperor, this disthroned corpse,

thrust. Lying so straightly in an icy calm

His was no lonely mountain-peak of niind, Grander than sovereignty, was but as ye,

Thrusting to thin air o'er our cloudy bars, No better and no worse : Heaven mend us all!

A sea-mark now, now lost in vapors blind ;

Broad prairie rather, genial, level-lined, Carry him forth and bury him. Death's peace

Fruitful and friendly for all human kind, Rest on his memory! Mercy by his bier

Yet also nigh to heaven and loved of loftiest stars.

Nothing of Europe here, Sits silent, or says only these few words, -“Let him who is without sin 'mongst ye all

| Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward stiil, Cast the first stone."

Ere any names of Serf and Peer
DINAH MARIA MULOCK Craik. I Could Nature's equal scheme deface ;

[graphic][merged small]

This bronze doth keep the very form and mould

Of our great martyr's face. Yes, this is he:
That brow all wisdom, all benignity;

That human, humorous mouth; those cheeks that hold Like some harsh landscape all the summer's gold;

That spirit fit for sorrow, as the sea
For storms to beat on; the lone agony

Those silent, patient lips too well foretold.
Yes, this is he who ruled a world of men

As might some prophet of the elder day,

Brooding above the tempest and the fray
With deep-eyed thought and more than mortal ken.

A power was his beyond the touch of art
Of armed strength: his pure and mighty heart.

RICHARD WATSON GILDER.

« VorigeDoorgaan »