Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

raged, injured, and oppressed, in both sexes, in every age, rank situation, and condition of life.

6. The Impracticable Unnesirable. Burke.

1 know it is common for men to say that such and such things are perfectly right, — very desirable, — but that, unfortunately, they are not practicable. O, no, sir, no! Those things which are not practicable are not desirable. There is nothing in the world really beneficial that does not lie within the reach of an informed understanding and a well-directed pursuit. There is nothing that God has judged good for us that he has not given us the means to accomplish, both in the natural and the moral world. If we cry, like children, for the moon, like children we must cry on.

7. American Progress. Burke.

Nothing in the history of mankind is like their progress. For my part, I never cast an eye on their flourishing commerce and their cultivated and commodious life, but they seem to me rather ancient nations grown to perfection through a long series of fortunate events, and a train of successful industry, accumulating wealth in many centuries, than the colonies of yesterday, — than a set of miserable outcasts, a few years ago, not so much sent as thrown out, on the bleak and barren shore of a desolate wilderness, three thousand miles from all civilized intercourse.

8. The Schoolmaster Is Abroan. Lord Brougham.

There have been periods when the country heard with dismay that " the soldier was abroad." That is not the case now. Let the soldier be abroad; in the present age he can do nothing. There is another person abroad, — a less important person in the eyes of some, an insignificant person, whose labors have tended to produce this state of things. The schoolmaster is abroad! And I trust more to him, armed with his primer, than I do to the soldier in full military array, for upholding and extending the liberties of the country. The adversaries of improvement are wont to make themselves merry with what is termed the " march of intellect" and here, as far as the phrase goes, they are in the right. The conqueror moves in a march. He stalks onward with the "pride, pomp, and circumstance" of war, banners flying, shouts rending the air, guns thundering, and martial music pealing, to drown the shrieks of the wounded, and the lamentations for the slain.

Not thus the schoolmaster, in his peaceful vocation. Bs quietly advances in his humble path, laboring steadily till he has opened to the light all the recesses of ignorance, and torn up by the roots the weeds of vice. His is a progress not to be com pared with anything like a march; but it leads to a far mora brilliant triumph, and to laurels more imperishable than the destroyer of his species, the scourge of the world, ever won Such men — men deserving the glorious title of Teachers of Mankind—I have found, laboring conscientiously, though, perhaps, obscurely, in their blessed vocation, wherever I have gone. Their calling is high and holy; their renown will fill the earth in after ages, in proportion as it sounds not far off in their own times.

9. Replv To M. De Brez6.* Mirabeau.

The Commons" of France have resolved to deliberate. We have heard the intentions that have been attributed to the king; and you, sir, who cannot be rec'ognized as his organ in the National Assembly, — you, who have here neither place, voice, nor right to speak, — you are not the person to bring to us a message of his. Go, say to those who sent you, that we are here by the power of the people, and that we will not be driven hence save by the power of the bayonet.

10. Men More Powerful Than Measures. Conning.

Look at France, and see what we have to cope with, and consider what has made her what she is. A man. You will tell me that she was great, and powerful, and formidable, before the days of Bonaparte's government; that he found in her great physical and moral resources; that he had but to turn them to account. True, and he did so. Compare the situation in which he found118 France with that to which he has raised her. I am no panegyrist" of Bonaparte; but I cannot shut my eyes to the superiority of his talents, to the amazing ascendency of his genius. Tell me not of his measures and his policy. It is his genius, his character, that keeps the world in awe. Sir, to meet, to check, to curb, to stand up against him, we want arms of the same kind. I am far from objecting to the large military establishments which are proposed to you. I vote for them, with all my heart. But, for the purpose of coping with Bonaparte, one great commanding spirit is worth them all.

* On the occasion of his communicating to the National Assembly of France, June 23u, 1789, an order from the king for their dispersion.

Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful sinile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

9. The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,

And all that beauty, all that wealth, e'er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

10. Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,

If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vaull
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

11. Can storied urn or animated bust

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath >
Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of death'

12. Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire:
Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:

13. But Knowledge to their121 eyes her ample page,

Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll,
Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

14. Full many a gem of purest ray serene

The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear ,
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

15. Some village Hampden," that with dauntless breast

The little tyrant of his fields withstood,—
Some mute, inglorious Milton, — here may rest;
Some Cromwell," guiltless of his country's blond.

16. The applause of listening senates to command,

The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,

And read their history in a nation's eyes,1"1

17. Their lot forbade; nor circumscribed alone

Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;

IS. The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.

19. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the eool, sequestered vale of life

They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

20. Yet even these bones from insult to protect,

Some frail memorial, still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

21. Their name, their years, spit by the unlettered Muss

The place of fame and elegy supply;
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

22. For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,

This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast ono longing, lingering look behind?

23. On some fond breast the parting soul relies,

Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Even from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.

24. For thee, who, mindful of the unhonored dead,

Dost in these lines their artless tale relate,
If 'chance, by lonely contemplation led,

Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, —

25. Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,

"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

26 "There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech

That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

27 'Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,

Muttering his wayward fancies, would he rove,
Now drooping, woful-wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.

28. " One morn I missed him on the accustomed hill,

Along the heath, and near his favorite tree:
Another came, — nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood, was he:

29. "The next, with dirges due, in sad array,

Slow through the churchway path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."

efjt Epitapf).

30. Here rests his head upon the lap of earth

A youth to fortune and to fame unknown;
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy marked him for her own.

31. Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere

Heaven did a recompense as largely send
He gave to misery (all he had) a tear,

He gained from heaven ('t was all he wished) a friend.

32. No further seek his merits to disclose,

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
The bosom of his Father and his God. QRAr.

CXXTII. — ARCHIMEDES.

1. Archime'nes was born in the year 287 before the Christian era, in the island of Sicily and city of Syracuse. Of his childnood and early education we know absolutely nothing, and nothing of his family, save that he is stated to have been one of the poor relations of King Hiero, who came to the throne when Archime'des was quite a young man, and of whose royal patronage he more than repaid whatever measure he may have enjoyed. There is no more characteristic anecdote of this great philosopher than that relating to his detection of a fraud in the composition of the royal crown. Nothing, certainly, could more vividly illustrate the ingenuity, the enthusiasm, and the complete concentration and abstraction of mind, with which he pursued whatevei problem" was proposed to him.

2. King Hiero, or his son Gelon, it seems, had given out a certain amount of gold to be made into a crown, and. the workman to whom it had been intrusted had at last brought back a crown of corresponding weight. But a suspicion arose that it had been alloyed with silver, and Archimedes was applied to by the king, either to disprove or to verify the allegation. The great problem, of course, was to ascertain the precise bulk of the crown in its existing form; for, gold being so much heavier than silver, it is obvious that if the weight had been in any degree made up by the substitution of silver, the bulk would be proportionately increased. Now, i t happened that Archimedes went to take a Oath while this problem was exercising his mind, and, on approaching the bath-tub, he found it full to the very brim. It instantly occurred to him that a quantity of water of the same bulk with his own body must be displaced before his body could be immersed.

3. Accordingly, he plunged in; and while the process of displacement was going on, and the water was running out, the idea suggested itself to him, that by putting a lump of gold- of

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »