Изображения страниц

this way and others were waylaid by the natives, who kept a jealous eye on their movements, and availed themselves of every opportunity to take them at advantage. Fourteen of Pizarro's men were cut off at once in a canoe which had stranded on the bank of a stream.

Famine came in addition to other troubles, and it was with difficulty that they found the means of sustaining life on the scanty fare of the forest, — occasionally the potato, as it grew without cultivation, or the wild cocoa-nut, or, on the shore, the salt and bitter fruit of the mangrove; though the shore was less tolerable than the forest, from the swarms of mosquitos, which compelled the wretched adventurers to bury their bodies up to their very faces in the sand. In this extremity of suffering they thought only of return; and all schemes of avarice and ambition — except with Pizarro and a few dauntless spirits -were exchanged for the one craving desire to return to Panama'. LI

2. — ON THE ISLAND OF Gallo. A ray of hope was enough for the courageous spirit of Pizarro.. It does not.appear that he himself had entertained, at any time, thoughts of returning. He prepared to stand the fortune of the cast on which he had so desperately ventured. He knew, how. ever, that solicitations or remonstrances would avail little with the companions of his enterprise; and he probably did not care to win over the more timid spirits, who, by perpetually looking back, would only be a clog on his future movements. He announced his own purpose, however, in a laconicer but decided manner, characteristic of a man more accustomed to act than to talk, and well calculated to make an impression on his rough fol. lowers.

Drawing his sword, he traced a line with it on the sand from east to west. Then, turning towards the south, “ Friends and comrades !” he said, “ on that side are toil, hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm, desertion, and death; on this side, ease and pleasure. There lies Peru with its riches : here, Panama' and its poverty. Choose, each man, what best becomes a brave Castilian. For my part, I go to the south.” So saying, he stepped across the line. He was followed by the brave pilot Ruiz; next by Pedro de Candia, a cavalier, born, as his name implies, in one of the isles of Greece. Eleven others successively crossed the line, thus intimating their willingness to abide the fortunes of their leader, for good or for evil.

There is something striking to the imagination in the spectacle of these few brave spirits, thus consecrating themselves to

a daring enterprise, which seemed as far above their strength as any recorded in the fabulous annals of knight-errantry. A hand. ful of men, without food, without clothing, almost without arms, without knowledge of the land to which they were bound, without vessel to transport them, were here left on a lonely rock in the ocean, with the avowed purpose of carrying on a crusade against a powerful empire, staking their lives on its success. What is there in the legends of chivalry47 that surpasses it ? This was the crisis of Pizarro's fate.

There are moments in the lives of men, which, as they are seized or neglected, decide their future destiny. Had Pizarro faltered from his strong purpose, and yielded to the occasion now so temptingly presented, for extricating himself and his broken band from their desperate position, his name would have been buried with his fortunes, and the conquest of Peru would have been left for other and more successful adventurers. But his constancy was equal to the occasion, and his conduct here proved him competent to the perilous post he had assumed, and inspired others with a confidence in him which was the best assurance of success.



1. With all due respect for the calculations of men of science, [ cannot but remember that when most confident they have sometimes erred. They have too often asserted as a demonstration what was, after all, a mere fallible opinion, which time has contradicted. They sneered at Columbus, when he set forth on his expedition in search of a land beyond the unexplored ocean; at Harvey, E1 when he announced the circulation of the blood ; at Jenner, El when he propounded his theory of vaccination. They told us that steamboats could not cross the Atlantic. They shook the head at Buena Vista.El Ah! that was a battle against all rule, in violation of all the principles of military calculation. An old American general, seated on his white horse, looked forth over the field through his telescope, and said, “ We will fight here." And the result was a victory won by five thousand against twenty thousand. A most unscientific and informal victory!

2. Some years ago, a book came out in France, on the subject of a carriage, which had been contrived in England, I believe for a wager at Newmarket, to go a certain distance in a given time. The author of the book undertook to prove, very learnedly, that the project could not possibly succeed. He formed a most elabo rate calculation, according to the most precise rules, which gave the greatest satisfaction to all the scientific world of Paris. A was to represent the carriage; B the horses; C the driver; D the resistance of the air; E the friction of the earth, and F the utter impossibility of success. And A plus B, plus C, plus D, plus E, was equal to F, and therefore the project must fail. While the book was being published, however, the wager was won; but the lovers of science contented themselves with affirming that, though the project did succeed, it ought not to have succeeded.

3. An instance of a graver character may be quoted. Not long since a light-house was erected on a ledge of rocks, known as Minot's Ledge, in Boston harbor. It rested on iron pillars, which rose from strong iron piles, fixed firmly in the rocks. Science, or rather professed science, was fully satisfied that the structure was secure. There was a terrible storm in the winter; but the light-house outlived it. The keeper declared, however, that it could not stand many such gales; that the piles had started ; that in a severe easterly storm the light-house would rock like a ship afloat; and that there was great danger of its overthrow. The engineer knew better than this, and came before the public with a statement proving very conclusively that the keeper's fears were groundless, and that the light-house was so constructed as to be tempest-proof. The very next spring, an easterly storm of unusual severity set in, and the strong winds blew violently, and the tide rose, and the ocean-waves rushed in and beat upon that house, and it fell. The iron stems that sustained it were snapped like reeds; and two valuable lives were lost by the catas'trophë.

4. I mention these instances, not to undervalue science, -it would be folly to attempt that; for science, when, true to its name, is true knowledge, but to show that its name is sometimes wrongfully assumed, and that its professors, when not guided by humility, may prove but misleading counsellors. The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. After all that human wisdom can foresee, after all that human calculations can provide, something must be left to chance, some thing to the possibility of error, something to those contingencies which human vision may not take in. The highest science is ever the most reverent. It is in the lower ranks that we must look for those examples of dogmatism, pertinacity, and presumption, which claim to utter decisions, without appeal, which ths next hour may prove to be wrong.


Wolsey. FAREWELL, a long farewell to all my greatness !
This is the state of man; to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honors thick upon him ;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost ;
And — when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening -- nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory;
But far beyond my depth ; my high-blown prido
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me.
Vain pomp, and glory of this world, I hate ye !
I feel my heart new opened ; 0, how wretched
Is that poor man, that hangs on princes' favors !
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect f of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.

Enter CROMWELL, amazedly.
Why, how now, Cromwell ?

Cromwell. I have no power to speak, sir.

Wol. What! amazed
At my misfortunes? Can thy spirit wonder,
A great man should decline ? Nay, an I you weer
I am fallen indeed.

Crom. How does your grace ?

Wol. Why, well;
Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell.
I know myself now; and I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience. The king has cured ppa
I humbly thank his grace; and from these shoulders,
These ruined pillars, out of pity, taken
A load would sink a navy – too much honor :
0, 't is a burden, Cromwell, 't is a burden,
Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven.

Crom. I am glad, your grace has made that right use of i.
Wol. I hope I have : I am alle now, methinks

• Thomas Cromwell, a statesman of the time of Henry the Eighth of England. † Shakspeare often puts the accent in aspect on the last syllable. An, by the old writers, is often used for if.

(Out of a fortitude of soul I feel),
To endure more miseries, and greater far,
Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer.
What news abroad?

Crom The heaviest and the worst
Is your displeasure with the king.

Wol. God bless him!

Crom. The next is, that Sir Thomas Moress is chosen
Lord Chancellor in your place.

Wol. That's somewhat sudden :
But he's a learned man. May be continue
Long in his highness' favor, and do justice
For truth's sake, and his conscience; that hie bores,
When he has run his course, and sleeps in blessings,
May have a tomb of orphans' tears wept on 'em !
What more?

Crom. That Cranmer is returned with welcomo,
Installed Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.

Wol. That 's news, indeed.

Crom. Last, that the Lady Anne,
Whom the king hath in secrecy long married,
This day was viewed in open as his queen,
Going to chapel ; and the voice is now
Only about her coronation.

Wol. There was the weight that pulled me down. O ! Cromwell
The king has gone beyond me; all my glories
In that one woman I have lost forever :
No sun shall ever usher forth mine honors,
Or gild again the noble troops that waited
Upon my smiles. Go, get thee from me, Cromwell :
I am a poor fallen man, unworthy now
To be thy lord and master : seek the king;
That sun, I pray, may never set! I have told him
What and how true thou art: he will advance thee;
Some little memory of me will stir him
(I know his noble nature), not to let
Thy hopeful service perish too : Good Cromwell,
Neglect him not; make use now, and provide
For thine own future safety.

Crom. O, my lord,
Must I, then, leave you ? Must I needs forego
So good, so noble, and so true a master ?
Bear witness, all that have not hearts of iron,
With what a sorrow. Cromwell leaves his lord.
The king shall have my service; but my prayers
Forever, and forever, shall be yours.

Wol. Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries ; but thou hast forced me
Out of thy honest truth to play the woman.
Let 's dry our eyes : and thus far hear me, Cromwell;
And, when I am forgotten, -- as I shall be, —

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »