Изображения страниц

a daring enterprise, which seemed as far above their strength as any recorded in the fabulous annals of knight-errantry. A handful 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 aro 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.


CXCVII. — HUMAN SCIENCE SOMETIMES AT FAULT. 1. With all due respect for the calculations of men of science, I 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, El 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. Ei 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 po: sibly succeed. He formed a most elaborate 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 Ledye, 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, something 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 tho 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 blossoins,
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 pride
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 iny 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 t 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 CroUWELL, 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 weep,
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 me,
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 it
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 Moree is chosen
Lord Chancellor in your place.

Wol. That's somewhat sudden :
But he's a learned man. May he continue
Long in his highness' favor, and do justice
For truth's sake, and his conscience; that his bones,
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 welcome,
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,

And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me must more be heard of, — say, I taught thee;
Say, Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honor,
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in ;
A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition ;
By that sin fell the angels; how can inan, then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by 't?
Love thyself last ; cherish those hearts that hate thee,
Corruption wins not more than honesty ;
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not :
Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth's ; then, if thou fallist, o, Cromwell,
Thou fall'st a blessed martyr. Serve the king :
And, — Prithee, lead me in :
There take an in'ventory of all I have,
To the last penny; 't is the king's: my robe,
And iny integrity to Heaven, is all
I dare now call mine own. O, Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, lle would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies !

Crom. Good sir, have patience.

Wol. So I have. Farewell
The hopes of court! my hopes in heaven do dwell.



1. The sky was dull, the scene was wild,

I wandered up the mountain way;
And with me went a joyous child, —

The man in thought, the child at play.
. My heart was sad with many a grief ;

Mine eyes with former tears were dim ;
The child! - a stone, a flower, a leaf,

Had each its fairy wealth for him !
From time to time, unto my side

Ile bounded back to show the treasure ;
I was not hard enough to chide,

Nor wise enough to share, his pleasure.

2. We paused at last :— the child began

Again his sullen guide to tease :
6. They say you are a learned man —

So look, and tell me what are these?”

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »