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J. T. HEADLEY. 1814–. Mr. Headley was born in Holton, N. Y. He graduated at Union College, and after a course of theological study, received a license to preach ; but ill health has prevented him from devoting himself to his profession. He went to Italy in 1842, and spent about two years abroad; and has since published Letters from Italy, The Alps and the Rhine, Napoleon anu his Marshals, and The Sacred Mountains.
(From “ Letters from Italy.”]
THE MISERERE AT ROME. THE night on which our Saviour is supposed to have died is selected for this service. The Sistine Chapel is dimly lighted, to correspond with the gloom of the scene shadowed forth. * * * The ceremonies commenced with the chanting of the Lamentations. Thirteen candles, in the form of an erect triangle, were lighted up in the beginning, representing the different moral lights of the ancient church of Israel. One after another was extinguished, as the chant proceeded, until the last and brightest one, at the top, representing Christ, was put out. As they, one by one, slowly disappeared in the deepening gloom, a blacker night seemed gathering over the hopes and fate of man, and the lamentation grew wilder and deeper. But, as the Prophet of prophets, the Light, the Hope of the world, disappeared, the lament suddenly ceased. Not a sound was heard amid the deepening gloom. The catastrophe was too awful, and the shock too great, to admit of speech. He who had been pouring his sorrowful notes over the departure of the good and great seemed struck suddenly dumb at this greatest woe. Stunned and stupefied, he could not contemplate the mighty disaster. I never felt a heavier pressure upon my heart than at this moment. The chapel was packed in every inch of it, even out of the door, far back into the ample hall; and yet, not a sound was heard. I could hear the breathing of the mighty multitude, and amid it the suppressed, half-drawn sigh. Like the chanter, each man seemed to say, “Christ is gone; we are orphans — all orphans !” The silence at length became too painful. I thought I should shriek out in agony, when suddenly a low wail, so desolate, and yet so sweet, so despairing, and yet so tender, like the last strain of a broken heart, stole slowly out from the dis
pathy. Fainter the last sigh orches a cry
tant darkness, and swelled over the throng, that the tears rushed unbidden to my eyes, and I could have wept like a child, in sympathy. It then died away, as if the grief were too great for the strain, Fainter and fainter, like the dying tone of a lute, it sunk away, as if the last sigh of sorrow was ended, when suddenly there burst through the arches a cry so piercing and shrill, that it seemed not the voice of song, but the language of a wounded and dying heart, in its last agonizing throb. The multitude swayed to it, like the forest to the blast. Again it ceased, and broken sobs of exhausted grief alone were heard. In a moment, the whole choir joined their lament, and seemed to weep. with the weeper. After a few notes, they paused again, and that sweet, melancholy voice, mourned on alone. Its note is still in my ear. I wanted to see the singer. It seemed as if such sounds could come from nothing but a broken heart. 0! how unlike the joyful, the triumphant anthem, that swept through the same chapel, on the morning that symbolized the resurrection!
E. P. WHIPPLE. 1819–. Mr. Whipple's youth was spent in Salem, Mass. ; but since his eighteenth year, he has resided in Boston, engaged chiefly in commercial pursuits. When quite young, he began to write for the press ; but it is not until within the last few years, that he has been much known as a writer. His writings, consisting mostly of Critical Essays and Reviews, are of a high order; and they have appeared as contributions to the leading periodicals of the country.
[From an" Essay on Words.”]
THE POWER OF WORDS. WORDS are most effective when arranged in that order which is called style. The great secret of a good style, we are told, is to have proper words in proper places. To marshal one's verbal battalions in such order that they may bear at once on all quarters of a subject, is certainly a great art. This is done in different ways. Swift, Temple, Addison, Hume, Gibbon, Johnson, Burke, are all great generals in the discipline of their verbal armies, and the conduct of their paper wars. Each has a sys. tem of tactics of his own, and excels in the use of some particu
lar weapon. The tread of Johnson's style is heavy and sonorous, resembling that of an elephant or mail-clad warrior. He is fond of levelling an obstacle by a polysyllabic battering-ram. Burke's words are continually practising the broad-sword exercise, and sweeping down adversaries with every stroke. Arbuthnot “plays his weapon like a tongue of flame." Addison draws up his light infantry in orderly array, and marches through sentence after sentence, without having his ranks disordered, or his line broken. Luther is different. His words are “ half-battle ;" his smiting idiomatic phrases seem to cleave into the very secret of the matter. Gibbon's legions are heavily armed, and march with precision and dignity to the music of their own tramp. They are splendidly equipped; but a nice eye can discern a little rust beneath their fine apparel, and there are sutlers in his camp who lie, cog and talk gross obscenity. Macaulay, brisk, lively, keen and energetic, runs his thoughts rapidly through his sentence, and kicks out of his way every word that obstructs his passage. He reins in his steed only when he has reached his goal, and then does it with such celerity, that he is nearly thrown backwards by the suddenness of his stoppage. Gifford's words are moss-troopers, that waylay innocent travellers, and murder them for hire. Jeffrey is a fine “lance,” with a sort of Arab swiftness in his movement, and runs an iron-clad horseman through the eye, before he has time to close his helmet. John Wilson's camp is a disorganized mass, who might do effectual service under better discipline; but who, under his lead, are suffered to carry on a rambling and predatory warfare, and disgrace their general by flagitious excesses. Sometimes they steal, sometimes swear, sometimes drink, and sometimes pray. Swift's words are porcupine's quills, which he throws with unerring aim at whoever approaches his lair. All of Ebenezer Elliot's are gifted with huge fists, to pummel and bruise. Chatham and Mirabeau throw hot shot into their opponent's magazines. Talfourd's forces are orderly and disciplined, and march to the music of the Dorian flute; those of Keats keep time to the tones of the pipe of Phæbus; and the hard, harsh-featured battalions of Maginn are always preceded by a brass band. Hallam's word-infantry can do much execution, when they are
not in each other's way. Pope's phrases are either daggers or rapiers. Willis' words are often tipsy with the champagne of the fancy; but even when they reel and stagger, they keep the line of grace and beauty, and though scattered at first by a fierce onset from graver cohorts, soon reünite, without wound or loss. John Neal's forces are multitudinous, and fire briskly at everything. They occupy all the provinces of letters, and are nearly useless from being spread over too much ground. Everett's weapons are ever kept in good order, and shine well in the sun; but they are little calculated for warfare, and rarely kill when they strike. Webster's words are thunderbolts, which sometimes miss the Titans at whom they are hurled, but always leave enduring marks when they strike. Hazlitt's verbal army is sometimes drunk and surly, sometimes foaming with passion, sometimes cool and malignant; but, drunk or sober, are ever dangerous to cope with. Some of Tom Moore's words are shining dirt, which he flings with excellent aim. This list might be indefinitely extended, and arranged with more regard to merit and chronology. My own words, in this connection, might be compared to ragged, undisciplined militia, which could be easily routed by a charge of horse, and which are apt to fire into each other's faces.
III. EUROPEAN LITERATURE.
MARTIN LUTHER. 1483-1546. This great reformer was born in Saxony, and was the son of a poor miner. He was educated at the University of Erfurth, and became a monk of the Augustine order. His labors as a reformer, he began in 1517. To him is Germany indebted for the language now written and spoken by her educated men, and for the first impulse given to her present intellectual life.
[Translated from the German, by Mr. Hedge.] LETTER OF LUTHER TO HIS SON JOHN. Grace and peace in Christ, my dear little son! I see, with pleasure, that thou learnest well, and prayest diligently. Do so, my son, and continue. When I come home, I will bring thee a pretty fairing.
I know a pretty, merry garden, wherein there are many children. They have little golden coats, and they gather beautiful apples under the trees, and pears, cherries, plums and wheatplums ;- they sing, and jump, and are merry. They have beautiful little horses, too, with gold bits and silver saddles. And I asked the man to whom the garden belongs whose children they were. And he said, “ They are the children that love to pray and to learn, and are good.” Then I said, “Dear man, I have a son, too; his name is Johnny Luther. May he not also come into this garden, and eat these beautiful apples and pears, and ride these fine horses ?" Then the man said, “ If he loves to pray and to learn, and is good, he shall come into this garden, and Lippus and Jost too; and when they all come together, they shall have fifes and trumpets, lutes, and all sorts of music, and they shall dance, and shoot with little cross-bows."
And he showed me a fine meadow there in the garden, made for dancing. There hung nothing but golden fifes, trumpets, and fine silver cross-bows. But it was early, and the children