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LIX. — THE LAUNCH OF THE SHIP.
1. Then the master,
With a gesture of command,
Waved his hand;
And at the word,
Loud and sudden there was heard,
All around them and helow,
The sound of hammers, blow on blow,
Knocking away the shores" and spurs.
And see! she stirs!
She starts, — she moves, — she seems to feel
With one exulting, joyous bound,
2. And, lo! from the assembled crowd
"Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray,
Take her to thy protecting arms,
With all her youth and. all her charms!"
3. How beautiful97 she is! How fair She lies within those arms, that press Her form with many a soft caress
Of tenderness and watchful care!
Sail forth into the sea, 0 ship!
Through wind and wave, right onward steer!
The moistened eye, the trembling lip,
Are not the signs of doubt or fear.
4. Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State,
Were shaped the anchors of thy hope!
6. Fear not each sudden sound and shock,
with her foot the ground,
In spite of rock and tempest's100 roar,
In spite of false lights on the shore,
Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea!
Our hearts, our hopes, are all with thee.
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant o'er our fears,
Are all with thee, — are all with thee! t
LX. — AFFECTATION.
1. Why, Affectation, why this mock grimace?
For thou art Folly's counterfeit, and she
2. Why that soft languish? Why that drawling tone?
Those flutterings, famtings, and unreal fears.
3. Can they deceive us? Can such mummeries move,
No, Affectation, vain is all thy art;
LXI. — HISTORICAL CHARACTERS.
1. Alexander Severus. — Gibbon.
Alexander" rose early. The first moments of the day went consecrated to private devotion. But, as he deemed the service of mankind" the most acceptable worship of the gods, the greater part of his morning hours was employed in council, where he discussed public affairs, and determined private causes, with a patience and discretion above his years. The dryness of business was relieved by the charms of literature; and a portion of timo was always set apart for his favorite studies of poetry, history, and philosophy
The works of Virgil" and Horace," the republics of Plato"' and Cicero," formed his taste, enlarged his understanding, and gave him the noblest ideas of man and of government The ex* ercises of the body succeeded to those of the mind; and Alexander, who was tall, active, and robust, surpassed most of his equals in the gymnastic" arts. Refreshed by the use of his bath, and a slight dinner, he resumed,93 with new vigor, the business of the day; and till the hour of supper,— the principal meal of the Romans, — he was attended by his secretaries, with whom he read and answered the multitude of letters, memorials, and petitions, that must have been addressed to the master of the greatest part of the world.
His table was served with the most frugal simplicity; and whenever he was at liberty to consult his own inclination, the company consisted of a few select friends, — men of learning and virtue. His dress was plain and modest; his demeanor, courteous39 and affable. At the proper hours, his palace was open to all his subjects; but the voice of a crier was heard, as in the Eleusinian" mysteries, pronouncing the same salutary admonition,— « Let none enter these holy walls, unless he is conscious of a pure and innocent mind."
2. Queen Elizabeth. — Hume.
There are few great personages in history who have been more exposed to the calumny of enemies, and the adulation of friends, than Queen Elizabeth ;D and yet there scarcely is any whose reputation has been more certainly determined by the unanimous consent of posterity. The unusual length of her administration, and the strong features of her character, were able to overcome all prejudices; and, obliging her detractors to abate much of theii invectives, and her admirers somewhat of their pane'gyr'ics,H have, at last, in spite of political factions, and, what is more, of religious animosities, produced a uniform judgment with regard to her conduct.
Few sovereigns of England'29 succeeded to the throne in more difficult circumstances;" and none ever conducted the government with such uniform success and felicity. Though unacquainted with the practice of toleration, the true secret for managing religious factions, she preserved her people, by her superior prudence, from those confusions in which theological controversy had involved all the neighboring nations; and though her enemies were the most powerful princes of Europe,—the most active, the most enterprising, the least scrupulous, — she was able, by her vigor, to make deep impressions on their states. Her own greatness, meanwhile, remained unimpaired.
The wise ministers and brave warriors101 who flourished under her reign share the praise of her success; but, instead of lessening the applause due to her, they make great ad'lition to it. They owed, all of them, their advancement to her choice; they were supported by her constancy; and, with all their abilities^ they were never able to acquire any undue ascendant over her. In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, she remained equally mistress; the force of the tender passions was great over her, but the force of her mind was still superior; and the combat87 which her victory visibly cost her serves only to display the firmness of her resolution, and the loftiness of her ambitious sentiments.
The fame of this princess, though it has surmounted the prejudices" both of faction and bigotry, yet lies still exposed to another prejudice, which is more durable, because more natural, and which, according to the different views in which we survey her, is capable either of exalting beyond measure, or diminishing the lustre of her character. This prejudice is founded on the consideration of her sex.
When we contemplate84 her as a woman, we are apt to be struck with the highest admiration of her great qualities and extensive capacity; but we are also apt to require some more softness of disposition, some greater lenity of temper, some of those amiable weaknesses by which her sex is distinguished. But the true method of estimating her merit is, to lay aside all these considerations, and consider her merely as a rational being, placed in authority, and intrusted with the government of mankind.
3. Howard," The Philanthropist. — Burke.
He has visited all Europe — not to survey the sumptuousness of palaces, or the stateliness of temples; not to make accurate measurements of the remains of ancient grandeur, nor to form a scale of the curiosities of modern art, nor to collect medals, or collate manuscripts ;10° but to dive into the depths of dungeons, to plunge into the infection of hospitals, to survey the mansions of sorrow and pain; to take the gauge28 and dimensions of misery, depression, and contempt; to remember the forgotten, to attend to the neglected, to visit the forsaken, and compare and collate the distresses of all men in all countries. His plan is original; it is as full of genius as of humanity. It was a voyage of discovery; a circumnavigation of charity.
4. Milton. — Quarterly Review.
It is impossible to refuse to Milton the honor due to a life of the sincerest piety and the most dignific 1 virtue. No man ever lived under a more abiding sense of responsibility. No man ever Strove ir.ore faithfully to use time and talent" as ever in the great Taskmaster's eye." No man so richly endowed was ever less ready to trust in his own powers, or more prompt to own his dependence on "that eternal and propitial throne, where nothing is readier than grace and refuge to the distresses of mortal suppliants." His morality was of the loftiest order. He possessed a self-control which, in one susceptible of such ve'hement emotions, was marvellous. No one ever saw him indulging in those propensities which overcloud the mind and pollute" the heart.
No youthful excesses treasured up for him a suffering and remorseful old age. From his youth up he was temperate in all things, as became one who had consecrated himself to a lifestruggle against vice, and error, and darkness, in all their forms. He had started with the conviction "that he who would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laudable things, ought himself to be a true poem; that is, a composition and pattern of the best and honorablest things; " and from this he never swerved. His life was indeed a true poem; or it might be compared to an anthem on his own favorite organ — high-toned, solemn, and majestic.
5. "washington.— Webster.
The character of Washington" is among the most cherished contemplations of my life. It is a fixed star in the firmament of great names, shining without twinkling or obscuration, with clear, steady, beneficent light. It is associated and blended with all our reflections on those things which are near and dear to ua If we think of the independence of our country, we think of him whose efforts were so prominent in achieving it; if we think of the constitution which is over us, we think of him who did so much to establish it, and whose administration of its powers is acknowledged to be a model for his successors. If we think of glory in the field, of wisdom in the cabinet," of the purest patriotism, of the highest integrity, public and private, of morals without a stain, of religious feelings without intolerance and without extravagance, the august78 figure of Washington presents itself as the personation of all these ideas.
LXII. — ON THE ABUSE OF GENIUS.
1. I Have endeavored to show that the intrinsic value of genius is a secondary consideration, compared to the use to which \t is applied; that genius ought to be estimated chiefly by the