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Saying everywhere that he had seen a dove rising upon white wings to heaven from the ashes where she had stood.
IROM DE (JUINCEY AND OTHERS.
CXXII. — THE SKY.
1. It is a strange thing how little, in general, people know about the sky. It is the part of creation in which Nature has done more for the sake of pleasing man, more for the sole and evident purpose of talking to him, and teaching him, than in any other of her works; and it is just the part in which we least attend to her. The noblest scenes of the earth can be seen and known but by few; it is not intended that man should live always in the midst of them; he injures them by his presence — he ceases to feel them if he be always with them.
2. But the sky is for all; bright as it is, it is not "too bright nor good for human nature's daily food; " it is fitted in all its functions for the perpetual comfort and exalting of the heart, for the soothing it and purifying it from dross and dust. Sometimes gentle, sometimes capricious, sometimes awful — never the same for two moments together; almost human in its passions, almost spiritual in its tenderness, almost divine in its infinity; its appeal to what is immortal in us is as distinct as its ministry of chastisement or of blessing to what is mortal is essential.
3. And yet we never attend to it, we never make it a subject of thought, but as it has to do with our animal sensations. We look upon all by which it speaks to us more clearly than to brutes, — upon all which bears witness to the intention of the Supreme, that we are to receive more from the covering vault than the light and the dew that we share with the weed and the worm, — only as a succession of meaningless and monotonous accident, too common and too vain to be worthy of a moment of watchfulness or a glance of admiration. If, in our moments of utter idleness and insipidity, we turn to the sky as a last resource, which of its phenomena do we speak of?
4. One says it has been wet, and another it has been windy, and another it has been warm. Who, among the whole clattering crowd, can tell me of the forms and the precipices of the chain of tall white mountains that gilded the horizon at noon yesterday * Who saw the narrow sunbeam that came out of the south, and smote upon their summits until they melted and mouldtired away in a dust of blue rain? Who saw the dance of tha dead clouds when the sunlight left them last night, and the west wind blew them before it like withered leaves? ..5. All has passed unregrettcd or unseen; or, if the apathy be ever shaken off, even for an instant, it is only by what is extraordinary. And yet, it is not in the broad and fierce manifestations of the elemental energies, not in the clash of the hail, nor the drift of the whirlwind, that the highest characters of the sublime are developed. God is not always so eloquent in the earthquake, nor in the fire, as in " the still, small voice." They are but the blunt and the low faculties of our nature which can only be addressed through lamp-black and lightning.
6. It is in quiet and subdued passages of unobtrusive majesty, the deep, and the calm, and the perpetual, — that which must be sought ere it is seen, and loved ere it is understood, — things which the angels work out for us daily, and yet vary eternally, which are never wanting and never repeated, which are to be found always yet each found but once, — it is through these that the lesson of devotion is chiefly taught, and the blessing of beauty given. Kuskin
CXXIII. — THE BEAUTIFUL.
1. Walk with the Beautiful and with the Grand,
Walk with the Beautiful.
2. I hear thee say, " The Beautiful! what is it?"
'T is no long weary road its form to visit,
3. Ay, love it; 't is a sister that will bless,
And teach thee patience when the heart is lonely;
- *~Then love the Beautiful.
4. Some boast its presence in a Grecian face;
But be not fooled! whate'er thine eye may trace.
5. Thy bosom is its mint; the workmen are Thy thoughts, and they must coin forThoe: believing
6. Dost thou see Beauty in the violet's cup ? — I '11 teach thee miracles! Walk on this heath,
Aud they who keep their best affections young
CXXIV. — THE PLOUGHMAN.
1. Clear the brown path to meet his coulter's" gleam!
With Toil's brightedew-drops on his sun-burnt brow,
2. Still where he treads the stubborn clods divide;
Dp the steep hill-side, where the laboring train
3. These are the hands whose sturdy labor brings
These are the lines, 0, heaven-commanded Toil,
4. 0, gracious mother, whose benignant breast
CXXV. ELOQUENCE OF STATESMEN.
1. Degeneracy Op Athens. — Demosthenes.
Scch, 0, men of Athens! were your ancestors: so glorious to the eye of the world ;" so bountiful and munificent to their country; so sparing, so modest, so self-denying, to themselves. What resemblance can we find, in the present generation, to these great men? At a time when your ancient competitors have left you a clear stage, when the Lacedemonians are disabled, the Thebans employed in troubles of their own, when no other state whatever is in a condition to rival or molest you, — in short, when you are at full liberty, when you have the opportunity and Jh^po^wer to become once more the sole arbiters of Greece, — you permit, patiently, whole provinces to be wrested from you; you lavish the public money in scandalous and obscure uses; you suficr your allies to perish in time of peace, whom you preserved in time of war; and, to sum up all, you, yourselves, by your mercenary court, and servile resignation to the will and pleasure of designing, insidious leaders, abet, encourage, and strengthen, the most dangerous and formidable of your enemies. Yes, Athenians, I repeat it, you yourselves are the contrivers of your own ruin.
Lives there a man who has confidence enough to deny it? Let him arise and assign, if he can, any other cause of the success and prosperity of Philip. "But," you reply, "what Athens may have lost in reputation abroad she has gained in splendor at home. Was there ever a greater appearance of prosperity and plenty? Is not the city enlarged? Are not the streets better paved, houses repaired and beautified?" Away with such trjfles! Shall I be paid with counters? An old square new vamped up! a fountain! an aqueduct!—Are these acquisitions to boast of? Cast your eyes upon the magistrate under whose ministry you boast these precious improvements. Behold the despicable creature, raised all at once from dirt to opulence, from the lowest obscurity to the highest honors. Have not some of these upstarts built private houses and seats vying with the most sumptuous of our public palaces? And how have their fortunes and their power increased, but as the Commonwealth has been ruined and impoverished?
2. The Value op Literature. — Cicero.
Had I not, by deeply pondering the precepts of philosophy, and the lessons of the historian and the poet, imbued my mind with an early and intimate conviction that nothing in life is worthy of strenuous pursuit but honor and renown, and that, for the attainment of these, the extremes of bodily torture, and all the terrors of exile and of death, ought to be regarded as trifles, never should I have engaged in such a series of deadly conflicts for your safety, nor have exposed myself to these daily machinations of the most profligate of mankind. But the literature, the wisdom, the consentaneous" voice of antiquity, all teem with glorious examples — examples which would have been forever buried in oblivion, but for the redeeming light of letters. How many instances of heroic daring and devotedness are pictured on the Greek and Roman page, not for our study only, but for our imitation! With these illustrious models91 incessantly before my eyes, I have labored to form my mind and character by intense meditation on their excellence.
3. On Taxing The American Colonies, 1775. — Lord Chatham.
What foundation have we for our claims over America? What is our right to persist in such cruel and vindictive measures against that loyal, respectable people? They say you have no right to tax them without their consent. They say truly. Representation and taxation must go together. Repeal, therefore, my lords. But bare repeal will not be enough. What! repeal a bit of paper! repeal a piece of parchment! That alone will not do, my lords. You must go through the work; you must declare you have no right to tax the colonists; you must repeal their fears and resentments; — then they may trust you; then you may hope for their love and gratitude. All attempts to impose servitude upon such men, to establish despotism over such a mighty continental nation, must be vain, must be fatal. We shall be forced ultimately to retract; let us retract while we