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Will add to theirs a name of fear,
7. THE BANYAN-TREE. — Moore.
Which, howsoe'er the sun and sky
Ånd shoot and blossom wide and high,
Downward again to that dear earth,
Its grateful being first had birth.
And fed with fame,- if fame it be,
8. GAYETY. — Cowper.
CXLVII. — SHAKSPEARE'S POWER OF EXPRESSION. 1. To say that he was the greatest man that ever lived is to provoke a useless controversy, and comparisons that lead to nothing, between Shakspeare and Cæsar, Shakspeare and Charlemagne, Es Shakspeare and Cromwell ;EI to say that he was the greatest intellect that ever lived is to bring the shades of Aristotle, and is ito, and Bacon, and Newton, and all your other
systematic thinkers, grumbling about us, with demands for a defi. nition of intellect, which we are by no means in a position to give; nay, finally, to say that he is the greatest poet that the world has produced (a thing which we would certainly say, were we provoked to it) would be unnecessarily to hurt the feelings of Homer, and Soph'oclēs, and Dantë, and Milton. What we will say, then, and what we will challenge the world to gainsay, is that he was the greatest expresser that ever lived. This is glory enough, and it leaves the other question open.
2. Other men may have led, on the whole, greater and moro impressive lives than he; other men, acting on their fellows through the same medium of speech that he used, may have expended a greater power of thought, and achieved a greater intellectual effect, in one consistent direction; other men, too (though this is very questionable), may have contrived to issue the matter which they did address to the world in more compact83 and perfect artistic shapes. But no man that ever lived said such splendid extem'porëer things on all subjects universally; no man that ever lived had the faculty of pouring out on all occasions such a flood of the richest and deepest language. He may have had rivals in the art of imagining situations; he had no rival in the power of sending a gush of the appropriate intellectual effusion over the image and body of a situation once conceived.
3. From the jewelled ring on an alderman's finger to the most mountainous thought or deed of man or dēmon, nothing suggested itself that his speech could not envelop and enfold with ease. That excessive fluency which astonisheder Ben Jonson when he listened to Shakspeare in person astonishes the world yet. Abundance, ease, redundance, ET a plenitude of word, sound, and im’agery, which, were the intellect at work only a little less magnificent, would sometimes end in sheer braggardism and bombast, EI are the characteristics of Shakspeare's style. Nothing is suppressed, nothing omitted, nothing cancelled. On and on the poet flows, words, thoughts, and fancies, crowding on him as fast as he can write, all related to the matter on hand, and all poured forth together, to rise and fall on the waves of an established ca'dence.
4. Such lightness and ease in the manner, and such prodigious wealth and depth in the matter, are combined in no other writer, How the matter was first accumulated — what proportion of it was the acquired capital of former efforts, and what proportion of it welled up in the poet's mind during and in virtue of the very act of speech — it is impossible to say ; but this, at least, may be affirmed without fear of contradiction, that there never was a mind in the world from which, when it was prick by any occa.
sion whatever, there poured forth on the instant such a stream of precious substance intellectually related to it. By his powers of expression, in fact, Shakspeare has beggared all his posterity, and left mere practitioners of expression nothing possible to do.
5. There is, perhaps, not a thought, or feeling, or situation, really common and gener’ic to human life, on which he has not exercised his prerogative; and wherever he has once been, woe to the man that comes after him! He has overgrown the whole system and face of things, like a universal ivy, which has left no wall uncovered, no pinnacle unclimbed, no chink unpenetrated, Since he lived, the concretekl world has worn a richer surface. He found it great and beautiful, with stripes here and there of the rough old coat seen through the leafy labors of his predecessors; he left it clothed throughout with the wealth and autumnal luxuriance of his own unparalleled language.
CXLVIII. - MORAL AND RELIGIOUS ELOQUENCE.
1. RELIGION ESSENTIAL TO MORALITY. – Of all the disposi tions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles. - Geo. Washington.
2. UNAPPRECIATED OBLIGATIONS. — We live in the midst of blessings till we are utterly insensible of their greatness, and of the source from whence they flow. We speak of our civilization, our arts, cur freedom, our laws, and forget entirely how large a share is due to Christianity. Blot Christianity out of man's history, and what would his laws have been, what his civilization ? Christianity is mixed up with our very being and our very lifo
there is not a familiar object around us which does not wear & different aspect because the light of Christian love is upon it, not a law which does not owe its truth and gentleness to Christianity. not a custom which cannot be traced, in all its holy, beautiful parts, to the Gospel. — Sir A. Park.
3. Tuis LIFE'S EXPERIENCES POINT TO ANOTHER. — 0, my friends, if this winged and swift life be all our life, what a mournful taste have we had of a possible happiness! We have, as it were, from some cold and dark edge of a bright world, just looked in and been plucked away again! Have we come to ex. perience pleasure by fits and glimpses, but intertwined with pain burdensome labor, weariness, and indifference? Have we come to try the solace and joy of a warm, fearless, and confiding affection, to be then chilled or blighted by bitterness, by separation, by change of heart, or by the dread sunderer of loves — Death ? Have we found the gladness and the strength of knowledge, when some rays of truth flashed in upon our souls, in the midst of error and uncertainty, or amidst continuous, necessitated, uninstructive avocations of the understanding; and is that all ? Have we felt in fortunate hour the charm of the beautiful, that invests as with a mantle the visible creation, or have we found ourselves lifted above the earth by sudden apprehensions of sublimity, — have we had the consciousness of such feelings, which seemed to us as if they might themselves make up a life, - almost an angel's life, — and were they “ instant come and instant gone”? Have we known the consolation of doing right, in the midst of much that we have done wrong, and was that also a coruscation of a transient sunshine ? Have we lifted up our thoughts to see Him who is Love, Light, and Truth, and Bliss, to be in the next instant plunged into the darkness of annihilation? Have all these things been but flowers that we have pulled by the side of a hard and tedious way, and unat, after gladdening us for a brief season with hue and color wither in our hands, and are like ourselves — nothing ? — Profssor Wilson.
4. Joys OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE. — The testimony of a good conscience will make the comforts of heaven descend upon man's weary head, like a refreshing dew or shower upon a parched land. It will give him lively earnests and secret anticipations of approaching joy; it will bid his soul go out of the body undauntedly, and lift up his head with confidence before saints and angels. The comfort which it conveys is greater than the capacities of mortality can appreciate, mighty and unspeakable, and not to be understood till it is felt. — South.
5. OUTWARD AND INWARD RICHES. — In the presence of the great thought of immortality, how vain appears all undue rest
lessness for a little or a great change in our outward earthly condition! How worse than idle all assumptions of the superior dignity of one mode of honorable toil to another! how worthless all differences of station, except so far as station may enable men to vindicate some everlasting principle, to exemplify some arduous duty, to grapple with some giant oppression, or to achieve the blessings of those who are ready to perish! How trivial, even as the pebbles and shells upon “this bank and shoal of time,” seem all those immunities which can only be spared by fortune to be swept away by death, compared with those images and thoughts which, being reflected from the eternal, not only through the clear medium of Holy Writ, but, though more dimly, through all that is affecting in history, exquisite in art, suggestive in eloquence, profound in science, and divine in poetry, shall not only outlast all the chances and changes of this mortal life, but shall defy the chillness of the grave! Believe me, there is no path more open to the influences of heaven than the common path of daily duty. - Talfourd.
6. DEBASING EFFECTS OF INFIDELITY. — It requires but little reflection to perceive, that whatever veils a future world, and contracts the limits of existence within the present life, must tend in a proportionable degree to diminish the grandeur and narrow the sphere of human agency. As well might you expect exalted sentiments of justice from a professed gamester, as look for noble principles in the man whose hopes and fears are all suspended on the present moment, and who stakes the whole happiness of his being on the events of this vain and fleeting life. If he be ever impelled to the performance of great achievements in a good cause, it must be solely by the hope of fame, a motive which, besides that it makes virtue the servant of opinion, usually grows weaker at the approach of death, and which, however it may surmount the love of existence in the field of battle, or in the moment of public observation, can seldom be expected to operate with much force on the retired duties of a private station. Combine the frequent and familiar perpetration of atrocious deeds with the dearth of great and generous actions, and you have the exact picture of that condition of society which completes the degradation of the species, — the frightful contrast of dwarfish virtues and gigantic vices, where everything good is mean and little, and everything evil is rank and luxuriant: a dead and sickening uniformity prevails, broken only at intervals by volcanic irruptions of anarchy and crime. -- Robt. Hall.
7. KNOWLEDGE AN ASSURANCE OF IMMORTALITY. — Were the Eternal Being to slacken the course of a planet, or increase even the distance of the fixed stars, the decree wou'd be soon known on