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When gamemnon * sinks into the tomb,
The beggar HomerEl mounts the monarch's throne ! 2. Ye ever-living and imperial souls,
Who rule us from the page in which ye breathe !
3. Lo! in their books, as from their graves, they rise,
Angels, that, side by side, upon our way,
4. All books grow homiliesti hy time; they are
Temples, at once, and landmarks. In them, we,
5. Books make the Past our heritage and home;
And is this all ? No; by each prophet-sage -
• Celebrated in Homer's Iliad.
| The Bible
SIR E. BULWER LYTTON.
CCII. - WHAT LABOR HAS DONE FOR THE WEST.
1. HE, alone, who has traversed these regions, day after day, In the freshness, indeed, but in the silence and solitude of nature,
almost appalled by a sense of loneliness and insignificance, amid these wonders of creative power, — can justly appreciate the efforts of man in subduing and reclaiming the prairiel and the forest, and preparing them for those scenes of improvement and cultivation which cheer the eye and gladden the heart of the traveller ; and, above all, of the traveller who preceded the march of civilization, and now follows it in its glorious progress. Never has human industry achieved a prouder triumph than in this conflict between nature and man. As in the ex'oduser from Eden, he has been “sent forth to till the ground ;” and in the “ sweat of his face” has he thus far fulfilled his mission. And a proud one it was ; ay, and yet is; for, though it has done much, it has still much to do. It began at the beach of Jamestown, and the rock of Plymouth, where its first labors were broken by no sound but the surges of the Atlantic; and they will finish only when the last echo of the woodman's axe shall mingle with the surges of the Pacific.
2. Do not these miracles of enterprise resemble the fictions of an Eastern imagination, rather than the sober realities of human experience ? Do they not speak to us in trumpet-tones of the value and dignity of labor ? for by labor have they been wrought
persevering, unyielding, triumphant labor! There is no lesson more important to be taught to our young countrymen than that which is taught by this great characteristic feature of American history, the immense conquest which man has achieved over the world of matter that opposed his progress, and the scanty resources he brought to the work. His own exertions, and the axe and the plough, have accomplished this mighty task; always, indeed, with toil and exposure, and sometimes under circumstances of privation and suffering before which the stoutest resolution might give away.
3. And how would this great work, of subduing nature and preparing the forest for the residence of man, have been accom plished in the older regions of the globe, so long the theatre of
human exertions? The answer describes by a single trait the marked difference between the condition of agricultural labor in the Eastern and in the Western hemisphere; between the laborer for others and the laborer for himself. He who runs may read it in the history of our whole progress, individual and national. The forest has fallen before those who established their habitations in its dark recesses — dark till their toil made way for the light of Heaven to shine upon them. They labored themselves, and for themselves. No taskmaster directed their labors, and no speculator garnered the profits. And thus exertion was stimulated by the most powerful motives which can operate upon human nature — by the necessity of present subsistence, and the hope, the certainty, I should say, of future com'petence and comfort; and, therefore it is, that, upon the immense domain from Lake Erie almost to the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, a vigorous, intelligent, and enterprising people have fixed their resi. dence, and by their own labor, and for their own advantage, have prepared it for all the purposes of civilized life.
4. And the time within which this has been done is not the least extraordinary feature in this great national migration — a migration going forth to invade the forest, and to fulfil the first command of the Creator, “ to replenish the earth and subdue it," and not, as in the history of human conquest, to lay waste and destroy, having before it fertile and flourishing regions, and be hind it ruin and desolation. The man yet lives who was living when almost the first tree fell before the pioneer's stroke in this magnificent region; and the man is now living who will live to see it contain one hundred millions of people. I have myself known it for half a century, and in that space — long, indeed, in the life of man, but brief in the life of communities — our own region of the North-west, marked with its distinct boundaries upon the map of nature by the Lakes, the Mississippi, and the Ohio, has risen from infancy to manhood, from weakness to strength, from a population of a few thousands to five millions of people — of freemen, owning the soil they occupy, and which they won by their industry, and will defend by their blood.
5. Where, in the long annals of the human race, can you find such an augmentation of the resources and numbers of a country, gained in so short a period, and under such circumstances of trial in its progress, and of prosperity in its issue? And may we not well say, that the mighty agent which has built up this monument of productive power deserves the gratitude and the fostering care of the American people ? And that agent is Labor, and our duty is to elevate it in the scale of employment; to show what it has done, and is doing, and is destined, I trust, yet to do.
It has not founded a monarchy, indeed, whose burthens are for the rejected, and its benefits for the chosen ; whose splendor dazzles the eye, while its oppression sickens the heart; but it has laid the foundation of a republic, broadly and deeply, in the rights of man; whose equal protection covers all, as its equal honors are open to all; and whose career, if not checked by our own folly, or by the just judgment of God, promises a glorious and encouraging spectacle to the lovers of freedom through the world, — ay, and an example, too, for long ages to come.
CCIII. — GIL BLAS AND THE PARASITE. EI
1. When the omelet I had bespoken was ready, I sat down to table by myself; and had not yet swallowed the first mouthful when the landlord came in, followed by the man who had stopped him in the street. This cavalier, who wore a long sword, and seemed to be about thirty years of age, advanced towards me with an eager air, saying, “ Mr. Student, I am informed that you are that Signor Gilet Blas of Santillane, who is the link of philosophy, and ornament of Oviedo ! Et Is it possible that you are that mirror of learning, that sublime genius, whose reputation is so great in this country? You know not,” continued he, addressing himself to the innkeeper and his wife, “you know not what you possess! You have a treasure in your house! Behold, in this young gentleman, the eighth wonder of the world !” Then turning to me, and throwing his arms about my neck, “ Forgive,” cried he, “my transports! I cannot contain the joy that your presence creates."
2. I could not answer for some time, because he locked me so closely in his arms that I was almost suffocated for want of breath; and it was not till I had disengaged my head from his embrace that I replied, “Signor Cavalier, I did not think my name was known at Peñaflor”.”EI “How! known !” resumed he, in his former strain; "we keep a register of all the celebrated names within twenty leagues of us. You, in particular; are looked upon as a prodigy ; and I don't at all doubt that Spain will one day be as proud of you as Greece was of her Seven El Sages.” These words were followed by a fresh hug, which I was forced to endure, though at the risk of strangulation. With the little experience I had, I ought not to have been the dupe of his professions and hyperbolicales compliments.
3. I ought to have known, by his extravagant flattery that
he was one of those parasites who abound in every town, and who, when a stranger arrives, introduce themselves to him, in order to feast at his expense. But my youth and vanity made me judge otherwise. My admirer appeared to me so much of a gentleman, that I invited him to take a share of my supper. “ Ah! with all my soul,” cried he; “I am too much obliged to my kind stars for having thrown me in the way of the illustrious Gil Blas, not to enjoy my good fortune as long as I can! I have no great appetite,” pursued he, “but I will sit down to bear you company, and eat a mouthful purely out of com'plaisance.”
4. So saying, my panegyrister took his place right over against me; and, a cover being laid for him, he attacked the omelet as voraciously as if he had fasted three whole days. By his com'plaisant beginning I foresaw that our dish would not last long, and I therefore ordered a second, which they dressed with such despatch that it was served just as we — or rather he had made an end of the first. He proceeded on this with the same vigor; and found means, without losing one stroke of his teeth, to overwhelm me with praises during the whole repast, which made me very well pleased with my sweet self. He drank in proportion to his eating ; sometimes to my health, sometimes to that of my father and mother, whose happiness in having such a son as I he could not enough admire.
5. All the while he plied me with wine, and insisted upon my doing him justice, while I toasted health for health ; a circumstance which, together with his intoxicating flattery, put me into such good humor, that, seeing our second omelet half devoured, I asked the landlord if he had no fish in the house. Signor Corcue’lo, who, in all likelihood, had a fellow-feeling with the parasite, replied, “I have a delicate trout; but those who eat it must pay for the sauce ; - 't is a bit too dainty for your palate, I doubt.”“What do you call too dainty ?" said the sycophant, raising his voice; “ you 're a wiseacre, indeed! Know that there is nothing in this house too good for Signor Gil Blas of Santillane, who deserves to be entertained like a prince.”
6. I was pleased at his laying hold of the landlord's last words, in which he preventede me, who, finding myself offended, said, with an air of disdain, “ Produce this trout of yours, Gaffer Corcuelo, and give yourself no trouble about the consequence.” This was what the innkeeper wanted. He got it ready, and served it up in a trice. At sight of this new dish, I could perceive the parasite's eye sparkle with joy; and he renewed that complai. sance — I mean for the fish — which he had already shoʻra fot