« PreviousContinue »
to another town, at a considerable distance, where, however, he had not been more than a day or two, before he found that his enemy was arrived there. He removed in the same manner to several parts of the kingdom remote from each other; but, in every place, quickly perceived that his deadly pursuer was near him. At last, he went to South America; where he had enjoyed his fancied security but a very short time, before his unrelenting enemy came up with him, and effected his tragical purpose.
*****. But not less of this invincible pertinacity has been displayed by the disciples of virtue and the benefactors of mankind. In this distinction, no man ever exceeded or ever will exceed out great philanthropist, the late illustrious Howard. The energy of his determination was so great, that if, instead of being habitual, it could have appeared in an intermitted form, operating only for a short time, on particular occasions, it would have seemed a vehement impetuosity ; but by being continuous, it had an equability of manner, which scarcely appeared to exceed the tone of a calm constancy. It was the calmness of an intensity, kept uniform by the nature of the human mind forbidding it to be more, and the character of the individual forbidding it to be less. The habitual passion of his mind was a measure of feeling, almost equal to the temporary extremes and paroxysms of common minds : as a great river, in its customary state, is equal to a small or moderate one, when swollen to a torrent.
The moment of finishing his plans in deliberation, and commencing them in action, was the game. I wonder what must have
Vol. III. No. 11. 4B
beeh the amount of that bribe, in emolument or pleasure, that would have detained him a week inactive, after their final adjustment. The law which carries water down a declivity was not more unconquerable and invariable, than the determination of his feelings toward the main object. This object he pursued with a devotion, which seemed to annihilate to his perceptions all others ; it was a stern pathos of soul, on which the beauties of nature and of art had no power. He had no leisure feeling, which he could spare, to be diverted among the innumerable varieties of the extensive scene, which he traversed ; all his subordinate feelings lost their separate existence and operation, by falling into the grand one. There have not been wanting trivial minds to mark this as a fault in his character. But the mere man of taste ought to be silent respecting such a man as Howard ; he is above their sphere of judgment. The invisible spirits, who fulfil their commission of philanthropy among mortals, do not care about pictures, statues, and sumptuous buildings; ...to more did he. Or at least, regarding every moment as under the claims of imperious duty, his curiosity waited in vain for the hour to come, when his conscience should present the gratification of it as the most sacred duty of that hour. If he was still at every hour, where it came, fated to feel the attractions of the fine arts but the second claim, they might be sure of their revenge, for no other man will ever visit Rome under such a despotick consciousness of duty, as to refuse himself time for surveying the magnificence of its ruins. Such a sin against taste is very far beyond the reach of common saintship to commit. It ims plied an inconceivable severity of conviction, that he had one thing to do ; and that he, who would do some great thing in this short life, must apply himself to the work with such a concentration of his forces, as, to idle spectators, who live only to amuse themselves, looks like insanity. His attention was so strongly and tenaciously fixed on his object, that even at the greatest distance, like the Egyptian pyramids to travellers, it stood confest to his sight with a luminous distinctness, as if it were nigh, and beguiled the toilsome length of labour and enterprise, by which he was to reach it. It was so conspicuous before him, that not a step deviated from the direction, and every movement and cwery day was an approximation. If it were possible to deduct from his thoughts and actions all that portion, which had not a methodical and strenuous reference to an end, the solid mass, which would remain, would spread over an amazing length of life, if attenuated to the ordinary style of deliberation and achievement. One less thinks of displaying such a character, for the purpose of example, than for that of mortifying comparison.
*****. Lady Macbeth may be cited as a harmonious character, though the epithet seems strangely applied. She had capacity, ambition, and courage; and she will<d the death of the king. But he
had, besides humanity, generosity, conscience, and some measure of what forms the power of conscience, the fear of a Superiour Being. Consequently, when the dreadful momentapproached,he felt an insupportable conflict between these opposite principles,and when it was arrived, his utmost courage failed. The worse part of his nature fell prostrate under the power of the better ; the angel of goodness arrested the demon that grasped the dagger, and would have taken that dagger away, if the pure demoniack firmness of his wife, who had none of these counteractive principles, had not shamed and hardened him to the deed. The poet's delineation of Richard III. (I better remember the poet’s account of him than the historian's,) gives a dreadful specimen of this indivisibility, if I may so name it, of mental impulse. After his determination was fixed, kis whole mind, with the compactest fidelity, supported him in prosecuting it. Securely privileged from all interference of doubt that could linger, or humanity that could soften, or timidity that could shrink, he advanced with a grim concentrated constancy, through scene after scene of atrocity, still fulfilling his vow to “cut his way through with a bloody axe.” He did not waver while he pursued his object, nor relent when he
C , JUN., Newport.
Boston, sept. 6th, 1806. ------- ........Tu mitis, et acri Asperitate carens, positoque per omnia Jasru, Inter ut equales unus numeraris amicos : Obsequiumque doces, et amorem quacris amando. LucAN.
Though the pale miser gaze upon his store,
Who rob by words, and ruin with a smile.
Busy, like bees, round wealthy heirs they fly,
On one sad choice, to flatter or to die.
Give me the friend, whom vivid genius fires, Whom judgment tempers, and the Muse inspires.
Though learn’d, yet tinctur'd never let him be
With proud contempt for those less learn'd than he.
Though fortune spread few favours at his door,
For the Monthly Anthology. .
O PovzRTY hard-featured dame,
To me, and I have seen thee near-
Though boonless, and to praise unknown,
*Written at Scarborough, in the Summer
I gaze;-and am changed at the sight i For mine eye is illumined, my Genius takes flight,
of 1806. My soul, like the sun, with a glance - - Embraces the boundless expanse, Ali, hail to the ruins,” the rocks and And moves on thy waters, wherever the shores : they roll, Thou wide-rolling Ocean, all hail : From the day-darting zone to the nightNow brilliant with sun-beams, and brooding pole.
dimpled with oars,
Like foam on the surges, the swans of
the tide. From the tumult and smoke of the city - set free, With eager and awful delight, From the crest of the mountain I gaze upon thee ;
My spirit descends where the dayspring is born, Where the billows are rubies on fire, And the breezes that rock the light cradle of morn. Are sweet as the Phoenix’s pyre : O regions of beauty, of love, and desire! O gardens of Eden in vain Placed far on the fathomless main, Where Nature with Innocence dwelt in her youth, When pure was her heart, and unbroken her truth.
But now the fair rivers of Paradise wind Through countries and kingdoms o'erthrown ;