« PreviousContinue »
virtues. are meant, those which are called into action on great and trying occasions, which demand the sacrifice of the dearest interests and prospects of human life, and sometimes life itself; the virtues, in a word, which, by their rarity and splendor, draw admiration, and have rendered illustrious the character of patriots, martyrs and confessors. 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 pro portionable 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 heat 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.
In affirming that infidelity is unfavorable to the higher class of virtues, we are supported as well by facts as by reasoning. We should be sorry to load our adversaries with unmerited reproach: but to what history, to what record will they appeal for the traits of moral greatness exhibited by their disciples ? Where shall we look for the trophies of infidel magnanimity or atheistical virtue ? Not that we mean to accuse them of inactivity ; they have recently filled the world with the fame of their exploitsexploits of a different kind, indeed, but of imperishable memory and disastrous lustre.
Though, it is confessed, great and splendid actions are not the ordinary employment of life, but must, from their nature, be reserved for high and eminent occasions ; yet that system is essentially defective which leaves no room for their production. They are important, both from their immediate advantage and their remoter influence. They often save, and always illustrate, the age and nation in which they appear. They raise the standard of morals ; they arrest the progress of degeneracy; they diffuse a lustre over the path of life. Monuments of the greatness of the human soul, they present to the world the august image of Virtue in her sublimest form, from which streams of light and glory issue to remote times and ages ; while their commemoration, by the pen of historians and poets, awakens in distant bosoms the sparks of kindred excellence.
Uses of Poetry.-U. S. L. GAZETTE.
SCIENCE arranges, with the aid of demonstrative reason, what things the senses discover, and makes herself acquainted with the various existences in the visible universe, and learns how they are connected together; and here her work ends, and must end. It is then that Poetry calls upon the imagination to tell whence that sun gets his floods of light to bathe the world in beauty, and whence that warmth comes to awaken the universal life around us, and what hand sowed the burning stars in the abyss, and rolled around them countless earths ;—and it is for her that the tempest lets loose the wind, and heaves up the ocean with instructive sublimity; and the sunlight touches the green hills and gilds the evening clouds with beauty that has a voice; the busy insects and breathing flowerets, the singing brooks, and the sweet music of the summer wind upon its living harps, all, all speak to her, with utterance most distinct, with lessons most momentous. Poetry is not fiction, nor foreign from the realities of life, nor barren of strong motives and high hopes. Most true it is, that she is but the record of the imagination ; but it is no less true, that the imagination helps strongly to produce, and to support, all those truths which dignify our sensual existence. Man was made to begin his being upon earth, and to bend for a while to its labors, and to bear its sorrows, and help his brethren to toil and to endure; and, therefore, his sensual nature and faculties—to take cognizance of existing things, and to reason about them—were given to him. But, even while on earth, he was to look beyond it: time was to be connected with eternity, that it might be well spent; and imagination was given him to bear away his thoughts from scenes where the shadows of sin and death are resting, to a world where there is no darkness.
The Teaching of Jesus.—BOWRING.
How sweetly flowed the gospel's sound,
From lips of gentleness and grace,
And joy and reverence filled the place !
From heaven he came- of heaven he spoke
To heaven he led his followers' way;
Unveiling an immortal day.
Come, wanderers, to my Father's home;
“Come, all ye weary ones, and rest !" Yes, sacred Teacher, we will comeObey thee, love thee, and be blest !
Decay, then, tenements of dust!
Pillars of earthly pride, decay !
And Jesus has prepared the way.
[Sung in the Old South Meeting-house, Boston, on the Centennial Birth
day of WASHINGTON.]
To Thee, beneath whose eye
That tried men's souls”.
When, from this gate of heaven, *
By fire and sword,
In harsh accord.
Nor was our fathers' trust,
Then put to shame :
* The Old South church was taken possession of by the British, while they held Boston, and converted into barracks for the cavalry, the pews being cut up for fuel, or used in constructing stalls for the horses.
"Up to the hills” for light Looked they in peril's night, And, from yon guardian height,
There, like an angel form,
Stood WASHINGTON !
When war was done.
God of our sires and sons,
Our country bless ;
Frost.-Miss HANNAH F. GOULD.
she Frost looked forth, one still, clear night, And he said, “ Now I shall be out of sight; So through the valley and over the height,
In silence I'll take my way ; I will not go on like that blustering train, The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain, Who make so much bustle and noise in vain
But I'll be as busy as they !"
* From his position on “Dorchester Heights,” that overlook the town, General Washington succeeded in compelling the British forces to evacuate Boston.