« PreviousContinue »
That rises like a column from the vale,
Priest. Ay, that he did-
Leonard, He could not come to an unhallowed end !
Priest. Nay, God forbid ! You recollect I mentioned A habit which disquietude and grief Had brought upon him ? and we all conjectured That, as the day was warm, he had lain down Upon the grass,-and, waiting for his comrades, He there had fallen asleep; that in his sleep He to the margin of the precipice Had walked, and from the summit had fallen headlong,
And so, no doubt, he perished : at the time,
The priest here ended
of speech. Both left the spot in silence ;
This done, he went on shipboard, and is now A seaman, a gray-headed mariner.
Waste of Mind - AMERICAN QUARTERLY REGISTER.
If we go back to any of the nations of antiquity—to those which surpassed all their contemporaries as much as did Egypt and Babylon-what notion does history warrant us in forming of the intellectual state of the mass of the people? We think of them as growing up on the soil very much as do the vegetables around them ; with no fostering care put forth to encourage and guide them; with no streams of knowledge winding their way to every hamlet, gratifying an eager curiosity, and furnishing nutriment for growing minds; with no eye to look out on the widely-.. extended and varied scenes of the world; and no public spirit to feel an interest in the concerns of their fellow men. They grew up on the spot, obtained a hard-earned subsistence for a few years, never roused from their stupidity, but to repel an invasion, to ravage a state, or to build a city-and they died on the spot, their life no benefit to the world of men around them, and their death no loss.
We often read of the splendid achievements of ancient armies. But what idea are we warranted in forming of the multitudes of human beings congregated in these armies ? They were brave, but their bravery was insensibility. They were powerful, but their power was mere brute force, having not many more marks of intelligence in it than were in the power of their battering engines. They accomplished the will of a more thinking leader, but their obedience was an almost instinctive recognition of a master. Think of the five millions whom Xerxes is said to have led into Greece,-five millions of human beings, made to think and act, and to take on themselves an individual responsibility, and at last to render an account for their thoughts and actions ! But how many minds do you suppose there were in this moving nation,
in which you could have found traces of intelligence much beyond common animal instinct and mere contrivance to exist? The proud and unhappy monarch looked over this vast assemblage, and, with a sickening and gloomy sensibility, wept to think that all the individuals of it would be dead in less than a hundred years. But what they did die ? What effect could their death have upon the world? They had done nothing for it. They were capable of doing nothing for it. Excepting that the physical strength of the empire would be somewhat diminished, the world would be no more affected by their death, than by the felling of so many trees in the forests of Scythia. They might have gone with the armies of locusts, and perished on the shores of the Levant, the existence and the movements of the one, as well as the other, having been known to the world only by the desolations that marked their progress.
DEAR babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, Fill up the interspersed vacancies And momentary pauses of the thought ! My babe so beautiful ! it thrills my heart With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, And think that thou shalt learn far other love, And in far other scenes! For I was reared In the great city, pent ’mid cloisters dim, And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars. But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores, And mountain crags ; so shalt thou see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible