صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

6. “Why have I not made these sage reflections, this wise resolve, sooner? Can such a simple result spring only from the long and intricate process of experience ? Alas! it is not till time, with reckless hand, has torn out half the leaves from the book of human life, to light the fires of passion with, from day to day, that man begins to see that the leaves which remain are few in number, and to remember, faintly at first, and then more clearly, that

of that book was written a story of happy innocence, which he would fain read over again. Then come listless irresolution, and the inevitable inaction of despair ; or else the firm resolve to record upon the leaves that still remain, a more noble history than the child's story, with which the book began.

upon
the earlier

pages

LONGFELLOW. HENRY WADSWORTI LONGFELLOW was born in the city of Portland, Maine, on the 27th of February, 1807. He entered Bowdoin College at fourteen, and graduated in due course. He soon after commenced the study of law, in the office of his father, the Hon. Stephen Longfellow, but being appointed professor of modern languages at Bowdoin, in 1826, he sailed for Europe to prepare himself for the duties of his office, where he passed three years and a half. On his return, he entered upon the labors of instruction. Mr. Longfellow being elected professor of modern languages and literature in Harvard College, in 1835, resigned his place in Brunswick, and went a second time to Europe, to make himself better acquainted with the subjects of his studies in Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. On his return home, in 1836, he immediately entered upon his labors at Cambridge, where he has since resided. In 1854 he resigned his professorship at Harvard. His earliest poems were written for“The United States Gazette," printed in Boston, while he was an under-graduate, from which period he has been recognized as among the first writers of prose and verse of the nineteenth century. During his subsequent residence at Brunswick, he wrote several elegant and very able papers for the “North American Review," translated “Coplas de Manrique,” and published “Outre Mer,” a collection of agreeable tales and sketches, chiefly written during his first residence abroad. “Hyperion,” a romance, appeared in 1839, and “Kavanagh,” another prose work, in 1848. The first collection of his poems was published in 1839, entitled “Voices of the Night.” His “Ballads and other Poems” followed in 1841; “The Spanish Student," a play, in 1843; “Poems on Slavery," in 1844; “The Belfry of Bruges, and other Poems," in 1845; “Evangeline, a Tale of Arcadie,” in 1847; “ The Sea and Fireside,” in 1849; “The Golden Legend,” in 1851 ; “Hiawatha,” in 1855; and “Tales of a Wayside Inn," in 1863. In 1845; he published "The Poets and Poetry of Europe," the most complete and satisfactory work of the kind that has ever appeared in any language.

“The Skeleton in Armor ”is one of the longest and most unique of his original poems. "Hiawatha,” his longest poem, which is purely original and American, has been republished in England, and has met with a popularity, both in Europe and America, not surpassed by any poem of the present century. The high finish, gracefulness, and vivid beauty of his style, and the moral purity and earnest humanity portrayed in his verse, excite the sympathy and reach the heart of the public.

III.

114. ODE TO ADVERSITY.

AUGHTER of Jove, relentless power,

Whose iron scourge and torturing hour

The bad affright, afflict the best !
Bound in thy ădamăntine chain,
The proud are taught to taste of pain ;

And purple tyrants vainly groan
With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone.
2. When first thy sire to send on earth

Virtue, his darling child, designed, To thee he gave the heavenly birth,

And både to form her infant mind. Stern, ruggèd nurse! thy riġid lore With patience many a year she borc:

What sõrrow was, thou băd’st her know, And from her own she learned to melt at others' woe. 3. Scared at thy frown terrific, fly

Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
Wild Laughter, Noise, and thoughtlèss Joy,

And leave us leisure to be good.
Light they disperse, and with them go
The summer friend, the flattering foe :

By vain Prosperity received, To her they vow their truth, and are again believed. 4. Wisdom in sable garb arrayed,

Immersed in rapturous thought profound,
And Měl'ancholy, silent maid,

With leaden eye that loves the ground,
Still on thy solemn steps attend :
Warm Charity, the general friend,

With Justice, to herself severe,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.
5. Oh! gently on thy suppliant's head,

Dread goddess, lay thy chāstening hand !

Not in thy Gorgon' terrors clad,

Nor circled with the vengeful band
(As by the im'pious thou art seen),
With thundering voice, and threatening mien,

With screaming Hòrror's funeral cry,
Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty.
6. Thy form benign,' O goddess, wear,

Thy milder influence impart;
Thy philosophic train be there

To soften, not to wound,' my heart.
The generous spark extinct revive;
Teach me to love, and to forgive;

Exact, my own defects to scan;
What others are, to feel ; and know myself a man.

GRAY. THOMAS GRAY was born in London in 1716. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge. When his college education was completed, Horace Walpole in. duced him to accompany him in a tour through France and Italy; but a misun. derstanding taking place, Gray returned to England in 1741. His father being dead, he went to Cambridge to take his degree in civil law, though he was possessed of sufficient means to enable him to dispense with the labor of his profession. He settled himself at Cambridge for the remainder of his days, only leaving home when he made tours to Wales, Scotland, and the lakes of Westmoreland, and when he passed three years in London for access to the library of the British Museum. His life thenceforth was that of a scholar. His “Ode to Eton College,” published in 1747, attracted little notice; but the “Elegy in a Country Church-yard,” which appeared in 1749, became at once, as it will always continue to be, one of the most popular of all poems. Most of his odes were written in the course of three years following 1753; and the publication of the collection in 1757 fully established his reputation. His poems, flowing from an in. tense, though not fertile imagination, inspired by the most delicate poetic feeling, and elaborated into exquisite terseness of diction, are among the most splendid ornaments of English literature. His “Letters,” published after his death, are admirable specimens of English style, full of quiet humor, astute, though fastidious criticism, and containing some of the most picturesque pieces of de scriptive composition in the language. He became professor of modern history at Cambridge, in 1768. He died by a severe attack of the gout in 1771.

*Gorgon, the Gorgons, in heathen Euryale, and Medusa. The head of mythology, were frightful beings, the latter was so frightful that every that had hissing serpents instead of one who looked at it was changed hair upon their heads; and they had into stone. wings, brazen claws, and enormous 2 Be nign', gracious; kind. teeth. Their names were Stheno, 3 Wound, (w8nd).

IV.

115. LIFE.

"Madinahes, glorious in the grave ; solemnizing nativities

and funerals with equal luster, and not forgetting ceremonies of bravery in the infamy of his nature !” Thus spake one who möcked while he wept at man's estate, and gracefully tempered the high scoffings of phīlosophy with the profound compassion of religion. As the sun's proudèst moment is his latest, and as the forest puts on its brightest robe to die in, so does man summon ostentation to invest the hour of his weakness, and pride survives when power has departed ; and what, we may ask, does this instinctive contempt for the honors of the dead proclaim, except the utter vanity of the glories of the living ?-for mean indeed must be the real state of man, and false the vast assumptions of his life, when the poorest pāģeantry of a decent burial strikes upon the heart as a mockery of hělplessness.

2. Certain it is that pomp chiefly waits upon the beginning and the end of life : what lies between, may zither raise a sigh or wake a laugh, for it mostly partakes of the littleness of one and the sadness of the other. The monuments of man's blessedness and of man's wretchedness lie side by side: we can not look for the e without discovering the other. The echo of joy is the moan of despair, and the cry of anguish is stifled in rejoicing. To make a monarch, there must be slaves; and that one may triumph, many must be weak.

3. To one limiting his belief within the bounds of his observation, and “reasoning” but from what he “knows,” the condition of man presents mysteries which thought can not explain. The dignity and the destiny of man seem utterly at vāriänce. He turns from contem'plating a monument of genius to inquire for the genius which produced it, and finds that while the work has survived, the workman has perished for ages. The meanest work of man outlives the noblest work of God. The sculptures of Phidias endure, where the dust of the artist has vanished from the earth. Man can immortalize all things but himself.

4. But, for my own part, I can not help thinking that our high estimation of ourselves is the grand error in our account. Surely, it is argued, a creature so ingeniously (în jēn' yŭs li) fashioned and so bountifully furnished, has not been created but for lofty ends. But cast your eye on the humblest rose of the garden, and it may teach a wiser lesson. There you behold contrivance and ornament-in every leaf the finest veins, the most delicate odor, and a per'fume ex’quisite beyond imitation ; yệt all this is but a toy-a plaything of nature; and surely she whose resources are so boundless that upon the gaud of a summer day she can throw away such lavish wealth, steps not beyond her commonest toil when she forms of the dust a living man. When will man learn the lesson of his own insignificance ?

5. Immortal man! thy blood flows freely and fully, and thou standèst a Napoleon ; thou reclinest a Shakspeare !-it quickens its movement, and thou liëst a parched and fretful thing, with thy mind furied by the phantoms of fever!-it retards its action but a little, and thou crawlest a crouching, soulless mass, the bright world a blank, dead vision to thine eye. Verily, 0 man, thou art a glorious and godlike being !

6. Tell life's proudest tale : what is it? A few attempts successless ; a few crushed or möldered hopes; much paltry fretting; a little sleep, and the story is concluded; the curtain falls -the farce is over. The world is not a place to live in, but to die in. It is a house that has but two chāmbers ; a lāzar and & charnel-room only for the dying and the dead. There is not a spot on the broad earth on which man can plant his foot and affirm with confidence, “No mortal sleeps benēatih !”

7. Seeing then that these things are, what shall we say? Shall we exclaim with the gay-hearted Grecian, "Drink to-day, for tomõrrow we are not?” Shall we calmly float down the cŭrrent, smiling if we can, silent when we must, lulling cares to sleep by the music of gentle enjoyment, and passing dream-like through a land of dreams? No! dream-like as is our life, there is in it one reality-our DUTY. Let us cling to that, and distress may overwhelm, but can not disturb us—may destroy, but can not hurt us: the bitterness of earthly things and the shortness of earthly life will cease to be evils, and begin to be blessings.

WALLACE. HORACE BINNEY WALLACE was born in Philadelphia on the 26th of February, 1817. He passed

the first two years of his collegiate course at the University of Pennsylvania, and the residue at Princeton College, where he was graduated in 1835. He studied law with great thoroughness, and at the age of twenty-seven, prepared notes, that have been commended

by the highest legal authorities

, for Smith's Selections of Leading Cases in various Branches of the Law," and

« السابقةمتابعة »