Celebrated Ballad,


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It has been justly objected, with regard to : material and the most elaborate forms that the public idea of the means of literary culture mere pride and vanity can compass or devise. in our country, that we are too fond of building And this is not mere empty talk or æsthetic our colleges of brick and stone, instead of lay- dreaming. The higher and more perfect the ing their more solid foundations in professors cultivation of mind and taste which the Ameriand students. We certainly do practically give can traveller carries with him into the western our assent to the vulgar notion that showy country, the more of true and touching beauty buildings are of the first importance in our will he see in the log schoolhouse that greets seminaries of learning, able teachers only of him, in some little unexpected clearing, as he the second. Funds that would bring talent takes his solitary way through the forest. He from another hemisphere, or call it into action has passed, it may be, many a noble farm, within our own borders, are often buried in with its fenced fields and ample barns, its monstrous fabrics, which wait useless for years woodlands resounding with the axe, and its until new means can be raised for filling them chambers vocal with the spinning-wheel; he with the teachers and pupils who are their ulti | has seen the owner amid his labourers, sharing mate object; and state pride is strangely grati- or directing their profitable toil; he has sat at fied by gazing at these memorials of one of the hospitable boards, spread with the luxury of many blunders of our materialism.

rural comfort thus provided, and inspected But there is a class of educational edifices to mills and factories, promising as Californian which no such objection can be made. The log rivers; but all this had reference only to the schoolhouse in the deep woods, is a far nobler material and the perishable. This was only proof of intellectual aspiration than any huge the body whereof that uncouth log schoolhouse empty college building of them all. Its gro- typifies the soul. The soul can do without the tesque outline has, for the eye of the thoughtful body, but the body becomes a loathsome mass patriot, a grace that mere columns and arches without the soul. Indeed all this smiling plenty, can never give-the grace of earnestness, of a this warm industry, this breathing quiet, is the purpose truly lofty in its seeming humility. A fruit of the log schoolhouse, for did not public log schoolhouse is the veritable temple of learn- spirit, general intelligence and piety emanate ing and religion, without the remotest idea of from that humble source ? paltry ornament; devoted, in naked simplicity, We will not say that as soon as the settler to an idea which is its consecration and its has a roof over his head he thinks of a schoolbeauty. “Do the people need place to pray, house in which public meetings may be held, and calls to hear His word ?” says Ruskin, in for in truth he ascertains the probability of that delightful latest book of his, * “ then it is such a building, before he selects a site for h no time for smoothing pillars or carving pul- homestead. As soon as a tree is felled, a schoolpits; let us first have enough of walls and house is thought of, and the whole neighbourroofs"--and no doubt a truer dignity attends hood are at once, and for once, of one accord the roughest erection that has a truly high in erecting it. It is a rough enough thing when purpose, than can be expressed in the richest it is done, for your backwoodsman looks only

to the main point in everything, and dreams • The Seven Lamps of Architecture.

not of superfluity. He means that the roof shall shed rain, and the piled sides keep the , derous trunks and green embracing arms in wind out, and the floor afford dry footing. He the midst of which it generally stands. But, acputs in windows for light, and benches to sit cepting literally the poet's idea—“the groves upon, and a pulpit or rostrum from which a were God's first temples," we cut down the speaker may be well heard. Then there is a grove to make our temple, yet inconsistently great stove for the long winter, and sometimes,"clear" the space about it, partly for the sake —not always, unfortunately,--some shelter for of the necessary fuel, partly to make the place waiting steeds. But a thought of symmetry, look civilized! It is hard to get a few trees of smoothing, of decoration-never intrudes. left for the children to sit under in the summer Architecture, which begins after every purpose noon-spell. There is a savage rudeness in this, of mere use in a building is provided for, is but it is in accordance with the leading idea of out of the question here. Whoever would ad “subduing" the country, and there is no surer mire the log schoolhouse, must bring the beauty way of putting a western settler in a passion, in his own mind.

than talking to him about sparing a few trees, Yet it is hardly fair to say so, either. Letting for any purpose. He will plant them, perthe inside go, with its cave-like roughness, the haps, but he will never consent to leave them outer aspect is not altogether devoid of the standing where nature placed them. When he beauty which the artist loves. As to colour, sits in the schoolhouse on Sunday, listening to nothing can be finer, after a year's mellowing the sermon with his ears, while his mind, perWhen the tender spring green clothes the trees haps, strays off into that unseen which the around it, its rich brown and gray earthy tints week's cares and toils are apt to banish, or make the most delicious harmony, and its un- finds itself still entangled in those cares and dulating outlines no discord. If log houses toils, he loves to look through the windows, or have not yet come well into pictures, it is be- the chinks, at the distant woods. Distant, they cause no artistic imagination has yet been please and soothe him; he feels, if he does not warmed by them. We remember one, in a pic- hear, their soft music; he sees their gentle ture of Cole's, but it was the poorest, nakedest waving, and appreciates in some degree the thing that could be, more literal than reality power of their beauty; but near, the associaitself. It was as different from the true-i. e. tion is unpleasant. His hands yet ache with the ideal log house—as a builder's draught of the week's chopping, which must be forgotten the Parthenon from a Raffaelesque picture of that Sunday may be Sunday; and the vicinity it. Such cold correctness is death to typical of huge trunks is suggestive only of labour. A beauty, for it does not recognise a soul in the wide bare space about the building has, to his inanimate. The painter had only seen log imagination, the dignity of a field of triumph. houses, he had never felt them, as he had the It seems to afford sanction to the Sabbath repose. woods and waters that he painted so well. A Within, neither paint nor plaster interferes Daguerreotype representation of a log house with the impression of absolute rusticity. would be, to all intents and purposes, a libel, | Desks of the rudest form line the sides, makfor every tint of earth and sky has peculiar ing a hollow oblong, in the middle of which business in a true picture of this exquisitely stands the stove, surrounded by low, long characteristic and interesting object in western benches for the little ones. On week-days scenery. Ruskin talks of Paul Veronese's these are filled with pinafored urchins, who painting, not, like Landseer, a dog “wrought sit most of the time gazing at the pieces of sky out with exquisite dexterity of handling, and they can discern through the high windows, or minute attention to all the accidents of curl playing with bits of stick or straw, too insigniand gloss, which can give appearance of reality, ficant to attract the keen, stern eye of the while the hue and power of the sunshine, &c., master, who would at once pounce upon a are utterly neglected”—but “the essence of button or a marble. One by one these minims dog;" now we want a painter who can give us are called up to be alphabetized, or spell “C-2-1, the essence of log house, and particularly of pussy,” in the picture-book. Spelling and log schoolhouse, or we would as soon see a arithmetic are decidedly the favourite studies in wood-pile painted. That the Swiss chalet should most district schools; writing is troublesome, have proved more inspiring to American paint and reading is expected to come by nature. A ers, shows the blinding power of prejudice, or half wild, half plaintive sound fills the air, the the illusion of strangeness; though, to be sure, sound of recitation, which is generally an irkwe have not Alps to tower above our primal some business on both sides, the teacher too edifices.

| often conscious of utter incompetency and The enmity felt by the backwoodsman against hating the task, the pupil feeling the incompetrees too often exhibits itself in the vicinity of tency of the teacher, at least enough to be certhe schoolhouse, which ought to be shaded in tain that he himself is in hopeless circumsummer, and shielded in winter, by the pon- stances as far as “book-larnin'” is concerned.

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