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believed that morality had nothing to do with religion; and Christians of the Middle Ages, that religion had nothing to do with morality; but, at the present day, we acknowledge how intimate and important is their connection. It is not views of moral fitness, by which the minds of men are at first to be affected, but by connecting their duties with the feelings and motives, the hopes and fears, of Christianity. Both are necessary: the latter, to prompt and invigorate virtue; the former, to give it the beauty of knowledge and taste. It is heat that causes the germ to spring and flourish in the heart; but it is light that imparts verdure to its foliage, and their hues to its flowers.
The moral sensibility of Tacitus is, we think, that particular circumstance by which he so deeply engages his reader, and is perhaps distinguished from every other writer in the same department of literature; and the scenes he was to describe peculiarly required this quality. His writings comprise a period the most corrupt within the annals of man. The reigns of the Neros, and many of their successors, seemed to have brought together the opposite vices of extreme barbarism and excessive luxury; the most ferocious cruelty and slavish submission; voluptuousness the most effeminate, and sensuality worse than brutal. Not only all the general charities of life, but the very ties of nature, were annihilated, by a selfishness the most exclusively individual. The minions of power butchered the parent, and the child hurried to thank the emperor for his goodness. The very fountains of abomination seemed to have been broken up, and to have poured over the face of society a deluge of pollution and crimes. How important, then, was it for posterity that the records of such an era should be transmitted by one in whose personal character there should be a redeeming virtue, who would himself feel, and awaken in his readers, that disgust and abhorrence which such scenes ought to excite | Such a one was Tacitus. There is in his narrative a seriousness approaching sometimes almost to melancholy, and sometimes bursting forth in expressions of virtuous indignation. He appears always to be aware of the general complexion of the subjects of which he is treating; and even when extraordinary instances of independence and integrity now and then present themselves, you perceive that his mind is secretly contrasting them with those vices with which his observation was habitually familiar. * * *
We have mentioned what appear to us the most striking characteristics of Tacitus. When compared with his great prede
cessor, he is no less excellent, ot essentially different. Livy is o
only a historian; Tacitus is also a philosopher. The former gives }. images; the latter, impressions. In the narration of events, ivy produces his effect by completeness and exact particularity; Tacitus, by selection and condensation. The one presents to you a panorama: you have the whole scene, with all its complicated movements and various appearances, vividly before you. The other shows you the most prominent and remarkable groups, and compensates in depth what he wants in minuteness. Livy hurries | into the midst of the battle, and leaves you to be borne along y its tide; Tacitus stands with you upon an eminence where you may have more tranquillity for #. observation; or, perhaps, when the armies have retired, walks with you over the field, points out to you the spot of each most interesting particular, and shares with |. those solemn and profound emotions which you have now the composure to feel.
Sensibility to beauty is in some degree common to all; but it is infinitely varied, according as it has been cultivated by habit and education. To the man whose taste has been formed on just principles, and who has been led to perceive and relish what is truly beautiful, a new world is opened. He looks abroad over nature, and contemplates the productions of art, with sentiments to which those who are destitute of this faculty are strangers. He perceives in the works of God, and in the contrivances of man, all the utility for which they were destined and adapted, in common with others; but besides this, his heart is filled with sentiments of the beautiful or the grand, according to the nature of the object. It is in literature that taste, in the more common use of the word, has its most extensive sphere, and most varied gratifications; yet, whether it be exercised on nature, the fine arts, or literature, we are aware how much depends on associations with life, feeling, and human character. Why does the traveller wander with such peculiar interest over the mountains and plains of Italy and Greece, but because every spot is consecrated by the memory of great events, or presents to him the memorials of departed genius Ž It is for this reason that poetry peoples even solitude and desolation with imaginary life; so that, in ancient days, every forest had its dryads, every fountain its nymphs, and the voice of the naiades was heard in the murmuring of the streams. It is partly in reference to the same principle that deserts and mountains, where all is barrenness and solitude, raise in the mind emotions of sublimity. It is a feeling of vastness and desolation that depends in a great degree on the absence of every thing having life or action. The mere modifications of nature are
beautiful; the human form from its just proportions, the human face from the harmonious combination of features and coloring; but it is only when this form is living and moving, and when this face is suffused with emotion and animated with intelligence, when the attitude and the look alike express the workings of the heart and mind, that we feel the perfect sentiment of beauty. Thus inanimate nature, and literature in its transcripts of the aspects of nature, become most interesting by association with life and action, and, above all, with man. It is from descriptions of man, considered as a moral being, that even literary taste receives many of its highest gratifications. There is a moral as well as natural beauty and grandeur. A rational agent, animated by high principles of virtue, exhibiting the most generous affections, and preferring on all occasions what is just to what is expedient, is the noblest picture which the hand of genius can present. Very few indeed are insensible to those fine touches of moral feeling which are given in our best writers; but their full effect requires not only an improved mind, but a heart in harmony with whatever is most excellent in our natures, and a lively susceptibility to moral greatness. This susceptibility is moral taste.
From Professor Frisbie's beautiful and finished fugitive poetry we select the following little gem:—
Ah, no! 'tis gone, 'tis gone, and never
Oh, I would sleep, would sleep forever,
John PIERPont was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, on the 6th of April, 1785, and received his collegiate education at Yale College, where he graduated in 1804. The next year he went to South Carolina, and was private tutor in the family of Colonel William Allston, where he commenced his legal studies. In 1809, he returned home, entered the celebrated law-school of his native town, and in 1812, having been admitted to the bar of Essex County, Massachusetts, opened an office in Newburyport. He soon, however, as other poets have done, abandoned the law, determining to find his pleasure and his occupation in literary pursuits; and in 1816 he published The Airs of Palestine, which was received with very great favor. At the close of that year, he entered the theological school of Harvard University, determined to devote himself to the ministry, and in April, 1819, was ordained as pastor of the Hollis Street Church, in Boston. In 1835 and 1836, he visited Europe for his health, going through the principal cities of England, France, and Italy, and extending his tour to the East, visiting Athens, Corinth, Constantinople, and Asia Minor. Soon after his return home, he collected and published, in 1840, all his poems, in one volume, in the preface to which he says, “If poetry is always fiction, there is no poetry in this book. It gives a true, though an all too feeble, expression of the author's feelings and faith, of his love of right, freedom, and man, and of his correspondent and most hearty hatred of every thing that is at war with them; and of his faith in the providence and gracious promises of God.” The longest poem of the volume is The Airs of Palestine. The subject is music, principally as connected with sacred history, but with occasional digressions into the land of mythology and romance. It has no unity of plan, but consists of a succession of brilliant pictures. Though this subject, so congenial to the “poet's verse,” had been often handled, from Pindar to Gray, yet our author, nothing daunted, did not shrink from trying his own powers upon it. It is enough to say that he has succeeded. For beauty of language, finish of versification, richness of classical and sacred allusions, and harmony of numbers, we consider that it takes rank among the very first of American poems and will be among those that will survive their century. But Mr. Pierpont has aimed at something more than gratifying his own scholarly tastes and charming his readers with the love of the beautiful. He is a reformer, a whole-hearted and a fearless one; and a large number of his fugitive pieces have been written to promote the holy causes of temperance and freedom. Mr. Pierpont has also prepared an excellent series of reading-books for schools:—The Little Learner, The
Young Reader, Introduction to National Reader, National Reader, and The Ane
rican First Claes Book.
CLASSICAL AND SACRED THEMES FOR MUSIC.
Where lies our path —though many a vista call, We may admire, but cannot tread them all. Where lies our path —a poet, and inquire What hills, what vales, what streams, become the lyre? See, there Parnassus lifts his head of snow; See at his foot the cool Cephissus flow; There Ossa rises; there Olympus towers; Between them, Tempe breathes in beds of flowers, Forever verdant; and there Peneus glides Through laurels, whispering on his shady sides. Your theme is Music: yonder rolls the wave Where dolphins snatch’d Arion from his grave, Enchanted by his lyre: Cithaeron's shade Is yonder seen, where first Amphion play'd Those potent airs, that, from the yielding earth, Charm'd stones around him, and gave cities birth. And fast by Haemus, Thracian Hebrus creeps O'er golden sands, and still for Orpheus weeps, Whose gory head, borne by the stream along, Was still melodious, and expired in song. There Nereids sing, and Triton winds his shell; There be thy path, for there the muses dwell.
No, no, a lonelier, lovelier path be mine: Greece and her charms I leave for Palestine. There, purer streams through happier valleys flow, And sweeter flowers on holier mountains blow. I love to breathe where Gilead sheds her balm; I love to walk on Jordan's banks of palm ; I love to wet my foot on Hermon's dews; I love the promptings of Isaiah's muse; In Carmel's holy grots I'll court repose, And deck my mossy couch with Sharon's deathless rose.
SONG OF THE SHEPHERDS.
While thus the shepherds watch'd the host of night, O'er heaven's blue concave flash'd a sudden light. The unrolling glory spread its folds divine O'er the green hills and vales of Palestine; And, lo! descending angels, hovering there, Stretch'd their loose wings, and in the purple air Hung o'er the sleepless guardians of the fold: When that high anthem, clear, and strong, and bold, On wavy paths of trembling ether ran:— “Glory to God, Benevolence to man,— Peace to the world:”—and in full concert came, From silver tubes and harps of golden frame, The loud and sweet response, whose choral strains Linger'd and languish’d on Judea's plains. Yon living lamps, charm'd from their chambers blue By airs so heavenly, from o skies withdrew :