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ODE TO EVENING.
serve and assist you. Your friends will then be all those that know you and observe your sweetness of deportment. This practice, also, by inducing a habit of obliging, will fit you for society, and facilitate and assist your dealings with men in riper years.
Conduct to Inferiors.
11. Be courteous and affable to your inferiors, not proud nor scornful. To be courteous, even to the meanest, is a true index of a great and generous mind. But the insulting and scornful gentleman, who has been himself originally low, ignoble, or beggarly, makes himself ridiculous to his equals, and, by his inferiors, is repaid with scorn, contempt, and hatred.
LESSON CXXV. Ode to Evening.
1. IF aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
2. O, Nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired Sun,
3. Now air is hushed, save where the weak-eyed bat, With short, shrill shriek, flits by on leathern wing; Or where the beetle winds
His small but sullen horn,
4. As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path,
5. Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale, May not unseemly with its stillness suit;
As, musing slow, I hail
6. For, when thy folding-star arising shows
7. And many a nymph who wreaths her brows with sedge,
8. Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene;
9. Or, if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
10. And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires; And hears their simple bell; and marks o'er all Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.
11. While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,
12. While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves; Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air, Affrights thy shrinking train,
And rudely rends thy robes;
13. So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,
LESSON CXXVI. The Murderer.
THIS is the opening of the argument of the counsel on the part of the Commonwealth, in the case of Francis Knapp, charged with being an instigator of the murder of Joseph White of Salem, an aged and respectable man, found dead in his bed, and proved to have been murdered by an assas sin, who stabbed him while asleep. The important truth, that crime cannot be effectually concealed, that it struggles in the breast of its perpetrator till it is exposed and confessed, is set forth with eloquence and power.
1. I VERY much regret, that it should have been thought necessary to suggest to you, that I am brought here to hurry you against the law, and beyond the evidence." I hope I have too much regard for justice, and too much respect for my own character, to attempt either; and, were I to make such an attempt, I am sure, that, in this court, nothing can be carried against the law, and that gentlemen, intelligent and just as you are, are not, by any power, to be hurried beyond the evidence.
2. Though I could well have wished to shun this occasion, I have not felt at liberty to withhold my professional assistance, when it is supposed that I might be in some degree useful in investigating and discovering the truth respecting this most extraordinary murder. It has seemed to be a duty, incumbent on me, as on every other citizen, to do my best, and my utmost, to bring to light the perpetrators of this crime. Against the prisoner at the bar, as an individual, I cannot have the slightest prejudice. I would not do him the smallest injury or injustice. But I do not affect to be indifferent to the discovery, and the punishment, of this deep guilt. I cheerfully share in the opprobrium, how much soever it may be, which is cast on those who feel and manifest an anxious concern, that all who had a part in planning, or a hand in executing, this deed of midnight assassination, may be brought to answer for their enormous crime, at the bar of public justice. 3. Gentlemen, it is a most extraordinary case. In some respects, it has hardly a precedent anywhere; certainly none in our New England history. This bloody drama exhibited no suddenly excited, ungovernable rage. The actors in it were not surprised by any lion-like temptation, springing upon their virtue, and overcoming it, before resistance could begin. Nor did they do the deed to glut savage vengeance,
or satiate long-settled and deadly hate. It was a cool, calculating, money-making murder. It was all" hire and salary, not revenge." It was the weighing of money against life; the counting out of so many pieces of silver, against so many ounces of blood.
4. An aged man, without an enemy in the world, in his own house, and in his own bed, is made the victim of a butcherly murder, for mere pay. Truly, here is a new lesson for painters and poets. Whoever shall hereafter draw. the portrait of murder, if he will show it as it has been exhibited in one example, where such example was last to have been looked for, in the very bosom of our New England society, let him not give it the grim visage of Moloch, the brow knitted by revenge, the face black with settled hate, and the bloodshot eye, emitting livid fires of malice. Let him draw, rather, a decorous, smooth-faced, bloodless demon; a picture in repose, rather than in action; not so much an example of human nature, in its depravity, and in its paroxysms of crime, as an infernal nature, a fiend, in the ordinary display and developement of his character.
5. The deed was executed with a degree of self-possession and steadiness, equal to the wickedness with which it was planned. The circumstances, now clearly in evidence, spread out the whole scene before us. Deep sleep had fallen on the destined victim, and on all beneath his roof:healthful old man to whom sleep was sweet, -the first sound slumbers of the night held him in their soft but strong embrace.
6. The assassin enters, through the window already prepared, into an unoccupied apartment. With noiseless foot he paces the lonely hall, half lighted by the moon; he winds up the ascent of the stairs, and reaches the door of the chamber. Of this he moves the lock, by soft and continued pressure, till it turns on its hinges without noise; and he enters, and beholds his victim before him. The room was uncommonly open to the admission of light. The face of the innocent sleeper was turned from the murderer, and the beams of the moon, resting on the gray locks of his aged temple, showed him where to strike. The fatal blow is given! and the victim passes, without a struggle, or a motion, from the repose of sleep to the repose of death!
7. It is the assassin's purpose to make sure work; and he
yet plies the dagger, though it was obvious that life had been destroyed by the blow of the bludgeon. He even raises the aged arm, that he may not fail in his aim at the heart, and replaces it again over the wounds of the poniard! To finish the picture, he explores the wrist for the pulse! He feels for it, and ascertains that it beats no longer! It is accomplished. The deed is done. He retreats, retraces his steps to the window, passes out through it, as he came in, and escapes. He has done the murder, no eye has seen him, no ear has heard him. The secret is his it is safe!
8. Ah! gentlemen, that was a dreadful mistake. Such a secret can be safe nowhere. The whole creation of God has neither nook nor corner, where the guilty can bestow it, and say it is safe. Not to speak of that eye which glances through all disguises, and beholds everything, as in the splendor of noon, such secrets of guilt are never safe from detection even by men. True it is, generally speaking, that "murder will out." True it is, that Providence hath so ordained, and doth so govern things, that those who break the great law of Heaven, by shedding man's blood, seldom succeed in avoiding discovery.
9. Especially, in a case exciting so much attention as this, discovery must come, and will come, sooner or later. A thousand eyes turn at once to explore every man, every thing, every circumstance, connected with the time and place; a thousand ears catch every whisper; a thousand excited minds intensely dwell on the scene, shedding all their light, and ready to kindle the slightest circumstance into a blaze of discovery. Meantime the guilty soul cannot keep its own secret. It is false to itself; or rather it feels an irresistible impulse of conscience to be true to itself. It labors under its guilty possession, and knows not what to do with it. The human heart was not made for the residence of such an inhabitant. It finds itself preyed on by a torment, which it dares not acknowledge to God or
10. A vulture is devouring it, and it can ask no assistance or sympathy, either from heaven or earth. The secret which the murderer possesses soon comes to possess him; and like the evil spirits, of which we read, it overcomes him, and leads him whithersoever it will. He feels it beat