網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

freedom with destruction, — that England missed the sobriety, the self-command, the perfect soundness of judgment, the perfect rectitude of intention, to which the history of revolutions furnishes no parallel, or furnishes a a parallel in Washington alone.

LXXXVIL —THE PILGRIM FATHERS.

Sprague.

fChArL.ES Sprague was born in Boston, October 25,1791, and has constantly resided here. He made himself first known as a poet by several prize prologues at the opening of theatres, which had a polish of numbers and a vigor of expression not often found in compositions of this class. In 1823 he was the successful competitor for a prize offered for the best ode to be recited at a Shakspeare pageant at the Boston Theatre. This is the most fervid and brilliant of all his poems, and has much of the lyric rush and glow. In 1829 he recited a poem called " Curiosity," before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Harvard College, which is polished in its versification, and filled with carefully wrought and beautiful pictures. In 1830 he pronounced an ode at the centennial celebration of the settlement of Boston, (from which the following extract is taken,) which is a finished and animated performance. He has also written many smaller pieces, of much merit.

Mr. Sprague presents an encouraging example of the union of practical business habits with the tastes of a scholar and the sensibilities of a poet. He wa* for many years cashier of a bank, and performed his prosaic duties with iia much attentiveness and skill as if he had never written a line of verse ]

1' Behold! they come — those sainted forms,
Unshaken through the strife of storms;Heaven's winter cloud hangs coldly down,
And earth puts on its rudest frown;But colder, ruder, was the hand
That drove them from their own fair land;
Their own fair land — Refinement's chosen seat,
Art's trophied dwelling, Learning's green retreat. —-
By valor guarded, and by victory crowned,
For all, but gentle Charity, renowned.
With streaming eye yet steadfast heart,
Even from that land they dared to part*
And burst each tender tie, —

Haunts, where their sunny youth was passed.
Homes, where they fondly hoped at last

In peaceful age to die.
Friends, kindred, comfort, all, they spurned,

Their fathers' hallowed graves,
And to a world of darkness turned,

Beyond a world of waves.

2 When Israel's race from bondage fled,
Signs from on high the wanderers led;
But here — Heaven hung no symbol here,
Their steps to guide, their souls to cheer;
They saw, through sorrow's lengthening night,
Nought but the fagot's guilty light;The cloud they gazed at was the smoke
That round their murdered brethren broke.
A fearful path they trod, And dared a fearful doom,
To build an altar to their God,
And find a quiet tomb.

3 They come ; — that coming who shall tell?
The eye may weep, the heart may swell,
But the poor tongue in vain essays A fitting note for them to raise.
We hear the after-shout that rings
For them who smote the power of kings:
The swelling triumph all would share,
But who the dark defeat would dare,
And boldly meet the wrath and woe
That wait the unsuccessful blow,?
It were an envied fate, we deem,
To live a land's recorded theme,

When we are in the tomb;
We, too, might yield the joys of home,
And waves of winter darkness roam,

And tread a shore of gloom, — Knew we those waves, through coming time, Should roll our names to every clime;Felt we that millions on that shore Should stand, our memory to adore. But no glad vision burst in light Upon the Pilgrims' aching sight;Their hearts no proud hereafter swelled;Deep shadows veiled the way they held; The yell of vengeance was their trump of fame, Their monument, a grave without a name. Yet, strong in weakness, there they stand On yonder ice-bound rock, Stern and resolved, that faithful band, To meet Fate's rudest shock.

In grateful adoration now, Upon the barren sands they bow. What tongue e'er woke such prayer As bursts in desolation there?What arm of strength e'er wrought such power As waits to crown that feeble hour? There into life an infant empire springs!There falls the iron from the soul;There Liberty's young accents roll Up to the King of kings I 'To fair creation's farthest bound That thrilling summons yet shall sound;The dreaming nations shall awake, And to their centre earth's old kingdoms shake;Pontiff and prince, your sway Must crumble from that day:

Before the loftier throne of Heaven The hand is raised, the pledge is given, One monarch to obey, one creed to own, — That monarch, God; that creed. His word alono.

5 Spread out earth's holiest records here,
Of days and deeds to reverence dear;A zeal like this what pious legends tell?
On kingdoms built
In blood and guilt,
The worshippers of vulgar triumph dwell;
But what exploit with theirs shall page,
Who rose to bless their kind—
Who left their nation and their age,
Man's spirit to unbind?
Who boundless seas passed o'er,
And boldly met, in every path,
Famine, and frost, and savage wrath,
To dedicate a shore,
Where Piety's meek train might breathe their vow,
And seek their Maker with an unshamed brow;
Where Liberty's glad race might proudly come,
And set up there an everlasting home?

6 O many a time it hath been told,
The story of these men of old:
For this fair Poetry hath wreathed

Her sweetest, purest flower;
For this proud Eloquence hath breathed

His strain of loftiest power;
Devotion, too, hath lingered round
Each spot of consecrated ground,

And hill and valley blessed —
There, where our banished fathers strayed,
There, where they loved and wept and prayed,

There, where their ashes rest, —
And never may they rest unsung,
While Liberty can find a tongue.
Twine, Gratitude, a wreath for them
More deathless than the diadem,

Who, to life's noblest end, Gave up life's noblest powers,
And bade the legacy descend Down, down to us and ours.

LXXXVIIL—THE INTELLECTUAL INFLUENCE OF GREECE.

Feltox.

[cornelius Conway Felton was borm in West Newbury, Massachusetts, November 6,1807, and died February 26,1862. He was graduated at Harvard College in 1827. In 1834 he was elected Eliot Professor of Greek Literature in Harvard College, which office he retained till I860, when he was elevated to the presidency of the same institution. He was a man of extensive learning ind great intellectual activity, warmly interested in the cause of education, and much beloved in all the relations of life. He was the editor of various works in the department of classical learning, and a frequent contributor to the periodical literature of the country.

The following extract is from an address before the Alumni of Harvard College, delivered July 20, 1854.

Parnassus is a lofty mountain in the central part of Greece, and Acrocorinthos a high hill overhanging the city of Corinth. The Acropolis was the citadel of Athens. The Cephissus was a small stream in Athens. Agora is the Greek word for market-place. The Hill of Mars, or Areopagus, was a small eminence in Athens. The Parthenon was a temple of Minerva, built of marble, the ruins of which are still remaining. Marathon was the scene of a battle, and the bay of Salamis of a sea-fight, between the Greeks and Persians.]

An ancient orator, claiming for his beloved Athens the leadership among the states of Greece, rests his argument chiefly on her pre-eminence in those intellectual graces which embellish the present life of man, and her inculca5 tion of those doctrines which gave to the initiated a sweeter hope of a life beyond the present.

During the long existence of the Athenian Republic, amidst the interruptions of foreign and domestic wars, — her territory overrun by Hellenic and Barbarian armies, 10 her forests burned, her fields laid waste, her temples levelled in the dust, — in those tumultuous ages of her democratic existence, the fire of her creative genius never

« 上一頁繼續 »