網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

therefore, are higher, Pope continues longor on the wing. If of Dryden's fire the blaze is brighter, of Pope's the heat is more regular and constant. Dryden often sur

passes expectation, and Pope never falls below it. Dryden 5 is read with frequent astonishment, and Pope with perpetual delight.

This parallel will, I hope, when it is well considered, be found just; and if the reader should suspect me, as I

suspect myself, of some partial fondness for the memory of 10 Dryden, let him not too hastily condemn me ; for medita

tion and inquiry may, perhaps, show him the reasonableuess of my determination.

XII. — OBLIGATIONS OF AMERICA TO ENGLAND.

EVERETT. EDWARD EVERETT was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, April 11, 1794, was graduated at Harvard College in 1811, and was settled over the church in Brattle Street, in Boston, as successor to Mr. Buckminster, in 1813. In 1815, ho was appointed professor of Greek literature in Harvard College, and immediately proceeded to Europe, with a view of making an ample preparation for the duties of his new position. He remained in Europe about four and a half years, during which period he went through an extensive course both of travel and study. Upon his return, he assumed the duties of his professorship, and also those of editor of the “North American Review," and continued in the discharge of both till his election to the House of Representatives, in 1824. He remained in Congress till 1835, in which year he was chosen governor of Massachusetts. To this office he was re-elected for three successive years. In 1841, he was appointed minister plenipotentiary to the court of St. James, and he discharged the duties of that post till 1845. Upon his return to America, he was chosen President of Harvard College, and held that office till 1849. He was secretary of state for a short period, at the close of Mr. Fillmore's administration, and in 1853 was chosen to the Senate of the United States by the legislature of Massachusetts, but resigned his place the next year, on account of ill health, and resided as a private citizen in Boston till his la mented death, January 15, 1865.

The variety of Mr. Everett's life and employments was but a type of the versatility of his powers, and the wide range of his cultivation. He was one of the most finished men of our time. His works consist mainly of occasional discourses and speeches, and of contributions to the “ North American Review," - the last of which are very numerous, and deal with a great diversity of subjects, including Greek and German literature, the fine arts, politics, political economy, history, and American literature. His orations and speeches have boon published in three large octavo volumes. His style is rich and glowing,

but always under the control of sound judgment and good taste. His learning and scholarship are never needlessly obtruded; they are woven into the web of his discourse, and not embossed upon its surface. He wrote under the inspiration of a generous and comprehensive patriotism, and his speeches were eminently suited to create and sustain a just and high-toned national sentiment. Whatever he did was done well; and his brilliant natural powers through life were trained and aided by those habits of vigorous industry which are falsely supposed by many to be found only in connection with dulness and mediocrity.

The following extract is from an oration delivered at Plymouth, December 22, 1824.)

What citizen of our republic does not feel, what reflecting American does not acknowledge, the incalculable advantages derived to this land out of the deep fountains

of civil, intellectual, and moral truth, from which we have 5 drawn in England ? What American does not feel proud

that his fathers were the countrymen of Bacon, of Newton, and of Locke? Who does not know that, while every pulse of civil liberty in the heart of the British empire

beat warm and full in the bosom of our ancestors, the 10 sobriety, the firmness, and the dignity, with which the

cause of free principles struggled into existence here, constantly found encouragement and countenance from the friends of liberty there?

Who does not remember that, when the pilgrims went 15 over the sea, the prayers of the faithrul British confessors,

in all the quarters of their dispersion, went over with them, while their aching eyes were strained till the stars of hope should go up in the western skies? And who will ever

forget that, in that eventful struggle which severed these 20 youthful republics from the British crown, there was not

heard, throughout our continent in arms, a voice which.
spoke louder for the rights of America, than that of Burke
or of Chatham within the walls of the British parliament,

and at the foot of the British throne ? 25 No: for myself, I can truly say that, after my native

land, I feel a tenderness and a reverence for that of my fathers. The pride I take in my own country makes me respect that from which we are sprung. In touching the

soil of England, I seem to return, like a descendant, to the old family seat; to come back to the abode of an aged and venerable parent. I acknowledge this great

consanguinity of nations. The sound of my native lan5 guage, beyond the sea, is as music to my ear, beyond the richest strains of Tuscan softness or Castilian majesty.

I am not yet in a land of strangers, while surrounded by the manners, the habits, and the institutions, under

which I have been brought up. I wander, delighted, 10 through a thousand scenes which the historians and the

poets have made familiar to us, of which the names are interwoven with our earliest associations. I tread .vith reverence the spots where I can retrace the footsteps of

our suffering fathers; — the pleasant land of their birth 15 has a claim on my heart. It seems to me a classic, yea,

a holy land, — rich in the memory of the great and good, the champions and the martyrs of liberty, the exiled heralds of truth ; and richer, as the parent of this land of

promise in the west. 20 I am not — I need not say I am not — the panegyrist

of England. I am not dazzled by her riches, nor awed by her power. The sceptre, the mitre, and the coronet, — stars, garters, and blue ribbons, — seem to me poor

things for great men to contend for. Nor is my admira25 tion awakened by her armies mustered for the battles of

Europe, her navies overshadowing the ocean, nor her empire, grasping the farthest east. It is these, and the price of guilt and blood by which they are too often main

tained, which are the cause why no friend of liberty can 30 salute her with undivided affections.

But it is the cradle and the refuge of free principles, H ugh often persecuted; the school of religious liberty, the more precious for the struggles through which it has

passed; the tombs of those who have reflected honor on 35 all who speak the English tongue; it is the birthplace of

our fathers, the home of the pilgrim. It is these which I

love and venerate in England. I should feel ashamed of an enthusiasm for Italy and Greece, did I not also feel it for a land like this. In an American, it would seem to me degenerate and ungrateful to hang with passion upon 5 the traces of Homer and Virgil, and follow without emo

tion the nearer and plainer footsteps of Shakspeare and Milton. I should think him cold in his love for his native land, who felt no melting in his heart for that other native country which holds the ashes of his forefathers.

XIII. — “GIVE ME THREE GRAINS OF CORN,

MOTHER.”

Miss EDWARDS. [This powerful and pathetic piece was suggested by one of the many painful incidents of the memorable Irish famine of 1846. The title was the last request of an Irish lad to his mother, as he was dying of starvation. She found three grains in a corner of his ragged jacket, and gave them to him. It was all sha bad. The whole family were perishing from famine.] 1 Give me three grains of corn, mother,

Only three grains of corn ;
It will keep the little life I have,

Till the coming of the morn.
I am dying of hunger and cold, mother,

Dying of hunger and cold,
And half the agony of such a death

My lips have never told.

[ocr errors]

It has gnawed like a wolf, at my heart, mother,

A wolf that is fierce for blood, —
All the livelong day, and the night beside,

Gnawing for lack of food.
I dreamed of bread in my sleep, mother,

And the sight was heaven to see, —
I awoke with an eager, famishing lip,

But you had no bread for me.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

The queen has lands and gold, mother,

The queen has lands and gold,
While you are forced to your empty breast

A skeleton babe to hold, —
A babe that is dying of want, mother,

As I am dying now,
With a ghastly look in its sunken eye,

And famine upon its brow.

What has poor Ireland done, mother,

What has poor Ireland done,
That the world looks on, and sees us starve.

Perishing, one by one ?
Do the men of England care not, mother,

The great men and the high,
For the suffering sons of Erin's isle,

Whether they live or die ?

[ocr errors]

There is many a brave heart here, mother,

Dying of want and cold,
While only across the channel, mother,

Are many that roll in gold;
There are rich and proud men there, mother,

With wondrous wealth to view,
And the bread they fling to their dogs to-nighi

Would give life to me and you.

« 上一頁繼續 »