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To town and tower, to down and dale,
Of Flodden's fatal field,
And broken was her shield!
XXII . — AUTUMN.
H. W. Beecher.
[henry Ward Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, Jnne 24,1811, graduated at Amherst College in 1834, studied theology under his father, the Rev. Lyman Beecher, and since 1847 has been pastor of the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, 21. Y. He is an eloquent and effective preacher, and as a lecturer to the people he enjoys an unrivalled popularity, earned by the happy combination of humor, pathos, earnestness, and genial sympathy with humanity, which his discourses present. He is a man of great energy of temperament, fervently opposed to every form of oppression and injustice, and with a poet's love of nature. His style is rich, glowing, and exuberant. The following extract is from the " Star Papers," a volume made up of papers which originally appeared in the " New York Independent."]
Once more I am upon this serene hill-top! The air is very clear, very still, and very solemn, or, rather, tenderly sad, in its serene brightness. It is not that moist spring air, full of the smell of wood, of the soil, and of the odor 5 of vegetation, which warm winds bring to us from the south. It is not that summer atmosphere, full of alternations of haze and fervent clearness, as if Nature were calling into life every day some influence for her myriad children; sometimes in showers, and sometimes with coer10 cive heat upon root and leaf; and, like a universal taskmaster, were driving up the hours to accomplish the labors of the year.
No! In these autumn days there is a sense of leisure and of meditation. The sun seems to look down upon the labors of its fiery hands with complacency. Be satisfied, O seasonable Sun! Thou hast shaped an ample year, and art garnering up harvests which well may swell thy re5 joicing heart with gracious gladness.
One who breaks off in summer, and returns in autumn to the hills, needs almost to come to a new acquaintance with the most familiar things. It is another world; or it is the old world a-masquerading; and you halt, like one
10 scrutinizing a disguised friend, between the obvious dissemblance and the subtile likeness.
Southward of our front door there stood two elms, leaning their branches toward each other, forming a glorious arch of green. Now, in faint yellow, they grow
15 attenuated and seem as if departing; they are losing their leaves and fading out of sight, as trees do in twilight. Yonder, over against that young growth of birch and evergreen, stood, all summer long, a perfect maple-tree, rounded out on every side, thick with luxuriant foliage, and dark
20 with greenness, save when the morning sun, streaming through it, sent transparency to its very heart. Now it is a tower of gorgeous red. So sober and solemn did it seem all summer, that I should think as soon to see a prophet dancing at a peasant's holiday, as it transfigured
25 to such intense gayety! Its fellows, too, the birches and the walnuts, burn from head to foot with fires that glow but never consume.
But these holiday hills! Have the evening clouds, suffused with sunset, dropped down and become fixed into
30 solid forms? Have the rainbows that followed autumn storms faded upon the mountains and left their mantles there? Yet, with all their brilliancy, how modest do they seem; how patient when bare, or burdened with winter; how cheerful when flushed with summer-green; and how
35 modest when they lift up their wreathed and crowned heads in the resplendent days of autumn I
I stand alone upon the peaceful summit of this hill, and turn in every direction. The east is all a-glow; the blue north flushes all her hills with radiance; the west stands in burnished armor; the southern hills buckle the zone of S the horizon together with emeralds and rubies, such as were never set in the fabled girdle of the gods! Of gazing there cannot be enough. The hunger of the eye grows by feeding.
Only the brotherhood of evergreens—the pine, the cedar, 10 the spruce, and the hemlock — refuse to join this universal revel. They wear their sober green through autumn and winter, as if they were set to keep open the path of summer through the whole year, and girdle all seasons together with a clasp of endless green. But in vain do they 15 give solemn examples to the merry leaves which frolic with every breeze that runs sweet riot in the glowing shades. Gay leaves will not be counselled, but will die bright and laughing. But both together—the transfigured leaves of deciduous trees and the calm unchangeableness of ever- 20 greens—how more beautiful are they than either alone! The solemn pine brings color to the cheek of the beeches, and the scarlet and golden maples rest gracefully upon the dark foliage of the million-fingered pine. Lifted far above all harm of fowler or impediment of
25 mountain, wild fowl are steadily flying southward. The simple sight of them fills the imagination with pictures. They have all summer long called to each other from the reedy fens and wild oat-fields of the far north. Summer is already extinguished there. Winter is following their
80 track, and marching steadily toward us. The spent floweis, the seared leaves, the thinning tree-tops, the morning frost, have borne witness of a change on earth; and these caravans of the upper air confirm the tidings. Summer is gone; winter is coming!
85 The wind has risen to-day. It is not one of those gusty, playful winds, that frolic with the trees. It is a wind high up in air, that moves steadily, with a solemn sound, as if it were the spirit of summer journeying past us; and, impatient of delay, it does not stoop to the earth, but touches the tops of the trees, with a murmuring sound, 5 sighing a sad farewell, and passing on.
Such days fill one with pleasant sadness. How sweet a pleasure is there in sadness! It is not sorrow; it is not despondency; it is not gloom! It is one of the moods of joy. At any rate I am very happy, and yet it is sober,
10 and very sad happiness. It is the shadow of joy upon the soul! I can reason about these changes. I can cover over the dying leaves with imaginations as bright as their own hues; and, by Christian faith, transfigure the whole scene with a blessed vision of joyous dying and glorious
15 resurrection. But what then? Such thoughts glow like evening clouds, and not far beneath them are the evening twilights, into whose dusk they will soon melt away. And all communions, and all admirations, and all associations, celestial or terrene, come alike into a pensive sadness, that
20 is even sweeter than our joy. It is the minor key of the thoughts.
XXIII. —THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE; OR THE
A LOGICAL STORY.
[oliver Wendell Holmes, M. D., was born in Cambridge, Massacht setts, August 29, 1809, was graduated at Harvard College in and con* • menced the practice of medicine in Boston in 1836. He has been for manf years one of the professors in the medical department of Harvard College, and he is understood to be highly skilful both in the theory and practice of his profession. He began to write poetry at quite an early age. His longest productions are occasional poems which have been recited before literary societies, and received with very great favor. His style is brilliant, sparkling, and terse ', and many of his heroic stanzas remind us of the point and condensation of Pope. In his shorter poems, he is sometimes grave, and sometimes gay. When in the former mood, he charms us by his truth and manliness of feeling, Mid his sweetness of sentiment; when in the latter, he delights us with th«
glance and play of the wildest wit and the richest humor. Everything that he writes is carefully finished, and rests on a basis of sound scnse and shrewd observation. Dr. Holmes also enjoys high reputation and wide popularity as a prose writer. He is the author of " The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, "The Professor at the Breakfast Table," and 'i Elsie Veuner," works of fiction which originally appeared in the " Atlantic Monthly Magazine," and of various occasional discourses.
This poem is illustrative of New England character, and the words italicized are spelt in such a way as to indicate certain peculiarities of pronunciation sometimes heard among the uneducated, in New England.]
Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay,
Seventeen hundred and fifty-five:
Now, in building of chaises, I tell you what,
There is always somewhere a weakest spot, —
In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
In panel or crossbar, or floor or sill.
In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace, — lurking still,
Find it somewhere you must and will, —
Above or below, or within or without,
And that's the reason, beyond a doubt,
A chaise breaks down, but does n't wear out .