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Thy obsequies sung by the gray plover flying,
In the arms of Helvellyn and Catchedicam.
XXVI. — THE CAPTIVE.
STERNE. (LAURENCE STERNE was born in Clonmell, Ireland, November 24, 1713, and died in London, March 18, 1768. He was educated at the university of Cambridge, became a clergyman of the church of England, and in that capacity resided for many years in Sutton, in Yorkshire. He was the author of " Tristram Shandy,” a novel ; “A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy ;” and of several published sermons. He was a man of peculiar and original genius, remarkable alike for pathos and humor, and with an unrivalled power of giving truth and consistency to characters marked by whims and oddities. “ Tristram Shandy,” his principal story, has little or no story, and fails in interest as a continuous narrative; but the personages are admirably drawn, and it abounds with exquisite scenes and sketches. His writings are defaced by grave offences against decorum, his style is deficient in simplicity, and his sentimentality is often exaggerated and mawkish ; but in his airy, fantastic, and indescribable humor, there is a grace and life over which time has no power. Few persons now read Sterne as a whole, and yet few writers are better known, such is the enduring popularity of portions of his writings, such as the story of Le Fevre, from “Tristram Shandy," and the following sketch from the “ Sentimental Journey.”')
And as for the Bastile ! the terror is in the word. Make the most of it you can, said I to myself, the Bastile is but another word for a tower, and a tower is but another
word for a house you cannot get out of. Mercy on the 5 gouty! for they are in it twice a year — but, with nine
livres a day, and pen and ink and paper and patience, albeit a man cannot get out, he may do very well within, - at least for a month or six weeks; at the end of which,
if he is a harmless fellow, his innocence appears, and he 10 comes out a better and a wiser man than he went in.
I had some occasion (I forget what) to step into the court-yard, as I settled this account; and remember I
* The Bastile was a building in Paris, originally a royal castle, and after wards used as a state prison. It was destroyed by the populace July 14, 1789 and thus was commenced the French Revolution,
walked down stairs in no small triumph with the conceit of my reasoning. Beshrew the sombre pencil ! said I, vauntingly, for I envy not its power, which paints the evils of
life with so hard and deadly a coloring. The mind sits 5 terrified at the objects she has magnified herself, and
blackened : reduce them to their proper size and hue; she overlooks them. It is true, said I, correcting the proposition; the Bastile is not an evil to be despised; but strip it
of its towers— fill up the fosse— unbarricade the doors — 10 call it simply a confinement, and suppose it some tyrant.cf
a distemper — and not of a man — which holds you in it, the evil vanishes, and you bear the other half without complaint.
I was interrupted in the heyday of this soliloquy, with 15 a voice which I took to be of a child, which complained
“ it could not get out.” I looked up and down the passage, and seeing neither man, woman, nor child, I went out without further attention.
In my return back through the passage, I heard the 20 same words repeated twice over; and looking up, I saw it
was a starling hung in a little cage. “I can't get outI can't get out,” said the starling.
I stood looking at the bird : and to every person who came through the passage, it ran fluttering to the side 25 towards which they approached it, with the same lamenta
tion of its captivity. “I can't get out,” said the starling. God help thee! said I; but I will let thee out, cost what it will; so I turned about the cage, to get the door; it was
twisted, and double twisted so fast with wire, there was no 30 getting it open without pulling the cage to pieces. I took both hands to it.
The bird flew to the place where I was attempting his deliverance, and thrusting his head through the trellis,
pressed his breast against it, as if impatient. I fear, poor 35 creature! said I, I cannot set thee at liberty. “No,” said
the starling -“I can't get out — I can't get out."
I never had my affections more tenderly awakened ; nor do I remember an incident in my life, where the dissipated spirits, to which my reason had been a bubble, were so
suddenly called home. Mechanicai as the notes were, yet 5 so true in tune to nature were they chanted, that in one
moment they overthrew all my systematic reasonings upon the Bastile; and I heavily walked up stairs, unsaying every word I had said in going down them.
Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, Slavery! said I20 still thou art a bitter draught; and though thousands in
all ages have been made to drink of thee, thou art no less bitter on that account. It is thou, thrice sweet and gracioris goddess, addressing myself to LIBERTY, whom all, in
public or in private, worship, whose taste is grateful, and 15 ever will be so, till NATURE herself shall change--no tint
of words can spot thy snowy mantle, or chymic power turn thy sceptre into iron — with thee to smile upon him as he eats his crust, the swain is happier than his monarch, from
whose court thou art exiled. Gracious heaven! cried I, 20 kneeling down upon the last step but one in my ascent
grant me but health, thou great Bestower of it; and give me but this fair goddess as my companion — and shower down thy mitres, if it seems good unto thy divine provi
dence, upon those heads which are aching for them. 25 The bird in his cage pursued me into my room; I sat
down close to my table, and leaning my head upon my hand, I began to figure to myself the miseries of confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I gave full
scope to my imagination. 30 I was going to begin with the millions of my fellow
creatures born to no inheritance but slavery ; but finding, however affecting the picture was, that I could not bring it near me, and that the multitudes of sad groups in it did
but distract me — I took a single captive, and having first 35 shut him up in his dungeon, I then looked through the
twilight of his grated door to take his picture.
I beheld his body half wasted away with long expectation and confinement, and felt what kind of sickness of the heart it was which arises from hope deferred. Upon look
ing nearer, I saw him pale and feverish ; in thirty years 5 the western breeze had not once fanned his blood — he had
seen no sun, no moon in all that time — nor had the voice of friend or kinsman breathed through his lattice:- his children — But here my heart began to bleed, and I was
forced to go on with another part of the portrait. 10 He was sitting upon the ground upon a little straw, in
the farthest corner of his dungeon, which was alternately his chair and bed; a little calendar of small sticks was laid at his bed, notched all over with the dismal days and
nights he had passed there — he had one of these little 15 sticks in his hand, and with a rusty nail he was etching
another day of misery to add to the heap. As I darkened the little light he had, he lifted up a hopeless eye towards the door, then cast it down, shook his head, and went on
with his work of affliction. I heard his chains upon his 20 legs, as he turned his body to lay his little stick upon the
bundle. He gave a deep sigh ~ I saw the iron enter into his soul — I burst into tears ~ I could not sustain the picture of confinement which my fancy had drawn.
XXVII. — CHARACTER OF SAMUEL ADAMS.
TUDOR. [WILLIAM TUDOR was born in Boston, January 28, 1779, and died in Rio Janeiro, March 9, 1830. He was graduated at Harvard College in 1795. He was the author of “ Letters on the Eastern States,” a “Life of James Otis," and a volume of “Miscellanies,” and contributed many articles to the “Monthly Anthology, and the “North American Review” of which latter he was the first editor. IIe was chargé d'affaires for the United States, in Brazil, at the time of his death. An anonymous work published in 1829, called “Gebel Teir," was by him. He was one of the founders of the Boston Athenæum, and to him the country is indebted for the first suggestion of the Bunker Hill Monument. He was a correct and scholarly writer, and a most estimable and amiable man.
The following extract is from the “Life of James Otis."
MR. ADAMS was one of that class who saw very early, that, “after all, we must fight” — and having come to that conclusion, there was no citizen more prepared for the
extremity, or who would have been more reluctant to enter 5 into any kind of compromise. After he had received warn
ing, at Lexington, in the night of the 18th of April, of the intended British expedition, as he proceeded to make his escape through the fields with some friends, soon after
the dawn of day, he exclaimed, “this is a fine day.” 10 “Very pleasant, indeed," answered one of his companions,
supposing he alluded to the beauty of the sky and atmosphere. “I mean,” he replied, “ this day is a glorious day for America !” His situation at that moment was full of
peril and uncertainty ; but throughout the contest, no 15 damage either to himself or his country ever discouraged or depressed him.
The very faults of his character tended, in some degree, to render his services more useful, by converging his exer
tions to one point, and preventing their being weakened by 20 indulgence or liberality towards different opinions. There
was some tinge of bigotry and narrowness, both in his religion and politics. He was a strict Calvinist; and probably no individual of his day had so much of the feelings
of the ancient puritans, as he possessed. In politics, he 25 was so jealous of delegated power, that he would not have
given our Constitutions inherent force enough for their own preservation. He attached an exclusive value to the habits and principles in which he had been educated, and wished
to adjust wide concerns too closely after a particular model. 30 One of his colleagues, who knew him well, and estimated
him highly, described him with good-natured exaggeration in the following manner: “ Samuel Adams would have the state of Massachusetts govern the Union, the town of
Boston govern Massachusetts, and that he should govern 35 the town of Boston, and then the whole would not be in