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many great butts of oil were arranged around ; thence we ascended by a winding and open iron stairway, with a steadily increasing scent of oil and lamp-smoke, to a trap-door in an iron floor, and through this into the lantern.
3. It was a neat building, with every thing in apple-pie order, and no danger of any thing rusting there for want of oil. The light consisted of fifteen argand lamps, placed within smooth concave reflectors twenty-one inches in diameter, and arranged in two horizontal circles one above the other, facing every way excepting directly down the Cape. These were surrounded, at a distance of two or three feet, by large plate-glass windows, which defied the storms, with iron sashes, on which rested the iron cap.
4. All the iron-work, except the floor, was painted white. And thus the light-house was completed. We walked slowly round in that narrow space as the keeper lighted each lamp in succession, conversing with him at the same moment that many a sailor on the deep witnessed the lighting of the Highland Light. His duty was to fill and trim and light his lamps, and keep bright the reflectors. He filled them every morning, and trimmed them commonly once in the course of the night.
5. He spoke of the anxiety and sense of responsibility which he felt in cold and stormy nights in the winter; when he knew that many a poor fellow was depending on him, and his lamps burned dimly, the oil being chilled. Sometimes he was obliged to warm the oil in a kettle in his house at midnight, and fill his lamps over again,—for he could not have a fire in the light-house, it produced such a sweat on the windows. His successor told me that he could not keep too hot a fire in such a case.
6. Our host said that the frost, too, on the windows caused him much trouble, and in sultry summer nights the moths covered them and dimmed his lights ; sometimes even small birds flew against the thick plate-glass, and were found on the ground beneath in the morning with their necks broken. In the spring of 1855 he found nineteen small yellow-birds, perhaps goldfinches or myrtle-birds, thus lying dead around the light-house; and sometimes in the fall he had seen where a golden plover had struck the glass in the night, and left the down and the fatty part of its breast on it.
7. Thus he struggled by every method to keep his light shining before men. Surely the light-house keeper has a responsible, if an easy office. When his lamp goes out, he goes out; or, at most, only one such accident is pardoned.
LXV.-PSALM OF LIFE.
H. W. LONGFELLOW.
Life is but an empty dream;
And things are not what they seem.
2. Life is real! Life is earnest !
And the grave is not its goal ;
3. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow
Is our destined end or way;
Find us farther than to-day.
4. Art is long and time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Funeral marches to the grave.
5. In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be a hero in the strife !
Let the dead Past bury its dead !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !
7. Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
Footprints on the sands of time.
8. Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er Life's solemn main,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
9. Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Learn to labor and to wait.
ANALYSIS OF SELECTION LXV.
What kind of poetry is this? Does it require great force in the reading ? What degree of speed does it demand? of pitch? What lesson is it intended to teach?
First Stanza. To whom is the first line addressed ? What is meant by “ numbers ” ? Who is meant by “me” in that line ? What is the reason for giving this direction ? Who says that life is but an empty dream? In what part of what book is this statement first made? What is meant by it? For what purpose are the third and fourth lines introduced ? Meaning of the third line ? of the fourth line ?
Second Stanza. In what sense is life “real”? Meaning of“ earnest"? Meaning of the second line? What is a “goal”? Where is the statement “ Dust thou art, to dust returnest” made? Of what was it “spoken"?
Third Stanza. What is said of “enjoyment” and “sorrow”? What is meant by “ destined end or way”? What does the poet say is our destined end or way? What does he present as the object to be aimed at in life?
Fourth Stanza. What is meant by the statement “Art is long”? “Time is fleeting”? What are “muffled drums”? What are “funeral marches "? Why are our hearts like muffled drums? Why are they said to beat funeral marches?
Fifth Stanza. What is meant by “the world's broad field of battle”? Why is it called broad? What is “the bivouac of life"? When are men “like dumb driven cattle"? What “strife" is meant ? Give the meaning of the last line.
Sixth Stanza. Meaning of the first line? Is the “future” usually “pleasant” to us? Why? Why must it not be trusted ? Meaning of the second line? From what is the expression borrowed ? In what sense is the “present” “living”? Explain the last line. What is meant by the word “heart” here?
Seventh Stanza. Why do the lives of “great men” do for us what is here stated? What is it to “make our lives sublime”? Who are spoken of as “departing”? What is meant by the last two lines? Why is what we leave behind us like “ footprints on the sands of time”?
Eighth Stanza. What is meant by “sailing o'er life's solemn main ” ? What is called a “main”? Why is it called “solemn"? Explain the third line. When may a man be said to be “shipwrecked”? Who is spoken of as “ seeing”? What is it to take heart"?
What is it to have “ a heart for any fate"? What word do we commonly use to signify the same that heart does here? Give the etymology of that word. What does the word “still” mean in the third line? Is this its customary meaning ? Why is it necessary to "learn to wait”?
Give the etymology and meaning of mournful, numbers, real, earnest, grave, enjoyment, destined, art, time, funeral, marches, battle, bivouac, hero, future, pleasant, present, remind, sublime, solemn, main, fate, achieving.
Are there many or few words of Greek and Latin origin in this selection ? Count them up in any two of the stanzas, and compare the number with that of all the words in the same stanzas. Is it desirable to use many foreign words in any composition? Should poetry have more such words than would be proper for a scientific treatise, or fewer ?
LXVI.—THE BLIND PREACHER.
1. I have been, my dear S ......, on an excursion through the countries which lie along the eastern side of the Blue Ridge. A general description of that country and its inhabitants may form the subject of a future letter. For the present, I must entertain you with an account of a most singular and interesting adventure, which I met with in the course of the tour.
2. It was one Sunday, as I traveled through the county of Orange, that my eye was caught by a cluster of horses tied near a ruinous, old, wooden house, in the forest, not far from the roadside. Having frequently seen such objects before, in traveling through these States, I had no difficulty in understanding that this was a place of religious worship.
3. Devotion alone should have stopped me, to join in the duties of the congregation ; but I must confess that curiosity to hear the preacher of such a wilderness was not the least