« PreviousContinue »
Where outworn creeds, like Rome's grey senate, quake.
The time is ripe, and rotten-ripe for change : 5 Then let it come. I have no dread of what
Is called for by the instinct of mankind.
Truth is eternal, but her effluence,
Her mirror is turned forward, to reflect
Albeit along the precipice's edge.
Than most men dream of; and a lie may keep
Let us call tyrants tyrants, and maintain
And all that comes not by His grace must fall;
LESSON CXXXV.--LIBERTY TO ATHENS.---JAMES G. PERCIVAL.
The flag of freedom floats once more
Around the lofty Parthenon ;
In days departed long and gone;
Pours down its light around those towers,
As in their country's noblest hours;
Minerva's sacred hill is free,
While man shall live, and time shall be !
The Goth, the Frank, the Turk had reft
Her helm by many a sword was cleft:
She lay among her ruins low,
grew the palm, the cypress rose,
Her loud, awakening trumpet speaks ;
And sounds redemption to the Greeks. 10 It is the classic jubilee,
Their servile years have rolled away;
They hail the dawn of freedom's day;
The times of old are on the wing,
And beauty wakes a fairer spring ;
Are all in triumph's pomp arrayed ; 20 A light that points their tyrants' graves,
Plays round each bold Athenian's blade.
LESSON CXXXVI.-THE ARSENAL AT SPRINGFIELD.
H. W. LONGFELLOW.
This is the Arsenal. From floor to ceiling
Like a huge organ, rise the burnished arms;
Startles the villagers with strange alarms.
When the Death-Angel touches those swift keys ! What loud lament and dismal Miserere
Will mingle with their awful symphonies !
I hear, even now, the infinite fierce chorus, 10 The cries of agony, the endless groan,
Which, through the ages that have gone before us,
In long reverberations reach our own.
Through Cimbric forest roars the Norseman's song, 15 And loud amid the universal clamor,
O'er distant deserts sounds the Tartar gong.
I hear the Florentine, who from his palace
Wheels out his battle-bell with dreadful din,
Beat the wild war-drums made of serpent's skin. 5 The tumult of each sacked and burning village ; The shout, that every prayer
The wail of famine in beleaguered towns !
The bursting shell, the gateway wrenched asunder, 10 The rattling musketry, the clashing blade;
And ever and anon, in tones of thunder,
The diapason of the cannonade.
With such accursed instruments as these,
And jarrest the celestial harmonies ?
Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts,
Given to redeem the human mind from error, 20 There were no need of arsenals and forts.
The warrior's name would be a name abhorred!
And every nation that should lift again
Would wear for evermore the curse of Cain ! 25 Down the dark future, through long generations,
The echoing sounds grow fainter, and then cease ;
« Peace!” Peace! and no longer from its brazen portals 30 The blast of War's great organ shakes the skies !
But beautiful as songs of the immortals,
The holy melodies of Love arise.
LESSON CXXXVII.-IMMORTALITY.-RICHARD H. DANA, SEN.
Is this thy prison-house, thy grave, then, Love? And doth Death cancel the great bond that holds Commingling spirits ? Are thoughts that know no bounds
But, self-inspired, rise upward, searching out 5 The Eternal Mind,
the Father of all thought,
Are they become mere tenants of a tomb ?-
Lived in the dreadful splendor of that throne, 5 Which One, with gentle hand, the veil of flesh
Lifting, that hung 'twixt man and it, revealed
Rejoicing, yet at their own natures awed ?
Thou awful, unseen Presence! are they quenched ?
His robe of light flings round the glittering stars ? 15 And with our frames do perish all our loves?
Do those that took their root, and put forth buds,
Then fade and fall, like fair unconscious flowers ? 20 Are thoughts and passions, that to the tongue give speech,
And make it send forth winning harmonies,
With that for which there is no utterance,
To live in it, and, when that dies, go out
Oh! listen, man !
Hymn it unto our souls ; according harps,
The song of our great immortality :
The tall, dark mountains, and the deep-toned seas,
From all the air. 'Tis in the gentle moonlight; 40 'T is floating midst Day's setting glories; Night,
Wrapped in her sable robe, with silent step
All time, all bounds, the limitless expanse,
Quiver with joy in this great jubilee.
Grow dull and distant, wake their passing souls
LESSON CXXXVIII.- THE GRAY OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN.
(A Natural Image in Franconia Mountain Notch.)
Toward yonder mountain summit towering high,
A crag abrupt hung from the mountain's brow!
Aha! the wondrous shape bursts on thee now! A perfect human face,-neck, chin, mouth, nose, and brow! 10 And full and plain those features are displayed,
Thus profiled forth against the clear blue sky;
The compass of his plastic art to try.
That shoots on pine trees from the head on high,
All, all is perfect: no illusions there
Most wondrous vision ! the broad earth hath not, 20 Through all her bounds, an object like to thee,
That traveller e'er recorded, nor a spot
There from thy wreath of clouds thou dost uprear 25 Those features grand, the same eternally!
Lone dweller mid the hills! with gaze austere
And curious travellers have descried the trace
Of the sage Franklin's physiognomy
If it be true, Old Man, that we do see