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Title: Gifts of Genius - A Miscellany of Prose and Poetry by American Authors
Author: Various
Language: English
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American Fiction Project.)

                           GIFTS OF GENIUS:

                             A Miscellany


                          PROSE AND POETRY,


                          AMERICAN AUTHORS.

                              NEW YORK:
                     PRINTED FOR C.A. DAVENPORT.

      Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1859, by
                           C.A. DAVENPORT,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
                    Southern District of New York.























"THE CHRISTIAN GREATNESS." (_Passages from a Manuscript Sermon._)


THE ERL-KING. (_From the German of Goethe._) BY MRS. E.F. ELLET,












At the desire of MISS DAVENPORT, for whose benefit this collection of
original Miscellanies by American authors has been made, I write this
brief Preface, without having had time to read the contributions which it
is designed to introduce. The names of the writers, however, many of which
are among the most distinguished in our literature, and are honored
wherever our language is spoken, will suffice to recommend the volume to
the attention of the reading world.

If this were not enough, an inducement of another kind is to be found in
the circumstances of the lady in whose behalf the contents of this volume
have been so freely contributed. A few years since, she was a teacher in
our schools, active, useful, and esteemed for her skillful communication
of knowledge. At that time it was one of her favorite occupations to make
sketches and drawings from nature, an art in which she instructed her
pupils. A severe illness interrupted her duties, during which her sight
became impaired, and finally lost. A kind of twilight came over it, which
gradually darkened into utter night, shutting out the face of nature in
which she had so much delighted, and leaving her, without occupation, in
ill health. In this condition she has already remained for five years.

To this statement of her misfortunes, which I trust will commend her to
the sympathies of all who are made acquainted with them, as one who was
useful to society while Providence permitted, I have only to add the
expression of her warmest thanks to those who have generously furnished
the contents of the volume she now lays before the public.


NEW YORK, _June, 1859_.


This volume speaks so well for itself that it does not need many words of
preface to commend it to a wide circle of readers. Its rich and varied
contents, however, become far more interesting when interpreted by the
motive that won them from their authors; and when the kindly feeling that
offered them so freely is known, these gifts, like the pearls of a rosary,
will be prized not only severally but collectively, because strung
together by a sacred thread.

The story of this undertaking is a very short and simple one. Miss
Davenport, who had been for many years an active and successful teacher in
our schools and families, especially in the beautiful arts of drawing and
painting, was prostrated by a severe illness, which impaired her sight and
finally terminated in blindness.

The late Benjamin F. Butler, in a letter dated October 13, 1858, which
will have peculiar interest to the many readers who knew and honored that
excellent man, writes thus:

"Miss Davenport has for several years been personally known to me. She is
now blind and unable to follow the calling by which, before this calamity
befell her, she obtained her living. Having lost her parents in early
life, and having few relatives, and none able to assist her, she is
dependent for her support on such efforts as she is still capable of
making. These, were she a person of common fortitude, energy and
hopefulness, would be very small, for to her great privation is added very
imperfect general health. Yet she has struggled on in the hope of gaining
such a competency as should ultimately secure 'a home that she may call
her own.' I commend Miss Davenport to all who feel for the afflicted and
who wish to do good."

The Rev. Dr. S. Storrs writes: "Miss Davenport is a Christian woman, of
great excellence of character, and of many accomplishments, whom God in
his providence has made totally blind within a few years past."

We need add but two remarks to these statements--one in reference to the
volume itself, and the other in reference to her for whose welfare it is

The volume is one of the many proofs which have been gathering for years,
of the alliance between literature and humanity. Every good and true word
that has been written from the beginning has been a minister of mercy to
every human heart which it has reached, whilst the mercy has been twice
blessed when the word so benign in its result has been charitable in its
intention, and the author at once yields his profits to a friend's need,
and his production to the public eye. Thackeray has written well upon
humor and charity, but should he undertake to carry out his idea and
treat of literature and humanity in their vital relations, he would have
his hands and heart full of work for more than a lifetime. Princes who
give their gold to generous uses are worthy of honor; but there is a
coinage of the brain that costs more and weighs more than gold. The
authors of these papers would of course be little disposed to claim any
high merit for their offerings, yet any reader who runs his eye over the
list of contributors will see at once that they are generally writers
whose compositions are eagerly sought for by the public, and among them
are some names whose pens can coin gold whenever they choose to move. All
these articles are original, and nothing is inserted in this book that has
been before published. We are confident that it deserves, and will command
wide and choice circulation.

A word as to the lady for whose benefit these gifts are brought together.
The preface of Mr. Bryant and the letter of Mr. Butler, tell her story
with sufficient distinctness, and the readiness with which our men and
women of letters have so generally complied with her request, shows what
eloquence she bears in her presence and statement. Some certificates from
her pupils in drawing, who testify to her love of nature and her delight
in sketching directly from nature, so greatly to their improvement in this
beautiful art, give peculiar pathos to her case. The organ that was the
source of her highest satisfaction is closed up by this dark sorrow, and
the gate called Beautiful, to this earthly temple no longer is open to
scenes and faces of loveliness. What a fearful loss is this loss of
sight--on the whole the noblest of the senses, and certainly the sense of
all others most serviceable, alike to the working hand and the creative
imagination. The eye may not be so near the fountains of sensibility as
the ear, and no impression reaches the sympathy so profoundly as the
pathos of living speech, but the eye has a far wider range than the ear
and fathoms the heavens and sweeps the earth and sea, whilst the ear hears
distinctly but within a very narrow limit, hardly a stone's throw. When
the eye, then, loses its marvellous faculty and sees no longer the light
of day and the countenances of friends, let the ear do what it can to make
up for the loss by every cheering word of sympathy and hope. In God's
Providence there is a principle of compensation that aims to balance every
privation by some new privilege, as for instance by giving new acuteness
to the senses which are called to do the work of the senses lost. But
genial humanity is the great principle of compensation, and by this God's
children glorify the Father in Heaven. May this volume serve his merciful
will, and may the light shed from the stars of our literary firmament do
something to lessen the night upon every dark path.







How good a thing it is to live! The morn is full of music; and Annie is
singing in the hall!

The sun falls with a tranquil glory on the fields and forests, burning
with the golden splendors of the autumn--the variegated leaves of the
mighty oaks are draped about the ancient gables, like a trophy of banners.
The landscape sleeps; all the world smiles--shall not I?

I sat up late last night at my accounts; to-day I will take a holiday. The
squire has bidden me good morning in his courteous, good-humored way, and
gone in his carriage to attend a meeting of his brother magistrates:--I am
away for the time from my noisy courts--the domain is mine--all the world
is still!

No;--Annie is singing in the hall.

She sings to herself, I think, this autumn morning, and would not like to
be interrupted. I will therefore take a ramble--and you shall accompany
me, O friend of my youth, far away in distant lands, but beside me still!
Whither shall we go? It is hard to decide, for all the world is lovely.
Shall we go to my favorite woodland? It skirts the river, and I love the
river; so we pass into the forest.

How regal is the time of the fall of the leaves! A thousand brilliant
colors charm the eyes--the eyes of their faithful lovers. How the mighty
oaks reach out their knotty, muscular arms to welcome us!--how their
ponderous shoulders bear aloft the imperial trappings--trappings of silk
and velvet, all orange, blue, and purple! The haughty pines stand up like
warriors--or call them spears of nordland heroes, holding on their summits
emerald banners! The tulip-trees are lovely queens with flowers in their
hair, who bend and welcome you with gracious murmurs; the slender elms
sway to and fro, like fairest maidens of the royal blood; and sigh, and
smile, and whisper, full of the charming grace of youth, and tenderness,
and beauty.

I salute my noblemen, and queens, and princesses; they bow in return to
me, their king. Let us wander on.

--Ah! that is well; my river view! Of all my broad domain, I think I like
this part the best. Is it not beautiful? That clump of dogwood, however,
obstructs the view somewhat; I must cut it down. Let us move a little to
the right. Ah! there it is! See my lovely river; surely you must admire my
swan-like ships, flying, with snowy canvass spread, before the fresh
breeze. And see that schooner breaking the little waves into foam. Is that
a telescope which the captain of my vessel points toward us? He salutes
me, does he not? But I fear the distance is too great; he could hardly
recognize me. Still I shall bow--let us not neglect the laws of courtesy.

My ship is sailing onward. In earlier days I had many barks which sailed
from shore; they were freighted with the richest goods, and made me very
anxious. So my argosies went sailing, but they never came again. One bore
my poem, which I thought would make me very celebrated, but the ship was
lost. Another was to bring me back a cargo of such beautiful
things--things which make life delightful to so many!--pearls, and silks,
and wines, and gold-laced suits--garters, rosettes, and slips of ribbon
to be worn at the button-hole. This, too, was lost, and yet it did not
grieve me much. The third caused me more regret; I do not think I have yet
wholly recovered from its loss. It bore a maiden with sunny hair, and the
tenderest, sweetest eyes! She said she loved me--yes a thousand times! and
I--I loved her long and dearly. But the ship in which she sailed went
down--the strong, good ship, as I regarded it. She died thus,--did she
not?--or is it true that she was married to a richer suitor far away from
me in foreign lands?... These are foolish tears--let me not think of her
with want of charity; she was only a woman, and we men are often very
weak. ONE over all, is alone great and good. So, beautiful
ship!--I say--that sailed across my path in youth, sail on in peace and
happiness! A lonely bark, lonely but not unhappy, sees you, on the
distant, happy seas, and the pennon floats from the peak in amicable
greeting and salute. Hail and farewell! Heaven send the ship a happy
voyage, and a welcome home!

This little soliloquy perhaps wearies you; it is ended. Let us sail for an
hour or so on the silver wave; my new pleasure-boat is rocking here
beneath in the shadow of the oak. She is built for speed. See how
gracefully she falls and rises, like a variegated leaf upon the
waves--how the slender prow curves upward--how the gaily-colored sides are
mirrored in the limpid surface of the joyous stream! Come, let us step
into the little craft, and unfurl the snowy sail.... How provoking! I have
left my boat key at the hall; another day we will sail. Let us stroll back
to the good old house again.

Are not my fields pleasant to behold? They are bringing in my wheat, which
stretches, you perceive, throughout the low-grounds there, in neatly
arranged shocks. My crops this year are excellent--my servants enjoy this
season, and its occupations. They will soon sing their echoing "harvest
home"--and over them at their joyous labor will shine the "harvest-moon,"
lighting up field and forest, hill and dale--the whole "broad domain and
the hall." The affection of my servants is grateful to me. Here comes
Cato, with his team of patient oxen, and there goes Cæsar, leading my
favorite racehorse down to water. Cato, Cæsar, and I, respectively salute
each other in the kindest way. I think they are attached to me. Faithful
fellows! I shall never part with them. I think I will give this coat to
Cæsar; but, looking again, I perceive that his own is better. Besides, I
must not be extravagant. The little money I make is required by another,
and it would not be generous to buy a new coat for myself. This one which
I wear will do well enough, will it not? I ask you with some diffidence,
for 'tis sadly out at elbows, and the idea has occurred to me that the
coolness and neglect of certain visitors to the hall, has been caused by
my coat being shabby. Even Annie----, but I'll not speak of that this
morning. 'Twas the hasty word which we all utter at times--'tis forgotten.
Still, I think, I will give you the incident some day, when we ramble, as
now, in the fields.

From the fields we approach the honest old mansion, across the
emerald-carpeted lawn. The birds are singing, around the sleepy-looking
gables, and the toothless old hound comes wagging his tail, in sign of

'Tis plain that Milo has an honest heart. I think he's smiling.


My ancestors were gentlemen of considerable taste. I am glad they built me
that wing for my books; my numerous children cannot disturb me when I am
composing, either my speech to be delivered in the Senate, or my work
which is destined to refute Sir William Hamilton.

Let us stroll in. A strain of tender music comes from the sitting-room,
and I recognize the exquisite air of "Katharine Ogie" which Annie is
singing. Let us look, nevertheless, at the pictures as we pass.

What a stately head my old grandfather had! He was president of the King's
Council, a hundred years ago--a man of decided mark. He wears a long
peruke descending in curls upon his shoulders--a gold-laced waistcoat--and
snowy ruffles. His white hand is nearly covered with lace, and rests on a
scroll of parchment. It looks like a Vandyke. He must have been a resolute
old gentleman. How serene and calm is his look!--how firm are the finely
chiselled lips! How proud and full of collected intelligence the erect
head, and the broad white brow! He was a famous "macaroni," as they called
it, in his youth--and cultivated an enormous crop of wild oats. But this
all disappeared, and he became one of the sturdiest patriots of the
Revolution, and fought clear through the contest. Is it wrong to feel
satisfaction at being descended from a worthy race of men--from a family
of brave, truthful gentlemen? I think not. I trust I'm no absurd
aristocrat--but I would rather be the grandson of a faithful common
soldier than of General Benedict Arnold, the traitor. I would rather
trace my lineage to the Chevalier Bayàrd, simple knight though he was,
than to France's great Constable de Bourbon, the renegade.

So I am glad my stout grandfather was a brave and truthful gentleman--that
grandma yonder, smiling opposite, was worthy to be his wife. I do not
remember her, but she must have been a beauty. Her head is bent over one
shoulder, and she has an exquisitely coquettish air. Her eyes are
blue--her arms round, and as white as snow--and what lips! They are like
carnations, and pout with a pretty smiling air, which must have made her
dangerous. She rejected many wealthy offers to marry grandpa, who was then
poor. As I gaze, it seems scarcely courteous to remain thus covered in
presence of a lady so lovely. I take off my hat, and make my best bow,
saluting my little grandmamma of "sweet seventeen," who smiles and seems
graciously to bow in return.

All around me I see my family. There is my uncle, the captain in Colonel
Washington's troop. I do not now mean the Colonel Washington of the French
wars, who afterward became General Washington of the American
Revolution--though my uncle, the captain, knew him very well, I am told,
and often visited him at _Mount Vernon_, the colonel's estate, where they
hunted foxes together, along the Potomac. I mean the brave Colonel
Washington who fought so nobly in North Carolina. My uncle died there. His
company was much thinned at every step by the horrible hail-storm of
balls. He was riding in front with his drawn sword, shouting as the column
fell, man by man, "Steady, boys, steady!--close up!"--when a ball struck
him. His last words were "A good death, boys! a good death! Close up!" So,
you see, he ended nobly.

Beside my uncle and the rest of his kith and kin of the wars, you see,
yonder, a row of beauties, all smiling and gay, or pensive and
tender--interspersed with bright-faced children, blooming like so many
flowers along the old walls of the hall. How they please and interest me!
True, there are other portraits in our little house at home--not my hall
here--which, perhaps, I should love with a warmer regard; but let me not
cramp my sympathies, or indulge any early preferences. I must not be
partial. So I admire these here before me--and bow to them, one and all. I
fancy that they bow in return--that the stalwart warriors stretch vigorous
hands toward me--that the delicate beauties bend down their little heads,
all covered with powder, and return my homage with a smile.

Why not? Can my shabby coat make the lovely or proud faces ashamed of me?
Do they turn from me coldly because I'm the last of a ruined line? Do they
sneer at my napless hat, and laugh at my tattered elbows? I do not think
of them so poorly and unkindly. My coat is very shabby, but I think, at
least I hope, that it covers an honest heart.

So I bow to the noble and beautiful faces, and again they smile in return.
I seem to have wandered away into the past and dreamed in a realm of
silence. And yet--it is strange I did not hear her--Annie is still singing
through the hall.


I promised to tell you of the incident of the coat, the unfortunate coat
which I sometimes think makes the rich folks visiting the hall look
sidewise at me. It is strange! Am I not _myself_, whether clad in velvet
or in fustian--in homespun fabric, or in cloth of gold? People say I am
simple--wholly ignorant of the world; I must be so in truth.

But about the coat. I hinted that Annie even saw, and alluded to it; it
was not long after my arrival at the hall, and a young lady from the
neighborhood was paying a visit to Annie.

They were standing on the portico, and I was leaning against the trunk of
the old oak beneath, admiring the sunset which was magnificent that
evening. All at once I heard whispers, and turning round toward the young
ladies, saw them laughing. Annie's finger was extended toward the hole in
my elbow, and I could not fail to understand that she was laughing at my
miserable coat.

I was not offended, though perhaps I may have been slightly wounded; but
Annie was a young girl and I could not get angry; I was not at all
ashamed--why should I have been?

"I am sorry, but I cannot help the hole in my elbow," I said, calmly and
quietly, with a bow and a smile; "I tore it by accident, yesterday."

Annie blushed, and looked very proud and offended, and it pained me to see
that she suffered for her harmless and, careless speech. I begged her not
to think that my feelings were wounded, and bowing again, went up to my
room. I looked at my coat, it _was_ terribly shabby, and I revolved the
propriety of purchasing another, but I gave up the idea with a sigh. She
needs all my money, and my mind is made up; she _shall_ have the black
silk, and very soon.

I very nearly forgot to relate what followed the little scene on the
portico. During all that evening, and the whole of the next day, Annie
scarcely looked at me, and retained her angry and offended expression. I
was pained, but could add nothing more to my former assurance that I was
not offended.

Toward evening, I was sitting with a book upon the portico, when Annie
came out of the parlor. She paused on the threshold, evidently hesitated,
but seemed to resolve all at once, what to do. She came quickly to my
side, and holding out her hand said frankly and kindly, with a little
tremor in her voice, and a faint rose-tint in the delicate cheeks:

"I did not mean to hurt your feelings, Mr. Cleave, indeed I did not, sir;
my speech was the thoughtless rudeness of a child. I am sorry, very sorry
that I was ever so ill-bred and unkind; will you pardon me, sir?"

I rose from my seat, and bowed low above the white little hand which lay
in my own, slightly agitated,--

"I have nothing to pardon, Miss Annie," I said, "if you will let me call
you by your household name. I think it very fortunate that my coat was
shabby; had it been a new one, you would never have observed it, and I
should have lost these sweet and friendly accents."

And that is the "incident of the coat."


The week that has just passed has been a pleasant one. I have thought, a
hundred times, "how good a thing it is to live!"

I must have been a good deal cramped and confined in the city; but I enjoy
the fair landscapes here all the more. The family are very friendly and
kind--except Mrs. Barrington, who does not seem to like me. She scarcely
treats me with anything more than scrupulous courtesy. The squire and
Annie, however, make up for this coldness. They are both extremely
cordial. It was friendly in the squire to give me this mass of executorial
accounts to arrange. So far it has been done to his entire satisfaction;
and the payment for my services is very liberal. How I long for money!

There was a splendid party at the hall on Tuesday. It reminded me of old
times, when we, too,--but that is idle to remember. I do not sigh for the
past. I know all is for the best. Still, I could not help thinking, as I
looked on the brilliant spectacle, that the world was full of changes and
vicissitudes. Well, the party was a gay and delightful one; the dancing
quite extravagant. Annie was the beauty of the assemblage--the belle of
the ball--and she gave me a new proof of the regret which she felt for the
speech about my coat. At the end of a cotillon she refused the arms of
half a dozen eager gallants to take mine, and promenade out on the

"Do you ever dance?" she said.

"Oh, yes," I replied; "that is, I did dance once; but of late years I have
been too much occupied. We live quietly."

"You say 'we.'"

"I mean my mother and I; I should have said 'poorly,' perhaps, instead of
'quietly,' And I am busy."

She bowed her head kindly, and said, smiling:

"But you are not busy to-night; and if you'll not think me forward, I will
reverse the etiquette, and ask you to dance with me."

"Indeed I will do so with very great pleasure."

"Are you sure?"

"Could you doubt it?"

"I was so _very_ rude to you!"

And she hung her head. That, then, was the secret of her choice of my arm.
I could only assure her that I did not think her rude, and I hoped she
would forget the whole incident. I was pleased in spite of all--for I like
to think well of women. The cynical writers say they are all mean, and
mercenary, and cowardly. Was Annie? She had left many finely-dressed
gentlemen, faultlessly appointed, to dance with a poor stranger, quite out
at elbows.

I saw many cold looks directed at myself; and when Annie took my arm to go
into supper, the gloom in the faces of some gentlemen who had been
refused, made me smile. When the party was over, Annie gave me her hand at
the foot of the staircase. I saw a triumphant light in her mischievous
eyes, as she glanced at the departing gallants; her rosy cheeks dimpled,
and she flitted up, humming a gay tune.

It is singular how beautiful she is when she laughs--as when she sighs. Am
I falling in love with her? I shall be guilty of no such folly. I think
that my pride and self-respect will keep me rational. Pshaw! why did I
dream of such nonsense!


So--a month has passed.

My coat, it seems, is to be the constant topic of attention.

A day or two since, I was sitting in my chamber, reflecting upon a
variety of things. My thoughts, at last, centred on the deficiencies of my
wardrobe, and I muttered, "I must certainly have my coat mended soon;" and
I looked down, sighing, at the hole in my elbow.... It had disappeared!
There was no longer any rent. The torn cloth had been mended in the
neatest manner; so neatly, indeed, that the orifice was almost invisible.
Who could have done it, and how? I have one coat only, and--yes! it must
have been! I saw, in a moment, the whole secret: that noise, and the voice
of Sarah, the old chambermaid.

I rose and went out on the staircase; I met the good crone.

"How did you find my coat in the dark?" I said, smiling; "and now you must
let me make you a present for mending it, Sarah."

Sarah hesitated, plainly; but honesty conquered. She refused the money,
which, nevertheless, I gave her; and, from her careless replies, I soon
discovered the real truth.

The coat had been mended by Annie!

I descended to the drawing-room, and finding her alone, thanked her with
simplicity and sincerity. She blushed and pouted.

"Who told you?" she asked.

"No one; but I discovered it from Sarah; she was unguarded."

"Well, sir," said Annie, blushing still, but laughing, "there is no reason
for your being so grateful, I thought I would mend it, as I formerly
laughed at it--and I hope it is neatly done."

"It is scarcely visible," I said, with a smile and a bow; "I shall keep
this coat always to remind me of your delicate kindness."

"Pshaw! 'twas nothing."

And running to the piano, the young girl commenced a merry song, which
rang through the old hall like the carol of a bird. Her voice was so
inexpressibly sweet that it made my pulses throb and my heart ache. I
did not know the expression of my countenance, as I looked at her, until
turning toward me, I saw her suddenly color to the roots of her hair.

I felt, all at once, that I had fixed upon her one of those looks which
say as plainly as words could utter: "I love you with all the powers of my
nature, all the faculties of my being--you are dearer to me than the whole
wide world beside!"

Upon my word of honor as a gentleman, I did not know that I loved Annie--I
was not conscious that I was gazing at her with that look of inexpressible
tenderness. Her sudden blush cleared up everything like a flash of
lightning--I rose, set my lips together, and bowed. I could scarcely
speak--I muttered "pray excuse me," and left the apartment.

On the next morning I begged the squire to release me from the completion
of my task--I had a friend who could perform the duties as well as myself,
and who would come to the hall for that purpose, inasmuch as the account
books could not be removed--I must go.

The formal and ceremonious old gentleman did not ask my reasons for this
sudden act--he simply inclined his head--and said that he would always be
glad to serve me. With a momentary pressure of Annie's cold hand, and a
low bow to the frigid Mrs. Barrington, I departed.


Five years have passed away. They have been eventful ones to me--not for
the unhoped for success which I have had in my profession, so much as for
the long suffering which drove me, violently as it were, to seek relief in
unceasing toil.

The thought of Annie has been ever with me--my pain, though such a term is
slight, was caused by my leaving her. I never knew how much I loved her
until all those weary miles were thrown between us. My days have been most
unhappy, my nights drearier still; for a long time now, I have not thought
or said "how good a thing it is to live!"

But I acted wisely, and honorably; did I not? I did my duty, when the
temptation to neglect it was exceeding hard to resist. I went away from
the woman whom I loved, because I loved her, and respected my own name and
honor, too much to remain. It was better to break my heart, I said, than
take advantage of my position at the hall, to engage a young girl's heart,
and drag her down, in case she loved me, to the poor low sphere in which I
moved. If her father had said to me, "You have abused the trust I placed
in you, and acted with duplicity," I think it would have ruined me,
forever, in my own esteem. And would he not have had the right to say it?

So I came away from the temptation while I could, and plunged into my
proper work on earth, and found relief; but I loved her still.

Shall I speak of the correspondence which ensued between the squire and
myself? 'Twas a somewhat singular one, and revealed to me something which
I was before quite ignorant of. It is here beneath my hand; let us look at
it. It passed soon after my departure:

    "Barrington Hall, Nov. 20, 18--.


    "Since your somewhat abrupt departure, I have considered that
    event with some attention, and fear that it was occasioned by
    a want of kindness in myself, or some member of my family. I
    saw with regret that Mrs. Barrington did not seem to look
    upon you with as much favor as I hoped. If any word or action
    of mine has wounded you, I pray you to forget and pardon it.

    "Your friend,


    "P.S. Pray present my best regards to your mother, who was
    many long years ago, a very dear friend of mine."

My reply was in the following words:


    "Pray set your mind at rest upon the subject of my somewhat
    hasty departure: 'twas caused by no want of courtesy in any
    member of the household at the hall, but by unavoidable
    circumstances. You will not think me wanting in candor or
    sincerity when I add that I think these circumstances were
    better not alluded to at present.

    "Truly and faithfully,


Thus ended then our correspondence. Three years afterward I received
another letter, in a handwriting somewhat tremulous and broken. It
contained simply the words:

    "I am very ill; if your convenience will permit, may I ask
    you to come and see me, my young friend?


I need not say that I went at once. As I approached the old manor house a
thousand memories knocked at the door of my heart. There were the fields
over which I had rambled; there was the emerald lawn where so often I had
wandered in the long-gone days of earlier years. The great oak against
which I had leaned on that evening to watch the sun in his setting, and
where Annie had whispered and pointed to my torn elbow, still raised its
head proudly, and embowered the old gables in the bright-tinted foliage of

I entered. The old portraits I had loved seemed to smile; they saluted me
sweetly, as in other hours; the old mansion appeared to welcome me--I saw
no change, but Annie was not singing in the hall.

All at once I heard a light tinkling footstep; my heart beat violently,
and I felt a blush rise to my cheeks. Was the queenly woman who came to
meet and greet me, indeed the Annie of old days? I held the small hand,
and looked into the deep eyes for some moments without uttering a word.
She was taller, more slender, but her carriage possessed a grace and
elegance a thousand times finer than before. Her eyes were filled with the
strangest sweetness, and swam with tears as she gazed at me.

"Papa has been waiting impatiently for you, Mr. Cleave," she said, in a
low, sad voice; "will you come up and see him at once? he is very ill."

And turning away her head, the fair girl burst into uncontrollable sobs,
every one of which went to my heart. I begged her earnestly not to yield
to her distress, and she soon dried her eyes, and led the way into the
parlor, where I was received by Mrs. Barrington, still cold and stiff, but
much more subdued and courteous. Annie went to announce my arrival to her
father, and soon I was alone with the old man.

I was grieved and shocked at his appearance. He seemed twenty years older.
I scarcely recognized in the pale, thin, invalid, the portly country
gentleman whom I had known.

The motive for his letter was soon explained. The executorial accounts,
whose terrible disarrangement I had aided, five years before, in
remedying, still hung over the dying man's head, like a nightmare. He
could not die, he said, with the thought in his mind, that any one might
attribute this disorder to intentional maladministration--"to fraud, it
might be."

And at the word "fraud," his wan cheek became crimson.

"My own affairs, Mr. Cleave," he continued, "are, I find, in a most
unhappy condition. I have been far too negligent; and now, on my
death-bed, for such it will prove, I discover, for the first time, that I
am well-nigh a ruined man!"

He spoke with wild energy as he went on. I, in vain, attempted to impress
upon him, the danger of exciting himself.

"I must explain everything, and in my own way," he said, with burning
cheeks, "for I look to you to extricate me. I have appointed you, Mr.
Cleave, my chief executor; but, above all, I rely upon you, I adjure you,
to protect my good name in those horrible accounts, which you once helped
to arrange, but which haunt me day and night like the ghost of a murdered

The insane agitation of the speaker increased, in spite of all which I
could say. It led him to make me a singular revelation--to speak upon a
subject which I had never even dreamed of. His pride and caution seemed
wholly to have deserted him; and he continued as follows:

"You are surprised, Sir, that I should thus call upon you. You are young.
But I know very well what I am doing. Your rank in your profession is
sufficient guaranty that you are competent to perform the trust--my
knowledge of your character is correct enough to induce me not to
hesitate. There is another tie between us. Do you suspect its nature? I
loved and would have married your mother. She was poor--I was equally
poor--I was dazzled by wealth, and was miserably happy when your mother's
pride made her refuse my suit. I married--I have not been happy. But
enough. I should never have spoken of this--never--but I am dying! As you
are faithful and true, St. George Cleave, let my good name and Annie's be

There the interview ended. The doctor came in, and I retired to reflect
upon the singular communication which had been made to me. On the same
evening, I accepted all the trusts confided to me. In a week the sick
gentleman was sleeping with his fathers. I held his hand when he died.

I shall not describe the grief and suffering of every one. I shall not
trust myself, especially, to speak of Annie. Her agony was almost
destructive to her health--and every throb which shook her frame, shook
mine as well. The sight of her face had revived, in an instant, all the
love of the past, if indeed it had ever slept. I loved her now,
passionately, profoundly. As I thought that I might win her love in
return, I thrilled with a vague delight.

Well, let me not spin out my story. The result of my examination of Mr.
Barrington's affairs, was saddening in the extreme. He was quite ruined.
Neglect and extravagant living, with security debts, had mortgaged his
entire property. When it was settled, and the hall was sold, his widow and
daughter had just enough to live upon comfortably--scarcely so much. They
gladly embraced my suggestion to remove to a small cottage near our own,
in town, and there they now live--you may see the low roof through the

I am glad to say that my reëxamination of the executorial accounts, which
had so troubled the poor dying gentleman, proved his fears quite
unfounded. There was mere disorder--no grounds for "exception." I told as
much to Annie, who alone knew all; and her smile, inexpressibly sweet and
filled with thanks, was my sole executorial "commission."


I have just been discarded by Annie.

Let me endeavor to collect my thoughts and recall what she said to me. My
head is troubled to-day--it is strange what a want of self-control I have!
I thought I was strong--and I am weaker than a child.

I told her that I loved her--had loved her for years--that she was
dearer, far, to me than all on earth beside my mother. And she answered
me--agitated, but perfectly resolved:

"I cannot marry you, Mr. Cleave."

A long pause followed, in which she evidently labored with great
distress--then she continued:

"I will frankly and faithfully say _why_ I cannot. I know all--I know your
feelings for me once. You went away because you were poor, and you thought
I was rich. Shall I be less strong than yourself? I am poor now; I do not
regret it, except--pardon me, sir, I am confused--I meant to say, that
_you_ are now the richer. It humbles me to speak of this--why did you

There she stopped, blushing and trembling.

"Why did I not? Oh! do not stop there, I pray you."

She replied to my words in a broken and agitated voice:

"I cannot finish. I was thinking of--of--the day when I mended your coat!"

And a smile broke through the tears in her eyes, as she gazed timidly at
me. I shall not prolong the account of our interview. She soon left me,
resolute to the last; and I came away, perfectly miserable.

What shall I do? I cannot live without her. My life would be a miserable
mockery. To see her there near me, at the window, in the street; to see
her tresses in the sunlight, her little slipper as it flits through the
flower-enveloped gate; to feel that she is near me, but lost to me! Never
could I endure it! But what can I do? Is there anything that can move her?

--Ah! that may! Let me try it. Oh, fortunate accident. To-morrow, or very
soon--very soon!


A week after my rejection, I went up to my chamber, and drew from the
depths of my wardrobe, the old coat which Annie had mended. I had promised
her to preserve it. I had kept my promise. Yes, there it was, just as I
had worn it at the hall--my shabby old coat of five years ago! I put it
on, smiling, and surveyed myself in a mirror. It was strangely
old-fashioned; but I did not think of that. I seemed to have returned, all
at once, to the past; its atmosphere embraced me; all its flowers bloomed
gaily before my eyes.

I looked at the hole in the elbow. There were Annie's stitches--her
fingers had clasped the worn, decayed cloth--the old garment had rested on
her arm!

I think I must have gazed at the coat for an hour, motionless in the
sunlight, and thinking of old days. Then I aroused myself, suddenly, put
on my hat, and, with a beating heart, went to ask if Annie remembered.

I shall not relate the details of our interview. She remembered! Oh, word
so sweet or so filled with sadness! with a world of sorrow or delight in
its sound! She remembered--and her heart could resist no longer. She
remembered the poor youth who had loved her so dearly--whom she, too, had
loved in the far away past. She remembered the days when her father was
well and happy--when his kind voice greeted me, and his smile gave me
friendly welcome. She remembered the old days, with their flowers and
sunshine--the old hall, and the lawn, and the singing birds. Can you
wonder that her soft, tender bosom throbbed, that her heart was "melted in
her breast?"

So she plighted me her troth--the dream and joy of my youth. We shall very
soon be married. The ship which I sent from the shore long ago has come
again to port, with a grander treasure than the earth holds beside--it is
the precious, young head which reclined upon my heart!

--And again I can say, as I said long ago: "how good a thing it is to




    My soul its secret has, my life too has its mystery,
    A love eternal in a moment's space conceived;
    Hopeless the evil is, I have not told its history,
    And she who was the cause, nor knew it, nor believed.
    Alas! I shall have passed close by her unperceived,
    Forever at her side, and yet forever lonely,
    I shall unto the end have made life's journey, only
    Daring to ask for naught, and having naught received.
    For her, though God has made her gentle and endearing,
    She will go on her way distraught and without hearing
    These murmurings of love that round her steps ascend,
    Piously faithful still unto her austere duty,
    Will say, when she shall read these lines full of her beauty,
    "Who can this woman be?" and will not comprehend.




Fresh from Italy, we enter the gallery of the Louvre with a feeling that
it is but a grand prolongation of the glorious array of pictured and
sculptured trophies, scattered in such memorable luxuriance, through that
chosen land of art; but the sensation is that of delightful surprise when
we have but recently explored the dim chambers of the National Gallery, or
obtained formal access to a private British collection. To cross the now
magnificent hall of Apollo, with its grand proportions flooded by a
cloudless sun, expands the mind and brightens the vision for their feast
of beauty. Here too, a magic improvement has been recently wrought, and
the architectural renovation lends new effect to the ancient treasures, so
admirably preserved and arranged. I stood long at one of the windows and
looked down upon the Seine; it was thence that the people were fired upon
at the massacre of St. Bartholomew; there rose, dark and fretted, the
antique tower of Notre Dame, here was the site of the Tour de Nesle, that
legend of crime wrought in stone; gracefully looked the bridges as they
spanned the swollen current of the river; cheerfully lay the sunshine on
quay and parapet; it was a scene where the glow of nature and the shadows
of history unite to lend a charm to the panorama of modern civilization.
And turning the gaze within, how calm and refreshing seemed the long and
high vistas of the gallery; how happy the artists at their easels;--girls
with their frugal dinners in a basket on the pavement, copying a Flemish
scene; youths drawing intently some head of an old master; veterans of the
palette reproducing the tints born under Venetian skies; and groups
standing in silent admiration before some exquisite gem or wonderful
conception. It is like an audience with the peers of art to range the
Louvre; in radiant state and majestic silence they receive their reverend
guests; first smiles down upon him the celestial meekness of Raphael's
holy women, then the rustic truth of Murillo's peasant mothers, and the
most costly, though, to our mind, not the most expressive, of all his
pictures--the late acquisition for which kings competed at Marshal Soult's
sale; now we are warmed by the rosy flush of Rubens--like a mellow sunset
beaming from the walls; and now startled at the life-like individuality of
Vandyke's portraits, as they gaze down with such placid dignity and keen
intelligence; at one point, we examine with mere curiosity the stiff
outlines of early religious limning; and, at another, smile at the homely
nature of the Dutch school; Philip de Champagne's portraits, Wouverman's
white horses, Cuyp's meadows and kine, Steen's rural _fêtes_, Claude's
sunsets, Pannini's architecture and Sneyder's animals; David's
melodramatic pieces, Isabey's miniatures, Oudny's dogs, Robert's "Harvest
Home," all hint a chapter, not only in the history of art, but in the
philosophy of life and the secrets of the beautiful--enshrined there for
the world's enjoyment, with a liberal policy yet more aptly illustrated by
the vast and lofty colonnades, the courteous custodes, and the provisions
for students in the drawings of successive schools.

In order to exchange the fascinations of the moment for the lessons of the
past, one cloudy morning we drove through the avenue of the Champs
Elysées, by the triumphal arch of Napoleon, to the palace of St. Cloud,
and from the esplanade gazed back upon the city, over the plain below, to
the dense mass of buildings surmounted by the domes of the Invalids, and
the Pantheon and the towers of Notre Dame. To the eye of contemplation it
is one of the most memorable of landscapes; a stand-point for historical
reverie, which attunes the mind for subsequent and less discursive
retrospection. Enter the apartment where Bonaparte dispersed the assembly
of five hundred--the initatory act of his rule; it is now a conservatory,
whence rising terrace walks, statues and fountains only are visible; in
the fresh silence of morning, they offered a striking contrast to that
eventful scene. In an adjacent room a picture representing Maria de
Medici's interview with Sully after the death of Henry IV., carries us
back to an earlier era. Here Blucher had his headquarters, and here was
settled the convention by which Paris was yielded to the allies. The
saloon of Vernet, the well-trimmed vine-trees of the garden, the vivid
hues of the tapestry, the newly waxed floors, the hangings and couches of
Lyons silk, the elegant Sèvres vases, and Florentine tables of _pietra
dura_, the velvet cushions of the chapel, and late publications on the
library desks--all free of speck or stain--proclaim this summer palace as
great a favorite now as when resorted to by the princes of Orleans. In
this hall the two Napoleons were proclaimed; and the brilliant memory of
those summer festivals that lately made St. Cloud dazzling with light and
beauty, was reflected from mirror, cornice, and tinted fabric; from this
gilt on the iron chain of usurped dominion, a glance through the window
revealed its origin: a throng of people were on their way to mass and a
regiment was on parade--the one illustrating the blind exaction of bigoted
authority, the other the machinery of brute force--the church and the
army, the mitre, and the sword, superstition and violence; with these, in
all ages, have the multitude been subdued; and between these two
representations of elemental despotism, clustered on a high wall, stood a
crowd to watch the meek procession of worshippers, and the exactitude of
the manual, or admire the spirited, yet controlled, evolutions of the
officer on his noble charger. The whole scene typified France as she is;
uneducated devotees, a military organization at the beck of its chief, and
a surplus of curious, intimidated or acquiescent spectators.

To pass from St. Cloud to Versailles is like turning from the last to the
first chapters of French history. The vast court of the palace is lined
with colossal statues; and thus we enter the vestibule through a file of
pale and majestic sentinels, summoned, as it were, from the tomb to guard
the trophies of nationality. Our pilgrimage through such a world of
effigies begins with Clovis and Charlemagne, and ends with Louis Philippe:
the place itself is the ancient home of royalty; the gardens, visible
from every window, have been trod by generations of monarchs and
courtiers; the ceilings bear the arms of the noble families of the
kingdom; while around are the faces and figures of the men of valor and of
genius that consecrate her history. Through this panorama move peasants,
workmen, citizens, and foreigners, gazing unrestricted, as upon a
procession evoked from the inexorable past, in which are all those of whom
they have heard or read as illustrious in France; they see the battles,
the leaders, the kings, the poets, the human material of history. This
grand conception, which has of late years been mainly realized by the last
king, is certainly one of the most grand and significant of modern times.
Even in this, our one day's observation, how many ideas are revived, how
many characters brought into view; what events, associations and people
throng upon our consciousness, as slowly gazing, we tread the interminable
halls and scan the countless memorials of Versailles!

Taking up the thread of reminiscence when looking at the old moldy mortar
that belonged to the knights of St. John when at Rhodes, the expiring
chivalry of Europe gleams fitfully upon us, once more, to provoke a
mortifying comparison with the not yet completed pictures of the capture
of Abd-el-Kader and the last siege of Rome; thence turn to the "Jeu de
Paume," where the ardent figure of Mirabeau represents the genius of the
Revolution, and from it to "Louis XVIII. and the Charter," emblematic of
the Restoration; how shines on this canvas the "helmet of Navarre" in the
"Battle of Ivry," as in Macaulay's spirited lyric, and chastely beautiful
in its stainless marble, stands the heroic Maid of Orleans; while,
appropriately in the midst of these historic characters, we find the bust
of that ideal of picturesque narrators, Froissart. The modern rule of
France is abruptly and almost grotesquely suggested amid such
associations, by the figure of De Joinville on the deck of a man-of-war,
well described by Talfourd, as "the type of dandified, melodramatic
seamanship." The cycles of kingly sway is abruptly broken by the meteoric
episode of Bonaparte: first he appears dispersing the Assembly, and then
in his early victories, wounded at Ratisbon, at the tomb of Frederick the
Great, distributing the Legion of Honor at the Invalides, quelling an
insurrection at Cairo, engaged in his unparalleled succession of battles,
and at the altar with Maria Louisa. The divorce from Josephine and the
murder of the Duc D'Enghien, are events that only recur more impressively
to the mind of the spectator because uncommemorated. From the career of
military genius which transformed the destinies of France, we pass to
apartments where still breathes the vestiges of legitimacy as in the hour
of its prime. The equestrian statue of Louis XIV. in the court-yard, his
bed and crown, his clock and chair in the long suite of rooms kept sacred
to his memory, typify the age when genius and beauty mingled their charms
in the corrupt atmosphere of intrigue and profligacy. The noble expanse of
wood, water, and meadow; the paths lined with stately myrtles and ancient
box, spread as invitingly to the eye from this embayed window, as when the
_grand monarque_ stood there to watch the graceful walk of La Vallière, or
the staid carriage of Maintenon. The abandonment and quietude of these
chambers, mirrored, tapestried, and solitary, owe not a little of the
spell they exercise over the imagination, to the vicinity of the galleries
devoted to the men of the Revolution and the campaigns of '92; amid the
smoke of conflict ever appears that resolute, olive face with the dark eye
fixed and the thin lip curved in decision or expectancy. We mechanically
repeat Campbell's elegy as we mark "Hohenlinden," and linger with
patriotic gratitude over "Yorktown," notwithstanding the absurd
prominence given to the French officers; Condé, Turenne, Moreau, Lannes,
Massena, and Lafayette fight over again before us the wars of the Fronde,
the Empire, or the Republic. The monotony of these scenes of destruction
is only relieved by the individual memories of the chiefs; they link a
certain individuality with the flame and shroud of war, the fragmentary
conquests, and the struggles that make up so large a portion of external
history; and we emerge from the crowd of warriors into the company of
statesmen, wits, and poets, with a sensation of refreshment. Each single
triumph of thought, each victory of imagination and memorial of character,
has an absolute worth and charm that the exploits of armies can never

Racine's portrait revives the long controversy between the classic and
romantic schools; that of La Bruy re the art of character-painting now one
of the highest functions of popular literature; that of Bossuet the pulpit
eloquence of France and the persecution of Fenelon, and that of Saint Cyr
the Jansenist discussion. A blank like that which designates the place of
Marino Faliero in the Ducal palace at Venice, is left here for Le Sage, as
the nativity of the author of Gil Blas is yet disputed. We look at
Rousseau to revert to the social reforms, of which he was the pioneer; at
La Place to realize the achievements of the exact sciences, and at St.
Pierre to remember the poetry of nature. Voltaire's likeness is not
labelled for the same reason that there is no name on the tomb of Ney;
both are too well known to require announcement. How incongruous become
the associations as we proceed; old Père la Chaise cheek by jowl with the
American Presidents; Cagliostro, who died before the word his career
incarnated had become indispensable to the English tongue--the apotheosis
of humbug; Marmontel, dear to our novitiate as royal leaders; and near to
the original Pamela; Chateaubriand's ancestor the Marshal; Bisson going
below to ignite the magazine, rather than "give up the ship;" and the
battered war dog, with a single eye and leg, beneath whose fragmentary
portrait is inscribed that Mars left him only a heart.

It is with singular interest that we look upon the authentic resemblance
of persons with whose minds and career literature has made us familiar,
and compare what we have imagined of their appearance with the reality. Of
such characters as Gluck, Klopstock and Madame Le Brun, whose ministry of
art has excited a vague delight, we may have formed no very distinct
image; but associated as is the name of Madame Roland with courage,
suffering and affliction, we naturally expect a more dignified and less
vivacious expression than here meets us, until we remember the earlier
development of her rare and sympathetic intelligence. Count Mirabeau has a
look of mildness and _sang froid_ instead of the earnestness we fancied.
Who would have supposed the fair assassin of Marat such a thin, delicate
and spirituelle blonde? The sensuous face of George IV. and the tragic one
of Charles I., in the ever recurring Vandyke, with Sheridan's confident,
handsome and genial physiognomy, seem grouped to make more elevated, by
comparison, the noble abstraction of Flaxman. Talleyrand resembles a keen,
selfish, humorous and gentlemanly man of the world, in an unexceptionable
white wig. Richelieu is piquant and Madame de Staël impassioned and
Amazonian. What decadence even in the warlike notabilities is hinted by
glancing from Soult to Oudinot! I thought of the French fleet in the
memorable storm off Newport, as I recognized the portrait of the Count
d'Estaing; and realized anew the military instinct of the nation in the
preponderance of battle-scenes and heroes, and marked the interest with
which groups of soldiers lingered and talked before them.



    Not as in youth, with steps outspeeding morn,
      And cheeks all bright from rapture of the way,
    But in strange mood, half cheerful, half forlorn,
               She comes to me to-day.

    Does she forget the trysts we used to keep,
      When dead leaves rustled on autumnal ground?
    Or the lone garret, whence she banished sleep
               With threats of silver sound?

    Does she forget how shone the happy eyes
      When they beheld her?--how the eager tongue
    Plied its swift oar through wave-like harmonies,
               To reach her where she sung?

    How at her sacred feet I cast me down?
      How she upraised me to her bosom fair,
    And from her garland shred the first light crown
               That ever pressed my hair?

    Though dust is on the leaves, her breath will bring
      Their freshness back: why lingers she so long?
    The pulseless air is waiting for her wing,
               Dumb with unuttered song.

    If tender doubt delay her on the road,
      Oh let her haste, to find that doubt belied!
    If shame for love unworthily bestowed,
               That shame shall melt in pride.

    If she but smile, the crystal calm will break
      In music, sweeter than it ever gave,
    As when a breeze breathes o'er some sleeping lake
               And laughs in every wave.

    The ripples of awakened song shall die
      Kissing her feet, and woo her not in vain,
    Until, as once, upon her breast I lie,
               Pardoned and loved again.



Against all institutions for the diffusion of knowledge among the
community, an objection is often urged that they can teach nothing
thoroughly, but only superficially, and that modest ignorance is better
than presumptuous half-knowledge. How frequently is it said that "a little
learning is a dangerous thing." This celebrated line is a striking
instance of the vitality which may be given to what is at least a very
doubtful proposition by throwing it into a pointed form. If anything be a
good at all, it is a good precisely in proportion to the extent in which
it is possessed or enjoyed. A great deal of it is better than a little,
but a little is better than none. No one says or thinks that a little
conscience, or a little wisdom, or a little faith, or a little charity is
a dangerous thing. Why then is a little learning dangerous? Alas, it is
not the little learning, but the much ignorance which it supposes, that is

We also frequently hear it said, that the general diffusion of popular
knowledge is unfavorable to great acquisitions in any one individual. This
is a favorite dogma with those persons whose views are all retrospective,
who are ever magnifying past ages at the expense of the present, and who
will insist upon riding through life with their faces turned toward the
horse's tail instead of his head. "We have smatterers and sciolists in
abundance," say they, "but where are the giant scholars of other days?"
Dr. Johnson once said, in reply to a remark upon the general intelligence
of the people of Scotland, that learning in Scotland was like bread in a
besieged city, where every man gets a mouthful, but none a full meal. He
also observed in a conversation held with Lord Monboddo, that learning had
much decreased in England, since his remembrance; to which his lordship
remarked, "you have lived to see its decrease in England; I, its
extinction in Scotland." The fallacy of views like these consists in
taking it for granted that there is always just about the same aggregate
amount of knowledge in the world, and that only the ratio of distribution
is changed. But there is no such analogy between learning and material
substances. The wealth of the mind is not like gold, which must be beaten
out the finer, as the surface to be covered by it is more extensive. As
to the alleged superiority of past ages, in anything essential, I am more
than skeptical. I hold rather that of all good things, learning included,
there is as much in the world now as there ever was--not to say more. The
great scholars of Europe in our time are not inferior to the greatest of
their predecessors. Even in classical literature and antiquities, the
searching, analyzing and investigating spirit of our age has poured new
light upon the remote past, and rendered the labors of former generations
useless. By elevating the general standard, it is true that there is less
distance between the common mind and the deeply learned. The scholars of
the middle ages seem the higher, from the low level of ignorance from
which they rise. They are like mountains shooting abruptly from the plain.
Our scholars seem to have reached an inferior point of elevation, because
the level of the general mind has come nearer to them, as mountain peaks
lose somewhat of their apparent height when they spring from a raised
table land.





    A modest bud matured mid secret dews,
      May yield its bloom beside some hidden path,
    Full of sweet perfumes and of rarest hues
      While few may note the beauty which it hath--

    And yet perchance some maiden, wandering there,
      May bend beside it with a loving look,
    Or by the streamlet place it in her hair;
      And smile above her image in the brook.

    A bird with pinions beautiful, and shy,
      May sing scarce noted mid the noisier throng;
    Or 'scaping earth, take refuge in the sky
      And though concealed still charm the air with song.

    Yet haply some enamored ear may hark,
      And deem it sweetest of the birds that sing;
    Or in his heart still praise the unseen lark
      That leads his fancies toward its heavenward wing.

    A star in some sequestered nook on high,
      In its deep niche of blue may calmly shine,
    While careless eyes that wander o'er the sky,
      May only deem the brightest orbs divine.

    But there are those who love to sit and trace
      Between all these some shy retiring light,
    For such, they know, shed through the veil of space
      The general halo that adorns the night.

    Thus many a poet's volume unproclaimed
      By all the myriad tongues of Fame afar,
    The few may deem as worthy to be named,
      (As I do this) a Flower, a Bird, a Star!



Last from the church came the organist, Daniel Summerman. He was less
hurried than others; to him it was not, as to people in general, a day of
increased social responsibility. His great duty was now performed. Done,
whether well or ill. He descended the stairs slowly, but with a step so
light you might have taken it for a child's. No need for him to haste; the
precious moments would go fast enough--he wished not to lose one.

In the porch he paused a moment, to draw on his woollen gloves, and button
his great coat, and for something besides. Perhaps the person who laid the
wreath of cedar leaves on his organ stool was somewhere about, and had
some criticism to offer in respect to the choir's performance.

But he descended the church steps without having met even the sexton;
somewhat disappointed, it was not with indifference that he saw a stranger
standing in the churchyard among the graves; by the grave, it chanced, of
a child who died in October, five years old. When the organist perceived
this, a purpose which he would have formed later in the day, anticipated
itself, and led him to the little mound. He would leave the cedar wreath
on Mary's grave.

He was not ashamed of his gracious purpose when he had drawn near. His
gentle heart was glad to do this homage to the dead, in the presence of a
stranger who had never seen the living child. Stooping down, he smoothed
the frozen grass, and laid the wreath upon it; and when he saw the
stranger watching him, he said:

"She was the prettiest child in the village; if she had lived, we should
have had one singer in the choir. I would have taught her. She loved music
so much."

Here was an introduction sufficient for an ordinary man. At least the
organist thought so. But when he looked at the stranger he was sorry that
he had spoken, for no genial sympathy was in that face, and still less in
the voice that asked,

"Will you leave the wreath here? Where did it come from?"

The organist replied as though he did not perceive the indifference with
which the questions were asked:

"I found it in the choir," said he. "One of the children left it, may be.
Any way this is the best place for it. Dear little girl! I should hate to
think that she was really down there."

"Where, then?" asked the stranger.

"Up above, as sure as there's a heaven." As Summerman spoke, he stepped
from the frozen ground to the gravel walk, and turning his back on the
stranger he brushed a tear from his cheek.

The gentleman, whose name was Redman Rush, followed him. He was a
well-dressed person; indeed, his attire was splendid, in comparison with
the rough garments of the little organist. His fine broadcloth cloak was
trimmed profusely with rare fur, and he wore a fur cap that must have cost
half as much as the church paid Summerman for playing the organ a
twelvemonth. He was a noticeable person, not merely on account of his
dress. His bearing was elegant, that of a well-bred man, not indifferent
to the eyes of others; that of a man somewhat cautious of the reflection
he should cast in a region of shadows and appearances. But, moreover, the
face of this Redman Rush was the face of misery. If ever a wreck came to
shore, here was the torn and battered fragment of a gallant craft.

"Were you in the church this morning?" asked the organist, struggling
with himself, speaking with effort; for, to his gaze, the aspect of the
stranger was forbidding and awful; and yet it was beyond his power to walk
by the side of any man cautious, cold, and dumb. This person was at least
a gentleman, and perhaps understood music.

"Yes," was the brief answer.

"How did the singing go?"


"That's a comfort," said the organist, looking more pleased than the
occasion seemed to warrant. But he was not a vain man; he merely supposed
that the gentleman's reply promised criticism worth hearing.

"Didn't you hear it yourself?"

"Oh, yes, after a fashion. I play the organ. It isn't the best situation
for hearing. I thought it decent. Particularly the _Gloria in Excelsis_. I
was most anxious about that. How did it sound to you, sir?"


"But, after all, they didn't understand it."

"Understand what?"

"The meaning. It opens with the song of the angels, you know. 'Glory be to
God on high; on earth, peace, good will toward men.' They couldn't tell,
coherently, what the Peace and Good Will meant. That's the worst of it.
How can they sing what they don't understand?"

"Surely. Why don't you teach them?"

"Why don't I teach them!" exclaimed the organist. "I'm not a brain-maker;
that's the reason, I suppose."

"Then, you've tried it?"

For a minute Summerman seemed vexed by this question; but for no longer
than a minute.

"What's the use? what's the use?" he said to himself, and his answer to
the question was a laugh.

The laugh, though neither loud nor boisterous, but merely a mild evidence
of good-nature that was not to be clouded by vexations, had a disagreeable
sound to Redman Rush. He looked contemptuous, and felt more than he
looked, so that it was really surprising to see him linger for such
conversation as this of the organist, and to hear him ask,

"How do you teach your choir? Whose fault is it that they cannot learn?"

"Their own fault," answered Summerman. "They've got to learn more than the
notes. So they complain. You can't make a singer out of a note-book. I've
tried that enough. Now I try to show them that peace means a riddance of
selfishness, and that selfishness is the devil's device for holding the
world together. Not God's; for his idea is love, and was in the beginning.
Wasn't the world given to understand, that the life which was born was the
love, truth, and beauty of the world, and that by Him all truth and beauty
must live? They can't see it. I can't make a man or woman understand that
an idea must be the centre around which the life will revolve. They come
to practise, not to hear preaching, they say."

It seemed as if at this, and because of this announcement, Redman Rush
drew himself apart and up, loftily, and with a gloomy defiance looked
around him. When Summerman's eyes turned toward him, he seemed gazing into
distance, and gave no indication that he had heard a word of what had been
said. The organist was disappointed. He had hoped again for criticism; but
he went on, perhaps with some suspicion of the correctness of his
convictions--at least he had not said all he wished to say.

"We must have a centre--an idea," said he. "And if that be self, then the
devil's to pay. Christ is the only absolute idea--the only possible giver
of peace, therefore. I mean by Him, His doctrine. He stands for that,
_being_ Truth, as he said, you know. They came out better on the 'good
will to men,' if you noticed. It was easier for them to believe in the
eternal good will of God, this morning. But they failed in the next line,
'We bless Thee, we give thanks to Thee, for Thy great glory!' If they knew
more they would sing better. You know what was said, sir, 'Milton himself
could not teach a boy more than he could learn.' That's the amount of it."

Now and then, during these last words, spoken so evidently by a man who
liked to talk because he looked for sympathy, and hoped for it, the face
of the stranger had changed in its expression; there seemed to be less
fierceness, more sadness in his gloom. But the change was so slight as to
be hardly perceptible, even to the eyes of Summerman. When he paused in
speaking he had still no answer.

They walked on a few paces in silence, when suddenly the organist stepped
up to the door of a house that opened on the sidewalk, and unlocked it.

"This is my shop," said he; "won't you come in, and warm yourself? it is
so cold in spite of the sun."

Redman Rush hesitated, with his foot upon the doorstep. He looked up and
down the street. It was beautiful and bright without, but, oh, how bare
and cold! homely enough within, but the glare of a hot coal fire
suggested comfort, as the skylight did cheerfulness. Did he really wish
for warmth and comfort, for cheerfulness and company? That was the point.

"Come in, I will show you something," said Summerman.

"He invites me as if I were another boy like himself," thought the man.
Perhaps for the sake of that unimaginable boyhood he crossed the
threshold, and allowed Summerman to close the door behind him.

This room was the organist's home. His household goods were all around him
when he stepped into the shop. It was a little place, but so well
arranged, that there seemed room, and to spare. Summerman was hospitable
as a prince--the shade of Voltaire reminds me of the great Frederick's
hospitality! yet, let the word stand.

This shop gave outward and visible signs of the versatility of its owner's
mind. The front part was devoted to the clock and watch making business;
before the large window stood a table, where the requisite tools were kept
for conduct of that business. A few clocks, and frames of clocks, gathered
probably from auction rooms, were ranged upon a shelf, and dust was never
allowed to accumulate around or upon them. Never was housemaid more exact
and scrupulous than the proprietor of this Gallery.

In the back part of the shop, which was lighted by the skylight, stood the
instrument for daguerreo-typing, possession of which would have made the
organist a proud man, if anything could have done so.

When he had invited Mr. Rush to sit down, and the invitation was accepted,
it was by a device of Summerman's that the gentleman found himself
directly facing the machine, and now, if he took an interest in any
earthly thing, or was capable of curiosity, some good would come of it,
thought the organist.

He had promised to show his visitor somewhat, and accordingly approached
him with a miniature case in his hand.

Mr. Rush had removed his fur cap, and Summerman approaching him, was so
struck by his appearance, the dignity, and pride, and trouble his
countenance expressed, that he nearly exclaimed in his surprise, and quite
forgot the intention he had, till Mr. Rush reminded him by extending his
hand for the picture.

"This is little Mary," exclaimed he, presenting the miniature. "I took it
last summer. She died in October. Maybe you will understand now why I
said that we should have had a singer, if she had lived."

But Summerman was in doubt about this, as, from the point to which he
immediately retired, he cast a glance at the face of the stranger, who
took the picture, and surveyed it, with such a look.

At first, it appeared as if a glance would suffice him. But he did not
return it with a glance. Was it the brightness and innocence of the young
face that won upon him, or did it for the moment take its place as the
type of all beauty and innocence, and hold him to contemplation, as for
the last time. Was it really into the face of _that_ little child, dead
and buried since October, that he looked? or was _he_ really _here_, under
the roof of this poor organist, shut up with the warmth of his coal stove
this bright Christmas day, locked safe his secret thoughts, himself secure
with them?

At last some word or sound escaped the organist. He had gazed at Mr. Rush
till he seemed possessed of nightmare. So wild, so haggard, so awful, the
man's face appeared to him, that the cry, an involuntary one, expressed
better than any inquiry could have done, how much disturbed he was. The
stranger heard, and seemed to understand, for at the sound he rose
quickly, and laid the picture on the counter; not gently; at the same time
he looked at Summerman and laughed; but without merriment.

"Come," said Summerman quickly, "let me take your portrait. I have quite a
collection here, you see." And as he spoke he did not remove his eyes from
the stranger--he had come to the conclusion that he was mad, or in some
direful strait that made him almost irresponsible, and his first purpose
was one of helpful commiseration.

Instead of quitting the shop straightway, as Summerman expected he would
do when he made this proposition (and if he did depart he meant to
follow), the stranger walked toward the instrument, and on his way picked
up the picture he had thrown down with so little ceremony. He seemed to
think he owed this courtesy:

"Do you find much patronage here?" he asked.

"Oh, considerable," replied Summerman. "Just now more than common. Your
likeness is such a good present to make your friend!"

"Do you think so?"

"Certainly," was the emphatic response.

"You ask to take my likeness--what for?"

"I want it myself."

"Oh--for a sign. Well, young man, you don't know what it's the sign of,
after all," and here Mr. Rush evidently set himself against the world.

"I hope it's the sign of a friend," answered Summerman, who was keeping up
his spirits by an effort, for the mere presence of this man weighed on
them with an almost intolerable weight. Yet he was sparing no effort to
retain that presence.

"Why do you hope that?" asked Mr. Rush with a disagreeable show of

"Because we met at the church door on Christmas day." Simple answer--yet
it was spoken so gently, so truthfully, it seemed to make an impression.

"Christmas day. So it is. But it's getting late. How high is the sun yet?"

"Three hours, maybe."

Hearing this, the gentleman turned away, and walked to the further
extremity of the shop. Summerman's eyes followed him with anxiety. But he
went on polishing a plate, and seemed beyond all things intent on that.

Presently Mr. Rush came back.

"You may take my likeness," said he. "You are a good fellow. And it will
help pass time."

So the artist stepped quickly about, and looked pleased, but not too much
so. The work was soon done. While Summerman was putting it through the
process of perfection, the gentleman stood and watched him.

"How did you want your choir to sing 'good will to men?'" he asked.

Summerman did not look up to answer--did not express any surprise, but the
whole man was in the reply given:

"From the heart, sir. Full, confident, assuring. They owe that to God and
man, or they've no business in a choir."

"Do you suppose they could do it?" asked Mr. Rush, not immediately, but,
as it seemed, when he had controlled the unpleasant influence the
speaker's enthusiastic mode of address had upon him. It seemed as if he
were not merely speaking, and engaging the organist in speech for
pastime--but rather because he could not help it. His questions, when he
asked them, had a more surprising sound to himself than to the person who
answered. And they vexed him--but not Summerman. When Mr. Rush asked him
if he supposed it possible for them to sing in the way signified, he
replied quite confidently:

"Yes, if they only knew what they were about."

"But you explained that to them?"

"Well, then, yes, if they believed it; for after all, belief is of the

"You don't think they believe it?"

"It's a hard thing to say. But if they did, they would do better. They
are not a happy set altogether. They whine--they talk one thing, and live
another. One of them lost a little money the other day--pretty nearly all
he had, I suppose--but what of that?"

"What of that!" exclaimed Mr. Rush, and he looked at the organist amazed.

"Yes, what of it? The man has his health and his faculties. What's money?"

"What's money!"

"Yes, sir, when you come to the point--what is it? Eyes, hands,
feet--blood, brain, heart, soul? You would think so to hear him talk. It's
dust! I've seen that proved, sir, and I know 'tis true!"

"You don't allow for circumstances," said the stranger, sharply.

"Circumstances!" repeated Summerman, incredulous.

"Yes, the difference between your affairs and those of your neighbors. You
seem to judge others by yourself?"

"My affairs! I haven't any to speak of," said the organist, with a grave
sort of wonder.

"I suppose," replied the stranger, almost angrily, "you are a human
creature; things happen to you, and they do not. If you have any feeling
at all you are affected by what happens." He ceased speaking with the
manner of a man who is annoyed that he should have been so far beguiled
into speech.

"Some things have happened to me," answered Summerman quietly, seeing
everything, pretending to see nothing. "I lived ten years among the
Gipsies. I belonged to them. That's where I had my schooling. I worked in
the tin ware; and clock mending I took up of myself. I left my people on
account of a church-organ. My father and mother were dead. I had no
brother or sister; nor any relation. But I had friends, and they would
have kept me; but I had to choose between them and the rest. I couldn't
learn the organ in the woods and meadows; I was caught by the music as
easily as a pink by a pin. But I kept to the clock mending. I used to
travel about on my business once in a while, for a man can't settle down
to four walls and a tread-mill in a minute, when he's been used to all
creation. Then I learned to take pictures, and I travelled about for a
time, carrying the machine with me. But for the last year I've lived in
this shop and had the church organ. So you see how it is. I have all these
things to look after, and I try to keep in tune, and up to pitch.

"You are a happy man," said Mr. Rush, who had listened with attention to
this humble story. "But," he added, "you could not understand--for you
have had no cares, no one dependent on you--how necessary to some persons
money is for happiness. What ruin follows the loss of it. How many a man
would prefer death to such a loss."

"I guess not," said Summerman, in a low tone. "I believe in the Good Will

"What has that to do with it?" asked the stranger, impatiently.

To this Summerman replied, speaking slowly--humblest acquiescence sounding
through his speech.

"When I settled down, and got the situation in the church, I was about to
bring her here.... You understand.... She died about that time. I have not
seen her picture. Her brother had died before. I was to be the son of the
old people. We were sure that after awhile they would be attracted by our
happy home, and by our fireside all their wanderings would end. They
should be free as in the forests.... It is all changed now--but I am still
their son, and I wish nothing better than to work for them. The old man is
failing, and I think that I shall yet persuade them to come and live with
me--we might be one family still--and it would please her. If I succeed,
there are two or three rooms close by where we can be tolerably happy,
all together. God is not indifferent. He sees all. And sure I am that He
bears me no ill will. So it must be for the best. She used to wear this
ribbon around her splendid hair. She was so young and gay! It would have
done you good to look at such a face. Sometimes I catch myself thinking
what a long, gay life we ought to have lived together--and I know there's
no wickedness in that. It's more pleasant than bitter."

"So you support the old people," was the listener's sole comment. Not
loss, but fidelity--not grief, but constancy, impressed him while he
hearkened to this story.

"I have adopted them," answered the organist. "Yes, they are mine now.
Just as they were to have been. Just as she and I used to talk it over.
Only she is not here."

"So you support them," repeated Mr. Rush. And he seemed to ponder that
point, as if it involved somewhat beyond his comprehension.

The organist replied, wondering. And he looked at the questioner--but the
questioner looked not at him.

"Yes, certainly," he said.

"I suppose they are moderate in their wants. They don't require suites of
chambers with frescoed ceilings, and walls hung with white satin, rose
color, lavender--and the rest. They don't need a four-story palace, with
carpets of velvet to cover the floors from attic to basement. Do they?"
All the scorn and bitterness expressed in these words the organist happily
could never perceive. But he discerned enough to make him shudder, and he
believed that the speaker was mad.

"I don't think I understand you," he answered, perplexed and cautious. He
feared the effect of his words. But anything that he might say would
produce now one sole result.

"Very likely you don't understand," said Mr. Rush.

"But," said the organist, "I wish I did."

"Why, man?"

"You look so troubled, sir."


"As if you--hadn't--tried out the Good Will doctrine. I mean--yes, I do!
that I shouldn't suppose you believed in it," said Summerman, bravely.

Mr. Rush laughed bitterly. "I'll tell you a story," said he.

"No--no--I mean not yet--don't," exclaimed Summerman, quickly.

"Why, it's a short tale. I'm not going to trouble you much longer. A fine
holiday you're having! But you'll never have another like it, I believe.
I--I want your advice before I go. Besides, you have kept to your green,
sunny love so long, I would like to give you a notion of what's going on
the other side of the fence."

"Then we will walk," said Summerman, "if it's agreeable to you, sir, I
mean, of course. I always walk around the lake at this hour." The little
man had put on his overcoat while he spoke, and now stood waiting the
stranger's pleasure, cap in hand.

"Dare you leave that face of mine among the other faces?" asked Mr. Rush,
with all seriousness.

The organist looked nervously around as if he expected something to
justify the trouble this question occasioned him.

"Yes--yes--I'll take the risk," he answered, but he spoke without a smile.
One thought alone prevented him from heartily wishing himself rid of this
companion, who, in spite of him, had cast such a gloom over his Christmas
day. The man seemed to have more need of him than Summerman had of his
dinner deferred.

They set out together to walk through the frosty air under the cloudless
sky. The sun was near to setting. In half an hour a deep orange belt
would unroll round the east, flaming signs would mark the heavens, and a
great star hang in the midst of an amethyst hemicycle.

They noticed that the sun was near to setting, and one of them saw the

"I want you to tell me honestly," said the other. "You have taken my
picture; what do you think it looks like? That is a fair question."

"Like misery," replied Summerman, promptly enough.

"Is that all? I thought worse. I thought it looked like a very devil's
face. When I go back, I'll destroy it. But, then, it looks like me! Now, I
can't afford to live a scarecrow. I believe I wasn't made to frighten
others to death. I'd choose to die myself first." He dropped his voice to
a whisper. "I've been trying to do that. Tried twice. Is there any
particular luck in a third time, that you know of?"

Summerman did not answer, though Rush was looking full upon him; neither
did he avoid the long and piercing gaze the stranger fixed upon him. He
met that like a man.

"You think I'm mad," at last said Mr. Rush.

"Not exactly."

"Thank you. But you are a gipsy. Read my fortune."

Gravely Summerman looked at the fair, smooth palm that was suddenly
stretched before him.

"You have been unfortunate," said he.

"Oh, no; you mustn't admit that. Only a little money lost, that's all."

"Is it all, indeed?" asked Summerman, and he dropped the palm. Then he
shook his head. "I do not think it could have served you so. A little
loss!" said he.

"That is because fortune never made a fool of you. Let me alone; I want to
think." He spoke in the quick, peremptory manner of a man who is
accustomed to command; but he came very near to smiling the next moment,
as he looked down at the little person whom he had ordered into silence.

Then he broke the silence he had enjoined.

"Suppose you were in my case," said he, "how would you act?"

"I am not. How can I tell?" was Summerman's prudent answer.

These words, as indeed any words that he could have spoken, were the best
that Redman Rush could hear; for now he was leaning with the whole weight
of his moral nature on the life of this strong-hearted, true-hearted
organist. He liked the unpresuming, modest, generous word.

"I'll tell you what you would be," said he, quickly. "A month ago worth
half a million--to-day not a cent. Brought up like a fool, you would
probably be one. Turned out of house, helpless as a baby. You have
yourself--master of your wits and your hands. Look at these hands! And all
my wits can advise me is, this life isn't worth the keeping."

"Oh, no; not to-day! They don't say that to-day!" exclaimed Summerman,
speaking as if he knew. And he ventured further, boldly: "They advise you,
go home to your wife and your child; live for them and yourself, and God's

"Wife--child!" repeated Rush; and he blushed when he added; "you read
fortunes. Your pardon."

"I saw it in your face," said the organist, quietly. "When you looked at
our little Mary, I believed you were thinking of some other little child.
And it reminded you of some other young lady, when I told you what I
expected once. If it hadn't been for them, you would never have thought of
destroying yourself; and I'm sure, on their account, what you ought to ask
and hope is, that your life may be spared."

It is said that drowning men will grasp at straws. This elegant stranger,
who had emerged from mystery to disturb the Christmas day of a humble
organist, now leaned on the friendly arm of the little man, walking along
with him, _not_ as he once sauntered through the promenade, a butterfly
disdaining all but the brightest of sunbeams, the sweetest of flowers.
Poor worm! he was half frozen in this wintry brightness, this exhilarating
atmosphere, in which Summerman throve so well.

"Are all the men that are born in woods and meadows, and brought up
tinkers, like you?" he asked.

"No," answered Summerman. "Some turn out fools, and some knaves, and some
ten times better men and wiser men, than I shall ever be."

"Like the rest of the world. Are men, men everywhere?"

"Pretty much. You talk about your wits. You were made to do a bigger
business than I shall ever do. Go home and begin it. I've a mind to go
with you, so you shan't lose your way."

"You know the way so well," said Rush. He had not before spoken as he now
spoke, almost cheerfully, almost hopefully. Here was this fellow that told
fortunes, daring to prophesy good days for him! But then, was he not a
bankrupt? And if he lived--a beggar still?

       *       *       *       *       *

The sun had set, and the faces of the two men were again turned to the
village. They had walked quite round the lake, and Summerman had concluded
that he would invite the gentleman to dine with him when they came back to
the inn; would he accept the courtesy? Summerman looked at Mr. Rush, that
he might ascertain the probabilities, and thought that he could see a
breaking of the black clouds which held this man a prisoner. He wanted to
preach to him. He wanted exceedingly to launch out again on the Good Will
doctrine; and at length he did, but not exactly in the manner he would
have chosen, had he been left to himself.

As they walked along in silence, suddenly came and met them the sound of a
quick clanging church bell; then rose a mighty cry, and a still more
potent flame ascending heavenward.

"It's a fire!" cried Summerman. And, true to his living impulse and
instinct, which was forever--first and last, and ever--the good of the
public, the little man set off on a run. His companion, the gentleman who
had never, in his thirty years, run to a fire, with generous intent,
followed on as fleetly. So they came together to the village street, when,
lo! the shop of Daniel Summerman, was making all this stir! drawing such
crowds about it as never before the artist's varied powers had done.

There was neither door nor roof, wall or window, visible, but a pit of
flame, and within, as everybody knew, the entire stock, sum total of the
organist's worldly goods.

"Well! well!" said he, as, panting, he came to a stand-still in the middle
of the street, his companion close beside him.

"Curse God, and die!" was all that the wife of Job could think to say to
him, in his extremity.

"Well! well!" was the comment Redman Rush could make on this disaster,
repeating Summerman's words with an emphasis not all his own. It was
evident that, for a moment at least, he had forgotten himself; his face
was no longer dark with misery, but full of consternation, alive with
sympathy. And still he said:

"Where's your Good Will doctrine, though?"

"Safe!" cried the organist, and he crossed his arms on his breast with a
look of perfect triumph.

"You eat your words with a vengeance. You preach the best sermon I ever
heard, _I_ swear," said Mr. Rush, looking at him with amazement.

"Humph!" ejaculated Summerman.

"I believe, after all, 'twas my cursed picture that did it," continued
Rush. He was not able to stand there in silence listening to the roaring
of the fire, by the side of the man whose property was being destroyed in
this relentless manner. He must talk; and no one hindered him, for the
most of the working force of the village was busy trying to draw water
from the frozen pumps of the neighborhood.

"I might have known such a face would raise the devil," muttered he.

"Then, they are both done for!" was Summerman's quick answer. "If you are
burnt to death, it's clear you can't be drowned. So, it seems you're a new
man altogether. Sir, your wife calls you! But, before you go, pray, take
the Good Will doctrine in. A present from me, if you please."

Having said these words, the organist wiped his eyes, and laughed.

"If this is a dream," said Redman Rush, astonished into doubt of all he
saw and heard, "let me get home before I wake up, for God's sake." And he
turned away from the organist, and was hid in the crowd from the eyes that
followed him.

He turned away, but would he ever lose the memory of a soft voice, saying:

"Mr. Summerman, my boys and I insist on your coming to spend the holidays
with us."

Or, of a grey-haired gentleman's aspect, who came hurrying through the
crowd till he stood face to face with the little organist, whose hands he
grasped as he said:

"Never mind, lad; never mind. You'll be a richer man before night than you
ever were before. Here is a year's salary in advance, from the church,
sir. You understand. And we all want our daguerreotypes; so order an

Or, of an agitated voice, that followed him like the voice of a spirit,
mysterious and persuasive:

"Oh, believe in the Good Will Doctrine!"



    Not always unimpeded can I pray,
    Nor, pitying saint, thine intercession claim:
    Too closely clings the burden of the day,
    And all the mint and anise that I pay
    But swells my debt and deepens my self-blame.

    Shall I less patience have than Thou, who know
    That Thou revisit'st all who wait for Thee,
    Nor only fill'st the unsounded depths below
    But dost refresh with measured overflow
    The rifts where unregarded mosses be?

    The drooping sea-weed hears, in night abyssed,
    Far and more far the waves' receding shocks,
    Nor doubts, through all the darkness and the mist
    That the pale shepherdess will keep her tryst,
    And shoreward lead once more her foam-fleeced flocks.

    For the same wave that laps the Carib shore
    With momentary curves of pearl and gold,
    Goes hurrying thence to gladden with its roar
    The lorn shells camped on rocks of Labrador,
    By love divine on that glad errand rolled.

    And, though Thy healing waters far withdraw,
    I, too, can wait and feed on hopes of Thee,
    And of the dear recurrence of thy Law,
    Sure that the parting grace which morning saw,
    Abides its time to come in search of me.



     "Hope, by the ancients, was drawn in the form of a sweet and
     beautiful child, standing upon tiptoes, and a trefoil or
     three-leaved grass in her hand."

         _Citation from old Peacham in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary._

Three names, clustered together in more than one marked association, have
a pleasant fragrance in English literature. A triple-leaved clover in a
field thickly studded with floral beauties, the modest merits of

    "Smell sweet and blossom in the dust"--

endeared to us not merely by the claim of intellect, but by the warmer
appeal to the heart, of kindred sympathy and suffering. True poets, they
have placed in their spiritual alembic the common woes and sorrows of
life, and extracted from them "by force of their so potent art," a cordial
for the race.

Has it ever occurred to the reader to reflect how much the world owes to
the poets in the alleviation of sorrow? It is much to hear the simple
voice of sympathy in its plainest utterances from the companions around
us; it is something to listen to the same burden from the good of former
generations, as the universal experience of humanity; but we owe the
greatest debt to those who by the graces of intellect and the pains of a
profounder passion, have triumphed over affliction, and given eloquence to

There is a common phrase, which some poet must first have invented--"the
luxury of woe." Poets certainly have found their most constant themes in
suffering. When the late Edgar Poe, who prided himself on reducing
literature to an art, sat down to write a poem which should attain the
height of popularity, he said sorrow must be its theme, and wrote "The
Raven." Tragedy will always have a deeper hold upon the public than
comedy; it appeals to deeper principles, stirs more powerful emotions,
imparts an assured sense of strength, is more intimate with our nature, or
certainly it would not be tolerated. There is no delight in the exhibition
of misery as such, it is only painful and repulsive; we discard all vulgar
horrors utterly, and keep no place for them in the mind. Let, however, a
poet touch the string, and there is another response when he brings before
us pictures of regal grief, and gives grandeur to humiliation and penalty.
Nor is it only in the higher walks of tragedy, with its pomp and
circumstances of action, that the poet here serves us. His humbler
minstrelsy has soothed many an English heart from the tale of "Lycidas" to
the elegiac verse of Tennyson. George Herbert still speaks to this
generation as two centuries ago he spoke to his own. His quaint verses
gather new beauties from time as they come to us redolent with the prayers
and aspirations of many successions of the wives, mothers and daughters of
England and America; bedewed with the tears of orphans and parents; an
incitement to youth, a solace to age, a consolation for humanity to all

These have been costly gifts to our benefactors. "I honor," says Vaughan,
"that temper which can lay by the garland when he might keep it on; which
can pass by a rosebud and bid it grow when he is invited to crop it." This
is the spirit of self-devotion in every worthy action, and especially of
the pains and penalties by which poets have enriched our daily life. We
are indebted to the poets, too, for something more than the alleviation of
sorrow. Perhaps it is, upon the whole, a rarer gift to improve
prosperity. Joy, commonly, is less of a positive feeling than grief, and
is more apt to slip by us unconsciously. Few people, says the proverb,
know when they are well off. It is the poet's vocation to teach the world

            --"to be possess'd with double pomp,
    To guard a title that was rich before,
    To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
    To throw a perfume on the violet."

The poet lifts our eyes to the beauties of external nature, educates us to
a keener participation in the sweet joys of affection, to the loveliness
and grace of woman, to the honor and strength of manhood. His ideal world
thus becomes an actual one, as the creations of imagination first borrowed
from sense, alight from the book, the picture or the statue once again to
live and walk among us.

The resemblances which have induced us to bring together our sacred
triumvirate of poets, are the common period in which they lived, their
similar training in youth, a congenial bond of learning, a certain
generous family condition, the inspiration of the old mother church out of
which they sprung, the familiar discipline of sorrow, the early years in
which they severally wrote.

A brief glance at their respective lives may indicate still further these
similarities and point a moral which needs not many words to
express--which seems to us almost too sacred to be loudly or long dwelt

       *       *       *       *       *

Herbert was the oldest of the band, having been born near the close of the
sixteenth century, in the days of James, who was an intelligent patron of
the family. The poet's brother, the learned Lord Herbert of Cherbury,
whose "Autobiography" breathes the fresh manly spirit of the best days of
chivalry, was the king's ambassador to France. George Herbert, too, was in
a fair way to this court patronage, when his hopes were checked by the
death of the monarch. It is a circumstance, this court favor, worth
considering in the poet's life, as the antecedent to his manifold spirit
of piety. Nothing is more noticeable than the wide, liberal culture of the
old English poets; they were first, men, often skilled in affairs, with
ample experience in life, and then--poets.

Herbert's education was all that care and affection could devise. "He
spent," says his amiable biographer, Izaak Walton, "much of his childhood
in a sweet content under the eye and care of his prudent mother, and the
tuition of a chaplain or tutor to him and two of his brothers in her own
family." At Cambridge he became orator to the University, gained the
applause of the court by his Latin orations, and what is more, secured the
friendship of such men as Bishop Andrews, Dr. Donne, and the model
diplomatist of his age, Sir Henry Wotton. The completion of his studies
and the failure of court expectations were followed by a passage of rural
retirement--a first pause of the soul previous to the deeper conflicts of
life. His solitariness was increased by sickness, a period of meditation
and devotional feeling, assisted by the intimations of a keen spirit in a
feeble body--and out of the furnace came forth Herbert the priest and
saint. All that knowledge can inspire, all that tenderness can endear,
centres about that picture of the beauty of holiness, his brief pastoral
career--as we read it in his prose writings and his poems, and the pages
of Walton--at the little village of Bemerton. He died at the age of
thirty-nine--his gentle spirit spared the approaching conflicts of his
country, which pressed so heavily upon the Church which he loved.

The poems of Herbert are now read throughout the world; no longer confined
to that Church which inspired them. They are echoed at times in the
pulpits of all denominations, while their practical lines are, if we
remember rightly, scattered among the sage aphorisms of Poor Richard, and
their wide philosophy commends itself to the genius of Emerson.

It is pleasant in these old poets to admire what has been admired by
others--to read the old verses with the indorsement of genius. The name
adds value to the bond. Coleridge, for instance, whose "paper," in a
mercantile sense, would have been, on "change," the worst in England, has
given us many of these notable "securities." They live in his still
echoing "Table-Talk," and are sprinkled generously over his
writings--while what record is there of the "good," the best financial
names of the day? One sonnet of Herbert was an especial favorite with
Coleridge. It was that heart-searching, sympathizing epitome of spiritual
life, entitled


    "Lord, with what care hast thou begirt us round!
      Parents first season us; then school-masters
      Deliver us to laws; they send us bound
    To rules of reason, holy messengers.

    "Pulpits and Sundays, sorrow dogging sin,
      Afflictions sorted, anguish of all sizes,
      Fine nets and stratagems to catch us in,
    Bibles laid open, millions of surprises.

    "Blessings beforehand, ties of gratefulness.
      The sound of Glory ringing in our ears:
      Without, our shame; within, our consciences:
    Angels and grace, eternal hopes and fears.

    "Yet all these fences and their whole array,
    One cunning bosom-sin blows quite away."

These poems, it should be remembered, are private devotional
heart-confessions, not written for sale, for pay or reputation; they were
not printed at all during the author's life, but were brought forth by
faithful friends from the sacred coffer of his dying-room, in order that
posterity might know the secret of that honorable life and its cheerful
end. Izaak Walton has given a beautiful setting to one stanza from the
eloquent ode "Sunday." "The Sunday before his death," his biographer tells
us, "he rose suddenly from his bed or couch, called for one of his
instruments, took it into his hand, and said:

    "'My God, my God
    My music shall find thee,
      And every string
    Shall have his attribute to sing.

And having tuned it, he played and sung:

         "'The Sundays of man's life,
    Threaded together on time's string,
    Make bracelets to adorn the wife
    Of the eternal glorious King.
    On Sundays, heaven's door stands ope;
    Blessings are plentiful and rife;
           More plentiful than hope.'

"Thus he sung on earth such hymns and anthems as the angels and he, and
Mr. Farrer, now sing in heaven."

As we have fallen upon this personal, biographical vein, and as the best
key to a man's poetry is to know the man and what he may have encountered,
we may cite the poem entitled "The Pearl." It is compact of life and
experience: we see the courtier and the scholar ripening into the saint;
the world not forgotten or ignored, but its best pursuits calmly weighed,
fondly enumerated and left behind, as steps of the celestial ladder.


    "I know the ways of learning; both the head
    And pipes that feed the press, and make it run;
    What reason hath from nature borrowed,
    Or of itself, like a good housewife, spun
    In laws and policy; what the stars conspire;
    What willing nature speaks, what forc'd by fire;
    Both th' old discoveries, and the new-found seas;
    The stock and surplus, cause and history:
    All these stand open, or I have the keys:
                  Yet I love thee.

    "I know the ways of honor, what maintains
    The quick returns of courtesy and wit:
    In vies of favor whether party gains,
    When glory swells the heart and mouldeth it
    To all expressions both of hand and eye,
    Which on the world a true-love knot may tie,
    And bear the bundle, wheresoe'er it goes:
    How many drams of spirits there must be
    To sell my life unto my friends or foes:
                  Yet I love thee.

    "I know the ways of pleasure, the sweet strains,
    The lullings and the relishes of it;
    The propositions of hot blood and brains;
    What mirth and music mean; what love and wit
    Have done these twenty hundred years, and more;
    I know the projects of unbridled store:
    My stuff is flesh, not grass; my senses live,
    And grumble oft, that they have more in me
    Than he that curbs them, being but one to five:
                  Yet I love thee.

    "I know all these, and have them in my hand;
    Therefore not sealed, but with open eyes
    I fly to thee, and fully understand
    Both the main sale, and the commodities;
    And at what rate and price I have thy love;
    With all the circumstances that may move:
    Yet through the labyrinths, not my grovelling wit,
    But thy silk-twist let down from heav'n to me,
    Did both conduct and teach me, how, by it,
                  To climb to thee."

A splendid retrospect this of a short life: and with what accurate
knowledge of art, science, policy, literature, of powers of body and mind.
Herbert's poems are full of this sterling sense and philosophical
reflection--the mintage of a master mind.

Addison's version of the twenty-third Psalm has entered into every
household and penetrated every heart by its sweetness and pathos. There is
equal gentleness and sincerity in Herbert's:

    "The God of love my shepherd is,
      And he that doth me feed.
    While he is mine, and I am his,
      What can I want or need?

    "He leads me to the tender grass,
      Where I both feed and rest;
    Then to the streams that gently pass:
      In both I have the best.

    "Or if I stray, he doth convert,
      And bring my mind in frame
    And all this not for my desert,
      But for his holy name.

    "Yea, in death's shady, black abode
      Well may I walk, not fear:
    For thou art with me, and thy rod
      To guide, thy staff to bear.

    "Nay, thou dost make me sit and dine,
      E'en in my en'mies' sight;
    My head with oil, my cup with wine,
      Runs over day and night.

    "Surely thy sweet and wond'rous love
      Shall measure all my days:
    And as it never shall remove,
      So neither shall my praise."

We might linger long with Herbert, gathering the fruits of wisdom and
piety from the abundant orchard of his poems, where many a fruit "hangs
amiable;" but we must listen to his brethren.

       *       *       *       *       *

Henry Vaughan was the literary offspring of George Herbert. His life, too,
might have been written by good Izaak Walton, so gentle was it, full of
all pleasant associations and quiet nobleness, decorated by the love of
nature and letters, intimacies with poets, and with that especial touch of
nature which always went to the heart of the Complete Angler, a love of
fishing--for Vaughan was wont, at times, to skim the waters of his native

He was born in Wales; the old Roman name of the country conferring upon
him the appellation "Silurist"--for in those days local pride and
affection claimed the honor of the bard, as the poet himself first
gathered strength from the home, earth and sky which concentrated rather
than circumscribed his genius. His family was of good old lineage,
breathing freely for generations in the upper atmosphere of life, warmed
and cheered in a genial sunlight of prosperity. It could stir, too, at the
call of patriotism, and send soldiers, as it did, to bite the heroic dust
at Agincourt. Another time brought other duties. The poet came into the
world in the early part of the seventeenth century, when the great
awakening of thought and English intellect was to be followed by stirring
action. He was not, indeed, to bear any great part in the senate or the
field; but all noble spirits were moved by the issues of the time. To some
the voice of the age brought hope and energy; to others, a not ignoble
submission. It was perhaps as great a thing to suffer with the Royal
Martyr, with all the burning life and traditions of England in the
throbbing heart, as to rise from the ruins into the cold ether where the
stern soul of Milton could wing its way in self-reliant calmness. Honor is
due, as in all great struggles, to both parties. Vaughan's lot was cast
with the conquered cause.

His youth was happy, as all poets' should be, and as the genius of all
true poets, coupled with that period of life, will go far to make it.
There must be early sunshine far the first nurture of that delicate plant:
the storm comes afterward to perfect its life. Vaughan first saw the
light in a rural district of great beauty. His songs bear witness to it.
Indeed he is known by his own designation, a fragrant title in the sweet
fields of English poesy, as the Swan of the Usk, though he veiled the
title in the thin garb of the Latin, "Olor Iscanus." Another fortunate
circumstance was the personal character of his education, at the hands of
a rural Welsh rector, with whom, his twin brother for a companion, he
passed the years of youth in what, we have no doubt, were pleasant paths
of classical literature. How inexhaustible are those old wells of Greek
and Roman Letters! The world cannot afford to spare them long. They may be
less in fashion at one time than another, but their beauty and life-giving
powers are perennial. The Muse of English poesy has always been baptized
in their waters.

The brothers left for Oxford at the mature age--not a whit too late for
any minds--of seventeen or eighteen. At the University there were other
words than the songs of Apollo. The Great Revolution was already on the
carpet, and it was to be fought out with weapons not found in the logical
armory of Aristotle. The brothers were royalists, of course; and Henry,
before the drama was played out, like many good men and true, tasted the
inside of a prison--doubtless, like Lovelace and Wither, singing his
heartfelt minstrelsy behind the wires of his cage. He was not a fighting
man. Poets rarely are. More than one lyrist--as Archilochus and Horace may
bear witness--has thrown away his shield on the field of battle. Vaughan
wisely retired to his native Wales. Jeremy Taylor, too, it may be
remembered, was locking up the treasures of his richly-furnished mind and
passionate feeling within the walls of those same Welsh hills. Nature,
alone, however, is inadequate to the production of a true poet. Even
Wordsworth, the most patient, absorbed of recluses, had his share of
education in London and travel in foreign cities. Vaughan, too, early
found his way, in visits, to the metropolis, where he heard at the Globe
Tavern the last echoes of that burst of wit and knowledge which had spoken
from the tongue and kindled in the eye of Shakspeare, Spenser and Raleigh.
Ben Jonson was still alive, and the young poets who flocked to him, as a
later age worshipped Dryden, were all "sealed of the tribe of Ben."
Randolph and Cartwright were his friends.

Under these early inspirations of youth, nature, learning, witty
companionship, Vaughan published his first verses--breathing a love of his
art and its pleasures of imagination, paying his tribute to his paternal
books in "Englishing," the "Tenth Satyre of Juvenal," and not forgetting,
of course, the lovely "Amoret." A young poet without a lady in his verse
is a solecism which nature abhors. All this, however, as his biographer
remarks, "though fine in the way of poetic speculation, would not do for
every-day practice." Of course not; and the young "swan" turned his wary
feet from the glittering stream to the solid land. The poet became a
physician. It was a noble art for such a spirit to practise, and not a
very rude progress from youthful poesy if he felt and thought aright.
There was a sterner change in store, however, and it came to him with the
monition, "Physician, heal thyself!" He was prostrated by severe bodily
disease, and thenceforth his spirit was bowed to the claims of the unseen
world. The "light amorist" found a higher inspiration. He turned his
footsteps to the Temple and worshipped at the holy altar of Herbert. His
poetry becomes religious. "Sparks from the Flint" is the title which he
gives his new verses, "Silex Scintillans." After that pledge to holiness
given to the world, he survived nearly half a century, dying at the mature
age of seventy-three--a happy subject of contemplation in the bosom of his
Welsh retirement, passing quietly down the vale of life, feeding his
spirit on the early-gathered harvest of wit, learning, taste, feeling,
fancy, benevolence and piety.

Of such threads was the life of our poet spun.

His verse is light, airy, flying with the lark to heaven. Hear him with
"his singing robes" about him:

    "I would I were some bird or star,
    Flutt'ring in woods, or lifted far
          Above this inn
          And road of sin!
    Then either star or bird should be
    Shining or singing still to thee."

In this song of "Peace"--

    "My soul, there is a country
      Afar beyond the stars,
    Where stands a winged sentry
      All skillful in the wars.
    There, above noise and danger,
      Sweet peace sits crown'd with smiles,
    And one born in a manger
      Commands the beauteous files.
    He is thy gracious friend,
      And (oh, my soul awake!)
    Did in pure love descend,
      To die here for thy sake.
    If thou canst get but thither,
      There grows the flower of peace,
    The rose that cannot wither,
      Thy fortress and thy ease.
    Leave, then, thy foolish ranges;
      For none can thee secure,
    But one, who never changes--
      Thy God, thy Life, thy Cure."

Or in that kindred ode, full of "intimations of immortality received in
childhood," entitled, "The Retreat:"

    "Happy those early days, when I
    Shin'd in my angel infancy!
    Before I understood this place,
    Appointed for my second race,
    Or taught my soul to fancy aught
    But a white, celestial thought;
    When yet I had not walkt above
    A mile or two from my first love,
    And looking back, at that short space,
    Could see a glimpse of his bright face;
    When on some gilded cloud or flower
    My gazing soul would dwell an hour,
    And in those weaker glories spy
    Some shadows of eternity;
    Before I taught my tongue to wound
    My conscience with a sinful sound,
    Or had the black art to dispense
    A sev'ral sin to ev'ry sense,
    But felt through all this fleshly dress
    Bright shoots of everlastingness.
      Oh how I long to travel back,
    And tread again that ancient track!
    That I might once more reach that plain
    Where first I left my glorious train;
    From whence th' enlight'ned spirit sees
    That shady city of palm-trees.
    But, ah! my soul with too much stay
    Is drunk, and staggers in the way!
    Some men a forward motion love,
    But I by backward steps would move;
    And when this dust falls to the urn,
    In that state I came, return."

Here is a picture of the angel-visited world of Eden, not altogether
destroyed by the Fall, when

                          "Each day
      The valley or the mountain
    Afforded visits, and still Paradise lay
      In some green shade or fountain.
    Angels lay lieger here: each bush and cell,
      Each oak and highway knew them;
    Walk but the fields, or sit down at some well,
      And he was sure to view them."

Vaughan's birds and flowers gleam with light from the spirit land. This is
the opening of a little piece entitled "The Bird:"

    "Hither thou com'st. The busy wind all night
    Blew through thy lodging, where thy own warm wing
    Thy pillow was. Many a sullen storm,
    For which coarse man seems much the fitter born,
            Rain'd on thy bed
            And harmless head;
    And now, as fresh and cheerful as the light,
    Thy little heart in early hymns doth sing
    Unto that Providence, whose unseen arm
    Curb'd them, and cloth'd thee well and warm."

How softly the image of the little bird again tempers the thought of death
in his ode to the memory of the departed:

    "He that hath found some fledged bird's nest may know
      At first sight if the bird be flown;
    But what fair dell or grove he sings in now,
      That is to him unknown."

But we must leave this fair garden of the poet's fancies. The reader will
find there many a flower yet untouched.

       *       *       *       *       *

Richard Crashaw was the contemporary of the early years of Vaughan; for,
alas! he died young--though not till he had transcribed for the world the
hopes, the aspirations, the sorrows of his troubled life. He lived but
thirty-four years--the volume of his verses is not less nor more than the
kindred books of the brother poets with whom we are now associating his
memory. A small body of verse will hold much life; for the poet gives us a
concentrated essence, an elixir, a skillful confection of humanity, which,
diluted with the commonplaces of every-day thought and living, may cover
whole shelves of libraries. The secret of the whole of one life may be
expressed in a song or a sonnet. The little books of the world are not the

Crashaw, also, was a scholar. The son of a clergy-man, he was educated at
the famed Charter-house and afterward at Cambridge. The Revolution, too,
overtook him. He refused the oath of the covenant, was ejected from his
fellowship, became a Roman Catholic, and took refuge in Paris, where he
ate the bread of exile with Cowley and others, cheered by the noble
sympathy--it could not be much more--of Queen Henrietta Maria. She
recommended him to Rome, and the sensitive poet carried his joys and
sorrows to the bosom of the church. He lived a few years, and died canon
of Loretto, at the age of thirty-four.

Though the son of a zealous opponent of the Roman church, Crashaw was born
with an instinct and heart for its service. There runs through all his
poetry that sensuousness of feeling which seeks the repose and luxury of
faith which Rome always offers to her ardent votaries. It is profitable to
compare the sentiment of Crashaw with the more intellectual development of
Herbert. What in the former is the paramount, constant exhibition, in the
latter is accepted, and holds its place subordinate to other claims.
Without a portion of it there could be no deep religious life--with it,
in excess, we fear for the weakness of a partial development. There is so
much gain, however, to the poet, that we have no disposition to take
exception to the single string of Crashaw. The beauty of the Venus was
made up from the charms of many models. So, in our libraries, as in life,
we must be content with parcel-work, and take one man's wisdom and
another's sentiment, looking out that we get something of each to enrich
our multifarious life.

Crashaw's poetry is one musical echo and aspiration. He finds his theme
and illustration constantly in music. His amorous descant never fails him:
his lute is always by his side. Following the "Steps of the Temple," a
graceful tribute to Herbert, we have the congenial title, "The Delights of
the Muses," opening with that exquisite composition:

    "Untwisting all the chains that tie
    The hidden soul of harmony,"

"Music's Duel." It is the story--a favorite one to the ears of our
forefathers two centuries ago--of the nightingale and the musician
contending with voice and instrument in alternate melodies, till the sweet
songstress of the grove falls and dies upon the lute of her rapt rival. It
is something more than a pretty tale. Ford, the dramatist, introduced it
briefly in happy lines in "The Lover's Melancholy," but Crashaw's verses
inspire the very sweetness and lingering pleasure of the contest. It is
high noon when the "sweet lute's master" seeks retirement from the heat,
"on the scene of a green plat, under protection of an oak," by the bank of
the Tiber. The "light-foot lady,"

    "The sweet inhabitant of each glad tree,"

"entertains the music's soft report," which begins with a flying prelude,
to which the lady of the tree "carves out her dainty voice" with "quick
volumes of wild notes."

    "His nimble hand's instinct then taught each string,
    A cap'ring cheerfulness; and made them sing
    To their own dance."


    "Trails her plain ditty in one long-spun note
    Through the sleek passage of her open throat:
    A clear, unwrinkled song."

The contention invites every art of expression. The highest powers of the
lute are evoked in rapid succession closing with a martial strain:

                              "this lesson, too,
    She gives him back, her supple breast thrills out
    Sharp airs, and staggers in a warbling doubt
    Of dallying sweetness, hovers o'er her skill,
    And folds in waved notes, with a trembling bill,
    The pliant series of her slippery song;
    Then starts she suddenly into a throng
    Of short thick sobs, whose thund'ring vollies float,
    And roll themselves over her lubric throat
    In panting murmurs, 'still'd out of her breast,
    That ever-bubbling spring, the sugar'd nest
    Of her delicious soul, that there does lie
    Bathing in streams of liquid melody,
    Music's best seed-plot; when in ripen'd airs
    A golden-headed harvest fairly rears
    His honey-dropping tops, ploughed by her breath,
    Which there reciprocally laboreth.
    In that sweet soil it seems a holy quire,
    Founded to th' name of great Apollo's lyre;
    Whose silver roof rings with the sprightly notes
    Of sweet-lipp'd angel imps, that swill their throats
    In cream of morning Helicon; and then
    Prefer soft anthems to the ears of men,
    To woo them from their beds, still murmuring
    That men can sleep while they their matins sing."

What wealth of imagery and proud association of ideas--the bubbling
spring, the golden, waving harvest, "ploughed by her breath"--the fane of
Apollo suggesting in a word images of Greek maidens in chorus by the white
temple of the God, the dew of Helicon, the soft waking of men from
beneficent repose. It is all very well to talk of a bird doing all this:
we admire nightingales, but Philomela never enchanted us in this way; it
is the sex with which we are charmed. The poet's "light-foot lady" tells
us the secret. We are subdued by the loveliest of prima-donnas.

There is more of this, and as good. The little poem is a poet's dictionary
of musical expression. Its lines, less than two hundred, deserve to be
committed to memory, to rise at times in the mind--the soft assuagement of
cares and sorrows.

A famous poem of Crashaw is "On a Prayer-Book sent to Mrs. M.R." It
breathes a divine ecstasy of the sacred ode:

    "Delicious deaths, soft exhalations
    Of soul; dear and divine annihilations;
        A thousand unknown rites
        Of joys, and rarefied delights."

It is human passion sublimated and refined to the uses of heaven, but
human passion still--the very luxury of religion--the rapture of
earth-born seraphs, as he sings with venturous exultation:

    "The rich and roseal spring of those rare sweets,
    Which with a swelling bosom there she meets,
    Boundless and infinite, bottomless treasures
                      Of pure inebriating pleasures:
    Happy proof she shall discover,
        What joy, what bliss,
        How many heavens at once it is,
    To have a God become her lover!"

Mrs. M.R., whether maid or widow we know not--in Crashaw's day virgins
were called Mistress--has another poem addressed to her--"Counsel
concerning her choice." It alludes to some check or hindrance in love, and

    "Dear, heav'n-designed soul!
          Amongst the rest
          Of suitors that besiege your maiden breast,
          Why may not I
          My fortune try,
    And venture to speak one good word,
    Not for myself, alas! but for my dearer Lord?

       *       *       *       *       *

    Your first choice fails; oh, when you choose again,
    May it not be among the sons of men!"

This is the language of devotional rapture common to the extremes of the
religious world--Methodism and Roman Catholicism. Every one has heard the
ardent hymn by Newton--"The Name of Jesus," and that stirring anthem, "The
Coronation of Christ"--few have read the eloquent production of the canon
of Loretto, a canticle from the flaming heart of Rome, addressed "To the
name above every name, the name of Jesus."

        "Pow'rs of my soul, be proud!
        And speak loud
    To all the dear-bought nations this redeeming name;
    And in the wealth of one rich word proclaim
    New smiles to nature.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Sweet name, in thy each syllable
    A thousand blest Arabias dwell;
    A thousand hills of frankincense,
    Mountains of myrrh, and beds of spices,
    And ten thousand paradises,
    The soul that tastes thee takes from thence,
    How many unknown worlds there are
    Of comforts, which thou hast in keeping!
    How many thousand mercies there
    In Pity's soft lap lie asleeping!"

Crashaw's invitations to holiness breathe the very gallantry of piety. He
addresses "the noblest and best of ladies, the Countess of Denbigh," who
had been his patroness in exile, "persuading her to resolution in

    "What heaven-entreated heart is this
    Stands trembling at the gate of bliss.

       *       *       *       *       *

    What magic bolts, what mystic bars
    Maintain the will in these strange wars!
    What fatal, what fantastic bands
    Keep the free heart from its own hands!
    So, when the year takes cold, we see
    Poor waters their own prisoners be;

    Fetter'd and lock'd up fast, they lie
    In a sad self-captivity;
    Th' astonish'd nymphs their floods' strange fate deplore,
    To see themselves their own severer shore.

       *       *       *       *       *

    Disband dull fears; give Faith the day;
    To save your life, kill your delay;
    It is Love's siege, and sure to be
    Your triumph, though his victory."

His poem, "The Weeper," shoots the prismatic hues of the rainbow athwart
the veil of fast-falling tears:

        "Hail sister springs,
      Parents of silver-footed rills!
        Ever bubbling things!
      Thawing crystal! snowy hills!
    Still spending, never spent; I mean
    Thy fair eyes, sweet Magdalene.

       *       *       *       *       *

        "Every morn from hence,
      A brisk cherub something sips,
        Whose soft influence
      Adds sweetness to his sweetest lips;
    Then to his music, and his song
    Tastes of this breakfast all day long.

        "Not in the evening's eyes,
      When they red with weeping are
        For the sun that dies,
      Sits sorrow with a face so fair.
    Nowhere but here did ever meet
    Sweetness so sad, sadness so sweet.

        "When Sorrow would be seen
      In her brightest majesty,
        For she is a queen,
      Then is she drest by none but thee.
    Then, and only then, she wears
    Her richest pearls, I mean thy tears.

        "The dew no more will weep,
      The primrose's pale cheek to deck;
        The dew no more will sleep,
      Nuzzled in the lily's neck.
    Much rather would it tremble here,
    And leave them both to be thy tear."

These are some of Crashaw's "Steps to the Temple"--verily he walked
thither on velvet.

"Wishes to his supposed Mistress," is more than a pretty enumeration of
the good qualities of woman as they rise in the heart of a noble, gallant

    "Whoe'er she be,
    That not impossible she,
    That shall command my heart and me:

    "Where'er she lie,
    Locked up from mortal eye,
    In shady leaves of destiny:

    "Till that ripe birth
    Of studied fate, stand forth,
    And teach her fair steps to our earth:

    "Till that divine
    Idea take a shrine
    Of crystal flesh, through which to shine:

    "Meet you her, my wishes,
    Bespeak her to my blisses,
    And be ye call'd my absent kisses."

We are not reprinting Crashaw, and must forbear further quotation. It is
enough if we have presented to the reader a lily or a rose from his pages,
and have given a clue to that treasure-house--

    "A box where sweets compacted lie."

A generation nurtured in poetic susceptibility by the genius of Keats and
Tennyson, should not forget the early muse of Crashaw. His verse is the
very soul of tenderness and imaginative luxury: less intellectual, less
severe in the formation of a broad, manly character than Herbert; catching
up the brighter inspirations of Vaughan, and excelling him in richness--it
has a warm, graceful garb of its own. It is tinged with the glowing hues
of Spenser's fancy; baptized in the fountains of sacred love, it draws an
earthly inspiration from the beautiful in nature and life, as in the
devout paintings of the great Italian masters, we find the models of their
angels and seraphs on earth.



    Thou who look'st with pitying eye
    From Thy radiant home on high,
    On the spirit tempest-tost,
    Wretched, weary, wandering, lost--
    Ever ready help to give,
    And entreating, "_Look and live!_"
    By that love, exceeding thought,
    Which from Heaven the Saviour brought,
    By that mercy which could dare
    Death to save us from despair,
    Lowly bending at Thy feet,
    We adore, implore, entreat,
    Lifting heart and voice to Thee--
    _Miserere Domine_!

    With the vain and giddy throng,
    FATHER! we have wandered long;
    Eager from Thy paths to stray,
    Chosen the forbidden way;
    Heedless of the light within,
    Hurried on from sin to sin,
    And with scoffers madly trod
    On the mercy of our God!
    Now to where Thine altars burn,
    FATHER! sorrowing we return.
    Though forgotten, Thou hast not
    To be merciful forgot;
    Hear us! for we cry to Thee--
    _Miserere Domine_!

    From the burden of our grief
    Who, but Thou, can give relief?
    Who can pour Salvation's light
    On the darkness of our night?
    Bowed our load of sin beneath,
    Who can snatch our souls from death?
    Vain the help of man!--in dust
    Vainly do we put our trust!
    Smitten by Thy chastening rod,
    Hear us, save us, SON OF GOD!
    From the perils of our path,
    From the terrors of thy wrath,
    Save us, when we look to thee--
    _Miserere Domine_!

    Where the pastures greenly grow,
    Where the waters gently flow,
    And beneath the sheltering ROCK
    With the shepherd rests the flock.
    Oh, let us be gathered there
    Richly of Thy love to share;
    With the people of Thy choice
    Live and labor and rejoice,
    Till the toils of life are done,
    Till the fight is fought and won,
    And the crown, with heavenly glow,
    Sparkles on the victor's brow!
    Hear the prayer we lift to Thee--
    _Miserere Domine_!





Surrounded as we are with the art and handicraft of man--almost everything
we see bearing the mark of his finger, the house and the street, the
market and exchange, every instrument and utensil--it is well,
occasionally, to look forth from this little world of custom and
convenience we ourselves have constructed, into that which bears the
impress of the Almighty's hand--is still as it was left from His forming
strength, and brings us into immediate communion with His Infinite mind.
Let us, at least, listen to the notes of David's lyre on the creative

After an invocation to the heavenly host, the Psalmist calls first on the
forms of inanimate and inorganic existence. These things, of which he
enumerates a few, praise the power of God. The crags and headlands, jarred
and worn by the billows they breast; the granite peaks, bald and grey,
under light and tempest, with the silent host of rocky boulders, swept, we
know not by what convulsions, from their native seat, stand up as the
first rank in the choir of the Maker's worship; and infidelity and atheism
are hushed and abashed by their lofty praise.

Organized, but still unconscious existence takes the next station in this
universal chorus. The solemn grove lifting its green top into the heavens,
beside that motionless army of ancient stones, adds a sweeter note than
they can give to the great harmony. It is a note, speaking not alone of
the Creator's power, but of His wisdom too. Here is life and growth. Here
are adaptations and stages of progress. From the minutest germination,
from the slenderest stem, from the smallest trembling leaf to the hugest
trunks and the highest overshadowing branches, this vegetable
organization, verdant, pale, crimson, in changeable colors, runs; stopping
short only with Alpine summits or polar posts, swiftly and softly clothing
again the rents and gashes in the ground made by the stroke of labor or
the wheels of war--blooming into the golden and ruddy harvest on the stalk
and the bough, even overpassing the salt shore, to line the dismal and
unvisited caves of the deep with peculiar varieties of growth; and forth
into our hands from the foaming brine delicate and strangely beautiful
leaves and slight ramifications of matchless tints and proportions.

But the Psalmist summons a third order of beings to contribute its
melodious share to this hallelujah; and that is the living and conscious,
though irrational tribes. This sings not of power and wisdom alone, but
more complex and rich in adoration, sings of goodness also. God has not
made the world for a dead spectacle and mere picture for His own eye. How
full and crowded with life, and happy life, His creation is! Go forth from
inclosing city walls, and, in the summer noontide, stop in solitude and
apparent silence and listen; and soon the sounds of this joyous life shall
come to your ear: the chirp of the insects--the rustle of wings--the
crackling of the leaves, as the blithesome airy creatures pass--the short,
thick warble of the bird by your side, or its varied tune, clearer than
viol or organ, from the thicket beyond--while, from time to time, the deep
low of cattle reverberates from afar. Or if you are where the still and
speechless creatures inhabit, open your eye to gaze and examine, and it
shall be filled with the visible, as the ear with the vocal signs of
living enjoyment. Walking at the edge of the ebbing tide, you tread on
life at every step--shelly tribe on tribe of fish pressing together, while
in the clear water, other tribes noiselessly swim and glide away. Every
vital motion speaks of pleasure, whether in that restless current below,
or in the air above, as the feathered songster passes, darting up and down
his element, delight gushing from his throat at every buoyant
spring--silence and sound, with double demonstration, declaring to the
Creator's praise the great and limitless boon of life.

But there is one accent more, that of love, without which the hymn is not
complete; and there is another human order of Being to speak that accent.
Man includes in himself all the preceding orders of Being, with all the
notes of their praise: the material clod, for is he not made of dust; the
plant, for he has an outward growth and circulation--the animal, for he
has instinct and feeling; while reason and conscience and spiritual
affection he has peculiarly and alone; so that Power, Wisdom, Goodness and
Love, all concentrated in him, complete the ground of his praise.

Yet, as we look out upon this mighty sum of things in the external
universe, the level earth stretching off to some ascending ridge in the
horizon's blue distance--the boundless deep spread afar, till, at the
misty edge of vision it bends, in mingling threefold circles, to embrace
the globe, the impenetrable below and the infinite above him, how slight
and insignificant a creature he seems! like a fly that clings to the
ceiling, or a mote that swims in the sunbeam, one of the mere mites of
nature, easily lost by the way or a frail figure ready to be crushed by
any stroke of the ponderous machinery mid which he moves. When he reflects
on his condition--his brief date, his speedy doom--how inconsiderable his
existence appears! Or when he regards himself as not a compound of matter
merely, but as a living soul, how easy it seems, as his contemplation runs
out absorbed into the wondrous glory of the world, for all the vital
energy which is for a moment insulated in his frame, when his frame
dissolves, to pass into the general substance from which it came, the
thinking creature ending as it began! But a voice from heaven cries to him
and says, "Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver
him. I will set him on high because he hath known my name; with long life
will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

This love of God makes the society of all human affection. "God made the
country, and man made the town," is an oft quoted line; and not seldom it
is implied that the open or thinly-peopled landscape is somehow a better
and holier place for the soul than the thronged city. But let it not be
forgotten that man himself is God's work and His highest work on earth.
Would we sing our psalm now or hereafter with the sweetest relish, we must
go forth from any little circle we may have drawn around us, of private
ease and personal comfort, in friendly intercourse to hear the cry of the
unfortunate, the sighing of the prisoner, the sob of the mourner, the
groan of the sick, the appeal of the injured and oppressed. By our aid,
consolation and succor, we must gather their voices into the chorus,
before, with perfect satisfaction, we can mingle in it our own.

Upon a Sabbath day, I walked amid all those charms and fascinations, in
which nature can bind us as in a spell. I passed through green aisles of
woods, that were ever-shadowed and made fragrant with every various
vegetable growth of this temperate northern clime; while the morning beam
of the sun in heaven fell brightly aslant the leaves and branches; and the
birds, that my lonely step startled from their perch or nest, flew from
glen to glen, making with their song, save the murmur of the breeze in the
boughs, the only sound I could hear. At length, the high-arched avenues of
this immense forest-cathedral let me out upon the broad, open shore,
where I saw and heard wave after wave break on the rocks, with shifting
splendor and that mellow thundering music which so saddens while it
delights. Solitude, verily, was stretched out asleep in the sun upon the
length of sandy beach and beetling promontory; and I sat and gazed now
over the boundless waters, now into the devouring abysses opened by the
bending crests of the billows, and anon into the gloomy depths of the
forest or the serene and measureless openings of the sky. What grandeur in
every line transcendent! Yet what impenetrable mystery too, what menacing
ruin to the small remnant of human life still spared from the generations
in ages past, already swallowed up! Peering around in this pensive mood,
in which the joy of being mixed with the uneasy doubt of its tenure, my
eye fell at last on the spire of a little church, rising like a pencil of
light to heaven, out of the fathomless waste. And there my soul alighted
and found rest. Like some sea mark to the voyager, that slender shaft,
reared by the social religion of the world, stood to tell me where in the
universe I was; the common Christian consciousness reinforced my own, and
dark queries and agitating uncertainties subsided from my spirit, as the
deluge from the dove that Noah sent out to pluck the green branch of
promise. From the illimitable reaches of the huge, but dimly responding
creation around, the slight, frail temple for God's praise drew me to its
welcome and peaceful embrace. As I approached it, the tolling of the bell
struck on my ear in a touch of gladder tidings than I had received from
all the melody of the great wind-harp of the trees, with all the soft
accord of the tossing billows. Stroke after stroke, distinctly falling,
seemed to bring to me the echoes of a million holy telegraphic towers all
over the surface of the globe; and when I came to stand under the eaves of
the small sanctuary, the measured turning, in the belfry, of the wheel, by
revolutions such as I had seen long years ago in my childhood, filled my
eyes with gracious tokens, that were not drawn from me by the sublime
circling of the sun and moon, then moving east and west in their spheres.
The final tone of praise in the great ascription to God is, in its
fullness, supplied by a revelation greater than blessed the times of
David. A new and sweeter string is strung upon the lyre his royal fingers
so nobly swept, and the voice of thanksgiving is more highly raised for an
"unspeakable gift." The kingdoms of nature are the chords on the harp we
may sound to the Creator of all. There has been of late much discussion as
to the place nature should hold among religious influences and appeals,
some super-eminently exalting her, and others putting her in contrast and
almost opposition with all spirit, beauty and truth. This is no place, nor
has the present writer inclination, here, to take part in the grand
debate, infinitely interesting as it is, on either side. He would only
catch, or repeat and prolong the strain of an old and sacred ode--he would
contribute a meditation. He would run the matchless ancient verse into a
few particulars of fresh and modern illustration, content if he can make
no melody of his own, to recall for some, perhaps not enough heeding it,
the Hebrew music that has lingered so long on the ear of the world.






    Again is hushed the busy day,
    And all to sleep is gone away;
    The deer hath sought his mossy bed,
    The bird hath hid his little head.
    And man to his still chamber goes
    To rest from all his cares and woes.

    Yet steps he first before his door,
    To look into the night once more,
    With love-thanks and love-greeting, there,
    For rest his spirit to prepare,
    To see the high stars shine abroad
    And drink once more the breath of God.

    Mild Father of the world, whose love
    Keeps watch o'er all things from above,
    To Thee my stammering prayer would rise;
    Bend down from yonder starry skies;
    And from Thy sparkling, sun-strewed way,
    Oh teach thy feeble child to pray!

    All day Thou hadst me in Thy sight;
    So guard me, Father, through this night;
    And by thy dear benignity
    From Satan's malice shelter me;
    For what of evil may befall
    The body, is the least of all.

    Oh send from realms of purity
    The dearest angel in to me,
    As a peace-herald let him come,
    And watchman, to my house and home,
    That all desires and thoughts of mine,
    Around thy heaven may climb and twine.

    Then day shall part exultingly,
    Then night a word of love shall be,
    Then morn an angel-smile shall wear
    Whose brightness no base thing can bear,
    And we, earth's children, walk abroad,
    Children of light and sons of God.

    And when the last red evening-glow
    Shall greet these failing eyes below,
    When yearns my soul to wing its way
    To the high track of endless day,
    Then all the shining ones shall come
    To bear me to the spirit's home.




    Through the city's narrow gateway
      Forth an aged beggar fares,
    None is there to give him escort,
      And no farewell word he bears.

    Heaven's grey cloud to no one whispers
      Of God's message in its fold;
    Earth's grey rock to no one whispers
      That it hides the shaft of gold.

    And the naked tree in winter
      Tells not straightway to the eye
    That it once so greenly glistened,
      Bloomed and bore so bounteously.

    None would dream that yon old beggar,
      Tottering, bending toward the ground,
    Once was clothed in royal purple,
      And his silver locks gold-crowned!

    Foul conspirators discrowned him,
      Tore the radiant purple off,
    Placing in his hands, for sceptre,
      Yonder wormy pilgrim-staff.

    Thus, for years, now, has he wandered,
      All ungreeted and unknown,
    Through so many a foreign country,
      Bowed and broken and alone.

    Weary unto death, he lays him
      'Neath a tree, in evening's beam,
    Music in the twigs and blossoms
      Sings him to an endless dream.

    Men that to and fro pass by him,
      Speak in softened tones of grief;
    Who may be the poor old beggar,
      That has found this sad relief?

    But mild Nature, soft-eyed Nature,
      Knows the aged sleeper there,
    Obsequies of solemn splendor,
      Meet for king, will she prepare.

    From the tree fall wreaths of blossoms,
      Floating down to crown his head,
    And a sceptre's golden lustre
      Sunset on his staff hath shed.

    For a canopy above him
      Rustling twigs a green arch throw,
    And he wears a royal purple
      In the evening's mantling glow.




In the spring of 1848, during the progress of the European revolutions,
which promised so much and performed so little, I spent several weeks in
Berlin, the capital of Prussia, and saw much, both in public and in
private, of "the father of modern church history," whose name I had long
revered, and whose image now is one of the choicest treasures of memory.
Of all the Christian scholars I have ever known, he stands in my thoughts
without a rival; a child in simplicity, a sage in learning, and in broad,
catholic and fervent piety, a noble saint. In common with hundreds of my
countrymen, I owe him a debt of gratitude, of which this humble tribute to
his memory will be but a faint acknowledgment.

Of Neander's outward history there is but little to be reported; his life
was the retired and uneventful one of a peculiarly intense and abstracted
student. It is hardly a figure of speech, but almost exactly the literal
truth to say that he was born, and lived, and died, beneath the shadow of
the Universities. He was not, indeed, quite so much of a recluse as his
fellow-countryman Kant, the renowned Königsberg philosopher, who, though
he reached the age of eighty, and had a reputation which filled all
Europe, was never more than thirty-two miles away from the spot where his
mother rocked him in his cradle. But considering the ampler means at his
command, and the greatly increased facilities for travelling, Neander's
neglect of locomotion is nearly as much to be wondered at as Kant's; I
doubt if he was ever beyond the boundaries of Germany.

He was born January 16th, 1789, in Göttingen, a city of some eleven
thousand inhabitants in the kingdom of Hanover, the seat of a famous
University, which, though now less prominent than formerly, has numbered
amongst its professors such men as Blumenbach, Eichhorn, and Michaelis.
His parents were of Jewish blood and the Jewish religion, and he inherited
from them, in a strong degree, both the peculiar physiognomy and the
distinguishing faith of that despised but most remarkable race. Nor was he
a Jew only outwardly; from the beginning he was marked as an Israelite
indeed, a true Nathanael soul.

At an early period in his life, his father having suffered reverses and
been reduced to poverty, he removed with his parents to Hamburg, a
commercial city on the Elbe, and one of the four free municipalities of
Germany. In the Hamburg gymnasium, corresponding in rank with our American
academies, though prescribing a wider range of studies, he received his
first public instruction. It is related of him, that he used frequently to
steal into one of the book-stores, and for hours together sit buried in
some rare and erudite volume. And here the original bent of his genius was
early developed; subtlety, profoundness, and intense subjectivity of
thought were noticed as the distinguishing characteristics of his mind. In
a letter from Neumann to Chamisso, bearing date February 11th, 1806, when,
of course, he was only seventeen years old, it is said of him: "Plato is
his idol, and his perpetual watchword. He pores over that author night and
day; and there are probably few who receive him so completely into the
sanctuary of the soul. It is surprising to see how all this has been
accomplished without any influence from abroad. It proceeds simply from
his own reflection and his innate love of study. He has learned to look
with indifference upon the outward world." Such was the beginning of his
illustrious career. He was thoroughly a Platonist. And it happened to him,
as to so many of the early fathers of the church before him; he was led
from Plato to Christ. The honored walks of the Academy were exchanged for
the manger and the cross; and so he passed from Judaism to philosophy, and
from philosophy to faith. "Pray and labor," writes he in one of his
letters, "let that be the bass-note, or rather praying merely; for what
else should a human, or even a superhuman do than pray?" This was the
dawning of the light. Of his progress in the Christian experience, we have
no means as yet of tracing the steps. We only know, in general, from what
he started, and to what he came.

In the April of 1806, he joined the University at Halle, where he came
under the influence of Schleiermacher, whose learned and thrilling voice
was the first to sound the return of infidel Germany to the truth as it is
in Jesus. Schleiermacher was then thirty-eight years old, in the first
bloom and vigor of his faculties, and made, of necessity, a very profound
and durable impression upon the young and ardent Hebrew Platonist, who was
already, in obedience to his own impulses, seeking the way of life.

He had been in Halle about six months, when the city was captured by the
French under Bernadotte. The University was immediately suspended by
Napoleon, and the students ordered to disperse. Neander fled, with one of
his friends, to Göttingen, the place of his birth, where, joining the
University, he came under the instruction of Gesenius, afterward the great
Hebrew lexicographer, then but twenty years of age, and just commencing
his distinguished career. The manner of their introduction to each other
is a curious bit of literary history worth preserving. Gesenius was
returning to Göttingen from his native place, Nordhausen, which was then
in flames, having been set fire to by the French. The soldiers of the
broken Prussian army were hurrying to their homes. In the general flight
and confusion, Gesenius saw two young men on their way from Halle to
Göttingen, one of whom had broken down, unable to go any further, and was
entirely out of money. He procured a carriage for the unknown young
student and conveyed him to Göttingen. That young student was Neander; and
this little adventure led to a friendship which lasted for life, the gulf
which subsequently yawned between them, in respect to matters of faith,
abating nothing of their mutual respect and kindliness. "At first it was
painful to me," said Neander, writing from Göttingen, "to be thrown into
this place of icy coldness for the heart. But now I find it was well, and
thank God for it. In no other way could I have made such progress. From
every human mediator, and even every agreeable association, must one be
torn away, in order that he may place his sole reliance on the only

In 1809 he returned to Hamburg to become a pastor. But the city had a
small fund to support one of its theologians as a lecturer at Heidelberg.
This was wisely appropriated to Neander, who promised more as a scholar
than as a preacher. Accordingly, in 1811, we find him established at
Heidelberg as a teacher in the University, he having previously, on his
public profession of Christianity, assumed the name of _Neander_ deriving
it from the Greek, [Greek: nheos hanêr], "a new man," to signify
the entire change which had come over him. The family name was Mendel. The
year following he was appointed Professor Extraordinary, which, in plain
English, means a professor without a regular salary from government, and
shortly issued his work on "The Emperor Julian and his Time," the first of
those monographs which awakened the admiration of his learned countrymen,
and paved the way for the great undertaking of his life, "A General
History of the Christian Religion and Church."

In 1813, when but twenty-four years of age, he was called to a
professorship in the then recently established University of Berlin, and
signalized his removal thither by a work on "St. Bernard and his Age."
Five years later, he published a work on Gnosticism, and in 1821, his
"Life of Chrysostom;" besides some treatises of minor note, which we need
not pause to enumerate. At length, in 1825, when of course he was
thirty-six years old, the first volume of his General History of the
Church appeared. And to say that this work put him directly at the very
head of Christendom as the expounder of its inward life, is saying only
what we all know to be true. After that, he turned aside occasionally in
obedience to other calls of duty, at one time to write a history of the
Apostolic Age, and at another the Life of Christ, but always returning to
his General History, as the one great task appointed him of God to do. As
I parted with him in the spring of 1848, my heart drawn out toward him
with an admiring tenderness and reverence, such as I had never experienced
toward any other living scholar, I could not forbear assuring him, that
many prayers would go up for him in America as well as in Europe, that he
might be spared to complete his work. "I hope it," he replied, "but that
must be as God wills." But this wish of his heart was denied him. He died
in Berlin on Sunday, July 14th, 1850, in the midst of his unfinished
labors. He had published what brings us down to the year 1294, and was
then at work upon the centuries which lie between that and the
Reformation. The posthumous volume, edited by Schneider, still falls
short, by nearly a hundred years, of that important epoch. Had he been
spared to proceed thus far, we had been the better reconciled to his
dying; although his countrymen were anxious to have him turn his peculiar
powers upon the Reformation itself, and the world-wide movements which
have grown out of it. But this was not to be. He died, leaving no one to
take his mantle; died, too, somewhat prematurely, for he was only
sixty-one years old.

Of his personal appearance, which was altogether unique, descriptions have
frequently been given. He was small of stature, his height not exceeding
five feet and four or five inches. He had studied so hard, exercised so
little, eaten so sparingly and suffered so much from imperfect health,
that his muscles seemed entirely relaxed and flabby. His hand, when he
gave it in salutation or in parting, was like that of a sick child. But
his hair remained as black as a raven. His brows were shaggy and
overhanging, and his black eyes, when ever and anon the drooping lids were
lifted away from them, shot forth a very deep and searching light. As one
sat over against him, watching his words, he might easily imagine himself
gazing through those glowing orbs back into the ages. His study, up two
flights of stairs, overlooking one of the public squares of the city, was
a place to be remembered. Its furniture was a plain round table, a
standing-desk, an old sofa and two or three chairs. High up on the walls
between the book-shelves and the ceiling, nearly all round the room, hung
engraved portraits of distinguished men; and he showed his noble
catholicity of spirit, in having the great men of his native land all
there, without regard to their peculiar schools and sentiments. His
library contained about 4,000 volumes. They filled the room; table, chairs
and sofa were loaded with them; they lay in stacks upon the floor; and, in
some cases, were piled, two or three tiers deep, into the shelves against
the walls. To anybody else the library would have been a chaos; but he
could lay his hand at once upon any book he wished for. It was in this
room, thus crammed with books, that he used to entertain the little
parties he invited to sup with him. The repast was always frugal; the
conversation, on his part, such as might have gone into print. A
man-servant brought in the refreshments on a tray; or, sometimes, one of
his pupils officiated. His only sister, who kept house for him during the
greater part of his life, never made her appearance at these exclusively
masculine entertainments. He himself rarely paid any attention to the
progress of the meal, but seemed to be as much a visitor as any of his
guests. The little he needed was soon dispatched, and his thoughts were
again afloat, sounding along from theme to theme.

He never married, and, at the time I speak of, was almost alone in the
world. Neither father, nor mother, nor any other near relative remained to
him, save his sister, Johanna, whose care of him had need to be almost
maternal. Well-nigh every day in the year these two might be seen walking
out together to take the air. They went always arm in arm, a beautiful
embodiment of the tenderest affection. Hardly the king himself attracted
more attention in the street. Scarcely a person he met failed to raise his
hat and salute the venerable scholar with the heartiest good will. As he
was both short-sighted and suffering from diseased vision, he had to
depend upon his sister to know who bowed to him; and it was amusing to see
his returning salutation bestowed, in almost every instance, a little too
late. Many anecdotes were afloat in Berlin, and indeed all over Germany,
going to illustrate his habits of abstraction and absent-mindedness, some
of which no doubt were true, and all of which were likely enough to have
been so.

An exact description of his manners in the lecture-room would, by any one
who never saw him, be thought a caricature. He entered the room with his
eyes upon the floor, as if feeling his way; a student stood ready to take
his hat and overcoat and hang them up in their places; while he went
directly to his stand--a high pine desk; threw his left elbow upon it;
dropped his head so low that his eyes could not be seen; tilted the desk
over on its front legs, so that you expected every moment to see it
pitching forward into the lecture-room, with the lecturer after it; and,
seizing a quill, always provided for the purpose, began at once to speak,
and to twist and twirl and tear in pieces the quill. Sometimes, in the
heat of his discourse, he would suddenly jerk up his head, whirl entirely
round with his face to the wall and his back to the audience, and then as
suddenly whirl back again, his words all the while pouring along in a
perfect torrent of involved and fervent thought. Add to this a constant
writhing and swinging of his legs, with a frequent slight spitting,
produced by a chronic weakness of the salivary glands, and you have a
picture of the outward man known in Berlin as John William Augustus
Neander; to be known in history as one of the most learned, revered and
beloved teachers of our century.

While it is indispensable to our full and lively appreciation of Neander
that these little things be known of him, no one will be so foolish as to
let such accidents and eccentricities of the outward life divert his
attention from the grand and rarely equalled manhood which lay behind and
beneath them. To give anything like a just estimate of this manhood would
be no easy task, however. His native endowments, the attainments he had
made in the learning pertaining to his department, and the part he was
called to play in the regeneration of German science and German faith,
were all remarkable. From the first glimpse we catch of him, when, at 17
years of age, he had given his head and heart to Plato, he strikes us as
no ordinary character; and our wonder deepens at every step, till at last
we behold him sinking exhausted amidst his labors, and all Christendom
gathered in sorrow around his grave.

His native instincts, tastes and sympathies were all singularly pure and
generous. His family attachments were strong. In the latest periods of his
life, when she had long been dead, the name of his mother could not be
mentioned by him without a visible gush of deep and tender emotion. The
loss of his favorite sister, some years before his own departure, almost
shattered him. For days he drooped and mourned amongst his books, and
could do no work. Only the thought that God had taken her to Himself, and
that He doeth all things well, finally availed to quiet him. So of all his
friends; he never forgot and was never false to them. But his special care
was bestowed upon the young men of the University, who had gathered about
him, in the spirit of a most enthusiastic discipleship, out of all
Germany, and indeed out of nearly all Christendom. To the last he
continued to be a young man himself, as fresh, impulsive and eager, and
with as entire a freedom from all appearance of assumption and authority,
as though his pupils and he were merely peers. There was at once a warmth,
a blandness and a child-like simplicity of manners, which made him the
idol of every heart. And he carried the same amenity of temper into all
the theological controversies of his life. He never stooped to ungracious
personalities, and never seemed to be in pursuit of victory at the
expense of truth and fairness. The result was that he was never assailed
with personalities in return. Through all the bitterest contentions which
raged around him, he was uniformly treated with respect and deference. Not
that men were ignorant of his opinions, or thought him neutral, but
because he was felt to be an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no guile.
He committed himself to no clique, and allowed no clique to be committed
to him.

In his personal habits he was temperate and frugal in the extreme; though
not for the sake of accumulation. His income from his books and lectures
must have been considerable; but he gave it nearly all away. Hundreds of
indigent students could testify to his generosity, while amongst the poor
of the city, there were many pensioners upon his bounty.

In regard to his intellectual gifts and powers, their peculiar cast has
already been intimated. The dominant feature of his genius was its deeply
subjective and spiritual character. The accidents of a subject never
detained him for a moment from his search after the essential and the
abiding. Outward circumstances were of little interest to him. And in this
direction lay the main defect of his mind; it was too exclusively
Platonic, subjective and spiritual. Had his profound Germanic
intuitiveness of vision been tempered with a little more of our homely
Anglo-Saxon common sense, the combination would have been well-nigh

What has just been said of his intellectual peculiarities will help us to
understand also his religious life. It was preëminently an inward life; a
fire in the very marrow of his being. As it was his own solitary and
independent reflection which first turned his feet toward Nazareth and
Calvary, so was it by deep and steady communion with his own heart that he
advanced in sanctity. The natural and unchanging atmosphere of his life
was that of faith and prayer. His religious experience was rooted in
peculiarly deep and pungent views of sin. Not that he had gross outward
offences to be ashamed of; but he felt the law of evil working within him,
disturbing his peace; and he longed for the serenity of a child of God.
Thus did he learn his need of Christ. His pupils relate with much interest
how, on the evening of one of his birth-day festivals, when they were
gathered at his house, he spoke to them of his own spiritual infirmities,
and with trembling voice confessed himself a poor sinner seeking
forgiveness through atoning blood. Theologically, he was comparatively
indifferent in regard to minor points; but he clung with the tenacity of a
martyr's faith to the great essentials of the Gospel. His religious life
was therefore at once very fervent and very catholic. Loving Christ with
all the ardor of a passion, he loved with a generous latitude of heart all
those of every name in whom he discerned Christ's image. The motto adopted
by him as best describing his own aim and method, was that of St.
Augustine: "Pectus est quod facit theologum." _It is the heart which makes
the theologian._ It was a Divine Form, for which he was ever seeking,
while he walked about amongst men, as he walked up and down the centuries
of our Christian faith, murmuring to himself: "It is the Lord."

As a writer of church history, his first great claim to gratitude is on
account of the living pulse of faith and love which beats through all his
pages. He traces the golden thread of Christian life through the darkest
centuries. He does much to save the church of God from reproach, and God's
own gracious promise from contempt, by showing how much there has been of
Christian grace and truth under the worst forms and in the worst ages. He
has thus made his History what he said it should be, "a speaking proof of
the Divine power of Christianity, a school of Christian experience, and a
voice of edification and warning sounding through all ages for all who are
willing to believe." Of the original sources of history, particularly for
the earlier centuries, his knowledge was profound, and his use of them
masterly. How thorough and how fair he is, can be fully appreciated only
by those who explore for themselves the fountains from which he drew his
materials. His chief defect is in the matter of form. He had but little
dramatic power. He gives us the inward life, but not the outward stir and
shock of history. Nor is he remarkable for analytical sharpness in his
delineation of the growth of Christian doctrine. It is in the sphere of
experience and life that he succeeds the best. His own doctrinal views
were not, at all points, quite up to our English and American standards of
orthodoxy. But these points were of minor importance. All that is cardinal
was precious to him. With peculiar fidelity did he cling to the Head,
which is Christ, and was full of that faith which conquers the world and
saves the soul.

His last days, as described by his friends and pupils, were in marked
keeping with his whole career. On Monday, the 8th of July, at 11 o'clock,
he lectured at the University. But he had been for some time back much
feebler than usual, the weather was sultry and debilitating, and his
system was out of tune. His voice failed him two or three times in the
course of the lecture, and it was only by a desperate struggle that he got
to the end; his strength barely sufficing to bring him home. The
impression upon his class was such, that one of the students, turning to
his neighbor, said: "This is the last lecture of our Neander." Immediately
after dinner, which he scarcely tasted, his reader came. He dictated on
his Church History three hours in succession, repressing by force of will
the rising groans, his debility all the while increasing. At 5 o'clock the
symptoms of a dangerous illness appeared; but he would not abandon his
work. His sister, who came to expostulate with him and warn him against
further effort, was sent impatiently away. "Let me alone," he said; "every
laborer, I hope, may work if he wishes; wilt thou not grant me this?" At
seven he was compelled to pause. His reader gone, his first thought was to
call back his much loved sister, and say to her: "Be not anxious, dear
Jenny, it is passing away; I know my constitution." But his physicians
were agreed in the opinion that the very worst was to be feared. They
succeeded, however, in subduing the symptoms of the disease, which was a
violent cholera, and began to hope. The next morning, having hardly got
breath from this first furious attack, he inquired with touching sadness,
"shall I not be able to lecture to-day?" When answered in the negative, he
distinctly demanded that the suspension should be only for that one day.
In the afternoon of Tuesday, he called out vehemently for his reader,
desired him to go on with Ritter's Palestine, with which he had been
occupied, and impatiently blamed the anxiety of his friends who had
dismissed his assistant too hastily. He then, according to his daily
custom, had another of his pupils read to him the newspaper. He followed
the reading with lively attention, making his remarks now of agreement and
now of dissent, till at length he fell asleep, and so ended the day's
work. Later in the afternoon, while racked with pain, it occurred to him
that his sister might think of foregoing sleep on his account, which he
begged her not to do. Wednesday he had the newspaper read to him, and made
his comments, as usual. Thursday night brought with it a convulsive
hiccough. Friday, his spirit was clear, peaceful and full of love. But
Friday night extinguished the last hopes of his friends. The pains he
endured were excruciating. With an indescribably affecting and deeply
tender voice, before which no eye remained tearless, he exclaimed, "Would
to God I could sleep." Saturday he was clamorous for the servant to bring
him his clothes, that he might dress and go about his work. His sister
came: "Think, dear August, what thou hast said to me when I have rebelled
against the directions of the physician, 'It comes from God, therefore
must we acquiesce in it.'" "That is true," answered quickly the softened
voice, "it all comes from God, and we must thank him for it." During the
day he asked to be taken into the study. The sweet sunlight, streaming on
his nearly blinded eyes, refreshed and gladdened him. After this, a bath
of wine and strengthening herbs was administered, which seemed to do him
good. Finding himself amongst his books again, he rose upon the cushions
which supported him, and, to the astonishment of all, began a lecture upon
the New Testament, and announced for the coming term a course of lectures
upon the Gospel of John. At half-past nine, having inquired the hour, he
fell asleep. When he awoke, it was Sunday. There came back a gush of
bodily strength, the last leaping of the light before it flickered in the
socket. Taking up the thread of his history where he had dropped it two
days before, he began to dictate for some one to write. The passage was
about the mystics of the 14th and 15th centuries. The concluding sentence
was: "So it was in general; the further development is to follow." Then
turning to his sister, he said: "I am tired; let us make ready to go
home;" as though they were somewhere on a long and wearisome journey. And
then rallying his last energies in one parting word of tenderness to her
who was bending over him with a breaking heart, he murmured, "Good night,"
and died.

Thus he died with his harness on, not aware, probably, that he was so near
his end; else he might have uttered some dying testimony, which would have
passed into the literature of the church to be the comfort of other saints
in their mortal agony. But, on his own account, no such dying testimony
was required. For thirty-seven years he had stood his ground gallantly in
Berlin, witnessing for Christ in the face of a learned skepticism, and he
could well afford to pass directly, without an interlude, from the toils
and conflicts of earth to the joys and triumphs of the redeemed in heaven.

His labors had been prodigious. He usually lectured not less than fifteen
times a week, published twenty-five volumes, and left behind him several
other volumes nearly ready for the press. His health was never firm. A
rheumatic disease lurked in his system from the time of his illness at
Göttingen. Three years before he died, this disease settled in his eyes,
and made him nearly blind. But against all impediments, he struggled on,
fighting the good fight of faith, patient and resolute, till suddenly his
course was finished, and he took his crown.





    Do not tie my wings,
    Says the honey-bee;
    Do not bind my wings,
    Leave them glad and free.
    If I fly abroad,
    If I keep afar,
    Humming all the day,
    Where wild blossoms are,
    'Tis to bring you sweets,
    Rich as summer joy,
    Clear--as gold and glass;
    The divinest toy
    That the god's have left,
    Is the pretty hive,
    Where a maiden reigns,
    And the busy thrive.

    If you bar my way,
    Your delight is gone,
    No more honey-gems;
    From the heather borne;
    No more tiny thefts,
    From your neighbor's rose,
    Who were glad to guess
    Where its sweetness goes.

    Let the man of arts
    Ply his plane and glass;
    Let the vapors rise,
    Let the liquor pass;
    Let the dusky slave
    Till the southern fields;
    Not the task of both
    Such a treasure yields;
    Honey, Pan ordained,
    Food for gods and men,
    Only in my way
    Shall you store again.

    Leave me to my will
    While the bright days glow,
    While the sleepy flowers
    Quicken as I go.
    When the pretty ones
    Look to me no more,
    Dead, beneath your feet,
    Crushed and dabbled o'er;
    In my narrow cell
    I will fold my wing;
    Sink in dark and chill,
    A forgotten thing.

    Can you read the song
    Of the suppliant bee?
    'Tis a poet's soul,
    Asking liberty.



    "The beggar boy is none of mine,"
      The reverend doctor strangely said;
    "I do not walk the streets to pour
      Chance benedictions on his head.

    "And heaven I thank who made me so.
      That toying with my own dear child,
    I think not on _his_ shivering limbs,
      _His_ manners vagabond and wild."

    Good friend, unsay that graceless word!
      I am a mother crowned with joy,
    And yet I feel a bosom pang
      To pass the little starveling boy.

    His aching flesh, his fevered eyes
      His piteous stomach, craving meat;
    His features, nipt of tenderness,
      And most, his little frozen feet.

    Oft, by my fireside's ruddy glow,
      I think, how in some noisome den,
    Bred up with curses and with blows,
      He lives unblest of gods or men.

    I cannot snatch him from his fate,
      The tribute of my doubting mind
    Drops, torch-like, in the abyss of ill,
      That skirts the ways of humankind.

    But, as my heart's desire would leap
      To help him, recognized of none,
    I thank the God who left him this,
      For many a precious right foregone.

    My mother, whom I scarcely knew,
      Bequeathed this bond of love to me;
    The heart parental thrills for all
      The children of humanity.



    That Poet wrongs his soul, whose dreary cry
      Calls "winds" and "waves," and "burning stars of night"
      To bring our darkness nature's clearer light
    On that just sentence, "Thou shalt surely die;"
    To track the spirit as it leaves its clay
      To bring back surety of its future home,
      Or echo of the voice that calleth "come,"
    To prove that it is borne to perfect day.
    Say rather, "winds," who heard the Master speak,
      And "waves," who by His voice transfixed were stayed,
      And stars that lighted Christ's deep shade--
    Your confirmation of our trust we seek.
      Ye know how shadowy Death's dreary prison,
      Because ye witnessed Christ our life, up risen.




When cellar and barn and storehouse were filled with food for the coming
winter, our pious New England forefathers used their first common leisure
to make public and joyful acknowledgment of their blessings to the God of
sunshine and of rain; to Him, who clothes the valleys with corn, and the
hills with flocks. Almost universally, they placed the meeting-houses,
where these thanks were rendered, on the hill-top commanding the widest
view of the fields from which their prosperity sprung, and nearest to the
sky, whence their blessings came. Their modest homes were sheltered from
the winds by the barns that held their wealth and overshadowed their low
dwellings. The earth was precious in their eyes, as the source of their
living. They could spare no fertile or sheltered spot, even for the
burial-ground, but economically laid it out in the sand, or on the bleak
hill-side; while they threw away no fencing on the house of God, but
jealously preserved that costly distinction for their arable lands and
orchards. They were farmers; and it was no unmeaning thing for them to
keep the harvest feast. They had prayed in drought, with all faith and
fervor, for the blessing of rain; in seed-time, for the favoring sunshine
and soft showers; and in harvest, that blight and frost might spare their
corn; and when in the late autumn, all their prayers had been heard, and
their hands and homes were crowned with plenty, their thanksgiving anthem
was an incense of the heart, and their honored pastors knew not how to
pour out a flood of gratitude too copious for the thankful people's
"Amen." A full hour's prayer wearied not their patient knees; and the
sermon, with its sixteenthly, finally, and to conclude (before the
_improvement_, itself a modern sermon in length), did not outmeasure the
people's honest sense of their grounds of thankfulness to God.

The landscape appropriate to thanksgiving is not furnished by brick walls
and stone pavements. It is a rural festival. The smoke from scattered
cottages should be slowly curling its way through frosty air. As we look
forth from the low porch of the homestead, the ground lightly covered with
snow, stretches off to a not distant horizon, broken irregularly with
hills, clothed in spots with evergreens, but oftener with bare woods. The
distant and infrequent sleigh-bells, with the smart crack of the rifle
from the shooting match in the hollow, strike percussively upon the ear.
Vast piles of fuel, part neatly corded, part lying in huge logs, with
heaps of brush, barricade the brown, paintless farmhouses. Swine, hanging
by the ham-strings in the neighboring shed; the barn-yard speckled with
the ruffled poultry, some sedate with recent bereavement, others cackling
with a dim sense of temporary reprieve; the rough-coated steer butting in
the fold, where the timid sheep huddle together in the corner; little boys
on a single skate improving the newly frozen horse-pond--these furnish the
foreground of the picture during the earlier hours of the morning. Later
in the day, without, the sound of church bells, the farmers' pungs, or the
double sleighs, with incredible numbers stowed in their strawed bottoms,
drive up to the meeting-house door. An occasional wagon from the hills,
from which the snow has blown, with the crunching, whistling sound of
wheels upon snow, sets the teeth of the crowd in the porch on edge, as it
grinds its way to the stone steps to deposit its load. Great white coats,
with seven or eight capes apiece, dismount, and muffs and moccasins--each
a whole bearskin--follow. Long stoves, with live coals got at the
neighboring houses, occasionally join the procession. Few come afoot; for
our pious ancestors seemed to think it as much a part of their religion to
fill the family horse-shed as the family pew; and in good weather would
send a mile to pasture for the horses to drive a half mile to meeting.
But, meeting out, the parson's prayer and sermon said, the choir's
ambitious anthem lustily sung, the politics of the prayer, and the
politics of the sermon, both summarily criticised, approved, condemned,
partly with looks and winks, and partly with loud words in the porch,
there is now a little space for kind inquiries after the absent, the sick,
and the poor; a few solitary spinsters, and one old soldier, lame and
indigent, are seized on and carried off to homes, where certain blessed
Mothers in Israel, are wont to keep a vacant chair for a poor soul that
might feel desolate if left alone on this sociable day. Some full-handed
visits are paid on the way home to scattered and rickety houses; but by
one o'clock, all the people are beneath their own roofs, never so
attractive as on this glorious day. The married children from the
neighboring towns have come home, and the old house is full.

The great event of the day is at hand. It is dinner-time. The table of
unnatural length, narrower at one end, where it has been eked out for the
occasion, groans with the choicest gifts of the year. There is but one
course, but that possesses infinite variety and reckless profusion. For
one day, at least, the doctrine of an apostle is in full honor. "For every
creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with
thanksgiving." The long grace sanctifies the feast with the word of God
and with prayer. The elders and males are distributed to front the
substantial of the board--the round of _a-la-mode_, the brown crisp pig
with an apple in his mouth, the great turkey who has frightened the little
red-cloaked girls and saucy pugs for months past, the chicken-pie with
infinite crimping and stars and knobs, decorating its snowy face. The
mothers and daughters are placed over against the puddings and pies, which
have exercised their ambition for weeks--vying with rival housekeepers in
the number and variety of sorts--and which, after the faint impression
made on them to-day, shall be found for a month, filling the shelves of
spare-closets and lending a delicious though slightly musty odor to the
best wardrobe of the family. Children of all ages--to the toddling
darling, the last babe of the youngest daughter--fill up the interstices,
while the few books in the house are barely sufficient to bring the
little ones in their low chairs to an effective level with the table.
Incredible stowage having been effected, the sleepy after-dinner hours are
somewhat heavily passed; but with the lamps and the tea-board, sociability
revives. The evening passes among the old people, with chequers and
back-gammon. Puss-in-the-corner, the game of forfeits--blind-man's-buff
entertain the young folks. Apples, nuts and cider come in at nine o'clock,
and perhaps a mug of flip--but it is rather for form's sake than for
appetite. At ten o'clock the fire is raked up, and the household is a-bed.
Excepting some bad-dreams, Thanksgiving day is over.





    E'en as at first, in rival song
      Of brother orbs, still chimes the SUN,
    And his appointed path along
      Rolls with harmonious thundertone;
    With strength the sight doth Angels fill,
      Though none can solve its law divine;
    Creation's wonders glorious still,
      As erst they shone, eternal shine.


    The gorgeous EARTH doth whirl for aye
      In swift, sublime, mysterious flight,
    And alternates elysian day
      With deep, chaotic, shuddering night;
    With swelling billows foams the sea.
      Chafing the cliff's deep-rooted base,
    While sea and cliff both hurrying flee
      In swift, eternal, circling race.


    And howling TEMPESTS scour amain
      From sea to land, from land to sea,
    And, raging, weave around a chain
      Of deepest, wildest energy;
    The scathing bolt with flashing glare
      Precedes the pealing thunder's way;
    And yet Thine Angels, LORD, revere
      The gentle movement of Thy day.


    With strength the sight doth Angels fill,
      For power to fathom THEE hath none.
    The works of Thy supernal will
      Still glorious shine, as erst they shone.



As night came on, the steamer doubled the rocky cape, and, steaming with
all its engine force, stood right for Valparaiso. Her speed soon
slackened, and she began to feel her way cautiously, going ahead, backing,
turning, and coming to a full stop. "Let go the anchor," was now the word,
followed by a hoarse rumble of the chains and a noisy burst of steam. A
fleet of shadowy ships and small craft surrounded us, and ahead glimmered
the lights of the city, which, irregularly scattered about the dark
hill-sides, appeared in the night like so many stars dimly twinkling
through a broken rain cloud. With the quick instinct of the presence of a
stranger, the dogs became at once conscious of our arrival, and began a
noisy welcome of barks and yelps, which continued throughout the night.
The port officials in tarnished gilt came alongside the steamer, had their
talk with the captain and pushed off again. Two or three gusty-looking
sea-captains boarded us, gave their rough grasps of welcome, drank off
their stiff supplies of grog, and pulled back to their ships. Some few of
the more impatient of our comrades turned out from the bottom of their
trunks their "best," and went ashore in glossy coats and shining boots.
Most of us, however, awaited the coming of the morning.

I was up on deck at the earliest dawn of day. The steamer was at anchor
close before the city, and I looked with no admiring eyes upon its flimsy
white-washed houses and wooden spires, scattered about the base and sides
of the cindery, earth-quaky hills upon which it is built. There was hardly
a blade of grass or tree to be seen anywhere, except where the thriving
European and American residents had perched themselves on one of the
acclivities. The dwarfed trees here, moreover, all in a row before the
little painted bird-cage-looking houses, appeared to have no more life of
growth and color in them than so many painted semblances in a toy village.
Familiar looking shanties, of the tumble-down sort, built of pine wood and
shingles, crowded the ground by the water side, and indeed the low land
seemed better suited to their staggering aspect than the steep
acclivities. Painted signs with English names and English words, stared
familiarly from every building. The universal "John Smith" there
conspicuously posted his name and his "Bakery." Mine host of the "Hole in
the Wall" invited the thirsty in good round Saxon to drink of his "Best
Beer on Tap," or his "Bottled Porter," as "you pays your money and take
your choice."

The steamer was enlivened from the earliest hour by the native fishermen,
who, with their fleet of canoes, had sought the shades of our dark hull,
to protect them from the hot sun, which seemed to be fairly simmering the
waters of the bay. They were making most miraculous draughts of fishes. I
watched one little fellow. He was hardly a dozen years of age, but he
plied his trade with such skill and enterprise, that he nearly filled his
canoe during the half hour I was watching him. It was terrible to see with
what intense energy and cruelty the little yellow devil, with bared arms
blooded to the shoulders, pounced upon his prey. With a quick jerk he
pulled his fish in, then clutching it with one hand and thrusting the
fingers of the other with the prompt ferocity of a young tiger into the
panting gills, he tore off with a single wrench the head, and threw the
body, yet quivering with life, among the lifeless heap of his victims
lying at the bottom of his boat. The sea gulls, hovering about shrieking
shrilly and pouncing upon the heads and entrails as they were thrown into
the water, fighting over them and gulping them down with hungry voracity,
seemed to heighten this picture of the "Gentle art of angling."

The return of the steward and chaplain with a boat load of "marketing" was
a welcome surprise. The parson, whose unquestionable taste in the
æsthetics of eating had been wisely secured by the steward, dilated with
great gusto upon the juicy beefsteaks, the freshness of the fish, and the
richness of the fruit. When, at breakfast, we enjoyed as salt-sea voyagers
only could, the stores of fresh meat, fresh eggs, fresh butter, fresh
milk, juicy grapes, white and purple, with the morning's bloom still upon
them, the peaches, the apples, the pears, the tumas (prickly pear fruit),
the melons, musk and water, we acknowledged his reverence's judgment, and
gratefully thanked him for his services.

On landing to take a look at the town, I made my way through a throng of
boatmen, of picturesque native fruitsellers and loitering sailors, to the
chief business street, which ran along the shore. The stores, which were
mainly under the proprietorship of the foreign merchants, had a rich,
thriving look, being crammed full of miscellaneous goods, while the
sidewalks were heaped with bales and boxes. Odd-looking carts moved slowly
along with their drivers in picturesque costume lying in full length upon
their loads, smoking their cigarettes, and looking wondrously lazy and
happy. Stately Chilians from the interior, dressed in genuine Fra Diavolo
style, rode by on their prancing horses, all glistening and jingling with
silver. There were abundant loungers about, in the cool shade of every
corner and projecting roof. The listless men with the universal poncho--an
oblong mantle of variegated cotton or woollen, through a hole in the
centre of which the head is thrust, allowing the garment to hang in folds
about the person--looked as if they had been roused suddenly from their
beds, and not finding their coats at hand, had walked out with their
coverlets over their shoulders. The women, too, in their loose dresses and
with shawls thrown carelessly over their heads, had a very bed-chamber
look. They were mostly pretty brunettes, with large, slumbering black
eyes, which, however, were sufficiently awake to ogle effectively.

Having a letter of introduction to present, I entered the counting-house
of the merchant whose acquaintance I sought. I found him boxed off at the
further end of his long, heaped-up warehouse. He had closed his ledger,
lighted his cigar, and had just filled his glass from a bottle of wine
which stood on the window-sill, when I entered. I was not surprised,
under such provocation to good fellowship, to receive a warm welcome. My
mercantile friend was in the best possible humor, for times, he said, were
very good. Every one at Valparaiso was making his fortune. It was the
epoch of the gold excitement. Large fortunes had already been made. The
contents of the shops and warehouses had, as soon as the gold discovery
became known, been emptied into every vessel in the harbor, and sent to
San Francisco. The lucky speculators had gained five or six hundred per
cent. profit for their ventures of preserved and dried fruits, champagne,
other wines and liquors, Madeira nuts and the most paltry stuff
imaginable. In five months some of the Valparaiso merchants had cleared
five hundred thousand dollars. The excitement was still unabated. Shippers
were still loading and dispatching their goods daily for San Francisco.
Many were going there themselves, and hardly a clerk could be kept at
Valparaiso at any salary, however large.

The day was brilliantly bright, and the air so pure and bracing that it
did the lungs good to breathe. So I made my way out of counting-house and
street for a walk. I ascended the dry, crumbling hills which with long,
deep gullies and breaks in them, and friable soil, looked as if they were
ready to tumble into pieces at the first shake of one of those earthquakes
so frequent in the country. On the road, chained gangs of surly convicts
were at work, and some smart-looking soldiers, in blue and white, came
marching along! Caravans of mules, laden with goods, produce and water
casks, trotted on, and here and there rode a dashing Chilian cavalier on
his prancing steed, or a dapper citizen on his steady cob. In a ravine
between the dry hills there trickled the smallest possible stream. Above,
some water carriers were slowly filling their casks, while the mules
patiently waited for their burdens; below, was a throng of washerwomen,
beating their clothes upon the stones, just moistened by the scant water
which flowed over them, and interchanging Spanish Billingsgate with each
other and a gang of man-of-war sailors.

Frightened away by the stony stare of the English occupant from an
imposing-looking residence on the top of the hill, I crossed the road and
entered the private hospital. Around a quadrangle, laid out in gardens
beds there was a range of low two story buildings. Some bleached sailors,
in duck trowsers and blue jackets, were about; one was reading a
song-book, another his Bible, and a third was busily making a marine swab
out of ropes' ends. Among the convalescents, out on the balconies to
catch a breath of the pure air, was a naval officer in a gilt cap, reading
a novel; and all looked snug and encouraging. On entering, I asked the
attendant, a gaunt-looking Englishman, who in his musty black suit, was
not unlike a carrion crow or a turkey buzzard, whether there was any
serious case of illness in the hospital. "There are two consumptives,"
said he, "who've been a deceiving us for the last two weeks." He seemed to
think it a very base fraud that these two consumptives had not died when
he and the doctor thought it was their duty to do so, some fortnight

Coming from the one hill to another, I reached a miserable quarter of the
town, called by the sailors the "foretop." It was composed of rude mud
hovels, stuffed with a population of half-breeds, a half-naked
gipsy-looking people, grovelling in the dirt, and breathing an atmosphere
reeking with the stench of filth, garlic and frying fat. I was glad to
escape, and get to the "Star Hotel," where, refreshing myself with a chop
and brown stout, I could fancy myself, with hardly an effort of the
imagination, taking my dinner at an ordinary in the Strand.






    A light skiff swam on Danube's tide,
    Where sat a bridegroom and his bride,
      He this side and she that side.

    Quoth she, "Heart's dearest, tell to me,
    What wedding-gift shall I give thee?"

    Upward her little sleeve she strips,
    And in the water briskly dips.

    The young man did the same straightway,
    And played with her and laughed so gay.

    "Ah, give to me, Dame Danube fair,
    Some pretty toy for my love to wear!"

    She drew therefrom a shining blade,
    For which the youth so long had prayed.

    The bridegroom, what holds he in hand?
    Of milk-white pearls a precious band.

    He twines it round her raven hair;
    She looked how like a princess there!

    "Oh, give to me, Dame Danube fair,
    Some pretty toy for my love to wear!"

    A second time her arm dips in,
    A glittering helm of steel to win.

    The youth, o'erjoyed the prize to view,
    Brings her a golden comb thereto.

    A third time she in the water dips.
    Ah woe! from out the skiff she slips.

    He leaps for her and grasps straightway--
    Dame Danube tears them both away.

    The dame began her gifts to rue--
    The youth must die, the maiden too!

    The little skiff floats down alone,
    Behind the hills soon sinks the sun.

    And when the moon was overhead,
    To land the lovers floated dead,
      He this side and she that side!




    Thou handsome fisher-maiden,
      Push thy canoe to land;
    Come and sit down beside me--
      We'll talk, love, hand in hand.

    Thy head lay on my bosom,
      Be not afraid of me,
    For careless thou confidest
      Each day in the wild sea.

    My heart is like the ocean,
      Has storm, and ebb, and flow;
    And many pearls so handsome
      Rest in its deeps below.




    My child when we were children,
      Two children small and gay,
    We crept into the hen-house
      And hid us under the hay.

    We crowed, as do the cockerels,
      When people passed the road,
    "_Kikeriki!_" and they fancied
      It was the cock that crowed.

    The chests which lay in the court-yard,
      We papered them so fair,
    Making a house right famous,
      And dwelt together there.

    The old cat of our neighbor,
      Came oft to make a call;
    We made her bows and courtesies,
      And compliments and all.

    We asked with friendly question,
      How her health was getting on:
    To many an ancient pussy
      The same we since have done.

    In sensible discoursing
      We sat like aged men,
    And told how in our young days
      All things had better been.

    That Truth, Love and Religion
      From the earth are vanished quite--
    And now so dear is coffee,
      And money is so tight!

    But gone are childish gambols,
      And all things fleeting prove--
    Money, the world, our young days,
      Religion, Truth and Love.



The labourer is worthy of his hire. A man who produces an available
"article" for a newspaper or a periodical, is as properly entitled to a
pecuniary recompense, as a doctor, or a lawyer, or a clergy-man, for
professional services; or, as a merchant or a mechanic for his
transferable property. This is a simple proposition, which nobody
disputes. The rate of such compensation must be a matter of agreement. As
between author and publisher, custom seems to have fixed on what an
arithmetician would call "square measure," as the basis of the bargain;
and the question of adjustment is simplified down to "how much by the
column, or the page?"

This system has its advantages in a business point of view; because, when
the price, or rate, is agreed on, nothing remains but to count the pages.
Whether the publisher or the writer is benefited by this plan of
computation, in a literary point of view, may, however, be doubted.

A man who is paid _by the page_ for his literary labour, has every
inducement but one to expand lines into sentences, sentences into
paragraphs, and paragraphs into extravagant dimensions. An idea, to him,
is a thing to be manufactured into words, each of which has a money value;
and if he can, by that simplest of all processes--a verbal dilution--give
to one idea the expansive power of twelve; if he can manage to spread over
six pages what would be much better said in half a page, he gains twelve
prices for his commodity, instead of one; and he sacrifices nothing but
the quality of his commodity--and _that_ is no sacrifice, so long as his
publisher and his readers do not detect it.

When a man writes for reputation, he has a very different task before him;
for no one will gain high and permanent rank as an author, unless his
ideas bear some tolerable proportion to his words. He who aims to write
_well_, will avoid diffuseness. _Multum in parvo_ will be his first
consideration; and if he achieves that, he will have secured one of the
prime requisites of literary fame.

In the earlier days of our republic, a discussion was held by several of
the prominent statesmen of the period, on the expediency of extending the
right of suffrage to others than freeholders. Some of the debaters made
long speeches; others made short ones. At length, Mr. JAY was
called on for his views of the matter. His brief response was: "Gentlemen,
in my opinion, _those who own the country ought to rule it."_ If that
distinguished patriot had been writing for the bleeding Kansas Quarterly,
at the rate of a dollar a page, he would probably have expanded this
remark. He might have written thus:

"Every man is born free and independent; or, if he is not, he ought to be.
_E pluribus unum._ He is, moreover, the natural proprietor of the soil;
for the soil, without him, is nothing worth. He came from the soil; he
lives on the soil; and he must return to the soil. _De gustibus, non est
disputandum._ So much for man in his natural state, breathing his natural
air, surrounded by his natural horizon, and luxuriating in his natural
prerogatives. But this is a very limited view of the question. Man is
expansive, aggressive, acquisitive. _Vox populi, vox Dei._ Having
acquired, he wills to acquire. Acquisition suggests acquisition. Conquest
promotes conquest. And, speaking of conquests, the greatest of all
conquests is that which a man obtains over himself--provided always that
he does obtain it. This secured, he may consider himself up to anything.
_Arma virumque cano._ Owning the soil by right of possession; owning
himself by right of conquest; and, being about to establish a form of
government conformable to his own views of right and wrong; let him
protect the right, confound the wrong, and make his own selection of
subordinate officers. _Mus cucurrit plenum sed._"

This, by way of illustration. The Jay style sounds the best: the
dollar-a-page style pays the best. But the dollar-a-page system is a very
bad one for the well-being of our newspaper and periodical literature,
simply because the chief inducement is on the wrong side. If an author
receives twice as much pay for a page as for half a page, he will write a
page as a matter of course; and, as a matter of course, the quality of
what he writes will be depreciated in geometrical proportion. For the same
thing, said in few words, is ten times more effectual than when said in
many words.

No doubt, different subjects require different handling, and more space is
needed for some than for others. An essay is not necessarily too long
because it fills five columns, or fifty pages; but periodical and
newspaper writing demands compactness, conciseness, concentration; and the
fact of being paid by measurement, is a writer's ever-present temptation
to disregard this demand.

The conceit of estimating the value of an article by its length and rating
the longest at the highest price, is about as wise as to estimate a man
by his inches instead of his intellect.

Certain names there are in the literary world, which carry great weight in
a reader's regard, independently of the quality of the contributions. If a
Sir Walter Scott were to write for the _North American Review_, he would
temporarily elevate the reputation of the Review, however carelessly he
might throw his sentences together. But, theoretically, the articles in
our periodical literature are anonymous; and, practically, they stand on
their intrinsic merits. And it is out of the question that a system which
offers a money premium for the worst fault in periodical writing--to wit,
prolixity--should not deteriorate the character of such writing.

Much more might be said on this subject; but, to the wise, a word is
sufficient. And it would ill become one who is endeavouring to recommend
conciseness, to disfigure that very endeavour by diffuseness.




    I knew a sweet girl, with a bonny blue eye,
          Who was born in the shade
          The witch-hazel-tree made,
          Where the brook sang a song
          All the summer-day long,
    And the moments, like birdlings went by,--
          Like the birdlings the moments flew by.


    I knew a fair maid, soul enchanting in grace,
          Who replied to my vow,
          Neath the hazel-tree bough:
          "Like the brook to the sea,
          Oh, I yearn, love, for thee."
    And she hid in my bosom her face--
          In my bosom her beautiful face.


    I have a dear wife, who is ever my guide;
        Wooed and won in the shade
        The witch-hazel tree made,
        Where the brook sings its song
        All the summer day long,
    And the moments in harmony glide,
        Like our lives they in harmony glide.





That deepest lowliness of all--the prostration before God, the prostration
in penitence--is the highest honor that humanity can achieve. It is the
first great cardinal requisition in the Gospel; and it is not meant to
degrade, but to exalt us. Self-condemnation is the loftiest testimony that
can be given to virtue. It is a testimony paid at the expense of all our
pride. It is no ordinary offering. A man may sacrifice his life to what he
calls honor, or conceives to be patriotism, who never paid the homage of
an honest tear for his own faults. That was a beautiful idea of the poet,
who made the boon that was to restore a wandering shade to the bliss of
humanity--a boon sought through all the realm of nature and existence--to
consist, not in wealth or splendor, not in regal mercy or canonized
glory, but in a tear of penitence. Temple and altar, charity and pity, and
martyrdom, sunk before that.

I have seen the magnificence of all ceremonial in worship; and this was
the thought that struck me then. Permit me to describe the scene, and to
express the thought that rose in my mind, as I gazed upon it. It was in
the great cathedral church of the world; and it brings a kind of religious
impression over my mind to recall its awfulness and majesty. Above, far
above me, rose a dome, gilded and covered with mosaic pictures, and vast
as the pantheon of old Rome; the four pillars which supported it, each of
them as large as many of our churches; and the entire mass, lifted to five
times the height of this building--its own height swelling far beyond; no
dome so sublime but that of heaven was ever spread above mortal eye. And
beyond this dome, beneath which I stood, stretched away into dimness and
obscurity the mighty roofing of this stupendous temple--arches behind
arches, fretted with gold, and touched with the rays of the morning sun.
Around me, a wilderness of marble; with colors, as variegated and rich as
our autumnal woods; columns, pillars, altars, tombs, statues, pictures set
in ever-during stone; objects to strike the beholder with neverceasing
wonder. And on this mighty pavement, stood a multitude of many thousands;
and through bright lines of soldiery, stretching far down the majestic
nave, slowly advanced a solemn and stately procession, clothed with
purple, and crimson, and white, and blazing with rubies and diamonds;
slowly it advanced amidst kneeling crowds and strains of heavenly music;
and so it compassed about the altar of God, to perform the great
commemorative rite of Christ's resurrection. Expect from me no sectarian
deprecation; it was a goodly rite, and fitly performed. But, amidst solemn
utterances, and lowly prostrations, and pealing anthems, and rising
incense, and all the surrounding magnificence of the scene, shall I tell
you what was my thought? One sigh of contrition, one tear of repentance,
one humble prayer to God, though breathed in a crypt of the darkest
catacomb, is worth all the splendors of this gorgeous ceremonial and this
glorious temple.


And let me add, that upon many a lowly bosom, the gem of virtue shines
more bright and beautiful than it is ever likely to shine in any court of
royalty or crown of empire: and this, for the very reason that it shines
in loneliness and obscurity, and is surrounded with no circlet of gazing
and flattering eyes. There _are_ positions in life, in society, where all
loveliness is seen and noted; chronicled in men's admiring comments, and
perhaps celebrated in adulatory sonnets and songs. And well, perhaps, that
it is so. I would not repress the admiration of society toward the lovely
and good. But there is many a lowly cottage, many a lowly bedside of
sickness and pain, to which genius brings no offering; to which the
footsteps of the enthusiastic and admiring never come; to which there is
_no_ cheering visitation--but the visitation of angels! _There_ is humble
toil--_there_ is patient assiduity--_there_ is noble
disinterestedness--_there_ is heroic sacrifice and unshaken truth. The
great world passes by, and it toils on in silence; to its gentle footstep,
there are no echoing praises; around its modest beauty, gathers no circle
of admirers. It never thought of honor; it never asked to be known.
Unsung, unrecorded, is the labor of its life, and shall be, till the
heavens be no more; till the great day of revelation comes; till the great
promise of Jesus is fulfilled; till the last shall be first, and the
lowliest shall be loftiest; and the poverty of the world shall be the
riches and glory of heaven.



    A cherub in its mother's arms,
      Look'd from a casement high--
    And pleasure o'er the features stray'd,
    As on his simple organ play'd
      A boy of Italy.

    So, day by day, his skill he plied,
      With still increasing zeal,
    For well the glittering coin he knew,
    Those fairy fingers gladly threw,
      Would buy his frugal meal.

    But then! alas, there came a change
      Unheeded was his song,
    And in his upraised, earnest eye
    There dwelt a silent wonder, why
      The baby slept so long.

    That polished brow, those lips of Rose
      Beneath the flowers were laid--
    But where the music never tires,
    Amid the white-robed angel choir
      The happy spirit stray'd.

    Yet lingering at the accustom'd place
      That minstrel ply'd his art,
    Though its soft symphony of words
    Convulsed with pain the broken chords
      Within a mother's heart.

    They told him that the babe was dead
      And could return no more,
    _Dead! Dead!_--to his bewildered ear,
    A foreign language train'd to hear--
      The sound no import bore.

    At length, by slow degrees, the truth
      O'er his young being stole,
    And with sad step he went his way
    No more for that blest babe to play,
      The tear-drop in his soul.

City of Washington, May 24, 1858.




    By night through the forest who rideth so fast,
    While the chill sleet is driving, and fierce roars the blast?
    'Tis the father, who beareth his child through the storm,
    And safe in his mantle has wrapped him from harm.

    "My son, why hid'st thy face, as in fear?"
    "Oh, father! see, father! the Erl-king is near!
    The Erl-king it is, with his crown and his shroud!"
    "My boy! it is naught but a wreath of the cloud."

    "Oh, pretty child! come--wilt thou go with me!
    With many gay sports will I gambol with thee;
    There are flowers of all hues on our fairy strand--
    My mother shall weave thee robes golden and grand."

    "Oh, father! my father! and dost thou not hear
    What the Erl-king is whispering low in mine ear?"
    "Be quiet, my darling! thy hearing deceives;
    'Tis but the wind whistling among the crisp leaves."

    "Oh, beautiful boy! wilt thou come with me!--say!
    My daughters are waiting to join thee at play!
    In their arms they shall bear thee through all the dark night--
    They shall dance, they shall sing thee to slumber so light?"

    "My father! oh, father! and dost thou not see
    Where the Erl-king's daughters are waiting for me?"
    "My child! 'tis no phantom! I see it now plain;
    'Tis but the grey willow that waves in the rain."

    "Thy sweet face hath charmed me! I love thee, my joy!
    And com'st thou not willing, I'll seize thee, fair boy!"
    "Oh, father! dear father! his touch is so cold!
    He grasps me! I cannot escape from his hold!"

    Sore trembled the father, he spurs through the wild,
    And folds yet more closely his terrified child;
    He reaches his own gate in darkness and dread--
    Alas! in his arms lay the fair child--dead!



Fenelon died at Cambray, January 7, 1715, aged 64, some years after the
death of Bossuet, his antagonist, and shortly before the death of his
royal patron and persecutor, Louis XIV. The conscience of Christendom has
already judged between the two parties. Never was the spirit of the good
archbishop more powerful than now. Whilst ambitious ecclesiastics may
honor more the name of Bossuet, the heart of France has embalmed in its
affections the name of his victim, and our common humanity has
incorporated him into its body. When Fenelon's remains were discovered in
1804, the French people shouted with joy that Jacobinism had not scattered
his ashes, and a monument to his memory was forthwith decreed by Napoleon.
In 1826, his statue was erected in Cambray, and three years after, a
memorial more eloquent than any statue, a selection from his works,
exhibiting the leading features of his mind, bore witness of his power
and goodness to this western world. The graceful monument which the wife
of Follen thus reared to his memory was crowned by the hand of Channing
with a garland that as yet has shown no trace of decay.

To any conversant with that little work, or with the larger productions of
Fenelon's mind, need I say a single word of tribute to his character or
gifts? Yet something must be said to show the compass of his character,
for common eulogium is too indiscriminate in praise, exaggerating certain
amiable graces at the expense of more commanding virtues.

He was remarkable for the harmony of his various qualities. In his
intellect, reason, understanding, fancy, imagination, were balanced in an
almost unexampled degree. The equilibrium of his character showed itself
alike in the exquisite propriety of his writings and the careful and
generous economy of his substance. He died without property and without
debt. Some critics have denied him the praise of philosophical depth. They
should rather say, that his love of prying analytically into the secret
principles of things was counterbalanced by the desire to exhibit
principles in practical combination, and by his preference of truth and
virtue in its living portraiture to moral anatomizing or metaphysical
dissection. He could grapple wisely with the fatalism of Malebranche and
the pantheism of Spinosa, as his controversial works show; he could hold
an even argument with the terrible Bossuet on the essence of Christianity.
He preferred, however, to exhibit under forms far more winning than
controversy, his views of human agency, divine power, and Christian love.
The beautiful structure of his narratives, dialogues, and letters, is not
the graceful cloak that hides a poverty of philosophical ideas. It is like
the covering which the Creator has thrown around the human frame, not to
disguise its emptiness, but to incase its energies, and to ease and
beautify its action. With this reservation, we will allow it to be said
that his mind was more graceful than strong.

His heart was equally balanced with his intellect. Piety and humanity,
dignity and humility, justice and mercy, blended in the happiest
equilibrium. His gentleness never led him to forget due self-respect, or
forego any opportunity of speaking unwelcome truths. Bossuet and Louis, in
their pride, as well as young Burgundy, in his confiding attachment, had
more than one occasion to recognize the singular truthfulness of this
gentle spirit. Measured by prevalent standards, his character may be said
to lack one element--fear. His life was love. The text that the beloved
disciple drew from his Master's bosom was the constant lesson of his
soul: "He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love."

His active powers were great, for he filled with efficiency posts of duty
so various as to call for different orders of ability. Priest, preceptor,
prelate, as well as statesman, poet, orator, theologian, he was eminent in
every capacity, and in each sphere took something from his distinction by
being rival of himself in other spheres. Take him for all in all--allowing
to other men superior excellence in single departments--where can we find
a man on the whole so perfect as he was?

I am well aware that he has not escaped disparagement, and that the
animadversions of his contemporary, St. Simon, have been more than
repeated in the suspicions of the over-skeptical historian Michelet. True,
that the courtesy that won the hearts alike of master and servant, the
high-born lady who sought his society and the broken-spirited widow who
asked his Christian counsel, has been ascribed to a love of praise that
rejoiced in every person's homage, or a far-sighted policy that desired
every person's suffrage. True, that his self-denial has been called a deep
self-interest that would win high honors by refusing to accept the less
rewards. True, that his piety has sometimes been called sentimentalism,
and an alloy of baser emotion has been hinted at as running through some
of his letters to enthusiastic devotees. True, that he has been called
very politic and ambitious. We claim for him no superhuman perfection. Nor
do we deny that he was a Frenchman, whilst we maintain that he was every
inch a man.

But let him be judged not by a skeptical suspicion that doubts from the
habit of doubting of virtue, but by the spirit of his whole life. That
life, from beginning to end, was an example of the virtue commended by our
Lord in his charge to his apostles. Sent forth like a lamb in the midst of
wolves, he blended the wisdom of the serpent with the gentleness of the
dove. Whatever failings he may have had he conquered. His course was ever
onward to the mark whither he deemed himself called of God.

We probably have often felt, on reading Fenelon, as if his sweetness of
temper were sometimes at the expense of his manliness, and we could easily
spare some of his honeyed words for an occasional flow of hearty, even if
bitter, indignation. To his credit, however, be it said, that with him
gentle speech was often but the smooth edge of faithful counsel most
resolutely pointed and sharpened at the consciences of the great whom
rudeness would offend and inelegance disgust. Recent discoveries have
given ample proof of his unflinching boldness to the French Court. During
his banishment (1694-97) he wrote that masterly and fearless letter to
Louis XIV., which was not discovered until 1825, and which the most
earnest of his eulogists, not even Channing, we believe, seems to have
noted. Than these intrepid words, Christian heroism cannot further go.

Would that there were time to speak of his works in their various
departments, especially those in the departments of education, social
morals, and religion.

No name stands above his among the leaders in the great cause of
education. None surpass him in the power with which he defended the mind
of woman from the impoverishing and distorting systems prevalent in his
day, and by his example and pen taught parents to educate their daughters
in a manner that should rebuke vanity and deceit, and blend grace with
utility. None went before him in knowledge of the art of taming obstinate
boyhood into tenderness, and with all modern improvements our best
teachers may find in his works a mine of knowledge and incentive both in
their tasks of instruction and discipline.

In social morals he was a great reformer; not, indeed, so remarkable for
being engrossed with some favorite innovation, as for urging the constant
need of applying Christian truth and duty to every social institution. He
rebuked the passion for war, by his own demeanor disarmed the hostility of
combatants, and by his instructions struck at the root of warfare in the
councils of princes. We may well be amazed at his political wisdom, and
taught more emphatically than ever that we are to look for this not to the
hack-politicians who think only of the cabals of the moment, but to the
sage men who interpret the future from the high ground of reason and
right. His political papers embody the lessons that France has since
learned by a baptism of blood. Hardly a single principle now deemed
necessary for the peace and prosperity of nations, can be named, that
cannot be found expressed or implied in Fenelon's various advice to the
royal youth under his charge. Well may the better minds of France and
Christendom honor his name for the noble liberality with which he
qualified the mild conservatism so congenial with his temperament, creed
and position.

As a theologian, he constantly breathes one engrossing sentiment. With
him, Christianity was the love of God and its morality was the love of the
neighbor. Judged by occasional expressions, his piety might seem too
ascetic and mystical--too urgent of penance and self-crucifixion--too
enthusiastic in emotion, perilling the sobriety of reason in the
impassioned fervors of devotion--sometimes bordering upon that
overstrained spiritualism, which, in its impulsive flights, is so apt to
lose its just balance and sink to the earth and the empire of the senses.
He has written some things that prudence, nay, wisdom, might wish to
erase. But, qualified by other statements, and above all, interpreted by
his own life, his religion appears in its true proportion--without gloom,
without extravagance. To his honor be it spoken, that in an age when
priests and prelates eminent for saintly piety sanctioned the scourging
and death of heretics, and enforced the Gospel chiefly by the fears of
perdition, Fenelon was censured for dwelling too much on the power of
love, that perfect charity that casteth out fear. It may, perhaps, be a
failing with him that he had too little sympathy with the fears and
passions of men, and appreciated too little the more sublime and terrible
aspects of Divine Providence. His mind was tuned too gently to answer to
all of the grandest music of our humanity, and we must abate something of
our admiration of him for his want of loyalty to the new ages of Christian
thought and heroism. He evidently loved Virgil more than Dante, Cicero
more than Chrysostom, and thought the Greek Parthenon, in its horizontal
lines and sensuous beauty, a grander and more perfect structure, alike in
plan and execution, than Notre Dame or Strasbourg Cathedral, with its
uplifting points and spiritual sublimity. He was a Christianized Greek,
who had exchanged the philosopher's robe for the archbishop's surplice.

Viewing him now on the whole, considering at once his gifts and graces of
mind, and heart, and will; his offerings upon the altar of learning,
humanity and religion, we sum up our judgment in a single saying. He
worshipped God in the _beauty_ of holiness. His whole being, with all its
graces and powers so harmoniously combined, was an offering to God that
men cannot but admire and the Most High will not despise.

We may not take leave of Fenelon without applying to our times the
teachings of his spirit, the lesson of his life. However rich the topic in
occasion for controversial argument, we defer all strife to the
inspiration of his gentle and loving wisdom. Let an incident connected
with the tomb of Fenelon furnish us an emblem of the spirit in which we
shall look upon his name. His remains were deposited in the vault beneath
the main altar at which he had so often ministered. It would seem as if
some guardian-angel shielded them from desecration. Eighty years passed
and the Reign of Terror came upon France in retribution for her falsity to
her best advisers. The allied armies were marshalling their hosts against
the new republic. Every means must be used to add to the public resources,
and the decree went forth that even the tombs should be robbed of their
coffins. The republican administrator of the District of Cambray, Bernard
Cannonne, in company with a butcher and two artillery-men, entered the
cathedral and went down into the vault which held the ashes of so many
prelates. The leaden coffins with their contents were carried away and
placed upon the cars; but when they came to the inclosure whose tablet
bore the name of Fenelon, and lifted it from its bed, it appeared that the
lead had become unsoldered and they could take away the coffin and leave
the sacred dust it had contained. Years passed, and the reign of Napoleon
bringing a better day, rebuked the Vandalism that would dishonor all
greatness and spoil even its grave. The facts regarding the acts of
desecration were legally ascertained and the bones of the good archbishop
triumphantly reserved for a nobler than the ancient sepulchre. There was a
poetical justice in the preservation of them from violence. It was well
that the bloody revolutionists who went to the tombs for metal to furnish
their arsenals, were made, in spite of themselves, to respect the ashes of
one whose counsels of duty heeded would have averted that revolution by a
system of timely concessions and benignant legislation.

Now that we virtually draw near the resting-place of this good man, let it
not be to furnish material for bullets of lead or paper to hurl against
theological antagonists. Appreciating the beauty of his spirit, let us
learn and apply the rebuke and encouragement it affords. A genius so rare
we may not hope to approach or imitate. Graces still more precious and
imitable are associated with that genius and create its highest charm. Our
time has been worse than thrown away, and our study of his works and his
biographies has been in vain, if we are not better, more wise, and
earnest, and gentle for the page of history, the illustration of divine
providence that has now come before us. Placed in the most perplexing
relations, he never lost hold of the calm wisdom that was his chosen
guide. Exposed to the most irritating provocations, he never gave up the
gentle peacefulness of his spirit.

Our age is not peculiarly ecclesiastical, yet we have not done with the
church and its teachers. Many a time of late we have had cause to think
with regret of the persuasive eloquence of the Archbishop of Cambray, of
the sacred Art that could make truth lovely to wayward youth, and religion
beautiful to hard and skeptical manhood. Has it not sometimes seemed as if
ambitious prelacy had forgotten the purer example for the baser, and
copied Bossuet's pride instead of Fenelon's charity? Nay, has not priestly
assumption coveted the talons and forgotten the wings of the Eagle of
Meaux and lost sight wholly of the Dove of Cambray? What government or
ruler in Christendom would not be the better for a counsellor as eloquent
and fearless as he who dared rebuke without reserve the great Louis of
France in words like these:

"You do not love God; you do not even fear him but with a slave's fear; it
is hell and not God whom you fear. Your religion consists but in
superstitions, in petty superficialities. You are like the Jews, of whom
God said: _'Whilst they honor me with their lips, their hearts are far
from me.'_ You are scrupulous upon trifles and hardened upon terrible
evils. You love only your own glory and comfort. You refer everything to
yourself as if you were the God of the earth, and everything else here
created only to be sacrificed to you. It is you, on the contrary, whom God
has put into the world only for your people."





    The earnest traveller, who would feed his eye
    To fullness of content on Nature's charms,
    Must not forever pace the easy plain.
    No! he must climb the rugged mountain's side,
    Scale its steep rocks, cling to its crumbling crags,
    Nor fear to plunge in it's eternal snows.
    And yet, if he be wise, he will not choose
    To find the doubtful way alone, lest night
    O'ertake him wandering, and her icy breath
    Chill him to marble; not alone will risk
    His foot unwonted on the glassy bed
    Of rifted glacier, lest a step amiss
    Should hurl him headlong down some fissure dark,
    That yawns unseen--thence to arise no more.
    But, furnished with a trusty guide, he mounts
    From peak to peak in safety, though with toil.
    Once on the lofty summit, he beholds
    A glory in earth's kingdom all undreamed
    Till now. The heavy curtains are withdrawn,
    That shut the old horizon down so close;
    And, lo! a world is lying at his feet!
    A world without a flaw! What late he held
    But as discordant fragments, now show forth,
    From this high vantage ground, the perfect parts
    Of a harmonious whole! He would not dare
    To change one line in all that picture marvellous
    Of hill and vale, bright stream and rolling sea,
    O'erhung by the great sun that gildeth all.

    And thou! If thou would'st truly feast thy soul
    Upon the things invisible of Him
    Who made the visible, fear not to tread
    The awful heights of Thought! not to thyself
    Sole trusting, lest thou perish in thy pride;
    But following where Faith enlightened leads,
    Thou shalt not miss or fall. The way is rough,
    But never toil did win reward so rich
    As that she findeth here. At every step
    New prospects open, and new wonders shine!
    Mount higher still, and whatsoe'er thy pains,
    Thou'lt envy not the sleeper at thy feet!
    Visions of truth and beauty shall arise
    So multiplied, so glorified, so vast,
    That thy enraptured soul amazed shall cry,
    "No longer Earth, but the new Heavens I see
    Lighted forever by the throne of God."



    A widow, feeble, old and lonely,
      Whose flock once numbered many a score,
    Had now remaining to her only
      One little lamb, and nothing more.

    And every morning forced to send it
      To scanty pastures far away,
    With prayers and tears did she commend it
      To the good saint that named the day.

    Nor so in vain; each kindly patron,
      George, Agnes, Nicolas, Genevieve,
    Still mindful of the helpless matron,
      Brought home her lambkin safe at eve.

    All-Saints' day dawned; with faith yet stronger,
      On the whole hallowed choir the dame
    Doth call--to one she prays no longer,--
      That day the wolf devoured the lamb!




When I was in Venice I knew the Marchesa Negropontini. Many strangers knew
her twenty and thirty years ago. In my time she was old and somewhat
withdrawn from society; but as I had been a fellow-student and friend of
her grand-nephew in Vienna, I was admitted into her house familiarly,
until the old lady felt as kindly toward me, as if I, too, had been a

Italian life and character are different enough from ours. They are
traditionally romantic. But we are apt to disbelieve in the romance which
we hear from those concerned. I cannot disbelieve, since I knew this sad,
stern Italian woman. Can you disbelieve, who have seen Titian's, and
Tintoretto's, and Paolo Veronese's portraits of Venetian women? You, who
have floated about the canals of Venice?

I was an American boy; and my very utter strangeness probably made it
easier for the Marchesa Negropontini to tell me the story, which I now
relate. She told it to me as we sat one evening in the balcony of her
house, the palazzo Orfeo, on the Grand Canal.


The Marchesa sat for a long time silent, and we watched the phantom life
of the city around us. Presently she sighed deeply and said:

"Ah, me! it is the eve of the Purification. My son, seventy years ago
to-day the woman was born whose connection with the house of Negropontini
has shrouded it in gloom, like the portrait you have seen in the saloon.
Seventy years ago to-day my father's neighbor, the Count Balbo, saw for
the first time the face of the first daughter his wife had given him. The
countess lay motionless--the flame of existence flickered between life and

"'Adorable Mother of God!' said the count, as he knelt by her bedside, 'if
thou restorest my wife, my daughter shall be consecrated to thy service.'

"The slow hours dragged heavily by. The mother lived.

"My brother Camillo and I were but two and four years older than our
little neighbor. We were children together, and each other's playmates.
When the little neighbor, Sulpizia Balbo, was fourteen, Camillo was
eighteen. My son, the sky of Venice never shone on a more beautiful girl,
on a youth more grave and tender. He loved her with his whole soul. Gran'
Dio! 'tis the old, old story!

"She was proud, wayward, passionate, with a splendor of wit and unusual
intelligence. He was calm, sweet, wise; with a depthless tenderness of
passion. But Sulpizia inherited her will from her father, and at fourteen
she was sacrificed to the vow he had made. She was buried alive in the
convent of our Lady of the Isle, and my brother's heart with her.


"Sulpizia's powerful nature chafed in the narrow bounds of the convent
discipline. But her religious education assured her that that discipline
was so much the more necessary, and she struggled with the sirens of
worldly desire. The other sisters were shocked and surprised, at one
moment by her surpassing fervor, at another by her bold and startling
protests against their miserable bondage.

"Often, at vespers, in the dim twilight of the chapel, she flung back her
cape and hood, with the tears raining from her eyes and her voice gushing
and throbbing with the melancholy music, while the nuns paused in their
singing, appalled by the religious ecstasy of Sulpizia. She was so sweet
and gentle in her daily intercourse that all of them loved her, bending to
her caresses like grain to the breeze; but they trembled in the power of
her denunciation, which shook their faith to the centre, for it seemed to
be the voice of a faith so much profounder.

"While she was yet young she was elected abbess of the convent. It was a
day of triumph for her powerful family. Perhaps the Count Balbo may have
sometimes regretted that solemn vow, but he never betrayed repentance.
Perhaps he would have been more secretly satisfied by the triumphant
worldly career of a woman like his daughter, but he never said so.

"Sulpizia knew that my brother loved her. I think she loved him--at least
I thought so.

"The nuns were not jealous of her rule, for the superior genius which
commanded them also consoled and counselled; and her protests becoming
less frequent, her persuasive affection won all their hearts. They saw
that the first fire of youth slowly saddened in her eyes. Her mien became
even more lofty; her voice less salient; and a shadow fell gently over
her life. The sisters thought it was age; but Sulpizia was young. Others
thought it was care; but her duties could not harass such a spirit. Others
thought it was repentance; but natures like hers do not early repent.

"It was resolved that the portrait of the abbess should be painted, and
the nuns applied to her parents to select the artist. They, in turn,
consulted my brother Camillo, who was the friend of the family, and for
whom the Count Balbo would, I believe, have willingly unvowed his vow.
Camillo had left Venice as the great door of the convent closed behind his
life and love. He fled over the globe. He lost himself in new scenes, in
new employments. He took the wings of the morning, and flew to the
uttermost parts of the earth,[A] and there he found--himself. So he
returned an older and a colder man. His love, which had been a passion,
seemed to settle into a principle. His life was consecrated to one
remembrance. It did not dare to have a hope.

[Footnote A: I use, here, words corresponding to the Marchesa's.]

"He brought with him a friend whom he had met in the East. Together upon
the summit of the great pyramid they had seen the day break over Cairo,
and on the plain of Thebes had listened for Memnon to gush with music as
the sun struck him with his rod of light. Together they had travelled over
the sea-like desert, breaking the awful silence only with words that did
not profane it. My brother conversing with wise sadness--his friend Luigi
with hope and enthusiasm.

"Luigi was a poor man, and an artist. My brother was proud, but real grief
prunes the foolish side of pride, while it fosters the nobler. It was a
rare and noble friendship. Rare, because pride often interferes with
friendships among men, where all conditions are not equal. Noble, because
the two men were so, although only one had the name and the means of a
nobleman. But he shared these with his friend, as naturally as his friend
shared his thoughts with him. Neither spoke much of the past. My brother
had rolled a stone over the mouth of that tomb, and his friend was
occupied with the suggestions and the richness of the life around him. If
some stray leaf or blossom fell forward upon their path from the past, it
served to Luigi only as a stimulating mystery.

"'This is my memory,' he would say, touching his portfolio, which was full
of eastern sketches. 'These are the hieroglyphics Egypt has herself
written, and we can decipher them at leisure upon your languid lagunes.'

"It was not difficult for my brother to persuade Luigi to return with him
to Venice. I shall not forget the night they came, as long as I remember

The Marchesa paused a moment, dreamily.

"It was the eve of the Purification," she said, at length, pausing again.
After a little, she resumed:

"We were ignorant of the probable time of Camillo's return; and about
sunset my mother, my younger sister Fiora, and I, were rowing along the
Guidecca, when I saw a gondola approaching, containing two persons only
beside the rowers, followed by another with trunks and servants. I have
always watched curiously new arrivals in Venice, for no other city in the
world can be entered with such peculiar emotion. I had scarcely looked at
the new comers before I recognized my brother, and was fascinated by the
appearance of his companion, who lay in a trance of delight with the
beauty of the place and the hour.

"His long hair flowed from under his slouched hat, hanging about a face
that I cannot describe; and his negligent travelling dress did not conceal
the springing grace of his figure. But to me, educated in Venice,
associated only with its silent, stately nobles; a child, early solemnized
by the society of decay and of elders whose hearts were never young, to
me the magnetic charm of the young man was his youth, and I gazed at him
with the same admiring earnestness with which he looked at the city and
the scene.

"The gondolas constantly approached. My brother lay lost in thoughts which
were visible in the shadow they cast upon his features. His head rested
upon his hand, and he looked fixedly toward the island on which the
convent stands. A light summer cloak was drawn around him, and hid his
figure entirely, except his arm and hand. His cap was drawn down over his
eyes. He was not conscious of any being in the world but Sulpizia.

"Suddenly from the convent tower the sound of the vesper bell trembled in
throbbing music over the water. It seemed to ring every soul to prayer. My
brother did not move. He still gazed intently at the island, and the tears
stole from his eyes. Luigi crossed himself. We did the same, and murmured
an Ave Maria.

"'Heavens! Camillo!' cried my mother, suddenly. He started, and was so
near that there was a mutual recognition. In a moment the gondolas were
side by side, and the greetings of a brother and sisters and mother long
parted, followed. Meanwhile, Camillo's companion remained silent, having
respectfully removed his hat, and looking as if he felt his presence to
be profane at such a moment. But my brother turned, and taking him by the
hand, said:

"'Dear mother, I might well have stayed away from you twice as long, could
I have hoped to find a friend like this.'

"His companion smiled at the generosity of his introduction. He greeted us
all cordially and cheerfully, and the light fading rapidly, we rowed on in
the early starlight. The gondolas slid side by side, and there was a
constant hum of talk.

"I alone was silent. I felt a sympathy with Camillo which I had never
known before. The tears came into my eyes as I watched him gently
conversing with my mother, turning now and then in some conversation with
Luigi and my younger sister. How I watched Luigi! How I caught the words
that were not addressed to me! How my heart throbbed at his sweet,
humorous laugh, in which my sister joined, while his eyes wandered
wonderingly toward mine, as if to ask why I was so silent. I tried to see
that they fastened upon me with special interest. I could not do it.
Gracious and gentle to all, I could not perceive that his manner toward me
was different, and I felt a new sorrow.

"So we glided over the Lagune into the canal, and beneath the balconied
palaces, until we reached our own. The gondolas stopped. Luigi leaped out
instantly upon the broad marble pavement, and assisted my mother to
alight, then my sister. Then I placed my hand in his, and my heart stood
still. It was a moment, but it was also an age. The next instant I stood
free upon the step. Free--but bound forever.

"We were passing up the staircase into the palace, Luigi plucked an orange
bud and handed it to me. I was infinitely happy!

"A few steps further, and he broke an acacia for my sister: ah! I was

"We ascended into the great saloon, and a cheerful evening followed.
Fascinated by these first impressions of Venice, Luigi abandoned himself
to his abundant genius, and left us at midnight, mutually enchanted. Youth
and sympathy had overcome all other considerations. We had planned endless
days of enjoyment. He had promised to show us his sketches. It was not
until our mother asked of my brother who he was, that all the human facts

"'Heavens!' shouted my younger sister, Fiora, laughing with delight,
'think of the _noble_ Marchese Cicada, who simpers, _per Bacco_, that the
day is warm, and, _per dieci_, that I am lovelier than ever. Viva Luigi!
Viva O il pittore.'

"'My daughter,' said my grave, cautious mother, 'you are very young
yet--you do not understand these things. Good night, my child!'

"Fiora kissed her on the brow, and darted out of the room as if she were
really alive.

"When she had gone, Camillo smiled in his cold, calm way, and turning to
me, asked how I liked Luigi. I answered calmly, for I was of the same
blood as my brother. I did not disguise how much superior I thought him to
the youth I knew. I was very glad he had found such a friend, and hoped
the young man would come often to see us, and be very successful in his

"Then I was silent. I did not say that I had never lived until that
evening. I did not say how my heart was chilled, because, in leaving the
room, Luigi's last glance had not been for me, but for Fiora.

"Camillo did not praise him much. It was not his way; but I felt how
deeply he honored and loved him, and was rejoiced to think that necessity
would often bring us together; only my mother seemed serious, and I knew
what her gravity meant.

"'Do not be alarmed, dear mother,' I said to her, as I was leaving the

"'My daughter,' she answered, with infinite pride, 'it is not possible. I
do not understand you. And you, my daughter, you do not understand
yourself nor the world."

"She was mistaken. Myself I did understand; the world I did not."

Again the Marchesa was silent and tears stood in her eyes. She was seventy
years old. Yes, but in love's calendar there is no December.

"The days passed, and we saw Luigi constantly. He was very busy, but found
plenty of time to be with us. His paintings were full of the same kind of
power I felt in his character. He never wearied of the gorgeous
atmospheric effects of which Titian and Paul, Giorgione and Tintoretto
were the old worshippers. They touched him sometimes with a voluptuous
melancholy in which he found a deeper inspiration.

"Every day I loved him more and more, and nobody suspected it. He did not,
because he was only glad to be in my society when he wanted criticism. He
liked me as an intelligent woman. He loved Fiora as a bewitching child.

"My mother watched us all, and soon saw there was nothing to fear. I
sought to be lively--to frequent society; for I knew if my health failed I
should be sent away from Venice and Luigi. He had given me a drawing--a
scene composed from our first meeting upon the Lagune. The very soul of
evening repose brooded upon the picture. It had even an indefinable tone
of sadness, as if he had incorporated into it the sound of the vesper
bell. It had been simply a melancholy sound to him. To the rest of us, who
loved Camillo, it was something more than that. In his heart the mere
remembrance of the island rang melancholy vespers forever.

"This drawing I kept in a private drawer. At night, when I went to my
chamber, I opened the drawer and looked at it. It lay so that I did not
need to touch it; and as I gazed at it, I saw all his own character, and
all that I had felt and lived since that evening.

"At length the day came, on which the parents of Sulpizia came to my
brother to speak of her portrait. Camillo listened to them quietly, and
mentioned his friend Luigi as a man who could understand Sulpizia, and
therefore paint her portrait. The parents were satisfied. It was an
unusual thing; but at that time, as at all times, a great many unusual
things could be done in convents, especially if one had a brother, who was
Cardinal Balbo.


"It was a bright morning that Camillo carried Luigi in his gondola to the
convent. He had merely said to him that there was a beautiful abbess to
paint, an old friend of his; and Luigi replied that he would always
willingly desert beautiful waters and skies for beautiful eyes. They
reached the island"--

The Marchesa beat the floor slowly with her foot, and controlled herself,
as if a spasm of mortal agony had seized her.

"They reached the island, and stepped ashore into the convent garden. They
went into the little parlor, and presently the abbess entered veiled. My
brother, who had not seen her since she was his playmate, could not pierce
the veil; and as calmly as ever told her briefly the name of his friend,
said a few generous words of him, and, rising, promised to call at sunset
for Luigi, and departed."

The Marchesa now spoke very rapidly.

"I do not well know--nobody knows--but Sulpizia raised her veil, and Luigi
adjusted his easel. He painted--they conversed--the day fled away. Sunset
came. Camillo arrived in his gondola, and Luigi came out without smiling.
The gondoliers pulled toward the city.

"'Is she beautiful?' asked Camillo.

"'Wonderful,' responded his friend, and said no more. He trailed his hands
in the water, and then wiped them across his brow. He took off his hat and
faced the evening breeze from the sea. He cried to the gondoliers that
they were lazy--that the gondola did not move. It was darting like a wind
over the water.

"The next day they returned to the island--and the next. But at sunset,
Luigi did not come to the gondola. Camillo waited, and sat until it was
quite dark. Then he went through the garden of the convent, and inquired
for the painter. They sought him in the parlor. He was not there. The
abbess was not there. Upon the easel stood her portrait partly
finished--strangely beautiful. Camillo had followed into the room, and
stood suddenly before the picture. He had not seen Sulpizia since she was
a child. Even his fancy had scarcely dreamed of a face so beautiful. His
knees trembled as he stood, and he fell before it in the attitude of
prayer. The last red flash of daylight fell upon the picture. The eyes
smiled--the lips were slightly parted--a glow of awakening life trembled
all through the features.

"The strong man's heart was melted, and the nuns beheld him kneeling and
weeping before the portrait of their abbess.

"But where was she?

"Nobody knew. There was no clue--except that the gondola of the convent
was gone.

"Camillo took the portrait and stepped into his gondola. He returned to
the city, to the palace of Sulpizia's parents. Slowly he went up the great
staircase, dark and silent, up which his eager steps had followed the
flying feet of Sulpizia. He entered the saloon slowly, like a man who
carries a heavy burden--but rather in his heart than in his hands.

"'It is all that remains to you of your daughter,' said he in a low voice,
throwing back his cloak, and revealing the marvellous beauty of their
child's portrait to the amazed parents. Then came the agony--a child
lost--a friend false.

"Camillo returned to us and told the tale. I felt my heart wither and grow
old. My mother was grieved in her heart for her son's sorrow--in her pride
for its kind and method. Fiora did not smile any more. Her step was no
longer bounding upon the floor and the stairs, and the year afterward she
married the Marchese Cicada.

"The next day, Camillo returned to the island. The abbess had not
returned, nor had any tidings been received. Only the gondola had been
found in the morning in its usual place. The days passed. A new abbess was
chosen. The church did not dare to curse the fugitive, for there was no
proof that she had willingly gone away. It might be supposed--it could not
be proved. Camillo hung in his chamber the unfinished portrait, and a
black veil shrouded it from chance and curious eyes. He did not seem
altered. He was still calm and grave--still cold and sweet in his general

"My friendship with him became more intimate. He saw that I was much
changed--for although pride can do much, the heart is stronger than the
head. But he had no suspicion of the truth. People who suffer intensely
often forget that there are other sufferers in the world, you know.
Camillo was very tender toward me, for he thought that I was paying the
penalty of too warm a sympathy with him, and often begged me not to wear
away my health and youth in commiseration for what was past and hopeless.
I cultivated my consciousness of his suffering as a defence against my
own. We never mentioned the names of either of those of whom we were
always thinking; but once in many months he would call me into his
chamber and remove the veil from the portrait, while we stood before it as
silent as devotees in a church before the picture of the Madonna. Camillo
pursued his affairs--the cares of his estate--the duties of society. He
assembled all the strangers of distinction at his table. Yes, it was a
rare and great triumph.

"For myself, I was mistress of my secret, and I reveal it to you for the
first time. Why not? I am seventy years old. You know none of the
persons--you hear it as you would read a romance. My heart was broken--my
faith was lost--and I have never met since any one who could restore it. I
distrust the sweetest smile if it move me deeply, and although men may
sometimes be sincere, yet sorrow is so sure that we must steer by memory,
not by hope. In this world we must not play that we are happy. That play
has a frightful forfeit. Society is wise. It eats its own children, whose
consolation is that after this world there is another--and a better, say
the priests. Of course--for it could not be a worse.


"Suddenly Sulpizia returned. My brother was in his library when a
messenger came for him from her parents. He ran breathless and pale to
his gondola. The man was conquered in that moment and the wild passion of
the boy flamed up again. When he reached the Balbo palace he paused a
moment, despite himself, upon the stairs, and the calmness of the man
returned to him. Nature is kind in that to her noble children. Their
regrets, their despairs, their lightning flashes of hope, she does not
reveal to those who cause them. Every man is weak, but the weakness of the
strong man is hidden. He entered the saloon. There stood Sulpizia with her

"Death and victory were in her eyes. They were fearfully hollow; and the
strongly-carved features, from which the flesh had fallen during the long
struggles of the soul, were pure and pale as marble. It seemed as if she
must fall from weakness, but not a muscle moved.

"Nothing was said. Camillo stood before the woman who had always ruled his
soul, to whom it was still loyal. The parents stood appalled behind their
daughter. It was a wintry noon in Venice--cold and still.

"'Camillo,' said Sulpizia at length, in a tone not to be described, but
seemingly destitute of emotion--as the ocean might seem when a gale calmed
it--'he has left me.'

"Child, I have not fathomed the human heart; but after a long, long
silence my brother answered only, I know not from what feeling of duty and
of sacrifice:

"'Sulpizia, will you marry me?'

       *       *       *       *       *

"Cardinal Balbo arranged the matter at Rome, and after a short time they
were married. I was the only one present with the parents of Sulpizia, who
were glad enough so to cover what they called their daughter's shame. My
mother would not come, but left Venice that very day and died abroad. The
circumstances of the marriage were not comprehended; but the old friends
of the family came occasionally to make solemn, stately visits, which my
brother scrupulously returned.

"You may believe that we enjoyed a kind of mournful peace after the dark
days of the last few years. I loved Sulpizia, but her cheerfulness without
smiling was the awful serenity of wintry sunlight. She faded day by day.
It was clear to us that the end was not far away.

"Two years after the marriage, Sulpizia was lying upon a couch in the room
behind us, where you have seen the veiled portrait which hung in my
brother's chamber. All the long windows and doors were open and we sat by
her side, talking gently in whispers. I knew that death was at hand, but
I rejoiced to think that much as he had suffered, there was one bitter
drop that had been spared him.

"Sulpizia's voice was scarcely audible, and the deadly pallor deepened
every moment upon her face. Camillo bent over her without speaking, and
bowed his head. I stood apart. In a little while she seemed to be
unconscious of our presence. Her eyes were open and her glance was toward
the window, but her few words showed her mind to be wandering. Still a few
moments, and her lips moved inaudibly, she lifted her hands to Camillo's
face and drew it toward her own with infinite tenderness. His listening
soul heard one word only--the glimmering phantom of sound--it was 'Luigi.'

"His head bowed more profoundly. Sulpizia's eyes were closed. I crossed
her hands upon her breast. I touched my brother--he started a
moment--looked at me, at his wife, and sunk slowly, senseless by the


Think of it! The birds sing--the sun shines--the leaves rustle--the
flowers bud and bloom--children shout--young hearts are happy--the world
wheels on--and such tragedies are, and always have been!

I sat with the old Marchesa upon her balcony, and listened to this
terrible tale. She tells it no more, for she is gone now. The Marchesa
tells it no more, but Venice tells it still; and as you glide in your
black gondola along the canal, under the balconies, in the full moonlight
of summer nights, listen and listen; and vaguely in your heart or in your
fancy you will hear the tragic strain.



    Down the broad, imperial Danube,
      As its wandering waters guide,
    Past the mountains and the meadows,
      Winding with the stream, we glide.

    RATISBON we leave behind us,
      Where the spires and gables throng,
    And the huge cathedral rises,
      Like a fortress, vast and strong.

    Close beside it, stands the Town-Hall,
      With its massive tower, alone,
    Brooding o'er the dismal secret,
      Hidden in its heart of stone.

    There, beneath the old foundations,
      Lay the prisons of the State,
    Like the last abodes of vengeance,
      In the fabled realms of Fate.

    And the tides of life above them,
      Drifted ever, near and wide,
    As at Venice, round the prisons,
      Sweeps the sea's incessant tide.

    Never, like the far-off dashing,
      Or the nearer rush of waves,
    Came the tread or murmur downward,
      To those dim, unechoing caves.

    There the dungeon clasped its victim,
      And a stupor chained his breath.
    Till the torture woke his senses,
      With a sharper touch than death.

    Now, through all the vacant silence,
      Reign the darkness and the damp,
    Broken only when the traveller
      Comes to gaze, with guide and lamp.

    All about him, black and shattered,
      Eaten with the rust of Time,
    Lie the fearful signs and tokens
      Of an age when Law was Crime.

    And the guide, with grim precision,
      Tells the dismal tale once more,
    Tells to living men the tortures
      Living men have borne before.

    Well that speechless things, unconscious,
      Furnish forth that place of dread,
    Guiltless of the crimes they witnessed,
      Guiltless of the blood they shed;

    Else what direful lamentations,
      And what revelations dire,
    Ceaseless from their lips would echo,
      Tossed in memory's penal fire.

    Even as we gaze, the fancy
      With a sudden life-gush warms,
    And, once more, the Torture Chamber,
      With its murderous tenants swarms.

    Yonder, through the narrow archway,
      Comes the culprit in the gloom,
    Falters on the fatal threshold--
      Totters to the bloody doom.

    Here the executioner, lurking,
      Waits, with brutal thirst, his hour,
    Tool of bloodier men and bolder,
      Drunken with the dregs of power.

    There the careful leech sits patient,
      Watching pulse, and hue, and breath,
    Weighing life's remaining scruples
      With the heavier chance of death.

    Eking out the little remnant,
      Lest the victim die too soon,
    And the torture of the morning
      Spare the torture of the noon.

    Here, behind the heavy grating,
      Sits the scribe, with pen and scroll,
    Waiting till the giant terror
      Bursts the secrets of the soul;

    Till the fearful tale of treason
      From the shrinking lips is wrung,
    Or the final, false confession
      Quivers from the trembling tongue;

    When the spirit, torn and tempted,
      Tried beyond its utmost scope,
    By an anguish past endurance,
      Madly cancels all its hope;

    From the pointed cliffs of torture,
      With its shrieks upon the air,
    Suicidal, plunging blindly,
      In the frenzy of despair!

       *       *       *       *       *

    But the grey old tower is fading,
      Fades, in sunshine, from the eye,
    Like some evil bird whose pinion
      Dimly blots the distant sky.

    So the ancient gloom and terror
      Of the ages fade away,
    In the sunlight of the present,
      Of our better, purer day!




    "Such shrines as these are pilgrim shrines--
      Shrines to no code or creed confined;
    The Delphian vales, the Palestines,
      The Meccas of the mind."


The date is September 5, 1857. I am at Haworth, whither I had walked from
the Bradford Station, some ten or twelve miles distant. This Haworth--a
place but a few years since quite unknown to any but the few residing in
its immediate vicinity--is built upon the side of a hill, and, with its
long line of grey houses creeping up the slope, seems like a huge saurian
monster, sprawling along the hill-side, his head near the top and his tail
reaching nearly to the vale below. At the summit, in the very head of our
saurian, stands Haworth Parsonage, and the church near by, with the square
old tower rising above the houses that cluster about it. I well remember
my first view of this place. It was an autumn afternoon, and near sunset.
The sky had been cloudy, but as I stopped to take my first long look at
the little village, so hallowed by the memory of the Brontë sisters, the
declining sun sent through a breach in the clouds a few spears of dazzling
light, that played about the old church and parsonage with an ineffable
glory. It lasted but a few moments, the sun went down, and darkness and
night gradually settled over the scene. The little incident seemed almost
like a type of the life of the gifted woman chiefly to whom Haworth owes
its fame; for her life, like this very day, had been dark and wearisome,
overshadowed by clouds of cares, tears falling like rain-drops upon
new-made graves, until near its close, when there came a sweet season of
bright domestic happiness, that lasted too shortly, and then gave place to
the darkness and night of death.

Strolling through the village, after my quiet meal at the Black Bull Inn,
which poor Branwell Brontë had so often frequented, I stopped to make some
trifling purchases at a stationery store, and casually asked the
proprietor--a small, delicate-looking man, with a bright eye and a highly
intellectual countenance--if he remembered the Brontë sisters. It was a
fortunate question, for he knew them well, and was a personal friend of
the authoress of Jane Eyre, to whose handsomely-framed portrait he
proudly pointed. He had provided her, as he said, with joyful delight,
with the paper on which she wrote the manuscripts of most of her novels;
he is referred to in one of Miss Brontë's letters to Mrs. Gaskell, as her
"one friend in Haworth," and is the "working-man" mentioned in her
memoirs, who wrote a little _critique_ on Jane Eyre, that came to the
notice of the authoress and afforded her great pleasure. To talk of the
Brontë girls--to express his admiration of them to one who had come from
America to visit their home and grave, was to him a great gratification.
He told me how he used to meet them on the moors--how they were accustomed
to stroll all three together, and talk and gather flowers; then how Emily
died, and Anne and Charlotte were left to pace the familiar path
arm-in-arm; then how they took Anne away to the sea-side, whence she never
returned, while Charlotte would take her lonely moorland walk, rapt in sad
contemplation. Sometimes he would meet her on these occasions, and if he
passed by without attracting her attention, she would chide him when told
of it afterward. She was always so kind, so good-hearted, and with those
she knew, so really sociable.

Sunday, with my new friend, I attended the church. The storm of the day
before had cleared away, and even the place of graves looked bright and
cheerful. The churchyard was crowded with country people from miles
around, who sat carelessly on the long, flat stones that so thickly
covered the ground, waiting for the opening services, while the parish
bell kept up a merry peal. Everything seemed simple and happy, and I do
not wonder that the Brontës loved their home, with its little garden of
lilac bushes, the old church in front, and the sweeping moors stretching
far behind. On many a Sunday morning like this they had trodden the very
path I then was treading, and had entered the church-door; but how few of
these simple villagers knew the treasures of genius showered on these
quiet, reserved sisters!

The church inside is old, and quaint, and simple; it can neither be called
elegant, comfortable, spacious nor antique. Old Mr. Brontë was to preach,
and the Rev. Mr. Nicholls read the service. As a compliment to a stranger,
I had been invited by the organist of the church to play the organ--a neat
little instrument of some eight or ten stops; and it was while "giving
out" the familiar tune of Antioch that I noticed, in the reflection of a
little mirror placed above the keyboard, that Mr. Brontë had entered the
church, and was passing up the aisle. He wore the customary black gown,
and the lower part of his face was quite buried in an enormous white
neckcloth--the most monstrous article of the kind I had ever beheld. The
reflection in that little mirror I shall never forget. The old man,
walking feebly up the aisle, shading his eyes with his right hand, and
supporting himself with a cane, the quiet congregation, and the singular
dress and venerable bald head of the old preacher, all formed a
character-picture, that is not often seen. His sermon was extempore, and
consisted of a series of running paraphrases and simple and touching
explanations upon a few verses selected from the Lamentations of Jeremiah.

       *       *       *       *       *

After church, my friend the stationer walked with me on the moors.
Charlotte Brontë's experience of the world was so very limited, that in
drawing the characters in her novels, she had to select the real, living
people in the vicinity. Thus, my friend pointed out one house and another
to me as being the residence of many of the originals of many of the
characters in her works, especially in "Shirley." Soon, however, our path
across the moors took us out of human habitations, and among the moorland
solitudes the Brontë sisters so fondly loved. Cold and desolate as they
appear from a distance, a nearer examination proves them to be replete
with exquisite beauty. Delicate heather-blooms carpet the immense slope,
and bend like nodding plumes, in graceful waves, to the breezes that play
heedlessly down the hill-side. Gay yellow buttercups, bright purple
heath-flowers, and dark bilberries, vary the general violet tint, while
the tiny stems of these gentle plants spring from rich tufts of emerald
moss, and are pushed aside by the spray-like leaves of the wild fern. The
hum of bees imparts a half busy, half drowsy sound to the scene, while far
down the long easy slopes are little valleys, through which trickle
talkative brooks, that sometimes peep between the low foliage on their
margins, and are the next moment lost to sight behind the crowding bushes.
It is no wonder that Charlotte and her sisters loved their quiet walks
along the moors.

The next day I bade farewell to Haworth. It is now frequently included in
the route of American tourists, by many of whom the memory of Charlotte
Brontë is as fondly cherished as by her own countrymen and women; and
Haworth is no longer the quiet, unknown Yorkshire hamlet that it was a few
years ago.



    Silent stood the youthful sculptor
    Gazing on the breathing stone
    From the chaos of the marble
    Into godlike being grown.
    But a gloom was on his forehead,
    In his eye a drooping glance,
    And at length the heavy sorrow
    From the lip found utterance:

    "Holy Art! thy shapes of beauty
    Have I carved, but ne'er before
    Reached my thought a faultless image,
    Still unbodied would it soar;
    Still the pure unfound Ideal
    Would ensoul a fairer shrine;
    In my victory I perish,
    And no loftier aim is mine."

    Noble artist! thine the yearning,
    Thine the great inspiring word,
    By the sleepless mind forever
    In its silent watches heard;
    For the earthly it is pleasure
    Only earthly ends to gain;
    For the seeker of the perfect,
    To be satisfied is pain.

    Visions of an untold glory
    Milton saw in his eclipse,
    Paradise to outward gazers
    Lost, with no apocalypse;
    Holier Christ and veiled Madonnas,
    Painted were on Raphael's soul;
    Melodies he could not utter
    O'er Bethoven's ear would roll.

    Ever floats the dim Ideal
    Far before the longing eyes;
    Ever, as we travel onward,
    Boundless the horizon flies;
    Not the brimming cups of wisdom
    Can the thirsty spirit slake,
    And the molten gold in pouring
    Will the mould in pieces break.

    Voice within our inmost being,
    Calling deep to answering deep,
    Midst the life of weary labor
    Thou shalt waken us from sleep!
    All our joy is in our Future
    And our motion is our rest,
    Still the True reveals the Truer,
    Still the good foretells the Best.



To talk about the weather is the natural English and American mode of
beginning an acquaintance.

This day--the one that glares upon us at our present writing--is eminently
able to melt away what is called the frost of ceremony, and to induce the
primmest of us to throw off all disguises that can possibly be dispensed
with. It is a day to bring the most sophisticated back to first
principles. The very thought of wrapping anything up in mystery, to-day,
brings a thrill like the involuntary protest of the soul against cruelty.
We are not even as anxious as usual to cover up our faults. We hesitate at
enveloping a letter.

The shimmer that lives and moves over yonder dry fallow, as if ten
thousand million fairies were fanning themselves with midges' wings,
fatigues the eye with a notion of unnecessary exertion. Wiser seems yon
glassy pool, moveless, under heavy, not melancholy, boughs. That is
reflecting--keeping one pleasant thought all the time--satisfying itself
with one picture for a whole morning, as we all did while the "Heart of
the Andes" was laid open to our longing gaze. The pool has the advantage
of us, too; for it receives into its waveless bosom the loveliness of sky
and tree without emotion, while we, gazing on the wondrous transcript made
by mortal man of these measureless glories, felt our souls stirred, even
to pain, with a sense of the artist's power, and of the amount of his
precious life that must have gone into such a creation.

By the way, if we had energy enough to-day to wish anything, it would be
to find ourselves far away amid flashing seas and wild winds, hunting
icebergs, with Church for our Columbus, his banner of _Excelsior_
streaming over us, his wondrous eye piercing the distant wreaths of spray,
in search of domes and pinnacles of opal and lapis lazuli, turned, now to
diamonds, now to marble, by sun and shade. One whose good fortune it was
to be with the young discoverer at Niagara, came away with the feeling of
having acquired a new sense, by the potent magic of genius.

But to-day, Art is nothing--genius is nothing--but no! that is
blasphemous. It is we that are nothing--if not stupid. Dullness is the
universe. The grasshoppers are too faint to sing, the birds sit still on
the boughs, waiting for the leaves to fan them. Children are wilted into
silence and slumberous nonentity; boys do not bathe to-day--they welter,
hour after hour, in the dark water near the shaded rock. Even they and the
tadpoles can hardly be seen to wriggle. The cow has found a shade, and,
preferring repose to munching, lies contented under the one great elm
mercifully left in the middle of her pasture.

A hot day in June is hotter than any other hot day. It finds us cruelly
unguarded. After we have been gently baked awhile, the crust thus acquired
makes us somewhat tortoise-like and quiescent. If we were condemned to
suffer thirty-nine stripes, or even only as many as belong to our flag,
would it or would it not be a privilege to take them by degrees, say one
on the first day, two on the second, four on the third, etc., in the
celebrated progression style, until the whole were accomplished? Or were
it better to have the whole at once, and so be done with it? In either
case, or in present case, what a blessing to be made pachydermatous! (a
learned word lately acquired by ladies, though doubtless long familiar to

But words beginning with the sound of _ice_, are more agreeable for
to-day--such as icicle, isolation, Islip.

Some unhappy critic has said that the "icicle that hangs on Diana's
temple" is not colder than other icicles. We pity him, and would like to
try the comparison to-day. We have already tried "thinking on the frosty
Caucasus," and quite agree with Claudio--was it, or Romeo, or who?--that
this is of no service in case of fire.

Delicious music for to-day--the tinkling of ice in the pitcher, as Susan,
slowly and carefully, brings up-stairs the water we wait for. It were
really a loss to have the way shorter, or the servant a harum-scarum thing
who would dash in with her precious burden before one knew it was coming.

We might try, to-day, the latest novelty in cookery, a ball of solid ice
wrapped in puff-paste, and baked so adroitly that the paste shall be brown
while the ice remains unmelted.

Akin to this, is an antique achievement culinary, as old as Mrs. Glasse,
at least--the roasting of a pound of butter, an operation not unlike the
very work we are engaged in at this moment--indeed so like it, that the
remembrance has occurred several times. Your pound of butter is to be
thoroughly crusted in bread-crumbs to begin with, and then put upon the
spit and turned before a very hot fire; the unhappy cook standing by to
dredge on crumbs continually, to prevent the slippery article from running
away. When the crumbs (and cook) are quite roasted, the thing is done.

And so should we be, but that here comes a thunder storm, fit conclusion
for an intense day, and very like the sudden and terrific blowings up
which terminate the most ferocious kind of friendships. Thick clouds,
shaped like piles of cannon balls, have slowly peered up from behind the
horizon, and rolled themselves hither and thither, spreading and gathering
as they went. Now and then a thunder-whisper is heard, so faint, that if
we were conversing, we should not notice it; and an occasional flash of
lightning seems, in the sun's glare, like the waving of a curtain by the
fitful breeze that begins to touch the pool here and there. The cloud
masses gather fresh and fresh accession as they move on, like
revolutionary armies marching up to battle. Looking overhead, there seems
a field-day in heaven; great bodies of artillery in motion, forming
themselves into solid phalanx, and giving more and more dreadful notes of
preparation. Volleys tell when divisions join, and the light that
announces them is as if the adamantine arch were riven, disclosing dread
splendors unspeakable Most grand, most beautiful storm! New music--that
of the delicious rain, and in such abundance that it washes away the very
memory of the parched and burning day. No wild commotion, no terror!
Sublime order and an awe which is like peace. One more proof of the
unfailing, tender love of our heavenly Father.




    The robin and the oriole,
      The linnet and the wren--
    When shall I see their fairyships,
      And hear their songs again?


    The wind among the poplar trees,
      At midnight, makes its moan;
    The slim red cardinal flowers are dead,
      And all sweet things are flown!


    A great white face looks down from heaven,
      The great white face of Snow;
    I cannot sing or morn or even,
      The demon haunts me so!


    It strikes me dumb, it freezes me,
      I sing a broken strain--
    Wait till the robins and the wrens
      And the linnets come again!



    Crammed--lobbies, galleries, boxes, floor;
    Heads piled on heads at every door.
    The actors were a painted group,
    Of statue shapes, a "model" troupe,
    With figures not severely Greek,
    And drapery more or less antique;
    The play, if one might call it so,
    A Hebrew tale, in silent show.

    And with the throng the pageant drew
    There mingled Hebrews, not a few,
    Coarse, swarthy, bearded--at their side
    Dark, jewelled women, orient-eyed.
    If scarce a Christian hope for grace,
    That crowds one in his narrow place,
    What will the savage victim do,
    Whose ribs are kneaded by a JEW?

    Close on my left, a breathing form
    Sat wedged against me, soft and warm;
    The vulture-beaked and dark-browned face
    Betrays the mould of Abraham's race;
    That coal-black hair--and bistred hue--
    Ah, cursed, unbelieving Jew!
    I started, shuddering to the right,
    And squeezed--a second Israelite!

    Then rose the nameless words that slip
    From darkening soul to whitening lip.
    The snaky usurer,--him that crawls,
    And cheats beneath the golden balls,
    The hook-nosed kite of carrion clothes--
    I stabbed them deep with muttered oaths:
    Spawn of the rebel wandering horde
    That stoned the saints, and slew their Lord!

    Up came their murderous deeds of old--
    The grisly story Chaucer told,
    And many an ugly tale beside,
    Of children caught and crucified.
    I heard the ducat-sweating thieves
    Beneath the Ghetto's slouching eaves,
    And thrust beyond the tented green,
    The leper's cry, "Unclean, unclean!"

    The show went on, but, ill at ease,
    My sullen eye it could not please;
    In vain the haggard outcast knelt,
    The white-haired patriarch's heart to melt;
    I thought of Judas and his bribe,
    And steeled my soul against his tribe.
    My neighbors stirred; I looked again,
    Full on the younger of the twain.

    A soft young cheek of olive brown,
    A lip just flushed with youthful down,
    Locks dark as midnight, that divide
    And shade the neck on either side;
    An eye that wears a moistened gleam,
    Like starlight in a hidden stream;
    So looked that other child of Shem,
    The maiden's Boy of Bethlehem!

    And thou couldst scorn the peerless blood
    That flows untainted from the Flood!
    Thy scutcheon spotted with the stains
    Of Norman thieves and pirate Danes!
    Scum of the nations! In thy pride
    Scowl on the Hebrew at thy side,
    And, lo! the very semblance there
    The Lord of Glory deigned to wear!

    I see that radiant image rise,--
    The midnight hair, the starlit eyes;
    The faintly-crimsoned cheek that shows
    The stain of Judah's dusky rose.
    Thy hands would clasp His hallowed feet
    Whose brethren soil thy Christian seat;
    Thy lips would press His garment's hem,
    That curl in scornful wrath for them!

    A sudden mist, a watery screen,
    Dropped like a veil before the scene;
    I strove the glistening film to stay,
    The wilful tear would have its way.
    The shadow floated from my soul,
    And to my lips a whisper stole,
    Soft murmuring, as the curtain fell,
    "Peace to the Beni-Israel!"


_From the Portuguese of Manoel de Barbosa do Bocage._


    I've seen my life, without a noble aim,
      In the mad strife of passions waste away.
    Fool that I was! to live as if decay
      Would spare the vital essence in my frame!
    And Hope, whose flattering dreams are now my shame,
      Showed years to come, a long and bright array,
    Yet all too soon my nature sinks a prey
      To the great evil that with being came.
    Pleasures, my tyrants! now your reign is past:
      My soul, recoiling, casts you off to lie
    In that abyss where all deceits are cast.
      Oh God! may life's last moments, as they fly,
    Win back what years have lost, that he, at last,
      Who knew not how to live, may learn to die.

       *       *       *       *       *

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