« PreviousContinue »
posterity calls out to us, from the bosom of the future; the world turns hither its solicitous eyes—all, all conjure us to act wisely, and faithfully, in the relations which we sustain.
We can never, indeed, pay the debt which is upon us; but by virtue, by morality, by religion, by the cultivation of every good principle and every good habit, we may hope to enjoy the blessing through our day, and to leave it unimpaired to our children. Let us feel deeply how much, of what we are and what we possess, we owe to this liberty, and these institutions of government.
Nature has, indeed, given us a soil which yields bounteously to the hands of industry; the mighty and fruitful ocean is before us, and the skies over our heads shed health and vigor. But what are lands, and seas, and skies, to civilized man, without society, without knowledge, without morals, without religious culture and how can these be enjoyed, in all their extent, and all their excellence, but under the protection of wise institutions and a free government ?
Fellow-citizens, there is not one of us here present, who does not, at this moment, and at every moment, experience in his own condition, and in the condition of those most near and dear to him, the ipfluence and the benefits of this liberty, and these institutions. Let us then acknowledge the blessing; let us feel it deeply and powerfully; let us cherish a strong affection for it, and resolve to maintain and perpetuate it. The blood of our fathers, let it not have been shed in vain; the great hope of posterity, let it not be blasted.
GOD IN HISTORY.-GEORGE BANCROFT.
That God rules in the affairs of men is as certain as any truth of physical science. On the great moving power which is froin the beginning hangs the world of the senses and the world of thought and action. Eternal wisdom marshalsthe great procession of the nations, working in patient continuity through the ages, never halting and never abrupt, encompassing all events in its oversight, and over effecting its will, though mortals may
slumber in apathy or oppose with madness. Kings are lifted up or thrown down, nations come and go, republics flourish and wither, dynasties pass away like a tale that is told; but nothing is by chance, though men in their ignorance of causes may think
The deeds of time are governed, as well as judged, by the decrees of eternity. The caprice of fleeting existences bends to the immovable omnipotence which plants its foot on all the centuries, and has neither change of purpose nor repose. Sometimes, like a messenger through the thick darkness of night, it steps along mysterious ways; but when the hour strikes for a people, or for mankind, to pass into a new form of being, unseen hands draw the bolts from the gates of futurity; an all-subduing influence prepares the mind of men for the coming revolution; those who plan resistance find themselvợs in conflict with the will of Providence, rather than with human devices; and all hearts and all understandings, most of all the opinions and influences of the unwilling, are wondésfully attracted and compelled to bear forward the change, which becomes more an obedience to the law of universal tu e than submission to the arbitrament of man.
THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE: OR, THE WONDERFUL
"ONE-HOSS SHAY."-OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES.
HAVE you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay,
That was built in such a logical way
It ran a hundred years to a day,
And then, of a sudden, it . ah, but stay,
I'll tell you what happened without delay,
Scaring the parson into fits,
Frightening people out of their wits,
Have you ever heard of that, I say?
Seventeen hundred and fifty-five,
Georgius Secundus was then alive,-
Snuffy old drone from the German hive.
That was the year when Lisbon town
Saw the earth open and gulp her down,
And Braddock's army was done so brown,
THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE.
Left without a scalp to its crown.
It was on the terrible Earthquake-day
That the Deacon finished the one-hoss shay.
Now in building of chaises, I tell you what,
There is always somewhere a weakest spot, -
In hub, tire, felloe, in spring or thill,
In panel, or crossbar, or floor, or sill,
In screw, bolt, thoroughbrace,—lurking still,
Find it somewhere you must and will, —
Above or below, or within or without -
And that's the reason, beyond a doubt,
A chaise breaks down, but doesn't wear out.
But the Deacon swore (as deacons do,
With an "I dew vum," or an "I tell yeou”),
uild one shay to beat the taown
'n' the keourty 'n' all the kentry raoun';
It should be so built that it couldn' break daown:
-"Fur," said the Deacon, “'t's mighty plain
Thut the weakes' place mus' stan' the strain;
'n' the way t’ fix it, uz I maintain,
Is only jest
T'make that place uz strong uz the rest."
So the Deacon inquired of the village folk
Where he could find the strongest oak,
That couldn't be split nor bent nor broke,-
That was for spokes and floor and sills;
He sent for lancewood to make the thills;
The crossbars were ash, from the straightest trees;
The panels of white-wood, that cuts like cheese,
But lasts like iron for things like these ;
The hubs of logs from the “Settler's ellum,”-
Last of its timber,—they couldn't sell 'em,
Never an ax had seen their chips,
And the wedges flew from between their lips,
Their blunt ends frizzled like celery-tips;
Step and prop-iron, bolt and screw,
Spring, tire, axle, and linchpin too,
Steel of the finest, bright and blue;
Thoroughbrace bison-skin, thick and wide;
Boot, top, dasher, from tough old hide
Found in the it when the tanner died.
That was the way he "put her through." “There!" said the Deacon, “naow she'll dew!"
Do! I tell you, I rather guess
She was a wonder, and nothing less!
Colts grew horses, beards turned gray,
Deacon and deaconess dropped away,
Children and grandchildren—where were they?
But there stood the stout old one-hoss shay
As fresh as on Lisbon-Earthquaku-day!
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED ;-it came and found
The Deacon's masterpiece strong and sound.
Eighteen hundred increased by ten;-
“Hahnsum kerridge” they called it then.
Eighteen hundred and twenty came;-
Running as usual; much the same.
Thirty and forty at last arrive,
And then come fifty, and FIFTY-FIVE.
FIRST OF NOVEMBER, —the Earthquake-day.
There are traces of age in the one-hoss shay,
A general flavor of mild decay,
But nothing local, as one may say.
There couldn't be,-for the Deacon's art
Had made it so like in every part
That there wasn't a chance for one to start.
For the wheels were just as strong as the thills,
And the floor was just as strong as the sills,
And the panels just as strong as the floor,
And the whippletree neither less nor more,
And the back-crossbar as strong as the fore,
And spring and axle and hub encore.
And yet, as a whole, it is past a doubt
In another hour it will be worn out !
First of November, 'Fifty-five!
This morning the parson takes a drive.
Now, small boys, get out of the way!
Here comes the wonderful one-hoss shay,
Drawn by a rat-tailed, ewe-necked bay.
"Huddup!" said the parson.-Off went they.
The parson was working his Sunday's text, -
Had got to fifthly, and stopped perplexed
At what the-Moses-was coming next.
All at once the horse stood still,
Close by the meet'n'-house on the hill.
-First a shiver, and then a thrill,
Then something decidedly like a spill,-
And the parson was sitting upon a rock,
At half-past nine by the meet'n'-house clock,-
Just the hour of the Earthquake shock!
-What do you think the parson found,
When he got up and stared around?
The poor old chaise in a heap or mound,
As if it had been to the mill and ground!
You see, of course, if you're not a dunce,
How it went to pieces all at once, —
All at once, and nothing first, -
Just as bubbles do when they burst.
End of the wonderful one-hoss shay.
Logic is logic. That's all I say.
Ar early dawn of purple morn
The hollow drum and piercing fifo
Rouse the soldier to mortal strife:
Ranks must form for the coming storm,
Ere sentinel stars of morning gray
Are chased by the glorious sun away.
The distant hill-tops are tinged with gold,
Floods of the breaking light are rolled
Over the hosts where standards stream,
And serriet lines of bayonets gleam.
Masses of men, with measured tread,
Over the battle-field are spread ;
With muffled sound over the ground,
Deep-mouthed cannon are rumbling slow
On their mission of death and woe.