« PreviousContinue »
NE raw morning in Spring
it will be eighty years the nineteenth day of this month -Hancock and Adams, the Moses and Aaron of that Great Deliverance, were both at Lexington; they also had " obstructed an officer" with brave words. British soldiers, a thousand strong, came to seize them and carry them over sea for trial, and so nip the bud of Freedom auspiciously opening in that early Spring. The town militia came together before daylight," for training." A great, tall man, with a large head and a high, wide brow, their captain-one who had service"-marshaled them into line, numbering but seventy, and bade "every man load his piece with powder and ball. I will order the first man shot that runs away," said he, when some faltered. "Don't fire unless fired upon, but if they want to have a war, let it begin here."
Gentlemen, you know what followed; those farmers and mechanics "fired the shot heard around the world." A little monument covers the bones of such as before had pledged their fortune and their sacred honor to the Freedom of America, and that day gave it also their lives. I was born in that little town, and bred up amid the memories of that day. When a boy I read the first monumental line I ever saw-" Sacred to Liberty and the Rights of Mankind." Since then I have studied the memorial marbles of Greece and Rome, in many an ancient town; nay, on Egyptian obelisks have read what was written before the Eternal roused up Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt; but no chiseled stone has ever stirred me to such emotions as those rustic names of men who fell "In the Sacred Cause of God and their Country."-Theodore Parker.
It is no time to swap horses when you are crossing the stream.
It is conceivable that religion may be morally useful without being intellectually sustainable.-J. S. Mill.
HE Venice that you see in the sun
light of a summer's day-the Venice that bewilders with her glory when you land at her watergate; that delights with her color when you idle along the Riva; that intoxicates with her music as you lie in your gondola adrift on the bosom of some breathless lagoon-the Venice of mold-stained palace, quaint cafe and arching bridge; of fragrant incense, cool, dim-lighted church, and noiseless priest; of strong men and graceful womenthe Venice of light and life, of sea and sky, and melody-no pen can tell this story. The pencil and palette must lend their touch when one would picture the wide sweep of her piazzas, the abandon of her gardens, the charm of her canal and street life, the happy indolence of her people, the faded sumptuousness of her homes.
If I have given to Venice a prominent place among the cities of the earth, it is because in this selfish, materialistic, money-getting age it is a joy to live, if only for a day, where a song is more prized than a soldo; where the poorest pauper laughingly shares his scanty crust; where to be kind to a child is a habit, to be neglectful of old age a shame; a city the relics of whose past are the lessons of our future; whose every canvas, stone, and bronze bear witness to a grandeur, luxury, a taste that took a thousand years of energy to perfect, and will take a thousand years of neglect to destroy ☛☛
To every one of my art-loving countrymen this city should be a Mecca; to know her thoroughly is to know all the beauty and romance of five centuries. -F. Hopkinson Smith.
Flower in the crannied wall,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
To believe in immortality is one thing, but it is first needful to believe in life. -Robert Louis Stevenson.
every precious moment, and find an unspeakable facility in the performance of your respective duties. Begin and end the day with Him who is the Alpha and Omega, and if you really experience what it is to love God, you will redeem all the time you can for His more immediate service. I will tell you what rule I used to observe when I was in my father's house,
There by the window in the old house
and had as little, if not less liberty than you have now. I used to allow myself as much time
My days of labor closed, sitting out life's for recreation as I
Day by day I look in my memory,
As one who gazes in an enchantress'
And I saw the figures of the past,
As if in a pageant glassed by a shining dream,
Move through the incredible sphere of
Y Dear Sammy-I hope that you retain the impressions of your education, nor have forgot that the vows of God are upon you. You know that the first fruits are Heaven's by an unalienable right, and that, as your parents devoted you to the service of the altar, so you yourself made it your choice when your father was offered another way of life for you. But have you duly considered what such a choice and such a dedication imports? Consider well what separation from the world, what purity, what devotion, what exemplary virtue, are required in those who are to guide others to glory! I say exemplary; for low, common degrees of piety are not sufficient for those of the sacred function. You must not think to live like the rest of the world; your light must so shine before men that they may see your good works, and thereby be led to glorify your Father which is in Heaven. For my part, I can not see with what face clergymen can reprove sinners, or exhort men to lead a good life, when they themselves indulge their own corrupt inclinations, and by their practice contradict their doctrine. If the Holy Jesus be indeed their Master, and they are really His ambassadors, surely it becomes them to live like His disciples; and if they do not, what a sad account they give of their stewardship.
And I saw a man arise from the soil like a
spent in private devotion; not that I always spent so much, but I gave myself leave to go so far but no farther. So in all
things else, appoint so much time for sleep, eating, company, etc., but above all things, my dear Sammy, I command you, I
And throw himself over a deathless beg, I beseech you,
to be very strict in observing the
destiny, Master of great armies, head of the Lord's Day. In all republic,
(Concluded on next page)
I would advise you, as much as possible in your present circumstances, to throw your business into a certain method, by which means you will learn to improve
things endeavor to act on principle, and do not live like
the rest of mankind, who pass through the world like straws upon a river, which are carried which way the stream or wind drives them. Often put this question to yourself: Why do I do this or that? Why do I pray, read, study, or use devotion, etc.? By which means you will come to such a steadiness and consistency in your words and actions as becomes a reasonable creature and a good Christian.
Your affectionate mother,
Sus. Wesley. (Letter to Her Eldest Son, dated Epworth, October, 1709.)
Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.-Samuel Johnson.
HE Battle of Waterloo is an enigma as obscure for those who gained it as for him who lost it. To Napoleon it is a panic; Blücher sees nothing in it but fire; Wellington does not understand it at all. Look at the reports: the bulletins are confused; the commentaries are entangled; the latter stammer, the former stutter. Jomini divides the battle of Waterloo into four moments: Muffling cuts it into three acts; Charras, altho we do not entirely agree with him in all his appreciations, has alone caught with his haughty eye the
England Byron above Wellington. A mighty dawn of ideas is peculiar to our age; and in this dawn England and Germany have their own magnificent flash. They are majestic because they think; the high level they bring to civilization is intrinsic to them; it comes from themselves, and not from an accident. Any aggrandizement the nineteenth century may have can not boast of Waterloo as its fountainhead for only barbarous denly after a vicnations grow sudtory-it is the transient vanity of torrents swollen by a storm. Civilized nations, especially at the present day, are not elevated or
Bringing together into a dithyramb
The epic hopes of a people:
From spirits tempered in heaven.
characteristic of a child of Plutarch and Shakespeare.
lineaments of this catastrophe of human genius contending with divine chance. All the other historians suffer from a certain bedazzlement in which they grope about. It was a flashing day, in truth the overthrow of the mili
And Booth, who strode in a mimic play
Often and often I saw you,
As the cawing crows winged their way to
Over my house-top at solemn sunsets,
"William H. Herndon," by Edgar Lee Masters
tary monarchy which, to the great stupor of the kings, has dragged down all kingdoms, the downfall of strength and the rout of war.
In this event, which bears the stamp of superhuman necessity, men play but a small part; but if we take Waterloo from Wellington and Blücher, does that deprive England and Germany of anything? No. Neither illustrious England nor august Germany is in question in the problem of Waterloo, for, thank heaven! nations are great without the mournful achievements of the sword. Neither Germany, nor England, nor France is held in a scabbard; at this day when Waterloo is only a clash of sabers, Germany has Goethe above Blücher, and
debased by the good or evil fortune of a captain, and their specific weight in the human family results from something more than a battle. Their honor, dig
nity, enlightenment, and genius are not numbers which those gamblers, heroes, and conquerors can stake in the lottery of battles. Very often a battle lost is progress gained, and less of glory, more of liberty. The drummer is silent and reason speaks; it is the game of who loses wins. Let us, then, speak of Waterloo coldly from both sides, and render to chance the things that belong to chance, and to God what is God's. What is Waterloo-a victory? No; a quine in the lottery, won by Europe, and paid by France; it was hardly worth while erecting a lion for it.
Waterloo, by the way, is the strangest encounter recorded in history; Napoleon and Wellington are not enemies, but contraries. Never did God, who delights in antitheses, produce a more striking contrast or a more extraordinary con
frontation. On one side precision, foresight, geometry, prudence, a retreat assured, reserves prepared, an obstinate coolness,an imperturbable method, strategy profiting by the ground, tactics balancing battalions, carnage measured by a plumb-line, war regulated, watch in hand, nothing left voluntarily to accident, old classic courage and absolute correctness. On the other side we have intuition, divination, military strangeness, superhuman instinct, a flashing glance; something that gazes like the eagle and strikes like lightning, all the mysteries of a profound mind, association with destiny; the river, the plain, the forest, and the hill summoned, and, to some extent, compelled to obey, the despot going so far as even to tyrannize over the battlefield; faith in a star, blended with strategic science, heightening, but troubling it. Wellington was the Bareme of war, Napoleon was its Michelangelo, and this true genius was conquered by calculation. On both sides somebody was expected; and it was the exact calculator who succeeded. Napoleon waited for Grouchy, who did not come; Wellington waited for Blücher, and he came. Wellington is the classical war taking its revenge; Bonaparte, in his dawn, had met it in Italy, and superbly defeated it -the old owl fled before the young vulture. The old tactics had been not only overthrown, but scandalized. Who was this Corsican of six-and-twenty years of age? What meant this splendid ignoramus, who, having everything against him, nothing for him, without provisions, ammunition, guns, shoes, almost without an army, with a handful of men against masses, dashed at allied Europe, and absurdly gained impossible victories? Who was this new comet of war who possessed the effrontery of a planet? The academic military school excommunicated him, while bolting, and hence arose an implacable rancor of the old Cæsarism against the new, of the old saber against the flashing sword, and of the chessboard against genius. On June 18th, 1815, this rancor got the best; and beneath Lodi, Montebello, Montenotte, Mantua, Marengo, and Arcola, it wrote
Waterloo. It was a triumph of mediocrity, sweet to majorities, and destiny consented to this irony. In his decline, Napoleon found a young Suvarov before him-in fact, it is only necessary to blanch Wellington's hair in order to have a Suvarov. Waterloo is a battle of the first class, gained by a captain of the second
What must be admired in the battle of Waterloo is England, the English firmness, the English resolution, the English blood, and what England had really superb in it, is (without offense) herself; it is not her captain, but her army. Wellington, strangely ungrateful, declares in his dispatch to Lord Bathurst that his army, the one which fought on June 18th, 1815, was a "detestable army." What does the gloomy pile of bones buried in the trenches of Waterloo think of this? England has been too modest to herself in her treatment of Wellington, for making him so great is making herself small. Wellington is merely a hero, like any other man. The Scotch Grays, the Life Guards, Maitland and Mitchell's regiments, Pack and Kempt's infantry, Ponsonby and Somerset's cavalry, the Highlanders playing the bagpipes under the shower of canister. Ryland's battalions, the fresh recruits who could hardly manage a musket, and yet held their ground against the old bands of Essling and Rivoli-all this is grand. Wellington was tenacious; that was his merit, and we do not deny it to him, but the lowest of his privates and his troopers was quite as solid as he, and the iron soldier is as good as the iron duke. For our part, all our glorification is offered to the English soldier; the English army, the English nation; and if there must be a trophy, it is to England that this trophy is owing. The Waterloo column would be more just, if, instead of the figure of a man, it raised to the clouds the statue of a people.
But this great England will beirritated by what we are writing here; for she still has feudal illusions, after her 1688 and the French 1789. This people believes in inheritance and hierarchy, and while no other excels it in power and glory,
it esteems itself as a nation and not as a people. As a people, it readily subordinates itself, and takes a lord as its head; the workman lets himself be despised; the soldier puts up with flogging. It will be remembered that, at the battle of Inkerman, a sergeant who, as it appears, saved the British army, could not be mentioned by Lord Raglan, because the military hierarchy does not allow any hero below the rank of officer to be mentioned in dispatches. What we admire before all, in an encounter like Waterloo, is the prodigious skill of chance. The night raid, the wall of Hougomont, the hollow of Ohain, Grouchy deaf to the cannon, Napoleon's guide deceiving him, Bulow's guide enlightening him-all this cataclysm is marvelously managed.
Altogether, we will assert, there is more of a massacre than of a battle in Waterloo. Waterloo, of all pitched bat
wondrous lion is dissipated, the battlefield resumes its reality, lines of infantry undulate on the plain; furious galloping crosses the horizon; the startled dreamer sees the flash of sabers, the sparkle of bayonets, the red light of shells, the monstrous collision of thunderbolts; he hears, like a death groan from the tomb, the vague clamor of the phantom battle. These shadows are grenadiers; these flashes are cuirassiers; this skeleton is Napoleon; this skeleton is Wellington; all this is non-existent, and yet still combats, and the ravines are stained purple, and the trees rustle, and there is fury even in the clouds and in the darkness, while all the stern heights, Mont St. Jean, Hougomont, Frischemont, Papelotte, and Plancenoit, seem confusedly crowned by hosts of specters exterminating one another.-Victor Hugo.
PLACE Rembrandt at the head of
tles, is the one which had the small- the moderns, and far above them all.
est front for such a number of combatants. Napoleon's three-quarters of a league. Wellington's half a league, and seventy-two thousand combatants on either side. From this density came the carnage. The following calculation has been made and proportion established: loss of men, at Austerlitz, French, fourteen per cent; Russian, thirty per cent; Austrian, forty-four per cent. At Wagram, French, thirteen per cent; Austrian, fourteen per cent. At Moscow, French, thirty-seven per cent; Russian, forty-four per cent. At Bautzen, French, thirteen per cent; Russian and Prussian, fourteen per cent. At Waterloo, French, fifty-six per cent; Allies, thirtyone per cent-total for Waterloo, fortyone per cent, or out of one hundred and forty-four thousand fighting men, sixty thousand killed.
The field of Waterloo has at the present day that calmness which belongs to the earth, and resembles all plains; but at night, a sort of visionary mist rises from it, and if any traveler walk about it, and listen and dream, like Virgil on the mournful plain of Philippi, the hallucination of the catastrophe seizes upon him. The frightful June 18th lives again, the false monumental hill is leveled, the
Correggio alone approaches him at certain moments. Rembrandt did not seek after plastic beauty like the Italians, but he discovered souls, he understood them and transfigured them in his marvelous light. Titian's-or rather, the Duke of Genoa's-mistress is more beautiful than Rembrandt's Saskia, but how infinitely I prefer the latter! As a colorist, I place Rembrandt above Titian, above Veronese, above every one! Rembrandt never lets our attention wander, as the others sometimes do. He commands it, concentrates it; we can not escape him. We feel that Rembrandt was full of kindliness. He loved the poor, he painted them as they were, in all their wretchedness. There is something penetrating, kindly, acute, sensual, in his own radiantly living face, which wins the spectator's heart as he gazes.
God be thanked for books. They are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages.-William E. Channing.
Art is more godlike than science. Science discovers; art creates.-John Opie.