Page images

Dav. Under favour, the surest way of not disgracing them is to keep as long as you can out of their company. Lookye now, master, to go them in such haste-with an ounce of lead in your brains-1 should think it might as well be let alone. Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with.

Acr. But, David, now, you don't think there is such very, very, very great danger, hey? Odds life! people

often fight without any mischief done!

Dav. By the mass, I think 'tis ten to one against you. Oons! here to meet some lion-headed fellow, I warrant, with his villanous double-barrelled swords and cut-and-thrust pistols! Oh bless us! it makes me tremble to think o't; those be such desperate bloody-minded weapons! well, 1 never could abide them; from a child I never could fancy them! I suppose there an't been so merciless a beast in the world as your loaded pistol!

Acr. Zounds! I wont be afraid; odds fire and fury! you sha'n't make me afraid. Here is the challenge, and I have sent for my dear friend, Jack Absolute, to carry it for me.

Dav. Ay, i' the name of mischief, let him be the messenger. For my part, I wouldn't lend a hand to it for the best horse in your stable. By the mass! it don't look like another letter! it is, as I may say, a 'designing and malicious-looking letter! and I warrant smells of gunpowder, like a soldier's pouch! Oons! I wouldn't swear it mayn't go off!

Acr. Out, you poltroon! you ha'n't the valour of a grasshopper.

Dav. Well, I say no more: 'twill be sad news, to be sure, at Clod Hall! but I ha' done. Good bye, master. Acr. Get along, you cowardly, dastardly, croaking raven!


Edward Everett.

WE of America have here an advantage over our English brethren, in that keen enthusiasm which we feel for the famous spots and abodes, that are consecrated to both

alike, by the great names associated with them. To them the constant presence and familiarity of the scene blunt the edge of the feelings it excites in us, and Westminster Abbey and Stratford on Avon, awaken an enthusiasm in an American fancy, which the Englishman smiles at, as a sort of provincial rawness. Instead of assenting to those on both sides of the water, who have spoken of America as unfortunate in the want of ancient associations, as condemned to a kind of matter-of-fact, unpoetical newness of national character, we maintain that never nation, since the world began, had so rich a treasure of traditional glory. Is it nothing to be born, as it were, with the birthright of two native lands; to sail across the world of waters, and be hailed beyond it by the sound of your native tongue? Is it nothing to find in another hemisphere the names, the customs, and the dress of your own; to be able to trace your ancestry back, not to the ranks of a semi-barbarous conqueror, or the poor mythology of vagrants and fugitives of fabulous days, but to noble, high-minded men in an age of glory, than which a brighter never dawned on the world? Is it nothing to be able, as you set your foot on the English soil, and with a heart going back to all the proud emotions which bind you at the moment to the happy home you have left, to be able still, nevertheless, to exclaim, with more than poetical, with literal natural truth,

Salve! magna Parens

Frugum, Saturnia tellus, magna, virûm!

If there be any feeling, merely national, which can compare with this, it should be that which corresponds to it; the complacency, with which it were to be hoped the wise and good friends of British glory in England would regard this flourishing off-set of their own native stock; the pride with which they should witness the progress of their language, their manners, their laws, and their literature, over regions wider than the conquests of Alexander; and that not by a forced and military imposition on a conquered land, but by fair and natural inheritance, and still more by voluntary adoption and choice; the joy, with which they should reflect, that not a note is struck at the centre of thought and opinion in the British capital, but is heard and propagated by our presses, to the valley of the Missouri; and that if the day should come in the progress of national decline, when England shall be gathered with the empires that have been, when her thousand ships shall have disappeared from

the ocean, and the mighty chain of her wealth shall be broken, with which she has so long bound the European world to her chariot-wheels, and mustered the nations, from the banks of the Tagus to the banks of the Don, to march beneath the banner of her coalitions, that then there will be no unworthy descendant to catch her mantle; and that the rich treasure of her institutions and character, instead of becoming the unrescued prey of Huns and Vandals, and whatever uncouth name of barbarism laid waste of old the refinements of the world, will be preserved, upheld, and perfected in the western world of promise.



Wallenstein. If there were yet a choice! if yet some milder

Way of escape were possible-I still

Will choose it, and avoid the last extreme.

Count. Desir'st thou nothing further? Such a way Lies still before thee. Send this Wrangel off,

Forget thou thy old hopes, cast far away

All thy past life; determine to commence

A new one. Virtue hath her heroes too,

As well as Fame and Fortune. To Vienna

Hence to the Emperor-kneel before the throne;
Take a full coffer with thee-say aloud,

Thou did'st but wish to prove thy fealty;

Thy whole intention but to dupe the Swede.

Wal. For that too 'tis too late. They know too much

I should but bear my own head to the block.

Count. Art thou in earnest? I entreat thee! Canst thou
Consent to bear thyself to thy own grave,
So ignominiously to be dried up?
Thy life, that arrogated such an height,
To end in such a nothing! To be nothing,
When one was always nothing, is an evil

That asks no stretch of patience, a light evil :
But to become a nothing, having been-

Wal. Show me a way out of this stifling crowd,
Ye Powers of Aidance! Show me such a way

As I am capable of going. I

Am no tongue-hero, no fine virtue-prattler;
I cannot warm by thinking; cannot say
To the good luck that turns her back upon me,
Magnanimously: "Go; I need thee not."
Cease I to work, I am annihilated.
Dangers nor sacrifices will I shun,
If so I may avoid the last extreme;
But ere I sink down into nothingness,
Leave off so little, who began so great,
Ere that the world confuses me with those
Poor wretches, whom a day creates and crumbles,
This age and after ages speak my name

With hate and dread; and Friedland be redemption
For each accursed deed!

What is there here, then,
So against nature? Help me to perceive it!
O let not superstition's nightly goblins
Subdue thy clear bright spirit! Art thou bid
To murder?-with abhorr'd accursed poniard,
To violate the breasts that nourished thee?
That were against our nature, that might aptly
Make thy flesh shudder, and thy whole heart sicken,
Yet not a few, and for a meaner object

Have ventured even this; ay, and performed it.
What is there in thy case so black and monstrous ?
Thou art accused of treason-whether with

Or without justice is not now the question-
Thou art lost if thou dost not avail thee quickly

Of the power which thou possessest-Friedland! Duke!
Tell me, where lives that thing so meek and tame,
That doth not all his living faculties
Put forth in preservation of his life?
What deed so daring, which necessity

And desperation will not sanctify?

Wal. Once was this Ferdinand so gracious to me: He loved me; he esteemed me; I was placed The nearest to his heart. Full many a time

We, like familiar friends, both at one table

Have banqueted together. And is't come to this?

Count. So faithfully preserv'st thou each small favour, And hast no memory for contumelies?

Must I remind thee, how at Regenspurg

This man repaid thy faithful services?
All ranks and all conditions in the empire

Thou hadst wronged, to make him great,-hadst loaded on thee,

On thee, the hate, the curse of the whole world.
No friend existed for thee in all Germany,

And why? because thou hadst existed only

For the Emperor. To the Emperor alone

Clung Friedland in that storm which gathered round him,
At Regenspurg in the Diet-and he dropped thee!
He let thee fall! He let thee fall a victim

To the Bavarian, to that insolent!
Deposed, stript bare of all thy dignity
And power, amid the taunting of thy foes,
Thou wert let drop into obscurity.
Say not, the restoration of thy honour
Has made atonement for that first injustice.
No honest good-will was it that replaced thee,

The law of hard necessity replaced thee,

Which they had fain opposed, but that they could not.
Wal. Not to their good wishes, that is certain,

Nor yet to his affection I'm indebted
For this high office; and if I abuse it,

I shall therein abuse no confidence.

Count. Affection! confidence!-They needed thee.
Necessity, impetuous remonstrant!

Who not with empty names, or shows of proxy,
Is served, who'll have the thing, and not the symbol,
Ever seeks out the greatest and the best,

And at the rudder places him, e'en though

She had been forced to take him from the rabble-
She, this necessity, it was that placed thee

In this high office; it was she that gave thee
Thy letters patent of inauguration.

For, to the uttermost moment that they can,
This race still help themselves at cheapest rate
With slavish souls, with puppets! At the approach
Of extreme peril, when a hollow image
Is found a hollow image and no more,
Then falls the power into the mighty hands
Of nature, of the spirit giant-born,
Who listens only to himself, knows nothing
Of stipulations, duties, reverences,
And, like the emancipated force of fire,
Unmastered scorches, ere it reaches them,
Their fine-spun webs, their artificial policy.

Wa 'Tis true! they saw me always as I am

« PreviousContinue »