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And, through the hill-gaps, sunset light
Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
Honor to her! and let a tear
Over Barbara Frietchie's grave,
Peace and order and beauty draw
And ever the stars above look down
An Incident of the War.
(EXTRACT FROM MR. MURDOCH'S LECTURES.) “THE Sleeping Sentine! is not alone a poem : it is an animated pageant, a series of events and incidents grouped in actual existence, moving and glowing with all the spirit of life and truth. We see, and weep for, the boy soldier Scott. We behold and mourn with his sorrow-stricken parents. How entirely do we sympathize with that soul, crushed by the weight of shame and dishonor, but not shaken by the terrors of death! We become conscious of the restless midnight step of our kind-hearted President, who, in his solitary chamber, walks pondering on the necessity of discipline and example, and the offices of gentle and lifegiving mercy. How human, too, is the shout, in which we
join, to hail the coming of the glad tidings brought in the spirit of the Saviour's errand !
Without the ability or will to criticize the poet and his numbers, I simply say, I love the poem and delight in the movement of the verse. The opening words always call to my mind those peculiar and impressive lines of Dr. Holmes, addressed by the Puritan father to his son :-“Come hither, "God be glorified, and sit upon my knee;" not that there is any similarity in construction or sentiment, but for the savor of the old ballad-opening which hangs about them,the old legendary bell-tone, which, like the Sabbath-tolling, seems to ring out,
Come, all ye toiling people, round,
And unto me give ear.” Old times and old themes come forth from the mould and the dust of the past, to sun themselves in the glow of the present, when such key-notes are sounded; under their genial influence, we are moulded and impressed with the true seal of Romance and Poetry, and, like Desdemona, with a greedy.ear-we “devour up” the measured story.
As an illustration of this tendency of the popular heart to throb with the passion of storied verse, let me say, I have seen a thousand faces, over which were alternating the varying emotions of pride, joy, pity, and defiance, as the lookers-on sat in groups or circles on a barren hill-side (while the rebels were bombarding Chattanooga), silent and absorbed, listening to my recital of heroism, suffering, and devotion as portrayed in the ballads and lyrics of my favorite war-poets, who have sung so feelingly and fittingly of the soldier's deeds. Indeed, the attention and interest · have been so profound that it might scarcely be disturbed even by the dull boom of an occasional shell bursting in the mid-air a little nearer the audience" than the usual harmless range of Bragg's " Lookout” batteries. The tears, as they trickled down the cheeks of age and youth alike,officers and men,-and then the shouts and cheers that would in turn burst forth as freely and unrestrainedly, all gave truthful evidence of the strong grasp fixed by the narrative and the verse on the heart and the imagination of the soldier.
Under such and other circumstances of an equally exciting character the listeners never tired of hearing “The Oath,” “On Board the Cumberland, “The Sleeping Sentinel," and other poems by the same authors, many of which I have recited to citizens and soldiers, in large assemblies, amounting in the aggregate to over a hundred thousand persons. Such poems cannot fail to excite and develop all the gentle emotions of our nature, whenever read or recited. At the same time, they are calculated to fan the fire of patriotism in every loyal breast into a fiercer flame. They purify and elevate our moral nature, making us better and happier, casting round the social circle, the firesidegroup, and the camp-gathering, a mantle of human sympathy and love. Truly, the poet's mission is
“To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart." I had the pleasure of reading this beautiful and touching poem, for the first time, to Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, and a select party of their friends, at the White House, by invi. tation of Senator Foot, of Vermont, who took a great interest in the poem, not only for its high excellence, but also on account of young Scott being from his native State.
Its second reading was in the Senate-chamber of the United States, which was appropriated for the purpose, the proceeds being for the aid of our sick and wounded soldiers.
The Sleeping Sentinel.
FRANCIS DE HAES JANVIER,
AUTHOR OF "THE SKELETON MONK," "THE VOYAGE OF LIFE,"
PALACE OF TIE CÆSARS," AND OTHER POEMS.
The incidents here woven into verse relate to William Scott, a young soldier from the State of Vermont, who, while on duty as a sentinel at night, fell asleep, and, having been condemned to die, was pardoned by the President. They form a brief record of his humble life at home and in the field, and of his glorious death.
“ The quality of mercy is not strain'd;
The Sleeping Sentinel.
'Twas in the sultry summer-time, as War's red records show, When patriot armies rose to meet a fratricidal foeWhen, from the North, and East, and West, like the upheav
ing sea, Swept forth Columbia's sons, to make our country truly free.
Within a prison's dismal walls, where shadows veil'd decay-
Yet, but a few brief weeks before, untroubled with a care,
land font, And waving elms, and grassy slopes, give beauty to Vermont !
Where, dwelling in an humble cot, a tiller of the soil,
cry Fired his young heart with fervent zeal, for her to live or die.
Then left he all:-a few fond tears, by firmness half conceal'd,
hot breath, Whose fruits are garner'd in the grave, whose husbandman is
Without a murmur, he endured a service new and hard ;
guard, He sank, exhausted, at his post, and the gray morning found His prostrate form-a sentinel, asleep, upon the ground !
So, in the silence of the night, aweary,on the sod,