Page images
[blocks in formation]

5 Tread lightly, comrades! we have laid
His dark locks on his brow —
Like life
save deeper light and shade—
We'll not disturb them now.
Tread lightly—for 't is beautiful,

That blue-veined eyelid's sleep,
Hiding the eye death left so dull-
Its slumber we will keep.

6 Rest now

! - his journeying is doneYour feet are on his sod

Death's blow has felled your champion —

He waiteth here his God!

Ay-turn and weep-'t is manliness
To be heart-broken here—

For the grave of one, the best of us
Is watered by the tear.




[Conclusion of a Discourse delivered at Plymouth, Massachusetts, December 22, 1820, in commemoration of the first settlement in New England.]

LET us not forget the religious character of our origin. Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion. They journeyed in its light, and labored in its hope. They sought to incorporate its 3 principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence through all their institutions, civil, political

and literary. Let us cherish these sentiments, and extend their influence still more widely; in the full conviction that that is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild and peaceable spirit of Chris5 tianity.

The hours of this day are rapidly flying, and this occasion will soon be passed. Neither we nor our children can expect to behold its return. They are in the distant regions of futurity, they exist only in the all-creating power of 10 God, who shall stand here, a hundred years hence, to trace, through us, their descent from the pilgrims, and to survey, as we have now surveyed, the progress of their country during the lapse of a century. We would anticipate their concurrence with us in our sentiments of deep regard for 15 our common ancestors. We would anticipate and partake the pleasure with which they will then recount the steps of New England's advancement. On the morning of that day, although it will not disturb us in our repose, the voice of acclamation and gratitude, commencing on the rock of 20 Plymouth, shall be transmitted through millions of the sons of the pilgrims, till it lose itself in the murmurs of the Pacific seas.

We would leave, for the consideration of those who shall then occupy our places, some proof that we hold the bless25 ings transmitted from our fathers in just estimation; some proof of our attachment to the cause of good government, and of civil and religious liberty; some proof of a sincere and ardent desire to promote everything which may enlarge the understandings and improve the hearts of men. And 30 when, from the long distance of a hundred years, they shall look back upon us, they shall know, at least, that we possessed affections, which, running backward, and warming with gratitude for what our ancestors have done for our happiness, run forward also to our posterity, and meet 35 them with cordial salutation, ere yet they have arrived on the shore of Being.

Advance, then, ye future generations! We would hail you as you rise in your long succession to fill the places which we now fill, and to taste the blessings of existence where we are passing, and soon shall have passed, our 5 human duration. We bid you welcome to this pleasant land of the Fathers. We bid you welcome to the healthful skies and the verdant fields of New England. We greet your accession to the great inheritance which we have enjoyed. We welcome you to the blessings of good gov10 ernment and religious liberty. We welcome you to the treasures of science and the delights of learning. We welcome you to the transcendent sweets of domestic life, to the happiness of kindred and parents and children. We welcome you to the immeasurable blessings of rational ex15 istence, the immortal hope of Christianity, and the light of everlasting Truth!



[THOMAS MOORE was born in Dublin, May 28, 1779, and died February 26, 1852. His first work, a translation of the "Odes of Anacreon," published In 1800, was received with much favor; and from that time he was constantly before the public, and, as a poet, rose to a popularity second only to that of Byron or Scott. His longest poem, “Lalla Rookh," is a brilliant and gorgeous production, glowing with the finest hues of Oriental painting, and true in its details; but it cloys the mind with its excess of imagery and the luxuriant sweetness of its versification. His "Loves of the Angels," another poem of some length, was a comparative failure.

Moore's greatest strength is shown in his songs, ballads, and lyric effusions. In these, his vivid fancy, his sparkling wit, his rich command of poetical expression, his love of ornament, and his sense of music find an appropriate sphere. His Irish Melodies, especially, are of great excellence in their way. They are the truest and most earnest things he ever wrote. In many of his productions there is more or less of make-believe sentiment; but here we feel the pulse of truth. The web of Moore's poetry, however, is more remarkable for the richness of its coloring than the fineness of its texture. He is not a very careful writer, and does not bear a rigid verbal criticism.

Moore's satirical and humorous poems-of which he wrote many are perhaps entitled to even a higher comparative rank than his serious productions, because they are such genuine and natural expressions of his mind. He was tull of wit and animal spirits, and seemed to take positive delight in darting

his pointed and glittering shafts against literary and political opponents. In these lighter effusions, also, we do not require the depth of feeling, the moral tone, and the dignity of sentiment, which we seek and seek in vain in his serious poetry. Many of them, however, were called forth by the passing occurrences of the day, and have lost their interest with the occasions that gave them birth.

In the latter years of his life, Moore was a diligent laborer in the trade of literature, and wrote many works in prose; among them, "Lives of Sheridan and Byron," "The Epicurean," a tale, "The History of Ireland," a production of much research, "The Life of Captain Rock," "Travels of an Irish Gentle man in Search of a Religion," &c. His prose writings, in general, have not added much to his literary reputation.

Moore's private character was amiable and respectable on the whole, but he was a little too inclined to pay court to persons of higher social position than himself. He was a devoted and excellent son, and without reproach in his domestic relations. He had some knowledge of music, and sang his own songs with great taste and feeling: this accomplishment and his brilliant conversational powers made him a great favorite in society.]


[merged small][ocr errors]

THOU art, O God, the life and light

Of all this wondrous world we see;
Its glow by day, its smile by night,

Are but reflections caught from thee.
Where'er we turn, thy glories shine,
And all things fair and bright are thine.

When day, with farewell beam, delays
Among the opening clouds of even,
And we can almost think we gaze

Through opening vistas into heaven.
Those hues that make the sun's decline
So soft, so radiant, Lord, are thine.

When night, with wings of starry gloom,
O'ershadows all the earth and skies,
Like some dark, beauteous bird, whose plume
Is sparkling with unnumbered eyes,
That sacred gloom, those fires divine,
So grand, so countless, Lord, are thine.

4 When youthful spring around us breathes,
Thy spirit warms her fragrant sigh.

And every flower that Summer wreathes
Is born beneath thy kindling eye:
Where'er we turn, thy glories shine,
And all things fair and bright are thine.




[ARCHIBALD ALISON was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, November 13, 1757. and died there May 17, 1839. He was a clergyman of the Church of England. He wrote "Essays on the Nature and Principles of Taste," a much-admired work, which passed through several editions. He also published two volumes of Bermons, which obtained a wide-spread popularity both in England and America. Their reputation has subsequently declined, and they are less remarkable for vigor of thought than for finished elegance of composition.]

In every period of life, the acquisition of knowledge is one of the most pleasing employments of the human mind. But in youth, there are circumstances which make it productive of higher enjoyment. It is then that everything 5 has the charm of novelty; that curiosity and fancy are awake; and that the heart swells with the anticipations of future eminence and utility. Even in those lower branches of instruction, which we call mere accomplishments, there is something always pleasing to the young in their acquisi10 tion. They seem to become every well-educated person; they adorn, if they do not dignify, humanity; and, what is far more, while they give an elegant employment to the hours of leisure and relaxation, they afford a means of contributing to the purity and innocence of domestic life.


But in the acquisition of knowledge of the higher kind,in the hours when the young gradually begin the study of the laws of nature and of the faculties of the human mind, or of the magnificent revelations of the Gospel, there is a pleasure of a sublimer nature. The cloud, which in their infant years seemed to cover nature from their view, begins

« PreviousContinue »