Page images

gradually to resolve. The world, in which they are placed, opens with all its wonders upon their eye; their powers of attention and observation seem to expand with the scene before them; and, while they see, for the first time, the 5 immensity of the universe of God, and mark the majestic simplicity of those laws by which its operations are conducted, they feel as if they were awakened to a higher species of being, and admitted into nearer intercourse with the Author of Nature.


It is this period, accordingly, more than all others, that determines our hopes or fears of the future fate of the young. To feel no joy in such pursuits; to listen carelessly to the voice which brings such magnificent instruction; to see the veil raised which conceals the counsels of 15 the Deity, and to show no emotion at the discovery, - are symptoms of a weak and torpid spirit, — of a mind unworthy of the advantages it possesses, and fitted only for the humility of sensual and ignoble pleasure. Of those, on the contrary, who distinguish themselves by the love of 20 knowledge, who follow with ardor the career that is open to them, we are apt to form the most honorable presages. It is the character which is natural to youth, and which, therefore, promises well of their maturity. We foresee for

them, at least, a life of pure and virtuous enjoyment, and 25 we are willing to anticipate no common share of future usefulness and splendor.

In the second place, the pursuits of knowledge lead not only to happiness but to honor. "Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left are riches and honor." It 30 is honorable to excel even in the most trifling species of

knowledge, in those which can amuse only the passing hour. It is more honorable to excel in those different branches of science which are connected with the liberal professions of life, and which tend so much to the dignity 35 and well-being of humanity.

It is the means of raising the most obscure to esteem

and attention; it opens to the just ambition of youth some of the most distinguished and respected situations in soci ety; and it places them there, with the consoling reflection; that it is to their own industry and labor, in the provi5 dence of God, that they are alone indebted for them. But, to excel in the higher attainments of knowledge, to be distinguished in those greater pursuits which have commanded the attention and exhausted the abilities of the wise in every former age, - is, perhaps, of all the dis 10 tinctions of human understanding, the most honorable and grateful.

When we look back upon the great men who have gone before us in every path of glory, we feel our eye turn from the career of war and ambition, and involuntarily rest upon 15 those who have displayed the great truths of religion, who have investigated the laws of social welfare, or extended the sphere of human knowledge. These are honors, we feel, which have been gained without a crime, and which can be enjoyed without remorse. They are honors also 20 which can never die, which can shed lustre even upon the humblest head, and to which the young of every succeeding age will look up, as their brightest incentives to the pursuit of virtuous fame.

[ocr errors]



[This beautiful hymn was sung at the consecration of a cemetery belonging Do the city of Cambridge, in October, 1854. It was written by the Rev. WIL*IAM NEWELL, a graduate of Harvard College of the class of 1824, and pastor of the First Congregational Church in Cambridge. Dr. Newell has published very little; but this poem shows him to be capable of giving beautiful expres sion to genuine religious feeling.]


CHANGING, fading, falling, flying

From the homes that gave them birth,

Autumn leaves, in beauty dying,
Seek the mother breast of earth.

2 Soon shall all the songless wood Shiver in the deepening snow, Mourning in its solitude,

Like some Rachel in her woe.

3 Slowly sinks yon evening sun,
Softly wanes the cheerful light,
And the twelve hours' labor done-
Onward sweeps the solemn night.

[ocr errors]

4 So on many a home of gladness

Falls, O Death, thy winter gloom; Stands there still in doubt and sadness, Many a Mary at the tomb.

5 But the genial spring, returning,
Will the sylvan pomp renew,
And the new-born flame of morning
Kindle rainbows in the dew.

[ocr errors]

6 So shall God, His promise keeping,
To the world by Jesus given,
Wake our loved ones, sweetly sleeping,
At the breaking dawn of heaven.

7 Light from darkness! Life from death!
Dies the body, not the soul;
From the chrysalis beneath
Soars the spirit to its goal.

8 Father, when the mourners come With the slowly moving bier, Weeping at the open tomb

For the lovely and the dear,


Breathe into the bleeding heart
Hopes that die not with the dead;
And the peace of Christ impart
When the joys of life have fled!




(This poem, which appeared originally in "Putnam's Magazine," is one of the most beautiful compositions that ever were written; admirable in sentiinent, admirable in expression. From such poetry we learn how much we owe to those poets whose genius is under the control of moral feeling; who make the imagination and the sense of beauty ministering servants at the altar of the highest good and the highest truth.]


WITHIN this lowly grave a conqueror lies;

And yet the monument proclaims it not,

Nor round the sleeper's name hath chisel wrought
The emblems of a fame that never dies

Ivy and amaranth in a graceful sheaf
Twined with the laurel's fair, imperial leaf.
A simple name alone,

To the great world unknown,

Is graven here, and wild flowers rising round,
Meek meadow-sweet and violets of the ground,
Lean lovingly against the humble stone.

2 Here, in the quiet earth, they laid apart
No man of iron mould and bloody hands,
Who sought to wreak upon the cowering lands
The passions that consumed his restless heart;
But one of tender spirit and delicate frame,
Gentlest in mien and mind
Of gentle womankind,

Timidly shrinking from the breath of blame;
One in whose eyes the smile of kindness made
Its haunt, like flowers by sunny brooks in May;

Yet at the thought of others' pain, a shade
Of sweeter sadness chased the smile away.

3 Nor deem that when the hand that moulders here
Was raised in menace, realms were chilled with fear,
And armies mustered at the sign, as when
Clouds rise on clouds before the rainy east,

Gray captains leading bands of veteran men
And fiery youths to be the vultures' feast.
Not thus were waged the mighty wars that gave
The victory to her who fills this grave;
Alone her task was wrought;
Alone the battle fought;

Through that long strife her constant hope was staid
On God alone, nor looked for other aid.

4 She met the hosts of sorrow with a look

That altered not beneath the frown they wore ;
And soon the lowering brood were tamed, and took
Meekly her gentle rule, and frowned no more.
Her soft hand put aside the assaults of wrath,
And calmly broke in twain
The fiery shafts of pain,

And rent the nets of passion from her path.
By that victorious hand despair was slain:
With love she vanquished hate, and overcame
Evil with good in her great Master's name.

5 Her glory is not of this shadowy state,

Glory that with the fleeting season dies;
But when she entered at the sapphire gate,

And He who, long before,

Pain, scorn, and sorrow bore,

What joy was radiant in celestial eyes!

How heaven's bright depths with sounding welcomes rung

And flowers of heaven by shining hands were flung!

« PreviousContinue »