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That in our aspirations to be great,
A beauty and a mystery, and create
That fortune, fame, power, life, have named themselves a star
8 The sky is changed! and such a change! Oh, Night
From peak to peak, the rattling crags among
9 And this is in the night: Most glorious nigh Thou wert not sent for slumber; let me be A sharer in thy fierce and far delight,
A portion of the tempest and of thee!
10 Sky, mountains, river, winds, lake, lightnings! ye
Things that have made me watchful: the far roll
But where, of ye, O tempests! is the goal?
11 The morn is up again, the dewy morn,
With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom,
And living as if earth contained no tomb, -
Still on thy shores, fair Leman, may find room,
And food for meditation, nor pass by
Much that may give us pause, if pondered fittingly.
XCVI,- WEBSTER'S GREATEST PARLIAMENTARY EFFORT
[The following extract is from a speech delivered in Boston at a dinner on the 18th of January, 1856, the anniversary of the birthday of Daniel Webster. Condé was a celebrated French general of the seventeenth century. He defeated the Spaniards at the battle of Rocroi, May. 19, 1643.]
Ir was my happiness, at Mr. Webster's request, to pass a part of the evening of the 25th January, 1830, with him; and he went over to me, from a very concise brief, the main topics of the speech prepared for the following 5 day, the second speech on Foot's resolution, which he accounted the greatest of his parliamentary efforts.
Intense anticipation awaited that effort, both at Washington and throughout the country. A pretty formidable personal attack was to be repelled; New England was to 10 be vindicated against elaborate disparagement; and, more than all, the true theory of the constitution, as heretofore generally understood, was to be maintained against a new interpretation, devised by perhaps the acutest logician in the country; asserted with equal confidence and tervor; 15 and menacing a revolution in the government. Never had a public speaker a harder task to perform; and except on the last great topic, which undoubtedly was familiar to his
habitual contemplations, his opportunity for preparation had been most inconsiderable, for the argument of his accomplished opponent had been concluded but the day before the reply was to be made.
I sat an hour and a half with Mr. Webster the evening before this great effort. The impassioned parts of his speech, and those in which the personalities of his antagonist were retorted, were hardly indicated in his prepared brief.
So calm and tranquil was he, so entirely at ease, and free from that nervous excitement which is almost unavoidable, so near the moment which is to put the whole man to the proof, that I was tempted, absurdly enough, to think him not sufficiently aware of the magnitude of the 15 occasion. I ventured even to intimate to him, that what he was to say the next day would, in a fortnight's time, be read by every grown man in the country. But I soon perceived that his calmness was the repose of conscious power. The battle had been fought and won within, upon 20 the broad field of his own capacious mind; for it was Mr.
Webster's habit first to state to himself his opponent's argument in its utmost strength, and having overthrown it in that form, he feared the efforts of no other antagonist. Hence it came to pass that he was never taken by sur25 prise, by any turn of the discussion.
Besides, the moment and the occasion were too important for trepidation. A surgeon might as well be nervous, who is going to cut within a hair's-breadth of a great artery. He was not only at ease, but sportive and full of 30 anecdote; and, as he told the senate playfully the next day, he slept soundly that night on the formidable assault of his accomplished adversary. So the great Condé slept on the eve of the battle of Rocroi; so Alexander slept on the eve of the battle of Arbela; and so they awoke 35 to deeds of immortal fame.
As I saw him in the evening, (if I may borrow an illus
tration from his favorite amusement,) he was as unconcerned and as free of spirit as some here have seen him, while floating in his fishing-boat along a hazy shore, gently rocking on the tranquil tide, dropping his line here and 5 there, with the varying fortune of the sport.
The next morning he was like some mighty admiral, dark and terrible, casting the long shadow of his frowning tiers far over the sea, that seemed to sink beneath him; his broad pendant streaming at the main, the stars and 10 stripes at the fore, the mizzen, and the peak; and bearing down like a tempest upon his antagonist, with all his canvas strained to the wind, and all his thunders roaring from his broadsides.
XCVII. THE WIDOW OF GLENCOE.
[In the month of February, 1692, a number of persons of the clan of Macdonald, residing in Glencoe, a glen on the western coast of Scotland, were cruelly and treacherously put to death, on the ground that their chief had not taken the oath of allegiance to the government of King William within the time prescribed by his proclamation. A full and interesting account of the massacre may be found in Macaulay's "History of England." The following poem is supposed to be spoken by the widow of one of the victims. The captain of the company of soldiers by whom the massacre was perpetrated, was Campbell of Glenlyon. "The dauntless Græme" was the Marquis of Montrose.]
Do not lift him from the bracken, leave him lying where he fell-
Leave his roadsword as we found it, rent and broken with the blow
Nay-ye should not weep, my children! leave it to the faint and weak;
Sobs are but a woman's weapons-tears befit a maiden's cheek. Weep not, children of Macdonald! weep not thou, his orphan heir; Not in shame, but stainless honor, lies thy slaughtered father there. Weep not- but when years are over, and thine arm is strong and
And thy foot is swift and steady on the mountain and the muir,
When thy noble father bounded to the rescue of his men,
And the slogan of our kindred pealed throughout the startled glen; When the herd of frantic women stumbled through the midnight
With their fathers' houses blazing, and their dearest dead below! Oh, the horror of the tempest, as the flashing drift was blown, Crimsoned with the conflagration, and the roofs went thundering
Oh, the prayers, the prayers and curses, that together winged their flight
From the maddened hearts of many, through that long and woful night!
Till the fires began to dwindle, and the shots grew faint and few,
When she searches for her offspring round the relics of her nest. For in many a spot the tartan peered above the wintry heap, Marking where a dead Macdonald lay within his frozen sleep. Tremblingly we scooped the covering from each kindred victim's
And the living lips were burning on the cold ones of the dead.