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But what earthly honor, what accumulation of earthly honors, shall compare for a moment with the supreme hope and trust which we all humbly and devoutly cherish at this hour, that when the struggles and the victories, the pangs and the pageants, of time shall be ended, and the great awards of eternity shall be made up, thou mayst be found among those who are more than conquerors, through Him who loved us! And so we bid thee farewell, brave, honest, noble-hearted friend of mankind.
BRUTUS ON THE DEATH OF CÆSAR.
OMANS, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for
my cause; and be silent that you may hear. Believe me for mine honor, and have respect unto mine honor, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæsar's, to him I say that Brutus' love to Cæsar was no less than his. If, then, that friend demand why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all slaves, than that Cæsar were dead to live all free men ? As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but, as he was ambitious, I slew him ! There are tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honor for his valor, and death for his ambition! Who's here so base that would be a bondman ? If any, speak ! for him have I offended. Who's here so vile that would not love his country? If any, speak ! for him have I offended. I pause for a reply. None? Then none have I offended! I have done no more to Cæsar than you should do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the Capitol ; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offence enforced, for which he suffered death.
Here comes his body, mourned by Mark Antony, who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the Commonwealth ;as which of you shall not ?
With this I depart : That, as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.
OUR LOT AS AMERICANS.
T was our lot to lead the way, – to take up the cross
to fight its earliest battles, to enjoy its earliest triumphs, to illustrate its purifying and elevating virtues, and by our courage and resolution, our moderation and our magnanimity, to cheer and sustain its future followers through the baptism of blood and the martyrdom of fire. A mission so noble and benevolent demands a generous and self-denying enthusiasm. Our greatness is to be won by kindness without ambition. We are in danger of losing that holy zeal. We are surrounded by temptations. Our dwellings become palaces, and our villages are transformed, as if by magic, into great cities. Fugitives from famine and oppression and the sword crowd our shores, and proclaim to us that we alone are free, and great, and happy. Our empire enlarges. The continent and its islands seem ready to fall within our grasp, and more than even fabulous wealth opens under our feet.
* Mr. Seward is one of the few orators whose speeches seem, when read, the very perfection of ease, grace, and rhetoric.
No public virtue can withstand, none ever encountered, such seductions as these. Our own virtue and moderation must be renewed and fortified under circumstances so new and peculiar.
Where shall we seek the influence adequate to a task so arduous as this ? Shall we invoke the press and the pulpit? Shall we resort to executive authority ? Shall we go to the Congress? No: all are unable as agencies to uphold or renovate declining virtue. Where should we go but there, where all Republican virtue begins and must end, to the domestic fireside and humble school where the American citizen is trained ? Instruct him there that it will not be enough that he can claim for his country heroism, but that more than valor and more than magnificence is required of her.
Go then, ye laborers in a noble cause, gather the young Catholic and the young Protestant alike into the nursery of freedom, and teach them there, that although religion has many and different shrines on which may be made the offering of a “broken spirit,” which God will not despise; yet that their country has appointed only one altar and one sacrifice for all her children, and that ambition and avarice must be slain on that altar, for it is consecrated to HUMANITY.
Ex. 10. - FATE OF THE INDIANS. Story. E E VERYWHERE, at the approach of the white man,
the Indians fade away. We hear the rustling of their footsteps, like that of the withered leaves of autumn; and they are gone forever. They pass mournfully by us, and they return no more.
Two centuries ago the smoke of their wigwams and the fire of their councils rose in every valley. The shouts of victory and the war-dance rung through the mountains and the glades. The thick arrows and deadly tomahawk whistled through the forests; and the hunters' trace and the dark encampment startled the wild beasts in their lairs.
Where now are the villages, and warriors, and youth? the sachems, and the tribes ? the hunters and their families ? They have perished. They are consumed. The wasting pestilence has not alone done the mighty work. No,-nor famine, nor war. There has been a mightier power, a moral canker, which hath eaten into their heart-cores, - a plague which the touch of the white man communicated, - a poison which betrayed them into a lingering ruin. The winds of the Atlantic face not a single region which they may now call their
Already the last feeble remnaiits of the race are on their journey toward the setting sun.
The ashes are cold on their native hearths. The smoke no longer curls round their lowly cabins. They move on with a slow, unsteady step. The white man is upon their heels, for terror or dispatch ; but they heed him not. They turn to take a last look at their deserted villages. They cast a last glance upon the graves of their fathers. They shed no tears; they utter no cries; they have no groans.
There is something in their hearts which passes speech. There is something in their looks, not of vengeance or submission, but of hard necessity, which stifles both, which chokes all utterance. It is courage, absorbed in despair. They linger but for a moment. Their look is onward. They have passed the fatal stream. It shall never be repassed by them no, never. They know and feel that there is for them still one remove farther, not distant, nor unseen. It is to the general burialground of their race.
Ex. ll. — OUR FUTURE AND RESPONSIBILITIES.*
HOEVER among us thoughtfully loves his coun
try must feel his heart glow as he reflects upon the necessities and the possibilities of his future. We are forty millions of people; we shall soon be sixty, eighty, and I believe that some of us younger scholars may yet see the number swell to one hundred millions.
Silently and in awe the mind contemplates the meeting of many races; the combats of religious creeds and sects; the struggles of conflicting political parties; the dangers and hopes; the possible failure and ruin; the probable triumph and glory of the Republic, - which shall it be? How can we, just entering life, listen to the hum and roar of the grand future coming down upon us, without leaping up as hearing in it our country's call ?
Thirty years hence, our fathers will have passed from the stage, and we in their place must take hold of the nation with its mighty labors and problems. Shall we be better fitted for this than they? Worldly prosperity will not fit us, nor mere learning endow us, for the proper fulfilment of our responsibilities.
Nations more magnificent in all this than we can hope to be for many generations to come have fallen headlong into ruin. The future will demand strong men and noble women, who will be ready to live for something besides their own personal enjoyments and pleasures. Eating and drinking are good in their way, but he who lives for these alone is very low in the scale. The delights of scholarship, the pleasures and luxuries of life, are good; but the man who cares only for these has
* This piece will answer very well for a valedictory, and should be spoken by an intelligent boy who understands and appreciates the subject and the occasion.