Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

relics of Paradise, and the emblem of man's primeval innocence.

There is eloquence in the groves. Birds of gay and brilliant plumage skip from branch to branch, warbling their melodious lays of love, and speaking a language which ever finds an cho the joyous heart of innocence and childhood. There is eloquence in music. Who has not felt it? Whose soul has never thrilled with sweet and gentle emotions as the voice of song stole softly over his slumbering senses, lulling them to repose by its soothing and heavenly melody? There is eloquence in the starry heavens. These effulgent gems, that glitter so brightly on the mantle of Night, tell us of God's omnipotence; how, when chaos reigned supreme, his voice sounded amid the fearful gloom of nature, and at his bidding darkness fled, earth sprang into life, revolving worlds began their ceaseless rounds, suns lit the firmament, and the “morning stars sang together for joy."

Ex. 29.

THE FATHERS OF THE REPUBLIC.

THE
THE Fathers of the Republic were men of whom the

simple truth was the highest praise. They were sagacious, sober, and thoughtful. Most of them were of so calm a temper that they lived to extreme age; with one or two exceptions they were profound scholars, and studied the history of mankind that they might know man. They were so familiar with the lives and thoughts of the wisest and best minds of the past, that the writings they have left to us are preserved as a rich legacy of classic style. They held and taught that the conscience, and not the pocket, is the real citadel of a nation, and that, when there is no moral right or wrong in political action, the wells are poisoned and the crops are rotten in the ground. Pure in thought, honest, upright, and patriotic, they undertook the gravest responsibilities men were ever called upon to face, and through many years of struggles, privations, and untold embarrassments, manfully worked out the results they had determined to accomplish, and laid the pillars of the grand superstructure of our Republic. They were Republicans in the true sense of the word, and their names should ever be remembered by us as models for our highest ambition.

[blocks in formation]

of a

IR, I dare not trust myself to speak of my country

with the rapture which I always feel when I contemplate her marvellous history. What is to be compared with it? On my return to it, after an absence of only four years, I was filled with wonder at all I saw and all I heard. I listened to accounts of voyages thousand miles in magnificent steamboats on the waters of those great lakes which but the other day I left sleeping in the primeval silence of nature, in the recesses of a vast wilderness; and I felt that there is a grandeur and a majesty in this irresistible onward march of a race, created as I believe, and elected, to possess and people a continent, which belong to few other objects, either of the moral or material world.

We may become so much accustomed to such things that they shall make as little impression upon our minds as the glories of the heavens above us; but looking on them lately as with the eye of the stranger, I felt that, far from being without poetry, as some have vainly alleged, our whole country is one great poem. Sir, it is so; and if there be a man that can think of what is doing, in all parts of this most blessed of all lands, to embellish and advance it, — who can contemplate that living mass of intelligence, activity, and improvement as it rolls on, in its sure and steady progress, to the uttermost extremities of the West, who can see scenes of savage desolation transformed, almost with the suddenness of enchantment, into those of fruitfulness and beauty, crowned with flourishing cities, filled with the noblest of all populations ;- if there be a man, I say, that can witness all this, passing under his very eyes, without feeling his heart beat high, and his imagination warmed and transported by it, be sure, sir, that the raptures of song exist not for him; he would listen in vain to the poet, telling a tale of the wars of the knights and crusaders, or of the discovery and conquest of another hemisphere.

Ex. 31.

- THE STARS AND STRIPES. – Everett.

A

LL hail to our glorious ensign! Courage to the

heart, and strength to the hand, to which, in all time, it shall be intrusted! May it ever wave in honor, in unsullied glory and patriotic hope, on the dome of the Capitol, on the country's stronghold, on the tented field, and on the wave-rocked tempest !

Wherever, on the earth's surface, the eye of the American shall behold it, may he have reason to bless it! On whatsoever spot it is planted, there may freedom have a foothold, humanity a brave champion, and religion an altar! Though stained with blood in a righteous cause, may it never in any cause be stained with shame!

Alike when its gorgeous folds shall sport in lazy holiday triumphs on the summer breeze, and its tattered fragments be daily seen through the clouds of war, may it be the joy and pride of the American heart! First raised in the cause of right and liberty, in that cause alone may it forever spread out its streaming folds to the battle and the storm! Having been borne victoriously across the continent, and on every sea, may virtue and freedom and peace forever follow where it leads the way.

Ex. 32. — THE SPIRIT OF FREEDOM.

THI

HE spirit of freedom draws the footsteps of the

wild Indian to his wide and boundless desert-paths, and makes him prefer them to the gay saloons and soft carpets of sumptuous palaces. It is this that makes it so difficult to bring him within the pale of artificial civilization. Our roving tribes are perishing, a sad and solemn sacrifice, upon the altar of their wild freedom. They come among us and look with childish wonder upon the perfection of our arts and the splendor of our habitations; they submit with vexation and weariness, for a few days, to our burdensome forms and restraints, and then turn their faces to their forest homes, and resolve to push those homes onward till they sink in the Pacific waves, rather than not be free.

It is thus that every people is attached to its country just in proportion as it is free, no matter if that country be so poor as to force away its children to other and richer lands; yet, when the songs of those free homes chance to fall upon the exile's ear, no soft and ravishing airs ever thrilled the heart with such mingled rapture and agony as those simple tones. Sad mementos might they be of want and toil; yet it was enough that they were mementos of happy freedom.

And such an attachment is found in our own people to their native country. It is the country of the free; it opens wide its hospitable gates to the oppressed of every land. Here may they find rest, as they surely find sympathy, though it may be saddened with many bitter remembrances !

Yes, let me be free; let me go and come at my own will; let me think and do and speak what I please, subject to no limit but that which is in accordance with freedom; subject to no laws but the laws for the common good. No matter where my lot may be cast, my heart shall dwell

“In my own, my native land.” Here there is no oppression, no exaction of petty tyranny; here there is liberty, - upon all the green hills, and amidst all the peaceful valleys, — there is freedom.

Let it be our hope and purpose to forever maintain this proud heritage for our country. And let us make our homes the homes of a nobler freedom,- of freedom from vice, from evil, from passion, from every corrupting bondage of the soul.

Ex. 33.

THE SCHOOLMASTER.

Verplanck.

THI
THERE are prouder themes for the eulogist than the

schoolmaster, but no theme can be more rich in desert, or more fruitful in public advantage. Who else is there, in the whole of our social system, of such extensive and powerful influence for the formation of the national character ? There is one other influence more powerful, and but one. It is that of mother. The forms

« ПредишнаНапред »