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PARSON AVERY'S SWAN SONG.
THEN the reaper's task was ended, and the sum
mer wearing late, Parson Avery sailed from Newbury with his wife and
children eight, Dropping down the river-harbor in the shallop,
“ WATCH AND WAIT."
Pleasantly lay the clearings in the mellow summer
morn, And the newly-planted orchards dropping their fruit's
first-born, And the homesteads like brown islands amidst a sea
Broad meadows reaching seaward the tided creeks
between, And hills rolled, wave-like inland, with oaks and
walnuts green, A fairer home, a goodlier land, his eye had never
Yet away sailed Parson Avery, away where duty
led, And the voice of God seemed calling to break the
All day they sailed, and at night-fall the pleasant
land-breeze died, The blackening sky at midnight its starry lights
denied, And far and low the thunder of tempest prophesied.
Blotted out was all the coast-line, gone were rock and
wood and sand, Grimly anxious stood the helmsman with the tiller
in his hand, And questioned of the darkness what was sea and
what was land.
And the preacher heard his dear ones, nestled round
him, weeping sore; "Never heed, my little children! Christ is walking
on before, To the pleasant land of Heaven, where the sea shall
be no more !”
All at once the great cloud parted, like a curtain
drawn aside, To let down the torch of lightning on the terror far
and wide; And the thunder and the whirlwind together smote
There was wailing in the shallop, woman's wail and
man's despair, A crash of breaking timber on the rocks so sharp
and bare, And through it all the murmur of Parson Avery's
From the struggle in the darkness with the wild
waves and the blast, On a rock, where every billow broke above him as it
passed, Alone of all his household the man of God was cast.
Then a comrade heard him praying in the pause of
wave and wind, “All my own have gone before me, and I linger just
behind; Not for life I ask, but only for the rest thy ransomed
“In the baptism of these waters wash white my every
sin, And let me follow up to Thee my household and my
kin! Open the sea-gates of Thy Heaven, and let me enter in."
The ear of God was open to his servant's last request; As the strong wave swept him downward, the sweet
prayer upward prest, And the soul of Father Avery went with it to his rest.
There was wailing on the mainland from the rocks of
Marblehead, In the stricken church of Newbury the notes of prayer
were read, And long by board and hearth-stone the living mourned
And still the fishers outbound, or scudding from the
squall, With grave and reverent faces the ancient tale recall, When they see the white waves breaking on the “Rock of Avery's Fall!”
7. G. Whittier.
PATRIOTISM is the love of country. It has ever
been recognized among the cardinal virtues of true men, and he who was destitute of it has been considered an ingrate. Even among the icy desolations of the far north we expect to find, and do find, an ardent affection for the land of nativity, the HOME of childhood, youth, and age. There is much in our country to create and foster this sentiment. It is a country of imperial dimensions, reaching from sea to sea, and almost “from the rivers to the ends of the earth.” None of the empires of old could compare with it in this regard. It is washed by two great oceans, while its lakes are vast inland seas. Its rivers are silver lines of beauty and commerce. Its grand mountainchains are the links of God's forging and welding, binding together North and South, East and West.
It is a land of glorious memories. It was peopled by the picked men of Europe, who came hither “not for wrath, but conscience' sake." Said the younger Winthrop to his father, “I shall call that my country where I may most glorify God, and enjoy the presence of my dearest friends.” And so came godly men and devoted women flying from oppressive statutes, where they might find
“Freedom to worship God.”
There are spots on the sun, and the microscope reveals flaws in burnished steel, and so there were spots and flaws in the character of the early founders of this land; but with them all, our colonial history is one that stirs the blood and quickens the pulse of him who reads.
And then the glorious record of that Revolutionary struggle gives each American a solid historic platform on which he may plant his foot. It was an era of high moral heroism, and for principle against theoretical usurpation, rather than practical (though of the latter there wanted not enough to give to our fathers' lips a full and bitter cup), the men of the Revolution drew their swords, and entered the field against the most powerful nation of the world, and fought on and on, through murky gloom, until triumph came. also an era of Providential agencies and deliverances, and each right-feeling American realizes that not more truly did God raise up Moses and Aaron and lead Israel with the pillar of cloud and fire, than He raised up our leaders and led our fathers. And reverent is our adoration when we remember how He guided the deliberations of our Constitutional Convention, and poured the peaceful spirit, in answer to ascending prayer, down upon that august convocation.
There are later memories, when, again measuring strength with Britain, our gallant tars showed on the sea and on the lakes that the empire of the deep was not henceforth to be conceded to the so-called “Mistress of the Seas.” It was a new sensation experienced by the old nations, when the youngest of them all dared lift the glove of the power which “ ruled the waves," and defy her on the field of her greatest prowess. Yet so it was; and the achievements of Decatur, McDonough, Paul Jones, and Porter gave lustre to our navy, to be brightened by Foote, Farragut, Porter, Dahlgren, and Worden, in our own times.
It is a land of innumerable resources. Extending through so many parallels of latitude and isothermal