Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

2. Thy bounty shines in Autumn unconfined,

And spreads a common feast for all that lives.
In Winter awful thou! with clouds and storms
Around thee thrown, tempest o'er tempest roll’d.
Majestic darkness! On the whirlwind's wing
Riding sublime, thou bidd'st the world adore,
And humblest nature with thy northern blast.
Mysterious round! what skill, what force divine;
Deep-felt, in these appear! a simple train,
Yet so delightful mix'd, with such kind art,
Such beauty and beneficence combined,
Shade unperceived so softening into shade,
And all so forming a harmonious whole,
That, as they still succeed, they ravish still.

3. But wandering oft, with rude unconscious gaze,

Man marks not thee,-marks not the mighty hand
That, ever busy, wheels the silent spheres;
Works in the secret deep; shoots, steaming, thence
The fair profusion that o'erspreads the spring;
Flings from the sun direct the flaming day;
Feeds every creature; hurls the tempest forth;
And, as on earth this grateful change revolves,
With transport touches all the springs of life.

4. Nature, attend ! join, every living soul

Beneath the spacious temple of the sky,
In adoration join, and, ardent, raise
One general song! To Him, ye vocal gales,
Breathe soft, whose spirit in your freshness breathes.
Oh, talk of him in solitary glooms,
Where, o'er the rock, the scarcely waving pine
Fills the brown shade with a religious awe:
And ye, whose bolder note is heard afar,
Who shake the astonish'd world, lift high to heaven
The impetuous song, and say from whom you rage.

5. His praise, ye brooks, attune, ye trembling rills;

And let me catch it as I muse along.
Ye headlong torrents, rapid and profound;
Ye softer floods, that lead the humid maze
Along the vale; and thou, majestic main,
A secret world of wonders in thyself,
Sound His stupendous praise whose greater voice
Or bids you roar, or bids your roaring fall.

Soft roll your incense, herbs and fruits and flowers,
In mingled clouds to Him whose sun exalts,

Whose breath perfumes you, and whose pencil paints. 6. Ye forests, bend, ye harvests, wave, to Him;

Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,
As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.
Ye that keep watch in heaven as earth asleep
Unconscious lies, effuse your mildest beams,
Ye constellations, while your angels strike,
Amid the spangled sky, the silver lyre.
Great source of day! blest image here below
Of thy Creator, ever pouring wide,
From world to world, the vital ocean round,

On nature write with every beam His praise.
7. The thunder rolls: be hush'd the prostrate world,

While cloud to cloud returns the solemn hymn.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills; ye mossy rocks,
Retain the sound; the broad responsive low,
Ye valleys, raise; for the Great Shepherd reigns,
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come.
Ye woodlands, all awake; a boundless song
Burst from the groves; and when the restless day,
Expiring, lays the warbling world asleep,
Sweetest of birds! sweet Philomela, charm
The listening shades, and teach the night His praise.

LESSON CXXXVI.

SUPPOSED SPEECH OF JOHN ADAMS.

BY DANIEL WEBSTER. 1. SINK or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning we aimed not at independence. But there is a divinity which shapes our ends. The injustice of England has driven us to arms; and, blinded to her own interest for our good, she has obstinately persisted, till independence is now within our grasp. We have but to reach forth to it, and it is ours. Why, then, should we defer the declaration ?

2. Is any man so weak as now to hope for a reconciliation with England, which shall leave either safety to the country and its

liberties, or safety to his own life and his own honor? Are not you, sir, who sit in that chair, is not he, our venerable colleague Dear you, are you not both already the proscribed and predestined objects of punishment and of vengeance? Cut off from all hope of royal clemency, what are you, what can you be, while the power of England remains, but outlaws ?

3. If we postpone independence, do we mean to carry on, or to give up the war? Do we mean to submit to the measures of Parliament, Boston Port Bill and all ? Do we mean to submit and consent that we ourselves shall be ground to powder, and our country and its rights trodden down in the dust? I know we do not mean to submit; we never shall submit. Do we intend. to violate that most solemn obligation ever entered into by men, that plighting before God of our sacred honor to Washington, when, putting him forth to incur the dangers of war, as well as the political hazards of the times, we promised to adhere to him, in every extremity, with our fortunes and our lives?

4. I know there is not a man here who would not rather see a general conflagration sweep over the land, or an earthquake sink it, than one jot or tittle of that plighted faith fall to the ground. For myself, having, twelve months ago, in this place, moved you that George Washington be appointed commander of the forces raised, or to be raised, for defense of American Liberty, may my right hand forget her cunning, and my tongue

leave to the roof of my mouth, if I hesitate or waver in the support I give him.

5. The war, then, must go on. We must fight it through. And, if the war must go on, why put off longer the declaration of independence? That measure will strengthen us; it will give us character abroad. The nations will then treat with us, which they never can do while we acknowledge ourselves subjects in arms against our sovereign. Nay, I maintain that England herself will sooner treat for peace with us on the footing of independence, than consent, by repealing her acts, to acknowledge that her whole conduct toward us has been a course of injustice and oppression. Her pride will be less wounded by submitting to that course of things, which now predestinates our independence, than by yielding the points in controversy to her rebellious subjects. The former she would regard as the result of fortune; the latter she would feel as her own deep disgrace.

6. Why then, why then, sir, do we not as soon as possible change this from a civil to a natural war? And, since we must fight it through, why not put ourselves in a state to enjoy all the benefits of victory, if we gain the victory? If we fail, it can be no worse for us. But we shall not fail. The cause will raise up

armies; the cause will create nayies. The people, the people, if we are true to them, will carry us, and will carry themselves, gloriously through this struggle.

7. I care not how fickle other people have been found. I know the people of these colonies; and I know that resistance to British aggression is deep and settled in their hearts, and cannot be eradicated. Every colony, indeed, has expressed its willing. ness to follow, if we but take the lead. Sir, the declaration will inspire the people with increased courage. . Instead of a long and bloody war for the restoration of privileges, for redress of

grievances, for chartered immunities held under a British king, . set before them the glorious object of entire independence, and it will breathe into them anew the breath of life.

8. Read this declaration at the head of the army; every sword will be drawn from its scabbard, and the solemn vow uttered to maintain it, or to perish on the bed of honor. Publish it from the pulpit; religion will approve it, and the love of religious liberty will cling around it, resolved to stand with it, or fall with it. Send it to the public halls; proclaim it there; let them hear it who heard the first roar of the enemy's cannon ; let them see it who saw their brothers and their sons fall on the field of Bunker Hill, and in the streets of Lexington and Concord, and the very walls will cry out in its support.

9. Sir, I know the uncertainty of human affairs, but I see, I see clearly, through this day's business. You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not live to the time when this declaration shall be made good. We may die; die colonists; die slaves ; die, it may be, ignominiously, and on the scaffold. Be it so; be it so. If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when that hour may. But, while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free country. I

10. But whatever may be our fate, be assured, be assured that this declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but it will stand, and it will richly compensate for both Through the thick gloom of the present, I see the brightness of the future, as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honor it. They will celebrate it with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illuminations. On its annual return they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude, and of joy.

ii. Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judg.

ment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off as I begun, that, live or die, survive or perish, I am for the declaration. It is my living sentiment, and, by the blessing of God, it shall be my dying sentiment:-Independence now, and INDEPENDENCE FOREVER.

LESSON CXXXVII.

DARKNESS.
BY LORD BYRON.

1. I HAD a dream, which was not all a dream :

The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came, and went, and came, and brought no day;
And men forgot their passions, in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light.

2. And they did live by watch-fires; and the thrones,

The palaces of crown'd kings, the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gather'd round their blazing homes,
To look once more into each others' face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanoes and their mountain-torch.

3. And fearful hope was all the world contain’d; :

Forests were set on fire; but hour by hour
They fell and faded, and the crackling trunks
Extinguish'd with a crash,—and all was black.
The brows of men, by the despairing light,
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them. Some lay down,
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands and smiled;

« AnteriorContinuar »