« ZurückWeiter »
OBERMANN ONCE MORE.
MATTHEW ARNOLD. EXTRACT.
PERCEIV'st thou not the change of day?
Ah! carry back thy ken. What, some two thousand years! Survey
The world as it was then !
Like ours it looked in outward air;
Its head was clear and true; Sumptuous its clothing, rich its fare,
No pause its action knew;
Stout was its arm, each thew and bone
Seemed puissant and alive —
And so it could not thrive!
On that hard Pagan world disgust
And secret loathing fell. Deep weariness and sated lust
Made huinan life a hell.
In his cool hall, with haggard eyes,
The Roman noble lay;
Along the Appian way.
And crowned his hair with flowers No easier nor no quicker passed
The impracticable hours.
The brooding East with awe beheld
Her impious younger world.
And on her head was hurled.
The East bowed low before the blast
In patient, deep disdain ;
And plunged in thought again.
So well she mused, a morning broke
Across her spirit gray ;
And filled her life with day.
“ Poor world,” she cried, “ so deep accurst
That run'st from pole to pole
Go, seek it in thy soul ! ”
She heard it, the victorious West,
In crown and sword arrayed ! She felt the void which mined her breast,
She shivered, and obeyed.
She veiled her eagles, snapped her sword,
And laid her sceptre down; Her stately purple she abhorred,
And her imperial crown.
She broke her flutes, she stopped her sports,
Her artists could not please;
She tore her books, she shut her courts,
She fled her palaces.
Lust of the eye and pride of life
She left it all behind,
The wilderness to find.
Tears washed the trouble from her face;
She changed into a child.
Of ruin, — but she smiled.
THE INFLUENCE OF ATHENS.
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY.
All the triumphs of truth and genius over prejudice and power, in every country and in every age, have been the triumphs of Athens. Wherever a few great minds have made a stand against violence and fraud in the cause of liberty and reason, there has been her spirit in the midst of them : inspiring, encouraging, consoling ; — by the lonely lamp of Erasmus; by the restless bed of Pascal; in the tribune of Mirabeau ; in the cell of Galileo; on the scaffold of Sidney. But who shall estimate her influence on private happiness? Who shall say how many thousands have been made wiser, happier, and better, by those pursuits in which she has taught mankind to engage; to how many the
studies that took their rise from her have been wealth in poverty,— liberty in bondage, -health in sickness, society in solitude ? Her power is indeed manifested at the bar, in the senate, in the field of battle, in the schools of philosophy. But these are not her glory. Wherever literature consoles sorrow, or assuages pain wherever it brings gladness to eyes which fail with wakefulness and tears, and ache for the dark house and the long sleep, — there is exhibited in its noblest form. the immortal influence of Athens.
I HAVE seen a lark rise from his bed of grass, and soaring upwards, singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven, and climb above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconsistent, descending more at every breath of the tempest, than it could recover by the vibration and frequent weighing of his wings, till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over; and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had learned music and motion from an angel, as he passed sometimes through the air, about his ministries here below. So is the prayer of a good man.
He who died at Azan sends
FAITHFUL friends! It lies, I know,