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Columns of shining smoke uprose, and flashes of flame were Thrust through their folds and withdrawn, like the quivering
hands of a martyr. Then as the wind seized the gleeds and the burning thatch, and,
uplifting, Whirled them aloft through the air, at once from a hundred
house-tops Started the sheeted smoke with flashes of flame intermingled.
These things beheld in dismay the crowd on the shore and on
shipboard. Speechless at first they stood, then cried aloud in their anguish, “We shall no more behold our homes in the village of Grand
Pré!" Loud on a sudden the cocks began to crow in the farm-yards, Thinking the day had dawned; and anon the lowing of cattle Came on the evening breeze, by the barking of dogs interrupted.
Then rose a sound of dread, such as startles the sleeping en
campments Far in the western prairies or forests that skirt the Nebraska, When the wild horses affrighted sweep by with the speed of the
whirlwind, Or the loud bellowing herds of buffaloes rush to the river. Such was the sound that arose that night, as the herds and the
horses Broke through their folds and fences, and madly rushed o'er the
And as the voice of the priest repeated a service of sorrow,
H. W. LONGFELLOW
CXXVIII.-THE POWER OF POETRY IN
THERE is an element of poetry in us all. Whatever wakes
up intense sensibilities, puts one for a moment into a poetic state-if not the creative state in which we can make poetry, at least the receptive state in which we can feel poetry. Therefore, let no man think that, because he cannot appreciate the verse of Milton or Wordsworth, there is no poetry in his soul; let him be assured that there is something within him which may any day awake, break through the crust of his selfishness, and redeem him from a low, mercenary, or sensual existence.
2. Any man who has for a single moment felt these emotions which are uncalculating, who has ever risked his life for the safety of another, or met some great emergency with unwavering courage, or felt his whole being shaken with mighty or unutterable indignation against some base cruelty or cowardly scoundrelism, knows what I mean when I say that there is something in him which is infinite, and which can transport him in a moment into the same atmosphere which the poet breathes.
3. Why is it that on the battle-field there is ever one spot where the sabers glitter faster, and the pistol's flash is more frequent, and men and officers crowd together in denser masses? They are struggling for a flag, or an eagle, or a standard. Strip it of its symbolism, take from it the meaning with which imagination has invested it, and it is nothing but a bit of silk rag, torn with shot and blackened with powder. Now go with your common sense, and tell the soldier he is madly striving about a bit of rag. See if your common sense is as true to him as his poetry, or able to quench it for a moment.
4. Take a case. Among the exploits of marvelous and almost legendary valor performed by that great English
chieftain who has been laid aside uncoroneted, and almost unhonored, because he would promote and distinguish the men of work in preference to the men of titled idleness, among his achievements not the least wondrous was his subjugation of the robber tribes of the Cutchee Hills, in the north of Scinde. Those warriors had been unsubdued for six hundred years. They dwelt in a crater-like valley, surrounded by mountains, through which there were but two or three narrow entrances, and up which there was no access but by goat-paths, so precipitous that brave men grew dizzy, and could not proceed.
5. So rude and wild was the fastness of Trukkee that the entrances themselves could scarcely be discovered amidst the labyrinth-like confusion of rocks and mountains. It was part of the masterly plan by which Sir Charles Napier had resolved to storm the stronghold of the robbers, to cause a detachment of his army to scale the mountainside. A service so perilous could scarcely be commanded. Volunteers were called for.
6. There was a regiment, the 64th Bengal Infantry, which had been recently disgraced in consequence of mutiny at Shikarpoor, their colonel cashiered, and their colors taken from them; a hundred of these men volunteered. “Soldiers from the 64th," said the commander, who knew the way to the soldier's heart, “your colors are on the top of yonder hill!” I should like to have seen the precipice which would have deterred the 64th regiment after words like those from the lips of the conqueror of Scinde!
your common sense and economic science, and proved to them that the colors they were risking their lives to win back were worth but so many shillings sterling value;—tell me, which would the stern workers of the 64th regiment have found it easiest to understand, common sense, or poetry? Which would they have believed, Science, which said, “It is
7. And now,
manufactured silk;" or Imagination, whose kingly voice had made it “ colors"?
8. It is in this sense that the poet has been called, as the name imports, creator, namer, maker. He stamps his own feeling on a form or symbol; names it, and makes it what it was not before; giving to feeling a local habitation and a name, by associating it with form. Before it was silkso many square feet; now it is a thing for which men will die.
Rev. F. W. ROBERTSON.
CXXIX.-SONNET TO NIGHT.
YSTERIOUS Night! when our first parent knew
and heard thy name,
Bathed in the rays of the great setting flame,
Hesperus with the host of heaven came,
Within thy beams, O Sun? or who could find
That to such countless orbs thou mad'st us blind ?