Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

or at the icy polar regions. The air teems with life. The soil, which clothes the earth all round, is swarming with life, vegetable and animal.

3. During how many thousands of years has the vitality of seeds been preserved deep in the earth's bosom! Not less wonderful is the fact stated by Lord Lindsay, who took from the hand of an Egyptian mummy a tüber, which must have been wrapped up more than two thousand years before. It was planted, was rained and dewed upon, the sun shone on it again, and the root grew, and budded, bursting forth and blooming into a beauteous dahlia !

4. Take a drop of water, and examine it with the microscope. Lo! it is swarming with diving creatures. Within life exists other life, until it recedes before the powers of human vision. The parasitic animalcule, which preys upon or within the body of a larger ani mal, is itself preyed upon by parasites peculiar to itself. Each of these monads is endowed with its appropriate organs, possesses spontaneous power of motion, enjoys an independent vitality!

5. Here is a drop of stagnant water magnified six hundred times its original size. These living beings appear too close together to admit of the existence of a greater number; and yet science affirms that such a

drop contains forms of life which to whatever perfection microscopic power may attain-human perseverance will never accurately detect. A cubic inch of stagnant water is calculated to contain more than five hundred millions of living, active, and organized beings.

6. With lime and soda we may manufacture glass out of invisible animalcules. The hone, by which we give an edge to the razor and to mechanical tools, is composed of myriads of these little beings, in a petri. fied state. Yea, every grain of dust on which we set our feet may have been a living creature.

[graphic]

7. Here, then, we pause in our study of these minute beings. We call them minute; but before the eye of Omnipotence all such distinctions vanish. The small and the weak are regarded by Him with the same benignity as the massive and the mighty. We, therefore, have the most powerful inducement to the exercise of an implicit confidence in Him, who not only caused the mountains to rise, the seas to flow, and the planets to revolve in their orbits, but has also created, with various animal functions, points of life far beyond the reach of our unassisted vision, and provides for them their daily food.

CXXXII. – THE WINDS.

.

STRAIGHT, ad., directly.

CATA-RACT, n., a large waterfall. WHIRL'POOL, n., an eddy.

Avoid saying cataraks for cat'a-racts. The th in beneath is vocal as in breatha, nos aspirate as in breath.

Ye winds, ye unseen currents of the air,

Softly ye played a few brief hours ago ;
Ye bore the murmuring bee; ye tossed the hair

O'er maiden cheeks, that took a fresher glow;
Ye rolled the round white clouds through depths of blue; -
Ye shook from shaded flowers the lingering dew;
Before you the catalpa blossoms flew,-

Light blossoms, dropping on the grass like snow.

How are ye changed! Ye take the cataract's sound;

Ye take the whirlpool's fury and its might; The mountain shudders as ye sweep the ground;

The valley woods lie prone beneath your flight.

The clouds before you shoot like eagles past;
The homes of men are rocking in your blast;
Ye lift the roofs like autumn leaves, and cast,

Skyward, the whirling fragments out of sight.

The weary

fowls of heaven make wing in vain, To escape your wrath; ye seize and dash them dead. Against the earth ye drive the roaring rain;

The harvest field becomes a river's bed; And torrents tumble from the hills around; Plains turn to lakes, and villages are drowned, And wailing voices, mid the tempest's sound,

Rise, as the rushing waters swell and spread.

Ye dart upon the deep, and straight is heard
A wilder roar, and men grow pale, and

pray; Ye fling its floods around you, as a bird

Flings o'er his shivering plumes the fountain's spray. Seel to the breaking mast the sailor clings; Ye scoop the ocean to its briny springs, And take the mountain billow on your wings, And pile the wreck of navies round the bay.

W. C. BRYANT.

CXXXIII. - CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON.

Fos'TER, v. t., to cherish.

COM'PLI-CA-TED, a., entangled. Coun'cil, n., an assembly for consult- Con-SUM'MATE, a., com lete ; perfect. ation or advice.

RE-LIN'QUISH-MENT (-link'wish-), n., SAN'GUINE (sangʻgwin), a., ardent. the act of quitting. CON-SERVE', v. t., to preserve. STEAD'I-NESS, n.,

firmness. Avoid saying jined for joined; spile for spoil ; wust for worst; fust for first.

زر

1. How grateful the relief which the friend of mankind, the lover of virtue, experiences, when, turning from the contemplation of such a character as Napoleon, his eye rests upon the greatest man of our own or any age, — the only one upon whom an epithet, so thoughtlessly lavished by men, to foster the crimes of their worst enemies, may be innocently and justly bestowed !

2. This eminent person is presented to our observation, clothed in attributes as modest, as unpretending, as little calculated to strike or to astonish, as if he had passed unknown through some secluded region of private life. But he had a judgment sure and sound; a steadiness of mind which never suffered any passion, or even any feeling, to ruffle its calm; a strength of understanding which worked rather than forced its way through all obstacles, — removing or avoiding rather than overleaping them.

3. If these things, joined to the most absolute selfdenial, the most habitual and exclusive devotion to principle, can constitute a great character, without either quickness of apprehension, remarkable resources of information, or inventive powers, or any brilliant quality that might dazzle the vulgar, — then surely Washington was the greatest man that ever lived in this world, uninspired by divine wisdom, and unsustained by supernatural virtue.

4. His courage, whether in battle or in council, was as perfect as might be expected from this pure and steady temper of soul. A perfect just man, with a thoroughly firm resolution never to be misled by others, any more than to be by others overawed; never to be seduced or betrayed, or hurried away by his own weaknesses or self-delusions, any more than by other men's arts; nor ever to be disheartened by the most complicated difficulties, any more than to be spoilt on the giddy heights of fortune;- such was this great man.

5. Great he was, preëminently great, whether we regard him sustaining alone the whole weight of campaigns all but desperate, or gloriously terminating a just warfare by his resources and his courage; presiding over the jarring elements of his political council,

alike děaf to the storms of all extremes, or directing the formation of a new government for a great people, the first time that so vast an experiment had ever been tried by man; or, finally, retiring from the supreme power to which his virtue had raised him over the nation he had created, and whose destinies he had guided as long as his aid was required, - retiring with the veneration of all parties, of all nations, of all mankind, in order that the rights of men might be conserved, and that his example never might be appealed to by vulgar tyrants.

6. This is the consum'mate glory of Washington: a triumphant warrior where the most sanguine had a right to despair; a successful ruler in all the difficulties of a course wholly untried; but a warrior, whose sword only left its sheath when the first law of our nature commanded it to be drawn; and a ruler who, having tasted of supreme power, gently and unostentatiously desired that the cup might pass from him, nor would suffer more to wet his lips than the most solemn and sacred duty to his country and his God required!

7. To his latest breath did this great pātriot maintain the noble character of a captain the pātron of peace, and a statesman the friend of justice. Dying, he bequeathed to his heirs the sword which he had worn in the war for liberty, and charged them “never to take it from the scabbard but in self-defense, or in defense of their country and her freedom;" and commanded them that, “when it should thus be drawn, they should never sheathe it, nor ever give it up,

but prefer falling with it in their hands to the relinquishment thereof,” — words, the majesty and simple eloquence of which are not surpassed in the oratory of Athens and Rome.

8. It will be the duty of the historian and the sage,

« ZurückWeiter »