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And Winter barricades the realms of Frost;
42. OUR DUTIES TO THE REPUBLIC.-Judge Story. Born, 1779 ; died, 1845.
The Old World has already revealed to us, in its unsealed books, the beginning and end of all its own marvellous struggles in the cause of liberty, Greece, lovely Greece,
“ The land of scholars and the nurse of arms,” where Sister Republics, in fair procession, chanted the praises of liberty and the Gods, — where and what is she? For two thousand years the oppressor has ground her to the earth. Her arts are no more. The last sad relics of her temples are but the barracks of a ruthless soldiery. The fragments of her columns and her palaces are in the dust, yet beautiful in ruins. She fell not when the mighty were upon her. Her sons were united at Thermopyla and Marathon ; and the tide of her triumph rolled back upon the Hellespont. She was conquered by her own factions. She fell by the hands of her own People. The man of Macedonia did not the work of destruction. It was already done, by her own corruptions, banishments, and dissensions. Rome, republican Rome, whose eagles glanced in the rising and setting sun,
where and what is she? The eternal city yet remains, proud even in her desolation, noble in her decline, venerable in the majesty of religion, and calm as in the composure of death. The malaria has but travelled in the paths worn by her destroyers. More than eighteen centuries have mourned over the loss of her empire. A mortal disease was upon her vitals before Cæsar had crossed the Rubicon; and Brutus did not restore her health by the deep probings of the Senate-chamber. The Goths, and Vandals, and Huns, the swarms of the North, completed only what was already begun at home. Romans betrayed Rome. The Legions were bought and sold ; but the People offered the tribute money,
We stand the latest, and, if we fail, probably the last experiment of self-government by the People. We have begun it under circumstances of the most auspicious nature. We are in the vigor of youth. Our growth has never been checked by the oppressions of tyranny. Our constitutions have never been enfeebled by the vices or luxuries of the Old World. Such as we are, we have been from the beginning, — simple, hardy, intelligent, accustomed to self-government, and to self-respect. The Atlantic rolls between us and any formidable foe. Within our own territory, stretching through many degrees of latitude and longitude, we have the choice of many products, and many means of independence. The Government is mild. The Press is free. Religion is free. Knowledge reaches, or may reach, every home. What fairer prospect of success could be presented ? What means more adequate to accomplish the sublime end? What more is necessary than for the People to preserve what they have themselves created ? Already has the age caught the spirit of our institutions. It has already ascended the Andes, and snuffed the breezes of both oceans. It has infused itself into the life-blood of Europe, and warmed the sunny plains of France and the low lands of Holland. It has touched the philosophy of Germany and the North ; and, moving onward to the South, has opened to Greece the lessons of her better days. Can it be that America, under such circumstances, can betray herself? Can it be that she is to be added to the catalogue of Republics, the inscription upon whose ruins is : THEY WERE, BUT THEY ARE NOT ? Forbid it, my countrymen! Forbid it, Heaven!
43. LOVE OF COUNTRY AND HOME. - James Montgomery.
There is a land, of every land the pride,
On Greenland's rocks, o'er rude Kamschatka's plains,
Plucks from their jaws the stricken whale, in vain
O'er China's garden-fields and peopled floods,
gay borders of Bermuda's isles,
44. NATURE A HARD CREDITOR. — Thomas Carlyle. NATURE admits no lie. Most men profess to be aware of this, but few in any measure lay it to heart. Except in the departments of mere material manipulation, it seems to be taken practically as if this grand truth were merely a polite flourish of rhetoric. Nature keeps silently a most exact Savings-bank and official register, correct to the most evanescent item, Debtor and Creditor, in respect to one and all of us; silently marks down, Creditor by such and such an unseen act of veracity and heroism ; Debtor to such a loud, blustery blunder, twenty-seven million strong or one unit strong, and to all acts and words and thoughts executed in consequence of that, — Debtor, Debtor, Debtor, day after day, rigorously as Fate (for this is Fate that is writing); and at the end of the account you will have it all to pay, my friend; — there is the rub! Not the infinitesimallest fraction of a farthing but will be found marked there, for you and against you ; and with the due rate of interest you will have to pay it, neatly, completely, as sure as you are alive.
You will have to pay it even in money, if you live : and, poor slave, do you think there is no payment but in money? There is a payment which Nature rigorously exacts of men, and also of Nations, — and this I think when her wrath is sternest, in the shape of dooming you to possess money :— to possess it; to have your bloated vanities fostered into monstrosity by it; your foul passions blown into explosion by it; your heart, and, perhaps, your very stomach, ruined with intoxication by it; your poor life, and all its manful activities, sturned into frenzy and comatose sleep by it;- in one word, as the old Prophets said, your soul forever lost by it : your soul, so that, through the Eternities, you
shall have no soul, or manful trace of ever having had a soul; but only, for certain fleeting moments, shall have had a money-bag, and have given soul and heart, and (frightfuller still) stomach itself, in fatal exchange for the same. You wretched mortal, stumbling about in a God's Temple, and thinking it a brutal Cookeryshop! Nature, when her scorn of a slave is divinest, and blazes like the blinding lightning against his slavehood, often enough flings him a bag of money, silently saying: “That! Away; thy doom is that!'
45. TIME'S MIDNIGHT VOICE. – Edward Young. Born, 1681 ; died, 1765.
CREATION sleeps. 'Tis as the general pulse
The bell strikes one. We take no note of time,
alarmed, and o'er life's narrow verge
How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
Though sullied, and dishonored, still divine !
46. THE COMMON LOT. - James Montgomery. ONCE, in the flight of ages past,
There lived a man; and Who was He ? Mortal! howe'er thy lot be cast,
That Man resembled Thee. Unknown the region of his birth,
The land in which he died unknown:
This truth survives alone :
Alternate triumphed in his breast;
a smile, a tear! Oblivion hides the rest. The bounding pulse, the languid limb,
The changing spirit's rise and fall;
For these are felt by all.
Enjoyed, - but his delights are fled;
And foes, — his foes are dead.
Hath lost in its unconscious womb:
Her beauty from the tomb.
Encountered all that troubles thee:
He is — what thou shalt be.