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and justice, are even more necessary than theirs to the good order, virtue, and happiness of society? It is time that editors themselves, and that those who are accustomed to be affected by their counsels and judgments, should recognise the momentous responsibilities that hang upon their power. It is time that they perceive the elevation and might of their position. It is time that the former be prepared to throw aside the littleness and the baseness which they have too often indulged, and that the latter require a manlier and worthier performance than they have too often failed to exact. We cannot conceive of a more desirable life, than that of a pure, high-minded, amiable Christian editor, nor of a more virtuous, prosperous, and noble community, than one whose public agents shall reflect the unbending integrity, the spotless honors, and the wise benignity of their principals.

Let us add a sentence or two in the conclusion of this matter. We have spoken freely of the present condition of the press: we have spoken with equal freedom of what it might become. It is with no spirit of uncharitableness that we have pointed to its failings it is with a spirit of benevolence and hope that we have indicated its duty. We are sorry that some of our strictures are deserved, but we are glad to know that instances exist in which they are unjust. It gives us pleasure to acknowledge that within the last few years its character has greatly improved. Were it not invidious, we could show prints, which to the best of their ability have striven to realize the ideal which we have depicted. We could refer to a Bryant,-whom as a man and a poet we revere,-surrendering the applause that the world would willingly render to his great poetic talent and individual character, to become an example of the true, accomplished, unyielding editor ;—to a Brownson, who prefers the name of a candid, fearless writer, to the soft indulgences of clerical supremacy ;-and to some others, still young and obscure, to whom the emoluments and honors of professional and political distinction have no blandishments, in comparison with those of becoming, as journalists, upright advocates of all that is good. But our object is not personal. We have wished to rescue Journalism from its infidelity to itself, and from the indifference and contempt of the public. We have wished to assert its claims, to vindicate its dignity, to exhort it to its duty.

We rejoice to notice that young men of education and talent, who have been accustomed to crowd the professions of law, medicine, and theology, are many of them directing their energies to the business of editorship and popular instruction. One of the best signs of the times is the growing demand for newspapers,

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cheap books, and literary and scientific lectures. It is a sign that the love of knowledge is spreading through all classes; that the treasures of philosophy and poetry are no longer to be shut up in rare caskets, to be the possession of the few; that the general mind, too long satisfied with low and sensual delights, is seeking for higher aliment. The mass of men are availing themselves of the means of improvement which a condition of freedom furnishes, and call for an increased number of instructers and guides. Many who are competent to the task, are answering the call. Already they constitute a considerable body. They are marching forward to scatter the seeds of good or evil. It is important that their movement take a right direction. Momentous consequences hang upon their action. If they are true to the cause of liberty, refinement, and progress, they can accomplish a world of good. If they are animated by the right spirit, they can give a tremendous impulse to the onward march of society. But if they fail, if they disregard their high responsibilities, deep and damning will be their guilt.

THE TOMB-BLOSSOMS.

BY WALTER WHITMAN.

A PLEASANT, fair-sized country village,-a village embosomed in trees, with old churches, one tavern, kept by a respectable widow, long, single-storied farm-houses, their roofs mossy, and their chimneys smoke black, a village with much grass, and shrubbery, and no mortar, nor bricks, nor pavements, nor gas-no newness that is the place for him who wishes life in its flavor and its bloom. Until of late, my residence has been in such a place.

Man of cities! what is there in all your boasted pleasureyour fashions, parties, balls, and theatres, compared to the simplest of the delights we country folk enjoy? Our pure air, making the blood swell and leap with buoyant health; our labor and our exercise; our freedom from the sickly vices that taint the town; our not being racked with notes due, or the fluctuations of prices, or the breaking of banks; our manners of sociality, expanding the heart, and reacting with a wholesome effect upon the body;—can anything which citizens possess balance these?

One Saturday, after paying a few days visit at New York, I returned to my quarters in the country inn. The day was hot, and my journey a disagreeable one. I had been forced to stir myself beyond comfort, and despatch my affairs quickly, for fear of being left by the cars. As it was, I arrived panting and covered with sweat, just as they were about to start. Then for many miles I had to bear the annoyance of the steam-engine smoke; and it seemed to me that the vehicles kept swaying to and fro on the track, with a more than usual motion, on purpose to distress my jaded limbs. Out of humor with myself and everything around me, when I came to my travel's end, I refused to partake of the comfortable supper which my landlady had prepared for me; and rejoining to the good woman's look of wonder at such an unwonted event, and her kind inquiries about my health, with a sullen silence, I took my lamp, and went my way to my room. Tired and head-throbbing, in less than half a score of minutes after I threw myself on my bed, I was steeped in the soundest slumber.

When I awoke, every vein and nerve felt fresh and free. Soreness and irritation had been swept away, as it were, with the curtains of the night; and the accustomed tone had returned again. I arose and threw open my window. Delicious! It was a calm, bright Sabbath morning in May. The dew-drops glittered on the grass; the fragrance of the apple-blossoms which covered the trees floated up to me; and the notes of a hundred birds discoursed music to my ear. By the rays just shooting up in the eastern verge, I knew that the sun would be risen in a moment. I hastily dressed myself, performed my ablutions, and sallied forth to take a morning walk.

Sweet, yet sleepy scene! No one seemed stirring. The placid influence of the day was even now spread around, quieting everything, and hallowing everything. I sauntered slowly onward, with my hands folded behind me. I passed round the edge of a hill, on the rising elevation and top of which was the burialground. On my left, through an opening in the trees, I could see at some distance the ripples of our beautiful bay; on my right, was the large and ancient field for the dead. I stopped and leaned my back against the fence, with my face turned toward the white marble stones a few rods before me. All I saw was far from new to me; and yet I pondered upon it. The entrance to that place of tombs was a kind of arch-a rough-hewn but no doubt hardy piece of architecture, that had stood winter and summer over the gate there, for many, many years. O, fearful arch! if there were for thee a voice to utter what has passed beneath and near thee; if the secrets of the earthy dwelling that to thee

are known could be by thee disclosed-whose ear might listen to the appalling story and its possessor not go mad with terror!

Thus thought I; and strangely enough, such imagining marred not in the least the sunny brightness which spread alike over my mind and over the landscape. Involuntarily as I mused, my look was cast to the top of the hill. I saw a figure moving. Could some one beside myself be out so early, and among the tombs ?— What creature odd enough in fancy to find pleasure there, and at such a time? Continuing my gaze, I saw that the figure was a woman. She seemed to move with a slow and feeble step, passing and repassing constantly between two and the same graves, which were within half a rod of each other. She would bend down and appear to busy herself a few moments with the one; then she would rise, and go to the second, and bend there, and employ herself as at the first. Then to the former one, and then to the second again. Occasionally the figure would pause a moment, and stand back a little, and look steadfastly down upon the graves, as if to see whether her work were done well. Thrice I saw her walk with a tottering gait, and stand midway between the two, and look alternately at each. Then she would go to one and arrange something, and come back to the midway place, and gaze first on the right and then on the left, as before. The figure evidently had some trouble in suiting things to her mind. Where I stood, I could hear no noise of her footfalls; nor could I see accurately enough to tell what she was doing. Had a superstitious man beheld the spectacle, he would possibly have thought that some spirit of the dead, allowed the night before to burst its cerements, and wander forth in the darkness, had been belated in returning, and was now perplexed to find its coffin-house again.

Curious to know what was the woman's employment, I undid the simple fastenings of the gate, and walked over the rank wet grass toward her. As I came near, I recognised her for an old, a very old inmate of the poor-house, named Delaree. Stopping a moment, while I was yet several yards from her, and before she saw me, I tried to call to recollection certain particulars of her history which I had heard a great while past. She was a native of one of the West India islands, and, before I who gazed at her was born, had with her husband come hither to settle and gain a livelihood. They were poor; most miserably poor. Country people, I have noticed, seldom like foreigners. So this man and his wife, in all probability, met much to discourage them. They kept up their spirits, however, until at last their fortunes became desperate. Famine and want laid iron fingers upon them. They had no acquaintance; and to beg they were ashamed. Both

were taken ill; then the charity that had been so slack came to their destitute abode, but came too late. Delaree died, the victim of poverty. The woman recovered, after a while; but for many months was quite an invalid, and was sent to the almshouse, where she had ever since remained.

This was the story of the aged creature before me; aged with the weight of seventy winters. I walked up to her. By her feet stood a large rude basket, in which I beheld leaves and buds. The two graves which I had seen her passing between so often were covered with flowers -the earliest but sweetest flowers of

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the season. They were fresh, and wet, and very fragrant — those delicate soul-offerings. And this, then, was her employment. Strange! Flowers, frail and passing, grasped by the hand of age, and scattered upon a tomb! White hairs, and pale blossoms, and stone tablets of Death!

"Good morning, mistress," said I, quietly.

The withered female turned her eyes to mine, and acknowledged my greeting in the same spirit wherewith it was given. "May I ask whose graves they are that you remember so kindly?"

She looked up again; probably catching, from my manner, that I spoke in no spirit of rude inquisitiveness; and answered,

"My husband's."

A manifestation of a fanciful taste, thought I, this tomb-ornamenting, which she probably brought with her from abroad. Of course, but one of the graves could be her husband's; and one, likely, was that of a child, who had died and been laid away by its father.

"Whose else ?" I asked.

"My husband's," replied the aged widow.

Poor creature! her faculties were becoming dim. No doubt her sorrows and her length of life had worn both mind and body nearly to the parting.

"Yes, I know," continued I, mildly; "but there are two graves. One is your husband's, and the other is"

I paused for her to fill the blank.

She looked at me a minute, as if in wonder at my perverseness; and then answered as before,

"My husband's. None but my Gilbert's."

"And is Gilbert buried in both?" said I.

She appeared as if going to answer, but stopped again, and did not. Though my curiosity was now somewhat excited, I forbore to question her further, feeling that it might be to her a painful subject. I was wrong, however. She had been rather VOL. X., No. XLIII.—9

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