« НазадПродовжити »
That dear, old-fashioned, but delightful game,
Flirtation! which your worthy mother Madam Eve, as tradition gives her maiden name,
In Eden taught her willing pupil Adam, Before they “settled down,” in humdrum life, A henpecked husband, and a wilful wife.
Nay, do not look so scornful, dear!-you know
I love to see that lip thus proudly curled,
Than any other lip in this wide world, –
And so, though I'm determined not to be
The thousandth suppliant at your beauty's throne, Nor kneel my high and grave philosophy
To rest that pretty little foot upon,
I look upon you, as we look on flowers,
Rainbows, and clouds flushed by the sinking sun,
Which after all 's a very decent one —
These things of beauty are the smiles of God,
Like rays of starlight through the night-clouds, given To cheer and guide the wild and weary road
Tbat bears our faint steps trembling up to heaven; Of those pure rays as one shines oft the whitest, So of those smiles of God, thou art the brightest.
And now, dear K—, farewell — you see my paper
Will hold no more; upon my word, I hate To stop, but the dim flickering of my laper
Warns me the hour is getting rather late; And though it's hard to quit so sweet a theme, I dare say I'll resume it in my dream.
Farewell, and may you ever be as now,
Blessing and bless'd, in that pure guilelessness And the bright sky now o'er you never know
One cloud the more — your path one flower the less! For amidst all, that pathway that may strew, There is not another half so sweet as you!
THE LAST OF THE SACRED ARMY.
BY WALTER WHITMAN.
The memory of the WARRIORS of our FREEDOM ! — let us guard it with a holy care. Let the mighty pulse which throbs responsive in a nation's heart at utterance of that nation's names of glory, never lie languid when their deeds are told or their example cited. To him of the Calm Gray Eye, selected by the Leader of the Ranks of Heaven as the instrument for a people's redemption ; - to him, the bright and brave, who fell in the attack at Breed's; -- to him, the nimble-footed soldier of the swamps of Santee;
to the young stranger from the luxuries of his native France; to all who fought in that long weary fight for disenthralment from arbitrary rule — may our star fade, and our good angel smile upon us no more, if we fail to chamber them in our hearts, or forget the method of their dear-won honor!
For the fame of these is not as the fame of common heroes. The mere gaining of battles — the chasing away of an opposing force- wielding the great energies of bodies of military rising proudly amid the smoke and din of the fight – and marching the haughty march of a conqueror, -- all this, spirit-stirring as it may be to the world, would fail to command the applause of the just and discriminating. But such is not the base whereon American warriors found their title to renown.
Our storied names are those of the Soldiers of Liberty; hardy souls, incased in hardy bodies -untainted with the effeminacy of voluptuous cities, patient, enduring much for principle's sake, and wending on through blood, disease, destitution, and prospects of gloom, lo attain the Great Treasure.
Years have passed; the sword-clash and the thundering of the guns have died away; and all personal knowledge of those events
- of the fierce incentives to hate, and the wounds, and scorn, and the curses from the injured, and the wailings from the prisons — lives now but in the memory of a few score gray-haired men; whose number is, season after season, made thinner and thinner by death. Haply, long, long will be the period ere our beloved country shall witness the presence of such or similar scenes again. Haply, too, the time is arriving when War, with all its train of sanguinary horrors, will be a discarded custom among the nations of earth. A newer and better philosophy — teaching how evil it is to hew down and slay ranks of fellow-men, because of some disagreement between their respective rulers — is melt
ing away old prejudices upon this subject, as warmth in spring melts the frigid ground.
The lover of his race - did he not, looking abroad in the world, see millions whose swelling hearts are all crushed into the dust beneath the iron heel of oppression ; did he not be. hold how kingcraft and priestcraft stalk abroad over fair portions of the globe, and forge the chain, and rivet the yoke; and did he not feel that it were better to live in one flaming atmosphere of carnage than slavishly thus -- would offer up nightly prayers that this new philosophy might prevail to the utmost, and the reign of peace never more be disturbed among mankind.
On one of the anniversaries of our national independence, I was staying at the house of an old farmer, about a mile from a thriving country town, whose inhabitants were keeping up the spirit of the occasion with great fervor. The old man himself was a thumping patriot. Early in the morning, my slumbers had been broken by the sharp crack of his ancient musket, (I looked upon that musket with reverence, for it had seen service in the war,) firing salutes in honor of the day. I am free to confess, my military propensities were far from strong enough (appropriate as they might have been considered at such a time) to suppress certain peevish exclamations toward the disturber of my sweet repose. In the course of the forenoon, I attended the ceremonials observed in the village ; sat, during the usual patriotic address, on the same bench with a time-worn veteran that had fought in the contest now commemorated ; witnessed the evolutions of the uniform company; and returned home with a most excellent appetite for my dinner.
. The afternoon was warm and drowsy. I ensconced myself in my easy-chair, ncar an open window ; feeling in that most blissful state of semi-somnolency, which it is now and then, though rarely, given to mortals to enjoy. I was alone, the family of my host having gone on some visit to a neighbor. The bees huinmed in the garden, and among the flowers that clustered over the window frame; a sleepy influence seemed to imbue everything around; occasionally the faint sound of some random gun-fire from the village would float along, or the just perceptible music of the band, or the tra-a-a-ra of a locust.
But these were far from being jars to the quiet spirit I have mentioned.
Insensibly, my consciousness became less and less distinct ; my head leaned back; my eyes closed; and my senses relaxed from their waking vigilance. I slept.
How strange a chaos is sometimes the outset to a dream!—There was the pulpit of the rude church, the scene of
the oration-and in it a grotesque form whom I had noticed as the drummer in the band, beating away as though calling scattered forces to the rescue. Then the speaker of the day pitched coppers with some unshorn hostler boys; and the grave personage who had opened the services with prayer, was half stripped and running a foot-race with a tavern loafer. The places and the persons familiar to my morning excursion about the country town, appeared as in life ; but in situations all fantastic and out of the way.
After a while, what I beheld began to reduce itself to more method. With the singular characteristic of dreams, I knew-I could not tell how-that thirty years elapsed from the then time, and I was among a new generation. Beings by me never seen before, and some with shrivelled forms, bearing an odd resemblance to men whom I had known in the bloom of manhood, met my eyes.
Methought I stood in a splendid city. It seemed a gala day. Crowds of people were swiftly wending along the streets and walks, as if to behold some great spectacle or famous leader.
“Whither do the people go ?” said I to a Shape who passed me, hurrying on with the rest.
“Know you not,” answered he, “that the Last of the Sacred Army may be seen to-day ?"
And he hastened forward, apparently fearful lest he might be late.
Among the dense ranks, I noticed many women, some of them with infants in their arms. Then there were boys, beautiful creatures, struggling on, with a more intense desire even than
And as I looked up, I saw at some distance, coming toward the place where I stood, a troop of young females, the foremost one bearing a wreath of fresh flowers. The crowd pulled and pushed so violently, that this party of girls were sundered from one another, and she who carried the wreath being jostled, her flowers were trampled to the ground.
“0, hapless me!" cried the child; and she began to weep.
At that moment, her companions came up; and they looked frowningly when they saw the wreath torn.
“Do not grieve, gentle one,” said I to the weeping child. “And you," turning to the others, “ blame her not. There bloom more flowers, as fair and fragrant as those which lie rent beneath
“No,” said one of the little troop, “it is now too late."
“For whom did you intend the wreath ?” continued I.
“Heard you not,” rejoined one of them, “that to-day may be seen the Last of His Witnesses? We were on our way to present this lovely wreath—and she who should give it, was to say, that fresh and sweet, like it, would ever be His memory in the souls of us, and of our countrymen."
And the children walked on.
Yielding myself passively to the sway of the current, which yet continued to flow in one huge buman stream, I was carried through street after street, and along many a stately passage, the sides of which were lined by palace-like houses. After a time, we came to a large open square, which seemed to be the destination for there the people stopped. At the further end of this square stood a magnificent building, evidently intended for public purposes; and in front of it a wide marble elevation, half platform and half porch. Upon this elevation were a great many persons,
all of them in standing postures, except one, an aged, very aged man, seated in a throne-like chair. His figure and face showed him to be of a length of years seldom vouchsafed to his kind; and his head was thinly covered with hair of a silvery whiteness.
Now, near me stood one whom I knew to be a learned philosopher; and to him I addressed myself for an explanation of these wonderful things.
“Tell me," said I, “who is the ancient being seated on yonder platform.”
The person to whom I spoke stared in my face surprisedly.
“Are you of this land,” said he, “and have not heard of him -the Last of the Sacred Army ?"
"I am ignorant," answered I, "of whom you speak, or of what Army."
The philosopher stared a second time; but soon, when I assured him I was not jesting, he began telling me of former times, and how it came to be that this white-haired remnant of a past age was the object of so much honor. Nor was the story new to meas may it never be to any son of America.
We edged our way close to the platform. Immediately around the seat of the ancient soldier stood many noble-looking gentlemen, evidently of dignified character and exalted station. As I came near, I heard them mention a name—that name which is dearest to our memories as patriots.
“And you saw the Chief with your own eyes ?" said one of the gentlemen.
"I did,” answered the old warrior.