In December, 1776, our circumstances being much distressed, it was proposed in the house of delegates to create a dictator, invested with every power legislative, executive, and judiciary, civil and military, of life and of death , over our persons and over our properties; and in June 1781, again under calamity, the same proposition was repeated, and wanted a few votes only of being passed.--One who entered into this contest from a pure love of liberty (himself) and a sense of injured rights, who determined to make every sacrifice, and to meet every danger for the re-establishment of those rights on a firm basis, who did not mean to expend his blood and substance for the wretched purpose of changing this master for that, but to place the powers of governing him in a plurality of hands in his own choice, so that the corrupt will of no one man might in future oppress him, must stand confounded and dismayed when he is told that a considerable portion of that plurality had meditated the surrender of them into a single hand, and, in lieu of a limited monarch, to deliver him over to a despotic one! How must he find his efforts and sacrifices abused and baffled, if he may still, by a single vote, be laid prostrate at the feet of one man. In God's name, from whence have they derived this power? Is it from our ancient laws?
Was it from the necessity of the case? Necessities which dissolve a government, do not convey its authority to an oligarchy or a monarchy. They throw back into the hands of the people.
The political economists of Europe have established it as a principle that every state should endeavor to make manufacture for itself; and this principle, like many others, we transfer to America, without calculating the difference of result. In Europe the lands are either cultivated, or locked up against the cultivator. Manufacture must therefore be resorted to of necessity not of choice, to support the surplus of the people. But we have an immensity of land courting the industry of the husbandman (craftsmanship). Is it best then that all our citizens should be employed in its improvement, or that one half should be called off from that to exercise manufactures and handicraft art for the other? Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example. It is the mark set on those, who not looking up to heaven, to their own soil and industry, as does the husbandman, for their subsistence, depend for it on the casualties and caprice of customers. Dependence begets subservience venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. The latent causes of faction are thus shown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for preeminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good. So strong is the propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite the most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me other than human inventions, set up to terrify an enslaved mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.
It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to the things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. He takes up the trade of a priest for the sake of gain, and, in order to qualify himself for that trade, he begins with a perjury. Can we conceive anything more destructive to morality than this?
Soon after I had published the pamphlet Common Sense, in America, I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion.
Not content with this deification of Satan, they represent him as defeating by stratagem, in the shape of an animal of the creation, all the power and wisdom of the Almighty. They represent him as having compelled the Almighty to the direct necessity either of surrendering the whole of the creation to the government and sovereignty of this Satan, or of capitulating for its redemption by coming down upon earth, and exhibiting himself upon a cross in the shape of a man.Had the inventors of this story told it the contrary way, that is, had they represented the Almighty as compelling Satan to exhibit himself on the cross in the shape of a snake, as a punishment for his new transgression, the story would have been less absurd, less contradictory. But, instead of this they make the transgressor triumph, and the Almighty fall.
That many good men have believed this strange fable and lived very good lives under that belief is what I have no doubt of. In the first place, they were educated to believe it, and they would have believed anything else in the same manner. There are also many who have been so enthusiastically enraptured by what they conceived to be the infinite love of God to man, in making a sacrifice of himself, that the vehemence of the idea has forbidden and deterred them from examining into the absurdity and profaneness of the story. The more unnatural anything is, the more is it capable of becoming the object of dismal admiration.
Since, then, no external evidence can, at this long distance of time, be produced to prove whether the church fabricated the doctrine called redemption or not, the case can only be referred to the internal evidence which the thing carries of itself; and this affords a very strong presumption of its being a fabrication. For the internal evidence is, that the theory or doctrine of redemption has for its basis an idea of pecuniary justice, and not that of moral justice.
If I owe a person money, and cannot pay him, and he threatens to put me in prison, another person can take the dept upon himself, and pay it for me. But if I have committed a crime, every circumstance of the case is changed. Moral justice cannot take the innocent for the guilty even if the innocent would offer itself. To suppose justice to do this, is to destroy the principle of its existence, which is the thing itself. It is then no longer justice, It is indiscriminate revenge.
the probability is that the same persons fabricated both the one and the other of those theories; and that, in truth, there is no such thing as redemption; that it is fabulous; and that man stands in the same relative condition with his Maker he ever did stand, since man existed; and that it is the highest consolation to think so.
Let him believe this, and he will live more consistently and morally, than by any other system. It is by his being taught to contemplate himself as an out-law, as an outcast, as a beggar, as a mumper, as one thrown as it were on a dunghill, at an immediate distance from his Creator, and who must make his approaches by creeping, and cringing onto intermediate beings, that he conceives either a contemptuous disregard for everything under the name of religion, or becomes indifferent, or turns what he calls devout. In the latter case, he consumes his life in grief, or the affectation of it. His prayers are reproaches. His humility is ingratitude. He calls himself a worm, and the fertile earth a dunghill; and all the blessings of life by the thankless name of vanities.
My father being of the Quaker profession, it was my good fortune to have an exceedingly moral education and a tolerable stock of useful learning. Though I went to grammar school, I did not learn Latin..
I had no disposition for what was called politics. When therefore I turned my thoughts towards matters of government, I had to form a system for myself...It appeared to me that unless Americans changed the plan they were then pursuing, with respect to the government of England, and declared themselves independent, they would not only involve themselves in a multiplicity of new difficulties, but shut out the prospect that was then offering itself to mankind through their means. It was from these motives that I published the work known by the name of Common Sense, which is the first work I ever did publish, so far as I can judge for myself, I believe I should never have known in the world as an author on any subject whatever, had it not been for the affairs of America.
Any person who has made observations on the state and progress of the human mind, by observing his own, cannot but have observed, that there are two distinct classes of what are called thoughts; those that we produce in ourselves by reflection and the act of thinking, and those that bolt into the mind of their own accord. I have always made it a rule to treat those voluntary visitors with civility, taking care to examine, as well as I was able, if they were worth entertaining; and it is from them I have acquired almost all the knowledge that I have. As to the learning that any person gains from school education, it serves only like a small capital, to put him in the way of beginning learning for himself. Every person of learning is finally his own teacher; the reason of which is, that principles, being of a distinct quality to circumstances, cannot be impressed upon the memory; their place of mental residence is the understanding...(read entire 64-65) Ere yet the Briton left our happy shore,
Or war's alarming clarion ceas'd to roar,
What time the morn illum'd her purple flame,
Thro' air's dread wilds the prince of darkness came.
A cloud his gloomy car; his path around, .
Attendant whirlwinds gave a fearful sound,
Before him dragons wound their bloody spires;
Far shot behind him death's Tartarean fires:
To image heaven's high state, he proudly rode,
Nor seem'd he less than hell's terrific God. .
While, full before him, dress'd in beauteous day,
The realms of freedom, peace, and virtue lay;
The realms, where heav'n, ere Time's great empire fall,
Shall bid new Edens dress this dreary ball;
He frown'd; the world grew dark; the mountains shook, .
And nature shudder'd as the spirit spoke.
My Goths, my Huns, the cultur'd world o'er-ran,
And darkness buried all the pride of man.
On dozing realms he pour'd his vengeance dread,
On putrid bishops, and on priests half dead,
Blotted, at one great stroke, the work he drew,
And saw his gospel bid mankind adieu.
The happy hour I seiz'd; the world my own:
Full in his church I fix'd my glorious throne;
Thrice crown'd, I fate a God, and more than God; .
Bade all earth's nations shiver at my nod;
Dispens'd to men the code of Satan' laws,
And made my priests the columns of my cause.
In their bless'd hands the gospel I conceal'd,
And new-found doctrines, in it's stead, reveal'd; .
Of gloomy visions drew a fearful round,
Names of dire look, and words of killing sound,
Where, meaning lost, terrific doctrines lay,
Maz'd the dim soul, and frighten'd truth away;
Where noise for truth, for virtue pomp was given, .
Myself the God promulg'd, and hell the heaven.
To this bless'd scheme I forc'd the struggling mind; sense her light resigned;
Before rebellious conscience clank'd the chain
These ills to ward I train'd my arts anew;
O'er truths fair form the webs of sophism drew;
Virtue new chill'd, in growing beauties gay,
Wither'd her bloom, and puff'd her sweets away. .
Against her friends I arm'd new bands of foes;
First, highest, all-subduing Fashion rose.
From courts to cottages, her sovereign sway,
With force resistless, bade the world obey.
She moulded faith, and science, with a nod;
Now there was not, and now there was, a God.
"Let black be white," she said, and white it seem'd,
"Hume a philosopher;" and straight he dream'd
Most philosophically. At her call, .
Opinions, doctrines, learn'd to rise, and fall;
Before her, bent the universal knee,
And own'd her sovereign, to the praise of me.
With her, brave Ridicule,
Myself in miniature! to heaven aspir'd
For fame, his heaven, thro' falshood's realms he ran,
And wish'd, and watch'd, and toil'd, and hop'd, in vain,
Misread, miswrote, misquoted, misapplied, .
Yet fail'd of fame, and miss'd the skies, beside.
In views, in pride, in fate, conjoin'd with me,
Even Satan's self shall drop a tear for thee.
My leaders these; yet Satan boasts his subs,
Mean time my friends, the veterans of my cause,
Rack'd every nerve, and gain'd all hell's applause,
Thro' realms of cheat and doubt, and darkness, ran,
New-made creation, uncreated man,
Taught, and retaught, asserted and denied, .
As pamper'd pleasure, or as bolster'd pride.
Now, groping man in death's dim darkness trod,
Now, all things kenn'd, with eyelids of a god.
Now, miracles, not God himself could spell;
Now, every monk could grunt them from his cell. .
Priests now were dullest, last, of mortal things;
Now outslew Satan's self, on cunning's wings.
No system here, of truth, to man is given;
There my own doctrines speak the voice of heaven;
While God, with smiling eyes, alike surveys
The pagan mysteries, and the christian praise.
While here on earth no virtuous man was found, .
There saints, like pismires, swarm'd the molehill round;
Like maggots, crawl'd Caffraria's entrail'd forts;
Or mushroom'd o'er Europa's putrid courts;
To deist clubs familiar dar'd retire,
Or howl'd, and powaw'd, round the Indian fire,
Such feats my sons atchiev'd, such honors won;
The shores, the blocking, of th' infernal throne!
And tho' yon haughty world their worth deny, .
Their names shall glitter in the nether sky.
But ah their wisdom, wit, and toils were vain,
A balm first soothing, then increasing pain.
Thro' nature's fields while cloud-borne Bacon ran,
Doubtful his mind, an angel, or a man;
While high-soul'd Newton, wing'd by Heaven abroad, .
Explain'd alike the works, and word, of God;
While patient Locke illum'd with newborn ray,
The path of reason, and the laws of sway;
While Berkley, bursting like the morning sun,
Look'd round all parching from his lofty throne, .
In all events, and in all beings shew'd
The present, living, acting, speaking God,
Myself in miniature! to heaven aspired
For fame, his heaven, thro falsehood's realms he ran,
And wished and watched, and toiled, and hoped in vain ,
Misread, miswrote, misquoted, misapplied,
Yet failed of fame and missed the skies beside.
In views, in pride, in fate, conjoined with me,
Even Satan's self will drop a tear for thee
My leaders these; yet Satan boasts his subs
I found my best Amanuensis, Hume
And fir'd the labors of the gay Voltaire.
He, light and gay, o'er learning's surface flew,
And prov'd all things at option, false or true.
Mean time, less open friends my cause sustain'd,
More smoothly tempted and more silly gain'd;
Taught easier ways to climb the bright abode;
Less pure made virtue, and less perfect God;
Less guilty vice, the atonement less divine,
And pav'd, with peace and joy, the way to sin.
While thus by art and perseverance won,
Again the old world seem'd almost my own. .
In this wild waste, where Albion's lights revive,
New dangers threaten and new evils live.
Here a dread race, my sturdiest foes design'd,
Patient of toil, of firm and vigorous mind,
Pinion'd with bold research to truth's far coast, .
By storms undaunted, nor in oceans lost,
With dire invasion, error's realm assail,
And all my hardy friends before them fail.
But my chief bane, my apostolic foe,
In life, in labours, source of every woe,
From scenes obscure, did heaven his -- call,
That moral Newton, and that second Paul.
He, in clear view, saw sacred systems roll, .
Of reasoning worlds, around their central soul;
Saw love attractive every system bind,
The parent linking to each filial mind;
The end of heaven's high works resistless shew'd,
Creating glory, and created good;
Twice fifteen suns are past, since C--'s mind,
Thro' doctrines deep, from common sense refin'd, .
I led, a nice, mysterious work to frame,
With love of system, and with lust of fame.
Fair in his hand the pleasing wonder grew,
Wrought with deep art, and stor'd with treasures new:
There the sweet sophism led the soul astray; .
There round to heaven soft bent the crooked way:
Saints, he confess'd, the shortest rout pursue;
But, scarce behind, my children follow too.
Even Satan's self ere long shall thither hie;
On cap, huzza! and thro' the door go I! .
Now palsied age has dimm'd his mental sight,
And now the morn arose; when o'er the plain
Gather'd, from every side, a numerous train;
To quell those fears, that rankled still within,
And gain new strength, and confidence, to sin.
There the half putrid Epicure was seen, .
His cheeks of port, and lips with turtle green,
Who hop'd a long eternity was given,
To spread good tables, in some eating heaven.
The leacher there his lurid visage shew'd,
The imp of darkness, and the foe of good; .
Who fled his lovely wife's most pure embrace,
To sate on hags, and breed a mongrel race;
A high-fed horse, for others wives who neigh'd;
A cur, who prowl'd around each quiet bed;
A snake, far spreading his impoison'd breath, .
And charming innocence to guilt, and death,
unus'd to wound
The sinners heart, with hell's alarming sound.
No terrors on his gentle tongue attend; .
No grating truths the nicest ear offend.
That strange new-birth, that methodistic grace,
Nor in his heart, nor sermons, found a place.
Plato's fine tales he clumsily retold,
Trite, fireside, moral seasaws, dull as old; .
His Christ, and bible, plac'd at good remove,
Guilt hell-deserving, and forgiving love.
'Twas best, he said, mankind should cease to sin;
Good fame requir'd it; so did peace within:
Their honours, well he knew, would ne'er be driven; .
But hop'd they still would please to go to heaven.
Each week, he paid his visitation dues;
Coax'd, jested, laugh'd; rehears'd the private news;
Smoak'd with each goody, thought her cheefe excell'd;
Her pipe he lighted, and her baby held.
Or plac'd in some great town, with lacquer'd shoes,
Trim wig, and trimmer gown, and glistening hose,
He bow'd, talk'd politics, learn'd manners mild; .
Most meekly questioned, and most smoothly smil'd;
At rich mens jests laugh'd loud their stories prais'd;
Their wives new patterns gaz'd, and gaz'd, and gaz'd;
Most daintily on pamper'd turkies din'd;
Nor shrunk with fasting, nor with study pin'd: .
Yet from their churches saw his brethren driven,
Who thunder'd truth,
Hell is no more, or no more to be fear'd. .
What tho' the Heavens, in words of flaming fire,
Disclose the vengeance of eternal ire,
Bid anguish o'er the unrepenting soul,
In waves succeeding waves, forever roll;
The strongest terms, each language knows, employ .
To teach us endless woe, and endless joy:
'Tis all a specious irony, design'd
A harmless trisling with the human kind:
Or, not to charge the sacred books with lies,
A wile most needful of the ingenious skies, .
On this bad earth their kingdom to maintain,
And curb the rebel, man: but all in vain.
First Origen, then Tillotson, then I
Learn'd their profoundest cunning to descry,
And shew'd this truth, tho' nicely cover'd o'er, .
That hell's broad path leads round to heavens door.
Our Tom has grown a sturdy boy;
His progress fills my heart with joy;
A steady soul that yields to rule,
And quite ingenious too, at school.
Our master says, (I'm sure he's right)
There's not a lad in town so bright.
He'll cypher bravely, write and read,
And say his catechism and creed,
And scorns to hesitate or falter
In Primer, spelling-book or Psalter.
Hard work indeed, he does not love it;
His genius is too much above it.
Give him a good substantial teacher,
I'll lay he'd make a special preacher.
I've loved good learning all my life;
We'll send the lad to college, wife.
Two years thus spent in gathering knowledge,
The lad sets forth t'unlade in college,
While down his sire and priest attend him,
To introduce and recommend him'
Or if detained, a letter's sent
Of much apocryphal content,
To set him forth, how dull soever,
As very learned and very clever;
A genius of the first emission,
With burning love for erudition ;
So studius he'll outwatch the moon
And think the planets set too soon.
He had but little time to fit in;
Examination too must frighten.
Depend upon he must do well,
He knows much more than he can tell;
Admit him and in little space
He'll beat his rivals in the race;
His father's incomes are but small,
He comes now, if he come at all.
So said, so done, at college now.
Now to some priest that's famed for teaching,
He goes to learn the art of preaching;
And settles down with earnest zeal
Sermons to study, and to steal.
Six months from all the world retires
To kindle up his covered fires....
At length, matured the grand design,
He stalks abroad, a grave divine.
Meanwhile, from every distant seat,
At stated time the clergy meet,
Our hero comes, his sermons reads,
Explains the doctrine of his creeds.
A license gains to preach and pray,
And makes his bow, and goes his way,
What though his wits could ne'er dispense
One page of grammar, or of sense;
What though his learning be so slight,
He scarcely knows to spell or write;
What though his skull be cudgel-proof!
He's orthodox, and that's enough.
Poor Harriet now hath had her day;
No more the beaux confess her sway;
New beauties push her from the stage,
She trembles at the approach of age,
And starts to view the altered face,
That wrinkles at her in her glass:
So Satan, in the monk's tradition,
Feared, when he met his apparition.
At length her name each coxcomb cancels
From standing lists of toasts and angels;
And slighted where she shone before,
A grace and goddess now no more,
Despised by all, and doomed to meet
her lovers at her rival's feet,
She flies assemblies, shuns the ball,
And cries out, vanity, on all;
Affects to scorn the tinsel-shows
Of glittering belles and gaudy beaux;
No longer hopes to hide by dress
The tracks of age upon her dress
Now careless grown the airs polite,
Her noonday nightcap meets the sight;
Her hair uncombed collects together,
With ornaments of many a feather;
Her stays for easiness thrown by,
Her trumpled hankerchief awry,
A careless figure half undressed,
(The reader's wits may guess the rest.)
Ye Alps audacious, through the heavens that rise,
To cramp the day and hide me from the skies;
Ye Gallic flags, that o'er their heights unfurled,
Bear death to kings, and freedom to the world,
I sing not to you. A softer theme I choose,
A virgin theme, unconscious of the muse,
But fruitful, rich, well suited to inspire
The purest frenzy of poetic fire.
Despise it not, ye bards to terror steeled,
Who hurl your thunders round the epic field;
Nor ye who strain your midnight throats to sing
Joys that the vineyard and the stillhouse bring;
Or on some distant fair your notes employ,
And speak of raptures that you ne'er enjoy.
I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel,
My morning incense, and my evening meal,
The sweets of Hasty Pudding. Come, dear bowl,
Glide o'er my palate, and inspire my soul.
The milk beside thee, smoking from the kine,
It's substance mingled, married in with thine,
Shall cool and temper thy superior heat,
And save the pains of blowing while I eat.
Dear Hasty Pudding, what unpromised joy
Expands my heart, to meet thee in Savoy!
Doomed over the world through devious paths to roam,
Each clime my country, and each house my home,
My soul is soothed, my cares have found an end,
I greet my long-lost, unforgotten friend.
For thee through Paris, that corrupted town,
How long in vain I wandered up and down,
Where shameless Bacchus, with his drenching hoard
Cold from his cave usurps the morning board.
London is lost in smoke and steeped in tea;
No Yankee there can lisp the name of thee:
The uncouth word, a libel on the town,
Would call a proclamation from the crown.
But here though distant from our native shore
With mutual glee we meet and laugh once more,
The same! I know thee by that yellow face,
That strong complexion of true Indian race
The days grow short; but though the falling sun
To the glad swain proclaims his day's work done,
Night's pleasing shades his various task prolong,
And yield new subjects to my various song.
For now, the corn-house filled, the harvest home,
The invited neighbors to the Husking come;
A frolic scene, where work, and mirth, and play.
Unite their charms, to chase the hours away.
Where the huge heep lies centered in the hall,
the lamp suspended from the cheerful wall,
Brown corn-fed nymphs, and strong hard-handed beaux,
Alternate ranged, extend in circling rows,
Assume their seats, the solid mass attack;
The dry husks rustle, and the corn-cobs crack;
the song, the laugh, alternate notes resound,
And the sweet cider trips in silence round.
The laws of Husking every wight can tell;
And sure no laws he ever keeps so well:
For each red ear a general kiss he gains,
With each smut ear she smuts the luckless swains;
But when to some sweet maid a prize is cast,
Red as her lips, the taper as her waist.
Black fool, why winter here? These frozen skies,
Worn by your wings and deafen'd by your cries,
Should warn you hence, where milder suns invite,
And day alternates with his mother night.
You fear perhaps your food will fail you there,
Your human carnage, that delicious fare
That lured you hither, following still your friend
The great Napoleon to the world's bleak end.
You fear, because the southern climes pour'd forth
Their clustering nations to infest the north,
Barvarians, Austrians, those who Drink the Po
And those who skirt the Tuscan seas below,
With all Germania, Neustria, Belgia, Gaul,
Doom'd here to wade thro slaughter to their fall,
You fear he left behind no wars, to feed
His feather'd canibals and nurse the breed.
Fear not, my screamer, call your greedy train,
Sweep over Europe, hurry back to Spain,
You'll find his legions there; the valliant crew
Please best their master when they toil for you.
Abundant there they spread the country o'er
And taint the breeze with every nation's gore,
Iberian, Lussian, British widely strown,
But still more wide and copious flows their own.
Go where you will; Calabria, Malta, Greece,
Egypt and Syria still his fame increase,
Domingo's fatten'd isle and India's plains
Glow deep with purple drawn from Gallic veins.
No Raven's wing can stretch the flight so far
As the torn bandrols of Napoleon's war.
Choose then your climate, fix your best abode,
He'll make you deserts and he'll bring you blood.
How could you fear a dearth? have not mankind,
Tho slain by millions, millions left behind?
Has not CONSCRIPTION still the power to weild
Her annual faulchion o'er the human field?
A faithful harvester! or if a man
Escape that gleaner, shall he scape the BAN?
The triple BAN, that like the hound of hell
Gripes with three joles, to hold his victim well.
Fear nothing then, hatch fast your ravenous brood,
Teach them to cry to Bonaparte for food;
They'll be like you, of all his suppliant train,
The only class that never cries in vain.
For see what mutual benefits you lend!
(The surest way to fix the mutual friend)
While on his slaughter'd troops your tribes are fed,
You cleanse his camp and carry off his dead.
Imperial Scavenger! but now you know
Your work is vain amid these hills of snow.
His tentless troops are marbled thro with frost
And change to crystal when the breath is lost.
Mere trunks of ice, tho limb'd like human frames
And lately warm'd with life's endearing flames,
They cannot taint the air, the world impest,
Nor can you tear one fiber from their breast.
No! from their visual sockets, as they lie,
With beak and claws you cannot pluck an eye.
The frozen orb, preserving still its form,
Defies your talons as it braves the storm,
But stands and stares to God, as if to know
In what curst hands he leaves his world below.
It must be so, Montague! and it is not all the tribe
of Mandevilles that shall convince me that a nation,
to become great, must first become dissipated. Lux-
ury is surely the bane of a nation: Luxury! which
enervates both soul and body, by opening a thousand
new sources of enjoyment, opens, also, a thousand new
sources of contention and want: Luxury! which ren-
ders a people weak at home, and accessible to bribery,
corruption, and force from abroad.
Oh! that America! Oh!
that my country, would, in this her day, learn the
things which belong to her peace!
EXULT, each patriot heart!--this night is shewn
A piece, which we may fairly call our own;
Where the proud titles of "My Lord! Your Grace!"
To humble Mr. and plain Sir give place.
Our Author pictures not from foreign climes
The fashions or the follies of the times;
But has confin'd the subject of his work
To the gay scenes--the circles of New-York.
On native themes his Muse displays her pow'rs;
If ours the faults, the virtues too are ours.
Why should our thoughts to distant countries roam,
When each refinement may be found at home?
Who travels now to ape the rich or great,
To deck an equipage and roll in state;
To court the graces, or to dance with ease,
Or by hypocrisy to strive to please?
Our free-born ancestors such arts despis'd;
Genuine sincerity alone they pris'd;
Their minds, with honest emulation fir'd;
To solid good--not ornament--aspir'd;
Or, if ambition rous'd a bolder flame,
Stern virtue throve, where indolence was shame.
But modern youths, with imitative sense,
Deem taste in dress the proof of excellence;
And spurn the meanness of your homespun arts,
Since homespun habits would obscure their parts;
Whilst all, which aims at splendour and parade,
Must come from Europe, and be ready made.
Strange! We should thus our native worth disclaim,
And check the progress of our rising fame.
Yet one, whilst imitation bears the sway,
Aspires to nobler heights, and points the way.
Be rous'd, my friends! his bold example view;
Let your own Bards be proud to copy you!
Should rigid critics reprobate our play,
At least the patriotic heart will say,
"Glorious our fall, since in a noble cause.
"The bold attempt alone demands applause."
Still may the wisdom of the Comic Muse
Exalt your merits, or your faults accuse.
But think not, tis her aim to be severe;--
We all are mortals, and as mortals err.
If candour pleases, we are truly blest;
Vice trembles, when compell'd to stand confess'd.
Let not light Censure on your faults offend,
Which aims not to expose them, but amend.
Thus does our Author to your candour trust;
Conscious, the free are generous, as just. _
Jenny: Well, Mr. Jonathan, though I don't scruple your veracity, I have some reasons for believing you were there; pray, where were you about six o'clock?
Jonathan: Why, I went to see one Mr. Morrison, the hocus pocus man; they said as how he could eat a case knife.
Jenny: Well, and how did you find the place?
Jonathan: As I was going about here and there, to and again, to find it, I saw a great crowd of folks going into a long entry, that had lanterns over the door; so I asked a man, whether that was not the place where they played hocus pocus? He was a very civil kind man, though he did speak like the Hessians; he lifted up his eyes and said--they play hocus pocus tricks enough there, Got knows, my friend
JONATHAN: I at the play-house!--Why didn't I see the play
JENNY: Why, the people you saw were players.
JONATHAN: Mercy on my soul! did I see the wicked players?--
Mayhap that 'ere Darby that I liked so was the old
serpent himself, and had his cloven foot in his pocket.
Why, I vow, now I come to think on't, the candles
seemed to burn blue, and I am sure where I sat it
smelt tarnally of brimstone.
JESSAMY: Well, Mr. Jonathan, from your account, which I
confess is very accurate, you must have been at the
JONATHAN: Why, I vow, I began to smell a rat. When I
came away, I went to the man for my money
again; you want your money? says he; yes, says
I; for what? says he; why, says I, no man shall
jocky me out of my money; I paid my money to see
sights, and the dogs a bit of a sight have I seen, unless
you call listening to people's private business a sight.
Why, says he, it is the School for Scandalization.--
The School for Scandalization!--Oh! ho! no wonder
you New-York folks are so cute at it, when you go to
school to learn it; and so I jogged off.
No, no, that won't do. Now, if I was with Tabitha
Wymen and Jemima Cawley down at father Chase's,
I shouldn't mind singing this all out before them--
you would be affronted if I was to sing that, though
that's a lucky thought; if you should be affronted,
I have something dang'd cute, which Jessamy told
me to say to you.
JENNY: Is that all! I assure you I like it of all things.
JONATHAN: No, no; I can sing more; some other time, when
you and I are better acquainted, I'll sing the whole
of it--no, no--that's a fib--I can't sing but a hun-
dred and ninety verses; our Tabitha at home can sing
Marblehead's a rocky place,
And Cape-Cod is sandy;
Charlestown is burnt down,
Boston is the dandy.
Yankee doodle, doodle do, etc.
I vow, my own town song has put me into such top-
ping spirits that I believe I'll begin to do a little, as
Jessamy says we must when we go a-courting.--
[Runs and kisses her.] Burning rivers! cooling flames!
red-hot roses! pig-nuts! hasty-pudding and ambrosia!
JENNY: What means this freedom? you insulting wretch.
JONATHAN: Are you affronted?
JENNY: Affronted! with what looks shall I express my
JONATHAN: Looks! why as to the matter of looks, you look as
cross as a witch.
JENNY: Have you no feeling for the delicacy of my sex?
JONATHAN: Feeling! Gor, I--I feel the delicacy of your sex
pretty smartly [rubbing his cheek], though, I vow, I
thought when you city ladies courted and married, and
all that, you put feeling out of the question. But I
want to know whether you are really affronted, or only
pretend to be so? 'Cause, if you are certainly right
down affronted, I am at the end of my tether; Jessamy
didn't tell me what to say to you.
JENNY: Pretend to be affronted!
JONATHAN: Aye, aye, if you only pretend, you shall hear how
I'll go to work to make cherubim consequences.
[Runs up to her.]
JENNY: Begone, you brute!
JONATHAN: That looks like mad; but I won't lose my speech.
My dearest Jenny--your name is Jenny, I think?--
CHARLOTTE: Oh! brother, you don't know what a fund of happi-
ness you have in store.
MANLY: I fear, sister, I have not refinement sufficient to
CHARLOTTE: Oh! you cannot fail being pleased.
LETITIA: Our ladies are so delicate and dressy.
CHARLOTTE: And our beaux so dressy and delicate.
LETITIA: Our ladies chat and flirt so agreeably.
CHARLOTTE: And our beaux simper and bow so gracefully.
LETITIA: With their hair so trim and neat.
CHARLOTTE: And their faces so soft and sleek.
LETITIA: Their buckles so tonish and bright.
CHARLOTTE: And their hands so slender and white.
LETITIA: I vow, Charlotte, we are quite poetical.
CHARLOTTE: And then, brother, the faces of the beaux are of
such a lily-white hue! None of that horrid robustness
of constitution, that vulgar corn-fed glow of health,
which can only serve to alarm an unmarried lady with
apprehension, and prove a melancholy memento to a
married one, that she can never hope for the happiness
of being a widow. I will say this to the credit of our
city beaux, that such is the delicacy of their complex-
ion, dress, and address, that, even had I no reliance
upon the honour of the dear Adonises, I would trust
myself in any possible situation with them, without
the least apprehensions of rudeness.
MANLY: Sister Charlotte!
CHARLOTTE: Now, now, now, brother [interrupting him], now
don't go to spoil my mirth with a dash of your grav-
ity; I am so glad to see you, I am in tiptop spirits.
Oh! that you could be with us at a little snug party.
There is Billy Simper, Jack Chaffe, and Colonel Van
Titter, Miss Promonade, and the two Miss Tambours,
sometimes make a party, with some other ladies, in a
side-box at the play. Everything is conducted with
such decorum. First we bow round to the company
in general, then to each one in particular, then we
have so many inquiries after each other's health, and
we are so happy to meet each other, and it is so many
ages since we last had that pleasure, and if a married
lady is in company, we have such a sweet dissertation
upon her son Bobby's chin-cough; then the curtain
rises, then our sensibility is all awake, and then, by the
mere force of apprehension, we torture some harmless
expression into a double meaning, which the poor au-
thor never dreamt of, and then we have recourse to
our fans, and then we blush, and then the gentlemen
jog one another, peep under the fan, and make the
prettiest remarks; and then we giggle and they simper,
and they giggle and we simper, and then the curtain
drops, and then for nuts and oranges, and then we
bow, and it's pray, Ma'am, take it, and pray, Sir, keep
it, and oh! not for the world, Sir; and then the curtain
rises again, and then we blush and giggle and simper
and bow all over again. Oh! the sentimental charms
of a side-box conversation! [All laugh.]
JONATHAN: I can't conceive why she shouldn't like me.
JESSAMY: May be it is because you have not the Graces, Mr.
JONATHAN: Grace! Why, does the young woman expect I must
be converted before I court her?
JESSAMY: I mean graces of person: for instance, my lord tells
us that we must cut off our nails even at top, in small
segments of circles--though you won't understand
that; in the next place, you must regulate your laugh.
JONATHAN: Maple-log seize it! don't I laugh natural?
JESSAMY: That's the very fault, Mr. Jonathan. Besides, you
absolutely misplace it. I was told by a friend of mine
that you laughed outright at the play the other night,
when you ought only to have tittered.
JONATHAN: Gor! I--what does one go to see fun for if they
JESSAMY: You may laugh; but you must laugh by rule.
JESSAMY: There was a certain man, who had a sad scolding wife--now you must laugh,
JONATHAN: Tarnation! That's no laughing matter, though.
The horses were now entered, and about to start for the purse. There was Black and All Black, and Snip, John Duncan's Barbary Slim, and several others. The riders had been weighed, and when mounted, the word was given. It is needless to describe a race; everybody knows the circumstances of it. It is sufficient to say, that from the bets that were laid, there was much anxiety, and some passions in the minds of those concerned: So, that as two of the horses, Black and All Black and Slim, came out near together; there was dispute and confusion. It came to kicking and cussing in some places. The other assured him that he was under a very great mistake; for there were persons who scarcely knew a B from a bull's foot. That may be, said the captain; but if others choose to degrade themselves, by suffering their names to be used in so preposterous a way as that, it was no reason he should.
The other gave him to understand, that the society would certainly wish to express their sense of his merit, and show themselves not inattentive to a virtuoso; that as he declined the honor himself, he probably might not be averse to let his servant take a sear among them.
Said the Captain, "He is but a simple Irishman, and of a low education; his language being that spoken by the aborigines of his country. And if he speaks a little English, it is with a brogue in his tongue; which would be unbecoming in a member of your body. It would seem to me, that a philosopher ought to know how to write, or at least to read. But Teague can neither write nor read. He can sing a song, or whistle an Irish tune, but is totally illiterate in all things else. I question much if he could tell you how many new moons there are in the year; or any the most common things that you could ask him. He is a long-legged fellow, it is true; and might be of service in clambering over rocks, or going to the shores of rivers, to gather curiosities. But could you not get persons to do this, without making them members? I have more respect for science, than to suffer this bog-trotter to be so advanced in its expense. "In these American states, there is a wide field for philosophic search."
The Captain was a good deal hurt with such indecency amongst gentlemen, and advancing, addressed them in the following manner: "Gentlemen, this is an unequal and unfair proceeding. It is unbecoming modern manners, or even the ancient. For at the Olympic games of Greece, where were celebrated horse and chariot races, there was no such hurry-scurry as this; and in times of chivalry itself, where men ate, drank, and slept on horseback, though there was a great deal of pell-melling, yet no such disorderly work as this. If men had a difference, they couched their lances, and ran full tilt at one another; but no such indecent expressions, as villain, scoundrel, liar, ever came out of their mouths, There was the most perfect courtesy in those days of heroism and honor; and this your horse-racing which is a germ of the amusement of those times, ought to be conducted on the same principles of decorum, and good breeding." Teague was a good deal incensed at this refusal of his master, and insisted that he would be a philosopher. "You are an ignoramus," said the Captain. "It is not the being among philosophers will make you one." Teague insisted that he had a right to make the best of his fortune: and as there was a door open to his advancement, he did not see why he might not make use of it. The Captain finding that it answered no end to dispute the matter with him, by words of sense and reason, took a contrary way to manage him. "Teague," said he, "I have a regard for you, and would wish to see you do well. But before you take this step, I would wish to speak a word or two in private. I may perhaps suggest some things that may be of service to you, for your future conduct in that body." I was aslape in my own bed as sound as the states that were about me, when I heard the sound of this young creature's voice crying out like a shape in a pasture; and when after I had heard, aslape as I was, and come here, I found this praste, who was so wholy, and praching all night, upon the top of the bed, with his arms round this creature's neck; and if I had not given him a twitch by the nose, and bid him lie over, dear honey, he would have ravished her virginity, and murdered her, save her soul, and the paple of the house not the wiser for it." The clergyman stared with his mouth open; for the palpable nature of falsehood, had shocked him beyond the power of speech. "Master prastes," said he, "I persave you are all priests of the gospel, and can prach as asil as I can take a chaw of tobacco. Now the trut of de story is dis; I was slaping in my bed, and I tought vid myself it was a shame amonst Christian paple that a young creature should slape by herself, and have no one to take care of her. I I tought vid myself, to go and slape vid her. But as she was aslap, she made exclamation, and dis praste that is here before you, came in to save her shoul from the devil; and as the captain my master, might take offense, and the devil... Take my advice, therefore, and make no enemies while you can help it. Steer through life as smoothly as possible. Keep a good tongue in your mouth, and let those who choose to dispute with Beelzebul, dispute. I never knew any good come of broils and quarrels, especially with low characters. And, to say the truth of it, this Satan, as they call him, is very little of the gentleman. Even where he is well disposed, he will do but little good to one, but a most dangerous creature where he takes a dislike. When you go to hell, as, one day, you must, you can expect but little quarter, after abusing him in this world. He will make you squeal like a pig; take you by the throat, and kick you like a cat. His very scullions will piss upon you. The first man that we read of was Adam, and first woman Eve; she was tempted by the serpent, and ate the forbidden fruit. After this she conceived and bare a son, and called his name Cain; and Cain was a tiller of the ground, and Abel a keeper od sheep; for she conceived and bare a second son, and called his name Abel. And Cain slew Abel. There were several generations unto the flood, when Noah built an ark, and saved himself and his family. After the flood, Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Joseph and his brethren. Potiphar's wife, in Egypt, took a fancy for Joseph, and cast him in ward; and Potiphar was a captain of Pharaoh's guards; and Joseph interpreted Pharaoh's dream of the lean cattle; and there were twelve years famine in the land; and Moses passed for the son of Pharao's daughter.....
The lay people present were most pleased with the last discourse; and some of the younger of the clergy; But the more aged, gave the preference to the first. Thus it seemed difficult to decide.
Let me then enjoy that freedom which I so highly prize. Let me have opportunity, unbiased by opinion, to gratify my natural disposition in a participation of these pleasures which youth and innocence afford. Of such pleasures, no one, my dear, would wish to deprive you. But beware, Eliza!--Though strewn with flowers, when contemplated by your lively imagination, it is, after all, a slippery, thorny path. The round of fashionable dissipation is dangerous. A phantom is often pursued, which leaves its deluded votary the real form of wretchedness. Confusion, horror and despair are the portion of your wretched, unhappy friend! Oh, Deighton, I am undone! Misery irremediable is my future lot! She is gone; yes. she is gone forever! The darling of my soul, the center of all my wishes and enjoyments is no more! Cruel fate has snatched her from me; and she is irretrievably lost! I rave, and then reflect: I reflect, and then rave! I have not patience to bear this calamity, nor power to remedy it! Where shall I fly from the upbraidings of my mind, which accuses me as the murderer of my Eliza? I would fly to death, and seek a refuge in the grave. In this state of mind he chanced to light upon a book written by one of the teachers of the Albigenses, or French Protestants. He entertained no relish for books, and was wholly unconscious of any power they possessed to delight or instruct. This volume had lain for years in a corner of his garret, half buried in dust and rubbish. He had marked it as it lay; had thrown it, as his occasions required, from one spot to another; but had felt no inclination to examine its contents, or even to inquire what was the subject of which it entreated.
One Sunday afternoon, being induced to retire for a few minutes to his garret, his eye was attracted by a page of this book, which, by some accident, had been opened and placed full in his view. He was seated on the edge of his bed, and was employed in repairing a rent in some part of his clothes. His eyes were not confined to his work, but occasionally wandering, lighted at length upon the page. The words "Seek and ye shall find," were those that first offered themselves his notice. His curiosity was roused by these so far as to prompt him to proceed. As soon as he finished his work, he took up the book and turned to the first page...The book cointained an exposition of the doctrine of the sect of Camissards, and an historical account of his origin. His mind was in a state of peculiarity fitted for the reception of devotional sentiments. The craving which had haunted him was now supplied with an object. His mind was of no less for a theme of meditation. On days of business, he rose at the dawn, and retired to his chamber not till late at night. He now supplied himself with candles, and employed his nocturnal and Sunday hours in studying this book. It, of course, abounded with allusions to the Bible. All its conclusions were deduced from the sacred text. This was the fountain, beyond which it was necessary to trace the stream of religious truth; but it was his duty to trace it thus far.
A Bible was easily procured, and he ardently entered on the study of it. His understanding had received a particular direction. All his reveries were fashioned in the same mould. His progress towards the formation of his creed was rapid. Every fact and sentiment in this book were viewed through a medium which the writings of the Camisard apostle had suggested, His constructions of the text were hasty, and formed on a narrow scale Every thing was viewed in a diconnected position. One action and one precept were not employed to illustrate and restrict the meaning of another.
Think not that I speak for your sakes. Hug to your hearts this detestable infatuation. Deem me still a murderer, and drag me to untimely death, I make not an effort to dispel your illusion: I utter not a word to cure you of your sanguinary folly: but there are probably some in this assembly who have come from far: for their sakes, whose distance has disabled them from knowing me, I will tell what I have done, and why.
It is needless to say that God is the object of my supreme passion. I have cherished, in his presence, a single and upright heart. I have thirsted for the knowledge of his will. I have burnt with ardor to approve my faith and my obedience.
My days have been spent in searching for revelation of that will; but my days have been mournful because my search failed. I solicited direction! I turned on every side where glimmerings of light could be discovered. I have not been wholly uninformed; but my knowledge has always stopped short of certainty. Dissatisfaction has insinuated itself into all my thoughts. My purposes have been pure; my wishes indefatigable; but not till lately were these purposes thoroughly accomplished, and these wishes fully gratified. I thank thee, my father, for thy bounty.
My opinions were the sport of eternal change. Sometimes I conceived the apparition to be more than human. I had no grounds on which to build a disbelief. I could not deny faith to the evidence of my religion; the testimony of men was loud and unanimous: both these concurred to persuade me that evil spirits existed, and that their energy was frequuently exerted in the system of the world.
These ideas connected themselves with the image of Carwin. Where is the proof, said I, that demons may not be subjected to the control of men? This truth may be distorted and debased in the minds of the ignorant. The dogmas of the vulgar, with regard to this subject, are glaringly absurd; but though these may justly be neglected by the wise, we are scarcely justified in totally rejecting the possibility that men may obtain a supernatural aid.
The dreams of superstition are worthy of contempt. Witchcraft, its instruments and miracles, the compact ratified by a bloody signature, the apparatus of sulpherous smells and thundering explosions, are monstrous and chimerical. These have no art in the scene over which the genius of Carwin presides That conscious beings, dissimilar from human, but moral and voluntary agents as we are. somewhere exist, can scarcely be denied. That their aid may be employed to benign or malignant purposes, cannot be disproved.
Darkness rests upon the designs of this man. the extend of his power is unknown; but is there not evidence that it has been now exerted?
Need I dwell upon the impressions which your conversation and deportment originally made upon me? We parted in childhood; but our intercourse, by letter, was copious and uninterrupted How fondly did I anticipate a meeting with one whome her letters had previously taught me to consider as the first of women, and how fully realized were the expectations that I had formed!
Here, said I, is a being, after whom sages may model their transcendent intelligence, and painters, their ideal beauty. Here is exemplified, that union between intellect and form, which has hitherto existed only in the conceptions of the poet. I have watched your eyes; my attention has hung upon your lips. I have questioned whether the enchantments of your voice were more conspicuous in the intricacies of melody, or the emphasis of rhetoric. I have marked the transitions of your discourse, the felicities of your expression, your refined argumentation, and glowing imagery; and been forced to acknowledge, that all delights were meagre and contemptible, compared with those connected with the audience and sight of you. I have contemplated your principles, and been astonished at the solidity of their foundation, and the perfection of their structure. I have traced you to your home. I have viewed you in relation to your servants, to your family, to your neighbors, and to the world. I have seen by what skillful arrangements you facilitate the performance of the most arduous and complicated duties; what daily accessions of strength your judicious discipline bestowed upon your memory; what correctness and abundance of knowledge was daily experienced by your unwearied application to books, and to writing. If she that possesses so much in the bloom of youth, will you go on accumulating her stores, what, said I, is the picture she will display at a mature age? You know not the accuracy of my observation. I was desirous that others should profit by example so rare. I therefore noted down, in writing, every particular of your conduct. I was anxious to benefit by an opportunity so seldom afforded us. I labored not to omit the slightest shade, or the most petty line in your portrait. Here there was no other talk incumbent on me but to copy; there was no need to exaggerate or overlook, in order to produce a more exceptionable pattern. Here was a combination of harmonies and graces, incapable of diminution or ascension without injury to its completeness. I found no end and no bounds to my task. No display of a scene like this could be chargeable with redundancy or superfluity. Even the color of a shoe, the knot of a ribband, or your attitudes in plucking a rose, were of moment to be recorded. Even the arrangements of your breakfast table and your toilet have been amply displayed. I know that mankind are more easily enticed to virtue by example than by precept. I know that the absoluteness of a model, when supplied by invention, diminishes its salutary influence, since it is useless, we think, to strive after that which we know to be beyond our reach. But the picture which I drew was not a phantom; as a model, it was devoid of imperfection; and to aspire to that height which had been really attained, was by no means unreasonable I had another more interesting object in view. One existed who claimed all my tenderness. Here, in all its parts, was a model worthy of assiduous study, and indefatigable imitation. I called upon her, and she wished to secure and enhance my esteem, to mold her thoughts, her words, her countenance, her actions, by this pattern. The task was exuberant of pleasure, and I was deeply engaged in it, with an imp of mischief was let loose in the form of Carwin,
Hence a vague project occurred to me, to put this courage to the test. A woman capable off recollection in danger, of warding off groundless panics, of discerning the true mode of proceeding, and profiting by her best resources, is a prodigy, I was desirous of ascertaining whether you were such an one.
My expedient was obvious and simple: I was to counterfeit a murderous dialogue, but this was to be so conducted that another, and not yourself, should appear to be the object. I was not aware of the possibility that you should appropriate these menaces to yourself. Had you been still and listened, you would have heard the struggles and prayers of the victim, who would likewise have appeared to be shut up in the closet, and whose voice would have been Judith's. This scene would have been an appeal to your compassion; and the proof of cowardice or courage which I expected from you, would have been your remaining inactive in your bed, and your entering the closet with a view to assist the sufferer. Some instanced which Judith related of your fearlessness and promptitude made me adopet the latter supposition with some degree of confidence.
"During our late walk," continued he, "I introduced the subject that was nearest my heart. I re-urged all my former arguments, and placed them in more forcible lights. Wieland was still refractory. He expatiated on the perils of wealth and power, on the sacredness of conjugal and parental duties, and the happiness of mediocrity.
No wonder that the time passed, unperceived, away. Our whole souls were engaged in this cause. Several times we came to the foot of the rock; as soon as we perceived it, we changed our course, but never failed to terminate our circuitous and devious ramble on the spot. At length your brother observed, 'We seem to be led hither by a kind of fatality."
I entreated him to tell me what was Wieland's condition, and what progress had been made in detecting or punishing the author of this unheard-of devastation.
"The author!" said he; "Do you know the author?"
"You gather from this," said he, "that Carwin is the author of this misery."
"Good heaven!" I exclaimed, :what say you? Was not Carwin the assassin? Could any hand but this have carried into act this dreadful purpose?" "Have I not said," returned he, :that the performance was another's? Carwin, perhaps, or heaven, or insanity, prompted the murdered; but Carwin is unknown. the actual performer has, long since, been called to judgment and convicted, and is, at this moment, at the bottom of a dungeon loaded with chains.
My father's property was equally divided between us. A neat dwelling, situated on the bank of the river, three quarters of a mile from my brother's, was now occupied by me. These domains were called, from the name of the first posessor, Mettingen. I can scarcely account for my refusing to take up my abode with him, unless it were from a disposition to be an economist of pleasure. Self-denial, seasonably exercised, is one means of enhancing your gratifications. I was, beside, desirous of administering a fund, and regulating an household, of my own. The short distance allowed us to exchange visits as often as we pleased. The walk from one mansion to the other was no undelightful prelude to our interviews I was sometimes their visitant; and they. as frequently, were my guests. I now willingly listened to my uncle's solicitations to be the companion of his voyage. Preparations were easily made, and after a tedious passage, we set our feet on the shore of the ancient world. The memory of the past did not forsake me; but the melancholy which it generated, and the tears with which it filled my eyes, were not unprofitable. My curiosity was revived, and I contemplated, with ardour, the spectacle of living manners and the monuments of the past ages. Through my uncle's exertions a meeting was brought about between Carwin and Pleyel, and explanations took place which restored me at once to the good opinion of the latter. Though separated so widely our correspondence was punctual and frequent, and paved the way for that union which can only end with the death of one of us.
In my letters to him I made no secret of my former sentiments. This was a theme on which I could talk without painful, though not without delicate emotions. That knowledge which I should never have imparted to a lover, I felt little scruple to communicate to a friend.
A year and a half elapsed when Theresa was snatched from him by death, in the hour in which she gave him the first pledge of their mutual affection. This event was borne by him with his customary fortitude. It induced him, however, to make a change in his plans. He disposed of his property in America, and joined my uncle and me, who had terminated the wanderings of two years at Montpellier, which will henceforth, I believe, be our permanent abode.
Wakeful, vagrant, restless thing,
Ever wandering on the wing,
Who thy wondrous source can find,
Fancy, regent of the mind;
A spark from love's resplendent throne,
But thy nature all unknown.
This spark of bright celestial flame,
From Jove's seraphic altar came,
And hence alone in man we trace,
Resemblance to the immortal race.
Ah! What is all this mighty whole,
the suns and stars that round us roll!
What are they all, wherever they shine,
But fancies of the power divine!
What is this globe, these lands and seas...
And time--that with the sun began--
But thoughts on reason's scale combined.
Ideas of the Almighty mind!
On the surface of the brain
Night after night she walks unseen,
Noble fabrics doth she raise
In the woods or on the seas,
On some high, steep, pointed rock,
where the billows loudly knock
And the dreary tempests sweep
Clouds along the uncivil deep.
Lo! She walks upon the moon,
Listens to the chimy tune
Of the bright, harmonious spheres,
And the song of angels hears;
Sees this earth a distant star,
Pendant, floating in the air;
Leads me to some lonely dome,
Where religion loves to come,
Where the bride of Jesus dwells
And the deep-toned organ swells
In notes with lofty anthems joined,
Notes that half distract the mind.
Now like like lightning she decends
To the prison of the fiends,
Hears the rattling of their chains,
Feels their never-ceasing pains--
But, O never may she tell
half the fruitfulness of Hell
And now she views Arcadian rocks
In spite of all the learned have said,
I still my old opinion keep;
The posture that we give the dead,
Points out the soul's eternal sleep.
Not so the ancients of these lands--
The Indian, when from life released,
Again is seated with his friends,
And shares again the joyous feast
His imaged birds and painted bowl,
And venison, fora journey dressed,
Bespeak the nature of the soul,
Activity, that knows no rest.
His bow, for action ready bent,
And arrows with a head of stone,
Can only mean that life is spent,
And not the old ideas gone.
Thou stranger that shalt come this way,
No fraud upon the dead commit--
Observe the swelling turf, and say
They do not lie, but here they sit.
Here still a lofty rock remains,
On which the curious eye may trace
(Now wasted, half, by wearing rains)
The fancies of a nuder race.
Here still an aged elm aspires,
Beneath whose far-projecting shade
(And which the shepherd still admires)
The children of the forest played!
Here oft a restless Indian queen
(Pale Shebah, with her braided hair)
And many a barbarous form is seen
To chide the man that lingers there.
By midnight moans, over moistening dews,
In habit for the chase arrayed,
The hunter still the deer pursues,
The hunter and the deer a shade!
And long timorous fancy see,
The painted chief, and pointed spear.
And reason's self shall bow the knee
To shadows and delusions here.
Not long before, a wandering priest
Expressed his wish, with visage sad--
"Ah! why (he cried) in Satan's waste,
Ah, why detain so fine a lad?
"In white-man's land there stands a town
Where learning may be purchased low--
Exchange his blanket for a gown,
And let the lad to college go."--
One generous chief a bow supplied,
This gave a shaft, and that a skin;
Thus dressed so gay, he took his way
Over barren hills, alone, alone!
His guide star, he wandered far,
His pillow every night a stone.
At last he came with foot so lame
Where learned men talk heathen Greek
Some thought he would in law excel,
some said in physic he would shine
And why (he cried) did I foresake
My native wood for gloomy walls;
The silver stream, the limpid lake
For musty books and college halls.
Let planets still their course pursue
And comets to the center run--
In Him my faithful friend I view,
The image of my God, the Sun.
Where Nature's ancient forests grow,
And mingled Laurel never fades,
My heart is fixed;--and I must go
To die among my native shades."
He spoke and to the western springs,
(His gown discharged, his money spent,
His blanket tied with yellow strings,)
The shepherd of the forest went
Fair flower, that dost so comely grow,
Hid in this silent, dull retreat,
Untouched thy honied blossoms blow,
Unseen thy little branches greet:
No roving foot shall crush thee here,
No busy hand provoke a tear.
By Nature's self in white arrayed,
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye,
And planted here the guardian shade,
And sent off waters murmuring by;
Thus quietly thy summer goes,
Thy days declining to repose.
Smit with those charms that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They died--nor were those flowers more gay,
The flowers that did in Eden bloom;
Unpitying frosts and Autumn's power
Shall leave no vestige of this flower.
From morning suns and evening dews
At first thy little being came;
If nothing once, you nothing lose,
For when you die you are the same;
The space between, is but an hour,
The frail duration of a flower.
Stranger, if you have learned a truth which needs
No school of long experience, that the world
is full of guilt and misery, and has seen
emough of all its sorrows, crimes, and cares
to tire you of it, enter this wild wood
and view the haunts of nature. Tha calm shade
shall bring a kindred calm; and the sweet breeze,
that makes the green leaves dance, shall waft a balm
to your sick heart. You will find nothing here
of all that pained you in the haunts of men
And made you loathe your life. The primal curse
fell, it is true, upon the unsinning earth,
But not in vengance. God has yoked to guilt
her pale tormentor, misery. Hence these shades
Are still the abodes of gladness: the thick roof
Of green and stirring branches is alive
And musical with birds, that sing and sport
the wantoness of spirit; while, below,
The squirrel, with raised paws anf form erect,
chirps merrily. Throngs of insects in the shade
Try their thin wings and dance in the warm beam
That waked them into life. Even the green trees
Partake the deep contentment; as they bend
To the soft winds, the sun from the blue sky
Looks in and sheds a blessing on the scene
Scarce less the cleft-born wild-flower seems to enjoy
Existence that the winged plunderer
That sucks its sweets. The mossy rocks themselves,
And the old and plunderous trunks of prostrate trees
That lead from knoll to knoll a causey rude
Or bridge the sunken brook, and their dark roots,
With all their earth upon them, twisting high,
Breathe fixed tranquility. The rivulet
sends forth glad sounds, and, tripping over its bed
Of pebbly sands or leaping down the rocks,
Seems with continuous laughter to rejoice
In its own being. Softly tread the marge
Lest from her midway perch you scare the wren
That dips her bill in water. The cool wind,
That stirs the stream in play, shall come to thee,
Like one that loves you nor will let you pass
Ungreeted, and shall give its light embrace.
Whither, amid falling dew
While the heavens glow with the last steps of day,
Far through their rosy depths, do you pursue the solitary way? [asking the fowl]
Vainly the fowl-hunter's eye
Might mark your distant flight, to do you wrong,
As, darkly seen against the crimson sky,
Your figure floats alone, [one guy, one duck]
Seek you the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side?
There is a Power, whose care,
Teaches your way along the pathless coast,--
The desert and illimitable air,
Lone wandering, but not lost. [Poet's admiration of the Power that keeps the duck in the air]
All day your wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere;
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end,
Soon shall you find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among your fellows, reeds shall bend
Soon, over your sheltered nest.
You are gone, the abyss of heaven
Has swallowed up your form, yet on my heart
Deeply has sunk the lesson you have given,
And shalll not soon depart [Admirer learns a lesson from this duck. What lesson?]
He, who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky your certain flight
In the long way that I must trace alone,
Will lead my steps aright. [The same Power that helps you will help me in my lonesome journey.]
When beechen buds begin to swell,
And woods the blue-bird's warble know
The yellow violet's modest bell
Peeps from the last year's leaves below [humble yellow violet]
Ere russet fields their green resume,
Sweet flower, I love, in forest bare,
To meet you, when your faint perfume
Alone is in the virgin air [alone, being different--compare to waterfowl]
Of all her train, the hands of Spring
First plant you in the watery mould [first to appear in the spring]
And I have seen you blossoming
Beside the snow-bank's edges cold.
Your parent sun, who bade you view
pale skies, and chilling moisture sip,
Has bathed you in his own bright hue,
And streaked with jet your glowing lip
Yet slight your form, and low your seat,
And earthward bent your gentle eye,
Unapt the passing view to meet
When loftier flowers are flaunting nigh.
Often, in the sunless April day,
Your early smile has stayed my walk;
But midst the gorgeous blooms of May,
I passed you on your humble stalk. [Puts language to his walk and will attach moral:]
So they, who climb to wealth, forget
The friends in darker fortunes tried.
I copied them--but I regret
That I should ape the ways of pride.
And when again the genial hour
Awakes the painted tribes of light,
I'll not overlook the modest flower
That made the woods of April bright.
These are the gardens of the Desert, these tiful,
The unshorn fields, boundless and beautiful
For which the speech of England has no name--
The Prairies, I behold them for the first,
And my heart swells, while the dilated sight
Takes in the encircling vastness. Lo! they stretch
In airy undulations, far away,
As if the ocean, in his gentlest swell,
Stood still , with all its rounded billows fixed,
And motionless for ever.--Motionless?--
No--they are all unchained again. The clouds
sweep over with their shadows, and, beneath,
The surface rolls and fluctuates to the eye;
Dark hallows seem to glide along and chase
The sunny ridges. Breezes of the South!
Who toss the golden and the flame-like flowers,
And pass the prairie hawk that, poised on high,
Flaps his broad wings, yet moves not--ye have played
Among the palms of Mexico and vines
Of texas, and have crisped the limpid brooks
That from the fountains of Sonora glide
Into the calm Pacific--have ye fanned
A nobler or a lovelier scene than this?
Man has no part in all this glorious work:
The hand that built the firmament has heaved
And smoothed these verdant swells,, and sown their slopes
With herbage, planted them with island groves,
And hedged them round with forests. Fiting floor
For this magnificent temple of the sky--
Bryant's "The Prairies"
A meditation on status/stability and change/motion. (activity ceases, but even solitude is quick with life and continuity)
Instead of simply using nature as a morality lesson (like in his "Yellow Violet"), "The Prairies" is more of an account of the way of nature. It simply tells how nature acts (it seemingly stops, but even the silence/solitude is quick with life and continuity). The persona in "The Prairies" describes the ocean as having an "encircling vastness" that stretches "far away" as if it "stood still." This is a familiar sight as we know when looking upon the ocean it does look as if it were still because it is so huge. The clouds sweep over with their shadows and the prairie hawk...flaps his broad wings are example of how the persona is seeing things.
Later in the poem, Bryant goes into how generations have gone by but the surroundings in nature have never changed. Buildings have been built and torn down, languages have been spoken only to be lost forever, "swarming cities" have occupied land and now all that is left are "pies of earth." Insects, birds, and animals such as the "graceful deer" and even "man" have once occupied these lands that the persona is exploring. Generations of children have played on the grass and laughed about. Through all of this, the trees, flowers, sun, ocean, and wind have always stayed the same.
*While lifestyles and cultures change and die away, nature will remain the same throughout eternity.
Thus change the forms of being. Thus arise
Races of living things, glorious in strength,
And perish, as the quickening breath of God
Fills them, or is withdrawn. The red man, too,
Has left the blooming wilds he ranged so long,
And, nearer to the Rocky Mountains, sought a wilder hunting-ground. The beaver builds
No longer by these streams, but far away,
On waters whose blue surface never gave back
The white man's face- among Missouri's springs,
And pools whose issues swell the Oregon
Still this great solitude is quick with life.
Myriads of insects, gaudy as the flowers
They flutter over, gentle quadrupeds,
And birds, that scarce have learned the fear of man
Are hear, and sliding reptiles of the ground,
Startlingly beautiful. The graceful deer
Bounds to the wood at my approach. The bee,
A more adventurous colonist than man,
With whom he came across the eastern deep,
Fills the savannas with his murmurings,
And hides his sweets, as in the golden age,
Within the hollow oak. I listen long
To his domestic humn, and think I hear
The sound of that advancing multitude
Which soon shall fill these deserts. From the ground
Comes up the laugh of children, the soft voice
Of maidens, and the sweet and solemn hymn
Of Sabbath worshippers. The low of herds
Blends with the rustling of the heavy grain
Over the dark-brown furrows. All at once
A fresher wind sweeps by, and breaks my dream,
And I am in the wilderness alone.
Your eyes shall see the light of distant skies;
Yet, Cole! Your heart shall bear to Europe's strand
A living image of our own bright land,
Such as upon your glorious canvas lies; [Bear the American image, jus as the flag]
Lone lakes--savannas where the bison roves--
Rocks rich with summer garlands--solemn streams--
Skies, where the desert eagle wheels and screams--
Spring bloom and autumn blaze of boundless groves.
Fair scenes shall greet you where you go--fair,
But different--everywhere the trace of men,
Paths, homes, graves, ruins, from the lowest glen
To where life shrinks from the fierce Alpine air.
Gaze on them, till the tears shall dim thy sight,
But keep that earlier, wilder image bright.
Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awakening, till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
Yes! tho' that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
'Twere better than the cold reality
Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
But should it be- that dream eternally
Continuing- as dreams have been to me
In my young boyhood- should it thus be given,
'Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
For I have revell'd, when the sun was bright
I' the summer sky, in dreams of living light
And loveliness,- have left my very heart
In climes of my imagining, apart
From mine own home, with beings that have been
Of mine own thought- what more could I have seen?
'Twas once- and only once- and the wild hour
From my remembrance shall not pass- some power
Or spell had bound me- 'twas the chilly wind
Came o'er me in the night, and left behind
Its image on my spirit- or the moon
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
Too coldly- or the stars- howe'er it was
That dream was as that night-wind- let it pass.
I have been happy, tho' in a dream.
I have been happy- and I love the theme:
Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life,
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality, which brings
To the delirious eye, more lovely things
Of Paradise and Love- and all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.
Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore,
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece
And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land!
Twas a sweet time for Nesace--for there
Her world lay lolling on the golden air,
Near four bright suns--a temporary rest--
An oasis in desert of the blest.
Away--away--'mid the seas of rays that roll
Empyrean splendor over the unchained soul--
The soul that scarce
Can struggle to its destined eminence--
To distant spheres, from time to time, she rolled,
And late to ours the favored one of God--
But, now, the ruler of an anchored realm
She throws aside the scepter--leaves the helm,
And, amid incense and high spiritual hymns,
Leaves in quadruple light her angel limbs.
Now, happiest, loveliest in you lovely Earth,
Whence sprang the "Idea of Beauty" into birth,
Falling in wreaths through many a startled star,
Like woman's hair 'mid pearls, until, afar,
It lit on hills Achaian, and there dwelt,
She looked into Infinity--and knelt.
Spirit! that dwells where,
In the deep sky,
The terrible and fair,
In beauty vie!
Beyond the line of blue--
The boundary of the star
Which turns at the view
Of your barrier and your bar--
Of the barrier overgone
By the comet who were cast
From their pride and from their throne
To be drudges till the last--
To be carriers of fire
(The red fire of their heart)
With speed that may not tire
And with pain that shall not part--
Who lives--that we know--
In Eternity--we feel--
But the shadow of whose brow
What spirit shall reveal?
Tho the beings whom your Nesace
Your messanger has known
Have dreamed for your Infinity
A model of their own--
Your will is done, Oh, God!
The star has ridden high
Thro many a tempest, but she rode
Beneath your burning eye;
And here, in thought, to thee--
In thought that can alone
Ascend your empire and so be
A partner of your throne--
By winged Fantasy,
My embassy is given,
Till secrecy shall knowledge be
n the environs of heaven.
She ceased--and buried then her burning cheel
Abashed, amid the lilies there, to seek
A shelter from the fervor og His eye
For the stars trembled at the Diety.
She stirred not--breathed not--for a voice was there
How solemnly pervading the calm air!
A sound of silence on the startled ear
Which dreamy poets name "the music of the sphere."
Ours is a world of words (discourse): Quiet we call "Silence--which is the merest word of all.
All Nature speaks, and even ideal things
Flap shadowy sounds from visionary wings--
But ah! not so when, thus, in realms on high
The eternal voice of God is passing by
And the red winds are withering in the sky!
[God is speaking]
What tho in worlds which sightest cycles run,
Linked to a little system, and one sun--
Where all my love is folly and the crowd
Still think my terrors but the thunder cloud,
the storm, the earthquake, and the ocean-wrath--
(Ah! Will they cross me in my angrier path?)
What tho' in worlds which own a single sun
The sands of Time grow dimmer as they run,
Yet thine is my resplendency, so given
To bear my secrets through the upper heaven
Leave tenantless thy crystal home and fly,
With all your train athwart the moon sky--
Apart--like fire-flies in Silician night,
And wing to other worlds another light!
Divulge the secrets of your embassy
to the proud orbs that twinkle--and so be
To every heart a barrier and a ban
Lest the stars totter in the guilt of man!"
Up rose the maiden in the yellow night.
Bore burthen to the charm the maiden sang:
"beneath blue-bell or streamer--
Or tufted wild spray
That keeps, from the dreamer,
The moonbeam away--
Bright beings! that ponder,
With half-closing eyes,
On the stars which you wonder
has drawn from the skies,
Till they glance to the shade,
and come down to your brow
Like--eyes of the maiden
Who calls on you now--
Arise! from your dreaming
In violet bowers, To duty beseeming
These star-litten hours--
And shake from your tresses
Encumbered with dew
The breath of those kisses
That cumber them too--
(O! how, without you, Love!
Could angels be blest?_)
Those kisses of true love
That lulled you to rest!
Up!--shake from your winf
Each hindering thing:
The dew of the night--
It would weigh down your flight;
And true love caresses-
O! leave them apart!
They are light on the tresses,
but lead on the heart.
My beautiful one!
Whose harshest idea
Will to melody run,
O! is it your will
On the breezes to toss?
Or capriciously still
Like the alone Albaross,
Incumbent on night
(As she on the air)
To keep watch with delight
On the harmony there?
Your image may be,
No magic shall sever
Your music from thee.
You have bound many eyes
In a dreamy sleep--
Bur the strains still arise
Which your vigilance keep--
The sound of the rain
Which leaps down to the flower
And dances again
In Heaven a spirit does dwell
"whose heart-strings are a lute"'
None sing so widely well
As the angel Israfel,
And the giddy stars (so legends tell).
Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
Of his voice, all mute.
In her highest noon,
The enamored moon
Blushes with love,
While, to listed, the red Levin
(With the rapid Pleiads, even,
Which were seven,)
Pauses in Heaven
And they say (the starry choir
And the other listening things)
That Israfel's fire
Is owing to that lyre
By which he sits and sings--
The trembling living wire
Of those unusual strings.
But the skies that angel trod, where deep thoughts are duty,
Where Love's grown-up God,
Where the Houri glances are
Imbued with all the beauty
Which we worship in a star.
Therefore, you are not wrong,
Israfeli, who despises
An unimpassioned song;
To you the laurels belong,
Best bard, because the wisest!
Merrily live, and long!
The ecstasies above
With your burning measures suit--
Your grief, your joy, your hate, your love,
With the fervor of your lure
Well may the stars be mute!
Yes, Heaven is yours, but thus
Is a world of sweets and sours;;
Our flowers are merely--flowers,
And the shadow of your perfect bliss
Is the sunshine of ours.
If I could dwell
Has dwelt, and her where I,
He might not sing so wildly well
A mortal melody,
While a bolder note than this might swell
From my lyre within the sky.
Washington Irving's The Author's Account of Himself
Speaker: Geoffrey Crayon.
Washington Irving is the first important example of American literary success through imitation. He tries to acquire British style, but at the same time he wants to take his American readers to the past/antiquity/tradition. America has great plains, lakes, mountains, but it lacks culture (America is about reason). Geography is good, but it becomes more interesting when there's story attached to it.(Great waterfalls don't make great literature.) The traveler is tired of trees, topography, but still needs a place to retire, so he leaves to England to look at Cathedrals. England is a realized nation and good model. Takes his readers back to England, but in England, there is no place that has not been storied/poetical.
*England is the fancy to America's reason.
This rambling propensity strengthened with my years. Books of voyagers and travels became my passion, and in devouring their contents I neglected the regular exercises of the school. How wistfully would I wander about the pier heads in fine weather, and watch the parting ships, bound to distant climes. With what longing eyes would I gaze after their lessening sails, and waft myself in imagination to the ends of the earth.
Further reading and thinking, though they brought this vague inclination into more reasonable bounds, only served to make it more decided. I visited various parts of my own country, and had I been merely a lover of fine scenery, I should have felt little desire to seek elsewhere its gratification, for on no country have the charms of nature been more prodigally lavished. Her mighty lakes, like oceans of liquid silver, her mountains with her bright aerial tints; her valleys teeming with wild fertility; her tremendous cataracts thundering in their solitudes; her boundless plains waving with spontaneous verdure; her broad, deep rivers, rolling in solemn silence to the ocean; her trackless forests, where vegetation puts forth all its magnificence; her skies kindling with the magic of summer clouds and glorious sunshine-no, never need an American look beyond his own country for the sublime and beautiful of natural scenery
But Europe held forth the charms of storied and poetical association. There were to be seen the masterpieces of art, the refinements of highly-cultivated society, the quaint peculiarities of ancient and local custom My native country was full of youthful promise; Europe was rich in the accumulated treasures of age. Her very ruins told the history of times gone by, and every mouldering stone was a chronicle. I longed to wander over the scenes of renowned achievement--to tread as it were in the footsteps of antiquity--to loiter about the ruined castle--to meditate on the falling tower--to escape in short, from the commonplace realities of the present, and lose myself among the shadowy grandeurs of the past.
Rip was at last reduced almost to despair; and his only alternative to escape from the labor of the farm and the clamor of his wife, was to take a gun in hand and stroll away into the woods. Here he would sometimes seat himself at the foot of a tree and share the contents of his wallet with Wolf. with whom he sympathized as a fellow sufferer in persecution. "Poor Wolf," he would say, "your mistress leads you a dog's life of it, but never mind my lad, whilst I live you shalt never want a friend to stand by you" Wolf would wag his tail, look wistfully in his master's face, and If dogs can feel pity I verily believe he reciprocated the sentiment with all his heart.
In a long ramble of the kind of autumnal day, Rip had unconsciously scrambled to one of the highest parts of the Kaatskill mountains. He was after his favorite sport of squirrel shooting and the still solitudes had echoed and re-echoed with the reports of his gun. Panting and fatigued he threw himself, late in the afternoon, on a green knoll, covered with mountain herbage, that crowned the brow of a precipice. From an opening between the trees he could overlook all the lower country for many a mile of rich woodland. He saw at a distance the lordly Hudson, far, far, below him, moving on its silent but majestic course, with the reflection of a purple cloud, or the sail of a lagging bark here and there sleeping on its glassy bosom, and at last losing itself in the blue highlands.
On the other side he looked down into a deep mountain glen, wild, lonely and shagged, the bottom filled with fragments from the impending cliffs and scarcely lighted by the reflected rays of the setting sun.
As he was about to descend he heard a voice from a distance hallooing "Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!" He looked around, but could see nothing but a crow winging its solitary flight across the mountain He thought his fancy must have deceived him and turned again to descend, when he heard the same crying through the still evening air: "Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle!"
He used to tell his story to every stranger that arrived at Mr. Doolittle's hotel. He was observed at first to vary on some points, every time he told it, which was doubtless owing to his having so recently awaked. It at last settled down precisely to the tale I have related and not a man or woman or child in the neighborhood but knew it by heart. Some always pretended to doubt the reality of it, and insisted that Rip had been out of his head, and that this was one point on which he always remained flighty, The old Dutch inhabitants, however, almost universally gave it full credit--Even to this day they never hear a thunder storm of a summer afternoon about the Kaatskill, but they say Hendrick Hudson and his crew are at their game of nine pins; and it is a common wish of all henpecked husbands in the neighborhood, when life hangs heavy on their hands, that they might have a quieting draught out of Rip Van Winkle's flagon. It is a pious custom in some Catholic countries to honor the memory of saints, by votive lights burnt before their pictures. The popularity of a saint, therefore, may be known by a number of these offerings. One perhaps is left to moulder in the darkness of his little chapel; another may be a solitary lamp to throw its blinking rays athwart his effigy; while the whole blaze of adoration is lavished at the shrine of some beatified father of renown. The wealthy devotee brings luminary wax, the eager zealot his seven branched candlestick, and even the mendicant pilgrim is by no means satisfied that sufficient light is thrown upon the deceased, unless he hang up his little lamp of smoking oil. The consequence is, that in the eagerness to enlighten they are often apt to obscure; and I have occasionally seen an unlucky saint, almost smoked out of countenance by the officiousness of his followers.
In like manner has it fared with the immortal Shakespeare. Every writer considers it his bounden duty to light up some portion of his character or works, and to rescue some merit from oblivion. The commentator, opulent in words, produces vast tombs of dissertations; the common herd of editors send up mists of obscurity from their notes at the bottom of every page, and every casual scribbler brings his farthing rush light of eulogy or research, to swell the cloud of incense or of smoke
As I honor all established usages of my brethren of the quill I thought it but proper to contribute my mite of homage to the memory of the illustrious bard.
When I awoke the next morning, it seemed as if all the events of the preceding evening had been a dream, and nothing but the identity of the ancient chamber convinced me of their reality. When I lay musing on my pillow, I heard the sound of little feet pattering outside of the door, and a whispering consultation. Presently a choir of small voices chaunted forth an old Christmas carol, the burden of which was...
I rose softly, slipped on my clothes, opened the door suddenly, and beheld one of the most beautiful fairy groups that a painter could imagine. It consisted of a boy and two girls, the eldest not more than six, and lovely as seraphs. They were going the rounds of the house and singing at every chamber door...
Everything conspired to produce kind and happy feelings in this strong hold of old fashioned hospitality. The window of my chamber
The usual services of the choir were managed tolerably well, the vocal parts generally lagging a little behind the instrumental, and some loitering fiddler now and then making up for lost time by travelling over a passage with prodigious celerity, and clearing more bars than the keenest fox hunter, to be in at the death. But the great trial was an anthem that had been prepared and arranged by master Simon. and on which he had founded great expectations. Unluckily, there was a blunder at the very outset; the musicians became flurried; Master Simon was in a fever; every thing went on lamely and irregularly until they came to a chorus beginning "Now let us sing with one accord," which seemed to be a signal for parting company: all became discord and confusion, each shifted for himself, and got to the end as well, or, rather, as soon as he could, expecting one old chorister in a pair of horn spectacles...
The parson gave us a most erudite sermon on the rites and ceremonies of Christmas, and the propriety of observing it, not merely as a day of thanksgiving, but of rejoicing