« AnteriorContinua »
instant, to pass from the confines of death to the bright and balmy regions of life. Below us flows the winding Charles, with its rippling current, like the stream of time hastening to the ocean of eternity. In the distance, the city — at once the object of our admiration and our love – rears its proud eminences, its glittering spires, its lofty towers, its graceful mansions, its curling smoke, its crowded haunts of business and pleasure, which speak to the eye, and yet leave a noiseless loneliness on the ear. Again we turn, and the walls of our venerable university rise before us, with many a recollection of happy days passed there in the interchange of study and friendship, and many a grateful thought of the affluence of its learning, which has adorned and nourished the literature of our country. Again we turn, and the cultivated farm, the neat cottage, the village church, the sparkling lake, the rich valley, and the distant hills, are before us through opening vistas; and we breathe amidst the fresh and varied labors of man.
There is, therefore, within our reach, every variety of natural and artificial scenery which is fitted to awaken emotions of the highest and most affecting character. We stand, as it were, upon the borders of two worlds; and as the mood of our minds may be, we may gather lessons of profound wisdom by contrasting the one with the other, or indulge in the dreams of hope and ambition, or solace our hearts by melancholy meditations.
Who is there, that, in the contemplation of such a scene, is not ready to exclaim, with the enthusiasm of the poet,
" Mine be the breezy hill that skirts the down,
Where a green grassy turf is all I crave,
Fast by a brook, or fountain's murmuring wave,
What a multitude of thoughts crowd upon the mind in the contemplation of such a scene! How much of the future, even in its far-distant reaches, rises before us with all its persuasive realities! Take but one little narrow space of time, and how affecting are its associations! Within the flight of one half century, how many of the great, the good, and the wise, will be gathered here! How many in the loveliness of infancy, the beauty of youth, the vigor of manhood, and the maturity of age, will lie down here, and dwell in the bosom of their mother earth! The rich and the poor,
and the wretched, the favorites of thousands, and the forsaken of the world, the stranger in his solitary grave, and the patriarch surrounded by the kindred of a long lineage!' How many will here bury their brightest hopes, or blasted expectations! How many bitter tears will here be shed! How many agonizing sighs will here be heaved! How many trembling feet will cross the pathways, and, returning, leave behind them the dearest objects of their reverence or their love!
And if this were all, sad indeed, and funereal, would be our thoughts; gloomy, indeed, would be these shades, and desolate these prospects.
But thanks be to God - the evils which he permits have their attendant mercies, and are blessings in disguise. The bruised reed will not be utterly laid prostrate. The wounded heart will not always bleed. The voice of consolation will spring up in the midst of the silence of these regions of death. The mourner will revisit these shades with a secret, though melancholy pleasure. The hand of friendship will delight to cherish the flowers, and the shrubs, that fringe the lowly grave, or the sculptured monument. The earliest beams of the morning will play upon these summits with a refreshing cheerfulness, and the lingering tints of evening hover on them with a tranquillizing glow. Spring will invite hither the footsteps of the young by its opening foliage, and Autumn detain the contemplative by its latest bloom. The votary of learning and science 'will here learn to elevate his genius by the holiest studies. The devout will here offer úp
the silent tribute of pity, or the prayer of gratitude. The rivalries of the world will here drop from the heart; the spirit of forgiveness will gather new impulses; the selfishness of avarice will be checked; the restlessness of ambition will be rebuked; vanity will let fall its plumes; and pride, as it “what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue,” will acknowledge the value of virtue as far, immeasurably far, beyond that of fame.
But that, which will be ever present, pervading these shades like the noonday sun, and shedding cheerfulness around, is the consciousness, the irrepressible consciousness, amidst all these lessons of human mortality, of the higher truth, that we are beings, not of time, but of eternity; that “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality;” that this is but the threshold and starting-point of an existence, compared with whose duration the ocean is but as a drop, nay, the whole creation an evanescent quantity.
Let us banish, then, the thought, that this is to be the abode of gloom, which will haunt the imagination by its terrors, or chill the heart by its solitude. Let us cultivate feelings and sentiments more worthy of ourselves and more worthy of Christianity. Here let us erect the memorials of our love, and our gratitude, and our glory. Here let the brave repose, who have died in the cause of their country. Here let the statesman rest, who has achieved the victories of peace, not less renowned than war. Here let genius find a home, that has sung immortal strains, or has instructed with still diviner eloquence. Here let learning and science, the votaries of inventive art, and the teacher of the philosophy of nature, come. Here let youth and beauty, blighted by premature decay, drop, like tender blossoms, into the virgin earth; and here let age retire, ripened for the harvest. Above all, here let the benefactors of mankind, the good, the merciful, the meek, the pure in heart, be congregated; for to them belongs an undying praise. And let us take
comfort, --- nay, let us rejoice, - that in future ages, long after we are gathered to the generations of other days, thousands of kindling hearts will here repeat the sublime declaration, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them."
EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION. a :- all, call, fall, tall, wall, cause, pause, aught, caught,
nought; – always, thraldom, falcon, water,
Who sleeps below? who sleeps below ?
It is a question idle all !
Say, do they heed, or hear thy call ?
A hundred summer suns have showered
Their fostering warmth and radiance bright;
With piercing floods, and hues of night,
Was he of high or low degree?
Did grandeur smile upon his lot?
And, from his youth to labor wed,
Say, died he ripe, and full of years,
Bowed down and bent by hoary eld, When sound was silence to his ears,
And the dim eyeball sight withheld, Like a ripe apple falling down, Unshaken, 'mid the orchard brown,
When all the friends that blessed his prime
Were vanished like a morning dream,
And scattered in Oblivion's stream,
Or, 'mid the summer of his years,
When round him thronged his children young, When bright eyes gushed with burning tears,
And anguish dwelt on every tongue,
Perhaps he perished for the faith,
One of that persecuted band
To free from mental thrall the land,
Say, was he one to science blind,
A groper in earth's dungeon dark ?-
Did in the fair creation mark