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To the Rainbow.
1. TRIUMPHAL arch, that fill'st the sky
When storms prepare to part,
To teach me what thou art ;
2. Still seem as to my childhood's sight,
A midway station, given
Betwixt the earth and heaven.
3. Can all that optics teach, unfold
Thy form to please me so,
Hid in thy radiant bow?
4. When Science from Creation's face
Enchantment's veil withdraws,
To cold, material laws !
5. And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,
But words of the Most High,
Was woven in the sky.
6. When o'er the green undeluged earth
Heaven's covenant thou didst shine,
To watch thy sacred sign.
7. And when its yellow lustre smiled
O'er mountains yet untrod,
To bless the bow of God.
8. Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,
The first-made anthem rang
And the first poet sang.
SCENE ON THE MISSISSIPPI.
9. Nor ever shall the Muse's eye
Unraptured greet thy beam;
Be still the poet's theme !
10. The earth to thee her incense yields,
The lark thy welcome sings,
The snowy mushroom springs.
11. How glorious is thy girdle cast
O'er mountain, tower, and town,
A thousand fathoms down!
12. As fresh, in yon horizon dark,
As young thy beauties seem,
First sported in thy beam.
13. For, faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds its span,
That first spoke peace to man.
LESSON LXXIX. Scene on the Mississippi. 1. In the spring, one hundred boats have been numbered, that landed in one day at the mouth of the Bayou, at New Madrid. I have strolled to the point in a spring evening, and seen them arriving in fleets.
2. The boisterous gayety of the hands, the congratulations, the moving picture of life on board the boats in the numerous animals, large and small, which they carry, their different loads, the evidence of the increasing agriculture of the country above, and, more than all, the immense distances which they have already come, and those which they have still to go, afforded to me copious sources of meditation.
3. You can name no point from the numerous rivers of
the Ohio and the Mississippi, from which some of these boats have not come. In one place there are boats loaded with planks from the pine forests of the south-west of New York. In another quarter, there are the Yankee notions of Ohio; from Kentucky, pork, flour, whiskey, hemp, tobacco, bagging, and bale-rope.
4. From Tennessee there are the same articles, together with great quantities of cotton. From Missouri and Illinois, are cattle and horses, and the same articles generally as from Ohio, together with peltry and lead from Missouri. Some boats are loaded with corn in the ear and in bulk ; others with barrels of apples and potatoes.
5. Some have loads of cider, and what they call “ cider royal,” or cider that has been strengthened by boiling or freezing. There are dried fruits, every kind of spirit manufactured in these regions, and, in short, the products of the ingenuity and agriculture of the whole upper country of the West.
6. They have come from regions, thousands of miles apart. They have floated to a common point of union. The surfaces of the boats cover some acres.
Dunghill fowls are fluttering over the roofs, as an invariable appendage. Chanticleer raises his piercing note. The swine utter their cries. The cattle low. The horses trample, as in their stables.
7. There are boats fitted on purpose, and loaded entirely with turkeys, that, having little else to do, gobble most furiously. The hands travel about from boat to boat, make inquiries and acquaintances, and form alliances to yield mutual assistance to each other, on their descent from this place to New Orleans. After an hour or two passed in this way, they spring on shore to raise the wind in town.
Š. It is well for the people of the village, if they do not become riotous in the course of the evening; in which case, I have often seen the most summary and strong measures taken. About midnight the uproar is all hushed. The fleet unites once more at Natchez, or New Orleans; and, although they live on the same river, they may, perhaps, never meet each other again, on the earth.
9. Next morning, at the first dawn, the bugles sound. Everything in and about the boats, that has life, is in motion. The boats, in half an hour, are all under way. In a little
SCENE ON THE MISSISSIPPI.
while, they have all disappeared, and nothing is seen, as before they came, but the regular current of the river.
10. In passing down the Mississippi, we often see a number of boats lashed and floating together. I was once on board a fleet of eight, that were in this way moving on together. It was a considerable walk, to travel over the roofs of this floating town. On board of one boat they were killing swine. In another they had apples, cider, nuts, and dried fruit. One of the boats was a retail or dram shop. It seems, that the object, in lashing so many boats, had been to barter, and obtain supplies.
11. These confederacies often commence in a frolic and end in a quarrel, in which case the aggrieved party dissolves the partnership by unlashing, and managing his own boat in his own way.
While this fleet of boats is floating separately, but each carried by the same current, nearly at the same rate, visits take place from boat to boat in skiffs.
12. While I was at New Madrid, a large tinner's establishment floated there in a boat. In it all the different articles of tin-ware were manufactured, and sold by wholesale and retail. There were three large apartments, wherė the different branches of the art were carried on in this floating manufactory.
13. When they had mended all the tin, and vended all that they could sell, in one place, they floated on to another. A still more extraordinary manufactory, we were told, was floating down the Ohio, and shortly expected at New Madrid. Aboard this were manufactured axes, scythes, and all other iron tools of this description, and in it horses were shod.
14. In short, it was a complete blacksmith's shop of a higher order ; and it is said that they jestingly talked of having a trip-hammer, worked by a horse-power, on board. I have frequently seen in this region a dry-goods shop in a boat, with its articles very handsoinely arranged on shelves. Nor would the delicate hands of the vender have disgraced the spruce clerk behind our city counters.
15. It is now common to see flat-boats worked by a buck. et-wheel, and horse-power, after the fashion of steamboat movement. Indeed, every spring brings forth new contrivances of this sort, the result of the farmer's meditations over his winter's fire.
The Cap of Liberty.
The following passage from the drama of “ William Tell,” represents a piece of authentie history. Gesler, the Austrian governor of Switzerland, about the year 1300, caused his bat or cap to be placed on a pole, and the people were ordered to bow down to it. Williain Tell, a gallant Swiss patriot, refused, and was consequently imprisoned. He afterwards escaped, and, in conjunction with other patriots, freed his country from the Austrian dominion.
(Enter Sarnem, with soldiers, bearing Gesler's cap upon a
pole, which he fires into the ground, the people looking on in silence and amazement; the guards station themselves near the pole.)
Sarnem. Ye men of Altorf!
Tell. Have I my hearing ?
Tell. Or sight? They do it, Verner!