Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Mount, Juan, mount! whate'er betide, away the bridle fling, And plunge the rowels in his side ; — my horse shall save my

king!

“Nay, never speak; my sires, lord king, received their land

from yours,

And joyfully their blood shall spring, so be it thine secures :
If I should fly, and thou, my king, be found among the dead,
How could I stand 'mong gentlemen, such scorn on my gray

head ?

“Castile's proud dames shall never point the finger of disdain, And say there's one that ran away when our good lords were

slain ! I leave Diego in your care,

-you 'll fill his father's place : Strike, strike the spur, and never spare, — God's blessing on

your grace!”

So spake the brave Montañez, Butrago's lord was he;
And turned him to the coming host in steadfastness and glee;
He flung himself among them, as they came down the hill -
He died, God wot! but not before his sword had drunk its

fill.

CXI. - MILTON ON HIS BLINDNESS.

ELIZABETH LLOYD.

I

AM old and blind !

Men point at me as smitten by God's frown :
Afflicted and deserted of my kind,
Yet am I not cast down.

I am weak, yet strong :
I murmur not that I no longer see ;

Poor, old, and helpless, I the more belong,
Father Supreme, to thee.

O merciful One!
When men are farthest, then art thou most near;
When friends pass by, my weakness to shun,
Thy chariot I hear.

Thy glorious face
Is leaning toward me, and its holy light
Shines in upon my lonely dwelling place,
And there is no more night.

Ou bended knee
I recognized thy purpose, clearly shown;
My vision thou hast dimmed, that I may see
Thyself, thyself alone.

I have naught to fear;
This darkness is the shadow of thy wing;
Beneath it I am almost sacred, - here
Can come no evil thing.

0 I seem to stand
Trembling! where foot of mortal ne'er hath been,
Wrapped in the radiance from thy sinless land,
Which eye hath never seen.

Visions come and go ;
Shapes of resplendent beauty round me throng;
From angel lips I seem to hear the flow
Of soft and holy song.

It is nothing now,
When Heaven is opening on my sightless eyes,
When airs from Paradise refresh my brow,-
That earth in darkness lies.

CXII. — NATIONAL INJUSTICE.

THEODORE PARKER.

THEODORE PARKER, an American clergyman and reformer, was born in Lexington, Massachusetts, August 24, 1810; and died at Florence, Italy, May 10, 1860. Ho studied theology at the Divinity School in Cambridge, and was settled over the Unitarian Society in West Roxbury. In 1846 he was settled over a congregation in Boston. Here he preached, in the Music Hall, every Sunday, to iminense audiences. He became early known for his energetic denial of many of the doctrines regarded as vital by a majority of Christians, while he maintained with great power those which he regarded as vital, such as the existence of a personal God, the immortality of the soul, and the beauty of a pure and holy life. He threw himself with great ardor into the social questions of his time, and was in all things a zealous and uncompromising reformer. He was fearless and aggressive, sometimes unjust in his denunciations, but always faithful to his own convictions of duty. He was one of the earliest and most fervid of the opponents of slavery in New England. He was a friend of temperance and an advocate of peace. Notwithstanding the time which he gave to these subjects, he was a hard student of books, accumulated an immense library, and was remarkable for the wide range of his knowledge. Since his death biographies have appeared, by John Weiss and Octavius B. Frothingham.

O you know how empires find their end? Yes, the

great states eat up the little: as with fish, so with nations. Ay, but how do the great states come to an end? By their own injustice, and no other cause.

Come with me into the Inferno of the nations, with such poor guidance as my lamp can lend. Let us disquiet and bring up the awful shadows of empires buried long ago, and learn a lesson from the tomb.

Come, old Assyria, with the Ninevitish dove upon thy emerald crown.

What laid thee low? “I fell by my own injustice. Thereby Nineveh and Babylon came with me to the ground.” O queenly Persia, flame of the nations, wherefore art thou so fallen, who troddest the people under thee, bridgedst the Hellespont with ships, and pouredst thy temple-wasting millions on the western world ? “Because I trod the people under me, bridged the Hellespont with ships, and poured my temple-wasting millions on the western world. I fell by my own misdeeds."

Thou muse-like Grecian queen, fairest of all thy classic sisterhood of states, enchanting yet the world with thy sweet witchery, speaking in art and most seductive song, why liest thou there with beauteous yet dishonored brow, reposing on thy broken harp? “I scorned the law of God; banished and poisoned wisest, justest men; I loved the loveliness of flesh embalmed in Parian stone; I loved the loveliness of thought, and treasured that in more than Parian speech; but the beauty of justice, the loveliness of love, I trod them down to earth. Lo, therefore have I become as those barbarous states, as one of them.”

O manly, majestic Rome! Thy seven-fold mural crown all broken at thy feet, why art thou here ? 'T was not injustice brought thee low, for thy great book of law is prefaced with these words, JUSTICE IS THE UNCHANGING, EVERLASTING WILL TO GIVE EACH MAN HIS RIGHT! was not the saint's ideal; it was the hypocrite's pretense. I made iniquity my law. I trod the nations under me. Their wealth gilded my palaces. Where thou mayst see the fox and hear the owl, it fed my courtiers and my courtesans. Wicked men were my cabinet counselors. The flatterer breathed his poison in my ear. Millions of bondmen wet the soil with tears and blood. Do

you

not hear it crying yet to God? Lo, here have I my recompense, tormented with such downfalls as you see !

“Go back and tell the new-born child who sitteth on the Alleghanies, laying his either hand upon a tributary sea, a crown of thirty stars upon his brow, — tell him there are rights which states must keep, or they shall suffer wrong. Tell him there is a God, who keeps the black man and the white, and hurls to earth the loftiest realm that

« It

breaks his just, eternal law! Warn the young empire, that he come not down, dim and dishonored, to my shameful tomb! Tell him that justice is the unchanging, everlasting will to give each man his right. I knew it, broke it, and am lost. Bid him keep it, and be safe !”

CXIII. - OLIVER CROMWELL,

GOLDWIN SMITH.

GOLDWIN SMITH was born at Reading, England, in 1823. He was educated at Eton and at Oxford, at both of which institutions he distinguished himself as a scholar, and at the latter of which, in 1858, became Regius Professor of Modern History. In 1861 he published an able work entitled “Irish History and Irish Character.” During our civil war he visited America, that he might study more closely the issues involved. Returning, he became, at the risk of social ostracism, a champion of the American Union, and did much to correct the mistaken public sentiment of England. In 1867 he published “Three English Statesmen, Pym, Cromwell, and Pitt.” In the following year, having resigned his position at Oxford, he became Professor of English History at Cornell University. He is a thorough student, a vigorous thinker, a clear, strong, terse writer, a gentleman of spotless integrity, and an ardent defender of human rights. He now resides at Toronto.

YROMWELL was a fanatic, and all fanatics are mor

ally the worse for their fanaticism: they set dogma above virtue, they take their own ends for God's ends, and their own enemies for his. But that this man's religion was sincere, who can doubt ?

It not only fills his most private letters, as well as his speeches and despatches, but it is the only clew to his life. For it, when past forty, happy in his family, wellto-do in the world, he turned out with his children and exposed his life to sword and bullet in obscure skirmishes as well as in glorious fields. On his death-bed his thoughts wandered, not, like those of Napoleon, among the eddies of battle, or in the mazes of state-craft, but among the religious questions of his youth. Constant

« PředchozíPokračovat »