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palm-branch, and riding upon an ass into the golden gate of the city. That palm is the magic wand which shall wave the discordant world into harmony; that golden gate is the symbol of the way which only he can enter who knows the magic of the palm. That single figure is the most eminent in history. The highest hope of Art is to reveal his beauty,—the sublimest strains of Literature are the prophecies and records of his career,—the struggle of Society is to plant itself upon the truth he taught.
In the vision of the Past, as upon an infinite battle-field, that single figure meets the might of Rome, and the skill of Greece, and the wit of Egypt, and the flame of their glory is paled before his glance. He rode in at the golden gate, and was crucified between thieves. But it is the victim which consecrates the city. In vain the heroism of the Republic and the purple splendor of the Emperor would distract imagination and give a deeper charm to Rome. The cold auroral fires stream anew to the zenith, as we sit in the starlight at the tent-door. But a planet burns through them brighter than they; and we no longer discuss which city we approach with the profoundest interest.
THE DUTY OF THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR.1
Do you ask me our duty as scholars ? Gentlemen, thought, which the scholar represents, is life and liberty. There is no intellectual or moral life without liberty. Therefore, as a man must breathe and see before he can study, the scholar must have liberty, first of all; and as the American scholar is a man and has a voice in his own government, so his interest in political affairs must precede all others. He must build his house before he can live in it. He must be a perpetual inspiration of freedom in politics. He must recognise that the intelligent exercise of political rights, which is a privilege in a monarchy, is a duty in a republic. If it clash with his ease, his retirement, his taste, his study, let it clash, but let him do his duty. The course of events is incessant, and when the good deed is slighted, the bad deed is done.
Scholars, you would like to loiter in the pleasant paths of study. Every man loves his ease,,loves to please his taste. But into how many homes along this lovely valley came the news of Lexington and Bunker Hill, eighty years ago, and young men like us, studious, fond of leisure, young lovers, young husbands, young brothers, and sons, knew that they must forsake the wooded hills
i From an oration delivered on Tuesday, August 5, 1856, before the Literary Societies of Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut.
side, the river-meadows, golden with harvest, the twilight walk along the river, the summer Sunday in the old church, parents, wife, child, mistress, and go away to uncertain war. Putnam heard the call at his plough, and turned to go, without waiting. Wooster heard it, and obeyed.
Not less' lovely in those days was this peaceful valley, not less soft this summer air. Life was dear, and love as beautiful, to those young men as it is to us, who stand upon their graves. But, because they were so dear and beautiful, those men went out, bravely to fight for them and fall. Through these very streets they marched, who never returned. They fell, and were buried; but they can never die. Not sweeter are the flowers that make your valley fair, not greener are the pines that give your river its name, than the memory of the brave men who died for freedom. And yet no victim of those days, sleeping under the green sod of Connecticut, is more truly a martyr of Liberty than every murdered man whose bones lie bleaching in this summer sun upon the silent plains of Kansas.
Gentlemen, while we read history, we make history. Because our fathers fought in this great cause, we must not hope to escape fighting Because, two thousand years ago, Leonidas stood against Xerxes, we must not suppose that Xerxes was slain, nor, thank God, that Leonidas is not immortal. Every great crisis of human history is a pass of Thermopylæ, and there is always a Leonidas and his three hundred to die in it, if they cannot conquer. And so long as Liberty has one martyr, so long as one drop of blood is poured out for her, so long from that single drop of bloody sweat of the agony of humanity shall spring, hosts as countless as the forest-leaves, and mighty as the sea.
Brothers! the call has come to us. I bring it to you in these calm retreats. I summon you to the great fight of Freedom. I call upon you to say, with your voices, whenever the occasion offers, and with your votes, when the day comes, that upon these fertile fields of Kansas, in the very heart of the continent, the upas-tree of slavery, dripping death-dews upon national prosperity and upon free labor, shall never be planted. I call upon you to plant there the palm of peace, the vine and the olive of a Christian civilization. I call upon you to determine whether this great experiment of human freedom, which has been the scorn of despotism, shall, by its failure, be also our sin and shame. I call upon you to defend the hope of the world.
The voices of our brothers who are bleeding, no less than of our fathers who bled, summon us to this battle. Shall the children of unborn generations, clustering over that vast Western empire, rise up and call us blessed, or cursed ? Here are our Marathon
and Lexington ; here are our heroic fields. The hearts of all good men beat with us. The fight is fierce—the issue is with God. But God is good.
RICHARD HENRY STODDARD.
RICHARD HENRY STODDARD was born in Hingham, Massachusetts, on the 2d of July, 1825. His father, who was a sea-captain, sailed for Gottenburg when our author was about a year old, and the vessel was never after heard of. In 1835, his mother, who had married again, removed to New York, where he has resided ever since. When he was old enough to do any thing for himself, he went into a lawyer's office and copied law-papers; but, not liking this, he afterwards went into an iron-foundry, where he worked six years in learning the trade of an iron-moulder. Here he began to write verses, and, soon after the “C'nion Magazine” (afterwards Sartain's) was started, he became, in 1847, a contributor to it. He now commenced his literary career, publishing, in 1848, a small volume of poetry, entitled Footprints, and writing for various magazines,--the “ Knickerbocker," "Putnam's Monthly,” “Graham's," and the “International.” In the fall of 1851, a second volume was brought out by Ticknor & Fields, entitled simply Poems, which consisted of his contributions to the above-mentioned magazines. About this time he was appointed to a situation in the New York Custom-House, and in the next year (1852) he gave to the public a volumo of very sweet poetic prose, entitled Adventures in Fairy-Land, and in the autumn of the same year he was married to Miss Elizabeth D. Barston, of Mattapoisett, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, herself a poetess of rery decided merit. In 1856 appeared Songs of Summer,' in which are some short pieces of exquisite beauty.
Mr. Stoddard is still in the Custom-House in New York,-a location, one would think, not very near Parnassus; yet he continues to devote his leisure moments to poetry and general literature,— with what success the following beautiful pieces show.
HYMN TO THE BEAUTIFUL.
My heart is full of tenderness and tears,
And tears are in mine eyes, I know not why;
Or even this hour to die.
My love is dead, or worse than dead can be;
But nothing troubles me,
See his Dedication to Songs of Summer, under George H. Boker, p. 745.
Only the golden flush of sunset lies
see thy skirts afar, and feel thy power;
And fills my charméd heart;
Thou canst not be forgot,
Nor men alone, but babes with wondrous eyes,
The gift and heirloom of a former state,
And lie in infancy at heaven's gate, Transfigured in the light that streams along the lands ! Around our pillows golden ladders rise,
And up and down the skies,
With wingéd sandals shod,
It is the childish heart;
We walk as heretofore, Adown their shining ranks, but see them never more!
Not heaven is gone, but we are blind with tears,
From earliest infancy my heart was thine ;
Or if I ever wept, it was with joy divine !
I saw thee everywhere!
The mists enfolded me with soft white arms;
The rivers wove their charms,
And every little daisy in the grass
Nor outward fancies feed its inner flame;
We feel a growing want we cannot name,
By Love, or Song, or Art :
Her thin white cheek forever lean’d on thine;
In exultation shouting songs divine !
The more we worship him, the more we grow
Not from the things around us do we draw
Thy light within; within the light is born;
The growing rays of some forgotten morn,
The sculpture's statue, never saw the Day;
Not shaped and moulded after aught of clay, Whose crowning work still does its spirit wrong; Hue after hue divinest pictures grow,
Line after line immortal songs arise,
And in the master's mind
That echoes through a range of ocean-caves,
The mystery is thine,
The oracle of Art!
Earth is thine outer court, and Life a breath;
Why should we fear to die, and leave the earth?
But all the keys of Death;
Of Life, and Death, and Time, are thine alone;
And hung below the throne
TIIE TWO BRIDES.
I saw two maidens at the kirk,
And both were fair and sweet ;
And one in her winding-sheet.
The choristers sang the hymn,
The sacred rites were read,
And one to Death was wed.
They were borne to their bridal beds,
In loveliness and bloom,-
The other a solemn tomb.