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ycars. But hope cheers him on, and smooths his rugged pathway. Dark and deep as is the problem, he sternly grapples with it, and resolves never to give over till vic
tory crowns his efforts. 5 Long and patiently did the astronomer watch and wait.
Each cclipse is duly observed, and its attendant circumstances are recorded, when, at last, the darki.css begins to give way, and a ray of light breaks in upon his mind. He
finds that no eclipse of the sun evcr occurs unless the new 10 moon is in the act of crossing the sun's track. Here is
a grand discovery. He now holds the key whicn will unlock the dread mystery.
Reaching forward with piercing intellectual vigor, he at last finds a new moon which occurs precisely at the 15 computed time of her passage across the sun's track. Here
he makes his stand, and announces to the startlcd inhabitants of the world that on the day of the occurrence of that new moon the sun shall expire in dark eclipse.
Bold prediction !- mysterious prophet! — with what 20 scorn must the unthinking world have received this sol
emn declaration ! How slowly do the moons roll away, and with what intense anxiety does the stern philosopher await the coming of that day which should crown him
with victory, or dash him to the ground in ruin and dis25 grace! Time to him moves on leaden wings; day after
day, and at last hour after hour, roll heavily away. The last night is gonc, — the moon has disappeared from his cagle gaze in her approach to the sun, and the dawn of the
eventful day breaks in beauty on a slumbering world. 30 This daring man, stern in his faith, climbs alone to his
rocky home, and greets the sun as he rises and mounts the heavens, scattering brightness and glory in his path. Beneath him is spread out the populous city, already teeming
with life and activity. The buďy morning lum rises on 35 the still air, and reaches the watching place of the solitary
astronomer. The thousands below him, unconscious of his
intense anxiety, buoyant with life, joyously pursue their rounds of business, their cycles of amusement.
The sun slowly climbs the heavens, round, and bright, and fullorbed. The lone tenant of the mountain-top almost begins to waver in the sternness of his faith, as the morning hours
But the time of his triumph, long delayed, at length begins to dawn; a pale and sickly hue creeps over the face
of nature. The sun has reached his highest point, but his 10 splendor is dimined, his light is feeble. At last it comes !
Blackness is eating away his round disc, - onward with slow but steady pace the dark veil moves, blacker than a thousand nights, — the gloom deepens, — the ghastly hue
of death covers the universe, the last ray is gone, and 15 horror reigns. A wail of terror fills the murky air, the
clangor of brazen trumpets resounds, — an agony of despair dashes the stricken millions to the ground, while that lone man, erect on his rocky summit, with arms out
stretched to heaven, pours forth the grateful gushings of 20 his heart to God, who had crowned his efforts with triumphant victory.
Search the records of our race, and point me, if you can, to è scene more grand, more beautiful. It is to me the
proudest victory that genius ever won. It was the con25 quering of nature, of ignorance, of superstition, of terror,
all at a single blow, and that blow struck by a single arm. And now do
demand the name of this wonderful man? Alas! what a lesson of the instability of earthly fame are
we taught in this simple recital ! He who had raised him30 self immeasurably above his race, who must have been
regarded by his fellows as little less than a god, who had inscribed his fame on the very heavens, and written it in the sun, with a " pen of iron, and the point of a diamond,"
even this one had perished from the earth, name, age, 35 country, are all swept into oblivion; but his proud achieve
ment stands. The monument reared to his honor stands,
and although the touch of time has effaced the lettering of his name, it is powerless, and cannot destroy the fruits of his victory
CXXV. - CHARACTER OF COLUMBUS.
IRVING. THE poetical temperament of Columbus is discernible throughout all his writings, and in all his actions. It spread a golden and glorious world around him, and tinged
everything with its own gorgeous colors. It betrayed him 5 into visionary speculations, which subjected him to the
sneers and cavillings of men of cooler and safer but more grovelling minds.
Such were the conjectures formed on the coast of Paria, about the form of the earth, and the situation of the ter10 restrial paradise ; about the mines of Ophir, in Hispaniola,
and of the Aurea Chersonesus, in Veragua ; and such was the heroic scheme of the crusade for the recovery of the holy sepulchre. It mingled with his religion, and filled
his mind with solemn and visionary meditations on mystic 15 passages of the scriptures, and the shadowy portents of the
prophecies. It exalted his office in his eyes, and made him conceive himself an agent sent forth upon a sublime and awful mission, subject to impulses and supernatural
visions from the Deity; such as the voice he imagined 20 spoke to him in comfort, amidst the troubles of Hispaniola,
and in the silence of the night, on the disastrous coast of Veragua.
He was decidedly a visionary, but a visionary of an uncommon and successful kind. The manner in which his 25 ardent imagination and mercurial nature were controlled
by a powerful judgment, and directed by an acute sagacity, is the most extraordinary feature in his character. Thus governed, his imagination, instead of wasting itself in idle
goarings, lent wings to his judgment, and bore it away to conclusions at which common minds could never have arrived; nay, which they could not perceive when pointed out.
To his intellectual vision it was given, to read in the 3 signs of the times, and in the reveries of past ages, the in
dications of an unknown world, as soothsayers were said to read predictions in the stars, and to foretell events from the visions of the night. His soul,” observes a Spanish writer, “ was superior to the age in which he lived.
For 10 him was reserved the great enterprise to plough a sca
which had given rise to so many fables, and to decipher the mystery of his time.”
With all the visionary fervor of his imagination, its fondest dreams fell short of the reality. He died in 15 ignorance of the real grandeur of his discovery. Until
bis last breath, he entertained the idea that he had merely opened a new way to the old resorts of opulent commerce, and had discovered some of the wild regions of
the East. He supposed Hispaniola to be the ancient Ophir, 20 which had been visited by the ships of Solomon, and that Cuba and Terra Firma were but remote parts of Asia. What visions of glory would have broken upon
his mind, could he have known that he had indeed discovered a new
continent, equal to the whole of the old world in magni. 25 tude, and separated by two vast oceans from all the earth
hitherto known by civilized man! and how would his mag. nanimous spirit have been consoled, amidst the chills of age, and the cares of penury, the neglect of a fickle public,
and the injustice of an ungrateful king, could he have an30 ticipated the splendid empires which were to spread over
the beautiful world he had discovered, and the nations and tongues and languages which were to fill its lands with his renown, and to revere and bless his name to the latest posterity!
CXXVI. — APOSTROPHE TO THE OCEAN.
1 THERE is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar.
I love not man the less, but Nature more,
From all I may be, or have been before,
2 Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean roll !
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain,
Stops with the shore ; — upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
3 The armaments which thunderstrike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,
4 Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee~
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, - what are they?