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O dread and silent Mount! I gazed upon thee,
Yet, like some sweet, beguiling melody,
So sweet, we know not we are listening to it,
Thou, the mean while, wast blending with my thought, -
Awake, my soul! not only passive praise
Thou, first and chief, sole sovereign of the vale!
Or when they climb the sky, or when they sink, —
And you, ye five wild torrents, fiercely glad! *
*Besides the rivers Arve and Arveiron, which have their sources in the foot of Mont Blanc in Switzerland, five conspicuous torrents rush down its sides; and within a few feet of the glaciers the Gentiana major grows in immense numbers, with its "flowers of loveliest blue."
From dark and icy caverns called you forth,
Ye ice-falls! ye, that, from the mountain's brow,
Who made you glorious as the gates of Heaven
"God!" let the torrents, like a shout of nations,
"God!" sing, ye meadow-streams, with gladsome voice!
Ye living flowers that skirt the eternal frost!
Utter forth "God!" and fill the hills with praise.
Thou, too, hoar mount, with thy sky-pointing peaks,
Thou, too, again, stupendous mountain! thou
In adoration, upward from thy base
Slow traveling with dim eyes suffused with tears
To rise before me-rise, O ever rise!
In CONTEMPORARY, CONTRARY, HEREDITARY, ORATORY, heed remarks, § 29; in OBSCURITY, PURIFY, § 11; in ENERGY, EXERCISE, LIBERTY, PROPERTY, GOVERNMENT, §7; pronounce OLIGARCHY, ol'i-gark-y, BROUGHAM, broom.
See in Index, GENIUS, IMAGERY, vaunt, Grattan, Madden.
Delivery. See remarks, § 48, on the descriptive and narrative styles. In several places the language rises into emotional warmth, and should be read with corresponding animation.
1. Of all the great Parliamentary orators whose speeches have been preserved, those of Grattan are most worthy of perusal by the reflective and the studious. He may have been surpassed in Parliamentary eloquence by some, and in political philosophy by others of his contemporaries; but none of them, like Grattan, addressed at the same time two distinct classes of persons, namely, the audience before him, and a certain higher tribunal of the thoughtful few, whom he always kept before his mind's eye.
2. The mere critic may note many blemishes of style throughout his speeches; may often be justly displeased
with incongruous metaphors, with vehemence tending to the bombastic, and with an excessive use of epigram and antithesis. But, admitting that Grattan's speeches contain faults which are interwoven with their beauties, enough of excellence will remain to win the admirers of intellect and genius.
3. "His eloquence," said a distinguished living poet, "was a combination of cloud, whirlwind, and flame,” a striking description of the partial obscurity, but startling energy and splendor of his style. "No orator of his age," says Lord Brougham, "is his equal in the easy and copious flow of most profound, sagacious, and liberal principles, enunciated in terse and impressive, but most appropriate language."
4. The speeches of Pitt and Sheridan seem to us in the reading as so much rhetoric. Fox's orations were made to be spoken, and not to be read. Burke had two distinct styles, -one grave and didactic, as in his American speeches (which are spoken essays), when he wearied his hearers, though he delighted his readers; in the other style he was diffuse, and essentially rhetorical.
5. But Grattan blended two styles into one, and dazzled those who listened to him, while he spoke so as to instruct and delight posterity. He was never surpassed for the union of philosophical pith and oratorical energy. The thinking power to be found in his speeches, combined with his vivid imagery, the richness of his language, and the impassioned spirit pervading it, form their distinctive characteristics.
6. But oratory is valuable only as an instrument. There was a MIND in Grattan, a moral power far more valuable than the vaunted art of the public speaker. In addition to a wonderful imagination, nature had given him a strong and clear understanding, which he vigorously exercised on most of the great questions in ethics and politics.
7. He read the best and deepest authors on political science, and pondered much on their principles. This habit he carried too far for a man of action; for he became somewhat too professional and didactic in his public life; and he occasionally fell short of the wants of the age, by refusing to be an energetic leader, and assuming the part of an impassioned essayist.
8. He was the first powerful assertor, as he is certainly the most splendid illus'trator, of Irish genius. He was the first Irishman who treated of Irish politics on a grand scale, with breadth of view and liberal judgment. In an age of Protestant prejudice, he bravely unfurled the standard of religious liberty.
9. When he pleaded for the Catholic there was no popularity to be gained by such a course. On the contrary, he injured his influence by his adoption of the Catholic cause. He was not, like certain statesmen, content to have his views in favor of the Catholics made known merely he labored also, by his pen,- his tongue - by personal exertion, and by political sacrifices of power and popularity, to have those views prevail over the public mind.
10. There may have been those who loved the Protestant nation of Ireland, and who served it more zealously than Grattan. So also there may have been pātriots who loved the Catholics more enthusiastically; but never surely did any Irishman, before or since, love both nations with so much affection. Never did any Irishman toil with such ardor for the best and most enduring interests of both.
11. For though he boldly defended the interests of property against revolution and anarchy, he vindicated. also the liberties of the Catholic against the sordid pride and selfishness of an ungenerous oligarchy. His patriotism made no unhappy distinctions between religious creeds or hereditary races. He wished for the happiness of all Irishmen. He was free from the Protes