« ПретходнаНастави »
wards cost him his life,* every passion of his great mind seems to be at work.
4. "But do you, Antony," he says, "look to yourself; and I will confess what are my principles: I have defended the Republic when I was young, I will not desert it now I am old: I have despised the sword of Catilīne, and the sword of Antony shall not alarm me. Most willingly would I sacrifice this body, if by my death the liberty of Rome could be established. Did not I say, twenty years ago, in this very Senate, that when a man perished who had reached the dignity of Consul, he could not be said to have perished prematurely?
5. "And do you think, now that old age is come upon me, I will retract or deny this doctrine ? Conscript fathers, I wish for death; I have gained all that the Republic can bestow; I have performed all that it can require! Let death come when it will, I am prepared to meet it. I have only two things to implore: first, that my country may deal out to all her children. the punishment or the reward they merit; next, that when I do die, I may leave the Romans frée. If the gods grant me this, there is nothing else which they can bestow."
6. No one could say of Edmund Burke, that he did not write with passion; and whenever his passions are awakened, his imagination appears to be fecundated. He is metaphorical at all times; but when he feels
*Stung by the philippics of Cicero, Antony insisted on his death, and Octavius basely consented to it. In endeavoring to escape from Tusculum, where he was living when the news of his proscription arrived, Cicero was overtaken and murdered by a party of soldiers, headed by Popilius Lænas, whose life he had formerly saved by his eloquence. Cicero's head and hands, says Plutarch, were cut off, carried to Rome, and presented to Antony, who had them fixed up on the rostra in the forum. Cicero perished in the year 43 B. C. He was opposed to Cæsar, though not a party
to his assassination.
strongly, everything is simile, allusion, and metaphor; and these are poured out in a manner quite natural, as if the habitual effect of passion in him were to conjure up all this splendid imagery, and to give unusual promptitude to the current of his ideas.
7. But, though passion always comes in aid of a fine imagination, it very often happens that we meet with imagination without passion or feeling, and feeling and passion without imagination. There is a beautiful passage in the book of Ruth, which, though full of, feeling, has no imagination: "And Ruth said to her mother Na'omi, Entreat me not to leave thee: for whither thou goest I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God shall be my God: where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me!" Nothing can be more beautiful, but there is no imagination in it.
8. To inventive reasoning, the passions are very favorable. The resources which men exhibit in shipwrecks, and on desert islands, are perfectly astonishing. In the attempt to escape from prison, as much has been done with a rusty nail as the best artisan could hardly have expected with the best tools, in any ordinary state of excitement of mind. In short, the process of invention in reasoning, is exactly the same as the process of invention in poetry. In passion, the mind dwells intensely on one object; all the ideas related to it occur from association; and we seize upon the epithet, the argument, or the mechanical invention, which we judge the best.
9. Look at great men in critical and perilous moments, when every cold and little spirit is extinguished: their passions always bring them out harmless; and at the very moment when they seem to perish, they emerge into greater glory. Alexander, in the midst of his mutinous soldiers; Frederick of Prussia, combating.
against the armies of three kingdoms; Cortes, breaking in pieces the Mexican empire: — their passions led all these great men to fix their attention strongly upon the objects of their desires; those objects they saw under aspects unknown to and unseen by common men, and which enabled them to conceive and execute those hardy enterprises, deemed rash and foolish, till their wisdom was established by their success.
10. It is in fact the great passions alone which enable men to distinguish between what is difficult and what is impossible: a distinction always confounded by merely sensible men; who do not even suspect the existence of those means which men of genius employ to effect their ends. It is only passion which gives a man that high enthusiasm for his country, and makes him regard it as the only object worthy of human attention ; — an enthusiasm which to common eyes appears madness and extravagance; but which always creates fresh powers of mind, and commonly insures ultimate success. In fact, it is only the great passions, which, tearing us away from the seductions of indolence, endow us with that continuity of attention, to which alone superiority of mind is attached.
11. It is to their passions alone, under the providence of God, that nations must trust, when perils gather thick about them, and their last moments seem to be at hand. The history of the world shows us that men are not to be counted by their numbers, but by the fire and vigor of their passions; by their deep sense of injury; by their memory of past glory; by their eagerness for fresh fame; by their clear and steady resolution of ceasing to live, or of achieving a particular object, which resolution, when it is once formed, strikes off a load of manacles and chains, and gives free space to all heavenly and heroic feelings.
12. All great and extraordinary actions come from the heart. There are seasons in human affairs, when
qualities fit enough to conduct the common business of life are feeble and useless, and when men must trust to emotion for that safety which reason at such times can never give. These are the feelings which led the ten thousand over the Carduchian Mountains; these are the feelings by which a handful of Greeks broke in pieces the power of Persia; these are the feelings which have, by turns, humbled Austria, reduced Spain, and, in the fens of the Dutch, and on the mountains of the Swiss, defended the happiness and revenged the oppressions of man!
13. God calls all the passions out in their keenness and vigor, for the present safety of mankind:- anger, and revenge, and the heroic mind, and a readiness to suffer;-all the invisible strength, all the invisible array of the feelings,-all that nature has reserved for the great scenes of the world. For the usual hopes and the common aids of man are all gone! Kings have perished, armies are subdued, nations mouldered away! Nothing remains, under God, but those passions which have often proved the best ministers of His vengeance and the surest protectors of the world.
EVE TO ADAM. Milton.
WITH thee conversing I forget all time,
All seasons and their change: all please alike.
See in Index, MARVELOUS or MARVELLOUS, PATRIOTISM, PRAIRIE, SHRIVELED or SHRIVELLED, THEATRE or THEATER, KING.
The following passages are from an address delivered about the year 1852; but the sentiments are of universal and perpetual application. Few men have ever more nobly illustrated in their lives the principles they urged in their speech, than the young and gifted patriot who toiled so effectually for the great idea he here commends to our veneration.
1. PATRIOTISM has learned to pronounce with emphasis the word union. It is a hallowed word to her. She does not like to hesitate in uttering it. But there is danger, in our reactionary eloquence, that, in eulogies of union, and assertions that we must have it, we overlook or too lightly estimate the conditions of union. This country has an ideal character, a representative value. Its mountains were upheaved, its prairies unrolled, its night-skies bent, for the home of an ideä.
2. Its glory cannot spring from vast extent, populousness, power, and wealth, but from the unquestioned dominion of an idea. If we are to be one, we must have a great, undying sentiment. "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable," that is the marriage-bond. We cannot vote ourselves together; we cannot keep ourselves together merely by cultivating superficial or commercial good feeling.
3. The unity of our nation-the most marvelous and splendid organism of history-may stand forever unshaken by the diversities of climate which it includes, by the variety of material interests-commerce, agriculture, industry-which it enfolds, - may, indeed, be all the stronger for the twisting of so many strands: but though nature made our vast landscape one; though it be interlocked by rivers, railways, and canals; though it be vascular with myriad arteries of