Слике страница

their time was come, and some little accident has given them their first occasion, they have burst out into the light and glory of public life, rich with the spoils of time, and mighty in all the labors and struggles of the mind.

5. Then do the multitude cry out, "A miracle of genius!" Yes, he is a miracle of genius, because he is a miracle of labor; because, instead of trusting to the resources of his own single mind, he has ransacked a thousand minds; because he makes use of the accumulated wisdom of ages, and takes as his point of departure the very last line and boundary to which science has advanced; because it has ever been the object of his life to assist every intellectual gift of nature, however munificent, and however splendid, with every resource that art could suggest and every attention diligence could bestow.

6. But, while I am descanting upon the conduct of the understanding, and the best modes of acquiring knowledge, some men may be disposed to ask, "Why conduct my understanding with such endless care? and what is the use of so much knowledge?" What is the use of so much knowledge? What is the use of so much life? what are we to do with the seventy years of existence allotted to us? and how are we to live them out to the last?

7. I solemnly declare that, but for the love of knowledge, I should consider the life of the meanest hedger and ditcher as preferable to that of the greatest and richest man in existence; for the fire of our minds is like the fire which the Persians burn in the mountains, -it flames night and day, and is immortal, and not to be quenched! Upon something it must act and feed,upon the pure spirit of knowledge, or upon the foul dregs of polluting passions.

8. Therefore, when I say, in conducting your understanding, love knowledge with a great love, with a

[ocr errors]

vehement love, with a love coëval with life, what do I say, but love innocence; love virtue; love purity of conduct; love that which, if you are rich and great, will sanctify the blind fortune which has made you so, and make men call it justice; love that which, if you are poor, will render your poverty respectable, and make the proudest feel it unjust to laugh at the meanness of your fortune; love that which will comfort you, adorn you, and never quit you, which will open to you the kingdom of thought, and all the boundless regions of conception, as an asylum against the cruelty, the injustice, and the pain, that may be your lot in the outer world, that which will make your motives habitually great and honorable, and light up in an instant a thousand noble disdains at the very thought of meanness and of fraud !

[ocr errors]

9. Therefore, if any young man here have embarked his life in pursuit of knowledge, let him go on without doubting or fearing the event; let him not be intimidated by the cheerless beginnings of knowledge, by the darkness from which she springs, by the difficulties which hover around her, by the wretched habitations in which she dwells, by the want and sorrow which sometimes journey in her train; but let him ever follow her as the Angel that guards him, and as the Genius of his life. She will bring him out at last into the light of day, and exhibit him to the world, comprehensive in acquirements, fertile in resources, rich in imagination, strong in reasoning, prudent and powerful above his fellows in all the relations and in all the offices of life.

"What is a man,

If his chief good and market of his time,
Be but to sleep and feed? -
-a beast, no more!
Sure He that made us with such large discourse,

Looking before and after, gave us not

That capability and Godlike reason
To rust in us, unused!"

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

These spirited lines were called forth by the tame conduct of the NeapolItan troops in 1821, when the Austrians entered Naples to suppress a popular insurrection which had promised to give liberty to the country. Lord CASTLEREAGH (pronounced kas'l-rā), to whom allusion is made, was a member of the British ministry, and was popularly charged with connivance at the aims of the European despots. Among these the emperor of RUSSIA can no longer be justly classed, as he has nobly liberated all the serfs in his domin


Pronounce FILICAJA, fe-le-kä'yä, PETRARCH, pe'trark, EUROPE, yooʻrop. See in Index, Forge, sword, MOORE.

Delivery. The prevailing sentiment of these lines is one of vivid indignation; requiring, for its adequate expression, a very bold and animated delivery. At the end of the fifth, sixth, and seventh stanzas, the falling slide may be given, but the eighth should terminate with the rising slide. An occasional aspirate quality of voice will be appropriate; and the pauses should be carefully studied.


Ar, down to the dust with them, slaves as they are!

From this hour let the blood in their dastardly veins, That shrunk at the first touch of Liberty's war,

Be wasted for tyrants, or stagnate in chains!


On, on, like a cloud, through their beautiful vales,
Ye locusts of tyranny, blasting them o'er!
Fill, fill up their wide sunny waters, ye sails,
From each slave-mart of Europe, and shadow their shore!


[ocr errors]

Let their fate be a mock-word; let men of all lands

Laugh out, with a scorn that shall ring to the poles, When each sword that the cowards let fall from their hands Shall be forged into fetters to enter their souls!


And deep, and more deep, as the iron is driven,
Base slaves! let the whet of their agony be,

To think

They had once within reach


as the doomed often think of that heaven


Oh shame! when there was not a bosom whose heat
Ever rose 'bove the zero of Castlereagh's heart,
That did not, like echo, your war-hymn repeat,
And send all its prayers with your Liberty's start :


When the world stood in hope, when a spirit, that breathed
The fresh air of the olden time, whispered about,
And the swords of all Italy, half-way unsheathed,
But waited one conquering cry, to flash out!


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

that they might have been


When around you the shades of your mighty in fame,

Filicajas and Petrarchs, seemed bursting to view, And their words and their warnings, like tongues of bright


Over Freedom's apostles, fell kindling on you!


Oh shame! that in such a proud moment of life,

Worth the history of ages, when, had you but hurled

One bolt at your tyrant invader, that strife

Between freemen and tyrants had spread through the



O disgrace upon manhood!

That then
even then
You should falter, should cling to your pitiful breath,
Cower down into beasts, when you might have stood men,
And prefer the slave's life of prostration to death!

[ocr errors]

If there lingers one spark of her light, tread it out,
And return to your empire of darkness once more!


It is strange, it is dreadful; - shout, Tyranny! shout Through your dungeons and palaces, " Freedom is o'er!"


For if such are the braggarts that claim to be free,
Come, despot of Russia, thy feet let me kiss;
Far nobler to live the brute bondman of thee,

Than to sully even chains by a struggle like this!



The style of Dr. Johnson was ponderous and formal and very different from that of Addison, which he here generously commends. Goldsmith once wittily remarked to Johnson, "If you were to write a fable about little fishes, Doctor, you would make the little fishes talk like whales." Johnson had a partiality for words borrowed from the Latin and Greek languages; and his antithetical forms of expression are so obviously artificial that they become wearisome, as all that is affected and unnatural must. Still Johnson was a great man, and though the reputation of his writings is yearly diminishing, his character, as presented by his biographer, Boswell, continues to be one of the most marked and familiar in literary history.


1. As a describer of life and manners he must be allowed to stand perhaps the first of the first rank. His humor, which, as Steele observes, is peculiar to himself, is so happily diffused as to give the grace of novelty to domestic scenes and daily occurrences. He never "oversteps the modesty of nature," nor raises merriment or wonder by the violation of truth.

2. His figures neither divert by distortion nor amaze by aggravation. He copies life with so much fidelity that he can hardly be said to invent; yet his exhibitions. have an air so much original that it is difficult to suppose them not merely the product of imagination. As a teacher of wisdom he may be confidently followed. His religion has nothing in it enthusiastic or superstitious; he appears neither weakly credulous nor wanton

« ПретходнаНастави »