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THE PURITANS.-F. B. MACAULAY.
The Puritans were men whose minds had derived a poculiar character from the daily contemplation of superior beings and eternal interests. Not content with acknowledging, in general terms, an overruling Providence, they habitually ascribed every event to the will of the Great Being for whose power nothing was too vast, for whose inspection nothing was too minute. To know him, to serve him, to enjoy him was with them the great end of existence. They rejected with contempt the ceremonious homage which other sects substituted for the pure worship of the soul. Instead of catching occasional glimpses of the Deity through an obscuring veil, they aspired to gaze full on his intolerable brightness, and to commune with him face to face. Hence originated their contempt for terrestrial distinctions. The difference between the greatest and the meanost of mankind seemed to vanish, when compared with the boundless interval which separated the whole race from him on whom their own eyes were constantly fixed. They recognized no title to superiority but his favor; and, confident of that favor, they despised all the accomplishments and all the dignities of the world. If they were unacquainted with the works of philosophers and poets they were deeply read in the oracles of God. If their names were not found in the registers of heralds, they were recorded in the Book of Life. If their steps were not accompanied by a splendid train of menials, legions of ministering angels had charge of them.
Their palaces were houses not made with hands; their diadems crowns of glory which should never fade away. On the rich and the eloquent, on nobles and priests, they looked down with contempt: for they esteemed themselves rich in a more precious treasure, and eloquent in a more sublime language-nobles by the right of an earlier creation, and priests by the imposition of a mightier hand. The very meanest of them was a being to whose fate a mysterious and terrible importance belonged, on whose slightest action the spirits of light and darkness looked with anxious interest, who had been destined, before heaven and earth were created, to enjoy a felicity which should continue when heaven a d earth should have passed away. Events which shortsighted politicians ascribed to earthly causes, had been ordained on his account. For his sake empires had risen, and flourished, and decayed. For his sake the Almighty had prochumed his will by the pen of the evangelist and the harp of the prophet. He had been wrested by no common deliverer from the grasp of no common foe. He had been ransomed by the sweat of no vulgar agony, by the blood of no earthly sacrifice. It was for him that the sun had been darkened, that the rocks had been rent, that the dead had risen, that all nature had shuddered at the sufferings of her expiring God.
Thus the Puritan was made up of two different men,-the one all self-abasement, penitence, gratitude, passion; the other proud, calm, inflexible, sagacious. He prostrated himself in the dust before his Maker; but he set his foot on the neck of his king. In his devotional retirement he prayed with convulsions and groans and tears. He was half-maddened by glorious or terrible illusions. He heard the lyres of angels or the tempting whispers of fiends. He caught a gleam of the Beatific Vision, or woke screaming from dreams of everlasting fire. Like Vane, he thought himself entrusted with the sceptre of the millennial year. Like Fleetwood, he cried in the bitterness of his soul that God had hid his face from him. But when he took his seat in the council, or girt on his sword for war, these tempestuous workings of the soul had left no perceptible trace behind them. People who saw nothing of the godly but their uncouth visages, and heard nothing from them but their groans and their whining hyinns, might laugh at them. But those had little reason to laugh who encountered them in the ha!? of debate or in the field of battle.
THE EAGLE.- ALFRED TENNYSON.
He clasps the crag with hooked hands,
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls:
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunder-bolt ke falls.
Basking in peace in the warm spring sun
South Hili smiled upon Burlington.
The breath of May! and the day was fair,
And the bright motes danced iu the balmy air,
And the sunlight gleamed where the restless breeze
Kissed the fragrant blooms on the apple trees.
His beardless cheek with a smile he spanned
As he stood with a carriage whip in hand,
And he laughed as he doffed his bobtail coat,
And the echoing folds of the carpet smote.
And she smiled as she leaned on her busy mop,
And said she'd tell him when to stop.
So he pounded away till the dinner-bell
Gave him a little breathing spell;
But he sighed when the kitchen clock struck ona,
And she said the carpet wasn't done.
But he lovingly put in his biggest. Jicks,
And he pounded like mad till the clock struck sis
And she said, in a dubious kind of way,
That she guessel he could finish it up next day.
Then all that day, and the next day, too,
That fuzz from the dirtless carpet tiew,
And she'd give it a look at eventide,
And say, “Now beat on the other side."
And the new days came as the old days went,
And the landlord came for his regular rent,
And the neighbors laughed at the tireless broom
And bis face was shadowed with clouds of gloom.
Till at last, one cheerless winter day,
He kicked at the carpet and slid away.
Over the fence and down the street,
Speeding away with footsteps fleet,
And never again the morning sun
Smiled upon him beating his carpet-drum.
And South Hill often said with a yawn,
* Where's the carpet martyr gone ?"
Years twice twenty had come and past,
And the oarpet swayed in the autumn blast,
For never yet, since that bright spring-time,
Had it ever been taken down from the line.
Over the fence a gray-haired man
Cautiously clim, clome, clem, clum, clamb-
He found him a stick in the old woodpile,
And he gathered it up with a sad, grim smile,
A flush passed over his face forlorn
As he gazed at the carpet, tattered and torn;
And he hit it a most resounding thwack,
Till the startled air gives his echoes back.
And out of the window a white face leaned
And a palsied hand the pale face screened;
She knew his face, she gasped, and sighed,
"A little more on the under side.”
Right down on the ground his stick he throwed,
And he shivered and said, “Well, I am blowed!"
And he turned away, with a heart full sore,
And he never was seen not more, not more.
IPHIGENIA AND AGAMEMNON.-W. S. LANDOR.
Iphigenia, when she heard her doom
At Aulis, and when all beside the king
Had gone away, took his right hand, and said:
"O father! I am young and very happy.
I do not think the pious Calchas heard
Distinctly what the goddess spake; old age
Obscures the senses. If my nurse, who knew
My voice so well, sometimes misunderstood,
While I was resting on her knee both arıns,
And hitting it to make her mind my words,
And looking in her face, and she in mine,
Might not he, also, hear one word amiss,
Spoken from so far off, even from Olympus?"
The father placed his cheek upon her head,
And tears dropt down it; but the king of men
Replied not. Then the maiden spake once more:
“O father! sayest thou nothing? Hearest thou not
Me, whom thou ever hast, until this hour,
Listened to fondly, and awakened me
To hear my voice amid the voice of birds,
When it was inarticulate as theirs,
And the down deadened it within the nest ?
He moved her gently from him, silent still;
And this, and this alone, brought tears from her,
Although she saw fate nearer. Then with sighs:
"I thought to have laid down my hair before
Benignant Artemis, and not dimmod
Her polished altar with my virgin blood;
I thought to have selected the white flowers
To please the nymphs, and to have asked of each
By name, and with no sorrowful regret,
Whether, since both my parents willed the change,
I might at Hymen's feet bend my clipt brow;
And (afier these who mind us girls the most)
Adore our own Athene, that she would
Regard me mildly with her azure eyes,
But, father, to see you no more, and see
Your love, O father! go ere I am gone!".
Gently he moved her off, and drew her back,
Bending his lofty head far over hers,
And the dark depths of nature heaved and burst;
He turned away, -not far, but silent still.
She now first shuddered; for in him, so nigh,
So long a silence seemed the approach of death,
And like it. Once again she raised her voice:
“O father! if the ships are now detained,
And all your vows move not the gods above,
When the knife strikes me there will be one prayer
The less to them; and purer can there be
Any, or more fervent, than the daughter's prayer
For her dear father's safety and success ?”
A groan that shook him shook not his resolve.
An agéd man now entered, and without
One word stepped slowly on, and took the wrist
Of the pale maiden. She looked up, and saw
The fillet of the priest, and calm, cold eyes.
Then turned she where her parent stood, and cried:
“O father! grieve no more; the ships can sail.”
The bird that soars on highest wing
Builds on the ground her lowly nest,
And she that doth most sweetly sing
Sings in the shade when all things rest;
In lark and nightingale we see
What honor hath humility.
The saint that wears Heaven's brightest crown
In lowliest adoration bends;
The weight of glory bows him down
The most, when most his soul ascends;
Nearest the throne itself must be
The footstool of humility.