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into the fields, with no instrument but a kite, no companion but his son, established his theory by obtaining a line of connection with a thundercloud.
Nor did he cease till he had made the lightning a household pastime, taught his family to catch the subtile fluid in its inconceivably rapid leaps between the earth and the sky, and compelled it to give warning of its passage by the harmless ringing of bells.
With placid tranquillity Benjamin Franklin looked quietly and deeply into the secrets of Nature. His clear understanding was never perverted by passion, or corrupted by the pride of theory; loving truth, without prejudice and without bias, he discerned intuitively the identity of the laws of Nature with those of which humanity is conscious; so that his mind was like a mirror, in which the universe, as it reflected itself, revealed her laws.
He had not the imagination which inspires the bard or kindles the orator; but an exquisite propriety, parsimonious of ornament, gave ease
expression and graceful simplicity even to his most careless writings.
In life, also, his tastes were delicate. Indifferent to the pleasures of the table, he relished the delights of music and harmony, of which he enlarged the instruments. His blandness of temper, his modesty, the benignity of his manners, made him the favorite study
of intelligent society; and, with healthy cheerfulness, he derived pleasure from books, from philosophy, from conversation — now calmly administering consolation to the sorrower, now indulging in expressions of lighthearted gayety.
In his intercourse, the universality of his perceptions bore, perhaps, the character of humor; but while he clearly discerned the contrast between the grandeur of the universe and the feebleness of man, a serene benevolence saved him from contempt of his race, or disgust at its toils.
Never professing enthusiasm, never making a parade of sentiment, his practical wisdom was sometimes mistaken for the offspring of selfish prudence ; yet his hope was steadfast, like the hope which rests on the Rock of Ages, and his conduct was as unerring as though the light that led him was a light from Heaven.
He never anticipated action by theories of selfsacrificing virtue; and yet, in the moments of intense activity, he, from the highest abodes of ideal truth brought down and applied to the affairs of life the sublimest principles of goodness, as noiselessly and unostentatiously as became the man who, with a kite and hempen string, drew the lightning from the skies.
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY was born at Rotheley Temple, England, Oct. 25, 1800. He graduated at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1822, having won various honors for excellence in oratory and in verse. Eventually he became a member of Parliament and held other positions under the government. His “ Lays of Ancient Rome" were widely admired, and so were his collected essays. But his “ History of England” should perhaps be regarded as his most important work. He was a inan of very marvelous meniory, being able to repeat the contents of a book of many pages after a single reading.
He died at Kensington, England, Dec. 28, 1859.
Alone stood brave Horatius,
But constant still in mind;
And the broad flood behind.
With a smile on his pale face. “Now yield thee," cried Lars Porsena,
“ Now yield thee to our grace.
Those craven ranks to see;
To Sextus nought spake he;
The white porch of his home;
That rolls by the towers of Rome:
“Oh, Tiber ! father Tiber !
To whom the Romans pray,
Take thou in charge this day!”
The good sword by his side, And with his harness on his back
Plunged headlong in the tide.
No sound of joy or sorrow
Was heard on either bank : But friends and foes in dumb surprise, With parted lips and straining eyes,
Stood gazing where he sank; And when above the surges
They saw his crest appear, All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry, And even the ranks of Tuscany
Could scarce forbear to cheer.
But fiercely ran the current,
Swollen high by months of rain ; And fast his blood was flowing ;
And he was sore in pain, And heavy with his armor,
And spent with changing blows : And oft they thought him sinking,
But still again he rose.
Never, I ween, did swimmer,
In such an evil case, Struggle through such a raging flood
Safe to the landing place :
But his limbs were borne up bravely
By the brave heart within, And our good father Tiber
Bare bravely up his chin. ...
And now he feels the bottom;
Now on dry earth he stands ;
To press his gory hands;
And noise of weeping loud,
Borne by the joyous crowd.
They gave him of the corn-land,
That was the public right, As much as two strong oxen
Could plow from morn till night;
And set it up on high,
To witness if I lie.
It stands in the Comitium,
Plain for all folk to see ; Horatius in his harness,
Halting upon one knee :
In letters all of gold,
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY.